What are we really eating and is it safe?

HEALTHY SOILS: Dr Don Huber discussing residue soil test results.
HEALTHY SOILS: Dr Don Huber discussing residue soil test results. Contributed

MORE than 200 people made their way to the Healthy Soils forum last week in Rockhampton to investigate and understand the link between the food we grow and the health of Australian families.

While it is common knowledge there are foods (junk food) that should not be consumed on a regular basis, there is now increasing doubt about the food (regarded as healthy food) available for human consumption.

Healthy Soils Incorporated had numerous requests to explain the link between food and human health.

Scientists, farmers and graziers travelled from Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to talk to audiences about how our food is impacting our health.

Healthy Soils group chairman Mick Alexander said the three-day forum was inspiring for all who attended.

"The key message from the program was that a chemical commonly known as glyphosate is having a huge impact on the health of all of our families and communities,” he said.

"This came as a surprise to many people who were still being told glyphosate was safe because we have been using it for so long.”

According to the special guest speaker at the forum, professor Don Huber, glyphosate has never passed a long-term safety analysis and the chemical manufacturers simply used the acute (short-term) testing to say it was safe for humans.

"What they are telling us is, if it does not kill you today, it is safe. Even the chemical regulators (AVPMA) do no testing to ensure it is safe,” Dr Huber said.

Mr Alexander explained that chronic diseases such as cancer developed through years of contact with food containing toxic chemicals.

"In fact, without long-term testing, how can we be sure that the build-up of chemical residue in the soil, plants and animals for human consumption is not also accumulating in our bodies and affecting our health,” he said.

"It is surprising that our government regulator has not established long-term (chronic) trials with all chemicals that are in, or in contact with, the food chain, so we can be assured that our families will consume safe food.”

The program included a field day at Bongers Farm, Jambin, on Saturday, September 10, followed by a two-day forum in Rockhampton.

The field day program highlighted the world-leading work GRDC scientists have undertaken to ascertain the levels of residual herbicides that are still sitting in our paddocks and built up from the past 20 years of chemical farming.

The initial data from trials last year in every state of Australia showed varying levels of glyphosate from small to very high amounts depending on soil type.

Local farming family Tony and Peter Bongers had paddocks tested and found large amounts of glyphosate as well.

Interested farmers at the forum were willing to work with GRDC to find out the impact of these chemicals on our food supply.

Dr Huber explained that glyphosate was simply not breaking down like the experts said it would.

"The chemical has changed the soil microbial composition, being toxic to beneficial organisms, promoting pathogens and tying up key minerals such as manganese, copper and zinc,” he said.

"The longer it is used, the more impact it will have on soil and crops.”

Topics:  agricultural research glyphosate healthy soils herbicides mick alexander weed control

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