Herbicide 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; only if you get the right one. An alarming report was published Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) showing that many popular breakfast cereals like Cheerios and oatmeal from the popular brand Quaker contain herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is a known human cancer causing agent as listed by the American Cancer Society and the active ingredient in weed killers such as Roundup. Interestingly, just last week, Monsanto was ordered by a court to pay $289 million to a terminal cancer patient whose sickness was caused by exposure to Roundup.

Quaker Oats reported to contain herbicide

According to the 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.

Oatmeal & Granola Poster

Below are the 45 breakfast products tested by the EWG:

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

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

Go Organic to Minimize Herbicide Intake

To me, the important take away from this report is that organic products, in general, contain no glyphosate, or lower levels of glyphosate. From observing online conversation, I noticed that people are shocked to find out even organic products may contain herbicide. 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 recent 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”.

Whether it’s added or cross-contaminated, we have a choice. Choose from the above safe list if possible. As I’m spending a day writing this article, I’m sharing a picture of my usual overnight chia-oats bowl, topped with peanut butter, chia seeds and seasonal fruits.

Overnight chia-oats with peanut butter and fruit


cancer, glyphosate, herbicide, oats, organic


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