Hey kiddies, who wants weed killer from Uncle Monsanto for breakfast!? Long gone are the days that your kids (and you) are to get sweet little cereal box prizes in your dry cereal (I mean, who doesn’t remember getting temporary tattoos and sweet sports cars). In are the days where you get a barcode slapped on the back with a tiny URL and chemicals used to kill weeds. Good Ol’ 21st Century. Alright, enough with the BS. Let’s get down to the real headline:
A $289 Million Cancer Verdict Found Weed Killer in Oat Cereal and Granola Bars.
Who is EWG
EWG aka the Environmental Working Group is an American, is an activist group that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability.2 EWG is a non-profit organization that commissioned tests for many oat-based products including box cereals and granola bars found on many shelves of supermarkets and in the kitchens of millions of Americans. What they found is a shocking amount of a cancer-causing agent, glyphosate, in the 43 out of the 45 samples of products. Some amounts were nearly 10x that of a safe level for children and adolescents to consume, safely. 1
What is Glyphosate
Glyphosate is an herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization.3 Glyphosate was first registered for use in the U.S. in 1974. It’s one of the most widely used herbicides used to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses as well as used to regulate plant growth and ripen fruit (sodium salt form or glyphosate).1
What is Glyphosate Used For
Glyphosate an active ingredient in Roundup, created by Monsanto, which also happens to be the most heavily used pesticide in the entire United States. 1 Each year, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate is sprayed on American crops. The majority of this usage is for crops that are used to make plastic-type materials (read more about that here). The highest glyphosate levels are not found in crops harvested for human consumption but are found in products made with GMO corn.
Why is Glyphosate Used and Found in Grain Products?
Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide. The chemical prevents plants from making certain proteins that are needed for plant growth. 1 It pretty much kills any plant it comes into contact with. Glyphosate is sprayed on plants, specifically wheat, barley, oats, and beans that are not GMO, just before harvest, which explains how it’s getting into your granola bar.
The reasoning behind killing crops just before harvest helps to advance the drying process of the plants in order to meet increasing harvest demands as compared to the time it takes for a crop to naturally die and dry out for production. Since the product isn’t sprayed on the plant as it is growing, and instead as it is dying, it’s making its way into production and ending up in your child’s cereal bowl. Makes sense from a demand and agricultural perspective, but the usage and potential cancer-causing damage for many, cannot be justified.
Weed Killer for Breakfast
Laboratory tests commissioned by the EWG found levels of the herbicide, Glyphosate, in nearly three-fourths of all samples taken had levels of the cancer-causing chemical in much higher quantities than what EWG scientists consider safe for children to consume.
About one-third of the 16 samples taken were made with organically grown oats and also contained glyphosate. The difference between the two, non-organic and organic samples, is that the samples found with the chemical in the organic samples were all at levels below the EWG’s health benchmark, according to EWG reports. Al in all, glyphosate was found in all but two of the 45 samples provided that contained conventionally grown oats.
Glyphosate – A Cancer-Causing Agent
Back in 2017, the state of California listed glyphosate in its Proposition 65 registry of chemicals known to cause cancer (you can access the list here).
Some of the brands that contain glyphosate include General Mills, Quaker, and even Kellogg’s, three major suppliers of breakfast foods worldwide for children and adults alike. These brands include products such as Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats and Cheerios. The level considered to be safe is 160ppb.
Three samples of Cheerios had glyphosate levels between 470 ppb and 530 ppb. The highest detection of the chemical in the tested food was 1,000 ppb found in two samples of Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats. You can find the breakdown of the products and the ppb amounts on the EWG’s Children’s Health Initiative HERE.
A statement released by Quaker, "We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption." General Mills told CBS News: "Our products are safe and without question, they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow."
And as you can probably assume… here come the lawsuits.
In Defense of Agricultural Farmers & Glyphosate
A world without pesticides, ah, it seems so wonderful, doesn’t it? Or, does it? According to the EPA, pesticides are used in agriculture to control weeds, insect infestation, and diseases. As a nation, we’ve made tremendous advances in not having to fully till crops, harvesting with more quantities, and improving sustainability efforts. In favor of pesticides, if activists were to undo all of the farming and agricultural advancements made in recent years, we’d essentially be taking ten steps backward, especially at a time when sustainability is crucial for the human population.
Instead, maybe the argument needs to stem from the moral and ethical use of the products and pesticides on plants with testing done prior to human consumption. Maybe it means people taking a greater mental investment into where our food comes from and how it got to the store, prior to consumption. Just sayin’.
Is it Safe to Eat Cereal?
Yes – there’s been a ton of controversy about this chemical and its ability to cause cancer. Our recommendation is to stay out of the center isles and if you do buy processed food, make an informed choice. Understand that what you put in your body has an effect on your overall health. We as humans cannot digest and process everything we put on our body, and eventually, that will take a toll on our overall health.
This rule of thumb also goes for supplements. As a consumer, you deserve the rights to understand what is in your products, the ingredients, and all the doses. This is why our company stands firm behind NOT using proprietary blends, listing every ingredient, and giving you every nutritional label, ingredient list, and other ingredients right from the get-go. This is the only way you can truly take action of your health, wellness, and longevity when ingesting supplements. Food is no different.