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what concentration of glyphosate remains in GMO corn on my table?

Submitted by: Jerry Gless


Expert response from Marian Bleeke, P.h.D.

Global Residue and Exposure Strategy Lead, Bayer Crop Science

Friday, 11/03/2016 12:48

The use of a pesticide in any crop, whether conventional or genetically modified, can potentially lead to residues remaining in the harvested commodities.  Regulatory agencies such as the EPA evaluate the safety of these residues, based on the highest concentrations that could be expected if the pesticide is used at the highest rates allowed by the label.  Because residues typically vary significantly due to the environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall, and soil conditions, residue trials are conducted at multiple locations throughout the growing region of the crop in order to determine the highest potential residues.   These results are used to set a Maximum Residue Level (MRL), also called a tolerance by the US EPA, which is the maximum concentration that is allowed in the commodity.  The tolerance will only be established by the EPA if the dietary exposure from consuming that crop commodity, combined with other exposures from that pesticide, is within the safety limit set by the EPA.


While the safety assessment of glyphosate is conducted assuming that that all the food you consume contains residues at the maximum allowed for each commodity, in reality the food actually on your plate contains much lower levels of glyphosate, for several reasons.  First, the tolerance is the highest expected residues from the highest allowed use rate.  Not all growers use glyphosate, and of those who do, not all apply at the highest use rate.  Second, most residues will be significantly below the tolerance even when the highest rates are used.  Third, there are many processes between the time a crop is harvested and when it is eaten that reduce the amount of glyphosate remaining in the food.  Glyphosate is water soluble, and does not transfer into oil, so it can be removed by rinsing or cooking in water, and is significantly reduced during the production and refining of processed foods like sugar, oil and cornstarch.


The amount of glyphosate in the GMO corn on your table, in any other food on your table, or even in your entire daily consumption of food is well below the established safe limits as determined by EPA.