How to Avoid Glyphosate Residue

Three Parts:Getting Rid of Pesticide Residue on FoodsAvoiding Glyphosate and Other PesticidesPurchasing Organic Foods

Glyphosate is a chemical found in pesticides that farmers use on their crops. It's one of the most commonly used pesticides and is in highest concentration in the pesticide Roundup. Glyphosate residues on food has recently become a hot topic as studies have been showing this particular pesticide may be carcinogenic (something that could cause cancer). Three studies in particular showed a link between glyphosate residue and the development of an immune system cancer known as non-hodgkins lymphoma.[1] It's important to be aware of what foods may be contaminated with this pesticide and how you can minimize and avoid this harmful chemical in your diet.

Part 1
Getting Rid of Pesticide Residue on Foods

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    Thoroughly wash all produce. Glyphosate residues are found on and in many foods. However, common sources of this harmful chemical are fruits and vegetables. Thoroughly washing these items can help reduce how much glyphosate and other pesticides you ingest.[2]
    • Food safety specialists recommend using plain water or an organic produce cleanser (which you can buy at your local grocery store) to wash produce. Rinse for a few seconds and all visible dirt has been washed away.
    • Regardless of whether or not you've purchased organic produce, it's still important to wash each piece before consumption.
    • Never use dish soap or hand soap to wash your produce. These soaps can get absorbed by the porous nature of some fruits and vegetables.
    • No washing method is 100% effective at removing all pesticide residues. Some pesticides, like glyphosate, penetrate into the plant and fruit itself which unfortunately, cannot be removed by washing.[3]
    • Also wash down any utensils or dishware that held the fruit or vegetables prior to washing.
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    Dry and wipe down produce. In addition to washing fruits and vegetables, it's also important to dry them appropriately. Even after washing, if items are not wiped down, pesticide residue may still remain.[4]
    • Use a clean dish cloth or paper towel to wipe and dry all fruits and vegetables that you have washed. This helps remove any pesticide residue still remaining on your food items.
    • If you're washing multiple items, consider using paper towels. Throw them away between each fruit or vegetable to prevent re-contamination between items.
    • Even fruits and vegetables that have an inedible outer layer or skin (like bananas or melons) should be washed and wiped down. You can still transfer the pesticide residue into the flesh of the item when cutting or preparing them.
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    Peel off outer layers of produce. Another good method of reducing pesticide residues like glyphosate residue is by peeling off and removing outer layers of certain types of produce.
    • Items like lettuce, cabbage, artichokes, leeks or brussels sprouts have many layers of leaves. Removing the outer most layers (especially if they seem dirty) can help reduce the level of glyphosate and other pesticides that you're consuming.
    • Remove leaves of even organic items as well. Take off enough of the outer layers until you've reach lighter green or lighter colored leaves towards the center of your item.
    • In addition, make sure to peel outer layers of other fruits and vegetables. The outermost layer of items like asparagus, potatoes, carrots, celery and turnips should be peeled off so you're not consuming parts of the vegetable that have come into contact with soil or sprayed pesticides.
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    Discard the fat and skin in meats. Many people might forget the outside layers of foods other than fruits and vegetables may also contain higher levels of glyphosate and other pesticide residues. Remove the skins of your protein sources as well.[5]
    • Glyphosate is such a tricky pesticide to avoid because it's not only used to spray on crops, but some of those same crops are fed to animals as feed. The residue then ends up in the animal flesh - especially the fatty tissue like skin.[6]
    • If you purchase meat or poultry make sure to trim away excess fat or purchase leaner cuts of meat.
    • For poultry remove the skin or purchase poultry without the skin. Also trim excess fat if it's visible.

Part 2
Avoiding Glyphosate and Other Pesticides

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    Purchase 100% organic foods. One fairly easy way to cut out the glyphosate and other pesticide residue from your foods is to purchase organic items. Labeling laws require these foods to fit a certain description especially in regards to pesticide use.[7]
    • Definitely choose to purchase 100% organic fruits and vegetables. Many pesticides are used to grow fruits and vegetables so choosing organic foods will automatically reduce the quantity of pesticide residues.
    • Also buy 100% organic meats and poultry. Even though pesticides are not used on animals, it is used on their feed (like corn or soy plants). This allows pesticides to get into the meat and skin of the animal.
    • It might also be wise to purchase 100% organic grains (like wheat or quinoa) as some of these plants have also been implicated in having higher levels of glyphosate residues.
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    Do not purchase foods known to have high levels of glyphosate. There are many different pesticides available and are frequently used on the food supply. However, there is a very specific set of foods that contain higher levels of glyphosate.[8] Specifically avoid the following items as they contain overly high residue amounts:
    • Soy (this means soy products and soy or vegetable oil)
    • Corn and corn oil
    • Canola seeds used in canola oil
    • Beets and beet sugar
    • Almonds
    • Dried peas
    • Carrots
    • Quinoa
    • Sweat potatoes
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    Avoid foreign produce. During the colder months in the US, many sources of produce come from outside the country. Although this allows us to have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available, you might end up consuming higher quantities of pesticide residues.
    • For starters, other countries follow different sets of guidelines when it comes to pesticide use and acceptable or tolerable levels. They may allow a higher residue level compared to the US.[9]
    • Always look for the Country of Origin label on your produce. It'll say where the item was originally grown.
    • You can always stick to local farmers markets or purchasing foods that are advertised as locally grown.
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    Consider growing some of your own food. Many people are considering that in addition to purchasing organic products, they should grow some of their own foods. This helps you know exactly what types of food you're growing (for example, whether it's an heirloom variety plant or a GMO plant) and allows to you use no pesticides whatsoever.
    • If you have the space, consider starting a small garden. Make sure you choose a spot with plenty of sunlight. Plant vegetables or fruits that you eat frequently or are known to be higher in pesticides (like celery or strawberries).
    • If you do not have a backyard or a large amount of space, consider doing container gardening. Many fruit and vegetable plants do well in containers as long as they get decent sunlight and are watered regularly.
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    Eat a varied diet. You might be surprised that a varied diet can help cut down on how much glyphosate residue and other pesticide residues you consume. However, this is a good trick to keep in mind to reduce your exposure risk.
    • Although glyphosate is used on many, many types of crops (as are other pesticides), many farmers stick to one type of pesticide per crop.
    • For example, they may use Roundup (that contains the glyphosate) on their corn but use a completely different pesticide on their fruit trees.
    • Having a varied diet reduces your chance of being over exposed to a singular type of pesticide.[10]
    • In addition, it gives you a wider range of nutrients and helps you maintain a well-balanced diet.
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    Stay up-to-date with recent news and research. If you're trying to avoid pesticides, especially those that are harmful like glyphosate, it's important to stay update with new and emerging research on these chemicals.
    • The FDA, EPA and other organizations regularly update consumers on where these pesticides are found, what foods contain the highest levels and how you can minimize your risk of ingesting them.
    • One particularly good resource to use is the National Pesticide Information Center. They have information and research on all pesticides used in the US.
    • You can sign up for email alerts or regularly check these websites for information regarding pesticide and glyphosate use.

Part 3
Purchasing Organic Foods

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    Look for organic labeling. Purchasing organic foods is the first line of defense for minimizing those harmful pesticides like glyphosate residue. However, be a careful and informed consumer while you're looking for these options at the grocery store.
    • There are two different types of organic labeling. You can either purchase organic foods or 100% organic foods. There are differences between the two that you should be aware of. Ideally, you should only purchase 100% organic foods.[11]
    • When you see the 100% organic label, that means the food and all of its components have met the USDA's organic labeling laws. If it's only labeled as organic, that means that only 95% of the food or its ingredients need to be organic.
    • Although you may see other types of labeling, like "all natural", only choose foods that are 100% organic. "All natural" does not have any legal definition and these items could still contain conventional foods or those that contain pesticides.
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    Read the ingredient list. When looking at foods and reviewing the label, its important to also review the ingredient list. This is particularly important when trying to avoid glyphosate residues.
    • Unfortunately the pesticide Roundup which contains the glyphosate is used on many different crops. These crops are not always eaten "as is." They made be used for oils, used to make other foods (like bread) or used in animal feed.
    • Being familiar with the items that contain glyphosate can help you pick them out from an ingredient list so you can avoid purchasing foods that are made with ingredients that are contaminated.
    • Common ingredients that could have higher levels of glyphosate residue are: canola oil, vegetable oil, soy oil, and corn products (like corn oil or corn starch).
    • Read over the entire ingredient list (posted near the nutrition fact panel) and look for any of these items. If they're listed as an ingredient, you may want to avoid this food.
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    Purchase cost-effective organic products. Many people do not want to buy organic foods because they can be significantly more expensive than conventional items. However, there are some tricks you can use to purchase all organic without paying more money.
    • Consider purchasing private label organic products. Many big chain grocery stores now offer their own brand of organic products. These are generally close to the same price as conventional brand name items.[12]
    • Another place you can find local and cheaper organic produce is the farmers market. Consider purchasing as many items as you can from your local farmer.
    • You may even want to consider switching your grocery store. There are so many different stores available that you may be able to find certain stores that specialize in organic foods and have a cheaper price tag.


  • Glyphosate residue can be harmful to humans. Make sure to educate yourself about this pesticide and work to minimize it in your diet.
  • One of the best strategies to reduce all pesticides in your diet is by purchasing 100% organic items.

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Categories: Food Selection and Storage