GMO-Free Cheerios Test Positive for Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

GMO-Free Cheerios Test Positive for Monsanto's Roundup Weedkiller
image: flickr/jeepersmedia

Testing commissioned by consumer advocacy group Food Democracy Now! found detectable levels of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide marketed as Roundup—in popular U.S. foods.

Glyphosate levels were detected in numerous products including Cheerios, the best-selling breakfast cereal and snack for young children marketed by General Mills as being free of genetically modified ingredients, which are commonly treated with glyphosate.

The Detox Project research arm of Food Democracy Now! tested 29 popular processed foods including Kashi cookies, Ritz Crackers, Kellogg’s Special K cereal, and Triscuit Crackers. Whole Foods Market’s private label 365 Crackers also made the list despite being a certified organic product, which as USDA organic certification implies, should be free of herbicides like Roundup.

“Popular foods tested for glyphosate measured between 289.47 ppb and at levels as high as 1,125.3 ppb,” reads the report.

While the EPA sets a “maximum residue limit” for pesticide residues on food commodities (like corn and soybeans), the limits vary on finished foods—those containing multiple ingredients.

The EPA does set recommended limits of no more than 1.75 milligrams of glyphosate per kilogram of body weight per day, but the European Union, which has stricter policies on glyphosate and the genetically modified crops often treated with it, recommends no more than 0.3 milligrams per kilo per day.

And while the residues in the foods tested were within current legal limits, Food Democracy Now! says the herbicide has shown damaging effects (in rats) at 0.05 parts per billion. Another study (on fish) found 10 ppb caused toxicity.

The report noted that some of the findings were “rough estimates at best and may not represent an accurate representation of the sample,” meaning glyphosate levels could be lower or higher in other samples.

According to the Huffington Post, the report comes as the FDA recently suspended testing for glyphosate on processed foods.

“The Environmental Protection Agency is now finalizing a risk assessment for glyphosate to determine if future use should be limited,” reports the Post.

Food Democracy Now! is calling for a federal investigation into the likely harmful effects of glyphosate on human health and the environment and is also seeking “an investigation into the relationships between the regulators and the regulated industries,” the group writes, “which has resulted in the public being exposed to levels of glyphosate which scientific studies show can be damaging to human health.”

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Related on Organic Authority

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.