Originally published January 9 2015
USDA refuses to test foods for glyphosate contamination, says pesticides are safe to eat
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The American food supply is teeming with deadly pesticides. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), headed by former Monsanto lawyer Tom Vilsack, says people shouldn't worry because pesticides are completely safe to eat!
The latest pesticide data released by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) claims that most pesticide contamination on fresh fruit, vegetables, butter, and other food commodities is below the legal tolerance limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Only 23 of the 9,990 food samples tested, says the USDA, showed pesticide residues exceeding the established tolerance levels. Based on this, the agency is now claiming that the food supply doesn't pose a safety concern, and that consumers can eat up without worry.
But what the agency isn't divulging is that tolerance levels continually change as a result of corporate lobbying. As more pesticides are needed to grow genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and other unnatural factory foods, more residues remain, thus the need for new limits.
Not only does the EPA continue to evaluate the safety of pesticides in isolation, ignoring the effects of synergistic, real-life exposures to many different pesticides, but the agency has also repeatedly succumbed to corporate lobbying pressures to up the safety limits for known hazardous pesticides.
Back in September, for example, GMO giant Syngenta Crop Protection LLC petitioned the EPA to increase the legal tolerance for neonicotinoid pesticides on crops. Neonicotinoids, as you may recall, are now widely regarded as the bee-killing class of pesticides, which are now banned in most of Europe.
And Monsanto, purveyor of the deadly Roundup herbicide, has petitioned the EPA to up the allowable limit of glyphosate on crops as well. According to Truthstream Media, the new limit would double the amount of glyphosate residue allowed on oilseed crops like soy and canola, raising it from 20 parts per million (ppm) to 40 ppm.
USDA says it doesn't test for glyphosate because it's 'too expensive' All of these exposures have a cumulative effect, according to independent scientist Anthony Samsel and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist Stephanie Seneff, who together published a study on the specific damage caused by constant exposure to glyphosate.
"Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body," they wrote in a study published earlier this year.
"Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer's disease."
While being the most popular herbicide in global use, glyphosate may also be the most deadly. And yet the USDA purposely avoids testing for it on foods, claiming that such tests are too costly and impractical.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity to Reuters, a cowardly USDA spokesman stated that tests for glyphosate are "extremely expensive" to perform on a regular basis, so the agency simply doesn't conduct them.
This lame excuse exudes neither concern for public health by the USDA nor any interest whatsoever in actually regulating the world's most popular crop chemical. This, despite the fact that glyphosate was approved under the stipulation that its presence on food would remain under an established tolerable threshold.
"It was a huge mistake by both the U.S. government and the biotech industry to promote and release products without long-term independent studies," says Henry Rowlands, director of Sustainable Pulse, about the continued use of products like glyphosate that were never properly safety tested prior to approval.
"What we are now looking at with glyphosate-based herbicides is a similar situation to what we all faced in the 20th Century with PCBs, DDT and Agent Orange."
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