Unhealthy levels of chemicals present in cereals, report says


The study by the USA -based Environmental Working Group has found that a number of cereals, granola bars and oat-based products contain glyphosate, the herbicide sold to consumers under the name Roundup.

You could be ingesting the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup for breakfast, per a report identifying traces of the chemical glyphosate in Cheerios, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, and Great Value Instant Oats, plus more products marketed to kids.

At the time, the company's vice president, Scott Partridge, said in a statement, "More than 800 scientific studies, the U.S. EPA, the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer". Some of the products and brands found to contain traces of the herbicide include Cheerios, Quaker Oats, Nature Valley, Simple Truth, Kashi, Lucky Charms, 365 Organic, Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, Whole Foods Bulk bin, among many others.

Roundup manufacturer Monsanto was ordered last week to pay US$289 million for contributing to a California man's terminal cancer.

EWG is urging the EPA to review all evidence linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk. Thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto brought by farm workers and others also allege that they developed cancer from long-term exposure to Roundup.

Despite its commonplace use, glyphosate has been derided by health and environmental advocates as unsafe. One sample of Quaker Oats had 1,300 parts per billion.

The Environmental Working Group says they feel a stricter limit is needed, especially because research often does not focus on long-term effects on children, who have smaller body mass than adults.

"Parents shouldn't worry about whether feeding their children healthy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer". However, the EPA contends that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, and Monsanto, makers of the herbicide Roundup for which glyphosate is a key ingredient, claim that glyphosate isn't a risk to humans, wildlife, or the environment.

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The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as a "probable human carcinogen", though the product's harm to humans is still being debated. California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is adding to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

"Glyphosate does not belong in cereal".

Thankfully, organic oats scored better - as one might expect.

"We don't think it does enough in particular to protect children", he said. "No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so". "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".

A General Mills spokeswoman told The Times, "Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels".

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"It is very troubling that cereals children like to eat contain glyphosate", said Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., EWG toxicologist and author of the report.