לֹא תְקַלֵּל חֵרֵשׁ וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשֹׁל וְיָרֵאתָ מֵּאֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי יְקֹוָק
(ויקרא פרק יט פסוק יד)
Do not curse the deaf and do not lay a stumbling block before the blind and you shall fear your G-d; I am G-d. (Leviticus, 19:14.)
Consumer Lawsuits claim Shredded Wheat with Glyphosate
On the same day late last month, three separate lawsuits were filed against Post Foods and their subsidiaries based on claims that the company’s Shredded Wheat cereal, which is advertised as “100% natural” contains glyphosate and was thus falsely advertised.
On June 22, consumers filed Post Shredded Wheat lawsuits in California and in New York, and a consumer advocacy group called the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed a similar lawsuit in the District of Columbia. Each of these plaintiffs claims that independent testing revealed that Post Shredded Wheat contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and other weed killers. According to these complaints, not only does this mean that the reportedly “100% natural” cereal is not entirely natural, but it may also put them and other consumers at risk for serious illnesses.
In a press release announcing their lawsuit, the international director of the OCA, Ronnie Cummins, states, “On the back of its cereal box, Post says Shredded Wheat is made of ‘100% Whole Grain Wheat’ and that the product is ‘made with nothing but goodness.’ But tests prove Shredded Wheat contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. Glyphosate is not only very unnatural, it is a known toxin, linked to a long list of potential and serious health problems.”
Since before it was approved in the 1970s, the glyphosate in Roundup and other herbicides has been questioned by a number of scientists and advocates who believe that it may be harmful to human health as well as to the environment. Since the International Agency for Research on Cancer deemed glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen” linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in March 2015, global concern has arisen. Studies have also identified glyphosate as a possible endocrine disruptor and threat to global biodiversity.
Monsanto, the company behind Roundup and glyphosate, has consistently stated that they believe their product to be safe, effective, and essential to modern agriculture. They have also stated that the many studies linking glyphosate to cancer and other health threats are based on “junk science”, so they see no need to warn consumers against a threat that they believe does not exist. Not only has Monsanto made billions in annual profits from sales of Roundup to professional landscapers, farmers, and private gardeners, but they have multiplied their profits through the introduction of “Roundup Ready” crops. These are genetically modified plants which are resistant to glyphosate, which means that farmers can spray their fields with Roundup to kill weeds while causing no damage to their food crops. Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey released a study which found that roughly 2.6 billion pounds of glyphosate have been sprayed on U.S. farmland since “Roundup Ready” crops were introduced in the mid-1990s.
With so much glyphosate sprayed on American food crops, many have argued that wind, rain, and other factors may cause glyphosate to contaminate areas where it was not originally sprayed, including areas dedicated to organic and chemical-free farming. The FDA does not test food for glyphosate and other herbicidal chemicals, so this has been difficult to verify thus far. And while it is not illegal to sell food which has been contaminated with glyphosate, the plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that it is false advertising for Post to claim their Shredded Wheat is “natural” when glyphosate has been identified in the cereal.
One plaintiff, Andy Wu of California, claims that he and other consumers paid more for Post Shredded Wheat than they would for similar cereals because they believed it to be free of chemicals they chose not to ingest. Essentially, he says he and others paid a premium for a product based on claims it was natural when it clearly was not. Furthermore, he claims, it is not the case that Post Shredded Wheat was inadvertently contaminated with glyphosate and that this contamination was unknown to the food company. Not only should Post have tested their “natural” food product for the presence of glyphosate as part of their duty to consumers, but he claims that Post actually uses glyphosate intentionally during the production process. In his lawsuit, Wu states, “Glyphosate makes its way into Shredded Wheat not simply because it is used as an agricultural weed killer, but because it is sprayed on the wheat as a drying agent (to increase crop yield and thereby to increase profit) shortly before harvest.”
In a sense, the debate whether glyphosate may or may not cause cancer is irrelevant to these three lawsuits. Though these plaintiffs certainly express concern about the potential health consequences of ingesting the herbicide, their main argument is that Post falsely marketed their cereal as “natural” when it is actually tainted with chemicals. In other Roundup lawsuits, however, the possible link between glyphosate and cancer is the main concern. A growing number of individuals, mostly exposed to large amounts of glyphosate through their work in agriculture or landscaping, now claim that their cancer diagnoses are a direct result of Roundup exposure and Monsanto’s failure to warn of the possible link between glyphosate and cancer. Though Monsanto has sought to have many of these lawsuits dismissed, the company has not been successful and new lawsuits continue to be filed. For more information on possible health risks associated with glyphosate and Roundup and potential compensation for weed killer cancer, please contact us for a free legal consultation.
Shredded Wheat: 100 Percent Whole Grain With a Touch of Weed Killer
One of the most wholesome breakfast cereals is the latest food product to test positive for glyphosate residue.
Shredded wheat. (Photo: Janet Tarbox/Flickr)
Jun 23, 2016· 2 MIN READ
Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart who has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The maker of one of the most popular breakfast cereals in America is being targeted by a national consumer group, which argues in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that Shredded Wheat is not nearly as “natural” as it claims to be.
The Organic Consumers Association charges that samples of Shredded Wheat analyzed at an independent lab in California tested positive for glyphosate—better known by the Monsanto trade name Roundup—the most heavily applied weed killer in the history of U.S. agriculture. Shredded Wheat is made by Post, which is named as the defendant in the suit.
“On the back of its cereal box, Post says Shredded Wheat is made of ‘100% Whole Grain Wheat’ and that the product is ‘made with nothing but goodness,’ ” OCA’s international director, Ronnie Cummins, says in a statement. “But tests prove Shredded Wheat contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. Glyphosate is not only very unnatural—it is a known toxin, linked to a long list of potential and serious health problems.”
Testing found Shredded Wheat contained 0.18 parts per million of glyphosate, far below the level deemed acceptable by federal regulators. But the ubiquitous agrochemical has become the subject of intense scrutiny and public concern ever since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared it a probable human carcinogen last year. The OCA suit against Post follows a similar lawsuit filed in May against Quaker Oats after lab tests found traces of glyphosate in the company’s Quick 1-Minute Oats.
Indeed, the results of a study released by the nonprofit group Alliance for Natural Health in April found glyphosate in almost half of the store-bought breakfast food items tested. The study was limited—just 24 foods were tested—but it suggested that concern over glyphosate’s pervasiveness in our food supply may be well founded and that, cumulatively, Americans may be consuming more of the chemical than previously thought. Glyphosate is most commonly associated with GMO crops such as corn and soybeans, which make up 80 percent or more of such crops planted in the U.S., but the chemical turned up not only in products made with those ingredients but in unexpected foods, such as cage-free organic eggs and dairy-based coffee creamer. Likewise, glyphosate is not heavily used on wheat, yet as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Post contend, the chemical is cropping up in Shredded Wheat.
All this might not be cause for alarm if the public could be assured that glyphosate is safe. But even as companies like Monsanto engineered a wholesale revolution in American agriculture right under our noses, unleashing both a new generation of GMO crops and a tidal wave of glyphosate that those crops are designed to withstand, federal regulators and their counterparts in many countries have more or less relied on the industry’s claims that glyphosate poses little risk to human health or the environment.
Yet in the wake of IARC’s decision to classify glyphosate as a possible carcinogen, the European Union is poised to allow its license for glyphosate to lapse, with France announcing this week that it would not vote to permit continued use of the chemical. If the license isn’t renewed, that would trigger a six-month phaseout of glyphosate in the EU. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to hedge on releasing its evaluation of the cancer risk associated with glyphosate, and Monsanto is suing California to prevent the state from adding glyphosate to its list of known carcinogens.
That such confusion exists over the possible public health effects of a chemical that’s been in use for decades and has become the No. 1 herbicide in the U.S. seems shocking. Add to that the failure of the Food and Drug Administration to come up with a legal definition for the word “natural” on food labels, leaving an unsuspecting public to believe that foods marketed as, say, “100% all natural” must be required to adhere to some sort of enforceable standard—when nothing could be further from the truth—and you have a recipe for the sort of outrage that’s likely to fuel more Shredded Wheat–style lawsuits, possibly for years to come.
TakePart is the digital news and lifestyle magazine from Participant Media, the company behind such acclaimed documentaries as CITIZENFOUR, An Inconvenient Truth and Food, Inc. and feature films including Lincoln and Spotlight.
Continue on to page five, Dr Thierry Vrain, a master teacher and lecturer on the effects of Glysophate and the chemical and biological mechanism which facilitates its effectiveness as a herbicide and antibiotic.