The test results showing Roundup traces in samples of commonly eaten foods will undoubtedly get more publicity than is warranted for a limited test. This weed killer has also been implicated in the massive die-off of the bees that pollinate our feed. Please do read the second article as well tho, which points out that exposures to these levels of weed killer would be dangerous only over the long-term. The organization’s basic point, which I think is sound, is that this particular chemical should no longer be used where it could affect food ingredients.
Oct. 25, 2018 11:08AM EST
Cheerios, Quaker Oats and Snack Bars Test Positive for Glyphosate
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced Wednesday that tests it commissioned found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto‘s Roundup weed killer, in nearly 30 General Mills and Quaker brand products made with conventionally-grown oats. The tests found glyphosate in 28 of 28 products including several types of Cheerios, instant oatmeal and snack bars. In 26 of them, the levels surpassed EWG’s own safe limit of 160 parts per billion (ppb).
“How many bowls of cereal and oatmeal have American kids eaten that came with a dose of weed killer? That’s a question only General Mills, PepsiCo [owner of Quaker] and other food companies can answer,” EWG President Ken Cook said. “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.”
This round of tests comes two months after initial tests commissioned by EWG also turned up glyphosate in 43 of 45 products tested that used conventionally grown oats. More than two thirds had levels above EWG’s safety limit. The EWG also found glyphosate in one third of 16 products made with organic oats.
“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,” an EPA spokesman said in a statement.
General Mills and Quaker likewise dismissed the results.
“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,” General Mills wrote in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. Quaker also said the products tested by EWG were safe.
But EWG noted that the EPA limits were set in 2008, before the International Agency for Research on Cancerlisted glyphosate as a “probably carcinogenic” to people in 2015. It also noted that federal safety limits can be influenced by industry lobbying.
EWG scientists purchased one or two samples of each product at stores in San Francisco and Washington, DC. The samples were tested at Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco.
Below is the list of products that tested positively, ranked from greatest amount of glyphosate to least, in parts per billion (ppb), so see if any of your favorites are on the list:
- Quaker Oatmeal Squares Honey Nut Cereal: 2,837 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Oatmeal Squares Brown Sugar Cereal: 2,746 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Overnight Oats Unsweetened With Chia Seeds: 1,799 ppb in one sample.
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Cinnamon: 1,171 ppb in sample 1 and 541 ppb in sample 2.
- Quaker Overnight Oats Raisin Walnut & Honey Heaven: 1,029 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Breakfast Squares Soft Baked Bars Peanut Butter Bars: 1,014 ppb in sample 1 and 713 in sample 2.
- Honey Nut Cheerios: 833 in sample 1 and 894 in sample 2.
- Quaker Breakfast Flats Crispy Snack Bars Cranberry Almond: 894 ppb in one sample.
- Frosted Cheerios: 756 ppb in sample 1 and 893 ppb in sample 2.
- Apple Cinnamon Cheerios: 868 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey & Almonds: 625 ppb in sample 1 and 862 ppb in sample 2.
- Chocolate Cheerios: 826 ppb in one sample.
- Very Berry Cheerios: 810 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars: 625 ppb in sample 1 and 275 ppb in sample 2.
- Fruity Cheerios: 618 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Real Medleys Super Grains Banana Walnut Instant Oats: 608 ppb in one sample.
- Quaker Chewy S’mores Bars: 260 ppb in sample 1 and 572 ppb in sample 2.
- Quaker Instant Oatmeal Apples & Cinnamon: 543 ppb in sample 1 and 248 ppb in sample 2.
- Quaker Instant Oatmeal Cinnamon & Spice: 128 ppb in sample 1 and 45 ppb in sample 2.
Aug. 28, 2018 10:02AM EST
‘Should I Throw Out My Cheerios?’ and Other Questions About Roundup in Children’s Food
By Sarah Graddy
Recently, Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a headline-making report on Roundup in children’s cereal and other oat-based foods. Much of the news coverage agrees with us that parents should be concerned. Some says you shouldn’t panic, and pro-pesticide interests accuse us of fear-mongering. So what should you believe—and more importantly, what should you do?
Here’s why we did the study, how we reached our conclusions and our advice.
Why is Roundup in my kids’ food?
It’s first important to understand how a chemical like glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, gets into our food supply.
You’ve probably heard of Roundup, a weed killer sprayed on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. But Roundup is also used as a desiccant—a drying agent sprayed just before harvest on oats and other grains to make harvesting cheaper and easier. This use of Roundup is what caused the high levels of glyphosate in the oat-based foods we tested.
Based on our research and other studies, glyphosate is likely present in foods other than oats. The full extent of glyphosate contamination remains to be discovered. The Food and Drug Administration has been testing foods for glyphosate since 2015, but has not made its data public.
If the EPA says it’s safe, why should I be worried?
Quaker Oats, General Mills and other companies would have you believe that, because the amounts of glyphosate EWG found in their products are within the limits allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s nothing for parents to worry about.
But just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe.
This is particularly true of chemicals we encounter on a daily basis. Government standards are often outdated and not based on the best and most current science. Standards can also be watered down by lobbying from the politically powerful industries they are supposed to regulate. Studies regularly find that the legal limits on contaminants in food, air, drinking water and consumer products fall short of protecting public health, particularly for children and other people more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals.
The EPA’s current legal limit for glyphosate on oats and many other grains is 30 parts per million, or ppm. But just a few years ago, it was 300 times lower—only 0.1 ppm. The EPA raised the legal limit after farmers began using glyphosate as a desiccant, which was surely not a coincidence.
So how much glyphosate is safe to eat?
Glyphosate has been linked to an elevated risk of cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization. Just days before we released our report, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a school groundskeeper who said years of working with glyphosate caused his terminal cancer.
At EWG, we don’t think chemicals linked to cancer belong in children’s food. That’s why our recommended maximum daily intake of glyphosate in food is 0.01 milligrams. That translates to a standard 60-gram portion of food containing 160 parts per billion, or ppb, of glyphosate. This health benchmark is based on the risks of lifetime exposure, and small, repeated exposures can add up if someone eats food containing glyphosate every day.
To develop our own benchmark for glyphosate, we started by looking at California’s standard for glyphosate in food. It’s set at the dose of glyphosate expected to cause no more than one case of cancer in every 100,000 people who ingest it over a lifetime.
We think that’s too high of a risk, particularly for children and fetuses. EWG’s benchmark added an additional 10-fold safety factor, resulting in an elevated risk of cancer for no more than one in 1 million people. The added safety factor for children is supported by the federal Food Quality Protection Act. (Read more about how we developed our glyphosate health guideline here.)
What can I do to protect my family? Should I throw out my Cheerios?
In a word: No.
We don’t think people should go to their pantries and toss out all of the cereal, oatmeal and other oat-based foods found there. Any risk from pesticide residues on food is from long-term exposure.
Food companies are waking up to the fact that consumers are demanding food that is free from residues of toxic pesticides. From our tests, we know that oats and other grains can be grown without the use of Roundup before harvest. Companies can simply tell the farmers in their supply chains to stop using Roundup as a desiccant, which will immediately lower the amounts of glyphosate in popular children’s foods. But they probably won’t do this unless they hear from enough of their customers.
We are advising families to switch to organic foods, to minimize overall pesticide exposures. Our study found that foods made with organic oats had significantly lower glyphosate levels than products made with conventionally grown grains. Trace amounts of glyphosate were found on a few samples, probably because of wind drift from non-organic crops.
Oat-based foods remain a healthy source of fiber and nutrients for children and adults and can help to keep the heart and cardiovascular system healthy. We think it’s your right to eat them without a dose of Roundup.