Herbicide Glyphosate Found In Oatmeal and Popular Breakfast Cereals like Cheerios

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Eating breakfast is important; there’re so much convenient products to choose from. The glyphosate story in breakfast products went mainstream back in 2018, when an alarming report published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that many popular breakfast cereals like Cheerios and Quaker oatmeal contain herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is a known carcinogen agent listed by the American Cancer Society; it is also the active ingredient in weed killers such as Roundup. Indeed, in the same year, Monsanto was ordered by a court to pay $289 million to a terminal cancer patient whose sickness was caused by exposure to Roundup. As much as it was shocking to learn about this in 2018, it is important to know that direct exposure to glyphosate, is not the same as ingesting foods contaminated with glyphosate.

Quaker Oats and Cheerios cereal reported to contain herbicide glyphosate

According to the 2018 EWG lab tests, glyphosate was found in 43 of the 45 sample products tested. And 3/4 of these samples had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider safe. Even 5 of the 16 certified organic samples contained this weed killing ingredient. Despite that, all organic samples tested contained glyphosate at a level below the EWG’s recommended safe levels; in other words, even though there are trace amounts found, it is at a level that is safe to consume.

glyphosate in oatmeal cheerios breakfast

45 Breakfast Oat Products Tested By EWG in 2018

Oatmeal and Granola Products With “Safe” Levels of Glyphosates

  • Granola
    • Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters
    • KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds
  • Bars
    • Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry
  • Whole Oats
    • Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats
    • Whole Foods Bulk Bin Conventional Rolled Oats
    • Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Oat Products With No Glyphosate Detected

  • Granola
    • Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond Granola
  • Instant Oatmeal
    • Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original
  • Oat-Based Cereals
    • Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted Cereal
  • Granola Bars
    • Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry Granola bar
  • Whole Oats
    • 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats

Products Tested With Unsafe Levels of Glyphosate

  • Granola
    • Back to Nature Classic Granola
    • Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisin and Almonds
    • Nature Valley Granola Protein, Oats ‘n Honey
  • Instant Oatmeal
    • Giant Instant Oatmeal, Original
    • Quaker Dinosaur Eggs Instant Oatmeal
    • Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal
    • Umpqua Oats – Maple Pecan Flavored
    • Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal
  • Oat-Based Cereals
    • Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
    • Lucky Charms (without marshmallows)
    • Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls Cereal
    • Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal
  • Granola Bars
    • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey
  • Whole Oats
    • Quaker Steel Cut Oats
    • Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
    • Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats

Glyphosate Levels From 2018 to Present

Back in 2018, the important take away from that report is that organic products, in general, contain lower levels, of none of glyphosate. The reality is, some organic products still tested positive simply because glyphosate is so widely used in farming, sadly. Cross contamination from nearby farms, or at the processing facility is likely the culprit. In light of the 2018 development, Quaker responded that they did not add glyphosate in the products, and that the levels are “significantly below any regulatory limits and well within compliance of the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency EPA and the European Food Safety Authority EFSA”.

Fast forward to 2023, the EWG tested 24 oat-based products again. Glyphosate was still detected on all non-organic, or conventional, samples. The good news is, the average amounts of glyphosate detected were lower than in their 2018 and 2019 rounds of tests. Notably, two Quaker Oatmeal Squares samples had detectable levels of almost 3,000 parts per billion (ppb) back in 2018. In 2023, that plummeted to less than 500 ppb – and as low as 20 ppb.

To keep up-to-date with glyphosate levels EWG tested on various oat products including baby foods, save this pdf link.


cancer, cereals, cheerios, glyphosate, herbicide, oats, organic


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