Image Source: Mother Jones
Aug 18, 2018
In the face of growing consumer demand for free-from, healthy, humanely-treated food, companies whose products have been found to contain traces of glyphosate are in deep trouble even without agreement about the effects of the chemical.
Toxicology tests were done on dozens of oat-based foods sold across the country and used a health benchmark for glyphosate based on a cancer risk assessment developed by California state scientists. However, for their findings, the group set a safety guideline of 0.01 milligram per day. That is more than 100 times less than California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which currently sets the level of glyphosate intake posing no significant health risks at 1.1 milligrams per day for an average adult.
Glyphosate, an herbicide linked to cancer by the World Health Organization, was found in 43 out of 45 samples of breakfast food products marketed to children made with conventionally grown oats. About one-third of 16 samples made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate. Thirty-one out of 45 samples had glyphosate levels higher than EWG scientists’ health benchmark (160 ppb).
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer that is the most heavily used pesticide in the United States. Monsanto recently merged with Bayer.
Monsanto disputes the cancer-causing claim, saying in a statement, “glyphosate does not cause cancer” and “has a more than 40-year history of safe use. Still, the World Health Organization says glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen,” and California lists it as a chemical “known to the state to cause cancer.” Last week in California, a jury ordered the company behind the weed killer to pay one man $289 million in damages after he claimed the company’s weed killers caused his cancer.
PepsiCo-owned Quaker responded that it works hard to cleanse the oats it uses in its products through processing. It does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process,” the company said in a statement. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits and well within compliance of the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission as safe for human consumption.”
It remains unknown if this study will make an impact on bottom lines. Still, companies whose products that aren’t touched by glyphosate could take advantage of a potential “pesticide-free” marketing push — maybe even were pursuing a glyphosate-free certification.
It would behoove those companies whose products do show traces of this glyphosate to work toward cleaning up their products and finding less controversial alternatives to the chemical. In this case, being proactive may spare them the trouble of lawsuits and damaged reputations down the line.