The move comes amid heightened attention surrounding glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide RoundUp, as California legislators added it to the Prop 65 list effective July 7. Add to that the high profile headline of glyphosate traces found in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
While Monsanto stresses that all major food regulatory agencies have concluded that glyphosate does not present a risk to humans at the levels to which they are exposed, “Glyphosate is a huge problem and consumers should know what toxic chemicals are in the food they’re eating,” argued Henry Rowlands, Director of The Detox Project. “Glyphosate Residue Free certification enables brands like Heavenly Organics to give consumers what they really want: glyphosate residue free food.”
For Heavenly Organics, the new seal won’t be its first one indicating that it’s glyphosate-free—earlier this year, it was certified by Florida-based company BioChecked. “We really admired the work that The Detox Project was doing, on behalf of consumers, to create awareness of glyphosate residue being prevalent in the food industry,” Jason Jones, President at Heavenly Organics, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“The Detox Project holds the highest standards and works with an FDA-registered food testing lab to enable food manufacturers to certify their products as Glyphosate Residue Free,” he added.
Glyphosate and honey
While food industry litigation experts doubt that trace levels of glyphosate in most packaged food and beverage products will be high enough to require a Prop 65 warning, they still advise companies to be prepared and ask their ingredient suppliers how much glyphosate residue might be detectible in their raw materials.
In the fall of last year, an FDA investigation into honey made headlines as traces of glyphosate were found in samples collected from local, small-beekeeper collected samples across the nation, possibly because the bees pollinate and came into contact with plants exposed to the weed killer.
While the human health hazard of glyphosate is still debated, Heavenly Organics founder Amit Hooda believes the certification is also important for bees and apiarists, as some studies, such as one published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in 2015, suggest glyphosate may impair bees’ cognitive capacities.
“Prop 65 has, what, 1,000 chemicals in the list? You go to a gas station, you’ll find Prop 65 stickers, I think there’s just too much noise around it, and I think a lot of people know RoundUp is bad,” Hooda told FoodNavigator-USA. “But many consumers maybe don’t know that their local honey also has [glyphosate traces], so this may be a revelation to them.”