A University of Saskatchewan toxicologist says it’s not likely that glyphosate residue in livestock feed is causing animals to become sick.
Dr. Barry Blakley said suggestions from Dr. Ted Dupmeier, a large animal veterinarian, that sick animals get better when feed containing glyphosate is removed, and molasses is fed to improve gut microbes, aren’t supported by current scientific literature.
Dupmeier said recently that some tested feed registered residue levels of about 500 parts per billion, or .5 parts per million.
But Blakley said according to an American expert the ‘no effect’ level in livestock would be two million ppb, or 2,000 ppm.
“When you spray it on the field, (the rate) is about 150 ppm, so obviously if you spray it under normal conditions you should never run into the no effect level.”
He said other studies have suggested the maximum residue levels on hay and dry grass should be 500 ppm and on oat straw, 100 ppm, which are well below the 2,000 ppm threshold, he said.
Blakley said there is no doubt that any feed can be contaminated with glyphosate. People have been using it for years and feeding their cattle with sprayed feed for years.
He also disputed Dupmeier’s claim that glyphosate could be disrupting the gut microbes in animals, causing illness.
“I haven’t seen any controlled studies where they’ve put animals on oats straw or whatever that’s treated with Roundup and another that’s not treated with Roundup and then cultured the bugs to see what the differences are,” he said. “Glyphosate is an amino acid derivative and I can’t believe it’s going to disrupt too many gut micro flora.”
Monsanto worked with Dupmeier on a case involving flax straw, in which the veterinarian claimed calves ate some of their flax bedding and were poisoned.
An analysis of the straw, reviewed by the Animal Poison Control Centre in the U.S., did find glyphosate but at very low levels.
“It was below the level of concern,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director of the centre in information provided by Monsanto.
She compared it to the amount of cyanide in an apple; it exists but is of no concern.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency doesn’t set safe consumption levels for animals as it does for humans.