Food Safety Awareness


To the Editor,

Fruit and vegetables, healthy? Maybe not so much. The Boston Globe recently ran a story about the increased incidence of early-onset colon, pancreatic and breast cancers in younger people over the last couple of decades, profiling a 45-year-old Manchester resident who was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer despite a healthy lifestyle and no family history of cancer. The article speculated widely about possible causes for the disturbing increase in early cancers, including obesity, “ultra-processed foods, cigarettes, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, lack of physical activity, inadequate sleep.”                 

However, nowhere was there any mention of the fact that a proven carcinogenic weedkiller, glyphosate, aka RoundUp, produced by the Bayer Monsanto company, is routinely sprayed as a “drying agent” on cereal, fruit crops and sugarcane in the US. Glyphosate has been banned in Europe, but the EPA has failed to protect consumers in the US from this chemical that has permeated food on our grocery store shelves for more than 20 years.

The Environmental Working Group ( has tested fruits, grains and vegetables for cancer-causing chemicals and found high levels of glyphosate in familiar cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios, Goldfish and Nature Valley granola bars. In other testing, EWG verified that apples in the US are routinely doused with another known carcinogen, diphenylamine, which is strictly limited in the EU but not here. There is a wealth of evidence that cancer-causing chemicals are present in foods that we have no reason not to consider to be healthy.

We would do well to be vigilant in our food choices and not accept ingredients lists at face value. Eating organic where possible is a good option; it is assumed, but not guaranteed, that foods labeled organic are not laced with poisonous chemicals. It is tragic that healthy young people are dying prematurely due to the greed and cynicism of large corporations. The EPA should stand up for our collective health.

Alison Anholt-White


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