Should It Concern You that Glyphosate is Probably In Your Favorite Beer or Wine?

A brand new study by a public interest group in the United States—US PIRG—has discerned that certain beer and wine brands contain trace amounts of glyphosate. If that sounds familiar—and concerning—it is probably because you are aware that glyphosate is a pesticide. More importantly, glyphosate is the ingredient in Roundup that has health advocates up in arms. 

This time, though, the pesticide has been found in beers from several brands.  These brands include fifteen of the most common and famous brands in the world, including: Budweiser, Coors Light, Corona, Guinness, Heineken, Miller Lite, Samuel Adams, and Stella Artois.  In addition, glyphosate has been found in five wine brands, including Barefoot, Beringer, and Sutter Home. 

Of the 15 beer brands tested, only one was found to have no trace of the chemical:  Peak Beer. Accordingly, the wine brand with the highest levels of glyphosate detected was Sutter Home (at 51 parts per billion); the beer with the highest levels was Tsingtao Beer (at 49.7 parts per billion). 

Comparably, the “conventional brands” (the domestic brands) were found to have glyphosate levels of at least 25 parts per billion. Even organic potables like Samuel Smith Organic Lager was found to contain traces glyphosate, though in much smaller levels (less than 6 parts per billion). 

It should be noted that researchers said that the levels of this pesticide they identified in these products are not necessarily dangerous, but it is concerning when you think about the potential health risks. 

To catch you up on those health risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that glyphosate is carcinogenic—it can cause cancer. Now, the levels of glyphosate found in these beers are notably lower than what the EPA tends to consider a health risk. 

To put another way, a spokesperson from The Beer Institute—a national trade association—advises that the average healthy adult could consume 140 glasses of wine a day and still not ingest enough glyphosate for it to be considered any type of significant risk. 

At the end of the day, US PIRG Education Fund’s Kara Cook-Schultz comments, “No matter the efforts of brewers and vintners, we found that it is incredibly difficult to avoid the troubling reality that consumers will likely drink glyphosate at every happy hour and backyard barbecue around the country.”