Nestle Steps Up Testing After Weedkiller Found in Coffee Beans

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
coffee beans
Nestle, the world’s largest coffee roaster, has stepped up testing of its coffee beans after high levels of weedkiller glyphosate were found in some beans. The herbicide is a purported carcinogen. Photo edit by Autumn Keiko

Nestle, the world’s largest coffee roaster, has stepped up testing of its beans after levels approaching the regulatory limit for pesticides were found in its coffee beans.

Glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto‘s weedkiller Roundup, has seen huge monetary damages awarded to people who say their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by exposure to the chemical, according to a CNN report.

“This is not a new process, we are just reinforcing controls,” a Nestle spokesperson told CNN Business, adding that the same tests were already being done in the countries of the beans’ origin.

Bayer, Monsanto’s parent company, has insisted the herbicide is safe when used properly. A purported carcinogen, it is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world.

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After buying Monsanto for $63 billion, Bayer is facing billions of dollars of lawsuits that have hammered the company’s shares.

The new measures requested by Nestle “have the potential to complicate global coffee trade-flows”, according to Bloomberg.

Europe has some of the strictest standards on glyphosate levels, while Australia and Malaysia also have relatively high limits, compared to the U.S., where restrictions on the substance levels in food are relatively lenient.

“Our agronomists will continue to work with coffee farmers to help them improve their weed management practices, including the appropriate use of herbicides and adoption of other weeding methods,” Nestle said in a statement.