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Popular Breakfast Cereals Contaminated by Weed Killer

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Several major breakfast cereal brands have tested positive for containing a widely used controversial herbicide compound shown to increase the risk of cancer. According to a report released on Wednesday by an environmental advocacy group, 21 products tested positive for levels of glyphosate that are deemed higher than the protective threshold for children.

Cereal brands including Cheerios and Nature Valley were found to have trace amounts of glyphosate, the main component in weed killer, Roundup. Despite this, cereal manufacturers claim that these products are safe to consume.

Roundup Weed Killer by Mike Mozart via CC 2.0

These findings add fuel to a growing controversy regarding a recent ruling by a federal jury over the dangers of glyphosate. In March, this federal jury ruled that Roundup played a substantial factor in causing cancer in a California man. On top of that, the jury ordered that the manufacturer of Roundup, Monsanto, must pay over $2 billion to a couple who said their long-time exposure to Roundup caused their rare cancers. These findings are countered by the company’s crop science subsidiary. Spokeswoman Charla Lord says that “glyphosate-based products are safe when used as directed.”

Research has shown that glyphosate can increase cancer risk by up to 41% in situations where exposure to the chemical is at its highest rate. This would pertain to groundskeepers, gardeners, or farmers that are often using and spraying the product on plants.

However, glyphosate can make its way into processed foods when crops are grown on farms that utilize Roundup. Experts claim that glyphosate found in certain processed foods like cereal is not surprising, but it’s important that consumers are aware and accurately notified that this chemical may be present in their food.

General Mills, the manufacturer of the cereals tested in this analysis, emphasized in a statement that they were continuing to follow the “strict rules” set by the Food and Drug Administration. A statement released by General Mills back in October says “the extremely low levels of pesticide residue cited in recent news reports is a tiny fraction of the amount the government allows.”

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