A product made in nature, naturally sweet, adored everywhere—one that even has medicinal healing properties (helpful to quell allergies and treat burns)—is also saturated with poison. Think about that. Study after study has found glyphosate in honey. Just about every type of honey cultivated just about anywhere is poisoned.
But don’t blame the bees, the beekeepers or even the honey itself. Blame Monsanto, makers of the ubiquitous weedkiller RoundUp which contains glyphosate.
Last week Montsanto agreed to pay $10 billion dollars, one of the biggest settlements in the history of U.S. civil litigation, to people who got cancer from using their product. Glyphosate is linked to a number of concerning health problems, including non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, neurological damage, and kidney disease.
Something has gone seriously wrong here. It’s like when your lover who used to whisper, “Oh honey,” in your ear to make your heart melt is now crossing their arms and sneering, “Oh…honey…REALLY?”
Yes, really. Something as sweet as honey is contaminated with harmful levels of a highly problematic herbicide. But it’s best if we don’t think of it as just a honey problem or a glyphosate-in-honey problem. It’s an environmental and health problem that affects everyone.
What is glyphosate?
Glyphosate is a popular weed-killer used extensively in agriculture, on food crops, golf courses, and people’s personal lawns. My friend Scot used to work as a landscaper. “We sprayed that stuff everywhere,” he told me ruefully, “on everything, all the time.” It’s the main ingredient in Roundup, which was first patented by the chemical giant Monsanto, and is now used by several chemical companies. Chances are high you’ve got a container in your garage.
In the simplest terms, glyphosate in honey is a problem because glyphosate is a carcinogen. Like a Pack of Marlboro Reds a day for say 40 years. A killer. You know how those tobacco companies paid out billions in settlement. So does Monsato for Roundup. Monsanto recently agreed to pay $10 BILLION to settle the lawsuits to people who have gotten cancer from glyphosate exposure.
So yeah, there’s no doubt it’s a killer. But don’t take my word for it. Read this exhaustive article from MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D. on the devastating impact of glyphosate, including making us more susceptible to Covid-19. And this excellent peer-reviewed literature review by a team of Italian scientists that compares the obfuscation of the abundant evidence that glyphosate causes harm to human health by chemical companies with the obfuscation that smoking causes cancer by the tobacco companies.
This science review concludes:
We have attempted to untangle the controversy about the dangers of the product for human beings in view of a very recent development, when the so-called Monsanto Papers, consisting of Emails and memos from Monsanto came to light, revealing a coordinated strategy to manipulate the debate about the safety of glyphosate to the company’s advantage.
And further that Monsanto’s attempts to censor and manipulate the science: “Seriously jeopardizes the credibility of the scientific study in the modern era.”
Glyphosate in honey is the canary in the coal mine
The link between glyphosate in honey has more to do with one food product. It has to do with what that food product, honey, represents. Let’s take it step by step.
A recent study in Canada backed what other scientific research had already found, that glyphosate in honey is found even on organic farms that don’t use Roundup or any products containing the weedkiller.
The study is “the latest evidence that glyphosate herbicides are so pervasive that residues can be found in foods not produced by farmers using glyphosate,” Environmental Health News reports.
According to the study, government scientists in Canada found the herbicide in 197 of 200 honey samples examined.
Even though some conventional researchers, most of whom are supported by the chemical industry, insist that glyphosate is not harmful to animals, literally hundreds of studies have found that it causes harm to everything from the beneficial soil fungi to tadpoles and even dolphins. We know from some carefully designed and executed research that glyphosate actually harms the microbiome—the gut health—of bees! (If you’re not sure what the microbiome is, this article and this one are good places to start). So not only are the glyphosate poisons carried by foraging bees from one farm to another, it sickens the bees as well.
Bees are essential for flowers, humans
We know we need bees. That’s one thing we can agree on, right? We know declining health of honeybees has far more significance than honey depletion. It has massive implications for our environment, our food, and our own survival as a species.
But glyphosate is so prevalent that it not only sickens the bees but travels with them from farm to farm impacting even organic food.
If glyphosate in honey can be found in the majority of samples, then glyphosate can be found in most of what we eat. Bees pollinate the crops that become our food. Not just honey, all our food.
So what the #$(#& do we do about glyphosate in honey?
Yes to eating as organic as possible, yes to eating local, yes to educating friends, family, and lawmakers about the harms of glyphosate. But all of those recommendations are Band-Aids. They treat the symptoms not the cause.
The one way to rid the world of this killer is to follow the lead of 20 forward-thinking countries and demand our government ban this chemical.
Who loses if such a ban were to pass? Only Monsanto and the other chemical companies that continue to use the chemical in their products, market them relentlessly to farmers and consumers alike, and ingeniously say that they are safe. Oh, and maybe the lawmakers taking donations to continue run protection against legislation to stop this cancer-causing money machine. Oops, and the big pharmaceutical companies making injectable products for children that contain this poison as well.
Sometimes big social problems have easy solutions. This is one. Use organic farming practices and ban glyphosate. Be careful not to replace it with other harmful chemicals, and more people will survive and thrive. It really is that simple. It kills weeds, yes, but it also kills bees, pollutes our groundwater and waterways, and potentially harms everything it lands on as it’s sprayed through air.
We need to save the bees, our children, and ourselves.