Seven of the eight highest readings for glyphosate came from oat-based products.
US cereal manufacturers including General Mills and Kellogg have been forced to defend their products, after laboratory tests found that popular breakfast foods were contaminated with residual levels of weedkiller.
Results published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) show that one product, from PepsiCo’s Quaker brand, contained 1,300 parts per billion (ppb) of the chemical compound glyphosate – a key component of products like Roundup, the under-fire weedkiller from Monsanto that was the subject of a cancer lawsuit.
EWG claimed that a one-in-a-million cancer risk would be posed by ingesting just 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day.
But acceptable tolerances of residual glyphosate on US crops, as regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is 30 parts per million (ppm) for oats – meaning the products tested by EWG fall well within recommended levels.
Last week, a court in San Francisco ruled that the company – bought by Bayer earlier this year – had failed to warn consumers of the dangers associated with Roundup, and ruled that it was responsible for the cancer of a former school groundskeeper who had used the weedkiller as part of his work. The court awarded him $289 million in damages – a verdict Monsanto says it will appeal.
A spokesman for Kellogg’s told The Guardian newspaper: “Our food is safe. Providing safe, high-quality foods is one of the ways we earn the trust of millions of people around the world. The EPA sets strict standards for safe levels of these agricultural residues and the ingredients we purchase from suppliers for our foods fall under these limits.”
And a General Mills spokeswoman added: “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, as do farmers who grow crops including wheat and oats.”
The sample with the highest amount of glyphosate came from a pack of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, which recorded 390 ppb; 1,000 ppb; and 1,300 ppb of glyphosate in three separate samples.
The second highest reading came from a sample of Quaker Dinosaur Eggs Instant Oatmeal, which recorded 780 ppb of glyphosate in one of two samples sent off for testing; followed by Giant Instant Oatmeal, which was found to contain 760 ppb of glyphosate in its lone sample.
Of the ten products with the highest glyphosate readings, eight were oat-based, while the other two were granola. PepsiCo’s Quaker brand accounted for four of the ten highest readings.
EWG president Ken Cook criticised the tolerances enforced by the EPA, which he believes do not go far enough.
“Our view is that the government standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency pose real health risks to Americans – particularly children, who are more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults,” he said.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019