Traces of a controversial weed killer have been detected in a number of the world’s leading beer and wine brands, a new report claims.
In a study by public-interest advocacy group US PIRG that tested five wines and 15 beers, including organic ones, the chemical glyphosate was found in all but one of the beverages sampled.
Glyphosate – the most common herbicide in the world and an ingredient in the weed killer Roundup – is a probable human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.
The report acknowledged that the levels detected were below limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency, but PIRG the results warrant some degree of public concern.
‘The levels of glyphosate we found are not necessarily dangerous, but are still concerning given the potential health risks,’ PIRG told USA TODAY following the release of the study, which looked at popular brands including Coors Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Corona, Heineken and Samuel Adams.
The highest concentration of glyphosate was found in the 2018 Sutter Home merlot, which came in at 51.4 parts per billion, or ppb.
For beer, Tsingtao from Hong Kong had the most with 49.7ppb, and Coors Light had the most for American beers with 31.1ppb.
The study author, US PIRG Edication Fund’s Kara Cook-Schultz, said of the study: ‘No matter the efforts of brewers and vintners, we found that it is incredibly difficult to avoid the troubling reality that consumers will likely drink glyphosate at every happy hour and backyard barbecue around the country.’
A spokesperson for the Beer Institute, a national trade organization, responded to the report by telling USA: ‘Our members work with farmers who go to great lengths to raise their crops sustainably and safely….and the results of the most recent federal testing showed farmers’ use of glyphosate falls well below federal limits.’
Another spokesperson for the Wine Institute said: ‘An adult would have to drink more than 140 glasses of wine a day containing the highest glyphosate level measured just to reach the level that California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has identified as “No Significant Risk Level.”‘
When contacted about the study by USA, many of the companies whose products were tested questioned the results while others claimed that trace amounts of herbicides are beyond their control.
One in particular, organic winery Frey Vineyards, said that while it doesn’t use herbicides, trace amounts of glyphosate can be detected in its products because the chemical is now found in rainwater.
William Reeves, a toxicologist for Bayer, which now owns Roundup manufacturer Monsanto, accused PIRG of blowing the results out of proportion.
‘Assuming the greatest value reported, 51.4ppb, is correct, a 125-pound adult would have to consume 308 gallons of wine per day, every day for life to reach the US Environmental Protection Agency’s glyphosate exposure limit for human,’ Reeves told USA.
‘To put 308 gallons into context, that would be more than a bottle of wine every minute, for life, without sleeping.’
Bayer is currently facing some 9,300 lawsuits alleging that its popular glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer.
The first federal trial against the company began Monday in California, six months after Bayer’s share price was rocked by a $289million verdict in California state court.
‘With a federal court looking at the connection between Roundup and cancer today, we believe this is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on glyphosate,’ Cook-Schultz said.
‘This chemical could prove a true risk to so many Americans’ health, and they should know that it is everywhere – including in many of their favorite drinks.’
Bayer has denied all allegations that Roundup or glyphosate cause cancer, citing decades of independent studies that have shown the world’s most widely used weed killer to be safe for human use and noting that regulators around the world have approved the product.
HERBICIDE LEVELS FOUND IN 20 POPULAR BEER AND WINE BRANDS
The ranking below is based on the results of a US PIRG study published in February 2019. The products are ranked by concentration of glyphosate, measured in parts per billion (ppb).
- Sutter Home Merlot – 51.4ppb
- Beringer Founders Estates Moscato – 42.6ppb
- Barefoot Cabernet Sauvingnon – 36.3ppb
- Inkarri Malbec: Certified Organic – 5.3ppb
- Frey Organic Natural White – 4.8ppb
- Tsingtao Beer – 49.7ppb
- Coors Light – 31.1ppb
- Miller Lite – 29.8ppb
- Budweiser – 27.0ppb
- Corona Extra – 25.1ppb
- Heineken – 20.9ppb
- Guinness Draught – 20.3ppb
- Stella Artois – 18.7ppb
- Ace Perry Hard Cider – 14.5ppb
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – 11.8ppb
- New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale – 11.2ppb
- Sam Adams New England IPA – 11.0ppb
- Stella Artois Cidre – 9.1ppb
- Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager – 5.7ppb
- Peak Beer Organic IPA – none detected
News Credit; MailOnline