FDA plans to begin testing foods for glyphosate residues

Tractor spraying
Tractor spraying soybean field at spring

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the nation’s chief food safety regulator, plans to start testing certain foods for residues of the world’s most widely used weed killer after the World Health Organization’s cancer experts last year declared the chemical a probable human carcinogen.

The FDA’s move comes amid growing public concern about the safety of the herbicide known as glyphosate, and comes after the U.S Government Accountability Office (GAO) rebuked the agency for failing to do such assessments and for not disclosing that short-coming to the public.

. . . .

FDA officials dubbed the issue “sensitive” and declined to provide details of the plans, but FDA spokeswoman Lauren Sucher said the agency was moving forward to test for glyphosate for the first time in the agency’s history.

Related article:  GM giants on Kauai 'drench' test crops with pesticides causing islander illnesses

“The agency is now considering assignments for Fiscal Year 2016 to measure glyphosate in soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods,” she told Civil Eats. Soybeans and corn are common ingredients in an array of food products and genetically engineered (or GMO) varieties are commonly sprayed with glyphosate.

The start-up costs to implement selective residue methods for glyphosate at six FDA testing laboratories is pegged at about $5 million, according to a statement the FDA gave the GAO after the GAO criticized FDA for not testing for glyphosate in a 2014 audit. The GAO reported that it found multiple deficiencies in the FDA’s pesticide residue testing program, and specifically cited a failure to test for glyphosate, which the GAO called the “most used agricultural pesticide.”

Read full, original post: FDA to Start Testing for Glyphosate in Food

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