How Much Glyphosate is on Your Dinner Plate & the IARC’s Reclassification

African Centre of Biosafety and The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign Launched the #GlyphosateMustFall petition today

In May 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the herbicide glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”. This finding has effectively supplanted 40 years of industry-sponsored research claiming the safety of glyphosate. Considering that glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in South Africa,  the response of the South African Government to the WHO declaration was alarmingly irresponsible.

In 2014/15 South African farmers grew almost 2.3 million hectares of GM maize, 75% of which was genetically modified for “herbicide tolerance”. This use of herbicide-tolerant GM maize means that maize farmers are amongst the biggest users of glyphosate in South Africa’s farming systems.

A second crop, GM soya, is increasing the use of glyphosate in South Africa. In 2001 the first GM soya bean was approved for commercial planting in South Africa and since then farmers have been planting increasing amounts of GM soya—roughly 618 000 hectares in 2014/15, in comparison to 134 000 hectares in 2001.

Glyphosate is also used extensively in the timber, horticulture, wheat, sugarcane and viticulture industries, and is a key tool in the so- called ‘climate-smart’ agricultural practice known as conservation agriculture.

The petition which is addressed to the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Health & Environmental Affairs,  demands that stronger action be taken to safeguard the health of the citizens of South Africa.

Stopping the corporate control of our food supply is one of the most important battles we have to fight this century! #GlyphosateMustFall Petitioner

Please link and sign the #GlyphosateMustFall Petition Here

Some of demands are as follows:

  • Ban and remove glyphosate from our food and farming systems;
  • Establish an independent review panel to assess the toxicity and health impacts of glyphosate on farmers and farm workers—both full time and seasonal—and consumers, especially consumers of Genetically Modified (GM) maize; and
  • Commit to the transformation of our corporate controlled, chemical-laden food systems to systems that support previously disadvantaged producers and locally controlled smallholder food production systems, based on agro-ecological and food sovereignty principles.

We can’t keep loading our environment with chemicals and continuing with industrial monocropping, we have to transform the way we produce food. Haidee Swanby, ACB

The time is long overdue to shift to socio agro ecological farming and food systems. A good start is to ban glyphosate now. Mariam Mayet, ACB

Sonia Mountford

Sonia Mountford lived as an expat in the Middle East for a number of years and enjoyed travelling and exposure to third and first world cultures. Her interest in food security began while visiting in Sri Lanka after floods and discovering the politics around Food Aid. As a co-founder of Grass Consumer Action and the only full time member, she spent four years researching the dysfunctional food system in South Africa, investigating, questioning and exposing misleading claims. Although her interests range from food politics to toxins in our food, including harmful ingredients in processed foods and Big Food influence; she soon came to realize that the most important part of the food journey begins on farms. For that reason she spends much of her time visiting farms, learning and talking about constraints and concerns in production methods with farmers. Passionate about nutritional food security she believes higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health. She is an ambassador for SOIL, BEES and healthy WATER. Mountford started EATegrity ( “Helping You Find Integrity in the Food Chain” in 2015. Her aim is create greater consumer awareness about the food chain and to encourage transparency in the South African food industry.

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