CUJ and the No! GMO Campaign have published a new booklet about the dangerous herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other brands. Written by Amagasa Keisuke, it outlines the recent events including lawsuits in the US and new data about the toxic effects. Here in Japan, residue of glyphosate has been found in bread made with imported wheat.
The booklet also exposes how in 2017, the Japanese government increased the legal residue levels in many foods:
Wheat flour: From 5 => 30 parts per million (ppm)
Rye wheat flour: From 0.2 => 30 ppm
Soba flour: From 0.2 => 30 ppm
Corn: From 1 => 5 ppm
Canola: From 10 => 30 ppm
In Japan, many soybean farmers are using glyphosate-based herbicides including Roundup as a pre-harvest chemical, in order to dry the crops while they are still maturing. CUJ and the No! GMO Campaign have been successfully campaigning to get soybean farmers in Hokkaido to stop this practice. In other countries, especially in North and South America, farmers are growing crops that are genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. In Japan, there is no commercial farming of such GM crops, but imported feed and food oils often contain GM ingredients such as GM soy, GM corn or GM canola (rapeseed). Look for the label on products including soy, such as tofu, soy sauce and natto if you want to avoid GM ingredients that can contain glyphosate residue.
The 64 pages booklet is in Japanese. You can order it here:
Activists have for many years participated in actions around harbours all around Japan. They collect and test wild-growing canola along roads and near food oil factories. The import of Genetically Modified canola, which started in the late 1990s, led to GM plants growing wild, an unintentional effect that poses a risk to the biodiversity of similar plants. Canola is a member of the Brassica genus and many other edible plants are grown in Japan, thus increasing the risk that cross-contamination will occur of related foods like cabbage or broccoli.
In 2006, the government started taking an interest in this issue, after intense lobbying by CUJ and the No! GMO Campaign, who are helping to organise the testing. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) has again this year announced that they have found GM canola growing wild around seven harbours (Tomakomai, Kashima, Chiba, Nagoya, Yokkaichi, Kobe and Hakata). They also found wild-growing GM soy at one harbour (Hakata).
It is believed that the imported seeds easily fall off conveyor belts and lorries as they are transported from the ships that enter the harbours. According to Bio Journal, when 165 individual seeds of Brassica napus were tested, 20 were discovered to have resistance to both glyphosate and glufosinate.
Read more: MAFF reports results of GM rapeseed, GM soy wild volunteer survey
Read CUJ’s 2010 report about wild-growing canola
CUJ has submitted the following questionnaire to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Mr. Katsunobu Kato.
On 31 July 2020, your ministry announced that it had reached a basic agreement with Pfizer Inc. of the United States to supply 60 million people with a new coronavirus vaccine by June of next year, if the vaccine is successful. Your ministry also announced on 7 August that it had reached an agreement in principle with AstraZeneca of the United Kingdom to receive 120 million doses of the vaccine, if successful, by early next year. Developed countries are working to secure the vaccine, and your ministry is actively working to secure it. This is a major agreement at a time when vaccines are not yet available and their effectiveness and safety are not even known.
Vaccines are causing health problems, especially among children, due to adverse reactions. Vaccines, unlike drugs, are administered to healthy people. We must be cautious as well as careful. In order to hasten the development of this new biotech vaccine, they are being developed in a different way than the traditional method of development, and the way the vaccine works is completely different. Moreover, large-scale vaccination is being considered. We can’t help but be very concerned about the damage caused by adverse reactions. For this reason, we would like to ask the following questions:
Continue reading Questionnaire Regarding Vaccination Against COVID-19
Please click here for our latest English newsletter: CUJ-JR-178
We hope you will continue to stay updated with CUJ’s activities and news on our English website, and support our campaigns!
From the Editors: Stay Tuned for More to Come!
Request to Stop Using Pre-harvest Glyphosate on Soybeans
CUJ Blog: What is the Future of Japanese Agriculture?
CUJ Supports “Defend Our Rice, Fight for Our Rights” Campaign Across Asia
Request for Opinion Exchange on Genome-Editing Foods
Over 9000 People Replied to CUJ’s Questionnaire About Fragrances
Campaign Against Railway Glyphosate Use
JA Toyama Prefecture
No! GMO Campaign
Consumers Union of Japan 25 August 2020
Request to stop using pre-harvest glyphosate on soybeans
We are a consumer organization working for food safety. We are engaging in a number of initiatives to oppose genetically modified foods and genome-edited foods and demand prudent use of the herbicides and pesticides associated with them. In recent years, we have strengthened our monitoring of glyphosate herbicides, especially in light of the recent revelations of their harmfulness and the progress of global regulations.
In the midst of this situation, we were informed that the glyphosate was detected in soybeans and processed foods shipped from your prefecture’s JA plant. Glyphosate is a suspected carcinogenic with other toxic effects. We are concerned to learn that it is being sprayed as a wilt agent before the wheat harvest in North America and that pre-harvest spraying is being carried out on soybeans here in Japan as well. We are concerned that the spraying of harmful pesticides has a high risk of harming the health of farmers, and that spraying just before harvest can lead to significant residues in the harvest. While the Pesticide Control Act allows for the application of herbicides and pesticides in the field of soybeans prior to harvest, the purpose of using glyphosate is solely for weed control. We believe it is illegal to use glyphosate for soybean wilt or to use them in such a way that they affect the soybeans.
We, as consumers, used to think that domestic soybeans were safe because many imported soybeans are now genetically modified and new genome-edited soybeans have appeared in the United States. However, we are concerned that the detection of glyphosate in domestically produced soybeans may make it impossible to say that such soybeans are safe because they are domestically produced.
We would like to ask you to instruct your prefecture’s JA to stop using glyphosate in soybeans prior to harvest, and ask the following questions. We would like to ask you to respond in writing by 8 September. We plan to publish your answers on our website.
- Have your prefecture’s headquarters ever advised JAs in your prefecture to recommend or allow spraying with glyphosate before the harvest of soybeans?
- Do you know whether or not your prefecture’s JAs apply glyphosate before the harvest of soybeans?
- Are you aware that in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer evaluated glyphosate as a possible carcinogen for humans, and that in the United States, a large number of plaintiffs have won lawsuits against glyphosate manufacturers?
- Could you instruct JA in the prefecture to stop using glyphosate before harvest? When, if at all, will you instruct them to stop? If not, please tell us why you will not do so.