What's in Your Wheat?
In August 2018, the Guardian Newspaper ran a story about worryingly high traces of a common weedkiller ingredient appearing in a large range of wheat-based breakfast products aimed at children. The offending item was the chemical glyphosate, the active ingredient in the worldwide best-selling weedkiller product called Roundup, manufactured by the Monsanto Corporation.
As is often the case, the levels found high were deemed high by one organisation and within the acceptable range by the state agency. This is nothing new of course. Weedkiller has been used for over thirty years, according to the historical account in this March 2016 article by non-gmoreport.com, as a way of accelerating the harvest by drying out the grains. The Guardian article is at pains to point out the claims do not relate to products sold outside of the US, but since non-gmoreport.com reports that this practice of desiccation originated in Scotland and spread to Canada, it seems safe to assume that the weedkiller is present further afield, including Europe.
The amount of weed killer being used globally is staggering. non-gmoreport.com estimates that nearly 19 million pounds of glyphosate have been used since 1974, making it the most commonly used weed killer in the history of chemical agriculture. Furthermore, and more concerning, three-quarters of this has been applied in the last 10 years, coinciding with the expansion of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans. One consultant quoted in the article estimated that weedkiller application across Manitoba in Canada could be as high as 95%.
All of this information lodges in the mind of the health-conscious and environmentally aware consumer, and helps propel the continuing growth of organic produce around the world. Faced with a choice of spending slightly more money on food and drink that avoids having to ingest potential carcinogens and feed them to your children, or saving money and taking on additional health risks, is leading many people to go with option A. This is the global push towards organic, simple, clean and natural, and away from processed, chemical and artificial.
The smRt pasta range is, of course, made from wheat - with the exception of the gluten-free version, for obvious reasons. Our pasta is organic, Italian artisan pasta, made from 100% organic wheat. It’s made by hand, using bronze dye extrusion methods, and we add 2% organic seaweed ingredients, for a health-giving ‘plus’. Seaweed, as you’re probably tired of reading if you’re a regular reader of this blog, has proven health claims associated with the thyroid gland and the normal function of the thyroid, nervous system, metabolism, cognitive skills, skin, and normal growth in children.
All smRt products - not just our pasta products - use organic ingredients, plus a little organic Irish seaweed.
So, to return to the original question: What’s in our wheat? Wheat - and nothing else. And what do we add to our wheat? Not weedkiller, but weed itself, in the form of seaweed.