Glyphosate is produced by the Monsanto Corporation. It is the active ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup. EPA created the new rule in response to a petition it received by Monsanto in May 2012 - Monsanto requested that foods be allowed to be sold with higher levels of glyphosate.
Here's EPA's new rule:
Pesticide Tolerances: Glyphosate, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Final rule
Text version from the Government Printing Office (GPO)
Oilseed crops such as sesame, flax, and mustard have also been affected:
"In addition, upon approval of the new tolerance for “Oilseed Crops, Group 20 at 40 ppm” under “New Tolerances”, delete tolerances for borage, seed, crambe, seed, jojoba, seed, lesquerella, seed, meadowfoam, seed, mustard, seed and sesame, seed all at 0.1 ppm; flax, seed at 4.0 ppm; flax, meal at 8.0 ppm; canola, seed and rapeseed, seed at 20 ppm; cotton, undelinted seed at 40 ppm and safflower, seed and Sunflower, seed at 85 ppm; which will be included under the “Oilseed Crops, Group 20 at 40 ppm”."So, mustard seed and flax seed used to have a limit of 0.1 ppm. As of May 1 that limit was raised to 40 ppm. That's 400 times the original limit!
- Petitions Filed for Residues of Pesticide Chemicals in or on Various Commodities
Laura Sesana did a great job reporting this yesterday:
Epa Raises Levels Of Glyphosate Residue Allowed In Food, Washington Times, 5 July 2013
She cites an EPA Factsheet on Glyphosate, which says:
"Glyphosate has the potential to cause the following health effects from long-term exposures at levels above the MCL: kidney damage, reproductive effects."Recall that Roundup is an endocrine disrupter (ED) (See: Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Are Toxic And Endocrine Disruptors In Human Cell Lines, Toxocology, 2009), as is BPA in plastic bottles and a host of other industrial chemicals we're regularly exposed to. The study I just cited observed endocrine disruption in human cells from a dose of 0.5 ppm (of Roundup R400 which contains 400 g/l of glyphosate). For relativity's sake, carrots used to be limited to 0.2 ppm glyphosate, as of May 1 they can contain 5.0 ppm. As an ED, Roundup disrupts the activity of enzymes (such as aromatase) involved in sex hormone production (e.g. testosterone, estrogens).
Here's a table of glyphosate limits in a variety of foods. It's current as of July 3, 2013. Note that higher ppm limits for carrots and sweet potatoes have already been recorded.
Glyphosate; tolerances for residues, Government Printing Office