General Mills Hit with Glyphosate Lawsuit

In the federal court of Florida, General Mills Inc. is facing a national class lawsuit for not disclosing that their cereal products could contain traces of a potentially carcinogenic chemical.

Mourina Doss, who filed the lawsuit on Thursday, stated that she was a regular consumer of Cheerios cereal products. She also cited numerous studies - one of which came out on Wednesday - that show these products contain a varying amount of the weedkiller chemical. This is the same chemical used in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller (the company is currently facing the Monsanto lawsuit as well). The studies also state that agricultural production companies use this herbicide extensively in their farming practices.

The WHO categorizes glyphosate as a potential human carcinogen. Conversely, California recognizes it as a chemical that can cause cancer. Mourina Doss said that the company lied to its consumers about their product, Cheerios, being free from glyphosate. Among the many claims she levied, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment are just a few. If it weren’t for General Mills Inc.’s deceptive marketing practices, she wouldn’t have been a consumer of their products.

The injunction calls for the company to change its deceptive marketing tactics. Moreover, it includes an award of disgorgement or restitution for members of the class. The companies have to arrange the amount for the restitution from the revenue generated from the concerned products.

The complaint states that companies in the U.S. add over 300 million pounds of weedkillers containing glyphosate to the soil, which contaminates crops. Most agricultural companies spray glyphosate weedkillers onto crops like soybean, corn and the primary ingredient in Cheerios, oats.

While some argued that a minute trace of glyphosate in cereals would do no harm, there’s scientific evidence that proves even extremely low levels of the herbicide can be dangerous for the human body. Children are highly prone to its harmful effects because of their immune systems that haven’t fully developed.

The national class complaint cited evidence from studies that organizations have been conducting since 2016. They are yet to discover traces of glyphosate in Cheerios and their Honey Nut variant. They tested other brands of cereal as well. This includes the Environmental Working Group, Food Democracy Now, and Center for Environmental Health.

The Environmental Working Group is the organization that released a report that showed results that found the herbicide chemical in 43 out of 45 products that contain oats. Out of the 43, 31 products contained levels higher than 160 part billion, which is the maximum limit. Of all the samples tested, Cheerio cereals contained far more than 160 part per billion; three samples contained a shocking 470 to 530 part per billion. Mourina Doss argued that consumers have a right to know what their food contains.