BY EMMA CONNOLLY
A GROUP has erected a billboard in the centre of Macroom claiming that Guinness contains glyphosate, the main ingredient in weedkiller Roundup, something Guinness parent Diageo has flatly denied, and has insisted it’s safe to drink.
Uplift chose Macroom for the board, because it’s the hometown of Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, and have asked in the poster what he plans to do about the claim.
Uplift describe themselves as an ‘independent community of people taking co-ordinated action for progressive change in Ireland’.
Their director is Schull-based Siobhán O’Donoghue, who said tests commissioned by their members have revealed traces of glyphosate in Guinness.
She said: ‘These results confirm that glyphosate, a chemical that scientists and court juries have linked to cancer, is more or less everywhere. Agriculture Minister Michael Creed is ignoring people’s concerns about the dangers of this toxic weedkiller in the food we eat and drink, and as a result, our bodies.’
She added: ‘Research shows that Ireland has the second highest levels of glyphosate in surface water in Europe. Roundup is sprayed on our crops right before they hit the shelves in supermarkets in Ireland.
‘Other countries are limiting its use, but our Minister for Agriculture continues to put our health, wildlife and our environment at risk.’
A Diageo spokesman said that in their recent routine tests on draught Guinness, glyphosate was not detected.
‘These tests were conducted using an independent, accredited (ISO and UKAS) laboratory. Glyphosate is not sprayed on the barley supplied to St James’s Gate. Guinness is perfectly safe to drink, as it always has been.
‘At Diageo we strive to brew the best possible beer, always ensuring that we comply with all relevant food safety standards.’
Minister Creed added that glyphosate products remaining on the market are not permitted to be used pre-harvest for desiccation/harvest management purposes in cereals.
‘However, some products are allowed for use on crops close to harvest for the control of problematic weeds,’ he said. ‘It should be noted that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) review of glyphosate included an assessment of potential dietary exposure that could result from pre-harvest use and concluded that this use does not pose a risk to human health.
‘Regarding the continued use of plant protection products containing glyphosate in Ireland, my Department continues to monitor international peer-reviewed scientific evidence and to follow EFSA and European Chemicals Agency conclusions and guidance,’ he added.
Ms O’Donoghue concluded: ‘Our community is going to keep fighting until we know that the food on our plates, the water we drink and the green spaces our children play in are safe from toxic glyphosate.’