Group finds weed-killing chemical in dozens of breakfast foods

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Even organic oats can be contaminated if they sit next to fields where glyphosate is sprayed, or if they're processed on the same equipment as conventionally grown oats.

"We're very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know", said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs with the Environmental Working Group.

Organic products had lower levels of glyphosate; and nearly two-thirds of the samples made with organically grown oats didn't have any detectable glyphosate at all. Glyphosate found in 43 of 45 conventional oat products tested by EWG.

Meanwhile, despite several contradictory studies and a multi-million dollar payout, Monsanto's parent company, Bayer, said last week that "glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer when used according to the label".

The herbicide was also found in smaller concentrations in five samples of organic oat products. "The government must take steps to protect our most vulnerable populations". "Roundup could cause cancer", Brent Wisner, the lawyer for the California man, Dewayne Johnson, said in a statement obtained by The Guardian.

"We will petition the Environmental Protection Agency to do its job and end uses of glyphosate that resulted in the contamination we report today", Cook says.

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A World Health Organization agency has declared that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic", while California has listed it in a registry of chemicals known to cause cancer. "No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so", he added. Three tests of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats generated an average of 930 ppb, three tests of Cheerios generated an average of 497 ppb, and that Dinosaur Eggs version of instant oatmeal had two tests with an average of 700 ppb, the EWG says.

Others retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon declined to comment on the news, but all of them continue to sell the product on their websites.

USA farmers spray about 200m pounds of Roundup each year on their crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. It's also used to dry grains and herbs before harvesting them.

A General Mills spokeswoman told The Times, "Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels". "The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow as do farmers who grow crops including wheat and oats", the company says.

A special interest group called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is again publicizing misleading information about pesticide residues in food. Providing safe, high-quality foods is one of the ways we earn the trust of millions of people around the world. "Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption". One sample of Quaker Oats had 1,300 parts per billion.

Although the potential health effects of glyphosate are hotly debated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it would consider the EWG's findings. This, however, does not mean that they are violating the limit as decided by the Environmental Protection Agency.