Do you know what you’re actually eating for breakfast?
According to a new study, your heart-healthy, low-cholesterol bowl of Cheerios might contain something you’d never want to ingest: Roundup weedkiller. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently discovered that twenty-one oat cereal and snack products contained small levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. According to the EWG, the test revealed that the levels of glyphosate found in these foods were considered above what is safe for children to consume. The 21 products tested are General Mills products, and they include six different kinds of Cheerios and 14 of General Mills’ Nature Valley products.
When questioned about the test results, General Mills stated that their top priority is food safety, and they always work to reduce the amount of pesticides that go into their products. “Most crops grown in fields use some form of pesticides and trace amounts are found in the majority of food we all eat,” they said. “Experts at the FDA and EPA determine the safe levels for food products,” and General Mills say they and their farmers follow these level requirements.
This study is only the most recent of tests that have revealed amounts of glyphosate in cereal products. EWG also found the chemical in many other Cheerios and Quaker products back in October. Glyphosate has also been the culprit in several lawsuits that claim its relation to cancer cases. Recently, a couple in California won nearly $2 billion dollars in punitive damages after a jury determined that their exposure to Monsanto’s, now Bayer’s, Roundup caused both of their cancer diagnoses.
Bayer told CBS that the glyphosate levels found in the EWG report are well below the limits established by the EPA. According to a company representative, “An adult would have to eat 158 pounds of the oat-based food every day for the rest of their life to reach the strict limits set by the EPA.”
Which cereals tested the highest for glyphosate?
Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch and Cheerios tested positive for 833 parts per billion and 729 parts per billion, respectively, of glyphosate. The EWG believes that anything over 160 parts per billion is unsafe for children consumption, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a different opinion. They consider 0.1 to 310 parts per million, rather than per billion, to be unsafe.
There have been conflicting opinions and studies about whether glyphosate has a direct connection to cancer. Many juries have ruled in favor of the patients who claim glyphosate contributed to their disease, and the World Heath Organization (WHO) does claim that the herbicide could be carcinogenic, but many other professionals remain unsure.
How does glyphosate end up in our breakfast bowls, anyway?
Oats are one of the main ingredients in breakfast cereals, granola bars, and other related products. Oats are sprayed with glyphosate to dry out the crop and make it easier to harvest. The EWG says that this process is what causes glyphosate to end up in the cereal. According to the EWG, the only way to eliminate the carcinogen from breakfast cereals that are commonly consumed by children is for these top companies to stop purchasing oats from farmers who use glyphosate.