Friday Morning Updates

Periodically, as new news out there in the world comes to my attention, I will update the faithful readership on some of the stories I’ve written about previously.

One of the posts that I put up, that didn’t get as much attention and response as I thought it would, was about RoundUp/Glyphosate being found in most wines now.  This morning’s twitter review brought up some stories about this topic, which isn’t seeming to go away.

First off, this story about glyphosate in most wines and beers on the market.  Posted just yesterday on Care2 (which has been around forever, collecting funds to support environmental charities), it points out another study showing the weedkiller that is “supposedly” not harmful to humans present in a lot of grocery store wine and beer.

According to a new study released by the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund, the toxic weed killer glyphosate has been spoiling the harvest. The study found that 19 out of 20 beer and wine samples tested contained the toxic pesticide glyphosate…

While the beer and wine industry representatives claim that most of the products were below the government-set upper limits for glyphosate contamination, the products actually significantly exceeded the limits. But, it points to a serious flaw in the system that supposedly governs food products: there is insufficient testing of products intended for consumers prior to their arrival in retail stores. And, obviously, agencies also need to rethink their excessively high upper limits for toxic substances such as glyphosate.

Ugh.  This is terrible news.

Literally the same day (yesterday) Forbes publishes an article online saying that there is no need to panic about this.  It cites the same PIRG study, with different thoughts on it:

The highest level of glyphosate detected by U.S. PIRG in those twenty wine and beer samples was 51 ppb, or parts per billion, which is a very small amount and well below the EPA tolerance levels which are set at 200 to 400,000 ppb.

It’s such a small amount that an adult would have to drink more than 140 glasses of wine or beer daily before causing a real problem, as a spokesperson for the Beer Institute told USA Today. U.S. PIRG also reports finding glyphosate in the organic beer brand, but the amount there was even tinier: 5 ppb. To be clear: that’s a trace of a trace.

140 glasses a day? I may be up for that challenge!  Seriously though:

In 2018, a California jury awarded a hefty sum to a plaintiff who alleged his cancer was caused by occupational exposure to Roundup. But the herbicide first rose to significant controversy three years earlier.

That year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC, an organization that’s part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.” The decision set off a whole new level of public panic about glyphosate, because it seemed at odds with safety reviews by other scientific and regulatory bodies, most notably, the EPA and the European Food Safety Authority.

It’s no accident that France has moved strongly away from using glyphosate (published two days prior to the other two articles cited).

With France slated to ban the use of glyphosate by 2021, winemakers are already making arrangements. Jean-Marie Fabre, the secretary general of the Independent Vintners of France trade association, told France Info that the transition is already under way in the country’s winegrowing sector, with “41 percent of firms already certified (either as organic or as “High Environmental Value, level 3“) with another 40 percent of firms on track to be certified”.

I’m particularly appreciative of the French vintners’ connection to the land and the sense that they must pass it on to their children in the same condition they received it from their parents.  I’m really worried about the effects of chemicals and that big business is fighting against regulating this.  If all of us consumers get cancer, no one can buy their agricultural products…. this isn’t Vector Calculus.

On happier topics, the impact of wine on your health.  I’ve written twice about this, first mentioning all the good antioxidants and phenols in wine, and then providing other updates on healthy wine living.

Here is some more corroboration that including wine in your life makes you healthier and happier.  68,000 Swedes were studied, and they found:

Researchers looked at data from 68,000 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 and found that those who followed a diet consisting of anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer were 18% less likely to die prematurely…

Specifically, participants following the diet had a 20% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular problems, and a 13% lower risk of dying from cancer….

“Even partial adherence to the anti-inflammatory diet may provide a health benefit,” said lead author Joanna Kaluza.

Literally everything I love is there – wine, coffee, chocolate, and cheese.  Life is good!

Those are your Friday morning, school is closed due to snow today updates.  Hopefully you are planning a winery visit this weekend, or planning to open a GREAT bottle of Virginia wine.  If you do, tell me where you went or what you drank in the comments!

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