Startling Levels of Glyphosate in Chickpeas/Hummus

Chickpeas and other legumes are a staple in a healthy whole food plant-based diet.  Learning that the Environmental Working Group (EWG)[1] found the cancer-causing chemical glyphosate in samples of hummus and chickpeas is terribly disheartening.[2]  Their sample included all kinds of dry and canned beans, dry lentils, and garbanzo flour.  This herbicide was sold for decades by Monsanto; now Bayer markets it under the brand name Roundup.

The EWG tested 37 conventional chickpea and chickpea-based samples and found that nearly 90% had detectable levels of glyphosate.  Organic products, too, were found to contain glyphosate, but in much lower levels.  Although glyphosate is not permitted on organic crops, the chemical is permitted to be used as a pre-harvest drying agent for nearby conventional crops, and contamination of organic crops occurs as the chemical drifts from these conventional crops onto organic crops.

So what’s a person to do?  The EWG suggests that we do not stop eating chickpeas and other legumes but that we choose organic products whenever possible.  They also call for a ban on all pre-harvest use of glyphosate as well as much stricter EPA standards and increased testing by the Food and Drug Administration to determine how widely glyphosate contaminates our food.

In March of this year, the Trump administration announced that the EPA will cut back on enforcement of regulations because of the pandemic.  For this reason, there is additional concern about the overuse of glyphosate during this year’s harvest season.

[1] The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an American activist group that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemical, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability.  EWG is a nonprofit organization (501(c)(3).

[2] 1.Alexis M. Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist, and Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., VP for Science Investigations, “EWG Tests of Hummus Find High Levels of Glyphosate Weedkiller,” Environmental Working Group, July 14, 2020.

Contributing Writer: Sherry Shrallow

Sherry Shrallow is a licensed clinical social worker, a certified professional coach and holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies. Sherry has appeared on Women Who Lead, a television program in Houston where she used to live, and has also been interviewed for op-ed pieces in local newspapers in both Chicago and Houston and has been often featured online, telling the story of her recovery and return to vibrant health from a near fatal heart attack and bypass surgery through the adoption of a WFPB diet. She is also the author of  Staying Alive- Healing from Heart Disease – A Survivor’s Story