Much of the public forgets the gut when it comes to warding off the flu and other more threatening diseases, but the gut—and its army of beneficial bacteria—are essential in protecting us from harm. That’s why eating genetically modified and/or conventionally farmed food could be a direct assault on your own health. Most recently, research has shown that Monsanto’s herbicide, known as Roundup, is destroying gut health, threatening overall health of animals, people, and the planet significantly.
The journal Current Microbiology recently published a study that caught Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide’s active ingredient, glyphosate, suppressing beneficial bacteria in poultry specimens. Given that gut health is directly linked to chronic illnesses and overall health, this isn’t exactly welcome news for people who can’t always afford or who lack access to organic, locally grown food.
But it gets worse. While good bacteria died, highly pathogenic bacteria were unaffected by glyphosate. These pathogens include several strains of Salmonella and the class Colstridia, anaerobic bacteria known to be some of the deadliest known to us, including C. tetani (tetanus) and C. botulinum (botulin). Although botulin is used to ease overactive muscles and in Botox, America’s most popular cosmetic procedure, it takes but 75 billionths of a gram to kill someone weighing 75 kg (165 lbs).
“A reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract microiota by ingestion of glyphosate could disturb the normal gut bacterial community,” the authors of the study wrote. Glyphosate, they added, “could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in Clostridia botulinum-mediated diseases by suppressing the antagonistic effect of these [good] bacteria on clostridia.”
Dangers of Pesticides
This is hardly the first time eyebrows have been raised over glyphosate. The toxic ingredient is also known for causing sterility in men, obesity, and Parkinson’s and related diseases, and not just in field workers of conventional farms but also in locals and animals that drink the groundwater polluted by such establishments.
Finally, the researchers also noted that glyphosate can cause bacteria to genetically mutate with chronic exposure. And the food we eat, the animals we eat, and we ourselves are already victims of chronic exposure, which is partially why concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are today known for being hotbeds of botulism and other pathogens. (Cattle in Ireland have already been victims of botulism thanks to contaminated poultry litter.)
Pesticides and Food Irradiation Not the Answer
To eradicate the problem of food contamination, the Food and Drug Administration recently loosened their grip on the conventional use of food irradiation, allowing now 1.5 Kilograys more than last month to dose poultry. One Kilogray, by the way, offers the same amount of radiation as 2,500,000 chest x-rays. Food radiation by itself is another hotly debated health dilemma and, frankly, a dead end.
That’s because food irradiation doesn’t solve the problem that glyphosate causes direct harm to workers, consumers, animals, and the planet—even the very soil we grow our food in that we find lacking in nutrients of late.
There are simple ways to avoid pesticides in food and overall exposure. Read our updated list of the dirty dozen foods you should always buy organic, plus 15 that are low in pesticide residue.