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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Are Herbicides in our food Causing Cancer?

Updated: Feb 19

What is really in your food?

Earlier this year, my friend, Don Dempsey, an elderly farmer living in the Central North Island, finally surrendered after a long and difficult struggle with cancer. When I first met him he was riddled with arthritis that was so bad in his legs that he got about mostly barefoot. Don was the author of the Hazel Blue Farm Phenoxy Report.

In this report, Don details how he poisoned not only his farm animals but also himself and, presumably, his family with a phenoxy herbicide that is used to control gorse and blackberry. These weeds are a huge problem for agriculture in New Zealand with the only practical control being with herbicides. I believe I am the only person to have published his report which should have raised alarm bells. There has been no interest in Don's concerns from agricultural officialdom. Don once told me that he had been told to pull his head in by some farmers.

New Zealand farming relies heavily on herbicides to give that image of green weed-free fields.

I read somewhere that New Zealand is the largest user of herbicides in the world, per capita.

There has been a lot of publicity lately, in the USA in particular, of the increasing evidence of a link between herbicide use and the increase in gut disorders. Lawsuits are now being filed alleging harm from these chemicals.

I was thinking about Don while I was reading the article that follows:

Glyphosate and Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults

"Colorectal cancer has increased by 51% in Americans under age 50 since the mid-1990s, and researchers suggest that “early life exposures…may be contributing to the rise” in that age group.

A leading hypothesis is that gut dysbiosis is playing an active part—perhaps by disrupting young people’s immune response and triggering overactivation of cell signaling proteins in the colon. Some researchers have even posited a “bidirectional self-feeding relationship” between the gut microbiome and colorectal cancer, with gut dysbiosis contributing to colorectal cancer growth and progression, and tumor growth in turn disturbing the gut microbiome.

Autism investigators have been at the forefront of research on the gut microbiome. They point to environmental toxins and antibiotic use as two influences that can shift the gut’s microbial composition in an unfavorable direction. Scientists attribute up to 85% of colorectal cancers to environmental and microbial factors.

Glyphosate (the leading ingredient of Roundup) is both an herbicide and a patented antimicrobial. Could the upward trend in glyphosate usage that began roughly three decades ago have something to do, therefore, with the skyrocketing incidence of colorectal cancer in young people?

Although recent court cases linking Roundup to cancer have focused mostly on other types of cancer such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the evidence that glyphosate wreaks havoc with gut bacteria has led many researchers to suspect that the answer is yes. " Read More...


These chemical residues are now ubiquitous in the food chain, especially food that is produced from grain.

What can we do about it?

  • Reduce your consumption of imported food that comes from grains which means most carbohydrate-based foods, including wheat, rice, corn and soy - and most processed oils such as canola. This is not easy to do as I am finding out!

  • Eat more locally produced food that you can track to source and confirm low use of herbicides on the soil it is grown in.

  • Eat more organic food which should be zero in chemicals.

  • Write to your Members of Parliament to demand action, including more research into sustainable farming practices and join organisations that are lobbying for these practices.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods that are heavily processed and which come with a long list of food-additive numbers on the label. As much as you can, prepare food from ingredients that are sourced locally.

By the way, the best way to bring about change is for you and me to purchase food that is produced the way we want. Eggs are a good example; the demand for free range eggs is bringing about a huge change in the way eggs are produced with the big supermarket chains now driving the change to more humane production.

For supporting gut health there is one very simple measure you can take and that is to have a regular intake of citrus peel. I quite like having a pitcher of lemon water in the fridge which is drunk regularly. Every now and then I'll take out a few of the lemon slices and eat them, skin and all.

If you do have gut issues of any kind then you can take the lemon drink a step further by making a potent lemon, garlic, turmeric and ginger tonic. You can read about this tonic, including the research supporting the ingredient's health benefits here.

A final point:

the issues raised in this article apply as much to your children as they do to you. Do not overlook what they may be consuming. Do your best to set your children up for a long and healthy life.

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