Roundup on wheat, barley and oats. How did the residues get so high?

wheatIn 2006 the World Health Organisation established, via Codex, a maximum residue level of 30 mg/kg for cereals – primarily wheat, oats and barley. The previous level for wheat was 5 mg/kg. This represented a 6 fold increase.

This new level set the load for Roundup on our wheat, our staple cereal, to be higher than the maximum permitted residues for herbicide tolerant Roundup Ready crops.

What is the process of increasing Maximum Residue Levels – MRL’s – for pesticides on our food?

Listed under the WHO/FAO JMPR reports is:

‘Pesticide Residues in Food – 2005, Plant Production and Protection Paper’     Glyphosate (158), P.133.

Search for ‘Cereal Grains’ (cntrl F) to see listed various crop results – the different residues are listed and the new maximum residue level ‘recommended’.

There is no consultation of independent science. There is no consultation of existing corporate studies held with the WHO:

Barley: The Meeting estimated a high residue in barley of 20mg/kg. Page 129

Oats: The Meeting estimated a high residue of 14 mg/kg. Page 130

Wheat: Meeting decided to recommend a group maximum residue level for cereal grain except maize and rice of 30 mg/kg. The estimated maximum residue level replaces the previous recommendations for barley, oats and sorghum of 20 mg/kg and wheat of 5 mg/kg. Page 131.

In 2006 Codex Alimentarius amended the residue levels, following the above listed 2005 Plant Production and Protection paper. Listed under Pesticide Residues in Food and Feed is no. 158 Glyphosate.

In 2008 the US followed Codex recommendations and increased the permitted maximum residue level for glyphosate.

This is now listed in the US EPA Electronic code of federal regulations:  Title 40: Protection of the environment. PART 180—TOLERANCES AND EXEMPTIONS FOR PESTICIDE CHEMICAL RESIDUES IN FOOD  Subpart C specific tolerances: Glyphosate tolerances for residues: S 180.364.

Europe has maintained a level for cereals of 10 mg/kg, and other countries, such as Australia, have also chosen to stay at the lower level.

It is possible that the practice of desiccation, or of drying out the crop (dry down) and eliminating weeds with a pre-harvest spray up to 7 days before crop harvest may contribute to these higher levels.

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