Huber Letter

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The Huber Letter is a letter written by Don Huber to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about troubling emerging research on genetically engineered crops and the herbicide glyphosate.[1] In the letter, he warns that preliminary research has discovered an organism that is linked to miscarriages in livestock. Given the impending deregulation of GE alfalfa (which Vilsack deregulated shortly after Huber sent him the letter), Huber said:

"In summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.
"It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data."

Huber followed this with a second letter, which he sent to governments outside the U.S., explaining why he wrote Vilsack and including more data.[2]

Media Attention and Scientific Response

Huber's initial letter was leaked and posted on several websites in mid-February 2011. By February 26, the media reported a group of Purdue scientists, Jim J. Camberato, Shaun N. Casteel, Peter B. Goldsbrough, Bill G. Johnson, Kiersten Alane Wise, and Charles P. Woloshuk, wrote an article opposing the conclusions Huber made in his letter.[3]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Researcher: Roundup or Roundup-Ready Crops May Be Causing Animal Miscarriages and Infertility, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Accessed April 6, 2011.
  2. Jill Richardson, Another Huber Letter Leaked, Warns of Harm from Roundup and GMOs, La Vida Locavore, April 6, 2011, Accessed April 6, 2011.
  3. Mary Rothschild, Purdue Scientists Dispute Anti-GMO Claims, Food Safety News, February 26, 2011, Accessed April 6, 2011.

External Resources

References Cited by Huber

  • Datnoff, L.E., elmer, W.H., and Huber, D.M. 2007. Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease. APS Press, St. Paul, Mn. 278. 278 pages.
  • Schafer, J.R., Hallett, S.G., and Johnson, W.G. 2010. Role of soil-borne fungi in the response of giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) biotypes to glyphosate. Proc. Northcentral Weed Sci. Soc. 65:.

External Articles