Glyphosate in Organic Chickpea

There has been questions on chickpea and if one can get clean ones if one buys organic.

Well, there are opinions, there are speculations and there are observations from a handful of samples that were tested by CFIA to allow a partial glimpse on the subject.

It is my personal belief that there is no safe way to get hold of glyphosate free chickpea, if one lives in North America, until and unless there is a serious effort at testing locally sold foods at the county or municipal level, and disclosing all those results to the local public every month. That is the reason I had tried to kick start the globally relevant petition for pushing each municipal government to start setting up a budget and start testing local food.

Unfortunately, the world has more people willing to pontificate and less people willing to do something about it – hence petitions like that get no more than 1,400 signatures.

If one does selective testing of three or four organic chickpea grown in Canada, one can find zero glyphosate. But the problem is three fold.

First – CFIA does not disclose brand names of those samples which showed no glyphosate. This is the reason I wanted municipalities to start testing and disclosing all details including brand names and origins and stores that sell them, and for people to start banging their fists on municipal council doors till they cave in (https://www.change.org/p/let-our-government-test-food-for-glyphosate?).

Second – question has been asked, if the organic certification process only ensures that a crop is grown organically, and ignores how the crop is harvested. In other words, one can grow a crop without pesticides, get organic certification and still desiccate it with glyphosate before harvest. If this is true, then that can explain how North American organic chickpea are so extremely contaminated with glyphosate, and how organic certification means absolutely nothing, with regard to glyphosate contamination in some foods grown in North America such as chickpea.

Third – there is always this issue among the CFIA records, regarding ‘unknown’ as country of origin. I suspect some, if not most, of these may have originated in Canada or nearby sources such as the US. Therefore, there is a very high probability of organic chickpea grown anywhere in Canada or the United States will have more samples with glyphosate and less samples without. This further bolsters my belief that, for North Americans, there is no safe way unless each and every kind of food is tested for glyphosate. Someone with a shipload of cash can afford to test every spoonful of food (s)he eats for glyphosate. For the rest of us mere mortals, we either get our local governments to play ball and test the food we buy, or decide to cut chickpea off our menu, or agree to play Russian Roulette with the chickpea we eat.

For people living outside of North America – that’s a different planet, a different solar system, a different galaxy and a different constellation. Rules, observations and expectations therefore would be different for them. My findings, and subsequent writing of the book, is titled Poison Foods of North America. It deals primarily with North America, with some comparisons with foods that came from elsewhere and were sampled in Canada.

Readers will be well advised to be cautious and find their path through this nightmare crop.

Ag Ministry of Saskatchewan joins the glyphosate testing deniers

The petition for local governments to test local food for glyphosate is slowly gaining ground. As more people are joining up, I am getting more feedback on potential decision makers to enter into the petition. One such recent entry has been the minister of agriculture for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

I was impressed by the promptness of the response, but not by its content. Passing the buck and sidestepping the demand to test local food for glyphosate and not depend on another branch of Government which is obviously not testing anything for the people – seems to be the preferred method used by politicians to tap dance around the burning necessity for letting the people know the quantity of glyphosate in their food, and to deal with it in anyway they like.

These answers are not considered to be depressing. It gives us knowledge of what to expect from the fence sitting governments. It also bolsters the notion that the petition is needed more as a tool to develop grassroots movement, where people pressure begins to trump corporate lobby, and clean food trumps toxic one.

Anyhow, I wished to preserve this piece of information, not only because it deserves to be in the general body of information attached to the petition, but also as a blog and perhaps a near future book of essays, on my experience as a food security activist, and the journey of trying to push back from the toxic avalanche we are all subjected to.

tony mitra

Ag. Minister of Alberta sidesteps food testing appeal

Oneil Carlier

A petition is created, for local governments to start testing local food for glyphosate, and to make all results public. Local government officials are identified by supporters, as public servants that might be in position to allocate public funds to this effort.

Letters went out to the designated decision makers, whose numbers are growing rapidly.

One such letter reached the minister of agriculture and forestry, of the Canadian province of Alberta.

A response was received as quote below

To:  Mr. Tony Mitra

Dear Mr. Mitra:

Thank you for your November 6, 2016, email regarding testing local food for glyphosate herbicide, which is commercially known as “Roundup”. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

A credible, science-based regulatory system that determines benefits and risks of pesticides on a case-by-case basis is fundamental in effectively managing risks, reducing scientific uncertainty, and ensuring public confidence. In this regard, Alberta operates under federal legislation and regulations. Herbicides, such as glyphosate, are federally-regulated in Canada through a program of pre-market scientific assessment, enforcement, education, and information dissemination. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), under Health Canada, has the mandate to protect human health and safety and the environment by minimizing the risks associated with herbicides, while providing Canadians access to the pest management tools they require for agriculture, forestry, industry, and personal use. Specifically, the PMRA is responsible for administering the Pest Control Products Act and Regulation to address herbicide registration, human health and safety, environmental impact, and compliance and enforcement.

I assure you the current national pest control regulatory system is robust and scientifically-sound, and the system ensures that the benefits of the agricultural use of these products to society and the environment outweigh the risks. As such, the Government of Alberta supports the federal government’s science-based evaluation system, as well as its ongoing efforts in ensuring that our food supply is safe. Ultimately, the testing of foods for such pesticide residues falls under the mandate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program. To learn more about testing, I encourage you to contact the CFIA via their website, www.inspection.gc.ca

If you would like to learn more about the regulatory approval process of herbicides in Canada, please visit the Health Canada website, www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Thank you again for writing to share your concerns.

Sincerely,

Oneil Carlier

Minister

Agriculture and Forestry

cc:  Honourable Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta

The response muddies the water and attempts to sidestep the main request of the petition. It mentions how a credible science based regulatory system to evaluate glyphosate is beneficial. It does not address the fact that the current regulatory system hides safety test documents on glyphosate from the people, and therefore, the system is not credible. Without the evidence, it can be argued that there is no proof that the system is any more science based, than voodoo is.

Premier Notley

Furthermore, it attempts to pass the buck to someone else, in this case Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Today, labs are available for anybody to initiate testing, mandate or no mandate.

This is a good example of how the government refuses to let the people know how much glyphosate is in which kind of food, and is to be taken as a good example why there is a need for a grassroots movement to lean on our dysfunctional government, to start testing local food without its and buts.

Link to the petition for local governments in Canada, USA and beyond to start testing local food for glyphosate content, for the people – click here.

This letter is not an end in itself. It is first of all a response from messages sent to 26 different decision makers attached to the petition linked above. The number of these decision makers have now increased to 62 as of November 19. This response is to be taken as an example and a study on how politicians often respond, to muddy the water. This is going to be part of the general body of information contained within the movement to push back on glyphosate avalanche on our food. And we are going to also respond to it, in our effort to convince him to stop passing the buck and see the wisdom of standing up to public demand and initiating testing of food for glyphosate concentration in local food.

I am also preparing a few book of essays, actually eBooks on Apple and Kindle platform. This petition and this response, might merit inclusion for posterity.