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Tests Reveal More Weed Killer Than Some Vitamins in Kids’ Cereals

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For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

WASHINGTON – Tests found more of the weed killer glyphosate than of some vitamins in samples of oat-based breakfast cereals marketed to children, an Environmental Working Group analysis shows.

Laboratory tests commissioned by EWG found levels of glyphosate, first produced by Monsanto as Roundup, in samples of General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios. The amount of the toxic pesticide exceeded the amount of both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. In a sample of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, there was more glyphosate than Vitamin A.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “probably carcinogenic” to people. In 2017, glyphosate was also listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer.

“If General Mills and Quaker refuse to remove glyphosate from these children’s cereals, then the companies should at least let parents know how much of this toxic weed killer they may be feeding their kids,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “When there is more weed killer linked to cancer than essential vitamins in kids’ cereal, parents and all consumers have the right to know.”

“Monsanto may not care about its reputation among parents, but food companies that market products to children should,” said Just Label It  Chairman Gary Hirshberg. “The fact that these cereal makers could easily remove glyphosate from their products but have so far refused to do so should raise alarm bells with consumers and shareholders. A weed killer linked to cancer has no place in any food, especially those overwhelmingly eaten by kids.”

Since August, EWG has released the results of laboratory tests that found glyphosate widespread in oat-based breakfast cereals and snack bars popular with kids. The vast majority of the non-organic products analyzed – 85 percent – had levels of the weed killer above EWG’s health benchmark of 160 parts per billion, or ppb.

To date, more than 200,000 people have signed a petition from EWG and Just Label It calling on General Mills, Quaker and Kellogg’s to get glyphosate out of their products.

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The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.