Glyphosate testing: US cereal brands take transparency to new heights

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

With the onslaught of media attention surrounding glyphosate of late, some companies are taking the step to have their products independently tested for the herbicide. Pic: ©GettyImages/designer491
With the onslaught of media attention surrounding glyphosate of late, some companies are taking the step to have their products independently tested for the herbicide. Pic: ©GettyImages/designer491

Related tags: Glyphosate, Seven Sisters, Earnest Eats, Monsanto, Environment Working Group, Breakfast cereals, muesli, Laboratory

US muesli brand Seven Sundays and oat-based cereal and snack maker Earnest Eats have had third-party laboratory tests conducted for glyphosate and are sharing the results with consumers.

In light of the recent reports by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of finding traces of glyphosate in dozens of popular breakfast cereals​ – especially those aimed at kids – the two companies have committed to sharing the results of lab tests for the weed killer on their oat-based products.

“In September, we had our products lab tested for glyphosate residues and glyphosate was not detected,”​ said Hannah Barnstable, co-founder and CEO of Seven Sundays.

The company tested its 12oz and 32oz Blueberry Chia buckwheat Gluten Free Muesli, as well as its Almond Date Everyday Muesli to get a good cross-section from two different oat suppliers.

Andrew Aussie_Earnest Eats (1)
Earnest Eat's Andrew Aussie

“We test all of our oats in a third-party lab and all of our tests have shown that the oats we use have scored undetectable for glyphosate,”​ Andrew Aussie, president and founder of Earnest Eats, told BakeryandSnacks.

“On a global level, we set a very high standard to make sure our oats have not been grown or processed with glyphosate. Additionally, we have had several batches of oats independently tested in a separate lab and all have scored undetectable for glyphosate,”​ he added.

Americans regularly ingest glyphosate

The use of glyphosate – the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Round Up – is nothing new.

Annually, more than 250 million pounds of the herbicide is sprayed on crops in the US. Many farmers use it on their crops to dry them out and get an earlier and more consistent harvest.

Although most of the cancer-linked chemical is flushed out of the body, some medical bodies purport that long-term exposure can have detrimental effects.

Consumer concern

Earnest Eats Maple + Almond + Cinnamon Superfood Oatmeal

Barnstable noted the family-owned company has been working closely with its oat suppliers to address this issue, and both mills have had strict grower policies regarding the use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest desiccant.

 “Our oat supplier has agreements with its farmers to not use glyphosate and the lots of oats are subsequently tested for residue as well,”​ said Aussie, adding the California-based company started sourcing glyphosate-free oats two years ago when it heard that countries like Taiwan were banning the use of the herbicide completely.

“There have been many conflicting reports stating the potential risks of glyphosate presence in food, including a recent lawsuit in which the chemical was linked to causing cancer. Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve chosen to source glyphosate-free oats and are consistently looking for ways to elevate our food safety.”

Putting transparency first

Both companies have committed to routinely test its products for glyphosate and share the results with their consumers. Seven Sundays posts its results on its website, while Aussie said Earnest Eats communicates to consumers via social media. However, the company will be incorporating a glyphosate-free label on its packaging in 2019.

“Hopefully, other companies will follow suit,” ​he added.

Earnest Eats’ portfolio includes a line of hot cereals and Baked Whole Food Bars, made from natural grains, nuts, seeds and naturally sweet fruits. The company recently launched two new lines – Superfood Oatmeal and Protein + Probiotic Oatmeal.

Minneapolis-based Seven Sundays is a producer of gourmet mueslis and Muesli Squares – in three variants: Blueberry Lemon Chia, Cocoa Pumpkin Seed and Banana Toasted Pecan – that are free of gluten, wheat, soy, GMOs and dairy.

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