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U. S. Pirg

Study finds weed killer in beer and wine

The last thing you want to think about when you pour yourself a glass of wine or a cold beer is whether it contains even small levels of a potentially carcinogenic weed killer.

But the use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is now so widespread that the chemical is found virtually everywhere — including, as a Feb. 22 U.S. PIRG Education Fund report found, in 19 of 20 beer and wine products we tested. (AADC Editor: PIRG stands for Public Interest Research Group, a group of non-profits dedicated to effecting liberal change. It was founded by Ralph Nader.)

“No matter the efforts of brewers and vintners, we found that it is incredibly difficult to avoid the troubling reality that consumers will likely drink glyphosate at every happy hour and backyard barbecue around the country,” Kara Cook-Schultz, author of the report and director of our national Zero Out Toxics Campaign, told USA Today.

U.S. PIRG is calling on federal, state and local officials to ban the use of glyphosate unless and until it can be proven safe.

Monsanto’s Roundup is turning up everywhere.

And that’s a big problem, since the evidence linking glyphosate to serious health problems, including cancer, is piling up.

The commonly-used herbicide’s main active ingredient, glyphosate, has been found in breakfast cereals, snack bars, ice cream — and now a new study has found it in beer and wine.1,2

What’s upsetting about that is we’re still not sure how serious the long-term health effects are from exposure.3

U.S. PIRG is working to ban Roundup across the country unless and until it’s proven safe. Will you donate by Earth Day?

Our goal is to raise $15,000 to pass more local and state bans this year, and keep all of our other campaigns going strong, from protecting consumers to protecting public health.

It’s bad enough you can still find Monsanto’s Roundup on store shelves. But researchers keep finding traces of glyphosate — the key toxic ingredient in Roundup — everywhere it shouldn’t be.

Our sister organization U.S. PIRG Education Fund tested 20 samples of beer and wine, including Budweiser, Coors, Samuel Adams and New Belgium, and discovered detectable levels of glyphosate in nearly all of them — even in organic varieties.4

Fifty-seven years after Rachel Carson warned us of a Silent Spring, and 49 years after millions of Americans called for action on the first Earth Day, we’re still spreading poisons throughout our natural environment. We’re stuck in a “spray first, ask questions later” mindset.

I don’t want a silent spring for the next generation. I want to celebrate an Earth Day when the mindless overuse of toxic chemicals is a thing of the past. Will you help make this dream a reality?

Donate today to ban Roundup unless and until it can be proven safe, and to support our other work to protect consumers’ rights and the public interest. The deadline is Earth Day to raise $15,000 to keep the momentum up.

Your support will give our Ban Roundup campaign the resources we need to put our reliance on this toxic pesticide behind us and win local and statewide bans to protect public health. With your support, U.S. PIRG and our national network will:

  • Call for bans on Roundup in states across the country, while also supporting active legislation to ban glyphosate-based pesticides in states like Massachusetts.
  • Work with our state affiliates to pass bans on Roundup in communities across the country. Our national network has already helped restrict Roundup in Miami, Florida, and Austin, Texas.
  • Defend existing bans by filing amicus briefs in the courts, such as the one our national network filed in Maryland. Monsanto is fighting a Roundup ban in Montgomery County there. Our network is defending it right now.
  • Partner with U.S. PIRG Education Fund to do the research and release hard-hitting reports that expose the risks of Roundup, while also shining a spotlight on the issue in the media.
  • Put boots on the ground in more than 16 states across the country to go door to door, educating the public and building the support we’ll need to win.

It’s absurd that we’re allowing a weed killer with potential health risks to be used on our food and near homes and playgrounds. That’s why we’re working to ban Roundup unless and until it can be proven safe — but we can’t do it without your support.

Donate by the Earth Day deadline to support this and other vital campaigns in the public interest.


Faye Park,  President

1. Kara Cook, “Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund, February 2019.
2. Oliver Milman, “Weedkiller found in wide range of breakfast foods aimed at children,” The Guardian, August 16, 2018.
3. “Glyphosate Listed Effective July 7, 2017, as Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer,” OEHHA, June 26, 2017.
4. Kara Cook, “Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund, February 2019.