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The glyphosate “study” that plays into Monsanto’s hands

This “study” was promoted in a news release that got picked up by a number of media outlets: Monsanto’s Glyphosate Found in California Wines, Even Wines Made With Organic Grapes


To be sure, there is a legitimate scientific debate right now over the health effects of glyphosate — the main ingredient in Round-Up weed killer.


However, that link leads to a poorly constructed argument that is not actually a study: it is just pieces of some laboratory results cut and pasted into a news release. As a practicing scientist (The Stealth Syndromes Project) I find the whole effort not credible.


It is the sort of emotional glyphosate screed that plays into Monsanto’s hands.


This is not to say that the authors did not have the best intentions. They are fervent advocates for their cause.

But when advocates best of science and cast it in slanted and biased language, it loses credibility.

This is especially significant when advocates do not have a scientific background and lack the judgment on  how to back up their viewpoints in an organized and credible manner.


That said, this is not a published study capable of being peer-reviewed or even transparent enough to be commented upon by qualified scientists. (See Peer Review, Reproducibility: How To Separate Good Science From Sketchy Tales)


We have no idea whether the results — which have been carefully extracted to support a particular viewpoint — are the whole truth about the lab results.



It is completely lacking in transparency or the means for it to be reproducible

There is no data, no study methodology stated, no description of how the wines were sampled, how they were analyzed, no indication of statistical significance.


No indication of the qualifications of the people conducting the study.


The footnotes cited are partial, incomplete and a barrier to anyone who wants to review them.


And no statement regarding any conflicts of interest on the part of the investigators.


In short, this news release fails in every valid scientific sense.


However, it does play right into Monsanto’s PR plans to dismiss any opposition as nothing more than pseudo-scientific crap like this.