Glyphosate Residue in your Cereal Bowl

Submitted by ameyer on February 1, 2017

Update: Kellogg's agreed "to discuss the results of its supplier survey on pre-harvest glyphosate use with As You Sow, and continue discussion of the company’s quantitative goals regarding pesticide use and impacts in the Company’s supply chain and other policies related to sustainable agriculture."

At this point it is almost common knowledge that GE crops, like corn, soy, and cotton, are regularly sprayed with glyphosate. After all they are engineered to be resistant to the nation’s #1 herbicide. But what about other key crops like wheat, rice, and coffee? GE varieties of these crops have yet to be commercialized (though biotech companies are certainly working on it). There is an assumption that when we purchase these products they are free from toxic chemicals and are safe to feed our families.

Recent testing found high levels of glypohsate residue in products from several common cereal brands, including Kellogs, General Mills, and Kashi. If these products aren’t derived, in major portion, from GE crops engineered to be resistant to pesticides then why do they have high levels of glyphosate in them? To answer that question, we need to look at the main ingredients. Let’s take wheat for example. About half of the wheat grown in the US is sprayed with glyphosate pre-harvest. This practice is called desiccation, using glyphosate to dry out the wheat to make it easier for processing. The downsides include increases in glyphosate residue found on food and problems for nearby farmers whose crops are threatened due to glyphosate drift. At the time of spraying the wheat kernels, the part intended for human consumption, are exposed and being coated in glyphosate.

In 2015 year, the World Health Organization, deemed glyphosate probably carcinogenic. This ruling was highly controversial and led the WHO to clarify its determination that glyphosate in low levels doses not cause cancer. This statement does not specify how much is too much. And while it is unlikely that a single bowl of cereal with glyphosate residue will cause cancer, the regular ingestion of these chemicals overtime may have an impact, such as a daily bowl of cereal with glyphosate residue. Current regulatory practices and scientific research fail to account for regular consumption and the impact of exposure compounded over years. For example, what happens if every single item you consume on a daily basis has a small quantity of glyphosate? Well we don’t know; it is clear that more research needs to be done and that regulations need to be set in a precautionary manner; protecting consumers from worst case scenarios rather than assuming that worst case scenarios won’t happen.

Recently As You Sow, on behalf of Kellogg’s shareholders, filed a resolution that if passed would require Kellogg’s to do research into its supply chain and the use of glyphosate as a desiccant as well as the “company’s options for adoption of policies, above and beyond legal compliance, to prevent or minimize environmental and public health harms from glyphosate.” It is essential that companies consider the long-term impacts that product sourcing and supply chain standards have on consumers. You can share this post on Kellogg’s Facebook page to let them know that you too want to prevent the public and the environment from being harmed by glyphosate.


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