The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
General Mills Faces Lawsuit Over Glyphosate in Cereals
Monsanto's—and now Bayer's—glyphosate problem is also a headache for General Mills. The Cheerios-maker could face a class action lawsuit alleging the company failed to warn consumers about traces of the controversial herbicide in its products.
A Florida woman filed the lawsuit Thursday in Miami federal court, according to Reuters. The move comes about a week after a California jury awarded $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed Monsanto's blockbuster weedkiller Roundup gave him cancer.
Plaintiff Mounira Doss cited the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) widely circulated report last week that found Cheerios contained 470 to 530 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate, Food Navigator reported. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets its tolerance for glyphosate at 30,000 ppb in grains and cereals but the EWG sets their health benchmark at 160 ppb.
The plaintiff said she never would have purchased the company's Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios had she known they contained the chemical, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) classified as a "probable human carcinogen" and is listed on California's Prop 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals, which was based on IARC's findings.
"Scientific evidence shows that even ultra-low levels of glyphosate may be harmful to human health," Doss said, as quoted by Food Navigator.
General Mills "failed to disclose or actively concealed information reasonable consumers need to know before purchasing" the cereals, she argued.
She claimed the company "knew or should have known that Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios contained glyphosate but withheld this information from consumers and the general public."
This is not the first time General Mills has faced a lawsuit over glyphosate in its products. In August 2016, consumer groups sued the company for allegedly mislabeling Nature Valley granola bars as "natural" when they contained residues of the chemical.
In response to the latest lawsuit, General Mills said its products are safe and meet regulatory safety levels.
"The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow as do farmers who grow crops including wheat and oats," Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for General Mills, told Food Navigator. "We continue to work closely with farmers, our suppliers and conservation organizations to minimize the use of pesticides on the crops and ingredients we use in our foods."
Roundup has been at the center of a wave of legal challenges over the years. The $289 million ruling against Monsanto this month could open the floodgates for thousands of other plaintiffs that believe glyphosate caused them or their loved ones to develop cancer.
Reuters reported Thursday that the German pharmaceutical giant is facing 8,000 U.S. lawsuits alone, up from the 5,200 it previously disclosed.
"The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs' cases," Bayer CEO Werner Baumann told analysts in a conference call on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters.
Bayer, which purchased Monsanto for $66 billion, vows to appeal the verdict and says glyphosate is safe and does not cause cancer.
- 13 Healthy Cereal Choices Instead of (Herbicide Contaminated ... ›
- And now the food lawsuits… General Mills sued over glyphosate ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ketura Persellin
Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.