It seems as if everyone is jumping on the “gluten-free” bandwagon. Perhaps you read an email or an article lately that suggested that the reason that some people (those who do not have Celiac disease) are suffering from digestive issues after consuming wheat or wheat flour is that farmers in the U.S. are drenching their wheat crops with the herbicide RoundUp (glyphosate) just prior to harvest in order to ensure easier harvesting and more even ripening of the grain itself.
The Truth About Gluten Sensitivity and Glyphosate
This is a difficult subject as no one wants to deny someone who might be suffering, but the truth of the matter is that there are no scientific studies showing that anyone who does not have Celiac disease actually has any real problem with gluten, other than what they imagine they have. Anyone who claims that they can’t stomach the wheat in America, but that they have no problems when they eat pasta in Italy cannot be taken seriously as their own personal experiences are not, as much as they would like it to be, true scientific studies. Their claims about eating pasta in Italy come under the “dubious” heading when you consider that Italy imports about 40 percent of their wheat from the U.S.
Although it is true that, in some countries, such as Europe and Canada, glyphosate has been suggested, but in the U.S., this process isn’t used. Glyphosate takes much longer to “dry out” wheat crops. So while farmers in the U.S. do use glyphosate for weed control, it takes too long to be used as a means of pre-harvest ripening. Perhaps this chart will make things more clear.
Talk to Your Local Wheat Farmer
In fact, ask any wheat farmer (or just google it if you don’t know any!) and they will tell you that they certainly don’t drench their crops as part of the harvesting process. Not only would this add to the cost, but there are plenty of other things to consider. Farming on a large scale isn’t the same as your backyard garden. Read a real wheat farmer’s story here.
In fact, one of the problems with one article in particular, is that the author did no research on the subject. None. Yet, this article is passed around on the internet and social media sites as if it was the God’s honest truth.
What About Those Haz Mat Suits?
Other websites and blogs have similar nonsense, including that farmer’s wear protective clothing when spraying glyphosate. We aren’t saying that they don’t, it would be smart to do so, but this would be like saying “Wear shoes when you walk in the desert because the desert has poisonous animals.” Yes, the desert does have rattlesnakes and scorpions, not to mention hot sand and cactus stickers, but you would hardly say that the desert is unsafe for humans! Taking protective measures is only common sense.
Why Isn’t the EPA Doing Something?
There are, as of today’s writing, no epidemiological studies showing any link between glyphosate and any particular disease. Glyphosate has been in use for 45 years and is currently undergoing registration with the EPA, as it does every 15 years. Although the EPA did list this herbicide as a possible carcinogen back in 1985, a closer look at the studies involved in that decision caused RoundUp to again be reclassified as a non-carcinogen in 1991.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer is due to make a full presentation to the EPA sometime in 2016 and there will be more information to wade through at that time. The IARC is considered to be one of the leading authorities on cancer.
The Bottom Line
But back to glyphosate causing all this “gluten sensitivity”. Even if there was an increase in wheat sensitivity that could be documented and proven, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that there was a problem with wheat. It could be that science is simply becoming better at recognizing wheat sensitivities or that there are any number of environmental issues causing these problems. Simply because wheat farmers use glyphosate on their crops does not mean glyphosate is the problem. If there is a problem. Right now, there is no problem that can even be proven.
We will talk more about glyphosate in future articles, but when it comes to wheat and glyphosate, it appears that scare tactics are causing more of a problem for people than this herbicide or gluten ever could.