A new study by an advocacy group claims to have discovered "hefty" amounts of a key ingredient of a weed killer in popular oat-based products, but experts say the ingredient is not as risky as suggested and parents shouldn't rush to toss out their children's cereal.
But makers of the foods EWG tested said they and their suppliers operate within US government safety guidelines and dismissed the group's findings as irrelevant.
The group found the chemical in all but five of 29 oat-based foods.
Last week a jury in California ordered Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) to pay $289 million in damages to Dewayne Johnson, who is dying of cancer after exposure to Roundup and other weed killers during his tenure as a school groundskeeper.
According to EWG, farmers in the US are increasingly spraying glyphosate on oats and other non-GMO crops, because the herbicide dries the plants out and allows them to be harvested sooner. The unsafe levels were found mostly in grain products (3.9 per cent). One of the products that was found with the highest level of glyphosate is the Old Fashioned Quaker Oats at more than 1,000 parts per billion.
The following is a statement from the EWG Children Health Initiative. Their daily glyphosate intake is estimated at 230 times the 160ppb benchmark, according to EWG. "We're saying a pesticide like this which has the ability to increase the risk of cancer has no place in food an particularly not foods that are marketed to children", said Walker. "The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow". Lowry says even organic products can contain pesticides. There is also a plan to intimate and petition the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) to stop using glyphosate. "And depending on weather patterns it could drift into their farms and get onto their foods", she said.
"While our products comply with all safety and regulatory requirements, we are happy to be part of the discussion and are interested in collaborating with industry peers, regulators and other interested parties on glyphosate", a Quaker spokesman said Wednesday. Providing safe, high-quality foods is one of the ways we earn the trust of millions of people around the world. Quaker does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process. The organization called on Americans to "urge the EPA to restrict pre-harvest applications of glyphosate and tell companies to identify and use sources of glyphosate-free oats". Many scientists and scientific organizations, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, state that in the amounts commonly consumed in food, glyphosate is not harmful to human health.
When contacted on Thursday, however, local officials said while they were unaware of the recent findings, promised they would be investigating them right away.