Before you pop open a bottle of California Merlot, there is something you should know: trace amounts of glyphosate, the primary toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, have been found in 100% of California wines tested by the national GMO awareness group, Moms Across America.
The news comes on the heels of a report finding 14 brands of beers tested positive for the likely carcinogen in Germany.
According to Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt, who recently penned an article on the findings for EcoWatch, the contamination of conventional wine was 28 times higher than organic wine, with levels ranging from 0.659 parts per billion (ppb) in organic to 18.74 ppb in conventional wine.
The group tested wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties in California. The brand names were not released, but 10 major California wines, all tested at a lab in St. Louis, Missouri, were found to contain glyphosate. In addition to being in Roundup, the poisonous substance is found in 700 other herbicides.
The highest level of glyphosate detected was found in a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional, chemically-farmed vineyard. The lowest was detected in a 2013 Syrah from a biodynamic and organic vineyard that had never been touched by pesticides.
Moms Across America speculated glyphosate’s reach goes well beyond its intended target:
“Because Roundup/glyphosate is not permitted on organic or biodynamic vineyards, the results are unexpected and can only be explained by the drift of chemical sprays from neighboring vineyards.”
In EcoWatch, Honeycutt lists some of the many reasons why Roundup/glyphosate should never be sprayed on crops, including vineyards:
- Glyphosate-containing herbicides are showing up in irrigation water, and are likely present in manure used as fertilizer from animals fed GM grains and drift from spraying. In addition to wine and beer, glyphosate residues have been detected in many foods and in breast milk.
- According to wine growers on conventional farms, their family businesses were once able to harvest from their vines for 100 years. Now thanks to chemical farming, vines only last 10-12 years. Glyphosate is a chelator, which strips living things of their vital nutrients and minerals.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed glyphosate a probable carcinogen. Even a small amount of the chemical has been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. California Department of Health data shows the cancer rates in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties are 10-20% higher than the national average. Many lawsuits are currently pending against Monsanto concerning the link between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Roundup.
- A study of piglets showed a repeated 30% increase in birth defects and stillbirths among pigs whose mothers were exposed to sow feed containing 0.87-1.13 ppm glyphosate in the first 40 days of pregnancy.
- The co-formulants of Roundup have been found to be up to 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate itself, and act as hormone disruptors which may cause breast cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, and numerous other health problems.
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.