Our initial reaction: It’s not as bad as it sounds (but it’s confusing)…

Glyphosate and Prop 65

Glyphosate was added to California’s Proposition 65 list in July 2017, meaning that as of July 2018 any food product which contains a greater amount of Glyphosate residue than the established “No Significant Risk Level” must have a warning label on the product such as this:

WARNING: Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals
including (name of one or more chemicals), which is (are) known to
the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other
reproductive harm. For more information go to

What is the No Significant Risk Level for Glyphosate?

The key is the “No Significant Risk Level” (NSRL) and how it’s calculated.

In basic terms, this is a daily exposure level and can be calculated by the level of glyphosate residue found in a food product and how much of that product a person is likely to consume per day, giving you the potential daily exposure.

For Glyphosate as of writing this article, the exact “NSRL” level hasn’t actually been written into law, but the recommendation is 1100 micrograms per day.

In our view, 1100mg per day is high and unlikely to affect many products at all – for example, maximum residue levels of Glyphosate are already established in the Code of Federal Regulations – the maximum residue level (MRL) for Oilseeds which covers Chia is 40mg/kg – which means to exceed the NSRL a person must eat 27.5kg of Chia per day. Here are some more examples:

  • Beans/legumes: 5mg/kg – 220kg/day
  • Quinoa: 5mg/kg – 220kg/day
  • Teff: 5mg/kg – 220kg/day

For organic products, where the MRL levels is typically 5% of that established by the Code of Federal Regulations, the risk level is even lower.

What precautions are needed?

The key is to have strict quality control procedures in place, which is why TradeLink International recommends tests for each shipment with reputable third party laboratories in the USA and Europe.  We also take samples under strict guidelines at the time of loading, rather than relying on samples provided by processors, which in cases may not be representative of the actual product shipped.

As long as the product complies with the Maximum Residual Levels established in the Code of Federal Regulations, and these are reasonable considering the NSRL, then the product shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

In conclusion it would appear that very few (if any) food products will be affected, which raises the question of why the ruling even exists – maybe it’s only reason is a jab at Monsanto – the supplier of Glyphosate.

If in doubt, get help

And finally, we have to say it – there is nothing like getting professional advice for your own situation.  If you are based in the USA and have concerns as to any implications for your business, the following lawyer helped us in our research and would be willing to provide help if required:
Melvin S. Drozen | Tel: +1 202.434.4222 | drozen@khlaw.com