Organic Gardening: The Problem of Contaminated Manure



by Catherine Haug, April 23, 2014 (Image, right, used with permission from the Organic Consumers Association)

We all want to eat plant food that is healthful, not only for us but also for the soil in which it is grown, for the water that quenches its thirst, and for the air which provides the carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.Yet most of the food in grocery stores and supermarkets does not meet that criteria. Instead, it contains GMO ingredients and as a consequence is contaminated with plant-killing chemicals like glyphosate (Roundup) and animal-killing chemical pesticides.

So we turn to foods that are raised organically – both plant and animal foods. Some of us raise our own. However, in our quest for organic, healthful food, we may be shooting ourselves in the foot. For example:

Contaminated Manure

We fertilize our soils and compost with manure. This is great if you know what the contributing livestock ate.

  • Chicken manure is held as a high standard for organic gardens, but much of the commercial chicken manure comes from CAFOs where the chickens are fed GMO seeds (corn, soy and the like). These seeds came from GMO plants that were heavily sprayed with chemicals like Roundup, so that even the seeds are contaminated with the chemicals, and the chickens pass that out in their manure. is this what you want in your soil? According to Dr. Arden Andersen, much of the chicken manure used today has been tested and found to be contaminated with glyphosate and genetically engineered proteins. (1)
  • Steer manure is similarly contaminated if the animals were raised in CAFOs and/or fed GMO feed. This is especially problematic now that alfalfa is GMO. (1)

If you raise your own chickens or other livestock, and use their manure in your gardens, be sure you don’t feed your animals any feed that has been sprayed with Roundup or other chemicals.  If you need to get your manure from others, seek out  local farmers and ranchers whom you know and trust, who feed their livestock in pasture and avoid GMO feed.

Some of the harm of Glyphosate (Roundup)

Despite claims to the contrary, glyphosate is highly toxic to the soil, as well as to the plants on which it is sprayed. It is taken up by the plants’ flowers and leaves, then carried to the roots where microbes that exist in a symbiotic relationship with the plants, pick up the chemical.

Unfortunately, glyphosate is toxic to these microbes, as an antibiotic. Indeed, Monsanto has a patent on glyphosate as an antibiotic, which means they know it kills microbes, despite their claims to the contrary. Independent scientists have also confirmed that glyphosate kills bacteria – including the essential bacteria in good soil. (1)

It is worth noting that these essential soil bacteria are the very same ones that live in the human gut and serve as our first line of defense against pathogens – our so-called probiotics.

Glyphosate also is a heavy metal chelator.  (1) While this is a good thing for the toxic heavy metals like arsenic and mercury, it is not a good thing for heavy metals essential for life, such as copper, zinc, selenium and iron.


  1. Mercola: Dr. Andersen and High Performance Agriculture
  2. Dr. Andersen Powerpoint presentation: Modernized food and its collateral damage

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