Federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering testing food products for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide. Glyphosate has become the world’s most widely used herbicide, and is used on a number of crops genetically modified to withstand its treatment, including wheat, corn, soy beans, and other crops.
Thus far, the use of the herbicide is considered safe by EPA guideline, and as such, the government does not currently test for glyphosate residues.
However, the herbicide has recently become a significantly more controversial substance.
Last month, the World Health Organization published research that identified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The WHO also noted that the herbicide had been detected “in the air during spraying, in water, and in food.”
In widely publicized footage, a scientist appeared on French television weeks ago to insist that glyphosate is so safe that “you can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” and then turned down the chance to do so, telling the host, “I’m not stupid.”
In an email to Reuters, the EPA confirmed, “Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future."