by Mike Barrett
is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural
Society. Studying the work of top natural health
activists, and writing special reports for top 10
alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds
of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness
through natural health.
Just a little over a week after an Environmental Working Group
(EWG) report showed that potentially unsafe levels of glyphosate had
been discovered in oat products, including Cheerios,
General Mills (the maker of
Cheerios) has been slapped with a lawsuit.
The company has decided
to remove the phrase "Made with 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats" from
the labels of its Nature Valley granola bars.
The lawsuit was filed on August 23 by a Florida woman in Miami
Earlier in August, a
California jury awarded $289 million to a man who claimed that
Monsanto's (now officially known as Bayer
due to a merger) blockbuster
herbicide Roundup caused him non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
while he was working as a school groundskeeper. 
In her complaint against General Mills, Mounira Doss states
the EWG's report showed that
Cheerios contained 470-530 parts per
billion (ppb) of
glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup.
The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) caps the amount of glyphosate allowed in
grains and cereals at 30,000 ppb, but EWG sets their health
benchmark at 160 ppb.
Doss says she would never have purchased General Mills' Cheerios
and Honey Nut Cheerios had she known they contained
shows that even ultra-low levels of glyphosate may be harmful to
She also points out that
the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency
for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized glyphosate as,
carcinogenic to humans" in 2015, and that glyphosate recently
California's Prop 65 list of chemicals
"known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive
Doss alleges in the
lawsuit that General Mills,
"knew or should have
known that Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios contained glyphosate
but withheld this information from consumers and the general
The plaintiff further
accuses the company of violating several state consumer protection
laws, stating: 
"The Florida class
was deceived by Defendant's omission into believing that
Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are safe or free of glyphosate…
material statements about the safety of Cheerios that were
wither false or misleading."
In a statement, General
Mills said its products are safe and meet regulatory safety levels.
"The EPA has
researched this issue and has set rules that we follow as do
farmers who grow crops, including wheat and oats.
We continue to work
closely with farmers, our suppliers, and conservation
organizations to minimize the use of pesticides on the crops and
ingredients we use in our foods."
(We should point out that
glyphosate is an herbicide...)
Monsanto - now Bayer - is facing
8,000 lawsuits filed by people who allege glyphosate
caused them or their loved one cancer.
Sometimes the Best Offense is a Good Defense
General Mills' agreement to remove the phrase "Made with 100%
Natural Oats" from its
Nature Valley products was not done
out of the goodness of the company's heart.
Rather, it is to
settle a lawsuit by 3 consumer
...that said the granola
bars contain small amounts of
Independent tests showed that Natural Valley bars contained
0.45 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate and pointed to the oats
as the likely source of the chemical.
That number falls well below the EPA's threshold of 30 ppm, but the
groups argued that General Mills' label was deceptive and that "no
reasonable consumer" would expect the bars to contain anything
General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas said the
company settled to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation, and
will instead focus on making Nature Valley products,
"with 100% whole
Many food companies have
been hit with lawsuits in recent years over claims their product
labels included deceptive terms such as "natural" that don't have
clearly understood meanings.
General Mills faced a very similar lawsuit in 2016, but a
Minneapolis judge dismissed the proposed class action last July over
the company's "100% Natural" label, saying that even if the oats
contained a trace amount of glyphosate,
"there is no
allegation that the oats, themselves, are not natural."
A subsequent appeal was
EWG Report Shows Unsafe Levels of...
Glyphosate Herbicide in Oat Products
does not belong
A report published August 15 by the Environmental Working Group
(EWG) shows how some oat products, including,
granola and snack
...contain unsafe levels
of glyphosate - a chemical in the controversial
Nearly 3/4 of the oat products tested by the EWG contained higher
levels of glyphosate than what the group's scientists have deemed
"protective of children's health," the report reveals.
The findings are particularly relevant now that a Superior Court
jury in California concluded that the maker of Roundup, Monsanto
(now Bayer AG), failed to inform the public that glyphosate could
The jury awarded former
school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson $289 million in damages in the
first of what could be thousands of trials facing the agrochemical
The cases center around
lawsuits filed on behalf of plaintiffs and their loved ones alleging
that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Monsanto has vowed to appeal the decision.
There are more than 750 products containing glyphosate on the U.S.
market, according to the National Pesticide Information Center, a
cooperative formed by Oregon State University and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EWG tested a total of 45 products containing
conventionally-grown oats and found that all but 2 of them contained
unsafe levels of glyphosate.
Of the 16 organic oat products tested by the group, 5 contained
dangerously-elevated levels of the chemical. 
Overall, 31 conventionally-grown oat products contained levels of
glyphosate above the EWG's Health Benchmark of 160 parts per billion
(ppb). None of the organically-grown products registered above the
To establish the benchmark, EWG relied on a cancer risk assessment
that was developed by California state scientists, according to
Alexis Temkin, author of the report and the group's toxicologist.
"EWG used that level
to then develop a guideline that was more protective for
The EPA has a far
different benchmark, however, based on estimates of the potential
highest dietary exposure levels for children and adults.
According to the agency's
calculations, 1- to 2-year-old children are likely to have the
highest exposure at a level 230 times the EWG's health benchmark.
Quaker's Old Fashioned
Oats contained the largest amount of the Roundup ingredient, at
1,300 ppb of glyphosate.
The rest of the worst of the worst include:
Granola - Back to
Nature Banana, Walnut Granola Clusters (340 ppb)
Instant oats -
Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal (780 ppb)
cereal - Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal (530 ppb)
Snack bars -
Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bars (160 ppb)
Roundup is the most
heavily used herbicide in the world.
One study from 2012
states that 18.9 billion pounds (8.6 billion kilograms) of
glyphosate have been used globally. Another 2016 study says that
Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its
introduction in 1974, while 9.4 million tons of the chemical have
been sprayed onto fields worldwide.
The Roundup chemical has been detected in a variety of different
foods in the past, including oat products.
In 2016, testing
conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
found trace amounts of glyphosate in a number of oat products,
including plain and flavored oat cereals for babies.
The presence of glyphosate in Quaker Oats appears to be an ongoing
The Taiwanese government
recalled 137,000 pounds of oat products, including Old Fashioned
Quaker Oats, because the country has a zero-tolerance policy
when it comes to glyphosate in oats.
PepsiCo, the owner of Quaker Oats, has even faced lawsuits in the
past filed on behalf of buyers who allege Quaker's "100% natural"
label constitutes false advertising because the product
In the report, the EWG says that,
"glyphosate does not
belong in cereal," and urges readers to pressure the FDA to
restrict pre-harvest applications of glyphosate, and "tell
companies to identify and use sources of glyphosate-free oats."
Environmental Working Group