Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup that was recently blamed for causing a school groundskeeper’s terminal cancer, was found in a sampling of California wines.
Roundup was introduced in 1974 and has since been used liberally on crops around the world, including California. As a result, traces of the herbicide have been found in cereals, granola bars, instant oats and other breakfast products. Many wine producers in California also use the weed killer on their grapes, so the presence of glyphosate in wine is not out of the question.
Microbe Infotech Lab of St. Louis, Missouri tested a sampling of 10 different wines from various makers in California’s North Coast, the premium wine-growing region that includes Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Brands included Gallo, Beringer, Mondavi, Barefoot, and Sutter Home. The wines were tested in September 2015 and February 2016.
Researchers found glyphosate in all 10 samples, including those labeled as organic. The highest amount of pesticide by far – 28 times more than the other samples at 18.74 parts per billion (ppb) – was found in a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional vineyard. The least amount of glyphosate detected – 0.659 ppb – was seen in a 2013 Syrah from a biodynamic organic vineyard. The owner said the crop had never been treated with glyphosate.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, referencing cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in farmers exposed to the chemical.
In August, a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper $289 million after finding that exposure to glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro herbicides contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.
Bayer AG acquired Monsanto in June 2018.
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