Enjoying a cold beer or a glass of wine at the end of your day may not be so pleasant when you find out that you are drinking a harmful weed killer.
Roundup is everywhere. As the most commonly used agrichemical in the world, Roundup and its main active ingredient, glyphosate, is showing up in places where people would not expect, such as food and their favorite drinks.
The past few years have revealed some disturbing news for the alcohol industry. In 2015, CBS news broke the announcement of a lawsuit against 31 brands of wines for high levels of inorganic arsenic. In 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even independent beers.
According to a new report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund. In Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine, they tested five wines, 14 beers and one hard cider for the study. The wine brands were Barefoot, Beringer, Frey (organic), Inkarri Estates (organic), and Sutter Home. The beers examined were from Budweiser, Coors, Corona, Guiness, Heineken, Miller, Peak (organic), Sam Adams, Samuel Smith (organic), Sierra Nevada, Stella Artois, Tsingtao and New Belgium. Ace Perry Hard Cider was also tested. The study results confirm past results of several other groups, including Moms Across America.
Tsingtao was found to be the worst beer for glyphosate, with 49.7parts per billion (ppb), and of the five wines, the 2018 Sutter Home merlot had the highest levels of glyphosate, with 51.4 ppb.
Roundup is commonly sprayed in vineyards to keep the rows looking tidy and free of so-called weeds and on grain crops (used in beer) as a drying agent just before harvest. Glyphosate herbicides do not dry, wash or cook off and they have been proven to be neurotoxic, carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors and a cause of liver disease at very low levels.
So how does glyphosate contaminate organic wines and beers? Drift, polluted irrigation water, soil and through a new phenomena: pesticide rains. Glyphosate and other toxic chemical particles remain in evaporated water or dust clouds which form into rain and can contaminate vineyards and grain crops thousands of miles away.
U.S. PIRG reports:
Of particular note, the study found that, despite weed killer products like Roundup being prohibited in the making of organic beers and wines, glyphosate was discovered in three of the four organic alcoholic beverages tested.
The Brewers Association, which represents more than 4,900 small and independent craft brewers, said in a statement:
“Brewers do not want glyphosate used on barley or any raw brewing material, and the barley grower organizations have also come out strongly against glyphosate.”
The amount of glyphosate discovered in the samples ranged as high as 51 parts per billion (ppb) in Sutter Home wine and more than 25 ppb in non-organic beers from Budweiser, Coors, Corona, Miller and Tsingtao. The organic drinks were found to have totals as high as 5.2 ppb. While these numbers are below the EPA’s risk tolerances for beverages, at least one previous scientific study found that as little as one part per trillion of glyphosate can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and disrupt the endocrine system.
The 2018 Sutter Home Merlot was the wine with the highest concentration of glyphosate at 51.4 parts per billion, or ppb, while in the beer category, it was Tsingtao from Hong Kong with 49.7 ppb. The American beer with the largest trace was Coors Light with 31.1. ppb.
Organic adult beverages were also implicated in the U.S. PIRG research. For example, A 2016 Inkarri Malbec had 5.3 ppb and a 2017 Samuel Smith Organic Lager, 5.7 ppb.
William Reeves, a toxicologist for Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, accused the group of publicizing misleading information about pesticide residues in food.
“Craft brewers pride ourselves on producing the highest quality products for our patrons, and that necessitates the use of the highest quality, safest ingredients,” said Elan Walsky, who is co-owner of Coalition Brewing in Portland, Oregon. “Maintaining this high standard of excellence is not only important for our beer and our health, but also for the local community from the farmers who grow our hops and barley, all the way down to the people enjoying our beer.”
With the findings indicating glyphosate contamination is common in over-the-counter beers and wine, the report recommends that, unless it can be proved otherwise, the pesticide should be banned in the U.S. due to its many potential health risks and ubiquitous presence in food, water and alcohol.
“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.”