Weedkiller Chemical Found In Popular Wine & Beer

In a recent study, nearly 20 alcoholic beverages analyzed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) showed detectable levels of the pesticide glyphosate, the pesticide is best known as the key ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup.

For the report, the PIRG researchers tested five wines, 14 beers, and one hard cider for the presence of glyphosate.

The report concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency should ban glyphosate “unless and until it can be proven safe,” due to what the group says is more evidence that it causes cancer. Residues may show up in beer if the pesticide is used on barley, for instance, and in wine if growers spray the weeds near grapevines.

Researchers from the University of Washington evaluated existing studies into the chemical — found in weed killers including Monsanto’s popular Roundup — and concluded that it significantly increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the immune system, by 41%.

One high-profile case against Monsanto was that of Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper diagnosed with terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014. In August 2018, a judge ordered Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million in damages, an award subsequently reduced to approximately $78 million after Monsanto appealed.

“All of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” the authors wrote in a study published in the journal Mutation Research.

From highest to lowest levels of the pesticide, here is how the samples fared:


Sutter Home Merlot (2018), U.S. vineyard, 4-pack, 187-ml bottles, 51.4 ppb
Beringer’s Founders’ Estate Moscato (2018), U.S. vineyard, 750-ml bottles, 42.6 ppb
Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon (2018), U.S. vineyard, 4-pack, 187-ml bottles, 36.3 ppb
Inkarri Malbec: Certified Organic (2016), Argentina, 750-ml bottles, 5.3 ppb
Frey Organic Natural (2017), U.S. vineyard, 750-ml bottles, 4.8 ppb

Beers & Hard Ciders:

Tsingtao Beer (2017), Chinese beer, 4-pack, 640-ml (21.6-oz) bottles, 49.7 ppb
Coors Light (2018), U.S. beer, 6-pack, 500-ml (16.9-oz) cans, 31.1 ppb
Miller Lite (2018), U.S. beer, 6-pack, 375-ml (12.7-oz) bottles, 29.8 ppb
Budweiser (2018), U.S. beer, 6-pack, 440-ml (14.88-oz) bottles, 27 ppb.
Corona Extra (2017), Mexican beer, 6-pack, 355-ml (12-oz) bottles, 25.1 ppb
Heineken (2018), Dutch beer, 6-pack, 355-ml (12-oz) bottles, 20.9 ppb
Guinness Draught (2018), Irish beer, 4-pack, 440-ml (14.88-oz) bottles, 20.3 ppb
Stella Artois (2017), Belgian beer, 6-pack, 355-ml (12-oz) bottles, 18.7 ppb
Ace Perry Hard Cider (2018), U.S. cider, 6-pack, 650-ml (22-oz) bottles, 14.5 ppb
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (2018), U.S. beer, 6-pack, 350-ml (11.83-oz) cans, 11.8 ppb
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale (2018), U.S. beer, 6-pack, 350-ml (11.83-oz) bottles, 11.2 ppb
Sam Adams New England IPA (2018), U.S. beer, 4-pack, 475-ml (16-oz) cans, 11 ppb
Stella Artois Cidre (2018), Belgian cider, 6-pack, 355-ml (12-oz) bottles, 9.1 ppb