Glyphosate Herbicide Found in Popular Breakfast Foods Yet Again

Glyphosate Herbicide Found in Popular Breakfast Foods Yet Again
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Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, because if you’re a regular reader, then you’ve heard this one before on numerous occasions. But … trace amounts of the glyphosate herbicide have been detected in popular breakfast cereals yet again. This time, the testing was done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). [1]

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The environmental advocacy group tested almost 30 General Mills (GM) and Quaker brand products made with conventionally-grown oats and discovered traces of glyphosate in 28 of them, including several types of Cheerios, instant oatmeal, and cereal bars. Glyphosate levels exceeding EWG’s own safe limit of 160 parts per billion (ppb) were found in 26 of the products.

EWG President Ken Cook said:

“How many bowls of cereal and oatmeal have American kids eaten that came with a dose of weedkiller? That’s a question only General Mills, PepsiCo [owner of Quaker], and other food companies can answer.

But if those companies would just switch to oats that aren’t sprayed with glyphosate, parents wouldn’t have to wonder if their kids’ breakfasts contained a chemical linked to cancer. Glyphosate and other cancer-causing chemicals simply don’t belong in children’s food, period.”

Just 2 months ago, initial tests commissioned by EWG showed glyphosate in 43 of 45 products containing conventionally-grown oats, more than 2/3 of which had levels above the group’s safety limit.

If General Mills, PepsiCo, and other food companies switched to organic oats, that wouldn’t necessarily guarantee their products are glyphosate-free as EWG suggests, however, since the group also discovered the Roundup ingredient 1/3 of 16 products made with organic oats in August.

In the latest round of tests, the highest level of glyphosate was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal, which contained 2,837 ppb of the chemical. [2]

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The glyphosate levels found in the products fall below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) limit of 30,000 ppb, and the agency said that parents and shoppers in general should not be worried about the EWG’s findings. Yet, the level of glyphosate found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares was just barely below the government threshold. [1]

“EPA’s review of available data does not support recent claims that glyphosate, the active ingredient of Roundup, found in cereal (and other foods containing commodities like wheat and oat) is cause for concern.”

GM and Quaker were also quick to dismiss the test results. GM said in a statement:

“The extremely low levels of pesticide residue cited in recent news reports is a tiny fraction of the amount that the government allows. Consumers are regularly bombarded with alarming headlines, but rarely have the time to weigh the information for themselves.”

But as the EWG points out, the EPA’s limits were set in 2008, about 7 years before the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate “probably carcinogenic” to humans in 2015. The group also noted that industry lobbying can significantly influence federal safety limits.

The EWG says it has a lower benchmark than the government because “small, repeated exposures can add up if someone eats food containing glyphosate every day.” [2]

The group argued that “just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe.” [3]

They added:

“Federal government standards for pesticides in food are often outdated, not based on the best and most current science. The EPA’s standards for pesticides and other chemicals are also heavily influenced by lobbying from industry.”

Monsanto has funded studies showing that glyphosate is safe in the past, and a California judge recently upheld a jury’s verdict that repeated exposure to glyphosate caused a former school groundskeeper to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. [1]

In August, the jury awarded Dewayne Johnson $289 million in total, including $250 million in punitive damages against Monsanto, now Bayer. The judge in the case ultimately reduced the punitive amount to about $78 million but upheld the jury’s conclusion that glyphosate caused Johnson’s cancer, and that Monsanto knew the weed-killing chemical caused cancer but failed to warn the public.


[1] EcoWatch

[2] CBS News

[3] Fox News