THE BLOG

4 Strange Sources of Roundup

02/13/2015 05:11 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

roundupby guest blogger Leah Zerbe, online editor for RodaleNews.com

There are a lot of studies asserting that organic is better for you, but if you read nothing else about it, know this: Many nonorganic foods contain dangerous levels of GMOs and glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup. You won't find it anywhere on the ingredients list, but this potent herbicide is a new staple of the modern American diet.

Here are 4 strange places Roundup hides in your food supply:

1. Your cereal. GMO Free USA recently published lab testing detecting glyphosate in Kellogg's Froot Loops. But how is this happening?

"Farmers are spray increasing amounts of glyphosate on their genetically modified crops that are engineered to tolerate the herbicide. As a result, glyphosate is seeping into both animal feed and human food," Ken Roseboro, author of the GMO Report, recently told me.

These real-world levels of glyphosate have also been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.

Kellogg's also pays big bucks to topple GMO-labeling initiatives, meaning the company is paying to keep parents in the dark. "We find it disturbing that Kellogg's is feeding children unlabeled GMOs and toxic herbicides. Statistics show that this is the first generation of children that are sicker than their parents. Is Kellogg's endangering our children? Based on the growing body of scientific evidence, we believe so, and we hold Kellogg's accountable," said Diana Reeves, executive director of GMO Free USA, in a statement. "Parents need to know what they're feeding their children, and Kellogg's is spending millions to keep the composition of their products hidden," her statement continues.

Bottom line? Look for certified-organic cereals. Foods containing nonorganic GMO ingredients like corn, soy, or cotton could harbor concerning levels of glyphosate.

According to pediatrician Michelle Perro: "Digestive health is rapidly declining in children. If children eat conventionally grown food, they will potentially be eating glyphosate, pesticide ingredients, and GMOs, as documented by these laboratory tests [of Froot Loops]."

Conventionally grown food is messing with our children's microbiomes -- causing issues with their intestines, mineral absorption, detoxification and more. Perro adds that, "since glyphosate...is known to bind important minerals and make them unavailable to human and animal consumers, it may be contributing to this mineral deficiency. The bioaccumulation effects of glyphosate have not been addressed in children, and the standards of safety are arbitrary and not based on any clinical evidence."

2. Cows. German researchers also detected worrisome levels of glyphosate in cows fed GMO-laced grains. "I've spoken to a veterinarian in northeast Iowa named Art Dunham who has linked glyphosate with animal health problems, including reproductive problems in hogs and beef cows, botulism in dairy cows, and bloody bowels and rickets in hogs," Roseboro told me. (Yikes! What's it doing to us?)

That same German study also looked at glyphosate levels in humans. People eating mainly an organic diet had significantly lower glyphosate levels in in their urine compared to people consuming conventional food. "Thus, the prohibition of herbicide use in organic agriculture greatly reduces the intake of glyphosate."

3. Feeding tube liquid. A recent Moms Across America investigation found that glyphosate could be infiltrating the bodies of our most vulnerable children--sick babies and children with cancer in intensive care units. An independent lab found that 30 percent of Pediasure samples tested positive for the herbicide at levels above 75 parts per billion. That's 800 to 1100 times higher than the level shown to destroy gut bacteria in chickens.

And remember, roughly 70 percent of a person's immune system is housed in the digestive tract, Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, points out in Digestion Connection.

4. Breast milk and baby formula. In the first ever testing on glyphosate herbicide in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse found "high" levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested. In 2014, Center for Food Safety genetic testing confirmed the presence of soy that was genetically engineered by Monsanto for heavy pesticide exposure. Two products that tested positive for genetically engineered soy included Similac Soy Isomil and Enfamil Prosobee Powder Soy Infant Formula. With recent published studies confirming that genetically engineered soy has significantly higher levels of chemical herbicides than conventionally grown soy, the test findings raise concerns about increasing infant exposure to chemical herbicides. The testing follows up on a recent nationwide study by Consumer Reports finding genetically engineered ingredients in more than 80 common food products.

The bottom line? Eat organic whenever possible, and support GMO labeling initiatives and also politicians that back labeling to get this poison out of the food system--and our bodies.

Leah_2014_Head_Shot_5Leah Zerbe is online editor for Rodalenews.com. Prior to working at Rodale, she was the senior online editor at NBCPhiladelphia.com, where she headed up the station's online "Going Green" initiative, wrote about center-city crime and traffic jams, and blogged about her beloved Philadelphia Phillies. She and her husband run a sustainable organic farm in Schuylkill County, where they grow vegetables, strawberries, herbs, and flowers and raise heritage-breed chickens.

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com