The pizza industry is not exactly home to the best quality ingredients by a long shot, especially when it comes to chain restaurants.
While smaller mom-and-pop pizza chains are generally more likely to use high quality non-GMO ingredients from small, local food producers, the big guys on the block are notorious for products containing GMO soybean oil, cheese from cows fed genetically engineered grains, preservatives, additives, and much more.
The one pizza chain that claims, at least in its advertising, to have a higher standard ingredients is pretty well known among pizza aficionados.
But recently, the company’s products were tested for residues of the cancer-linked Monsanto chemical that has become the talk of clean food activists around the world, and it fared surprisingly bad according to the latest results from one of the country’s biggest emerging watchdog organizations.
Papa John’s Comes in Worst for Glyphosate, Surprise Winner for Smallest Amount
According to the lab tests, which were conducted by the non-profit organization and Facebook page GMO Free USA through Health Research Institute Laboratories, the pizza crust for Papa John’s tested the highest among three chains in terms of its glyphosate residue levels.
The Papa John’s crust came in last at 213.05 effective parts per billion of the chemical, which was dubbed a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s top cancer research body in 2015.
Just 0.1 ppb of glyphosate has been shown to alter the gene function of over 4,000 genes in the livers and kidneys, and causes severe organ damage in rats.
The other two pizza brands tested were Domino’s which came in second worst at 60.46 ppb, followed by Pizza Hut, which came in with the lowest levels at 9.84 effective ppb, still relatively high considering how little of the chemical is needed to begin causing damage within the bodies of living organisms.
Unfortunately, all three chains still widely use GMOs in their ingredients.
Restaurant Chains with Slogans Boasting Quality Ingredients Among the Worst Tested
Perhaps the most surprising part of the test results, which can be read in full here, is that two chains with slogans touting their quality ingredients, Papa John’s and Panera Bread, tested frightfully high for glyphosate residues.
“Papa John’s, the company that claims to use the best ingredients, had by far the highest level of glyphosate of all the restaurants tested,” a post from the organization on Facebook read.
In addition to pizza restaurants, GMO Free USA also tested foods from major restaurant chains across the country for glyphosate residues.
The highest amount of glyphosate found in a single food item was on a bagel from Panera Bread, a chain that claims its food is “100% clean,” the non-profit also said.
This article was first written in March 2019 and republished in January 2021.