Glyphosate in Cereal

In a recent study, scientists at the Environmental Working Group tested 12 cereal brands and found that 11 of them contained levels so low they did not pose any harm. However, one brand (Dextrose Gold Blend) had glyphosate concentrations above those considered to be safe by the US Department of Agriculture in its 2017-2018 testing regime.


Glyphosate, the key component in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, has been found in popular oat-based cereals and meals, according to the Environmental Working Group’s third batch of 2019 test findings.

When the nonprofit group disclosed similar findings last year, two firms, Quaker and General Mills said there was no need to be concerned about glyphosate residues in their products.

After three rounds of testing, it seems that glyphosate is not present in popular cereal goods. In fact, the two cereals with the highest amounts of glyphosate were Honey Nut Cheerios, Medley Crunch, and Cheerios.

Cereals Containing Glyphosate

All but four of the products tested in the most recent batch of testing, which confirmed and expanded on findings from tests conducted in July and October of last year, contained levels of the potentially carcinogenic weed-killing chemical above 160 parts per billion (ppb), the EWG’s health benchmark.

These results came roughly a year after the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published two sets of experiments assessing glyphosate levels in popular children’s breakfast cereals. That’s when General Mills and Quaker Oats Company went on the defense, arguing that glyphosate levels in their products were below the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation limits (EPA).

While this is true, many public health experts feel the permitted amounts of glyphosate in food are much too high and do not adequately safeguard human health. According to previous EPA assessments, children aged one to two years old are most likely to be exposed to glyphosate, the potentially cancer-causing chemical included in Monsanto’s Roundup. According to the agency’s risk assessment, the exposure level is 230 times higher than EWG’s health standard of 160 ppb.

EWG commissioned Anresco Laboratories to test a variety of oat-based goods in the May 2019 batch of testing, including 300 grams of each of 21 oat-based cereals, snack bars, granolas, and instant oats manufactured by General Mills and Quaker. The greatest amounts of glyphosate were found in the following 21 products:

  • Medley Crunch Honey Nut Cheerios (833 ppb)
  • Maple Brown Sugar Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars (566 ppb)
  • Almond Butter Granola Cups from Nature Valley (529 ppb)
  • Cheerios with Chocolate Peanut Butter (400 ppb)
  • Baked Oat Bites from Nature Valley (389 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Oats and Honey Crunchy Granola Bars (320 ppb)
  • Peanut Butter Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars (312 ppb)
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Nature Valley Granola Cups (297 ppb)
  • Dark Chocolate Cherry Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars (275 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Protein Oats n Dark Chocolate Granola (261 ppb)
  • Cheerios Multi-Grain (216 ppb)
  • Blueberry Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares (206 ppb)
  • Soft-Baked Fiber One Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (204 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Creamy & Crunchy Granola Peanut Butter (198 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Almond Butter Biscuits (194 ppb)

These items have glyphosate levels that are much higher than the EWG’s safety threshold of 160 parts per billion.

Glyphosate in Cereal Testing in the Past

Last year, EWG examined a first batch of items and determined a more stricter health guideline for daily exposure to glyphosate in meals than the EPA. After two rounds of testing, the following items surpassed the EWG’s criterion of 160 parts per billion (ppb) in one or both samples tested, with the highlighted products surpassing 400 ppb:

  • Granola
    • Classic Granola from Back to Nature
    • Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins, and Almonds from Quaker
    • Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey from Nature Valley
  • Oatmeal (instant)
    • Original Flavor Giant Instant Oatmeal
    • Brown Sugar, Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Instant Oatmeal
    • Maple Pecan Umpqua Oats
    • Strawberries & Cream Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal
  • Breakfast Cereals with Oats
    • Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal from Cheerios
    • Bonus Charms
    • Original Cereal, Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls
    • Cracklin’ Oat Bran Oat Cereal from Kellogg’s
  • Snack Shacks
    • Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey Crunchy Granola Bars
  • Oats, whole
    • Steel Cut Quaker Oats
    • Old Fashioned Quaker Oats
    • Steel Cut Oats from Bob’s Red Mill

The EPA’s regulatory limit for glyphosate in oats is 30 parts per million, which companies may cite that these testing has harmed. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic,” and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has classified it as a “chemical known to the state to cause cancer” since this outmoded criterion was created in 2008.

The answer, according to EWG, is simple: keep cancer-causing chemicals out of children’s food. The EPA may begin by restricting the amount of glyphosate residue permitted on oats and barring the chemical’s usage as a pre-harvest drying agent.

Since last August, there have been three distinct judgments against Bayer-Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup. Jurors in California awarded more than 2.2 billion dollars in a case alleging that the poisonous weedkiller caused cancer and that Monsanto was aware of the danger for decades but went to great pains to hide it.

What does this signify for our future generations? They’ll continue to eat potentially lethal doses of glyphosate for breakfast until the food industry, and EPA guidelines are drastically changed. Perhaps this will be the last straw for customers?

Eurofins, a nationally known lab with significant expertise testing for chemicals, was enlisted by EWG. The level of glyphosate present in common oat-based products was measured in this study. What’s the big deal about this? I’m delighted you inquired.

Glyphosate, the key component in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been related to the development of non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s in previous studies. So what’s the bad news? It was found in all but two of the 45 non-organic product samples tested. Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley granola bars, and Quaker oats were among the goods examined.

EWG toxicologist and study author Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., voiced her dissatisfaction with the results. “Parents shouldn’t be concerned about their children being exposed to a cancer-causing toxin while eating healthful oatmeals. She said that “the government must take action to safeguard our vulnerable groups.”

Until then, EWG and 19 food firms have sent over 80,000 signatures on a petition to the EPA urging that glyphosate residues in oat products be severely limited and that its usage as a preharvest drying agent be prohibited.

Purpose of Glyphosate in Our Food

Why is glyphosate included in our food? Each year, 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on American crops, according to the US Geological Survey. Glyphosate is predominantly employed on herbicide-resistant maize and soybeans known as Roundup Ready.

Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide, which means it is absorbed throughout the plant, including the sections that animals and people consume.

Furthermore, glyphosate is sprayed on non-GMO crops such as wheat, oats, barley, and beans just before harvest. Farmers refer to this as “burning down” the crops, and it is done to kill and dry the food plants so that they may be collected sooner.

Too Much Glyphosate

Why should we be concerned about glyphosate levels in our food? The basic explanation is that glyphosate is connected to an enhanced risk of cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization categorizes the weed-killing chemical as “probably carcinogenic in humans.”

So, any quantity of glyphosate in our food is a cause for worry, particularly when it’s in our children’s food. (Especially as it is consumed by youngsters throughout important developmental periods).

So, how did EWG develop the glyphosate exposure limit for children? First, EWG estimated that glyphosate levels over 160 parts per billion (ppb) are too high for children, based on a cancer risk assessment published by California state experts. To put it another way, a youngster shouldn’t consume more than 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate every day.

How did the EWG arrive at this health metric? The “No Significant Risk Level” for glyphosate for an average adult weighing 154 pounds, according to California’s Proposition 65 register of chemicals known to cause cancer, is 1.1 milligrams per day. This level of safety is more than 60 times lower than the EPA’s safety requirements.

EWG used California’s increased lifetime cancer risk of one in one million (which is the number used for many cancer-causing drinking water contaminants) and added a 10-fold margin of safety, which is recommended by the federal Food Quality Protection Act to support children and developing fetuses who are more susceptible to carcinogens. This is how EWG arrived at the 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day safety limit for children.

The EWG’s health guideline for the quantity of glyphosate that presents harm in our food is much stricter than the EPA’s. Although this level of glyphosate in oat products may not seem like much in a single serving, consider ingesting it every day for the rest of your life. Exposure to this deadly pesticide will very probably build up over time, which is concerning.

“Glyphosate is a risk because of long-term exposure. “A single part would not create negative impacts, as most health organizations would claim,” says Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG’s senior scientific adviser for children’s health. “However, if you consume popular meals like oatmeal every day or virtually every day, such quantities of glyphosate may constitute a health risk, according to scientific analyses.”

There’s also considerable debate over whether we can trust government authorities to ensure that the food we consume is safe. Internal FDA emails released by the NGO US Right to Know in April showed that the FDA had been testing food for glyphosate for two years and had discovered “a significant quantity.” These results, however, have not been made public. “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal, and cornmeal from home, and there’s a good quantity in all of them,” one FDA scientist wrote, according to The Guardian, the news organization that received these confidential papers.

“It is critical for firms to take action and pick oats farmed without herbicides,” Naidenko says. This is possible, and EWG is urging government agencies and businesses to limit the use of herbicides that end up in food.”

Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic Products

What about oats and organic cereals? According to the Environmental Working Group results, organic goods contain much less glyphosate than non-organic items. To be precise, glyphosate levels in conventional product samples were found to be at or above 160 ppb in 31 of 45 tests, whereas low amounts of glyphosate were found in 5 of 16 organic brand items (10 to 30 ppb). In addition, none of the organic items tested showed glyphosate levels anywhere approaching the EWG standard of 160 ppb.

Glyphosate may contaminate organic produce by floating from surrounding conventional agricultural areas. Cross-contamination of organic goods may occur during processing in a plant that also processes conventional crops.

While glyphosate was found in certain organic oat products, the amounts were substantially lower or non-existent compared to conventional goods. So it seems that the rule still applies: pick organic to prevent increased exposure to cancer-causing chemicals like glyphosate.

Last Thoughts

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) commissioned independent laboratory studies to determine the quantities of glyphosate in popular oat-based products. Scientists discovered that almost three-quarters of conventionally produced food had glyphosate levels that were greater than what the Environmental Working Group (EWG) deems safe for children.
  • It may already seem like a daily effort to feed your family clean, healthful meals. However, we shouldn’t have to be concerned about whether or not the foods we think are nutritious include hazardous pesticides.
  • Now, take action to join EWG’s campaign to get glyphosate out of our food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cereals have glyphosate in them?

A: As of 2018, the following cereals have been found to contain glyphosate in them:
-Cheerios cereal
-Cocoa Puffs cereal
-Frosted Mini Wheats Cereal

What weedkiller contains glyphosate?

A: Roundup contains glyphosate.

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