After a California jury in 2018 ordered Monsanto, the maker of herbicide Roundup, to pay $289 million in damages to a man dying of cancer, Quaker Oats, the company behind such products as Cheerios and Lucky Charms, admitted that some of its products may contain glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.
After the verdict, Quaker stated the following in a press release:
“Quaker does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process. Glyphosate is commonly used by farmers across the industry who apply it pre-harvest. Once the oats are transported to us, we put them through our rigorous process that thoroughly cleanses them (de-hulled, cleaned, roasted and flaked).
Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any regulatory limits and well within compliance of the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as safe for human consumption.
Quaker continually evaluates our product portfolio to ensure the highest quality and safety standards for our consumers. While our products comply with all safety and regulatory requirements, we are happy to be part of the discussion and are interested in collaborating with industry peers, regulators and other interested parties on glyphosate.”
EWG Reveals High Levels of Glyphosate in Many Breakfast Foods
The fact that Quaker has come clean about some of its products containing glyphosate is not surprising. There has been evidence building for years that the toxic chemical pollutes many of our most common breakfast foods. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has conducted studies in recent months that show that popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars each have a hefty dose of glyphosate, which is the weed killing poison used in Roundup. Some of the results show that some Quaker Oats products contain high levels of the chemical that could lead to cancer and other serious health problems.
EWG, which commissioned several independent laboratory tests found that glyphosate – an herbicide linked to some forms of cancer by state scientists in California and the WHO – was found in all but two of 45 samples of foods made with conventionally grown oats. Almost ¾ of the samples featured glyphosate levels that were higher than what EWG scientists consider safe for children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. About ⅓ of the 16 samples that were checked that featured organically grown oats also had higher than normal levels of glyphosate, all of them being below the health benchmark set by EWG.
Glyphosate is the active chemical in Roundup, which is the Monsanto and Bayer AG weed killer that is most used in the United States today. Earlier in 2018, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay out $290 million in damages to a man who was dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, allegedly caused by his repeated exposure to large amounts of Roundup and other similar weed killers when he was working as a school groundskeeper in San Franciso.
EWG conducted tests on more than 12 brands of oat-based foods to provide Americans with more information about dietary exposure that government regulators may not want people to know, EWG argues. In April 2018, internal emails that were obtained by US Right to Know, a nonprofit, showed that FDA had been doing tests for glyphosate in foods for two years, and found what they termed ‘a fair amount,’ but they would not say more.
Oat-Based Samples That Were Above 400ppb
According to the EWG analysis, some Quaker products had higher levels of glyphosate than others. One of them was Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal, with two tests averaging 700 parts per billion. The highest levels of more than 1,000 ppb were detected in two samples of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. Three Cheerio samples had glyphosate levels that ranged from 470 ppb to 530 ppb. Twelve of the foods sampled had glyphosate levels below the health benchmark set by EWG – ranging from 100 ppb to 120 ppb.
Glyphosate Used on Crops in the US and World Wide
Every year, at least 250 million pounds of toxic glyphosate is sprayed on crops in the United States, mostly on corn and soybeans that are Roundup ready, which means they are genetically engineered to take the herbicide without ill effects. But the problem is, with the high amounts of glyphosate sprayed on key American crops, the chemical continues to make it into our food supply and onto our breakfast tables, including now orange juice, every day.
Glyphosate is sprayed right before the harvest as well on barley, wheat, oats and beans that have not been genetically engineered. Glyphosate often will kill the crop and dry it out so that it can be more quickly harvested than if the plant were allowed to die on its own.
Roundup Used for Decades On Crops All Over the World
Roundup was made for many decades by Monsanto, which in 2018 merged with Bayer AG. In the aforementioned legal case decided in California in 2018, the jury found that Monsanto was aware for decades of the hazards of its products. The jury said not only did it fail to warn customers, but it also schemed to mislead the public and discredit the evidence. The case in California that ended in a $289 million verdict was the first of many thousands of roundup lawsuits that are pending against Monsanto. These lawsuits were brought by farm workers and other employees who have alleged they got cancer after years of exposure to Roundup.
Now that it is becoming clear that major breakfast cereals are also contaminated with glyphosate, it is just a matter of time before more lawsuits come down the pike for Monsanto and Bayer AG.
- Glyphosate in Cereal. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/
- Monsanto Fallout – How Cheerios and Quaker Oats Responded to Glyphosate in Cereal Reports. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90219989/monsanto-fallout-how-cheerios-and-quaker-oats-responded-to-glyphosate-in-cereal-reports
- Breakfast Cereal Food Weedkiller Roundup. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/24/health/breakfast-cereal-food-weed-killer-roundup/index.html
- Glyphosate in Cereal. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/
- Alarming Levels of Glyphosate Found in Our Food Supply. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.weedkillercrisis.com/news/alarming-levels-of-glyphosate-found-in-our-food-supply/
- Roundup Cancer Risk. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.weedkillercrisis.com/topics/roundup-cancer-risk/