No-one in the USA tests for glyphosate residues in food before the food hits our mouths. Maximum residue levels establish how much glyphosate is allowed on food, but no-one actually checks these levels.
To quote a USDA employee: "Glyphosate was not tested on any commodity in the Pesticide Data Program (PDP) 2010 Survey. The 2011 PDP Annual Summary, which should be published in early 2013, will show glyphosate findings for soybeans."
Soybeans? That's all? Noting that in the last 8 years the residue limit for pasta and bread (wheat) has been increased to higher levels than for GMO foods like soybeans.
Glyphosate used to be expensive to test for. But not any more. As a result of 9/11 and the toxic dusts that enveloped the site, the US government placed a priority on developing extremely good toxin testing machines that could detect traces of chemical and toxic residues to parts per trillion. So today consumers can test.
So why has it not been important to test for glyphosate on food?
The really, really limited research studies (for example in the areas of reproductive and developmental toxicity, and the carcinogenicity studies used to establish the ADI/RfD), are selected and supplied by Monsanto and big agrichemical organisations like Syngenta and Cheminova. So we have 25-35 year old secret, unpublished studies declaring safety of glyphosate at the levels we are exposed to.
The EPA doesn't really look at the results of independent science (searchterm: glyphosate) that work in the public interest and look at toxicity at residue levels at the levels we actually consume.
Therefore companies like Monsanto control the critical studies used for establishing the ADI/RfD, and, as a result, our government considers that glyphosate is not really that toxic. It's fine! Perhaps consider the last time the USDA assessed glyphosate in the 1993 Reregistration Elegibility Decision , refer to Appendix C and review the names of who put forward the studies.
Monsanto and Co. dominate the submissions, followed by Ciba-Geigy, and then possibly less than 2% of submissions are from other parties. Imagine if the tables were turned, there was a industry fund that resulted in another independent organisation, acting in the interest of the American (and global) public putting forward the studies without the self interest of potential profits.
Perhaps the USA would be monitoring glyphosate more closely.
The EPA is currently reassessing glyphosate, called the Glyphosate Reregistration Review. It is critical they review independent studies undertaken in the public interest by scientists and organisations with no financial interest in the result.
To find out about what pesticides the USDA does actually check for, visit the Agricultural Marketing Service or download the actual The 2013 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary (2013 most recent). Only soybeans.
(Press ‘control+f’ to search for glyphosate, the most widely used pesticide in the USA.)
Unfortunately - this has a domino effect which can cultivate and excacerbate public misinformation. The Environmental Working Groups well written paper 2015 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce pulls its information from the USDA PDP summary. But because the USDA PDP doesn't consider glyphosate, we are missing the full picture. The 'Dirty Dozen' and the 'Clean Fifteen' don't give us a broader picture. The EWG and the American public therefore have no idea of Roundup/glyphosate levels in our bread, milk, convenience foods and other staples in modern American diets. I wish someone would whizz McDonalds fries and hamburgers and put them through a glyphosate detection test. A minimum standard should be Single Residue Methods (EURL-SRM) LC-MS/MS. Many testing labs use old equipment so you really need to know.
People, it is so much more than fruit and vegetables..
This is why we need clever startups like Feed the World - doing what our governments are failing to do. These are great platforms to pressure failing, inept governments and regulatory authorities, and they help change the power base in favour of parents and kids. Because that's who should have the power to limit toxins in food.
Demand your bread is tested, for glyphosate. Understand what fungicides and insecticides are commonly sprayed on your bread. Testing for abstract fungicides that were commonly used 10 years ago is failure. It is time we were looking at our food staples right across the spectrum, not just fruit and vegetables. It's about understanding that conventionally produced food cannot be safe for our kids as long as the companies control the studies.
Because our governments are not testing for the true elephant in the room.