Get Glyphosate Based Herbicides off our Food!

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Go Direct to the Petition to Sign: 'FAO Director General Graziano Da Silva: Get Glyphosate Off Our Food!'

We call on FAO Director-General Graziano Da Silva, to respond to the independent, published science and get glyphosate off our food now! We need you to urgently revise the recommended maximum residue levels of glyphosate on our human food crops and animal feed crops to NEGLIGIBLE – zero tolerance, which can be defined as ‘must not contain glyphosate residues greater than 0.01 mg/kg.’

If the FAO can increase these levels of a probably carcinogenic pesticide on our food – they have the power to reduce those same levels to zero tolerance. FAO’s Goal no. 1 is ‘Access of all people at all times to sufficient nutritionally adequate and safe food.’ Mothers today know that glyphosate sprayed on staple food crops are damaging to their children.

FAO’s Goal no. 1 includes ‘Access of all people at all times to sufficient nutritionally adequate and safe food.’  WHO core principles include health as a fundamental human right.

We have ancient private research dominating risk assessment, data demonstrating that the full formulation exacerbates harm to ourselves and our environment that is ignored by regulators, and increasing levels of chronic disease.

The recent JMPR May 2016 Report 'FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper 227, Pesticide residues in food 2016 REPORT 2016, ISSN 2070-2515'  that claims to evaluate toxicity of glyphosate, still, as at September 2016, has not declared the authors and studies used to arrive at it's 2004 conclusion.

'The Meeting reaffirmed the group ADI for the sum of glyphosate, AMPA, N-acetyl-glyphosate and N-acetyl-AMPA of 0–1 mg/kg bw on the basis of the NOAEL of 100 mg/kg bw per day for effects on the salivary gland in a long-term study of toxicity and carcinogenicity in rats and application of a safety factor of 100.' P.24

The 'salivary gland study appears to be a 23 year old 1993 Cheminova study a 23 year old unpublished and not peer reviewed (Atkinson et al. 1993b). As a result of not undergoing public peer review, there has been no ability to scrutinise the study to ensure replicability and reliability. However this appears to be the study that ensures glyphosate based herbicides can be applied widely to food crops - it keeps the ADI -exposure levels - high.

It is surprising the authors a yet to be included - this would be impossible if the review was published within the scientific literature.

Strangely, the above 2016 document appears difficult to retrieve on the JMPR site

Current risk assessment is not safe. It hides behind outdated narrow guidelines - it never assesses full formulation at the environmentally relevant doses the populations are exposed to - and has failed to keep up with modern scientific understanding.

These problems apply to agrichemicals applied to our food, and food chemicals applied during the production process. This is not just a problem for the active ingredient glyphosate.

Increasing childhood illness, concern regarding increasing resistance to fungicides and antibiotics - and growing understanding that environmental chemicals including pesticides play a role - should elevate this. conversation to a higher public health priority.

Outline: How the W.H.O. and F.A.O and Codex Alimentarius work together to set international maximum residue levels (MRL) for pesticides - & why the glyphosate assessments are WAY OUT OF DATE

Many groups across the world are calling for glyphosate to be removed from parks and gardens. The issue yet to be addressed is the extent of glyphosate based herbicides directly sprayed on our staple food crops. This insidious chemical does not wash off and we are consuming it at alarming levels. New studies have shown significant harm from glyphosate at the levels we are exposed to.

If our regulators are to act in the public's interest, they need to remove glyphosate residues from our food.

It is essential that regulators reduce permitted glyphosate on food to zero residues, as a natural response to the IARC condemnation of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen and genotoxic. Numerous new scientific studies show serious harm from glyphosate as a neurotoxin, causing breast cancer cell growth, placental cell death, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the destruction of gut bacteria which harbors our immune system.  A recent August 2015 study shows glyphosate to cause teratogenic, tumorigenic and hepatorenal effects at levels below ADI’s recommended by the FAO.

The WHO have just set up a task force with a panel of experts with conflicts of interest to review their own findings that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic. This is  a way of putting off the inevitable – taking glyphosate off our food.  

The last true WHO/FAO/Codex assessment of glyphosate was in 2004 - and decades old science using private industry data - was used to prove safety even in this assessment! Following this, in 2006 residue levels on our staple food crops were increased astronomically to permit the application of products like Roundup ONTO our food crops just prior to harvest (rather than traditionally on weeds and soil before planting new seed crops). Current science demonstrates the systemic harm this is causing to us - and details just how dangerous the full formulations that are used within the 'glyphosate based herbicides' mix actually are, to us and to our children at the levels we are exposed to today. But our regulators are very busy ignoring a lot of this science, frequently cherry picking the science supplied for major reassessments (as in the case of Europe) and refusing to consider the full formulation and how this impacts subtle endocrine effects at very low doses. We are worried an IARC committee stacked with industry contacts will try to use the full formulation 'excuse' to dismiss the findings. The precedent for safe risk assessment is not very safe.

It is important to understand that our regulators - whether they are the US EPA, the W.H.O., EFSA, Health Canada, etc etc. - NEVER CONSIDER the more toxic full formulation. This is outdated science that works in the favour of the chemical company (known as the applicant). Most of the time the applicant selects the studies for consideration by the regulator. Today, Risk Assessment (RA) for pesticides are completely unsafe and are carried out along outdated twentieth century parameters.

How does the international system of arriving at permitted Codex maximum residue levels (MRLs) - actually work?

  1. WHO sets our daily allowances (ADI/RfD) of pesticide (Eg. Glyphosate P.95) exposure using usually only industry selected toxicological studies which only take into account the active ingredient within the full pesticide formulation. (If we wait for daily allowances to change, it may be years before this affects permitted residues.)

  2. The FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Residues in Food reviews pesticide data residue and estimates maximum residue levels (MRLs). Crop tests from various countries are supplied and the residues advised. The upper levels found in the crop trials tend to be used to form the recommended MRL. These upper levels that then go onto establish the permitted MRLs tend to be unaffected by any results from the JMPR toxicological evaluations which set the ADI/RfDs. These MRLs are then recommended to the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) for consideration to be adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) as a CXL (Codex MRL). (Eg. Pesticide Residues in food – 2005 – glyphosate P.122) The CAC tends to directly implement the FAO Panel of Experts recommendations without question.

  3. The combined groups are called the Joint Meeting on Pesticides Residues (JMPR). The output of JMPR constitutes the essential basis for Codex MRLs for food and agricultural commodities circulating in international trade, its health-based guidance for pesticides (i.e. ADIs and ARfDs) and recommends maximum residue levels which are then frequently applied and adopted by governments of the member countries and regions. Alternatively, members may establish their own MRL but use Codex MRLs for imported produce. There is a JMPR meeting on Pesticides Residues set for 15-24 September in Geneva. Glyphosate is not listed for discussion. The WHO advises glyphosate was last evaluated in 2011. However the only content covered in 2011 was an addendum in to look at metabolites of GMO Maize - the science was only supplied by Dupont. The last true assessment was in 2004, and that of course, only used seller sponsored science to arrive at critical NOAELs.

  4. 186 governments, and Europe are members of the CAC.  As members, government decisions regarding permitted pesticide maximum residue levels are influenced by Codex recommendations. The Commission reports and make recommendations to the Conference of FAO and the appropriate body of WHO through their respective Directors-General. The CAC chairperson is Awilo Ochieng Pernet, a senior food safety official in Switzerland.

Go Direct to the Avaaz Petition to Sign: 'FAO Director General Graziano Da Silva: Get Glyphosate Off Our Food!'

Key references: 
[1] WHO IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of fiveorganophosphate insecticides and herbicides.Glyphosate http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol112/mono112-010.pdf
[2] Mesnage, R, Defarge, N, Spiroux de Vendômois, J, Séralini, G.E, Potential toxic effects of glyphosate and its commercial formulations below regulatory limits, Food and Chemical Toxicology (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2015.08.012.
[3] Pesticide residues in food – 2004. Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues, EVALUATIONS. Part II—Toxicological. Sponsored jointly by FAO and WHO With the support of the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) Joint Meeting of the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Residues in Food and the Environment and the WHO Core Assessment Group http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43624/1/9241665203_eng.pdf
[4] Pesticide residues in food – 2005. FAO PLANT PRODUCTION AND PROTECTION PAPER 183. Report of the Joint Meeting of the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Residues in Food and the Environment and the WHO Core Assessment Group on Pesticide Residues http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/agphome/documents/Pests_Pesticides/JMPR/JMPR05report.pdf
[4] Codex Alimentarius. Pesticide Residues in Food and Feed. Glyphosate 158.http://www.codexalimentarius.net/pestres/data/pesticides/details.html?d-16497-o=2&id=158&d-16497-s=3
[6] JOINT FAO/WHO MEETING ON PESTICIDE RESIDUES Geneva, 9–13 May 2016 SUMMARY REPORT. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/jmprsummary2016.pdf
[7] UN/WHO panel in conflict of interest row over glyphosate cancer risk. May 17 2016. A.Neslen. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/17/unwho-panel-in-conflict-of-interest-row-over-glyp.... Glyphosate: Is science the playground of industry?Testbiotech requests that experts with strong affiliations to industry are removed from the FAO/WHO panelTuesday, 31 May 2016 http://testbiotech.org/en/node/1651
[8] Myers J P et al (2016). Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement. Environmental Health 15(19). DOI 10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0. Open access: http://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0
[9] WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health.30 APRIL 2014. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/amr-report/en/ 

[10] Goodson et al 2015. Assessing the carcinogenic potential of low-dose exposures to chemical mixtures in the environment: the challenge ahead.

Key studies showing toxic effects of glyphosate and Roundup.Earth Open Source.  GMO Myths & Truths

A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence. PAN North America.http://www.panna.org/publication/generation-in-jeopardy

This is a joint petition by: www.mothersacrosstheworld.com and www.rite-demands.org

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