The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has quietly abandoned its' plan to start testing food for glyphosate residue. The chemical is the active ingredient in Roundup herbicides--the world's most widely used weed killer. 

USDA has spent the last year coordinating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in preparation to start testing samples of corn syrup for glyphosate residues starting on April 1, according to internal agency documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. The documents show that the glyphosate testing plan was moving forward. But when asked about the plan last week, a USDA spokesman said no glyphosate residue testing would be done at all by USDA this year.

The USDA's plan called for the collection and testing of 315 samples of corn syrup from around the U.S. from April through August 

Researchers were also supposed to test for the AMPA metabolite, the documents state. AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) is created as glyphosate breaks down. Measuring residues that include those from AMPA is important because AMPA is not a benign byproduct, as it has its own set of safety concerns, scientists believe.

USDA's Diana Haynes wrote to colleagues within USDA that "based on recent conversations with EPA, we will begin testing corn syrup for glyphosate and its AMPA metabolite April 1, 2017 with collection ending August 31, 2017.    However, recently USDA's testing program was quietly mothballed shortly after Fresno Superior Court Judge Kristi-Culver Kapetan ruled against agrichemical giant Monsanto challenge to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's listing of glyphosate as a Proposition 65 carcinogen.

Haynes is director of a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service division that annually conducts the Pesticide Data Program (PDP), which tests thousands of foods for hundreds of different pesticide residues. It's unclear whether the testing program was scrapped because independent researchers were quick to test a number of food products containing alarming levels of glyphosate and publish results before federal agencies could get their testing programs underway.