Residues of glyphosate discovered in German beers
After glyphosate was discovered in beer last year, recent studies have again shown that residues of the plant protection product and other chemical substances can be found in numerous types of beer. How dangerous the residues found can be remains unclear.
Weed killer in German beer
In the past year, studies have shown not only that glyphosate was detectable in beers, but also that residues of plant poison can be measured in the urine of a large number of Germans. The demands for a ban on glyphosate became louder. However, test results have now been published again, which make it clear that the weed killer can still be found in local beers today.
Pesticides obviously survive the brewing process
As reported by the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Laves) on its website, a total of 22 samples of whole beer were examined for pesticide residues in 2017 by the Food and Veterinary Institute Oldenburg des Laves.
21 of the beers examined came from Germany, one from Belgium. In a total of 18 samples (17 beer samples from German production, one from Belgian), residues of pesticides were detectable.
Four samples, including a German organic beer, contained no residues.
Ten beer samples contained only one plant protection product, six samples had two active substances and two pesticide residues were determined in two samples.
The residues most often contained the stalk shortening agent chlormequat (9x) and the total herbicide glyphosate (7x) in the samples examined here.
According to Laves, the results indicate that the pesticides used in hop and grain cultivation apparently at least partially survive the brewing process and can get into the finished beers.
Pesticides in 80 percent of beer samples
Lower Saxony's Minister of Agriculture and Food Christian Meyer (Greens) believes that "it is a frightening result that pesticides have been found in more than 80 percent of the beer samples and some of the residues of three different plant and insect poisons have been found", the politician told the politician the "Hamburger Abendblatt".
"I am particularly shocked that glyphosate, which is suspected to be carcinogenic, was found in around a third of the samples," said Meyer.
Glyphosate had been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “likely to be carcinogenic” two years ago, according to updated information from the international cancer research agency (IARC).
The Munich Environmental Institute last year - based on glyphosate discoveries in various types of beer - directed the breweries to ban the substance from the beer.
According to the experts, the situation has apparently improved somewhat, but the all-clear cannot yet be given.
The situation has apparently improved
The Munich Environmental Institute recently had the same beers tested as in 2016. Back then, as now, residues of glyphosate were found in all beers examined.
But: "It is gratifying that the glyphosate residues we found this year are on average significantly lower than a year ago," write the experts in their report.
According to the information, the drinks examined were the 14 most popular German beers.
The drinking water limit of 0.1 micrograms per liter is exceeded by everyone, but the values have dropped on average by almost 80 percent.
“Some breweries manage to achieve consistently low residue levels. But none of the breweries tested managed to completely ban the field poison from the beer, ”says a message.
How dangerous are the residues found?
But how dangerous are the finds? The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) said in the past that there was no cancer risk for consumers in the quantities found.
However, the Munich Environmental Institute writes: “In absolute numbers, the residues found in beer are small. But there are no lower limits for carcinogens and DNA-damaging substances below which they are safe. They can have a harmful effect even in the smallest quantities. "
As expected, the German Brewers Association has a different position: "For decades, glyphosate has been included as an active ingredient in a number of crop protection products approved in Germany and worldwide, the use of which can result in residues in crop products and food," the association wrote in a statement.
"A large number of official and non-official studies have declared these traces to be harmless to health," it continues.
The brewer's association points out that an adult would have to drink around 1,000 liters of beer per day in order to ingest amounts of glyphosate that are harmful to health. (ad)