Latest Product Found To Contain Glyphosate Quaker Oats; Consumer Group Sues Over False ‘Natural’ Claims
As more and more scrutiny gets paid to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, we’re jut starting to find out how pervasive it is. The chemical, found last year by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer to be a “probable carcinogen” has turned up in German beer, California wine, and now in Quaker Oats.
The latest news comes as a result of a group of consumers that is suing PepsiCo, owners of Quaker Oats after they commissioned testing that showed trace amounts of glyphosate in their Quick 1-Minute Oats product.
The sticking point for the plaintiffs is Quaker’s claim that the cereal product is “100 percent natural,” a claim that the discovery of glyphosate in the consumer’s end product would seem to belie on the face of it.
“There is nothing unlawful about Quaker Oats’ growing and processing methods,” according to the suit, which was filed in Federal District Court in New York and California on Monday. “What is unlawful is Quaker’s claim that Quaker Oats is something that it is not in order to capitalize on growing consumer demand for healthful, natural products.”
Indeed, Quaker’s website promotes the cereal by saying that oats are a robust crop, one that “requires less herbicide spray than many other grains.”
The lawsuit is a class-action suit, and thus seeks financial damages. But perhaps more importantly, by bringing the case before a judge, the consumer plaintiffs can shine a white-hot spotlight on the glyphosate issue, and get more consumers asking why the chemical keeps turning up in our food.
With 2.4 billion pounds of it sprayed on US crops between 2004 and 2014, it’s actually a wonder that it isn’t found in more food. But the real question is of course what damage it does when eaten by consumers. As of now, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t test for glyphosate residue in food, although they are going to begin to later this year. Keep in mind, this is the same FDA that found glyphosate to be a carcinogen all the way back in the 1980s, but later reversed the decision.
Still, observers think the lawsuit is a step in the right direction.
“The [IARC] announcement has definitely raised the profile of glyphosate considerably for a lot of people, and it has kind of brought to light how little independent science has been at play with this chemical,” said Bill Freese, a science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety.
And anything that keeps glyphosate in the news has the potential to help get it out of our food, and that would be a good thing.