These Popular Cereals Are Full of Glyphosate Pesticides, Including Your Kids Oatmeal!

I about fell over when I saw the results from this study! Pesticides in Oats?!?! Huge amounts of pesticides were found in popular oat-based cereals, oatmeal, granola, and snack bars your kids are likely eating. We don’t eat much gluten in my household, so oats are a staple, and many gluten-free products contain oats instead. To find out many popular oat’s products are high in pesticides is alarming! I buy organic, and even some of those products were found to have low levels of pesticides.

Glyphosate Does Not Belong In Cereal, Or In Your Body

Pesticide residue in oats is so common that 43 of the 45 samples studied contained the pesticide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup). Glyphosate is the most heavily used pesticide in America, and it’s linked to cancer and so many other terrible health conditions.

Almost three-fourths of the popular products tested in this study had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health (160 ppb). 31 of the 45 samples made with conventionally grown oats had more than 160 ppb of glyphosate per serving.

Don’t take glyphosate in your food lightly – it’s patented as a pesticide, antibiotic and chelating agent (binds minerals). On top of that, it’s one of many hormone disruptors, which mimics estrogen in your body. Glyphosate was originally developed as a cleaner to remove the calcium deposits off big machines, so no wonder it’s so detrimental to our body. Glyphosate isn't the only harmful substance we're exposed to just about every.single.day. Here are 12 other hormone-altering chemicals and how to avoid them.  

Levels of glyphosate in your body are cumulative because it stores in fatty tissues—fat cells. Your liver will detoxify it if your liver is healthy, but it might need some help. Here are some great ways to support healthy detoxification for infants and children

What Constitutes Dangerous Levels of 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. The Environmental Working Group’s benchmark for daily exposure to glyphosate for protecting children’s health is 160 ppb. The Environmental Working Group calculated a one-in-a-million cancer risk would be posed by ingesting 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day. To reach this maximum dose, you would have to eat a single 60-gram serving of food with a glyphosate level of 160 parts per billion, or ppb.

Is Glyphosate In The Conventional Oats You Buy?

Take a look at this chart…the majority of samples of conventional oat products exceeded 160 ppb – Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats, Quaker Steel Cut Oats, Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Quaker granola – they all FAILED miserably. If a child eats one product that exceeds 160 ppb per serving, or they eat two of these foods or a larger portion per day, they’re far exceeding what’s healthy. Those amounts add up very fast!

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

Lucky Charms****

400

230

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.

How Does Glyphosate Get Into Organic Food?

Glyphosate was detected at concentrations of 10 ppb to 30 ppb in five of 16 samples made with organic oats. This could be because glyphosate drifts from nearby fields of conventionally grown crops, or by cross-contamination during processing at a facility that also handles non-organic crops. Glyphosate is able to adhere to water and soil particles long enough to travel through the air or in a stream to nearby organic farms.

Parents shouldn’t have to wonder whether feeding their children oat-containing foods will also expose them to a pesticide that increase the risk of cancer. Definitely stick to organic oats and cereals since those did have lower glyphosate levels overall. I always use one particular organic brand, so I emailed the company to ask questions about their oats, such as whether they're tested for glyphosate, and if so, what were the results. It's time-consuming, but definitely worth it!

There are also urine tests that can measure glyphosate levels in the body. An Organic Acid test has a glyphosate tox screen on it.  

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

References:

1) Round-up for breakfast, part 2: in new tests, weed killer found in all kids’ cereals sampled. EWG. 

2) Massive study finds eating organic slashes cancer risks. EWG. 

3) Temkin, A. Breakfast with a dose of Roundup? EWG. 

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