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.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Elizabeth Pratt
- Hormel, Kellogg's, and Kroger are among the large companies now planning to offer "fake meat" products at grocery stores.
- Experts say the trend toward plant-based meats coincides with consumers' desires to eat less meat.
- However, experts urge consumers to closely check package labels as a product isn't necessarily healthy just because it's described as plant-based.
In grocery stores and fast-food outlets around the U.S., a revolution is taking place.
Many of us think of the Amazon as an untouched wilderness, but people have been thriving in these diverse environments for millennia. Due to this long history, the knowledge that Indigenous and forest communities pass between generations about plants, animals and forest ecology is incredibly rich and detailed and easily dwarfs that of any expert.
By Wesley Rahn
Plastic byproducts were found in 97 percent of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.
Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS
Hot yoga has become a popular exercise in recent years. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, such as stress reduction, improved strength, and flexibility.
The Trump administration has initialized the final steps to open up nearly 1.6 million acres of the protected Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to allow oil and gas drilling.