There is evidence that refined soy oil derived from genetically modified soybeans contains glyphosate residues. In fact, the refined oils have a higher concentration of glyphosate than the crude oil.
On Saturday, September 21, 2013, the Seattle Times published a statement by R. James Cook. In his argument against Washington state Initiative-522 to label genetically modified foods (GMOs), Dr. Cook stated,
“Common genetically engineered food crops grown in the U.S. today include corn, canola, soy and sugar beets. Purified food ingredients such as sugars or oils derived from these crops are indistinguishable from ingredients derived from conventional or organic varieties. Importantly, there are no genetically engineered content or traits in these purified ingredients. Yet I-522 would require food products that include these purified ingredients to be labeled even if the food itself is not genetically engineered and has no genetically engineered content.”
It is true that Monsanto makes the claim that there are no detectable residues of glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup) in refined sugars and oils derived from GMOs. In this 2003 document from Monsanto Brussels, the glyphosate levels in sugar and oil are stated at below the level of detection, which they claim is 0.05 parts per million (ppm).
On a side note, Dr. Rosemary Mason reported results on glyphosate in drinking water in Wales in parts per trillion (ppt) obtained from a German laboratory. Are we to believe that Monsanto doesn't have or have access to state-of-the-art equipment?
Meanwhile, a 2005 report on glyphosate residues in food from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations gives residues in crude and refined soybean oil of <0.01-0.02 ppm based on 4 samples. The FAO doesn't say where it got the data, only that it was from the U.S. We might infer the data were from Monsanto except that the numbers are below their detection limit of 0.05 ppm.
In 2006 a company called Solvent Extractors’ Association of India sought approval at the 71st meeting of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of India to import GM soy oil. The GEAC required the company to submit samples of the soy oil to a laboratory for glyphosate residue analysis. “[T]he Glyphosate in the refined oil and crude de-gummed soybean oil was subsequently tested in the Department of Entomology MPKV University at Rahuri. The data indicated that the levels of Glyphosate residues in different soybean oils ranged in between 0.197 and 0.350 ppm. However, the Glyphosate level again showed higher value in the refined soybean oil as compared the de-gummed soybean oil. ”
The company was given the opportunity to justify these results but “the reasons for such variations could not be explained.” Aspersions were cast on the lab that did the testing. The GEAC gave the company the opportunity to have the same batch of oil tested by another lab and the subject was tabled. The matter was brought up again at the 72nd meeting of GEAC, but the lab tests had not yet been done. The matter was not raised again in subsequent meetings.
These days vegetable oils are extracted using the solvent hexane (another endocrine disruptor). When crude oil is further refined, it goes through a process of heating with high temperature steam to evaporate most of the hexane residue from the crude oil. During this process, the glyphosate residues do not evaporate. Refining the oil results in eliminating most (but not all) hexane residue from crude oil so that the mass of the refined oil is less than the crude oil, resulting in a greater percentage of glyphosate in the refined oil.
It has been shown that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor at 0.5 ppm, and that it induces human breast cancer cell growth via estrogen receptors at “concentrations [that] are in a crucial range which correlated to the potential biological levels at part per trillion (ppt) to part per billion (ppb) which have been reported in epidemiological studies.” According to Vandenberg, “Experimental data indicate that EDCs [endocrine disrupting chemicals] and hormones do not have NOAELs [no observed adverse effect level] or threshold doses, and therefore no dose can ever be considered safe.” [emphasis added]
Do we want foods with “purified” ingredients derived from GM crops labeled? Hell yes.