In August, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a report that linked a number of children’s breakfast cereals to a carcinogenic ingredient called glyphosate. After a series of tests, researchers determined that cereal products that contain ingredients sourced from General Mills contained traces of glyphosate, which is an ingredient in weed killers.
The list of popular breakfast foods included the children’s cereal, Cheerios, among various others. The report mentioned that out of the 45 brands of cereal tested, 42 contained trace amounts of the substance and 31 products contained levels of glyphosate that were higher than what is considered “safe.”
The group then filed a lawsuit against General Mills for failing to disclose that their products contained such an ingredient, in the Federal Court of Florida. After the first round of tests, the EWG conducted the second round and found countless other oat-based foods that contained glyphosate.
EWG Performs Second Round of Tests
In this round, the EWG tested 28 oat-based foods targeted toward children and the organization stated that 26 of them contained glyphosate, which was also a key ingredient in Monsanto Roundup Weedkiller, and the reason why they are facing a lawsuit as well. The products are mainly from the Quaker brand and other varieties of Cheerios cereal.
The accused companies, Quaker and General Mills, argue that the reports are misleading consumers and that their food products are fit for consumption. They claim that the non-profit organization has created their own ‘safe level’ for glyphosate consumption, which doesn’t align with guidelines established by regulating authorities.
Although General Mills argued that they follow the guidelines set by the EPA, which is 30 thousand parts per billion, studies show that legal limits are often ineffective and don’t protect the public health. Just because they follow the legal limit set by the EPA, it doesn’t imply that their products are safe.
In many cases, the Federal Government standards for contaminants like pesticide-based ingredients in food aren’t based on empirical and advanced research. In addition, there’s a high likelihood that EPA’s standards for traces of contaminants are significantly impacted by the industry’s lobbying efforts.
The EWG has argued that carcinogenic contaminants shouldn’t be a part of food products that are targeted toward children. They reinstated that the 0.01 milligrams should be the maximum daily intake of a carcinogen like a glyphosate.
This is different from the EPA’s standard because it’s based on how a lifetime of exposure can cause risks. Even though this exposure is small, it adds up if a person eats a food contaminated with glyphosate every day, as in the case of school going children.
The Monsanto Lawsuit
The Monsanto company, which is facing its own lawsuit after a man developed a rare case of lymphoma, is retaliating to the claims. Representatives claimed that the EWG is reporting levels that fall below EPA standards and that it would be impossible for someone to be under a threat of developing cancer.
Despite these arguments from both sides, parents everywhere are agreeing that a carcinogenic ingredient has no place in a children’s cereal and that manufacturers should switch to ingredients that are glyphosate-free.