The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday that its fiscal year 2016 plans include testing some food products for glyphosate residue, including corn, soybeans, milk and eggs. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. FDA has been under pressure to do so since the World Health Organization last year classified glyhpohsate a sa "probable or possible carcinogen."
A 2014 audit by the Government Accountablity Office (GAO) criticized FDA for not testing for glyphosate and said the agency should at the very least disclose that it does not test for such residues. FDA has said testing would have been "very cost- and labor-intensive," but it now says that new "streamlined methods" have made doing so less expensive. FDA also says that glyphosate levels... are likely to be reduced by the processing done to those foods [genetically engineered corn and soybeans]."
The U.S. Right to Know consumer advocacy group that was the first to break the news said the testing was a "good first step," but that testing must be "thorough and widespread." The group also said USDA should get on board.
USDA's 2014 Pesticide Data Program report confirmed that overall chemical residues found on foods are at levels below tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency and do not pose a safety concern. But the study did not include glyphosate testing.
Monsanto says it has not been officially informed of the FDA testing, but it notes that glyphosate has a 40-year history of safe use that has been "upheld by the U.S. EPA and regulators around the world following decades of study and review." Further, Monsanto notes that no study has ever shown residue levels of more than a fraction of EPA's "very conservative Allowable Daily intake or any level of concern."