Fact check: South African political party misleads about glyphosate’s cancer risk

Screen Shot at PM

Calling for a probe into “a possible crime against humanity”, a South African political party wants to halt the use of a weed-killer on major food crops. But do claims by the Inkatha Freedom Party about the widely used chemical glyphosate hold up?

“Why is South Africa poisoning its people?” asked Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), in a statement released late last year [2016].

The IFP wrote that because the World Health Organisation classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” (cancer-causing), “South Africa is feeding its people toxins, thus feeding the cancer pandemic”.


But the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), working with scientists from the WHO, reached a different conclusion.

Related article:  Lawsuits against Monsanto alleging glyphosate-cancer connection face court scrutiny

The joint meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a cancer risk to humans when they are exposed to it either through food or farming.

South Africa’s department of health limits the amount of glyphosate to less than 2 mg/kg in maize and 10 mg/kg in soya, roughly half of what the internationally accepted maximum limits are.


In 2012/13, the health department’s forensic chemistry laboratory detected no glyphosate in food samples tested.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Is South Africa ‘feeding its people toxins’, as the IFP alleges?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend