How would you like some glyphosate, also known as the weed killer Roundup, in your breakfast cereal? No? Well, if you are buying and eating certain cereals and other popular foods, you have no choice. The pervasive toxin is already part of the recipe, even if it is not listed on the food’s ingredients label. Once glyphosate has been sprayed on the crop, it continues to be part of the food, right up until the time that the food is on the store shelf and you buy it.
That’s right. A recent study that was commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has shown that high levels of glyphosate have been found in some big-name food products.
But why is this a concern? Glyphosate, which is an herbicide that is sprayed on crops as they are growing, has been found to be connected to cancer, according to large groups like the World Health Organization (WHO). Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide in the United States.
Products with High Glyphosate Levels
Most people think of oatmeal as being a hearty and healthy breakfast food that contains various nutrients and fiber. Unfortunately, the levels of glyphosate really counteract that. Samples of Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats were sky high in glyphosate, at more than 1000 ppb. And Cheerios samples had levels between 470 and 530 ppb.
Most food samples in the study containing oats, including granola and oatmeal, were found to have high glyphosate levels. In fact, 43 out of 45 of the conventional (nonorganic) foods tested had high levels. As if that weren’t bad enough, close to 75% of the foods tested had glyphosate levels that are considered unsafe for children.
In the large study, the EWG tested many oat-containing foods. Here are some of the surprising and troubling results:
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats: 3 tests averaged 930 parts per billion.
Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal: 2 tests averaged 700 parts per billion.
Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal: 3 tests averaged 497 parts per billion.
Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds: 2 tests averaged 415 parts per billion.
Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds : 430 and 400 parts per billion in first and second tests
Better Levels with Organically Grown Food
Certain organically grown foods did have lower levels of glyphosate than conventionally grown foods, but it is still alarming that organic food can have any glyphosate at all. Many people are buying organic food thinking that they are avoiding glyphosate exposure. Not so, unfortunately. In fact, close to 30% of the organically grown foods tested contained glyphosate.
Organic samples did tend to be better than nonorganic ones in the study:
Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond granola : not detectable in two samples
Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original: not detectable in two samples.
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats: not detectable in the first two tests and then 20 parts per billion.
Even so, many people do not like any level of glyphosate in organically grown food, which is more expensive and supposed to be better as far as quality.
Many people have heard that glyphosate is quite prevalent on foods like corn and soybeans. But actually, it is now being used a great deal on other foods, like wheat, oats, beans and barley.
Caring for Children’s Health
Children tend to love cereal and eat a lot of it, not just for breakfast but also as snacks. But their parents should be very cautious, and keep in mind that because children’s bodies are smaller and are developing and changing rapidly, toxins like glyphosate can have an even more severe effect on them.
Glyphosate is not listed on the ingredients label. So if you want to avoid as much of the toxin as possible, take some key steps. Know where your food and that of your family is coming from. Buy organic as much as you can while knowing that, as the EWG study showed, even organic food can contain some glyphosate although typically not at levels as high as in conventionally grown food.
The EWG is working to get glyphosate levels severely decreased, if not eliminated, from food.
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