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The study by the US -based Environmental Working Group has found that a number of cereals, granola bars and oat-based products contain glyphosate, the herbicide sold to consumers under the name Roundup.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) said that nearly three-fourths of the 45 food products that were tested had high levels of glyphosate.

Even so, a 2015 decision by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate, which prevents plants from photosynthesizing, a probable carcinogen.

EWG used its own more stringent standards to conclude that products with excessive levels of the herbicide included Quaker "Old Fashioned Oats", Cheerios, Quaker "Dinosaur Egg" Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back To Nature Classic Granola Clusters. Last week, Monsanto was ordered to pay US$289 million in damages in a lawsuit that linked its weedkiller and cancer.

"Quaker also released a statement following the report, saying it does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process", and "glyphosate is commonly used by farmers across the industry who apply it pre-harvest". A full list of tested products and their glyphosate content is available as part of the study. This is still within safe levels deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency, although it is now working on an updated assessment.

The United States Food and Drug Administration, which regulates domestic and imported food to make sure it does not exceed levels set by the E.P.A., said that based on 2016 samples, it had not found any violations of E.P.A. standards with glyphosate.

We are deeply disappointed by the tone-deaf response of General Mills and the Quaker Oats Company to the news that EWG research has found a toxic weed killer in their products at levels of concern to human health-especially the health of kids.

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General Mills' popular Cheerios brand had the next highest with 530 parts per billion.

California, known for its powerful cancer warnings, has determined that there is a one in 100,000 risk of cancer from glyphosate when more than 1.1 milligrams is consumed per day. Of the 45 items made with conventionally grown oats, 43 tested positive, with 31 above the organization's threshold for safety. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 200 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on crops each year.

Glyphosate is the same chemical found in Monsanto's Roundup.

"Glyphosate does not belong in cereal". Kellogg, for example, said its food is safe and that the ingredients it buys from suppliers fall under the EPA's "strict standards for safe levels of these agricultural residues". Along with that, on December 18, the company even posted on their website a statement by the EPA, "The draft human health risk assessment concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans".

Thankfully, organic oats scored better - as one might expect. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, has found that children between the ages of one and two have much higher exposure than older people.

A General Mills spokeswoman told The Times, "Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels". The higher the level, the worse for your health.