Researchers are concerned about “substantial” levels of herbicide residues showing up in food and cattle feed harvested in the U.S. and Latin America, which they say is a direct result of farmers using seeds genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used weed killer Roundup.
Because there are more glyphosate-resistant crops, farmers around the world have been increasingly dousing their crops with glyphosate. In some cases, farmers are spraying their crops with twice the recommended dose used in most field trials. “The number of applications show a steady increase, from about two per year in 1996 to more than four applications [per year] from 2007 to 2010 and later,” Thomas Bohn from the Institute of Marine Research in Tromso, Norway told FoodNavigator.
Researchers caution that it is likely at least one and perhaps two of the yearly sprayings of crops are performed late in the season, which increases the residue by a factor of 10 or more in crops such as soybeans.
Glyphosate In Food
Soybeans are mostly used for animal feed. But they are more often being consumed by humans as the number of vegans and vegetarians grows. Glyphosate residue in the food chain is of particular concern because studies have linked glyphosate exposure to cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
Roundup was introduced by agrochemical company Monsanto in the 1970s. In 2018, Germany-based Bayer AG acquired Monsanto for $62.5 billion. Shortly after the deal went through, Bayer faced the first trial among hundreds of cases involving Roundup’s alleged cancer risks. The first trial ended in a $289 million verdict for the plaintiff, which was later reduced to $78 million. Over the next several months, Bayer faced two more trials, the second of which resulted in an $80 million verdict, which was later reduced to $25 million; and the third ended in a startling $2.055 billion verdict for an elderly couple who each developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Future trials have been put on hold as Bayer negotiates a global settlement to resolve what’s grown to more than 42,700 lawsuits.
Beasley Allen lawyers are currently representing clients who have been exposed to Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For more information, contact one of the members of the Roundup Litigation Team: John Tomlinson (who heads up the team), Michael Dunphy, Danielle Ingram or Rhon Jones, all lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section.