How much Roundup do our kids eat?



We have no idea what quantities of pesticides our children are consuming.  We have no idea what the average diets are of our children: in grams weight of food per day.

Understanding what our daily diets are in grams and why this is important.

Why grams?

The USA & many other countries follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for pesticide toxicity and residue levels that are permitted on our food.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, the USA and Uruguay all come under regional ‘cluster M’. This is the diet type most reflects, according to the WHO, daily consumption for our countries.

It is really important to be able to approximate and understand this, because the WHO data is the ONLY data used by the people in the WHO who assess the quantities of pesticides and other chemicals permitted to go in our diet.  And this is evaluated in grams.

This diet is also based on the needs of a 60kg adult.

I live in NZ and NZ follows USA and WHO recommendations for residue levels on food, in particular cereals, which is why I am interested in this issue.

The WHO use this diet to arrive at the ADI, or acceptable daily intake, as a result of doses of a particular pesticide (such as Roundup) given to animals in toxicity feeding trials.

Every Maximum Residue Level (MRL) established for pesticides on our food is set in milligrams per kilogram of food and is approximated against the WHO diet, in this case: M cluster diet,  if you live in the countries listed at the top of the page.

I have spent a long time trying to find a professional calculation of the Standard American Diet in grams and have completely failed.  So in this paper I attempt to approximate the SAD against the WHO diet and understand how effective the WHO diet is at establishing our dietary tolerances for pesticides.

The WHO cluster M diet is separated out by the usual food groups into grams per day:

Cereals: 409.9;  Roots,Tubers,Vegies:  486.2;  Pulses:   140.1;   Sugars & Honey: 150.7;  Nuts & Oilseeds: 36.6;  Vegetable oils & fats:   35.1;  Stimulants:  19; Spices:  1.7;  Fish & Seafood:  24.8;   Eggs:  57.4;   Fruits:  345.2;  Milk & milk products: 287.9;  Meat & Offals:    279.3;  Animal Oils and Fats: 24.3;  Beverages:  298.6.         Total:    2263.1 grams per day

 A good basis for comparison is the USDA ‘What we eat in America’ NHANES 2001-2004 daily mean intakes for adult males & females. The following quantities are used in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 P.51.

Grains: 6.4oz;   Vegetables: 1.6cups;   Added Sugars: 79grams;  Nuts,seeds & soybeans:  0.5oz;   Oils: 18gm;   Fish & Seafood:   0.5oz; Eggs: 0.4oz;   Fruit & juices:  1.0oz:   Milk & milk products: 1.5oz;    Meat & poultry: 3.7oz;   Solid fats:  43gm; Alcohol:  9.9gm.

 The USDA version is a little harder to approximate given it uses 3 different measuring methods.

Here is my attempt at conversion of the USDA diet to grams, and then I have copied the WHO M cluster diet down for comparison:

USDA                                                                WHO

Grains                              181.44               Cereals                                         409.9

Vegetables                     378.5                  Roots,Tubers,Vegies & Pulses      626.3

Added Sugars                79                        Sugars & Honey                      150.7

Nuts,seeds & soy         14.175                Nuts & Oilseeds                      36.6

Oils                                     18               Vegetable oils & fats                 35.1

Fish & Seafood              14.175                Fish & Seafood                       24.8

Eggs                                   11.34                  Eggs                               57.4

Fruit & juices                  28.35                 Fruits                                    345.2

Milk & milk products   42.52                     Milk & milk products             287.9

Meat & poultry             104.89                Meat & Offals                     279.3

Solid fats                           43                    Animal Oils and Fats                24.3

Alcohol                             9.9                       Beverages                 298.6


Totals: USDA:  948.95 grams per day     WHO: 2263.1 grams per day  ( including 20.7 for spices & stimulants)

(I apologise for being unprofessionally out of line but I am not a computer programmer).

Look how radically different the makeup of these diets are.

I don’t think I have done a good job, I am not a scientist.   I don’t think the cup extrapolations are necessarily correct – but I have asked people in dietary departments from cancer organisations to the USDA if they can help me and so far there seems to be nothing out there that explains it more clearly – if you can help that would be great.

I can’t be getting it all wrong.

It does a lot to explain why there are a lot more obese people – they are simply eating less but eating foods that have no bulk in them.  So their stomachs are never satisfied.

As I said, I cannot find a Standard American Diet in grams and this is my best effort.

But contrasted against the WHO statistics, the average US citizen diet is very different.  So how can the WHO pesticide evaluations for the USA be accurate if the food intake proportions are so different?

 In my estimation, the stats don’t add up.

And I have four primary concerns:

1. Lower socioeconomic people may eat a lot more grains/cereals & fats as a proportion of their diet.

2. This MRL’s for pesticides are set against the risk based on a 60kg adult.

3. The MRL for Roundup (glyphosate) on cereals has increased from 5mg/kg to 30mg/kg in 2006.

4.  Vulnerable pregnant mothers with developing babies cannot avoid grains in their diet.

When you look at which foods have Roundup applied to them in significant quantities, vegetable fats used in cooking (soybean, canola/rapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower) have some of the highest Roundup residue levels permitted on food.  And now cereals (wheat, sorghum, triticale, barley, rye etc) have a higher permitted level of Roundup than GMO foods.

These are foods that often make up a large part of the diet of particularly, lower socioeconomic people.

And when I look at all the families and children around me, rich and poor, and what they eat during the day:  every kid I see is eating way more carbohydrates in the form of cereals and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pasta or pizza for dinner, often several nights a week.

And I know this because I am a mother, and no matter how much I stuff vegetables into my kids, I cannot stick as many vegetables (proportionally) as either the USDA or the WHO maintains.  Of course this is an adults diet.  However a ten year old may only eat 20% less than an adult.

And I am a stay at home mother who does a heck of a lot of homecooking.  I am the sort of mother who points perfectly manicured talons at other mothers and sneers and makes them feel guilty because I use more vegetables than they do.

And the residue level for the most commonly applied pesticide in the world, Roundup has been increased 6 fold to 30mg/kg for our wheat products, our breads, cakes, pastas, and pizzas since 2006.

And when this level was increased I believe there was no consultation regarding the actual toxicity studies. The WHO  ‘Pesticide Residues in Food – 2005, Plant Production and Protection Paper’  Glyphosate (158), WHEAT P.130/131 the meeting simply recommended the residue levels are increased for pesticide applications on cereals after they saw from crop trials the levels were getting higher.  I can find no corresponding examination of the resulting levels glyphosate in cereals to establish whether this was a safe level.

And I believe most children in the above countries get the highest proportion of their calories from carbohydrates and fats.

Criticise my calculations if you want.  But I believe the current food intake WHO calculations do not represent the USA, and very likely the other countries represented by ‘Cluster M’.

The maths has simply not been done following the increased Roundup residue levels being permitted on our cereals.

Prove otherwise.  But I bet we don’t have any idea how much Roundup our kids eat.   We could do the science, but we haven’t.

The most vulnerable in our society are being sold short, our kids, babies and pregnant mums.

….and especially the poor.


How to fix it.

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