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18 August 2018, 07:16 | Melissa Porter
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Earlier this week, an environmental research and advocacy group found traces of herbicide in Cheerios, Quaker Oats and a number of other breakfast foods, according to The New York Times.
Traces of glyphosate, an active chemical ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer, was found in two among the 45 products that were made with oats. For its own risk level assessment, the nonprofit chose to increase that to a one-in-a-million risk (the risk factor that California considers for some drinking water contaminants), and then went up by another factor of 10 based on a recommendation from the Food Quality Protection Act that children's health should apply a 10x safety factor.
What's more, about one-third of the 16 samples made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, but at levels below EWG's benchmark.
But what if our go-to breakfasts like granola bars, cereals, and instant oats are actually unsafe for us? In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled glyphosate a carcinogen in 1985, but reversed its position in 1991. After all, Quaker and Cheerios are household names, but the Environmental Working Group is far from it. Kellogg's issued a similar statement, saying its food is safe and they follow the EPA's strict standards for safely levels of these agricultural residues "and the ingredients we purchase from suppliers for our foods fall under these limits". "We teach our junior doctors that the solution to pollution is dilution, and that using soap and water can minimize that concentration and remove the chemical immediately - it doesn't need to be more complicated than that".
In a statement Fox Business, a spokesperson for General Mills said that "our products are safe and without question, they meet regulatory safety levels".
"While our products comply with all safety and regulatory requirements, we are happy to be part of the discussion and are interested in collaborating with industry peers, regulators and other interested parties on glyphosate", a Quaker spokesman said Wednesday. One sample of Quaker Oats had 1,300 parts per billion. Glyphosate may get in organic oats by drifting from nearby farm fields, or cross-contamination in a processing facility that also handles non-organic foods.
"Parents shouldn't worry about whether feeding their children healthy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer". And even EWG says that you don't need to purge your house of that half-eaten box of cereal.
However, the World Health Organization has called glyphosate a "probable carcinogen" and authorities in California list it as a chemical "known to the state to cause cancer". "It is especially disappointing because these two multi-billion dollar companies can take the simple step of telling their oat farmers to stop using glyphosate as a harvest-time desiccant on their crops".
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