Globally, there are over 1000 different types of pesticides used for agricultural purposes.

Among the most used pesticides is glyphosate. Although the scientific community has not come to a consensus on just how harmful this chemical is, some startling research sheds light on its potential dangers.

The good news is, eating organic food can have a significant impact on how much of this pesticide you ingest. Let’s look at the chemical itself and find out how it gets into your food in the first place.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is an herbicide. It’s used by farmers to kill weeds that compete with crops.

Originally developed by Henri Martin in a quest to develop pharmaceuticals, it was independently synthesized by John E. Franz when he realized it was an efficient weedkiller. Franz was a chemist for Monsanto, the agrochemical company that patented the chemical.

Monsanto called glyphosate “Roundup”, but their parent ended in 2000. Today, there are hundreds of varieties of glyphosate used in agricultural applications.

Glyphosate in Food: How Dangerous is It?

When an herbicide is sprayed onto a crop, the leaves of those crops absorb the chemical. Once it’s been absorbed, it can infect the entire plant, including its root system. Indeed, powerful herbicides like glyphosate are known to infect the soil and the plants around it.

There have been many scientific studies looking at the toxicity of glyphosate and human health. In animal studies, glyphosate ingestion has been linked to developmental delays, gastric disease, hepatomegaly, hepatitis, and kidney damage. In other studies, it’s been linked to everything from obesity and diabetes to dementia and thyroid and liver cancers.

However, it’s important to note that the scientific community has yet to come to a consensus on these linkages.

Which Foods are the Worst for Glyphosate?

Below is a list of the top 10 worst foods for glyphosate that are not certified organic.

  • Soybeans
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Oranges
  • Almonds
  • Grapes
  • Sugar beets
  • Sunflowers
  • Rice
  • Walnuts

In addition to the above, oats are particularly bad for high glyphosate levels. In a 2018 report by the Environmental Working Group, there was glyphosate in 43 of 45 samples of products made with non-organic oats.

Why Eating Organic Decreases Exposure to Glyphosate & Pesticides

USDA-certified organic products must pass rigorous criteria in order to carry that label. For example, the product must be grown on soil that has not contained any prohibited substances for at least 3 years before the product itself was harvested. Most synthetic pesticides, including glyphosate, are among those prohibited substances.

Meaning that by eating organic, you’re not ingesting the glyphosate and other pesticides present on non-organic items.

Indeed, one recent study found that eating an entirely organic diet reduces the amount of glyphosate in the body in less than one week. And even if eating organic isn’t possible all the time, just buying organic for some foods makes a difference.

Organic Food is Healthier for You and the Planet

Glyphosate is a potentially harmful herbicide that finds its way into many of the food items we love. Avoiding ingesting this and other pesticides can be as simple as eating organic. Even replacing some conventional products with organic alternatives has benefits. Although meat is not listed in the top 10 worst food offenders, most animal feed contains soy and corn. But organic meat means that the animals are also fed organic feed. Eating organic food is healthier for you and the ones you love.

Here is a list of MCLEAN certified organic deli meat products.

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