- Is Eating Raw Oats Healthy? Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses
- Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup?
- Oat-Based Samples that Exceeded 400ppb on Average.
- Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
- Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
- Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds
- Day 1: Yum!
- Day 3: Is my metabolism speedy or what?
- Day 7: I am a routine queen
- Day 10: Potential weight loss?!
- Day 14: Feeling gooooood
- Biggest takeaway? More energy.
- From our Obsession
- New Report Warns Consumers About a Common Chemical Found In Oat Products
- Beware Words Like ‘Natural’ and ‘Toxic’
- Dose Makes the Poison
- ‘No Solid Evidence’ Links Glyphosate to Harm
- The Real Consequences of Crazy Food Frights
- 100 Percent of Oat Products Tested Positive for Glyphosate
- DOES YOUR OATMEAL HAVE GLYPHOSATE
- Should Your Oatmeal Come With A Warning Label?
- But First – The Good News!
- The Environmental Working Group (EWG®)
- How Big Is This Problem?
- Why Should You Care?
- Brands With High Levels of Glyphosate
- Legal Does Not Make It Safe – History of collusion & conflicts of interests
- Final Thoughts
Is Eating Raw Oats Healthy? Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses
Because oats are packed with many health-promoting compounds, they provide various health benefits (7, 8, 9).
May help lower cholesterol levels
Oats are rich in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in multiple studies (10, 11, 12, 13, 14).
Beta-glucan acts by forming a gel in your small intestine. This gel restricts the absorption of dietary cholesterol and interferes with the reabsorption of bile salts, which play an essential role in the metabolism of fats (15, 16).
Research has determined that daily doses of at least 3 grams of oat beta-glucan can reduce blood cholesterol levels by 5–10% (10).
What’s more, a test-tube study discovered that raw oats release around 26% of their beta-glucan content during digestion, compared with only 9% for cooked oats. Thus, they may affect fat metabolism and cholesterol levels to a greater extent (11).
May promote blood sugar control
Blood sugar control is vital for health and especially important for people with type 2 diabetes or those who have difficulties producing or responding to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
Beta-glucan has been shown to help control blood sugar due to its ability to form a gel-like substance in your digestive system.
The viscosity slows the rate at which your stomach empties its contents and digests carbs, which is associated with lower blood sugar levels after a meal and stabilized insulin production (17, 18).
A review of 10 studies in people with type 2 diabetes found that daily intake of foods containing at least 4 grams of beta-glucan per 30 grams of carbs for 12 weeks reduced blood sugar levels by 46%, compared with the control group (19, 20).
May benefit heart health
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, which is one of the most common conditions and a leading cause of death worldwide (9, 21).
Soluble fibers like beta-glucans in oats have been associated with blood-pressure-lowering effects (22).
One 12-week study in 110 people with untreated high blood pressure found that consuming 8 grams of soluble fiber from oats per day reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the top and bottom numbers of a reading), compared with the control group (23).
Similarly, in a 6-week study in 18 people with elevated blood pressure levels, those consuming 5.5 grams of beta-glucan per day experienced a 7.5 and 5.5 mm Hg reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, compared with a control group (24).
What’s more, in a 4-week study in 88 people taking medication for high blood pressure, 73% of those consuming 3.25 grams of soluble fiber from oats daily could either stop or reduce their medication, compared with 42% of participants in the control group (25).
Healthy for your gut
Another health effect attributed to oats is their ability to support a healthy bowel by increasing fecal bulk (9).
This effect is due to the insoluble fiber in oats, which, unlike soluble fiber, is not water-soluble and thus doesn’t form a gel-like substance.
The bacteria in your intestines don’t ferment insoluble fiber to the same extent as they ferment soluble fiber, which increases your stool size.
It’s estimated that oats increase stool weight by 3.4 grams per gram of dietary fiber consumed (26).
Research has also revealed that daily intake of oat fiber may be a useful and low-cost approach to treat constipation, which affects about 20% of the general population (27).
One study in people with constipation found that 59% of participants who consumed oat fiber from oat bran could stop taking laxatives (28).
Raw oats naturally contain oat bran, though you can also buy it on its own.
May promote weight loss
Higher intake of whole-grain cereals like oats is linked to a lower risk of weight gain and obesity (21).
In part, this may be because soluble fibers can help you feel fuller for longer (29).
Increased feelings of fullness are linked to reduced food intake, as they help suppress appetite (30, 31, 32).
Two studies determined that eating oats increased feelings of fullness and suppressed the desire to eat over four hours, compared with ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. These effects were attributed to the beta-glucan content of the oats (33, 34).
Thus, raw oats may help you maintain or lose weight.
Summary Raw oats are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that may lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Eating raw oats may also relieve constipation and promote weight loss.
Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup?
Weed Killer in $289 Million Cancer Verdict Found in Oat Cereal and Granola Bars
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2018
By Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist
|Detects Above EWG’s Health Benchmark (160 ppb)||31||0|
UPDATE: A second round of tests commissioned by EWG, published on October 24, 2018, found the glyphosate in every sample of popular oat-based cereal and other oat-based food marketed to children that we tested. See the new results here.
Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison in Roundup, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG.
Glyphosate, an herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization, was found in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. Almost three-fourths of those samples had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. About one-third of 16 samples made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer that is the most heavily used pesticide in the U.S. Last week, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man dying of cancer, which he says was caused by his repeated exposure to large quantities of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers while working as a school groundskeeper.
EWG tested more than a dozen brands of oat-based foods to give Americans information about dietary exposures that government regulators are keeping secret. In April, internal emails obtained by the nonprofit US Right to Know revealed that the Food and Drug Administration has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found “a fair amount,” but the FDA has not released its findings.
|Type of Food||Product Name||Glyphosate (ppb)*|
|Sample 1||Sample 2||Sample 3|
|Granola||Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond granola||ND**||ND|
|Back to Nature Classic Granola||620||170|
|Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds||430||400|
|Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters||30||30||340|
|Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey||220||170|
|KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds||50||60|
|Instant Oats||Giant Instant Oatmeal, Original Flavor||760|
|Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original||ND||ND|
|Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal||620||780|
|Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal||450|
|Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan||220||220|
|Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream||120||520|
|Oat Breakfast Cereal||Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal||ND||ND|
|Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal||490||470||530|
|Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal||340||300|
|Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal||250||120|
|Snack Bar||Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar||ND||ND|
|KIND Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut||ND||120|
|Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey||340||120|
|Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bar||120||160|
|Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry||30||80|
|Whole Oats||365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats||ND||ND|
|Quaker Steel Cut Oats||530||290|
|Quaker Old Fashioned Oats||390||1100||1300|
|Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats||300||ND|
|Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats||30||20|
|Whole Foods Bulk Bin conventional rolled oats||10||40|
|Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (4 samples tested)||ND||10||20, 20***|
Source: EWG, from tests by Eurofin Analytical Laboratories
*EWG’s child-protective health benchmark for daily exposure to glyphosate in food is 160 ppb.
** ND = none detected
*** Two product samples tested both had 20 ppb glyphosate concentration.
**** Lucky Charms Frosted Toasted Oat Cereal with Marshmallows. Marshmallows were manually removed from the samples prior to shipping to the lab and testing for glyphosate.
Each year, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on American crops, primarily on “Roundup-ready” corn and soybeans genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. But when it comes to the food we eat, the highest glyphosate levels are not found in products made with GMO corn.
Increasingly, glyphosate is also sprayed just before harvest on wheat, barley, oats and beans that are not genetically engineered. Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out so that it can be harvested sooner than if the plant were allowed to die naturally.
Roundup was produced for decades by Monsanto, which this year merged with the German pharmaceutical company Bayer AG. In the case decided last week, the jury found that Monsanto knew for decades of the product’s hazards and not only failed to warn customers, but schemed to publicly discredit the evidence. The California case that ended Friday was the first of reportedy thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto. These suits have been brought by farm workers and others who allege that they developed cancer from years of exposure to Roundup.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, reviewed extensive U.S., Canadian and Swedish epidemiological studies on glyphosate’s human health effects, as well as research on laboratory animals. The IARC classified the chemical as probably carcinogenic to humans, and has steadfastly defended that decision despite ongoing attacks by Monsanto.
In 2017, California listed glyphosate in its Proposition 65 registry of chemicals known to cause cancer. The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, or OEHHA, has proposed a so-called No Significant Risk Level for glyphosate of 1.1 milligrams per day for an average adult of about 154 pounds. That level of exposure is more than 60 times lower than the safety level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
California’s level represents an increased lifetime risk of cancer of one in 100,000 for an average adult. But for many cancer-causing drinking water contaminants, OEHHA’s lifetime risk factor is set at one in 1 million. Additionally, because children and developing fetuses have increased susceptibility to carcinogens, the federal Food Quality Protection Act supports including an additional 10-fold margin of safety. With this additional children’s health safety factor, EWG calculated that a one-in-a-million cancer risk would be posed by ingestion of 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day.
To reach this maximum dose, one would only have to eat a single 60-gram serving1 of food with a glyphosate level of 160 parts per billion, or ppb. The majority of samples of conventional oat products from EWG’s study exceeded 160ppb, meaning that a single serving of those products would exceed EWG’s health benchmark. As part of a glyphosate risk assessment, the EPA estimated potential highest dietary exposure levels for children and adults. The EPA has calculated that 1-to-2-year-old children are likely to have the highest exposure, at a level twice greater than California’s No Significant Risk Level and 230 times EWG’s health benchmark.
Studies suggest that glyphosate-sprayed crops such as wheat and oats are a major contributor to glyphosate in the daily diet. In EWG lab tests, 31 of 45 samples made with conventionally grown oats had 160 ppb or more of glyphosate.
Oat-Based Samples that Exceeded 400ppb on Average.
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
3 tests averaged 930 parts per billion.
Product photos are not the actual products tested.
Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
2 tests averaged 700 parts per billion.
Product photos are not the actual products tested.
Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
3 tests averaged 497 parts per billion.
Product photos are not the actual products tested.
Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds
2 tests averaged 415 parts per billion.
Product photos are not the actual products tested.
The highest levels, greater than 1,000 ppb, were detected in two samples of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. Three samples of Cheerios had glyphosate levels ranging from 470 ppb to 530 ppb. Twelve of the food samples had levels of glyphosate lower than EWG’s health benchmark, ranging from 10 ppb to 120 ppb. Only two samples had no detectable glyphosate.
Glyphosate was also detected at concentrations of 10 ppb to 30 ppb in five of 16 samples made with organic oats. The five samples came from two brands of organic rolled oats: Bob’s Red Mill and Nature’s Path. A third brand of organic rolled oats and all other organic oat products tested did not contain detectable concentrations of glyphosate.
How does glyphosate get into organic foods? It could come from glyphosate drifting from nearby fields of conventionally grown crops, or by cross-contamination during processing at a facility that also handles non-organic crops. Nature’s Path explains:
While organic farming certifications prohibit the use of glyphosate, organic products do not always end up completely free of glyphosate residue. While this news may come as disappointing, it is not entirely surprising. Glyphosate use has skyrocketed in the past decade, and it maintains the ability to adhere to water and soil particles long enough to travel through the air or in a stream to nearby organic farms.
The problem of glyphosate contamination of organic foods underscores the need to restrict pre-harvest uses of glyphosate and the need for more data on glyphosate levels in products, an area where U.S. federal agencies are falling short.
Two years ago, under pressure from the Government Accountability Office, the FDA began testing for glyphosate in a limited number of foods. At the 2016 North American Chemical Residue Workshop, an FDA scientist presented data showing that glyphosate has been detected in several oat-based food products.
After a Freedom of Information Act request by US Right to Know, earlier this year the FDA released documents that said the agency has found “a fair amount” of glyphosate in several processed foods. The results have not been released, but could be made public later this year or in early 2019.
The EPA has calculated that 1-to-2-year-old children are likely to have the highest exposure, at a level 2x greater than California’s No Significant Risk Level and 230x EWG’s health benchmark.
In 2016, the non-profit Food Democracy Now tested for glyphosate in single samples of a variety of popular foods. “Alarming levels” of glyphosate were found in a number of cereals and other products, including more than 1,000 ppb in Cheerios. More recently, the Center for Environmental Health tested single samples of 11 cereal brands and found glyphosate levels ranging from about 300 ppb to more than 2,000 ppb.
EPA has denied that glyphosate may increase the risk of cancer, and documents introduced in the recent California trial showed how the agency and Monsanto worked together to promote the claim that the chemical is safe. EWG has been urging the EPA to review all evidence linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk and other adverse health effects in human and animal studies. The EPA should limit the use of glyphosate on food crops, including pre-harvest application.
Oat-based foods are a healthy source of fiber and nutrients for children and adults, and oat consumption is linked to health benefits such as lowered cholesterol and decreased cardiovascular risk. Parents should not have to wonder whether feeding their children these heathy foods will also expose them to a pesticide that increases the risk of cancer.
Glyphosate does not belong in cereal. Act and urge the EPA to restrict pre-harvest applications of glyphosate and tell companies to identify and use sources of glyphosate-free oats.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Glyphosate levels reported here represent a snapshot of glyphosate contamination in an exploratory set of of oat-based products sampling.
All product samples were purchased and packed for shipping by EWG researchers located in Washington, D.C., Boulder, Colo., and San Francisco. Eurofins Analytical Laboratories, based in New Orleans, received and tested samples labeled only with EWG-assigned sample numbers.
Glyphosate concentration was determined by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry, using the extraction method published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.i According to the method description provided to EWG by Eurofins, samples are ground, extracted with water, and cleaned in a Dowex AG1-X8 200 mesh resin column. Eluent is derivatized in FMOC-CL and allowed to react overnight in a 40 degrees Celsius water bath. Sample cleanup is performed with an Oasis SPE HLB column, and the eluent is analyzed for glyphosate by LC-MS/MS. The method’s limit of quantification for glyphosate is 0.01 milligrams per kilogram.
Fifty-four of 61 samples were also tested for aminomethylphosphonic acid, or AMPA, the primary degradation product of glyphosate. 12 samples had non-detectable levels of glyphosate or AMPA. Among 40 samples where both AMPA and glyphosate were detected, on average AMPA levels were within 11 percent of the combined glyphosate plus AMPA levels. For one sample, Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters, AMPA levels were 84 percent of the combined glyphosate plus AMPA (1,800 ppb). Two other samples of this product had low levels of glyphosate (30 ppb) and no detectable levels of AMPA.
When calculating the value for the level of glyphosate in tested foods that would exceed EWG’s children’s health benchmark for glyphosate, we used 60 grams as the estimated amount that people are likely to eat at one time. This is equivalent to roughly two cups of Cheerios, or ¾ cup of Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats based on product nutrition facts.
EWG’s health benchmark for glyphosate is 0.01 milligrams a day. If 0.01 mg of glyphosate is present in a 60-gram portion of a specific food product, then the concentration of glyphosate is 0.000166 mg glyphosate per 1 g of food. For the purposes of comparison in this study, EWG uses a glyphosate benchmark of 160 ppb. Above this concentration of glyphosate, eating a single 60-gram portion of food would exceed the EWG health benchmark.
This study was designed by former EWG Senior Analyst Sonya Lunder.
- iTseng, S et al. (2004). Simultaneous quantification of glyphosate, glufosinate, and their major metabolites in rice and soybean sprouts by gas chromatography with pulsed flame photometric detector. 52, 13, 4057-4063
- Federal dietary data shows that nutrition labels on packaged foods often list a serving size much smaller than what people actually eat. Sixty grams is about two cups of Cheerios or ¾ cup of Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats.
Ever since I got to college, I’ve struggled with breakfast. Either I skip breakfast and run on an empty stomach until lunchtime or my hangover gets the best of me and leads me to an 11 AM brunch feast. It’s hard to find a happy medium. However, all of that changed when I started eating oatmeal once a day for breakfast.
I recently made the pledge to cook up an oatmeal breakfast everyday because I was having a hard time regulating my eating habits. In college, rather than working a 9-5 job and having a steady meal plan, you’re constantly getting invites to spunky restaurants or food-related events. But for some reason, starting the day with oatmeal felt like an attainable commitment to a healthier, more structured routine.
Day 1: Yum!
Oatmeal is tasty. There’s not much else to it. The first day of eating oatmeal didn’t conjure up any earth-shattering realizations about my body, but I figured it took a little time to build up the results.
Day 3: Is my metabolism speedy or what?
One word — FIBER. One cup of oatmeal has about four grams of fiber and I was eating over two cups in the morning. Naturally, I was making bathroom trips more frequently, and they were quicker and easier. In other words, fiber does wonders for #2 time. I was surprised at first, but man, I could get used to this.
Day 7: I am a routine queen
The fiber was really regulating my digestive system… which meant my bathroom schedule was becoming very regular. It’s nice to have a set routine for potty time, so that was a huge and unexpected perk.
My life also started to feel more in sync. There’s something about waking up to do the same thing every morning. Not everything in my day has to have order, but having at least one regimen is comforting.
Day 10: Potential weight loss?!
10 days is hardly enough to attribute one food to weight loss, but my pants were feeling a smidge looser and I felt lighter and more refreshed. Eating oatmeal for breakfast kept me full until lunchtime, so it does a good job with managing over-eating. My goal here isn’t to lose weight, though — it’s just to be healthy overall.
Day 14: Feeling gooooood
After eating oatmeal everyday for two weeks, my body feels different… in a good way. My meals are spaced out better, and I feel lighter on my feet throughout the day. Usually after a big breakfast, I feel weighed down, but after two weeks of establishing this oatmeal routine, I usually have a much better start to my day.
Biggest takeaway? More energy.
Rather than stuffing my face with a bagel and cream cheese, I’m making a concentrated effort to eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning. The health and dietary benefits are obvious reasons for trying to make this commitment, and I had a few added perks like extra energy and faster metabolism. Without sounding like a Quaker Oats sales rep, I encourage anyone and everyone to give this experiment a try!
From our Obsession
Future of Food
How to feed everyone, without hurting the planet.
Oatmeal, with its hearty dose of fiber, is a great breakfast choice for staying full and energetic. It feeds a crowd for pennies. It also, likely, contains a hearty does of glyphosate, better known as the Monsanto weedkiller Roundup.
Today (Aug. 15), the Environmental Working Group released a study that tested 61 oat products, including oatmeal, granola and granola bars, for glyphosate. Of the 45 items made with conventionally grown oats, 43 tested positive, with 31 above the EWG’s threshold for safety. Five of the organic products tested positive, as well.
One of the healthiest foods on the list, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, were actually found to have the highest levels of glyphosate, at more than 1,000 parts per billion—the EWG’s child-protective benchmark is 160 parts per billion. Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls were also found to contain significant amounts.
In a statement to Fortune, Quaker said: “We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Quaker does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process. Glyphosate is commonly used by farmers across the industry who apply it pre-harvest.”
More than 200 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on crops in the US each year. Glyphosate is most often used in Roundup Ready corn and soybean crops that have been genetically modified to be resistant to the powerful herbicide—weeds die, the crops remain for better growth and ease of harvesting. The practice of spraying glyphosate on other crops, including oats, lentils, and sugar beets, prior to harvest to dry them out and speed ripening, while not standard, is a strategy farmers sometimes employ.
In an emailed statement to Quartz, Monsanto wrote:
When it comes to pesticides residues, the EPA and other regulatory authorities have strict rules. The EPA sets daily exposure limits at least 100 times below levels shown to have no negative effect in safety studies. Even at the highest level reported by the EWG (1,300 ppb), an adult would have to eat 118 pounds of the food item every day for the rest of their life in order to reach the EPA’s limit. These numbers translate to 9 ½ servings every hour of the day without sleep for a person’s entire life. The EWG’s claim about cancer is false. Glyphosate does not cause cancer. Glyphosate has a more than 40-year history of safe use. Over those four decades, researchers have conducted more than 800 scientific studies and reviews that prove glyphosate is safe for use.
There is not a broadly accepted safe level of glyphosate exposure, in food or as an agricultural worker. The World Health Organization has called it a probable carcinogen, as has the state of California. The US Environmental Protection Agency has a glyphosate risk assessment in draft form that “concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. The Agency’s assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.” Last week, a San Francisco jury awarded a school groundskeeper who had repeatedly been exposed to glyphosate and subsequently developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma $289 million in a lawsuit against Monsanto.
This is not the first time glyphosate has been found in popular packaged foods. In 2017, Ben & Jerry’s suffered a blow to the brand’s crunchy image when the Organic Consumers Association announced that they had found low levels of glyphosate in 10 varieties of its ice cream.
Earlier this year, The Guardian reported on internal US Food and Drug Administration documents that found elevated glyphosate levels in crackers, corn meal, and, yes, oatmeal. In an email to his colleagues about testing methods, an FDA chemist wrote that broccoli was the only food from his home that he had found to be glyphosate-free, noting, “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them.”
By Zen Honeycutt
Founding Executive Director Moms Across America
Author of Unstoppable
On August 27, 2018, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publish an article called “Should I Throw Out My Cheerios?” The article addresses the EWG’s recent testing of 45 samples of cereals and oat products for glyphosate, the declared active chemical ingredient in Roundup weed killer, made by Monsanto. 95% of the conventional products tested positive for the known carcinogen. Only 3% of the organic products were positive. Levels found were 30 -1300+ ppb of glyphosate in the samples tested. Although we are thrilled that the EWG tested foods for glyphosate, we are horrified that they would actually say, “So should I throw out my Cheerios? In a word, no.” Even though some of the products contained 8x higher levels than their own safety assessments and thousands of times higher* than has been shown in scientific studies to cause harm… they still did not advise consumers to stop eating foods that have been found to be highly contaminated with glyphosate.
We asked the EWG and did not receive a sufficient response.** They simply refused to address the scientific studies which have proven that ultra low levels of glyphosate cause harm. This is very concerning and confusing. Fellow supporters have reminded me that the VP of Government Affairs for EWG, also a staff member of Just Label It’s Organic Voices Action Fund, is Scott Faber, the man who threw the entire GMO labeling food movement under the GMO bus during a hearing about the DARK ACT (Denying American’s Right to Know) where he stated, “No one is arguing that farmers should not plant GMOs .” Not True! Activists in counties across the country were struggling to get GMO free zones! He was also asked if GMOs were as safe as their counterparts and he said, “Yes.” Why would he say this? There is a vast amount of data showing that GMOs and their related pesticides that they are engineered to withstand and are not grown without are extremely unsafe! We want them labeled specifically because studies have shown that they are unsafe!
Whatever the reason EWG has for NOT recommending to throw out glyphosate contaminated foods and reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals, we urge them and all who speak on the subject, to reconsider and take a stronger stance for the health of the public. We believe it is their, and our responsibility to protect consumers, not to make them feel comfortable with their food choices.
Scientists Weigh In
Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist MIT and glyphosate expert stated, “I applaud EWG for bringing public awareness to the widespread contamination of glyphosate in common foods. However, I am dismayed that they recommended not to throw out non-organic oat-based foods, once you know they have been found to have high levels of glyphosate in them. My research says that no amount of glyphosate is safe. Why would you want to risk your family’s future health once you know? My husband and I did a massive purge of our cupboard once we became aware of the dangers of glyphosate.”
It is particularly concerning that the EWG would not recommend the immediate discontinuation of exposing children, who are the most frequent consumers of breakfast cereal, to these harmful chemicals. In a 2014 interview with Dr. Mercola, Andre Leu, President of IFOAM Organics International, International director of Regeneration International and author, “Poisoning Our Children: The Parents’ Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides,” says:
“Children, when we talk about the unborn, the newborn and grown children up to puberty, they do not have the detoxification enzymes in their livers that we have as adults. Particularly for young children, that means they have no way of detoxifying even the smallest amount of a pesticide or a chemical.”
UK molecular biologist Michael Antoniou commented on the results, “I, too, am surprised to hear the EWG claim that consuming Cheerios at 169ppb is not at least adding significantly to the total source of daily glyphosate ingestion. In our rat study, Roundup at 4ng/kg body weight per day of glyphosate equivalent was toxic in the long term. If a 20 kg child ate just a single 60-gram portion of Cheerios at 169 ppb (169 micrograms per kg of cereal), they would ingest 10.14 micrograms of glyphosate. Dividing this by 20 gives us 0.507 micrograms (or 507 ng) per kg body weight per day if they ate it every day. Now, 507ng is 126.75 times higher than what our rats ate. Of course, a child will eat other contaminated foods that will add to this daily intake without a doubt.
The bottom line is that just from a single portion per day of Cheerios children will ingest far higher levels of glyphosate than our rats, per kg of body weight, which then developed liver disease. However, the MAJOR caveat, which we must always bear in mind, is that our rats consumed Roundup and not just glyphosate. The contribution of the adjuvants to toxicity cannot be excluded at this stage.”
What Antoniou is referring to in the latter part of his statement is the fact that the testing by the EWG was only for the chemical glyphosate. Therefore the results of his study and the levels which caused those results, cannot be directly compared to the levels of glyphosate the EWG found in the cereals. One cannot say that 4ng per kg of body weight of glyphosates herbicides in rats caused liver disease, therefore 4 ng per kg of body weight of glyphosate alone will likely cause liver disease in humans.
However, we do know that glyphosate is never used alone. Glyphosate herbicides are made up of dozens of different chemicals that have been found to be up to 1000 x more toxic than glyphosate alone. Antoniou’s study was on the final formulation of glyphosate herbicides, all of the co-formulants combined, which include arsenic and heavy metals, not just glyphosate. Therefore, the impact of the co-formulants, which are likely to be present in oats and wheat sprayed with glyphosate, but not confirmed, could be much worse.
As an organization, Moms Across America cannot sit back and watch the American public be misled to believe that any level of glyphosate in their food is safe, not the 160 ppb as suggested by the EWG, not the 1100 micrograms per day as suggested by the CA EPA. None. There is no safe level of glyphosate. Why do we say this? Because glyphosate has been scientifically proven to bioaccumulate in the body – that means to build up over time. So 160 ppb today in Cheerios along with glyphosate residues found in orange juice, oatmeal, bread, snacks, eggs, bagels, beer and wine adds up to over 1000 or 2000 ppb of glyphosate residues. Everyday.
So yes, Moms Across America urges every person who reads this to throw out not just Cheerios and Quaker Oats, but all non-organic foods, especially processed oat and wheat products because we now know that they likely contain high levels of glyphosate. We urge you to buy organic, whole foods, and as plant-based as possible. We know it costs more money to make this switch. The fact is that it costs far less to buy organic food than it does to pay for the doctor’s bills that accrue when you eat the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is loaded with conventional processed foods. It takes more effort, it is not as easy, and it is even socially awkward at times, but the health of your family, and our planet is worth it.
Before you begin to feel sorry for the food companies, remember that they have known since 2015 that glyphosate was deemed a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization. They have had ample time to insist that their suppliers grow glyphosate-free crops. With good reason. Glyphosate herbicides have also been shown to destroy gut bacteria in the parts per billion, cause liver disease, endocrine disruption, cause shortened gestation which can mean miscarriages, and many more serious health issues plaguing America.
In short, throw out the junk! Now! Glyphosate herbicides are poisoning America, hurting your family and pets, and destroying our planet. We need to do more than throw the food out that contains it, we need to boldly speak up with conviction, and we need leaders in Washington, DC who have the political courage to have glyphosate herbicides banned immediately.
*I part per TRILLION- which is the equivalent of 1 drop in 22 olympic-sized swimming pools- was shown to cause the growth of breast cancer cells, and parts per billion of glyphosate can cause liver and kidney damage, reproductive damage, and more.
Response from EWG:
Thank you for reaching out.
We understand and appreciate your concerns about glyphosate in foods.
Because our sample size was relatively small and the test results varied greatly, it is hard to say for certain that all products made with conventionally grown oats have the same heightened levels of glyphosate. But in the article you referenced, we go on to recommend organic foods as the safest option for families concerned about pesticides:
We are advising families to switch to organic foods, to minimize overall pesticide exposures. Our study found that foods made with organic oats had significantly lower glyphosate levels than products made with conventionally grown grains. Trace amounts of glyphosate were found on a few samples, probably because of wind drift from non-organic crops.
Oat-based foods remain a healthy source of fiber and nutrients for children and adults and can help to keep the heart and cardiovascular system healthy. We think it’s your right to eat them without a dose of Roundup.
Glyphosate has been linked to an elevated risk of cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization.
At EWG, we don’t think chemicals linked to cancer belong in children’s food.
Our study (and the article you read) was intended to call attention to this issue so that consumers are empowered with the information they need to 1) demand companies be accountable for glyphosate in their products, 2) request the FDA to release the results of its glyphosate-in-foods tests (which are much more extensive than ours), and 3) understand a bit more about why EWG is concerned about EPA’s legal limits for certain chemicals in food.
We encourage groups like yours to share our study results with your stakeholders.
Are you worried about pesticides in organic oatmeal? We have been fielding a lot of questions about Roundup in oat products since news of EWG’s study on glyphosate broke the other day.
The thing that’s troubling my readers most is the headline that glyphosate was found in some of the organic product samples tested. I’m not worried about this, and I don’t think you should be either.
Why I’m Not Worried about Pesticides in Organic Oatmeal
Although 5 of the 16 organic samples tested positive for traces of glyphosate, none of these samples exceeded EWG’s limit of 160 parts per billion.
For example, while Bob’s Red Mill organic rolled oats averaged 12.5 ppb of glyphosate, Bob’s Red Mill conventional rolled oats averaged more than ten times that much (150 ppb, which is still slightly below EWG’s limit for safety).
And again, it’s important to remember that 70% of the organic brands had NO glyphosate detected in them (and 100% were below a concerning level).
By contrast, almost 70% of the conventional samples of oat products exceeded EWG’s safety limit for glyphosate residue (and only 4% of the conventional brands had no glyphosate detected).
Some of these brands WAY exceeded safe limits of glyphosate: Quaker’s Instant Oats averaged a whopping 700 ppb, and even Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls had 320 ppb.
(By the way: the safe limit for glyphosate set by EWG is 100 times lower than that set by the EPA.)
Bottom Line: Pesticides in Organic Oatmeal
I admit it, this new study is super depressing when I think about:
- The pesticide load to which the average American child is exposed, from the food they eat to the lawns they play on;
- The body burden of people who work with Roundup and other pesticides daily (like this guy, about whom I am sure you’ve all read);
- The health of the communities whose water is contaminated by agricultural run-off;
- The tremendously negative impact glyphosate and other pesticides have on the environment.
But here’s a small silver lining: this study offers convincing evidence that organic products–even highly processed ones from big brands like Kashi or Cascadian Farms–really are NOT contaminated with pesticide residues.
What We Can Do
For now, all we can do is vote with our dollars and support the companies selling organic foods, with confidence that these products really are worth the extra cost. (I would also argue we should vote with our actual votes to make sure we have good guys running the EPA!).
P.S. The timing of this report on oat products just made my job a little bit easier, since I am finishing up our Healthy Boxed Cereal Guide this week. I was debating putting regular old Cheerios under “The Okay Stuff,” since the ingredients aren’t so bad. Learning that Roundup contamination in Cheerios exceeds EWG’s safety limit by nearly five times makes my decision easy on this: Cheerios are Bad Stuff.
New Report Warns Consumers About a Common Chemical Found In Oat Products
Photo: Radachynskyi / Getty Images
Bad news: There might be a cancer-causing toxin lurking in your oats. Multiple reports have suggested that popular oat products contain traces of the pesticide glyphosate, creating an ongoing debate over whether it’s present at unsafe levels. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a report detailing the levels of glyphosate in various granolas, oats, cereals, and bars. The majority of samples had more glyphosate that what EWG considers “protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.”
The amount of glyphosate that EWG considers safe for children is anything under 160 parts per billion (ppb). Thirty-one of the 45 samples they tested had 160 ppb or more. Quaker Old Fashioned Oats was one of the worst offenders with one sample testing for 1,300 ppb. Following that, Giant instant oatmeal and Quaker Dinosaur Eggs both showed samples in the 700s. General Mills’ Cheerios tested at levels ranging from 470 ppb to 530 ppb. (Here’s the latest info on produce and pesticides from the dirty dozen and clean 15 lists.)
In fact, three consumer groups had filed complaints against General Mills in 2016 after an independent lab test found glyphosate in samples of the granola bars. Now, as a result of that lawsuit, this new research, and the resulting controversy, General Mills announced it will change how it labels some of its products. In a lawsuit settlement, the company has agreed to stop labeling Nature Valley bars as “100 percent natural,” USA Today reports.
If you’re patting yourself on the back right now for shopping strictly organic, know that you’re probably still consuming very small amounts of glyphosate. EWG researchers found that Bob’s Red Mill and Nature’s Path organic rolled oats had 10 ppb to 30 ppb in five samples. The glyphosate could have drifted from nearby crops or resulted from cross-contamination at a packaging facility, according to EWG. (Related: Are Organic Food Labels Tricking Your Taste Buds?)
Last year glyphosate was added to California’s list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer. And some researchers believe an increased use of glyphosate in the U.S. may have contributed to a rise in digestive diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis.
Not everyone agrees that the levels of glyphosate in our oats is cause for alarm, though. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets its tolerance for glyphosate at 30 parts per million (ppm), which is 30,000 ppb. In other words, even at 1,300 ppb, the Quaker Old Fashioned Oats sample was way below the limit set by EPA. Yes, the EWG and EPA have a 29,840 ppb discrepancy in their suggested limits on glyphosate. And with one side calling EWG “fearmongering” and the other calling EPA “notorious for neglecting new science on chemicals,” it’s hard to sort through who’s accurate.
Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and it was a hot topic even before the recent EWG report. Earlier this month, a California man won a lawsuit against Monsanto, the company that creates Roundup, a weed killer containing glyphosate. He has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and filed the suit arguing that Monsanto did not warn him of the cancer risk involved in using the weed killer while he was working as a groundskeeper. (Related: The #1 Trick to See If You Should Buy Organic Produce)
All of this doesn’t mean you should skip oats, though. They’re rich in fiber and protein and low in sugar if you go for unsweetened. “The problem with these types of headlines and studies is that it creates fear and hysteria amongst parents,” says Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., family medicine physician. “I would definitely aim for less processed, sugary cereals but eating the foods identified in the study is unlikely to contribute alone to cancer.” If you’re feeling reluctant, you can always stick to organic options. All the organic oat products that EWG tested had glyphosate levels well below both the EWG and EPA limits. “Bottom line, whenever possible buy organic because the pesticide and chemical burden is lower,” says Dr. Agarwal. But organic or not, the tried-and-true rule still holds up: “It is important that you eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains more than packaged and processed foods,” she says.
- By Renee Cherry @reneejcherry
This week, Americans woke up and decided to forgo their healthy morning bowl of oatmeal because of a misleading story from The Daily Mail headlined “Is your oatmeal killing you? Quaker Oats is sued for $5 million following claims WEED KILLER is used in production.” Where do I start?
Well, let’s start with sources. Sources, sources, sources—there are so many sources these days. The trick is knowing the good sources. So let’s consider the source for this story: The Daily Mail.
Look, don’t get me wrong. I love The Daily Mail. In fact, I read it every single day—for Hollywood and entertainment gossip (and to keep up with Gwyneth and Jenny McCarthy’s latest idiocy). Yet I do not get my health and diet information from a site that specializes in promoting Kim Kardashian’s buttocks, Justin Bieber’s love life, and Gisele’s new nose.
In The Daily Mail’s defense (hysterical and utterly unnecessary headline aside), they were reporting on a (soon to be thrown out) lawsuit filed by a Brooklyn (natch!) resident who claims Quaker Oats lied by labeling the cereal “100 percent natural.” The lawsuit claims this label is false because during the growing of the oats, a pesticide called glyphosate—a synthetic weed killer—is used as an herbicide on the crops to stave off weeds and increase yield.
Beware Words Like ‘Natural’ and ‘Toxic’
I’ll get to the “glyphosate kills” baloney in a moment, but this lawsuit should serve as a warning to the food industry. It raises some very interesting questions about food marketing and the food industry’s continued use of meaningless and somewhat misleading phrases like “natural,” “healthy,” “clean,” and similar gimmicky terms that lack an agreed-upon or federally recognized definition (while the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, doesn’t currently define “natural,” the agency is currently taking comments on a definition).
Whether the word “natural” is being properly used is open to debate. But just because something is a chemical and used during the food production process doesn’t mean it’s a danger to humans, must less a secret killer.
In fact, “toxic” is a word that is often thrown around but is as misleading as “natural.” After all, everything is toxic at a certain dose. Drinking too much water can kill you. Eating too much cantaloupe can kill you. Even eating too much kale can kill you. And yes, consuming high levels of just about any sort of chemical can harm or even kill you. The important takeaway? Dose makes the poison.
Dose Makes the Poison
So, in evaluating how concerned you should be about the trace amounts of glyphosate in oatmeal, one must consider the dose. It’s helpful to compare it to other items Americans are consuming. This graph from The Credible Hulk offers a good visual:
So, if you’re concerned about trace (almost undetectable) levels of glyphosate in your bowl of oatmeal, you better put down that coffee, stop taking an Advil after your spin class, and learn to love bland food.
But before we move on, take another look at that chart. Look way up there at the tippy top. See that compound called Rotenone? Well, guess what? That stuff is allowed for use as a pesticide in organic farming. See a few columns below that, that stuff called lime sulfur? Yeah, another “organic pesticide” that’s more toxic than glyphosate. Uh huh. Those organic farmers might just want to switch to the less-toxic glyphosate if they really cared about their customers. Just an idea.
Still not convinced? Check out this piece on glyphosate toxicity written by Dr. Anastasia Bodnar who, unlike the entertaining writers at The Daily Mail, studied genetics and sustainable agriculture at Iowa State University and writes on agriculture questions for Biofortified blog. I mean, she’s not covering Madonna, but… In answering the question “Is glyphosate toxic,” Bodner offers some common sense, saying:
Of course glyphosate is toxic! It is a herbicide after all – the whole point of glyphosate (G for short in this post) is to kill unwanted plants. Like all chemicals, including water and salt, G is going to be toxic to animals (including humans) at some dose. Compared to other herbicides, though, G is a pretty safe option for killing weeds.
Next, Bodnar explains produce is regularly tested for pesticide residue to ensure the residues are kept at safe levels. She writes:
The EPA sets maximum safe levels of pesticide residues for crops (called tolerances), based on the latest science. These tolerances are hundreds of times higher than estimated toxic values, and they consider a person’s total exposure to pesticides (with a wide margin of error to protect children and others who may be vulnerable). The USDA tests crops each year to make sure they don’t go above the tolerances. Very few pesticides are found above the tolerance levels (despite what the Dirty Dozen list claims). If the USDA finds any pesticides above the set tolerance, or finds pesticides on crops where they aren’t supposed to be, they report that information to the FDA. The FDA puts the teeth in this whole system. They have the regulatory power to start recalls, levy fines, turn back foods at the ports, and so on…
‘No Solid Evidence’ Links Glyphosate to Harm
Bodnar then offers links to the latest (and highly respected) literature on glyphosate and humans (here, here, and here), explaining that these “reviews looked at epidemiological studies, ones that look at disease incidence in large numbers of humans with varying levels of exposure to G or that look at exposure to G in a population that has a disease.”
That’s important. It means scientists have looked at populations that have higher rates of cancers and other diseases and looked to see if those people had been exposed to glyphosate. Conversely, they’ve looked at people who for whatever reason have higher exposure to glyphosate (farm workers, for instance) and have checked for certain disease.
To quote one of the studies’ findings: “the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations.” Another says: “Our review found no evidence of a consistent pattern of positive associations indicating a causal relationship between any disease and exposure to glyphosate.”
Bodnar also provides some information on why farmers use the stuff:
One interesting use of G is to dry wheat before harvest. To help reduce levels of toxic fusarium fungus on wheat, it is good to harvest the wheat as early as possible but you can’t harvest it until it’s dry. So G is used to dry (aka kill) the wheat plants so the grain can be harvested. As long as the G is sprayed after the plants have fully matured, the G won’t be moved from the plant into the seeds. Here, G is actually helping farmers prevent a legitimately scary toxin from getting into the food supply.
That’s right. Farmers aren’t using this simply to freak out moms. They’re using this pesticide to improve farming, increase yield, and stave off a potentially very harmful bacteria from entering the food supply. DAMN YOU, MONSANTO!
The Real Consequences of Crazy Food Frights
Of course, what’s really sad is that a number of folks who read this kind of rubbish will react by changing their habits—like forgoing their favorite oats in the morning. Moms will stop feeding oats to their kids because they’ll begin to worry they’re slowly poisoning them. Just look at a sample of the comments from the article (I know, I know, never read the comments!).
So California Sue and Phantom D.I.C.E now think they’ve hurt themselves. They’ve probably dumped their tins of oatmeal and will never eat it again. Or, even more disturbing, particularly if don’t have enough money to buy organic, they will nonetheless switch to these more expensive brands that are no healthier or safer, at a great sacrifice to their personal food budgets.
They will switch to these more expensive brands that are no healthier or safer, at a great sacrifice to their personal food budgets.
Bob’s Red Mill, which produces a more expensive, organic brand of oatmeal, was quick to take advantage of the “oatmeal kills” tosh. It posted a note on the company website to kinda, sorta (okay, we’re not really sure if our growers use glyphosate but we’re looking into it) offer reassurance.
Of course, this is no surprise. Organic food peddlers are very good at using these food scares to promote their own products and I sure as heck don’t expect Bob’s Red Mill to inform customers that even organic farmers use pesticides (here’s the FDA’s list of approved organic pesticides), but, man-o-man, wouldn’t it be nice to see a call for calm? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see Bob defend the farmers with whom he works by saying, “Look, folks, calm down. Glyphosate is safe and useful for farmers. We trust our partners to make the best decisions about their crops, and we’re proud to work with them.”
Clearly, I’m drinking too much kumbucha to even hope a statement like that would come out of an organic company. But I’m not going to stop hoping that people continue to buy whatever brand best suits their wallets and forget this latest alarmist story.
Oats—both conventionally grown and organic—are a poor source if you’re looking to consume glyphosate. But if you’re looking for a low-calorie, low-sugar, cholesterol- and sodium-free source of carbohydrates and protein that also contains iron, thiamin, riboflavin, manganese, selenium, and the amino acid tryptophan, by all means, enjoy a delicious bowls of oatmeal.
Here’s some more health advice: Steer clear of stories with hysterical headlines looking to provoke a panicked response.
100 Percent of Oat Products Tested Positive for Glyphosate
Oat-based foods, such as oatmeal, cereals and bread, are considered by many to be a healthy dietary addition, but if you eat such foods know that you’re probably getting herbicide residues along with them.
In testing done by Friends of the Earth (FOE), 100 percent of oat cereal samples tested positive for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide.1 While there are multiple reasons to reconsider the health value of oats, including their lectin content, the rampant use of glyphosate on this crop as a desiccant just prior to harvest, and their subsequent glyphosate contamination, is worthy of attention.
All Oat Cereals Tested Contained Glyphosate
FOE, looking to uncover how many pesticides and herbicides residues are in commonly eaten foods, tested store-brand cereal, beans and produce from the top four food retailers in the U.S.: Walmart, Kroger, Costco and Albertsons/Safeway.
Altogether, 132 samples of house brand samples were tested, from more than 30 U.S. stores in 15 states. Residues of glyphosate and pesticides — neonicotinoids and organophosphates — were found, with glyphosate being detected in 100 percent of oat cereal and pinto bean samples tested.
The average level of glyphosate in cereal samples was 360 parts per billion (ppb), which FOE noted is more than twice the level set by Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists for lifetime cancer risk in children. Some of the cereal samples contained residues as high as 931 ppb.
As for pinto beans, levels were found up to 1,128 ppb, although average glyphosate levels were 509 ppb — 4.5 times higher than EWG’s benchmark for lifetime cancer risk in children. According to FOE:
“EWG determined that a 1-in-a-million cancer risk would be posed by ingestion of 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day. To reach this maximum dose, one would have to eat a single 60-gram serving of oat cereal with a glyphosate level of 160 ppb or a 90-gram serving of pinto beans with a glyphosate level of 110 ppb.”
Oat-Based Foods Marketed to Children Contain Glyphosate
EWG also commissioned independent laboratory tests to determine how much glyphosate is lurking in the U.S. food supply. Forty-three out of 45 food products made with conventionally grown oats tested positive for glyphosate, 31 of which had glyphosate levels higher than EWG scientists believe would be protective of children’s health.2
Examples of foods with detectable levels of glyphosate include Quaker Dinosaur Eggs instant oatmeal, Cheerios cereal, Nature Valley granola bars, Quaker steel cut oats and Back to Nature Classic Granola. Further, out of 16 organic oat foods tested, five contained glyphosate, although at levels below EWG’s health benchmark of 160 ppb.
Follow-up testing of another 28 samples of oat-based cereal and other oat-based foods marketed to children found glyphosate in all the samples tested, with 26 of them coming in above EWG’s health benchmark of 160 ppb.
Glyphosate was detected in General Mills’ Cheerios and a host of Quaker brand products such as instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal and snack bars. The highest glyphosate level — 2,837 ppb — was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal. According to EWG:3
“These test results fly in the face of claims by two companies, Quaker and General Mills, which have said there is no reason for concern. This is because, they say, their products meet the legal standards.
Yet almost all of the samples tested by EWG had residues of glyphosate at levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.”
DOES YOUR OATMEAL HAVE GLYPHOSATE
Should Your Oatmeal Come With A Warning Label?
Is the oatmeal you love as healthy as you think it is? Is it free from glyphosate and other herbicides or pesticides?
A trending topic over the past few days has been about oatmeal and oat products reported to contain alarming levels of glyphosate – a herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup® a weed killer made by Monsanto that is the most heavily used herbicide by U.S. Farmers.
While we hate fear-mongering as much as the next guy, this story really hits home for us. Both because we make our own Oatmeal and Oat-based products, and because many of us here at John’s Killer Protein® are ourselves consumers (and parents to young consumers) of the brands being reported on by CNN®, EWG® and the FDA.
What brought this to everyone’s attention was a historic court case that wrapped up last week, in which a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 Million to a man dying from cancer. Because of the apparent link between glyphosate and cancer, and the overwhelming evidence presented and argued during this California court case, there was a renewed interest in testing products we consume that are made from grains and crops known to have exposure to glyphosate.
But First – The Good News!
At John’s Killer Protein®, we make two products that contain Oats. Both are certified GMO Free and are made with certified organic oats grown, harvested and processed without the use of herbicides or pesticides.
Both our Organic Oats – Complex Carb Blend® and our PROATS – Protein Fortified Organic Oats® have no detectable traces of herbicide, pesticide, and specifically not glyphosate.
As a matter of fact, none of our protein blends have traces of pesticides, chemicals, additives or any harmful ingredients. That’s because we take our sourcing very seriously and pay close attention to the smallest of details. Our vendor-partners are scrutinized and selected carefully. We only source the highest quality and purest ingredients, and independently test each ingredient to ensure compliance with our high quality standards.
We do this to ensure that every product bearing the John’s Killer Protein® name is pure, clean, and free from unwanted contamination, harmful chemicals, additives, fillers or artificial ingredients.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG®)
The EWG tested more than a dozen brands of oat-based foods that we, as American consumers have become accustomed to eating with the presumption that they are safe. EWG released their findings in a report on August 15, 2018 by Alexis Temkin, Ph.D, Toxicologist , and the results were alarming!
- 43 of 45 products tested showed presence of glyphosate.
- 75% of products tested had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists and the World Health Organization consider safe for human health.
Below is a table that shows levels of glyphosate found in the brands and products tested by the EWG:
How Big Is This Problem?
Each year, the EPA estimates that 250 million pounds (yes, Million!) of glyphosate is sprayed on crops by U.S. farmers. These crops are almost always grown from genetically modified seeds, engineered by Monsanto to withstand the same herbicide Monsanto also makes. The effect of this practice is that these GMO crops will survive while unwanted weeds and plants will not. It’s actually quite an effective (and scalable) way to grow crops without unwanted weeds or plants – If it wasn’t for the cancer-causing health effects of spraying food with glyphosate!
Why Should You Care?
Once sprayed or used in pre-harvesting, glyphosate will stay in the food supply and make its way into the finished packaged product we pick up at the local store.
The highest levels, greater than 1,000 ppb (ppb stands for parts per billion – and that’s because trace elements of this chemical is all takes to cause health issues) were detected in two samples of Quaker® Old Fashioned Oats. Three samples of Cheerios® had glyphosate levels ranging from 470 ppb to 530 ppb. Glyphosate was also detected at concentrations of 10 ppb to 30 ppb in five of 16 samples tested. The five samples came from the two brands: Bob’s Red Mill® and Nature’s Path®. This is concerning because these levels are found in household name products and are considered unhealthy by unbiased scientific and medical communities world-wide.
Brands With High Levels of Glyphosate
Legal Does Not Make It Safe – History of collusion & conflicts of interests
Two years ago, under pressure from the Government Accountability Office, the FDA began testing for glyphosate in a limited number of foods. We suppose the FDA thought it’s better late than never! At the 2016 North American Chemical Residue Workshop, an FDA scientist presented data showing that glyphosate has been detected in several oat-based food products. After a Freedom of Information Act request by US Right to Know, earlier this year the FDA released documents that said the agency has found “a fair amount” of glyphosate in several processed foods. The results have not been released, but could be made public later this year or in early 2019.
While the EPA continues to deny that glyphosate may increase the risk of cancer, court documents introduced in the recent California trial (the same one that awarded a $289 million judgement against Monsanto) showed how the agency and Monsanto worked together to promote the claim that the chemical is safe. Just to make sure you didn’t miss this part: Monsanto and the agency mandated to monitor and regulate the use of its products worked together to conclude that the chemical Monsanto creates and sells is safe!
We find this extremely troubling because there is a clear conflict of interest with Monsanto benefiting from both the sale of the genetically modified seeds it creates to withstand herbicide use, while also profiting from selling its product Roundup (containing glyphosate) as the only viable herbicide option. All while Monsanto heavily lobbies and pressures the EPA to claim that the use of glyphosate is perfectly safe.
EWG has been urging the EPA to review all evidence linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk and other adverse health effects in human and animal studies. The EPA is yet to act.
Oatmeal and other oat-based foods are a healthy source of complex carbs, fiber and nutrients. Oat consumption is widely known to reduce cholesterol and decrease cardiovascular risk. At John’s Killer Protein®, we believe consumers should not have to wonder whether eating these heathy foods will also expose them to herbicide, pesticide or other harmful chemicals. That’s why we independently test our ingredients and only use certified GMO Free and Certified Organic Oats in our protein blends.
Bottom line is that glyphosate does not belong in our food supply. Instead of debating what levels are considered safe, what some arbitrary “part-per-billion” threshold should be considered safe or not, let’s focus on alternative farming methods that ensure we don’t poison our own food supply.
We believe The EPA should function as the independent oversight agency it is mandated to be, and limit (if not completely prohibit) the use of glyphosate on food crops, including pre-harvest application.
We encourage you to reach out to the Companies and brands you purchase. Whether it’s Quaker®, General Mills®, Bob’s Red Mill® or any other company. Call them, e-mail them. ask for complete transparency about what is and isn’t in the food they make and sell to you.
We’ve always believed in complete transparency, and that’s been at the root of our brand’s success. The John’s Killer Protein® “Beyond The Label” initiative is our attempt to share with you pertinent information about the foods we make and the foods you purchase from us. You deserve nothing less!
If you have any questions or concerns about the products we make, reach out and ask. You can contact us Here or e-mail us at