Glyphosate in Corn Products: Investigating Patterns and Risks of Residue Levels

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John Wargo
Essay Abstract: 
Recent scientific investigations have raised concerns over the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The International Agency for Research on Cancer identified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015, but the compound continues to be widely used in agriculture and is sprayed directly onto many crops that humans consume. One such crop is corn, which is ubiquitous in the American diet. In this investigation, I measured the levels of glyphosate in various corn-derived food products in order to determine 1) whether corn products are a significant source of dietary glyphosate exposure, and 2) how food processing affects glyphosate levels in food. The results showed no detectable levels of glyphosate in any of the food products analyzed. From this data, I conclude that processed corn products (but not necessarily fresh corn) likely have negligible levels of glyphosate, while the effects of food processing on glyphosate levels remain unclear.