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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Information on the German Report on Glyphosate in Beer

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A report from Germany from the Environmental Institute on Thursday said it detected glyphosate in 14 German beers. Here’s Monsanto’s perspective regarding this report:

Glyphosate is an herbicide with a 40-year history of safe use. Glyphosate is approved for use on barley, hops and other grains in Europe. It is also approved for use in the United States and Canada. Farmers use glyphosate to control weeds in their fields.

There are strict government regulations to keep our food safe. In grain crops, such as barley, corn and wheat, there are limits in place to regulate the use of all pesticides, including glyphosate.

It is possible that traces of glyphosate can be found in some products, such as beer. However, consumers can be assured that these levels are extremely low.

Based on the residue levels in this report, for instance, a person would need to drink 3,000 beers in one day for levels of glyphosate near the European regulatory authority’s maximum daily limit for glyphosate.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has issued a statement responding to this study, in which they reiterate that there is no potential health risk from glyphosate residues at this level. In addition, the analytical method used in this study has been exploited previously and shown not to be reliable, as in the recent claims about glyphosate residues in breast milk.

We take claims about glyphosate safety very seriously. When we learn of reports such as this one, we review the report carefully and work with government agencies and third parties to review the data.

For more information about glyphosate, please visit www.monsanto.com/glyphosate.

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3 Responses to "Information on the German Report on Glyphosate in Beer"

  1. Extremely low doesn’t mean it can’t cause harm. Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. We better check this extremely low glyphosate level before it escalates into something else.

    Reply
    • Hi Eunice,
      The food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, thanks to an established system that includes clean water, refrigeration, national standards and oversight. The EPA sets what is known as a tolerance, or maximum amount allowed, for all pesticide residues on food commodities. The EPA also sets what is known as an Acceptable Daily Intake, or ADI, for every pesticide. The ADI represents the amount of pesticide a person could consume over a lifetime without an unacceptable health risk. The ADI is an extremely conservative figure, and it is set at least 100 times lower than levels that have been demonstrated to cause adverse effects in animal studies.

      In 2013, the EPA found that all glyphosate exposures through food and water sources were no more than 13 percent of the ADI. And that was based on a highly conservative assumption that all crops were treated with glyphosate and carried the maximum tolerance level. It turns out that you could eat 450 boxes of cereal every 24 hours for the rest of your life and still be at a level of glyphosate exposure considered safe by the EPA. That equals 150 boxes at every meal!

      In 2012, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) examined 635 samples of various foods for glyphosate residues. Only 77 of the samples, or 12.2 percent, contained detectable glyphosate residues – and none of those samples exceeded of the maximum allowable level.

      Reply
    • Eunice, to extend your metaphor, it takes billions upon billions of little drops of water over a relatively short time period to make a mighty ocean. A few little drops are easily absorbed and do nothing to otherwise dry ground. That’s more akin to the insignificant amount of glyphosate found in this beer. The tiny amount you accumulate over a drinking session is easily filtered and dealt with by the human body, which is a very resilient thing. It’s when the drops of water, or amount of glyphosate, become too numerous and overwhelm the soil’s water absorption and retention properties, or our bodies’ filtering and repair systems, that it becomes dangerous. This is far below that level. The EPA and others set safe levels to regulate this sort of thing.

      Reply

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