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Glyphosate in beer: Federal Institute sees no health risks


Harmful to health? BfR sees no danger from glyphosate in beer

The Warentest Foundation recently found glyphosate in almost all products in a study of alcohol-free beers. The international agency for cancer research (IARC) classifies the weed killer as "probably carcinogenic". However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) sees no cancer risk for consumers.

Weed killer in German beer

In recent years, studies have not only shown that glyphosate was detectable in beers, but also that residues of plant poison can be measured in the urine of the majority 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.

BfR sees no health risk

The Warentest Foundation recently found glyphosate in 18 alcohol-free beers and two non-alcoholic craft beers.

"Whether the quantities we determine are" bad "depends on how you classify the danger of the substance to humans," explains Thomas Koppmann, project manager for food testing at the Stiftung Warentest website.

"For example, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) assumes that glyphosate cannot be classified as carcinogenic according to current knowledge and uses the ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) for glyphosate for its assessment in beer - the amount that an adult is daily can take care of your whole life without worry, ‚ÄĚsays the expert.

In this case the contents found would be harmless. The BfR also communicates this in a current notification.

"The levels were in the range of the quantities that also occurred in 2016 and 2017 in tests on behalf of the Munich Environmental Institute for the 14 best-selling German beers for glyphosate," the institute writes.

The highest value in the beers tested in 2018 was 28 micrograms per liter of beer.

Glyphosate residues possible with imported malting barley

According to the BfR, glyphosate residues in beer are plausible from a scientific point of view and can generally be expected.

Glyphosate is an approved crop protection agent for cereals, with residues in beer not exceeding the maximum residue levels set for cereals taking into account a processing factor.

In Germany, glyphosate must not be used for malting barley to accelerate ripening before harvesting (siccation). According to the BfR, measurable residues can only be expected with this type of application.

However, this regulation does not apply in all EU countries, so that residues of glyphosate are possible with imported malting barley.

1,000 liters of beer a day

According to the institute, even the highest glyphosate content in beer reported so far (30 micrograms per liter in 2016) is so low that the resulting intake amount for an adult (60 kg body weight) would be more than 1000 times lower than that currently as a safe daily acceptable daily intake (ADI) or the acute reference dose.

An adult would have to drink around 1,000 liters of beer a day in order to ingest amounts of glyphosate that are harmful to health.

"According to the current state of knowledge, glyphosate contents of 30 micrograms per liter beer and below pose no health risk," the BfR concludes. (ad)

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