US consumer group calls for glyphosate to be banned

A number of beer and wine brands sold in the US contain toxic glyphosate, the main ingredient in weed killer, Roundup, according to a new report by the US PIRG Education Fund. The organisation is calling for the popular pesticide to be banned.

The consumer group tested 20 beers, wines and cider, including several organic brands, for glyphosate and Roundup and found that all but one contained the chemical.

The report was published as a San Francisco court began hearing arguments in the first federal civil case over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

“When you’re having a beer or a glass of wine, the last thing you want to think about is that it includes a potentially dangerous pesticide,” said US PIRG Education Fund’s Kara Cook-Schultz, who authored the study. “No matter the efforts of brewers and vintners, we found that it is incredibly difficult to avoid the troubling reality that consumers will likely drink glyphosate at every happy hour and backyard barbeque around the country.”

The report recommends that, unless it can be proved otherwise, the pesticide should be banned in the US due to its "many potential health risks and ubiquitous presence in food, water and alcohol".

The US Brewers Association, which represents more than 4,900 small and independent craft brewers, said in a statement: “Brewers do not want glyphosate used on barley or any raw brewing material, and the barley grower organisations have also come out strongly against glyphosate.”

The US Geological Survey claims that, despite having a full picture of the risks, the use of Roundup is growing at such a rapid pace that there is enough Roundup sprayed every year to spray nearly half a pound of glyphosate on every cultivated acre of land in the world.

For more on the glyphosate debate, read CIR's own analysis

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