Laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found oat cereals, oatmeal, granola, and snack bars contain traces of the herbicide glyphosate, an ingredient in the product RoundUp. EWG's Faber is skeptical of EPA's glyphosate limits. Most experts in the field agree saying there's very little evidence that glyphosate causes cancer or any other health problems. Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the United States, and last week a court in California ordered the company to pay $39 million in compensation and $250 million in punitive damages to a school groundskeeper who developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after years of using Roundup at work.
About one-third of 16 samples of products made with organically grown oats also contained glyphosate, albeit at levels "well below" EWG's benchmark for safety.
General Mills also responded to the findings in a statement sent to Fast Company. The results could be made public later this year or in early 2019.
A government website listing federal regulations shows the minimum glyphosate residue allowed on cereal grains is 30,000 parts per billion, far higher than the EWG recommendations.
The EWG research team says there needs to be more attention and research into the risks to children over the long-term, which has not been studied.
However, the human health effects of glyphosate remain uncertain, because the product has additional chemical ingredients that, individually or combined, might be carcinogenic, among other reasons. "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", EWG said in the report. The team studied almost 45,000 people who had applied glyphosate as part of their jobs.
The groundskeeper's lawyers said he developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using the weedkiller during his job.
Information from NBC News was included in this report.More news: Federer opens with win over Gojowczyk, Kvitova ousts
"Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels". The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow as do farmers who grow crops including wheat and oats.
"This is the most widely used pesticide in the country", said Bill Walker, Vice-President of the Environmental Working Group.
One sample of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats measured at more than one part per million of glyphosate. Glyphosate is commonly used by farmers across the industry who apply it pre-harvest.
"Once the oats are transported to us, we put them through our rigorous process that thoroughly cleanses them", the company said in a statement to the media.
Quaker continually evaluates our product portfolio to ensure the highest quality and safety standards for our consumers.
Others retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon declined to comment on the news, but all of them continue to sell the product on their websites.
The EWG said the federal limits are outdated and that most of the products it tested exceed a more stringent definition of safe glyphosate levels.
Getty Images/Blend Images Oat-based cereals, including Cheerios, were found to contain glyphosate.