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Traces of Weed Killer Found in Oat Cereals, Granola, & More

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Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal - Breakfast Foods

Have you heard the news?

General Mills and Quaker oat cereals, oatmeal, granola, and other oat-based foods have tested positive for trace amounts of weed killer found in RoundUp, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. This second round of tests are followed by an initial testing that was conducted by the EWG back in August 2018.

According to the EWG, 26 of the 28 food items contained higher levels of RoundUp’s main ingredient, glyphosate, which may be linked to cancer. None of the foods actually violated the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on the herbicide but had higher levels of glyphosate than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health.

Quaker chewy granola bars

The EWG uses a more conservative health benchmark than the EPA and says that “just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe.” However, according to Quaker and General Mills, there is no reason for concern because their products meet legal standards.

If you are concerned about glyphosate in your child’s breakfast foods, consider buying whole, all-natural foods, versus packaged/processed products. There is quite a selection at most grocery stores and all-natural grocers, like Whole Foods Market.

Will YOU still eat these products?


Join The Discussion

Comments 66

  1. Katrina Hughes

    Yes, because I have a good understanding of science and chemistry.

    • Mary

      Lol…me too. 😂

    • Heidi

      Thank you! Barely propped bias like that drives me crazy

    • Brady

      Not sure what this means. I have a good understanding of science and nutrition as well but to me this is a personal decision, not a lack of understanding. We have a serious autoimmune condition and major dietary concerns to contend with and as a personal choice feel its best to eat as many real, “whole” foods as possible- however, I don’t judge people who do (or don’t) make the same choices as me, regardless of their “understanding.”
      For what it’s worth, I’d highly recommend the documentary “Food Inc” for those of you who do want to get a better understanding of our food system and how products like Roundup end up spreading to crops.

      • Mary

        Brady, I don’t think it was intended that way. I think she was simply echoing the automatic reaction of skeptical scientists. Roundup, like everything else will fall under the umbrella of “the dose makes the poison.” Does that mean that small amounts won’t affect a small minority? No one would ever make that claim. But to determine it requires way more study than has been done. You do you, my friend!

        • Amy

          Mary – Studies were done in France and scientists found there is evidence that it causes cancer. It it’s now banned in their country. Christine – organic foods allow a much much lower amount of pesticides compared to conventional. It’s required by law.

      • Christine

        Organic foods contain pesticides too! Do actual research and not internet “research”. Speak with your local farmers, speak with scientists! STOP the fear mongering! The dose makes the poison. I am a farmers wife, and sick and tired of marketing executives scaring people into spending way more money than they need to.

        • terri

          The dose makes the poison is finally being challenged! It never factored in long term exposure..don’t you think that’s important? The dose makes the poison is a great knee jerk reaction by companies who want to disregard the use of chemicals in their product, and people fall for it. How many ‘doses’ are you willing to accept in any given day? You are bombarded by chemicals, people need to at least try to minimize them a bit rather than just say ‘the dose makes the poison’…

      • Christine

        Brady, recommending a skewed documentary is definitely not research.

        • Brady

          To be clear I didn’t (and don’t) recommend using a documentary as “research”; I simply stated that it can be used to better understand how products like Roundup may spread to other crops. I know many people have/had no idea this even occurred, much less how it is affecting “innocent” crops nearby.

          • Christine

            Thank you for clarifying Brad!

            • Christine

              Oops! I meant Brady 🙈

    • Rochelle

      EWG is notorious for fearmongering and exaggeration and is routinely denounced by organizations with far better standing in the scientific and medical community. It’s discouraging that it’s so frequently cited as an authoritative source.

      • Christine

        Thank you Rochelle!

      • Amy

        Anyone read the news and see the class action on Montsanto?! I wouldn’t say their hands are clean either. The documentary Brady is talking about is good if you want to know more about the company responsible for making roundup.

  2. Ashley

    Personally, I’d like to see some more reviews of this, as well as other commonly consumed products and see just what constitutes as a “trace amount” in terms of testing standards. With so much childhood diseases and issues in pregnancies these days, most unexplainable…every angle needs to be looked into.

  3. Stacey

    Whole and organic food is often recalled too. If we stopped eating everything that was recalled and panicked, heck we would starve. I unfortunately don’t have the time to grow my own not to mention the wildlife in my backyard has a heyday when I do try. If you look hard enough you can find a link to cancer in about anything you do unfortunately. Just do the best you can for you and your family.

  4. Laura

    Thank you for posting this! We stopped eating these brands when we found out. I agree that a lot of things can cause cancer, but as the mother of three small girls, I will do absolutely everything in my power to keep them healthy and safe! If there’s a chance it could contribute to a higher risk of cancer then I’m not going to take it.

    • Trish

      I hope you won’t subject your daughters to the HPV vaccine. And if you do, please do your research first.

      • ana jones

        yes! or boys

      • Trish S.

        Can I ask why you say that Trish?

      • kharrington

        Yes, Trish! That! Please people seek out complications from the HPV. This is not a joke. Talk to real parents that have risked their child’s life by using the vaccine.

  5. Rebecca Shebester

    Cancer is so prevalent. We can’t keep eating synthetic food and then act shocked when diagnosed with cancer. Trace amounts in the majority of foods ads up. Food is supposed to be fuel, not a toxin that our bodies have to fight to eliminate.

  6. Ren

    This is unacceptable – please email General Mills- for heavens sake – they market to babies!!

    • Nancy

      It is not only General Mills though. I know several moms who have gone to great lengths to give their children organic products for this very reason and there are several organic brands on the list: Cascadian Farms, Kashi, Simple Truth, etc. Terrible!

  7. CW

    I was a bit discouraged that 3 cereals I have and love (honey nut Cheerios, Quaker granola with almonds, Quaker Apples and Cinnamon oatmeal) all have this. Very upsetting.

  8. Holli

    My child eats the package hot cereal all the time but not anymore. This is crazy. Weed killer. There shouldn’t even be a trace of that at all. There is no reason for it. And you can’t even tell me that’sthat supposed to help with preservatives if it is they need to figure out a different way. Thank you for posting this. Like someone else said. I will try to keep my child healthy as best that I can. I’ll have to find a different way.

  9. Lana

    If you use Round up in your yard you should not be upset about this since your kids play out there and you carry it into your house on your shoes.

  10. Deb

    Thank you for posting this!

  11. Heather

    We don’t use Round up in our yard… love my dandelions and all the stuff you can do with them… As for the Round up in our food, it is sad but shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Industrial food is produced using mostly chemical fertilizers and pesticides/herbicides, some of it is bound to end up in the consumable product. Our country’s farmers are producing a vast amount of food on very little land. I personally will not continue to purchase these items until their levels of round up residue are reduced. This is my choice for my family, no reason for anyone else to care or judge either way. If we want to see a change the most effective way to effect is thru our purchasing choices.

  12. Isra

    I’m a nurse practitioner, also with a good understanding of science. And there are levels of evidence used to weigh how critical the study and results are and if they warrant a change in practice. This is evidence based research, which is the highest and strongest level. Of course many products and many food items can have long term health effects, but when there is strong research behind the study it’s something worth considering. I also go by the motto “Know better, do better.” I have a Costco size of Quaker instant oatmeal in my home, that I don’t feel comfortable feeding my family after reading the article and how the study was conducted. Small acts add up to big change.

  13. emily

    I ate some delicious cinnamon oat cheerios for breakfast, and in the morning i plan to share more with my kids.

  14. emily

    I very much doubt that this is a brand specific issue. Just because only certain brands have been referenced doesn’t mean they’re the only ones affected.

  15. Linda

    My daughter is a food scientist and is getting her PhD . This is her take on this.. after her brother asked for her insight. Oh, lots of insight! But, here’s my big take away. The studies that show round up is linked to cancer are incredibly flawed and the most famous one was retracted. Yes, a jury just awarded a man in a case against Monsanto about roundup causing cancer. Just because a jury did doesn’t mean true.
    Anything that’s not grown organically is going to have traces of “chemicals” used to help them grow or that’s found in the soil. It’s just a fact! But the levels are not high enough to be toxic and that is something that is monitored.
    Finally, just because organic has less “chemicals” I wouldn’t argue that its safer because the growing and handling process of organic food right now increases the risk of e coli and salmonella exposure.
    Real final thought: that article was prime example of irresponsible, sensationalized journalism. The title and first two sentences alone were set-up to fear monger and vilify. Not exactly unbiased, balanced reporting

    • Kelly A.

      Roundup is a chemical that causes living things to die. I don’t have to be a scientist or have a PhD to understand that having a significant amount of it in my food is not healthy.

      • Ren

        Amen sister!!

      • Stephanie

        That logic makes no sense. Yes round up kills weeds. E coli and salmonella kills people. She didn’t say it was “healthy” and the amount is arguably not significant depending on the source. She was simply stating her educated opinion that either option isn’t necessarily safer when looking at the facts.

        • Kelly A.

          Fine. You all can keep justifying your Roundup. As for me and my house, we will try to keep as much of it out of our food as possible and continue to pull our weeds.

        • Kelly A

          Actually, that logic makes no sense. You’re comparing a poison (a non-living thing) killing a living thing, to a living thing (a bacteria) killing another living thing.

    • Joseph

      I am a Food Scientist + Chemical Engineer, with a PhD (20 yrs ago). The dangers from pesticides and chemicals are real. I believe one cannot generalize and say all studies are skewed. Please use your judgement and do some research to figure out what’s best for your families and the risks you are willing to take as acceptable for day-to-day living.

  16. Blessed

    Thanks for sharing certainly something to know. 😃

  17. Christy

    I’m just beginning a complete diet overhaul and have learned that Glyphosate is used with many, many, many crops- especially corn. Corn is in EVERYTHING (think corn syrup, corn starch, etc).

  18. Debra Rohr

    Thank you for keeping us informed, Colin!

  19. GC

    This is VERY concerning, but something about Whole Foods Market being mentioned at the end makes me wonder if they are turning this into advertising for themselves.

    • Christine

      Exactly, follow the $

  20. Kelly

    Thank you for the information.

  21. Jen

    This is so unacceptable, the FDA should do a better job regulating this. I don’t want to feed it to my children. Some research says it causes cancer some studies say there’s no link (id like to know if those studies are funded by monosanto) why would you even risk it? I’m not going to trust these companies with my Children’s well being … I know they really just care about $

    • terri

      Jen, if you research, you will see that the FDA is managed by Monsanto executives..it’s a revolving door..they are VPs at Monsanto, get an FDA post, write some favorable rules for their company, and after their government stint, go back to Monsanto…it’s the same with Pharmaceutical companies and the CDC…The FDA is basically Monsanto.

  22. Jenjen

    Never again.
    Ps. It ticks me off to see parents who are overwhelmed at the constant parade of scientifically based evidence that we are being poisoned by food manufacturers for profit turn on another parent who tries to warn others because they can’t handle replacing one item in their pantry! Seriously!?! You ought to be thanking this woman for caring so much that she would take on your criticism which I’m sure she knew was coming. A quick glance into any time in our countries history will prove that the government is not worthy of your trust. Don’t shoot the messenger, instead try being a better parent

    • Mary

      This post telling a group of parents to be better parents sounds pretty inflammatory for someone deriding the level of discourse…

    • emily

      Yeah, government should never be trusted–agreed. We should blindly trust the “scientific” research put forward by these types of completely unbiased groups making documentaries, because I’m sure they aren’t making money from them or anything. Yes that’s sarcasm. I doubt throwing away general mills and Quaker products would free any of us from this chemical. How lucky we all are to have the option of throwing food away. Probably easily 75% of food, beverage products could be from crops grown with this chemical. I don’t like that it’s there, but where does it end, plastic is killing us, shampoo, weed killer… none of us can claim to completely understand, and any one of us who complains against the other side’s opinion by telling them to be a better parent should take a look at themselves…hypocrisy? Honestly we can all be better parents.

  23. Nicole

    No way! Theres trace amounts of pesticides in products that are made from crops treated with pesticides? Who would have thought?

    • MJ

      Amen!

  24. Sara

    The entire reason that GMO crops were made (by Monsanto by the way-the makers of roundup made all the gmo crops and have the patent on them) is so they won’t die when drenched in round up. They have a lot of money and cover up and sue people who do real research. Atrazine and round up do cause cancer among a ton of other things. When given to rats, males start humping makes and being. Chemically castrated.

  25. Mary

    A while back I read about a runner who died because he drank too much water. That’s why I won’t be drinking water anymore. COFFEE ONLY!

    • MJ

      😂😂 I needed that today!! Thank you!

  26. Theresa

    Maybe off topic, but probably not. We need to Stop Wasting Food. It might curb the agriculture industry from continually producing such high yields. Deforestation, destroying the wet lands, over use of chemicals, genetic modification, etc. etc. P.S. I’m a farm wife, not that it matters.

  27. Sara

    In answer to “the dose makes the poison,” I have a question. How harmful is a bee sting? Unless you’re allergic, it’s not going to do any lasting harm. How about ten bee stings? Again, not very harmful. Several hundred stings, however, will most likely make you very, very sick. A thousand bee stings will kill you. We are surrounded by, covered in, ingesting and applying products with traces of known or suspected carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins all day every day- and it’s killing us. If General Mills cereal were the ONLY source of toxins we ever consumed, no, it wouldn’t do any harm, and our bodies could handle it. Unfortunately, it’s just one source of hundreds, and I am SO SICK (no pun intended) of all of the corporations and manufacturers saying “the trace levels of poison in our products are perfectly safe” and then accusing worried consumers of fearmongering, instead of DOING something about it. In the meantime, I have nonfunctionally autistic cousins, friends and family battling cancer, and I myself, at a young age, am so tired I can’t breathe, with hair falling out and aching joints, and not one of the four doctors I’ve seen can figure out what’s wrong. So before jumping down someone’s throat that “this one product or that one food won’t hurt them, and they’re overreacting and being stupid,” think that maybe they or someone they love is weary, sick, or in pain, and they’re just doing what they can to manage their health.

    • terri

      I agree, the ‘dose makes the poison’ is a knee jerk answer to a complex problem, and one many people and corporations use to dismiss the harmful effects of products. “the dose..” completely ignores long term exposure to chemicals…this dogma is finally being challenged.

      • Mary

        I actually think it’s an incredibly sophisticated response when you consider what a dose actually is. A dose is different depending on the person. A dose is impacted by body weight, kidney and liver function, and literally any other idiosyncratic factor specific to an individual’s physiology. “The dose makes the poison” is true, when you consider that each individual requires or, alternatively, for “toxins,” can tolerate different amounts of different substances.
        On a side note, it’s really a shame people can’t communicate more civilly about this. It’s not even like vaccines, where someone else’s choice impacts another’s health. This is literally just an individual decision that is mostly limited to the individual or family. Why are people upset and obsessed with being right? The truth is not a single person here knows the truth. Humility: the greatest of virtues…

        Now, back to the Netflix documentary I am watching about toxins. Apparently Gweneth Paltrow has an awesome vagina steam recipe guaranteed to rid me of toxins. Heart Gwennie. Always looking out for us!

  28. Lindsay

    I think it’s great that you posted this. I have recently started follow an account called “Just Ingredients” on Instagram and she talks about a lot of this stuff. Its crazy what they put in our food and what they allow. So many things are illegal in other countries, but legal here. The thing I struggle with is the price of organic cereal. I know it goes on sale sometimes at Smith’s so I have been watching for it. I would love it you would start another page/tab for deals on health food/organic/natural foods. A lot of the recommendations to switch over to are just so expensive!

    • terri

      I’ve saved money by greatly reducing the cereal we eat; buy frozen foods (they’re cheaper); use the dirty dozen list and clean 15 to save money on produce. At the end of the day, you will save money in trips to the doctor and medicine. That’s how I look at it. Food shouldn’t be ‘cheap’, it should be the source of our nutrients. Good luck in your journey! Sometimes I go to allnaturalsavings.com for sales and ideas.

    • GH

      I feed my son only organic cereals, which I always buy on sale. Recently, Cascadian Farm organic cereals were on the “Buy 5, save $5” in Kroger, which made them $1.99 a box (when 5 sale items are purchased). At the same time there was a $1 off coupon on coupons.com for that brand. So, when I combined the sale price & coupon, I only paid .99 cent a box. If you have a Kroger nearby, wait until they have that “buy 5 , save $5 sale, because they often include various brands of organic cereals in that sale.
      Good luck!

      • Nancy L

        Did you read the article? There are several organic brands, including Cascadian Farms, on the list of cereals with traces of weed killer. (Just an FYI)

  29. terri

    I’ve noticed people get pretty sensitive and defensive when you show them something they’re doing is being challenged, as if they’re bad parents and people. How about accepting that they learned something, or that they should research something? Rather, they get all jumpy and say they’ll keep doing their best and do what they do…well then that’s not your best is it? It’s your best when you take the time to research something, to read about chemicals. I am guilty of feeding my children bad foods when they were babies, but as soon as I heard anything or read something, I would read more. I’ve done a complete 180…organic food, lots of vegetables…we are healthy, no allergies or illness in our house. I’m proud to say we switched to better whole foods. Food is medicine people..you really are what you eat. So you can joke about it, but at the end of the day, you face your own music.

    • Mary

      Actually, Jenjen above did accuse people of being bad parents for disagreeing with her take on this. So I agree with you that reactionary defensiveness should be tempered, but I could understand if some came through. I think your effort to feed your family better as you regard it is laudable. It just shouldn’t be imposed on those who disagree.

      This is somewhat unrelated, but this post got me thinking…I wonder how much we have considered the toxic exposures humans have escaped? Humans sitting around an open fire in a cave bathed in carcinogens every night. Our bodies are adapted to expunge chemicals to a certain extent, although I imagine this varies from individual to individual. I wonder if we are looking in the wrong direction. Perhaps it is not what we are exposing ourselves to, but what we are not exposing ourselves to. Perhaps our lifestyles have altered our microbiomes such that we are less capable of mitigating the hazard posed by toxins of all sorts. Protectionism has it’s drawbacks as does the other extreme.

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