Weed Killer in your Favorite Cereal?

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

What would you say if I told you a common weed killer has been found in some of the most popular cereal brands? It’s disturbing (to say the least) to think that when you're pouring your children their favorite bowl of cheerios in the morning, it could contain chemicals that are sprayed on grass or crops to kill weeds.

It’s called glyphosate. It is the weed-killing chemical that is commonly found in Roundup. It’s the most heavily used pesticide in the world! More than 200-million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on our crops every year. It’s primarily used on corn and soybean crops, but due to spray drift, soil contamination, and other factors, it’s found in other crops as well. The World Health Organization classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” That means it “probably has the potential to cause cancer in humans.”  Just last year Monsanto, the original maker of glyphosate, was found liable in a 289-million dollar cancer-related lawsuit. The chemical has been linked to non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Even scarier, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says young children, aged 1 - 2, likely experience the highest exposure to the potentially cancer-causing chemical.

In an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study released a few months ago, all but two of the foods tested contained glyphosate above 160 parts per billion (ppb), which is the health benchmark set by EWG. According to this benchmark, you should not have more than 160 ppb in your body. Some public health experts believe the allowable levels of the chemical in our food is still too high and could be detrimental to our health.

The following cereals, oats, granolas and snack bars tested the highest for glyphosate, some 18-times higher than the benchmark set by EWG.


-Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (868 ppb)

-Cheerios, Oat Crunch Cinnamon (1,171 ppb)

-Chocolate Cheerios (826)

-Honey Nut Cheerios (833 ppb)

-Quaker Breakfast Flats Crispy Snack Bars, Cranberry Almond (894 ppb)

-Quaker Breakfast Squares Soft Baked Bars, Peanut Butter (1,014 ppb)

-Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Brown Sugar (2,746 ppb)

-Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Honey Nut (2,837 ppb)

-Quaker Overnight Oats, Raisin Walnut & Honey Heaven (1,029 ppb)

-Quaker Overnight Oats, Unsweetened with Chia Seeds (1,799 ppb)


An earlier study found the following products tested over the 160 ppb range for glyphosate as well. 


-Back to Nature Classic Granola

-Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey

-Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds


-Giant Instant Oatmeal, Original Flavor

-Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream

-Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal

-Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan


-Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original Cereal

-Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal

-Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran Oat Cereal

-Lucky Charms 


-Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey


-Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats

-Quaker Old Fashioned Oats

-Quaker Steel Cut Oats

If you have any of these products in your pantry at home, I recommend throwing them out immediately. It’s simply not safe to feed our children (or ourselves) any food that is linked to an elevated risk of cancer.  

Organic products tested better in the EWG study. Of all the organic products tested, a few did have low levels of glyphosate, but none contained levels near the benchmark of 160 ppb. Glyphosate is prohibited in organic products but it is possible for the chemical to get in organic crops by spray drifting, cross-contamination, and runoff, but it is significantly less. Again, organic food is much better for you and your family.

Additionally, a new certification focusing on Glyphosate is becoming more mainstream. The Detox Project is a Glyphosate Residue Free certifier. The company is helping brands ensure their products are free of any glyphosate residue. Nearly 50 brands have completed or are currently going through this certification process. That means in the future, we can look for more brands labeling products as glyphosate-free, which will make it easier for you to understand exactly what is in your food.

Just within the past year, glyphosate home-use test strips became available to the public as well. You can test whatever food you would like, from home, and the test strip will give you a ppb range for how much weed-killer is in your food. You can learn more about the test strips here.

There is nothing more important than your health and the health of your family. What we are putting into our mouths every day can have a big impact on your health. I hope this gives you more information to make healthy choices for you and your family.

To learn more about some common chemicals you are probably eating every day, check out our free e-book here. 

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