Glyphosate (Roundup) residues in food and in you

Dryland Farming - Palouse Hills

Dryland Farming – Palouse Hills

by Catherine Haug, June 13, 2015; updated Nov 2018 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The most common GMO crops are Roundup-Ready corn and soy. They can be sprayed with multiple heavy doses of the herbicide, and not die, while the weeds growing alongside them die immediately. When the crops are harvested, the glyphosate stays with the harvest and enters the human food chain through our modern processed foods. Our health suffers – especially our gut microbiome – and we wonder why.

Non-GMO grain crops are sprayed with glyphosate just before harvest as a desiccant (dead crops dry out faster than live ones). The consequence of this is evident in a recent EWG (Environmental Working Group) study that showed high levels of glyphosate in breakfast cereals such as Cheerios and Quaker Oats products (7).

It is getting impossible to avoid glyphosate (Roundup) and other toxic sprays used on crops.

I have long been opposed to GMOs, and the use of herbicide/pesticide sprays used on such crops. I’m an advocate of mandatory testing of foods for herbicide/pesticide residue, and mandatory labeling of GMOs. I’m constantly astonished at the number of people who believe the hype that GMOs are safe and are necessary to stop world hunger – even some people who operate restaurants in our area.

The EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) recently announced US regulators (USDA) may soon start testing for glyphosate residues in food, due to rising consumer concerns about the health impact of this chemical. (1) Will the results be included on food labels?

Glyphosate Test Kits

Thanks to the OCA and Feed the World project, test kits are now available for testing urine and water (and soon breast-milk) for presence of glyphosate, for anyone “who wants to know whether or not, and to what extent, they personally have been exposed to glyphosate,” (2)

As you might have expected, the test kits are not cheap; perhaps as demand grows, the cost will come down. Also, groups of people in a community can get together to share the cost of testing their community water, for example. From Reuters (3)”

Feed the World, the group behind the effort, is offering test kits that can be ordered for $119 each on its website, [4], and sent to a central laboratory for processing.

The evidence against Roundup (glyphosate)

The World Health Organization (WHO) now finds that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, going against Monsanto’s claims.

Monsanto has long claimed that its product (Roundup) is safe, and they say they have the studies to back up that claim. But there is a major problem with this. The studies they have made public only tested the subjects over a 3-month period. Other studies (ordered by Monsanto and then kept secret) which followed the test subjects over a 26-month period, reveal that glyphosate, the active chemical in Roundup, does indeed cause cancer in rats.

The contents of these secret studies have been revealed by an independent researcher, Dr. Anthony Samsel. He asked the EPA for Monsanto’s trade secret documentation, as most of the approval process for glyphosate was based on studies Monsanto had done by outside contractors. This documentation begins in the late 1970s and extends into the ’80s, as Monsanto continued to research, and find new applications for, Roundup, its trademarked herbicide containing glyphosate. (1)

These documents

represent thousands and thousands of pages of data on studies that were done on laboratory animals. What amazed me was that Monsanto knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused adenomas and carcinomas in the rats that they’ve studied The highest incidence of tumorigenic growth occurred in the pituitary gland… the second highest levels were in the breasts of the female rats, in the mammary glands… Thirdly, the next highest tumorigenic growth was found in the testicles of male rats..” (2)

Monsanto’s own research, as documented in these files, supports WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determination that glyphosate is a Class 2 A “probable human carcinogen.” (1)

“It’s also worth noting that these negative findings were never published in the peer-reviewed literature [nor] submitted to the EPA or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cancer was clearly shown in their 26-month long feeding study, but the only studies Monsanto has published are studies done in less than three months, which hides the consequences of eating glyphosate and genetically engineered foods over the course of a lifetime.” (1) As Dr. Samsel states (2):

“Now that I’ve looked at Monsanto’s trade secret documents that the public doesn’t have access to, I’m in the process of writing the Environmental Protection Agency and I’m asking them to release those. They have no right to withhold that information from the public. Because what I’ve seen in those documents, it clearly shows that Monsanto knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused tumorigenic growth and carcinomas in multiple organs and tissues… At the rate we’re going, we’re going to kill billions of people.”

Glyphosate – the antibiotic

Furthermore, it is not well known that glyphosate is patented as an antibiotic. It’s designed to kill bacteria, which is one of the primary ways it harms both soils and human health. Recent research has even concluded that Roundup (and other pesticides) promotes antibiotic resistance. (1)

Roundup destroys soil by destroying the microbiome in the soil.  This microbiome is made up of bacteria and fungi living in harmony in the soil, where they interact with the roots of plants much as the probiotics in/on our bodies live in harmony with us. But the glyphosate sprayed on plants descends to the roots and into the soil where it kills the microbes. See my earlier post: How GMOs destroy life, soil and your gut probiotics for more detail.

How to Detox from glyphosate

It turns out this is fairly simple. Once you give up foods containing glyphosate, your body will naturally detox via urine and feces, even cleaning it from your bone marrow in about 10 days. (1)

I personally recommend an Organic veggie juice fast, such as that offered/taught by he Wellness Education Center in Kalispell (5) to support your body while it is detoxing. After the fast, continue with a diet that supports liver detox, and totally avoid GMOs and glyphosate-treated foods.

How to avoid GMOs & glyphosate-treated foods

Without mandatory labeling, this is not easy nor foolproof. The following are the guidelines I use. I’ll admit some are a bit difficult.

Grow your own produce using Organic seeds, and use Organic methods.

Shop at local farmers markets, where you can query the seller about the products offered.

At the grocer, choose:

  1. Fresh produce that is Organic, or local & organically-grown (visit the farm to verify);
  2. Frozen Organic fruits and vegetables;
  3. Bulk Organic grains, seeds, dried herbs and spices;
  4. Bottled Organic oils;
  5. Organic dairy products, or products from a local dairy that feed their animals Organic or non-GMO feed* (visit the dairy farm to verify);
  6. Local grass-fed/pastured meats and eggs*;
  7. Wild-caught fish;
  8. Fermented foods: olives, pickles, kraut, kimchi, etc. that have not been canned/heat-treated. The live fermenting bacteria in these foods help your body to break down herbicide/pesticides, and detox naturally (1)
  9. Any food that is Certified GMO-Free, or whose producers have a non-GMO policy, such as Bob’s Red Mill (6);

*Most commercial livestock feed includes GMO alfalfa hay, and bagged soy and corn feed which is likely GMO unless it is labeled Organic. Even pastured livestock may feed in pasture grown from GMO alfalfa, so buyer beware!

At the grocer, avoid:

  1. Non-Organic or non-organically-grown fresh produce;
  2. Non-Organic cereals, porridge. Cheerios and Quaker Oats products tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) were high to very high in glyphosate (7)
  3. All canned foods (in metal cans/tins), to avoid BPA/BPS exposure as well as glyphosate;
  4. All boxed, bagged, frozen and aseptic foods unless they are 100% Organic or indicate GMO-Free on the label, or on the producer’s webpage. For example, Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal is not Organic, but they have a non-GMO policy (6);
  5. Any product containing canola or soy oil, unless the product is 100% Organic, as these common oils are likely GMO;
  6. Commercial dairy products that are not labeled 100% Organic or Certified GMO-free; (NOTE: local dairies might be an exception. Visit the dairy farm to verify their feed*);
  7. Commercial meats – not just processed meats – but also fresh meats. If the meat is from a local producer, visit the farm to verify their feed;*
  8. Farmed fish unless labeled GMO-free or Certified 100% Organic).

*Non-organic livestock feed includes GMO alfalfa hay, and bagged soy and corn feed which is likely GMO unless it is labeled Organic.

Other recommendations:

  1. When eating in a restaurant, inquire if the food is Organic or GMO-free. NOTE: most meats in chain restaurants are kept in feed lots prior to slaughter, where their feed is GMO. However, there is a new trend in local restaurants to source their meats from local producers;
  2. If buying from a bakery, inquire about their ingredients and whether they are Organic or non-GMO;
  3. Not all foods with “Organic” on the label are 100% Organic (they may be 95% Organic or as low as 70% Organic, which leaves a large enough gap to include GMO ingredients. Their certification seals can help you tell the difference between 95% and 100% Organic. Those that are less than 95% Organic do not have a seal but may indicate ‘contains Organic ingredients’ on the label (most use small print for all but the word ‘Organic,’ so buyer beware). See my earlier post Natural vs Organic Labeling for more about the labels;
  4. Filter your tap water (1).

See also:

*GMA: Grocery Manufacturers Association; this organizations opposes efforts to label GMO foods, and may in fact include brands that are GMO.


  1. Mercola article:
  2. Mercola, quoting Dr. Samsel:
  3. Reuters:
  4. Feed The World, to order test kits:
  5. Wellness Education Center:
  6. Bob’s Red Mill Non-GMO Policy:
  7. Breakfast foods to avoid because high in glyphosate (

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