Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide. It is used to kill ‘weeds’ and grasses that compete with crops. Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name ‘Roundup’. Farmers quickly adopted glyphosate, especially after Monsanto introduced glyphosate-resistant ‘Roundup Ready’ crops, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops. An increasing number of crops have been genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate. The main crops on which glyphosate is used are: corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa.
Eager to sell more of its flagship herbicide, Monsanto also encouraged farmers to use Roundup as a desiccant, to dry out all of their crops so they could harvest them faster. So Roundup is now routinely sprayed directly on a host of non-GMO crops, including wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, peas, lentils, soybeans, dry beans and sugar cane.
But there are a few problems associated with the use of glyphosate and GMO crops.
- Weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, requiring ever-increasing applications of the herbicide.
- Exposure to glyphosate has been linked to ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, anencephaly, autism, breast and brain cancer, Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, chronic kidney disease, colitis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS/leaky gut syndrome), liver disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy problems (infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths), obesity, reproductive problems and respiratory illnesses.
- The widespread use of glyphosate increases the severity of various plant diseases, impairs plant defense to pathogens and diseases, and immobilizes soil and plant nutrients, rendering them unavailable for plant use.
- Glyphosate stimulates the growth of fungi and enhances virulence of pathogens such as Fusarium which, in turn, can have grave consequences for the sustainable production of a wide range of susceptible crops.
- Glyphosate can immobilize plant nutrients such as manganese, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc, so they are no longer nutritionally functional.
- Consumption of GMO (genetically modified) foods is dangerous to the health of both animals and humans as there are reports of allergic reactions, such as stomach lesions, produced by the genetically modified Roundup Ready gene.
- The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells 10:1. For every cell in your body, there are also ten microbes of various kinds in your bloodstream, and all of them respond to the presence of glyphosate, causing extreme disruption of their function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to take over. At this point your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease.
Rather be safe than sorry! Insist on organic produce. And, when buying mutton and beef, rather opt for the meat of 100% grass-fed, free-range reared animals.
David Wentzel is an Organic and Holistic Farmer at Boomplaats Organic Farm – Zastron, Orange Free State, South Africa. Boomplaats supplies organic, grass-fed, free-range beef to Johananesburg, Pretoria and surrounds.