Did someone say round-up for breakfast? In a recent pesticide test done by EWG on oat snacks and cereal, there was some hope lost in the oat industry even when the label carried “organic.”

Now we’re on a mission to break down what happened, what this means for your family’s favorite morning meal, and provide some safer brands & organizations you can turn to in the name of transparency. 

What is the EWG, anyway? 

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit advocacy group that conducts third-party testing to keep brands honest and ethical. They are the ultimate team for busting the greenwashing that permeates the food, water, cleaning, and beauty-care industries.

If it wasn’t for them, the majority of the US wouldn’t have honest city tap water toxin readings, or know when a sunscreen contained unhealthy levels of benzene. They are the true champions behind guarding the public health of the US, without bias or payouts. 

What did the EWG Find About Oats and Glyphosate?

Imagine large brands like Quaker and General Mills parading around claims that the levels of glyphosate in their products are “no cause for concern,” but their word wasn’t fully taken at face value and the third-party testing began only to uncover what would be considered major red flags for these large conglomerates. 

Well, that’s exactly what happened. 

EWG conducted testing on two separate occasions with different products each time. In the second test, all 28 products test positive for glyphosate. 26 of those samples are above the warning levels of 160 ppb. 

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a type of herbicide that was created by Monsanto, then sold to Bayer for $63 billion, garnishing quite a bit of attention. It has been the subject of many lawsuits and the conglomerate has settled over 100,000 of them over cancer and related health problems. At this current time, there are still 30,000+ lawsuits pending.

Cancer-linked Studies

Glyphosate was linked to cancer in a number of different studies, in particular Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) and various subtypes. This 2019 Meta-analysis in particular showcased that people exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides had an increased risk of NHL by 41%.

Which Brands Were the Biggest Glyphosate Offenders? 

According to the testing results, the big red flags raised were from the brands General Mills, PepsiCo Brands, Kellogs and Quaker Oats.

The glyphosate levels in Quaker Oats overnight oats and oatmeal squares were off the charts registering between 1799 and 2837 ppb of glyphosate. 

Let’s put that into perspective…

The daily intake limit set by the EWG is a standard 160 ppb of glyphosate, for about 60 grams of food. That’s essentially 11-17x higher than the recommended limits. 

With this being the case, it may be in your family’s best interests to avoid these particular brands when it comes to their oat products. 

Were the Organic Products in the Clear?

The short answer? It depends. 

There were only a handful of organic brands in the test that registered as “Not Detectable” for glyphosate. The short list of brands that made it undetected include:

Other brands such as Bob Mills, KIND, Back to Nature, and Giant, tested positive for traces of glyphosate in one or more samples.

It is to be noted: The organic products of these brands included in the testing, while some did have detectable levels of glyphosate, were significantly better options when compared to the conventional products on the market. 

Does This Mean the Same Fate For Oatmilk? 

The unfortunate truth is “yes.” There were no brands of conventional oat snacks on the market free of glyphosate, so the same deductive reasoning could be used for the majority of conventional oatmilk brands such as Oatly and Planet Oat.

If you are still looking to use oatmilk as an everyday staple, then your best option is opting for the organic brands to greatly reduce any exposure you could potentially have. Or better yet, make your own organic oat milk at home (it’s very easy).

How Does this Impact Our Children?

Children are said to have higher levels of pesticide residue in their bodies than adults. Seeing as though the majority of these hyperpalatable oat snacks are targeted with explicit marketing to our children, this could very well impact the little ones and it’s good to walk with awareness through the grocery store. 

Have no fear though, as we want to provide you with the right resources to find clean oats.

Choosing the Right Oats

Below you will see the full list we have compiled thus far of products/ brands, both small business and nationwide, that stand in the clear for glyphosate exposure:

Furthermore, some of these brands have even gone further to get themselves certified as a glyphosate free product. 

We hope to see more brands like these follow suit with the glyphosate free certifications from platforms like the Detox Project.

What is the Detox Project? 

The Detox Project is an independent testing platform that is encouraging transparency when it comes to glyphosate amongst brands. ‘Glyphosate-Residue Free’ is a new label that verifies a product’s status. 

The Detox Project is working with partners to uncover the truth about pesticide use on some of the top-selling products globally. To learn more about the detox project and stay up-to-date on glyphosate related news, head to their news section.

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Abi Fernandini

Abi Fernandini is a a clinical exercise physiologist and holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. She also holds a functional nutrition certification and has relevant working experience in functional nutrition for the past 6 years.