Glyphosate warning on black bean and chickpea flour

Black Bean Flour – a note of caution

Some of these charts will end up in the book, though values might change a bit as more of the records are transcribed.

The large volume of tests on foods of “unknown” origin is becoming vexing. I suspect these are mostly local food, both for the sheer number of samples and also similarity of items and readings with Canada.

So, here I clubbed them together under the name Canada+.

The earlier pie chart was about flour made from black beans. It was made with only US samples in it, since there were very few samples from other countries while a lot were from USA alone. It showed only 9% of all black bean flour from USA was glyphosate free, and 91% had some of it.

And now we have here another chart, a column chart, and covers two countries – USA and Canada+, about the same black beans, but sold as is and not as flour. Total sample number was large, around a hundred between the two nations. Canada+ had about twice as many as US samples which sounded right, for samples being collected in Canada.

The data to be converted into visual charts were not the actual readings per se, but the percentage occurrence of event counts, when glyphosate tests satisfied one of the conditions. The conditions were 1) when a measurable amount of glyphosate was detected, 2) when presence of glyphosate was detected but amount could not be measured and 3) when no presence of glyphosate could be detected. These percentage values of the event counts were tabulated for two regions : USA and Canada+. The chart was then made of the figures, to show how much percentage of black beans from each regions was clean and without glyphosate, and how much was dirty.

In the chart, the bottom section was for the measurable percent, label starting with “>0”. This section represents the high value section, where glyphosate content is too high. This chart assumes no glyphosate is good glyphosate and that there is no safe limit.

The next section was called +ve where result proved positive, or glyphosate was detected, but could not be measured. The last, top most category was -ve or negative, representing percentage of sample that had no detectable glyphosate.

As the chart shows – American readings are better for unprocessed black beans. But even here, more than half of the samples had some glyphosate.

For Canada+ the figures were much worse. Seven out of eight samples would contain glyphosate. In my view Canada becomes a highly toxic source, probably the worst one in the world, with regard to glyphosate contamination in black beans, and USA is next in line. I would not buy black beans from either country unless it is organic, and if I cannot find organic or cannot afford it, I shall not eat black beans. As to other nations, I have not seen much test records from them yet, so cannot comment.

The green tick mark and the red cross marks were added for visual guide and clarity, and to drive the point home.

As Anthony Samsel tells me – a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have already type over 500 words to explain it !!

Chickpea story
I prepared another chart about chickpea flour, and was aiming to pen a small and sad story on this looming tragedy.

This is a major primary food source for people of India, primarily many of the of low wage day labourers of India. They take a fistful of chickpea flour, add a spoonful of water, knead it into a thickish paste, add perhaps a sliver of onion, a touch of salt and a few specs of crushed dried red chilli, and roll it in their palms to turn it into a ball, about the size of a tennis ball – and that is their morning brunch with a glass of water – before going to work. As a child, and also as an adult in more recent years, I have often watched them preparing this meal, sitting on a mat on the ground.
Since the word(s) chick pea, chickpea and garbanzo are often intermixed in the records and both chickpea and garbanzo mentioned in the same product description at times, I combined the chickpea with the garbanzo, for this story. Also, a huge number of samples are marked as of “unknown” origin, which I suspect are all local (Canadian), so I joined them with Canada’s own chickpea flour and called it Canada+.
Dropping a few countries with only one or two samples, I had India with 10, Canada+ with 64 and USA with 9. And I made this chart, based on percentages of >0 (high presence), +ve (positive glyphosate presence) and -ve (negative or no detectable presence).
It turns out, percentages of clean chickpea flour (with no detectable glyphosate) are:
India : 40%
Canada+ : 17%
USA : zero

So, flours made from black bean and chickpea/garbanzo, originating from three countries with reasonable sample numbers are suspect, of which North American samples are arguably much worse than the Indian one, but India too is catching up, with less than half its flour remaining uncontaminated. Also, since the CFIA data does not give brand name or more pinpointed source of their samples, there is no realistic way for a consumer to separate the clean chickpea flour made in Canada or imported from India, from the dirty lot. So buying chickpea flour from these countries become a slow motion game of Russian roulette.

This is a developing tragedy of global implication. And no matter what the government or the industry claims, there are no safe levels of glyphosate. Add to that the fact that hiding safety test documents on glyphosate while allowing its  use, may be legally indefensible.

Tony Mitra.