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12 Jun, 2019 21:26

Environmental NGO finds Monsanto chemical in Cheerios and other foods marketed to children

Environmental NGO finds Monsanto chemical in Cheerios and other foods marketed to children

The Environmental Working Group has released findings of research showing “troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup” in food products including children’s breakfast cereals.

The Washington, DC-based advocacy group said in a statement released June 12 that the chemical, was detected “in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing.”

Furthermore, all of the products but four were found to contain levels higher than EWG’s safety threshold for child consumption, which is 160 parts per billion (ppb). The products “Cheerios” and “Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch” were found with the highest glyphosate levels with 729 ppb and 833 ppb respectively. The findings follow two previous research studies conducted with independent labs conducted last year.

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Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, was acquired by the German agro-chemical giant Bayer in 2018.

“The glyphosate levels in this report are far below the strict limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect human health,” a Bayer spokesman told RT when contacted for comment. “Even at the highest level reported by the EWG (833 ppb), an adult would have to eat 158 pounds of the oat-based food every day for the rest of their life to reach the strict limits set by the EPA.”

Although the EPA does not consider glyphosate carcinogenic, organizations including the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and California’s Environmental Health Hazard Assessment have disagreed. Serious doubts have also been cast on the EPA’s neutrality regarding glyphosate, with critics accusing the agency of colluding with Bayer to pass off the chemical as safe.

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A petition from the EWG to the EPA calls on the agency to reinstate the `1993 standard for glyphosate presence in oats, far more restrictive than the current one.

“But it could take years for EPA to act, and the agency has been caught colluding with Monsanto to promote the claim that the chemical is safe,” wrote doctors Olga Naidenko and Alexis Temkin of the CWG.

The Bayer spokesperson questioned the credibility of EWG, claiming the group has “a long history of spreading misinformation about pesticide residues.”

Bayer is currently fighting off a series of high-profile lawsuits alleging that Roundup is responsible for cancer. Last month, a jury in California ordered the company to pay over $2 billion to a couple from Oakland who contracted non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using the glyphosate-containing pesticide on their property for decades.

Herbicidal properties of glyphosate were discovered by one of Monsanto’s chemists, John E. Franz, in 1970. Monsanto held exclusive rights to market glyphosate until 2000, when its patent expired. The chemical is used on oats before harvest, to kill and dry the crop in order for it be harvested sooner. It is also used on genetically modified corn and soybeans.

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