A notorious, cancer-causing chemical used in weedkiller has been found in major hummus brands.
A study in the US by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered glyphosate in more than 80 percent of the 27 non-organic hummus products that it sampled.
Some of the brands that were found to have small but harmful levels of glyphosate include Whole Foods, which has seven stores in the UK, as well as US-brand Sabra.
EWG believes that 160 parts per billion for daily consumption is unhealthy and says that most of the brands it studied surpassed this level.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, and the state of California lists it as chemical known to cause cancer.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world and sold under the brand name Roundup, owned by chemical giant Monsanto
The weedkiller hit the news when a jury ordered Monsanto pay groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson more $289m (£226m) in damages after ruling it had caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
EWG said that the hummus product with the highest level of glyphosate – Whole Foods Market Original Hummus – had nearly 15 times the its benchmark.
The products were purchased online or at major food retailers in Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco in across several major US supermarkets, including Aldi.
“Beans, peas and lentils are a nutritious, affordable source of protein and an important part of the American diet,” said Dr. Olga Naidenko of the EWG.
“These excellent foods would be much better without glyphosate. Toxic weedkiller should never be allowed to contaminate these products, or any other foods, that millions of American families eat every day.”
Toxicologist Alexis M. Temkin said consumers should opt for organic hummus if they want to avoid harmful levels of glyphosate.
In 2017 the European Union extended the licence for use of glyphosate for five years – which UK lawmakers were in favour of.
A spokesperons for Whole Foods said: “At Whole Foods Market, our highest priority is to provide customers with safe, high-quality products.
“All food sold in our stores must meet our rigorous Quality Standards, which prohibit 100+ preservatives, flavors, colors and other ingredients commonly found in food.
“All Whole Foods Market products tested by the Environmental Working Group are fully compliant with EPA tolerances for glyphosate.
“Whole Foods Market requires that suppliers meet all applicable limits for glyphosate through effective raw material control programs that include appropriate testing.”