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Study Finds Cancer-Linked Herbicide in Your Beer and Wine

According to a recent study, glyphosate, the primary pesticide in the weed killer Roundup, was found in popular beers and wines.

In recent years, scientists and public health groups have conducted studies that found glyphosate in popular food and beverages; a report by the Environmental Working Group that found glyphosate in cereals received widespread national attention. Now, a study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) has found trace amounts of glyphosate in beer and wine.

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, and pesticide activists say it is carcinogenic. In 2015, the World Health Organization noted glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.” In 2017, California concurred with WHO.

Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer in 2018, has maintained for decades that its product does not cause cancer. However, it recently lost a historic case in San Francisco when a jury found that a groundskeeper’s cancer was at least partly caused by Roundup.

Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos announced in court that Monsanto “acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.” The jury then ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to the groundskeeper, although that amount was later reduced to $78 million and appealed by Bayer/Monsanto. Bayer/Monsanto is facing an onslaught of thousands of other lawsuits related to glyphosate and Roundup.

Study Says: Glyphosate in Beer and Wine

The U.S. PIRG tested 20 wine and beer samples, 19 of which contained glyphosate. The alcohol among the five wines and 15 beers tested that had the highest level of glyphosate was Sutter Home wine, at 51 ppb.

One alcohol that was tested did not contain detectable levels of the pesticide. Peak Beer was, in fact, the only alcohol tested that did not contain glyphosate.

Another notable finding is the fact that three of the four organic beers and wines tested contained the chemical. Inkarri Estate organic wine (5.2 ppb) and the popular beer Samuel Smith Organic (3.5 ppb) both contained glyphosate levels; glyphosate is not allowed in organic farming.

Widely familiar brands of beer also contained the pesticide. Miller Lite, Coors and Tsingtao all had levels of glyphosate over 25 ppb, which was on the higher side of the tested samples.

The Risks of Consuming Glyphosate

The Brewers Association does not advocate the use of glyphosate in their beer, as they told the U.S. PIRG: “Brewers do not want glyphosate used on barley or any raw brewing material, and the barley grower organizations have also come out strongly against glyphosate.”

Thousands of people, most of whom are farmers, have recently blamed Roundup as the cause of their terminal cancers. According to the U.S. PIRG, France banned the use of Roundup 360 in January of this year.

Studies have shown that glyphosate is not only in alcohol but also in common foods, such as vegetables, cereal and even ice cream.

Much of the glyphosate levels have been found below the EPA’s risk tolerances. However, some argue even low levels of the chemical can be detrimental to health. In one study, scientists found that 1 part per trillion of glyphosate is enough to disturb the endocrine system and stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.

According to the U.S. PIRG, “the use of glyphosate in the U.S. should be banned unless and until it can be proven safe.”


Leighanna Shirey

Leighanna graduated with a degree in English from Pensacola Christian College. After teaching high school English for five years, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and editing. When not working, she enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her dogs, and drinking way too much coffee.

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  1. Matt w March 8, 2019

    Oh my. Is the author aware that alcohol itself is a Group 1 Carcinogen directly linked to over 7 types of cancer – including breast cancer?

    1. Lauren von Bernuth March 8, 2019

      Point well taken! Ha! We updated the title to say pesticide as opposed to ingredient.

  2. Jon anthony March 12, 2019

    EPA’s risk tolerance acceptance levels seem to be always noted in like articles to help minimize some readers concerns. What’s often left out of such articles or discourse is the fact the government or the EPA does not correlate or test the cumulative effects off all the environmental pathogens, carcinogens or water/air pollutants upon our bodies in their various stages of health.

  3. John Jacoby March 16, 2019

    I don’t understand why some of those in the media report that glyphosate (Roundup) is a pesticide. Roundup is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide originally produced by the American company Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018.[2] Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States.
    Roundup kills all plants that it touches. Why are we led to believe that it is sprayed on crops as an insecticide?

    1. Lauren von Bernuth March 16, 2019

      Thank you for adding your explanation of the difference, we will refer to it as an herbicide in the future. It is an important difference!

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