The Health Research Institute Labs (HRI Labs) is an independent laboratory that tests both micronutrients and toxins found in food, and is often hired to test foods claiming to be non-GMO, “all natural” and/or organic. One of the toxins HRI Labs is currently focusing on is glyphosate, and the public testing being offered (see below) allows them to compile data on the pervasiveness of this chemical in the food supply.
HRI was recently tasked with testing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which was also found to contain glyphosate. The samples were provided by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Regeneration Vermont, which are concerned about the environmental impact Ben & Jerry’s dairy producers are having in Vermont. Using sensitive state-of-the-art testing equipment to look at the quality of the ingredients, 10 of the 11 ice cream samples were found to contain substantial levels of glyphosate.
HRI Labs has investigated a number of other foods as well, including grains, legumes and beans. Most if not all of these types of crops need to dry in the field before being harvested, and to speed that process, the fields are doused with glyphosate a couple of weeks before harvest. As a result of this practice, called desiccation, grain-based products, legumes and beans contain rather substantial amounts of glyphosate. Quaker Oats, for example, was found to contain very high levels.
Orange juice also contains surprising amounts of glyphosate. As it turns out, weeds in orange groves are managed by spraying glyphosate, which ends up in the oranges as the roots of the orange trees pick it up through the soil. A similar situation is occurring in vineyards, which is why many wines are contaminated.
HRI Labs has also analyzed more than 1,200 urine samples from U.S. residents. This testing is being done as part of a research project that will provide valuable information about the presence of glyphosate in the diet and how lifestyle and location affects people’s exposure to agrochemicals. Here are some of their findings to date:
- 76 percent of people tested have some level of glyphosate in their system
- Men typically have higher levels than women
- People who eat oats on a regular basis have twice as much glyphosate in their system as people who don’t (likely because oats are desiccated with glyphosate before harvest)
- People who eat organic food on a regular basis have an 80 percent lower level of glyphosate than those who rarely eat organic. This indicates organic products are a safer choice
- People who eat five or more servings of vegetables per day have glyphosate levels that are 50 percent lower than those who eat fewer vegetables