Waimakariri District Council considers the impact of Glyphosate on our environment.



      This blog was written last year - it has been posted again because the topic is today a current one again!                       

Food Matters NZ hosted a talk back in Feb 2015  at Canterbury Uni with three invited overseas speakers regarding food and synthetic poisons.  This was an evening I won’t forget and as a consequence I have to share this experience and what I have discovered since with you the reader,  I hope you will be alarmed, perhaps angered and indignant at the end of this blog.

The evening went for over 2 hours and my blog is rather long, but there is a lot to say and I hope you will take time to read it, research it and share what you find. 

I left that talk with a feeling that I and my family had been duped. Perhaps you will read this and say “I knew that” in which case I would be eager to know what you are doing about it. There needs to be some serious discussion on this either to disprove or make others aware of it.      

If like me you had some understanding of specific synthetic herbicides then maybe like me you will realise that really you knew nothing at all and you should have.  

Dr Don Huber is  Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, a land grant institution in the USA, and has been studying plants for 55 years. He has received various awards for his scientific accomplishments and contributions to government.

He was Cereal Pathologist at the University of Idaho for 8 years before joining the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology at Purdue University in 1971. 

He has more recently been referred to as a ‘whistleblower’ on the systemic herbicide Roundup.

If like me you are a gardener you will know that Roundup has been used as a broad spectrum systemic herbicide since the early 80’s.  It was first patented by Monsanto in the 70’s. An active key ingredient to Roundup is Glyphosate. The trade name used is Roundup, and Roundup Ready.  Monsanto’s patent on Roundup expired in 2000 and since then Glyphosate has been marketed by many other companies.

We were led to believe that this was a relatively harmless chemical.  I mean its sometimes beside food items in the Supermarket right?  In fact I can recall the saying “you can drink it, it’s that safe”.  It is available in small friendly gardener size spray bottles to mega large industrial containers which are used commonly by farmers, horticulturalist, and councils.

More recently it has become associated with GMO’s.  Glyphosate is used on the main GE crops which are engineered to tolerate it, soy, canola, rice, cotton seed and sugar cane.

We were told Glyphosate broke down once it touched the soil that it was not residual and was not at all harmful to humans. Studies proved it.   You could wash it off with water if you got any on your skin, it was that safe.


  This is what Dr Huber says about it:

 Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide (i.e. it is absorbed into and moves through the whole plant), and is carried into the harvested parts of plants.  Exactly how much glyphosate is present in the seeds of corn or soybeans (genetically engineered to withstand this chemical) is not known, as grain products are not included in conventional market surveys for pesticide residues.  The fact that this and other herbicides are known to accumulate in fruits…raises questions about food safety, especially now that more than 37 million pounds of this herbicide are used annually in the United States alone. Even in the absence of immediate (acute) effects, it might take 40 years for a potential carcinogen to act in enough people for it to be detected as a cause.  Moreover, research has shown that glyphosate seems to act in a similar fashion to antibiotics by altering soil biology rendering bean plants more vulnerable to disease”.

 Glyphosate is a chelator which means it locks up mineral nutrients.  It is also an antibiotic.

 This is where it gets scary.

 Oct 08, 2014Dr Huber’s brave crusade against Bio Tech Inspired Bites Posted by Robyn O’Brien

 “Human enzymes are affected by glyphosate just as plant enzymes are: the chemical blocks the uptake of manganese and other essential minerals. Without those minerals, we cannot properly metabolise our food. That helps explain the rampant epidemic of obesity in the United States. People eat and eat in an attempt to acquire the nutrients that are simply not available in their food.”

According to researchers Samsell and Seneff in Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality (April 2013):

 “Glyphosate’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology . . . . Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Glyphosate like any other antibiotic kills human gut bacteria.

Anyone who has suffered any gut issues will know antibiotics do this and this  actually affects around 5% of the population inEurope and North America alone.   

 Glyphosate doesn’t get broken down when we digest it in the form of processed foods or in wheat.  In fact we absorb it and it kills our villi in our gut which means we cannot absorb vitamins and minerals essential to our health.  Now, this is the interesting bit.  Gliadin which is often referred to in Coeliac Disease is a protein in wheat.  I am no scientist but I understand that Glyphosate latches on to Gliadin creating a longer chain molecule which is indigestible.  This means our bodies go into defence mode and we start an immune reaction. Inflammation and the rest of IBS symptoms follow.  Long term this continued pattern of poisoning can create all kinds of illness for our bodies, the implications that scientists and health professionals are only starting to realise. Some of them are making the link with this herbicide.

 This graph below from the USDA shows correlation between glyphosate and celiac incidence.  Correlation is not cause, but smoking didn’t cause cancer either.  


Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance – this is a Toxicology report completed in 2013 by Versita.


Others are on to this:

“If you eat processed foods, most of which are made with GM corn and soy ingredients, you’re consuming glyphosate residues…..”

Read more:


As if GMO’s and the lack of evidence that they are safe are not enough, the link with Glyphosate is disturbing.

 Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients. This is critical in understanding how that chemical works with our bodies. 

Remember Monsanto has always said that Roundup is safe and what affect it has on plants does not apply to humans.


 And again the Glyphosate link with its health affects from :


Aotearoa Independent Media Centre

“Roundup is widely used in home gardening. in New Zealand, however its active ingredient glyphosate is linked to infertility, birth defects, obesity, cancer, bowel and stomach disorders, kidney disease and endocrine disruption.”

 GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides are now a worldwide phenomenon.

Its critics are saying strongly there is a direct correlation with the increase in digestive problems like Coeliac Disease and the label IBS for everything else that doctors can’t explain. 

 Are you thinking this is just another crack pot conspiracy?

At worst it is a potentially grossly negligent and irresponsible product to be marketed to an unsuspecting human population.  At best it is a product that lacks sufficient evidence of safety to support its marketing as the home weed killer.       

When anyone challenges corporates like Monsanto, you can expect they will respond.  

Is Dr Huber a wacko?    You might think so from the number of blogs on the web written by his critics who interestingly enough either have worked for companies like Dupont, Monsanto (you get the picture) or blog under pseudonyms (always a sign of confidence!) or are farmers who support its use because they use it.

 This is a natural response from those who have business interests in the herbicide or simply don’t want to know.  However, you will see that there is an avalanche of mounting evidence which supports Dr Huber’s claims.

 Yes the GMO’s are likely to have been treated with Glyphosate but the most astounding claim to me that night was the link with Glyphosate and gluten intolerance.

 With further investigation, and I hope you will research this too in addition to the links I have attached, it is claimed that the recent increase in gluten intolerance and celiac disease could even be linked with this herbicide.

There is evidence out there that also suggests that since the use of Roundup (late 70’s in NZ) became the norm for ‘conventional’ farmers and horticulturalists various other serious health problems are being realised.

The claims made regarding the gluten intolerance are convincing and there are several reputed academics that are supporting these claims. At the very least there needs to be some investigation into these suggestions and  long term peer reviews should be considered by the medical profession. 

 Dr Stephanie Seneff is one such person with concerns over Glyphosate.  Sheis a controversial Senior Research Scientist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Controversial because she is considered so by those who don’t support her argument.  She has studied in depth the statistics. She has one of the most succinct explanations regarding this epidemic of western gut problems and I urge you to view this link below to read the transcript from her interview and also a live recording of it. 



 For those of you who have lived with IBS symptomsit wasconsidered that the wheat we were eating was indigestible. We were learning that it was the hybridised wheat of recent decades causing the problem and eating the older varieties lessened the symptoms.  From anecdotal evidence, which can be the best way to find out what works and what doesn't,  many people have suggested that a change of diet to a more plant based organic diet has eased many symptoms of IBS. 

Maybe you have dropped wheat from your diet completely. You may have changed your eating habits to include only gluten free flours, you will be avoiding all processed foods too I guess?   What about Organics?  Sometimes?   

 But what if the vast majority of processed foods, even those that say they are gluten free  contain  glyphosate?   How would we know?  Would it matter?  What if the ‘conventional’ vegetables and fruit which are so juicy and moist are juicy with glyphosate? 


 It gets worse…What if the Canola Oil, the Soy Milk, the Tofu, the cane sugarfor starters contain GMO’s (which incidentally don’t require food labelling to tell you so), are also drenched in Glyphosate?   

It was with relief that I stumbled upon this site below:

Yes the name is scary - Moms across America.  

However, this is very convincing stuff.  Glyphosate in breast milk!  Yes , this alarming to say the least.  Check it out and come to your own opinion, this takes you directly to the test results:


 In New Zealand it is normal practice for some horticulturalists to spray glyphosate on their crops of onions, potatoes, pumpkin just prior to harvest.  This assists in collecting the crop without the plant cover.  How much glyphosate is traceable in these crops when the consumer eats them?

As glyphosate is residual which means contrary to whatwetold by Monsanto, that the chemical remains in the soil.  This has serious consequences for those of us who are growing, farming and eating from land that has previously been treated with Roundup.  

 In the Dairy Industry we all should know well that most dairy cows are fed a supplementary diet of GM soy and corn.  So presume glyphosate is in that mix.

How much glyphosate is in our non-certified organic milk and its side products?  Anyone want to test a glass of milk?   

 Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest and kills weeds at the same time.

Sugar Cane is ‘ripened’ by spraying with glyphosate and interestingly there has been a surge in kidney problems amongst the agricultural workers in Central America who work on the cane fields.

 See more at:


Glyphosate is frequently used in agri business operations.  Agri business is factory farming, industrial scale animal production, mono culture crops.  Agri business is world wide.   

It was used in Argentina October 2013 with these results:



 Monsanto also reiterated that glyphosate – a chemical used in the pesticide Roundup – was proven to be safe. Company spokesman Thomas Helshcher dismissed the correlation between use of pesticides and a rise in ill health as lacking in validity.

 More worryingly, the study found that in the soy-producing province of Santa Fe in northern Argentina cancer rates were two to four times higher than the rest of the country. Furthermore, Researchers also found high rates of thyroid disorders and chronic respiratory illness. Coincidental? 

 Note the responsibility is being put entirely on the farmers shoulders.

 The Monsanto protection team can afford to spend a lot of money proving they are not guilty of poisoning a population.  They have had to do this before in 1977 when the use of PCB’s was banned. Monsanto knew about the toxicity of the PCB’s from the beginning but it was assumed that the PCB’s if contained in products would be harmless to humans. Not so, they were cancerous to animals and humans and were banned in 1979. Time and money is nothing to those who can afford it.

Monsanto do a brilliant PR on ugly symptoms like this. It is already rallying around this topic by throwing in the loopy links and discrediting the authors by personal attacks.  It’s supporters are generally bloggers with pseudonyms or stooges of the corporations or poor farmers who don’t know any better. Whoever they are, the questions remain.

 Will they undertake any tests that will prove that this herbicide is safe and that all our foods and liquids are Glysophate free?

 Can we rely on any independent research like Moms of America? 

Apparently the moms have sent their results to the NZ Food Standards Assoc sometime in 2013.

What was the NZFSA response?

What do our doctors think about this issue? How much time has your doctor spent looking into this?

If the processed product is not certified organic one can be sure that if it has soy, sugarcane, canola, wheat or cotton seed in its ingredients then itcontains  GMO’s.  FACT.

 You can also assume that if by 2014 94% of the planted area in the US was going into  GE soybeans, 96% of GE cotton and 93% of GE corn as well as animal feed,  that much of our imported processed foods on the supermarket shelves and animal feed will have been sourcedfrom varieties which are routinely sprayed with glyphosate.

GMO’s are synonymous with glyphosate.  MOST LIKELY

 If the item of food contains more than 1% of a GMO then you should be able to read this on the label. FACT.

 If it contains less the 1% of GMO you won’t know about that 1% GMO or Glyphosate because that wasn’t considered a food safety requirement by our Food Standards Committee. In other words if it has any GMO/glyphosate in its ingredients you won’t always know. FACT.

 If you buy Certified Organic howeverand its New Zealand Certified Organic you should be able to have  trust in our system of certification which is GMO and Glyphosate free.   FACT.

 MPI enforce the Food Act.  We can rely on them for factual information and accountability right?

The Food Act is our (NZ) legislation relevant to how food is handled processed in New Zealand. Remember the debate on GMO labelling? Well now you know that GE crops are routinely sprayed with glyphosate and that if it contains more than 1% of GE ingredients  then it should be labelled. But is it?

 According to GE Free NZ;

“Unless stated as non-GE or Organic, around 70% of processed foods from imported soy, corn, canola, cotton seed contain GE derived ingredients mainly in the form of vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, soy isolates, soy lecithin of which high levels are used in breads and cakes. 

But as I have already said if its less than 1% you won’t know.

How about our NonOrganic Milk?  Dairy farming has developed a dependence on GE-feed.    Over the last ten years there has been a huge increase and intensification of dairy farming which has relied on nitrogen fertilisers and imported livestock feed.  Dairy cows  are fed GE cotton seed meal and soy. 

There is no legal requirement to  label the presence of the GMO’s in animal feed.

So what levels of Glyphosate and GMO’s are in this feed?

Has milk ever been tested for Glyphosate?  

What about chicken? Pork? Does this mean the meat contains GMO’s?

Will the producer tell us?


 Food Standards Australia New Zealand developed the food standards for both countries.

Food Standards Australia News Zealand’s decisions are approved by the Australian and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council.

 The Australian and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council is composed of 12 members , 10 are Health Ministers or their representatives from each Australian State and only two are NZ representatives .

One of which worked for the NZ Dairy Board.

 The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is composed of 12 countries, NZ Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, USA and Vietnam. Initially 2002 it comprised of only NZ, Chile and Singapore and was called the Pacific Three Closer Initiative.  In 2008 the US agreed to join. Since then the remaining countries have joined albeit some with trepidation, including Canada and Japan. The TPPA is still in developmental stages in some areas, with resistance from some countries to the USA dominance with regards to regulatory processes and its free trade policies particularly with pharmaceuticals. The  purpose of the TPPA is to enhance trade and investment.  Supporters say that it will increase the wealth of the countryand we can do this by allowing more GMO crops to be grown under the patents of companies like Monsanto. But some counties including USA are fortunately having issues with this agreement.     

 Here is a list of countries which have banned or attempted to ban GE.


Including Austria’s ban of GE Maize, France;Rapeseed, Germany; Maize, Four Regions in Italy, Island of Jersey, Wales tried, Switzerland, Norway, Tasmania;Rapeseed, Thailand but not research, Phillipines; 5 yr moratoria, Sri Lanka,  Saudi Arabia ban on GE Wheat and GMO’s, Egypt;Wheat, Algeria, Brazil; GE seeds, Paraguay, USA; Vermont and North Dakota have filed bills  to ban GE Wheat, Denmark has banned the sale of Roundup to private individuals from 2015.

NZ local bodies in Auckland and Wellington have declared themselves GE Free, trials with GE salmon have been blocked by NZ Government.  

Russia has banned GE.

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has lent Ukraine $17 billion on the condition Ukraine allows GE crops. That’s odd,  isn’t Ukraine at war with Russia?

 As of today 27 health leaders in Australasia as well as US Canada and Malaysia and Chile have called for greater transparency in the TPPA agreement regarding health.  The secrecy behind this agreement is causing concern in many quarters of the countries most affected by it..

 Represented among some signatories with concerns about the administration of health came from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), the Public Health Association of New Zealand, and prominent clinicians and academics Professor Boyd Swinburn and Emeritus Professors Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita of the University of Auckland, and Associate Professor Philip Pattemore of University of Otago.

 R Monasterio described the TPPA as "an unprecedented expansion" of intellectual property rights that would "push up the cost of affordable and life-saving medicines, hitting hardest the already vulnerable households in New Zealand and other countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia".

He also feared governments could be sued for protecting health — but governments cannot sue back.

"This will stop important health initiatives on tobacco, alcohol, the obesity epidemic, climate change, antibiotic resistance, and other major future challenges," he said.

The “Monsanto Protection Act”  was a law in the USA until 2013. This act meant that Monsanto could mandate the USA government to allow planting of GE-crops even if courts rule they pose health risks.   

 The United States Representative is lawyer Michael Froman.

The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique.  If ratified the TPPA would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits.

. . . They are carefully crafting the TPPA to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides.


 If  you realise the  benefits of organics over food grown with synthetic chemicals and appreciate the local production of foods whilst protecting your own country’s sovereignty then you may also have realised that any change to the labyrinth of Governmental policy is unlikely to be forthcoming in the foreseeable future.   

Perhaps it might take the health crisis that Dr Stephanie Seneff warns of to bring about any action on this.  Ultimately the power lies with us as consumers. Get informed, you deserve to know more,  ask questions.  We need answers, we need more serious independent studies done. 

 We need to know: Is Glyphosate in our non certified milk?

What crops are routinely killed with Roundup before, during and after harvest? 

Why is business, the industry, the Government and everyone who claims to be working in the public’s best interest so negligent in addressing this issue?

 In the meantime :  Ditch the Roundup. Grown your own (not in Glyphoate treated soils). Buy certified organic. Buy local. Talk to your growers. Talk to your GP, Naturopath about this. Cut back on and work on ditching the  processed foods. Tell everyone what you know about Roundup.

If you find a food item containing Soy, Corn or Canola and its not certified organic and you can’t read GMO on the label, either return it to the supplier or post it to Monsanto.

 We need answers.

If in fact there is nothing to fear from Glyphosate or any of the other chemicals in Roundup then there is nothing to hide.  

 Until glyphosate is proven safe in long term peer reviewed trials it should  be withdrawn from the market.

 So it is encouraging that when we see the Waimakariri District Council considering taking a similar stance on the use of Glyphosate as the Christchurch City Council has done with its spraying regimes. The Kaiapoi Community Board have expressed concerns over the chemicals use and its impact on the life of Kaiapoi Rivers.  Watch this space.   



Rose Thorn