Weed-Killing Chemical Found in Popular Children's Breakfast Foods

Aug 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. ET
bowl Cheerios
Image: Radachynskyi/Getty Images.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group — a nonprofit organization that helps “empower people to live healthier lives” — released the findings of a recent study regarding popular cereals and breakfast foods, and the results were not good. 

According to the report, glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical that some have linked to cancer, has been found in a number of oat-based products. In fact, of the 45 products tested, 31 came back with levels higher than what some scientists deem safe for children.

More: Here Are All the Foods Being Recalled — Including This Popular Almond Milk

Of course, if glyphosate sounds familiar, there is good reason. It is the active chemical ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer and was the subject of a groundbreaking lawsuit earlier this week. However, news that it is (or may be) present in our food is alarming, especially when it is tied to so many child-friendly products, like Nature Valley Protein Oats 'n Honey granola, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oatmeal, Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal, Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal, Lucky Charms, Quaker Oats Old Fashioned oats, Quaker Steel Cut Oats and Kellogg's Nutri-Grain strawberry breakfast bars.

The question on many parents' minds (including my own) is how did the chemical get into our food — and in such high amounts. EWG believes they know the answer, and they say the contamination occurs during the harvest. “Each year, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on American crops, primarily on ‘Roundup-ready’ corn and soybeans... [however,] glyphosate is also [being] sprayed just before harvest on wheat, barley, oats and beans that are not genetically engineered.”

That said, it is worth noting that the levels that EWG considers to be “high” are different from those set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, and according to EPA standards, all of the test products are safe. As such, no products have been recalled at this time.

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In a statement to MSN, Quaker said: "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." 

And General Mills echoed a similar sentiment in an interview with 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."

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