When you live gluten-free or have allergies, you get so used to paying attention to food labels—keeping an eye out for not-so-safe gluten-containing ingredients, eggs, dairy, nuts—that it’s easy to glaze over when it comes to food industry labels. If you’re wisely grabbing Little Northern Bakehouse loaves, then you may already notice the Non-GMO Project Verified logo alongside the Kosher Check, Certified Vegan label, and Peanut & Nut-Free logo, but the BioChecked Non-Glyphosate Certified stamp may be new to you. So why does this particular certification matter so much? Read on to find out.
What Is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the primary active ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup—the most heavily-used herbicide in North America (originally produced by Monsanto). For years it has been flying under the radar of mainstream news, yet it shows up in our food, tap water, rain, and rivers. Since the introduction of Roundup Ready GMO crops in 1996 (made to withstand being sprayed with glyphosate), the use of the chemical has increased 15-fold. As a result, glyphosate is showing up more and more in cereal grains that get used in everyday foods, including bread.
Why Is It Bad for You?
The World Health Organization has deemed glyphosate a “probable carcinogen,” aka a cancer-causing substance. State scientists in California agree as well, and on August 10, 2018, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man dying of cancer, which he says was caused by his repeated exposure to large quantities of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers while working as a school groundskeeper. And in June 2020, Bayer AG reached a $10 billion class-action settlement on behalf of 100,000 Americans diagnosed with cancer after exposure to Roundup.
How Serious Is It?
On August 15, 2018, the Environmental Working Group released data summarizing the glyphosate levels in over 60 products where oats were the only or the primary ingredient. The results revealed massive levels of glyphosate in the food production:
- Over 95% of products using conventionally-grown oats had detectable levels of glyphosate and 69% had levels above the EWG’s Health Benchmark of 160ppb
While Non-GMO Project Verified foods hope to eliminate the use of herbicides such as glyphosate, drift from adjacent GMO food farms or from contamination in handling and shipping remain a challenge.
What Are We Doing About It?
Having been aware of glyphosate for some time, we have taken steps to halt its presence in Little Northern Bakehouse foods for a number of years. In 2017 we took things a step further and achieved the Non-Glyphosate certification from BioCheck. This means we hire a third party to perform an unbiased test all finished products with at-risk ingredients to ensure we always meet the standard. BioCheck certification adds an extra layer of certainty when shopping for healthy, gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods.
Feeling good about our glyphosate-free loaves and buns? Check out our products and find a store near you. Want to know more? Read our gluten-free philosophy. Scroll down and sign up to get gluten-free recipes and inspiration delivered fresh to your inbox every month. Or follow us on Facebook or Instagram to add some gluten-free joy to your feed!