The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit activist organization that searches for chemicals they deem harmful in foods, found that nearly three-quarters of the oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars they tested showed levels of glyphosate (a chemical found in the weed killer Roundup).
This revelation comes on the heels of a Superior Court decision in San Francisco regarding a groundskeeper who believed Roundup caused his terminal cancer. He was awarded $289 million in damages.
Doctor Sherry Sakowitz-Sukkar, a director of the Center for Pediatric Wellness and Weight Management at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ weighed in on the issue.
How worried should parents be about glyphosate being found in these common, grocery store foods?
We know that it’s not uncommon to find pesticides in foods. We’ve known this for many years. At this point, we don’t really know a lot about the effects of glyphosate. We don’t know if it’s harmful or not. But, anything in excess can be unsafe.
Why is it so hard to find out conclusively if traces of glyphosate are dangerous?
If research came out saying that a certain amount is dangerous, I would change my recommendation. There’s no conclusive link from glyphosate to cancer as of now. There are some studies that are linking it to cancer, but a lot of those studies have been done on animals. These things can’t be done retrospectively. It’s hard to get this data because we don’t want to feed our kids knowing it has toxins in it to see if they get cancer. It’s not an easy to study to do.
What should parents know about studies regarding food toxicity?
Take it with a grain of salt. Be aware that [foods] have these things in them. There are pesticides in nearly everything. This is our food environment. This is what’s out in the stores. It’s safe to have one bowl of cereal a week. I think this is a passing report. There’s always a new report coming out, but be aware that cereals could contain these substances. I wouldn’t let my kids only eat Cheerios. Make it a varied substance.
What do you recommend feeding children for breakfast instead of processed cereals?
I didn’t necessarily think Cheerios was a good source of breakfast for kids before the report. There are many other foods – eggs, yogurts, cottage cheese – that you can feed your children. There are whole and single grain cereals, like bran. I think a great breakfast to give a child is fruit and yogurt, or a piece of whole grain toast or avocado toast with egg.
“I recommend variety. If people are feeding their children Cheerios three times a day every day of the week, it’s obviously not good. As far as stopping feeding your kids Cheerios based on this report, I don’t think there’s reason to do that.“