'Cancer-causing' weed killer found in Quaker Oats, Honey Nut Cheerios and 24 more cereals

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, was found in 26 of the 28 products the EWG tested, in levels “higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children's health'

                            'Cancer-causing' weed killer found in Quaker Oats, Honey Nut Cheerios and 24 more cereals

Cereals have been the staple of American breakfasts for the past many years and their ubiquity has rendered a pop culture halo around these munchies. However, it is time to rethink them as breakfast meals as studies have found them to be no longer as "healthy" as they claim to be.

In a recent test by Environmental Working Group (EWG), a cancer-linked herbicide was found in over two dozen popular General Mills and Quaker breakfast cereals and snack bars, according to a report released on Wednesday.

While the two companies have claimed that there is no reason for concern since their products meet the legal standards, the samples tested by EWG showed something else. 

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, the most heavily used herbicide in the United States, was found in 26 of the 28 products the EWG tested in levels “higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health.”

The cereals which have been reported to contain a concerning level of glyphosate include Honey Nut Cheerios, Quaker Simply Granola Oats, and Lucky Charms. On the other hand, Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted and KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds were considered within the limit.

The EWG study stated, "Products tested by Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco included 10 samples of different types of General Mills’ Cheerios and 18 samples of different Quaker brand products from PepsiCo, including instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal, and snack bars. The highest level of glyphosate found by the lab was 2,837 ppb in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal, nearly 18 times higher than EWG’s children’s health benchmark."

Although glyphosate is considered the world's most widely used herbicide, many experts say that humans don’t absorb it in the same way they do harmful chemicals like DDT. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” after studies linked it to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

This was the second round of test conducted by the environmental advocacy organization on cereals after an earlier test in August found all but five of 29 oat-based foods to have passed muster.

The second round of tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group discovered the presence of the  active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. The ingredient was found almost in every sample of the oat-based cereal. The tests also revealed the presence of the ingredient in oat-based foods marketed to children.


The samples contained residues of glyphosate at levels far higher than what the scientists of EWG had considered normal.

The EWG tests come only a few days after JAMA Internal Medicine published a study claiming that there was a considerable reduction in the risk of cancer for people who ate a lot of organic food.

However, scientists continue to remain skeptical about the study, as they maintain that the link between organic food and cancer is yet unclear. "Concerns over pesticide risks should not discourage intake of conventional fruits and vegetables, especially because organic produce is often expensive and inaccessible to many populations,” an expert commentary also published in JAMA stated.


Quaker and General Mills, however, said there is no reason for concern.

"EWG report artificially creates a 'safe level' for glyphosate that is detached from those that have been established by responsible regulatory bodies in an effort to grab headlines,” Quaker said in a statement.