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May 8, 2008

GE Roundup Ready sugar beets and Mother's Day candy -- Andrew Kimbrell on Huffington Post blog

Genetically engineered sugar beets are on the way, and next year's candy will include sugar from the new plants.  Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety has a post on The Huffington Post that's kind of interesting.  I had assumed that sucrose is sucrose is sucrose, always a glucose molecule stuck to a fructose molecule.  And I just assumed it's always pure.  But here's an excerpt from the article suggesting I may be too calm about it:

Sugar in your Mother's Day candy comes from several sources, including sugar beets. A new option available to farmers this year is Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beet, genetically engineered to survive multiple direct applications of the weed killer, Roundup. At the request of Monsanto, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased the allowable amount of glyphosate residues on sugar beetroots by a whopping 5,000% -- glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Sugar is extracted from the beet's root and the inevitable result is more glyphosate in our sugar. This is not good news for those who want to enjoy their chocolate morsels without the threat of ingesting toxic weed killer.

Read Mothers Day Candy from Monsanto Not So Sweet

May 8, 2008 in GMOs | Permalink

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Comments

"Sugar is extracted from the beet's root and the inevitable result is more glyphosate in our sugar."

This is actually not anything near an 'inevitable result.' Although glyphosate may be in sugarbeet roots, the refining process eliminates nearly all impurities from the final product. You are absolutely correct in your assessment that 'sucrose is sucrose is sucrose.' By the time the sugar is sent to candy makers (or any other end user of refined sugar), there are no traces of any herbicide, protein, or other non-sugar substance.

A second point is that even if the herbicide did make it through the sugar refining process, glyphosate would be much safer than the herbicides used in conventional beets. Glyphosate has a higher LD50 than table salt... which means if you consumed an equal amount of glyphosate and table salt, the table salt would do more damage. Luckily, this is a non-issue since there is absolutely no glyphosate in refined sugar.

Posted by: Andy Kniss | Dec 1, 2008 10:13:14 AM

"Sugar is extracted from the beet's root and the inevitable result is more glyphosate in our sugar."

This is actually not anything near an 'inevitable result.' Although glyphosate may be in sugarbeet roots, the refining process eliminates nearly all impurities from the final product. You are absolutely correct in your assessment that 'sucrose is sucrose is sucrose.' By the time the sugar is sent to candy makers (or any other end user of refined sugar), there are no traces of any herbicide, protein, or other non-sugar substance.

A second point is that even if the herbicide did make it through the sugar refining process, glyphosate would be much safer than the herbicides used in conventional beets. Glyphosate has a higher LD50 than table salt... which means if you consumed an equal amount of glyphosate and table salt, the table salt would do more damage. Luckily, this is a non-issue since there is absolutely no glyphosate in refined sugar.

Posted by: Andy Kniss | Dec 1, 2008 10:13:52 AM

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