Glyphosate contaminates organic barley in New Zealand: Who’s monitoring?
Published: November 26, 2019
Category: Pesticides, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Acting on a customer tip-off, organic certifier BioGro withdrew certification from organic barley producer Lammermoor Station in 2017—unfortunately, after the grain had been sold as animal feed and consumed by livestock.
Glyphosate herbicide, widely used in New Zealand, was found in the organic barley at levels above the maximum allowed for consumption. The incident highlights the lack of organic standards and regular monitoring of organic products in the country.
Lammermoor Station had sold the barley to organic chicken producer Bostock Brothers; Bostock discontinued buying grain and now grows its own feed.
Contamination occurred from helicopter spray drift from neighboring fields. Shortly after BioGro halted certification, the company was certified by government-owned AsureQuality, to BioGro CEO Donald Nordeng’s surprise. AsureQuality will require Lammermoor to increase auditing, test residues in products and soil, and switch all non-organic production to organic.
The confidence of organic consumers is likely to be shaken; 66 percent buy organic occasionally.
In New Zealand, companies can choose to certify as organic, but the audits aren’t published. Organic exports are vetted, but locally sold organic produce isn’t monitored. The Agriculture and Food Safety Ministry has called for a national standard to restore consumer confidence, and the government majority is likely to support it.
Meanwhile, more harm from glyphosate is being revealed, such as environmental estrogen mimic and potential effects on bacteria. One 2017 study suggests glyphosate could cause E. coli and salmonella bacteria to respond differently to antibiotics.
Source: Consumer New Zealand
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