The FDA is required by law to test and regulate food additives. As part of the product design and intended use of herbicide tolerant GMOs such as the Roundup Ready system, pesticide residues such as those of glyphosate suffuse the cells of the crops including any eventual food products. These are food additives according to any reasonable definition. The same is true of the insecticidal endotoxins in Bt crops. The FDA has directly flouted the law in refusing to regulate these highly toxic additives or even to require their listing among the ingredients of food. One reason why the FDA has refused to test glyphosate residues is to help give it the pretext of ignorance. A surprisingly common excuse among regulators is to say in effect, “We can’t do anything, because we don’t have any information, because we refuse to test for that information (and reject it when others test for it and offer it to us).” Listen to what the likes of the FDA and EPA say and you’ll come across it frequently. So it is with glyphosate levels in food.
But as the political pressure mounts against regulator dereliction and collaboration where it comes to pesticides, glyphosate especially, we see regulators scrambling to make weak or sham concessions. Wherever direct defiance is looking politically ineffective, the goal becomes delay at all costs. So it is with the FDA’s announcement that it will start testing glyphosate levels in food, forced in part by strong criticism from GAO auditors. The FDA’s lack of willingness is clear, given how it calls the matter “sensitive” and only now admits that such testing won’t break the bank. (Regulators claim glyphosate testing is too expensive, which is obviously a lie. They sure have lots of money available for subsidies and pro-industry advertising. But in any sane system which cared about science and public health the manufacturer would pay for but not control the testing.) Although in theory the FDA and USDA split the duty of testing for pesticide residues in food, with USDA testing meat and dairy, FDA fruits and vegetables, in practice neither tests for glyphosate precisely because it’s likely the most prevalent poison in the food, and is certainly the most commonly used in agriculture.
Note the role of the EPA’s imprimatur in Monsanto’s PR statement (found at the bottom of the link) : Residue levels found so far have been below EPA tolerances. But EPA “tolerance” levels are set with zero regard for science or public health, but only at the behest of the corporations. EPA and other regulators mechanically raise the allowed levels to keep ahead of the residue levels the corporation expects based on how much of the poison it sells. Here we see part three of the regulator template – the nominally “public” regulator puts its imprimatur on what are essentially directives it received from the corporation. The corporation’s lies are laundered this way by the regulator, and the corporation then regurgitates its own lies but now represents them as coming from “the EPA”. (The very concept of setting “tolerances” in order to “manage” the levels of known carcinogens like glyphosate instead of banning them is also a core element of regulator propaganda.)
To expose this ongoing propaganda scam and anti-scientific fraud is one of the motivations of the fourteen scientists who have published a report deploring the current pseudo-scientific state of regulatory assessment and calling upon regulators to act in accord with science and public health. The scientists condemn the false paradigm of regulatory assessment (rejection of epidemiological evidence, reliance on corporate laboratory experiments performed according to fraudulent methodologies, the long-debunked “dose-response” ideology, the “active ingredient” scam I discussed above, and other bogosities) and offer many suggestions for an improved testing regime. We abolitionists do not echo the rote call for “more testing” since we know there’s already far more than enough evidence to ban these poisons. But reports like this one are handy to demolish the fraudulent claims of the regulatory agencies that their assessment procedures are anything more or less than cover-ups and whitewashes.