Kellogg’s, the company behind Cornflakes and other popular cereal brands, has committed to reducing its use of oats and wheat that have been treated with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup.
Monsanto Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. Farmers frequently spray glyphosate to dry crops and speed harvesting time, especially when the weather is challenging.
“Although this practice is not widespread in our wheat and oat supply chains, we are working with our suppliers to phase out using glyphosate as pre-harvest drying agent in our wheat and oat supply chain in our major markets, including the U.S., by the end of 2025,” Kellogg’s said in a statement announcing the move.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March 2015, after an independent review linked occupational exposure to cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
In 2018 and 2019, the Environmental Working Group found glyphosate in 45 of 47 cereals made from conventionally grown oats. In most cases, the weed killer was present at levels the group considers unsafe for child. Glyphosate also turned up in 1/3 of 16 cereals made with organically grown oats, but at much lower levels.
Since the Environmental Working Group released the results of its testing, more than 310,000 consumers have signed a petition calling on Kellogg’s, General Mills and Quaker to remove glyphosate from their products.
“We applaud Kellogg’s for working with their suppliers to address the risks posed by glyphosate,” Ken Cook, the group’s president said in a press release. “It’s no surprise that consumers don’t want a controversial weed killer in their cereal. Now it’s time for General Mills and Quaker to listen to their customers and fall in behind Kellogg’s leadership and do the same – end this use of this notorious weed killer.”
Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto in June 2018, is currently defending nearly 43,000 lawsuits in the United States that blame glyphosate for causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Three Monsanto Roundup lawsuits have already gone to trial, with juries awarding more than $2 billion in total damages to plaintiffs. Bayer has yet to win a single case.
While Bayer continues to deny that glyphosate causes cancer, the company is participating in negotiations to resolve the massive Roundup litigation. In fact, Bloomberg News recently reported that Bayer was nearing an agreement to settle pending and future claims for $10 billion.