Study Shows High Levels of Pesticide Residue in Oatmeal, Cereals

Study Shows High Levels of Pesticide Residue in Oatmeal, Cereals

We shouldn't always take our food safety for granted.

Having a meal as soon as you wake up is definitely important. Breakfast helps nourish our bodies, giving us energy to face the day. This is especially important for children and babies who are still growing up. But what if their go-to breakfast options, like cereals and oats, weren’t so safe after all? 

Oatmeal causes cancer? The results of a new study are alarming

First, we want to clarify that oatmeal as a food does not cause cancer. In fact, it is considered to be a very healthy food option for children and adults alike. However, what’s put on oatmeal during the production process has become a cause for concern as of late. 

A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently examined glyphosate levels in 61 products made from oats, including granola and granola bars.  

Glyphosate is a chemical that is normally used for killing weeds and pests. It is responsible for the weed-killing potency of the pesticide called Roundup in the United States. 

According to the World Health Organisation, it’s possible that glyphosate can trigger cancer in humans. In response to this, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared new threshold limits for this possibly toxic chemical when it comes to food production. 

Sadly, though, it is common for US farmers to treat their crops with Roundup to maintain that fresh, crisp look. Nearly 100,000 tonnes of Roundup are sprayed onto these crops in the United States annually.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that the EWG discovered that:

  • 43 out of 45 of products made using oats had glyphosate.
  • 31 of the 43 products had much higher levels than the recommended limit by the EPA.

Worryingly, five of the so-called organic products also had glyphosate.

Study Shows High Levels of Pesticide Residue in Oatmeal, Cereals

Photo: iStock

In fact, even though this study has detected glyphosate in the oats we eat, glyphosate giving rise to cancer itself isn’t old news.

Just last week, Monsanto, the company who produces Roundup, suffered immense losses. A man who says his terminal cancer came from being subjected to Roundup had successfully sued them, leading to the court to order Monsanto to reimburse him with $412.5 million.

Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg, with several hundred cases still in progress in courts. 

Which brands have been affected?

The EWG considers products having 160 parts per billion of glyphosate as safe for children to eat. However, many products were well above this level of glyphosate.

One of the highest contenders included Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, which had an average of 900-1000 parts per billion of glyphosate tested.

Quaker Dinosaur Eggs and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal came in second with an average of 700 parts per billion of glyphosate.

Another common breakfast option – Cheerios toasted whole-grain oat cereal – comes with 500 parts per billion of glyphosate, according to the report. 

Here’s a full list of the products that were published on EWG’s website itself, that shows which product samples they tested may actually pose a danger to health: 

Possibly Toxic to Children

  • Back to Nature Classic Granola
  • Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisin and Almonds
  • Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters
  • Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey
  • Giant Instant Oatmeal Original Flavor
  • Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
  • Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal
  • Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan
  • Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream
  • Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
  • Lucky Charms frosted toasted Oat cereal with marshmallows (but the marshmallows were removed prior to glyphosate testing)
  • Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal
  • Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal 
  • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey
  • Quaker Steel Cut Oats
  • Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats

Has Glyphosate, but Within Safe Limits:

  • KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flaxseeds
  • KIND Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut
  • Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bar
  • Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry
  • Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats
  • Whole Foods Bulk Bin conventional rolled oats
  • Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Glyphosate-Free Brands: 

  • Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond granola
  • Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original
  • Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal
  • Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar
  • 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats

But the debate continues

Not everyone agrees with the results of this report. 

Alex Berezow is a senior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health. In a CNN report, Berezow is quoted as saying the new EWG report is “absolutely atrocious”.

“According to the EPA, people should avoid consuming more than 2 mg of glyphosate for every kilogram of body weight,” he said, elaborating, “the good news is that nobody on Earth consumes anywhere near that amount of glyphosate.” 
“The EWG fabricated its own safety standard so that they could promote organic food. They’ve been doing this for years — ignoring the scientific literature in order to lobby for the organic industry,” he continues, in the CNN report. 

Mums and dads, the purpose of this article is not to scare you. Instead, it’s to educate you, with the hope that it helps you make better, more informed choices. Regardless of raging scientific debates, no layperson wants to have chemicals in the food they eat or give to their families, even in minute quantities.

Check those ingredients labels on what you purchase from the supermarket, question and challenge manufacturers. You have the right to do this as consumers, and as parents watching out for your kids’ health and wellbeing. 

References: CNN, Health, Asiaone, The Gazette, 

Also Read: Cancer Causing Foods you should avoid

                     Does coffee cause cancer?

                     Food Safety tips for parents

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