A groundbreaking report by Radio-Canada looks at the relationship between pesticides, cancer, and what we eat. It combed through data from l’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments (ACIA), an agency that analysed over 12,000 commonly consumed foods between 2015 and 2018. They were looking specifically for glyphosate, a concerning persticide commonly used in agriculture to kill any and all plants.
CBC uncovered shocking, but not altogether unexpected, truths about the food that we consume. Over a third of commonly consumed foods contain glyphosate, a concerning chemical.
TL;DR Over a third of commonly consumed in Canada contain glyphosate, a concerning chemical that may be linked to some forms of cancer, according to a new study by CBC. This gives consumers an insight into the impact of harmful agricultural practices like monofarming on their food.
What Is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is a pesticide that is widely used in agriculture to control weeds. It inhibits photosynthesis, therefore killing all plants indiscriminately. It was created by Monsanto, who also sells glyphosate-resistant, genetically-modified crops.
Glyphosate is sprayed on crops throughout the growing season. It is used aggressively right before harvest time, to reduce the time produce needs to dry. This leads to food contamination.
What Foods Contain Glysophate?
Glysophate is used widely to grow wheat, oats, legumes, corn, and soy: basics that we consume every day. Radio-Canada listed the food items that had the highest percentage of samples testing positive for glysophate. Among them were:
- Pizza (90% of samples)
- Wheat flour (88%)
- Crackers (84%)
- Fresh pasta (84%)
- Dried Pasta (80%)
- Oats (75%)
- Couscous (73%)
- Lentils (67%)
These are all products most consume on a regular basis.
Is Glyphosate Bad For You?
It has been proven that glyphosate contributes to the development of lymphomes that can lead to some forms of cancer, notably an aggressive blood cancer. It may also lead to problems with reproductive systems.
Much of the EU is working towards eliminating glyphosate. Theoretically, the levels found in food shouldn't harm you, but uncertainties about the pesticide remain.
Glysophate is a symptom of a much larger problem in the agricultural industry: monoculture farming. Much produce, like wheat and oats, is grown repeatedly on the same land. Much of it (40% worldwide) is used to feed livestock.
Monoculture farming depletes soil faster than it can be replenished, decreases crop variety, and leads to runoff polution and fertiliser dependency. TL;DR VERY BAD.
What Can I Do To Avoid It?
Unfortunately, you cannot do that much to avoid it, because glyphosate is omnipresent in much of the basic, non-processed foods that we eat — even the organic stuff.
What you SHOULD do is call your elected representative and voice your concerns about pesticides and their danger to your health and the environment. You can find their contact information here.
If you think that your voice doesn't matter, think again: big companies like Ben and Jerry's have changed suppliers following concerns about pesticides in their products.
You can also do your best to avoid the foods which are most likely to contain glyphosate, like wheat and legumes.