Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, February 17, 2016

Contact:  Dr. Nathan Donley, (971) 717-6406,

FDA to Begin Testing for Pesticide Glyphosate, Probable Human Carcinogen, in Food

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Food and Drug Administration will finally begin testing food for glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used pesticide, according to Civil Eats. This marks the first time that a U.S. agency will routinely test for glyphosate residue in food. It comes after the Government Accountability Office released a report condemning the FDA for failing even to disclose its failure to test for glyphosate in its annual pesticide residue report.

Pesticide Spraying
Photo courtesy EPA. This photo is available for media use.

The World Health Organization found that glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, was a probable human carcinogen, and glyphosate has been named as a leading cause of massive declines in monarch butterflies.

“In the wake of intense scrutiny, the Food and Drug Administration has finally committed to taking this basic step of testing our food for the most commonly used pesticide. It’s shocking that it’s taken so long, but we’re glad it’s finally going to happen,” said Dr. Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “More and more scientists are raising concerns about the effects of glyphosate on human health and the environment. With about 1.7 billion pounds of this pesticide used each year worldwide, the FDA’s data is badly needed to facilitate long-overdue conversations about how much of this chemical we should tolerate in our food.”

Leading scientists published an article about the exploding use of glyphosate around the world in today’s issue of the journal Environmental Health. Pointing to concerns over rapidly increasing use, outdated science and the WHO’s finding, the authors called on regulatory agencies to take a fresh look at the real-world impacts of glyphosate and to start monitoring its levels in people and in food.

“The alarm bell is ringing loud and clear. The current cavalier use of glyphosate, and lax regulation, cannot remain in place,” said Donley. “It’s long past time to start reining in the out-of-control use of this dangerous pesticide in the United States and around the world.”

Just last week 35 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concerns regarding the potential negative health and environmental impacts of a pesticide, Enlist Duo, that combines glyphosate and 2,4-D. EPA is currently reanalyzing its decision to register the dangerous pesticide following a remand order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Monsanto is also now embroiled in a legal battle with the state of California over the state’s move to list glyphosate as a carcinogen under Proposition 65 law. As the legal battle plays out California, a new report from the Center found that more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in the state was applied in the state’s eight most impoverished counties.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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