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What You Need To Know: Glyphosate

Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Author: Kerri-Jane McAlinden

WHAT IS GLYPHOSATE?

Glyphosate is a chemical compound found in many herbicides, making it the most commonly used weed killer here in New Zealand and worldwide. As a result, some markets and consumers have an interest in measuring for glyphosate residues in honey.

HOW DOES GLYPHOSATE GET INTO HONEY?

Glyphosate kills a wide range of weeds so may be sprayed wherever there are unwanted plants, including farms, orchards, gardens and forestry areas. If glyphosate has been sprayed in an area where bees are foraging (e.g., pasture that is being desiccated during wilting), it can end up in honey. Bees are exposed to glyphosate via contaminated pollen and nectar. Water and dust can also transfer glyphosate to hives.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Glyphosate has been gaining interest internationally as a residue of concern for a number of years. This has been driven in part by high-profile court cases in the USA, and in part by countries putting partial or full bans on the sale or use of the chemical.