Breakfast foods marketed to children contain cancer-causing weed killer, study says

Laverne Higgins
August 18, 2018

The story has been corrected to state KIND does not have glyphosate in its products. The previous version also didn't make it clear that the Environmental Working Group is an advocacy group and its findings have been challenged by scientists. This has been corrected. The group cites internal emails obtained by US Right to Know that showed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found "a fair amount".

An environmental study group found that there were harmful levels of a weed-killer in children's cereals as well as oats, according to anindependent laboratory report. EWG's Faber is skeptical of EPA's glyphosate limits. But in December, the United States Environmental Protection Agency said it's "not likely to be carcinogenic to humans". Last week a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company's popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease.

About one-third of 16 samples of foods made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG's health benchmark.

EWG determined Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats, Cheerios, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back to Nature Classic Granola Clusters all had excessive levels of Glyphosate, according to its study. (See those statements, as well as EWG's response, at the bottom of this article).

In fact, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, which is one of the healthiest foods on the list of breakfast foods from the research, had the highest level of the weedkiller, according to Quartz. Since then, federal regulators in the USA have continued to maintain that it is unlikely to cause cancer.

He went on to say that the standards set by the EPA "pose real health risks to Americans-particularly children, who are more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults".

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EWG is urging the EPA to review all evidence linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk. "And that's definitely the case with glyphosate".

"Plaintiffs are putting forward junk science that is not based upon the 40 years of safe glyphosate use and studies", Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president of global strategy, told Reuters.

The group says studies of cancer rates in people have provided conflicting results. It added that the reported levels of the chemical "are significantly below any regulatory limits" and compliance standards for human consumption.

Information from NBC News was included in this report. General Mills says its products are safe and meet safety regulations. Farmers will spray the weed-killing chemical on crops, such as wheat, oats and lentils, before harvest. "We continue to work closely with farmers, our suppliers and conservation organizations to minimize the use of pesticides on the crops and ingredients we use in our foods".

"We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products", the company replied in a statement.

"This is the most widely used pesticide in the country", said Bill Walker, Vice-President of the Environmental Working Group. One sample of Quaker Oats had 1,300 parts per billion.

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