EWG Responds to General Mills and Quaker Oats: ‘Legal Is Not the Same as Safe’

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group is disappointed that General Mills and the Quaker Oats Company have brushed aside consumer health concerns raised by new research that found the cancer-causing weed killer glyphosate in Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oatmeal and Cheerios.  

The companies claim that the levels of glyphosate remain within the regulatory levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Below is a statement from EWG President Ken Cook:

We are deeply disappointed by the tone-deaf response of General Mills and the Quaker Oats Company to the news that EWG research has found a toxic weed killer in their products at levels of concern to human health—especially the health of kids.

Simply stated, there is far too much glyphosate in their products for parents to feel comfortable feeding them to their kids.

It is especially disappointing because these two multi-billion dollar companies can take the simple step of telling their oat farmers to stop using glyphosate as a harvest-time desiccant on their crops. That simple step will reduce or eliminate the contamination and ensure the safety of American families that consume their products. The oat products we tested from a number of other companies had glyphosate levels well below our children’s health-protective benchmark, so it is possible to produce and sell foods that do not contain unsafe levels of glyphosate.

General Mills and Quaker Oats are relying on outdated safety standards used by a government agency that is notorious for neglecting new science on chemicals.  Our view is that the government standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency pose real health risks to Americans ­– particularly children, who are more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults.

Just because a pesticide level is legal in food doesn’t mean that level is safe.

General Mills and Quaker Oats should volunteer to meet real health standards and make the effort to remove glyphosate from their products. The companies should not wait for a mandate from the federal government to do what’s right for their consumers.

We expect better from General Mills and Quaker Oats, and we will continue to urge consumers to express their preference with their pocketbooks. People don’t like to eat pesticides. They don’t like to drink pesticides. Despite the benefits they often have, pesticides have no place in people.

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