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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 27 - December 3  > Japan-US trade liberalization may lead to increase in cancer-causing ingredients in school meals
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2019 November 27 - December 3 [ECONOMY]

Japan-US trade liberalization may lead to increase in cancer-causing ingredients in school meals

November 29, 2019

A cancer-causing residual herbicide has been detected in some school lunch bread. As the toxic substance was found in a U.S.-produced agrochemical, concern over children's food safety and deregulation associated with the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement has been growing.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko, on November 28 at a joint meeting of Japan-U.S. trade-related committees of the House, demanded that the government take countermeasures to prohibit and block pesticide residues from being mixed into school meals.

Kami said that Japan imports more than five million tons of wheat annually from the United States, and that in the Agriculture Ministry's inspection, residual glyphosate has been discovered in 98% of U.S. wheat.

Kami cited another test carried out by the Food Research Laboratory of the Japan Family Farmers Movement (Nouminren), and said, "Glyphosate was not detected in the bread made with domestic wheat but was detected in the bread using imported wheat. According to the lab, 0.05-0.08ppm of glyphosate were found in the bread rolls and sliced bread given to children at schools. Does the government think that nothing adverse would happen to children who are very sensitive and vulnerable to chemical residues in food?"

Noting that legal actions against Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicide "Roundup" are increasing in the United States, Kami criticized the government for significantly relaxing the legal limit on glyphosate residues two years ago to meet the demand of pesticide manufacturers.

Minister of Agriculture Eto Taku in response said, "We will consider what we can do to deal with the issue of safety of school meals."
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