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Is Weed Killer in Your Child’s Breakfast?

June 18, 2019

Honey Rings Cereals Picture Id1067719914

By EJ Haben

Your children might be absorbing more than advertised in their breakfast. Twenty-one oat-based cereal and snack products, including Cheerios and Nature Valley Granola, have tested positive for traces of cancer-linked glyphosate (GHB), the main ingredient in weed killer.

According to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization, a sample of oat-based cereals and snacks revealed all 21 products tested contained levels of GHB.  All but four contained GHB amounts higher than what EWG scientists consider healthy for children.

"The only way to quickly remove this cancer-causing weed killer from foods marketed to children is for companies like General Mills and Quaker to use oats from farmers who do not use glyphosate as a desiccant,” EWG said in the report.

Dr. Nagi B. Kumar
Dr. Nagi B. Kumar, Cancer Epidemiology

Dr. Nagi Kumar, director for Cancer Chemoprevention and researcher in Cancer Epidemiology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, says that there has been an increase in the presence of GHB in common foods we eat. These foods include oats, wheat, soy and barley. Kumar says GHB can also be commonly found in groundwater, including drinking and farm water sources, and is often applied to crops as a pre-harvest treatment. GHB is sprayed on oats to dry out the crop so it can be harvested sooner. “This has increased GHB residues in these crops, and that can increase human exposure,” said Kumar.

The two highest levels of GHB were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch and Cheerios, according to the report.

Here are the products that contain GHB glyphosate amounts higher than EWG consider safe for children:

  • Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios
  • Cheerios Oat Crunch Cinnamon
  • Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch
  • Multi Grain Cheerios
  • Nature Valley Baked Oat Bites
  • Nature Valley Granola Peanut Butter Creamy & Crunchy
  • Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate & Nut
  • Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate Cherry
  • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats and Honey
  • Nature Valley Crunch Granola Bars, Peanut Butter
  • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Maple Brown Sugar
  • Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares, Blueberry
  • Nature Valley Granola Cups, Almond Butter
  • Nature Valley Granola Cups, Peanut Butter Chocolate
  • Nature Valley Biscuits with Almond Butter
  • Fiber One Oatmeal Raisin Soft-baked Cookies

These products contain safe amounts of GHB, according to EWG:

  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate & Nut
  • Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bars, Cashew
  • Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares, Cinnamon Brown Sugar