Quaker Oats Accused of Being 'Deceptive and Misleading' After Glyphosate Detected in Oatmeal
PepsiCo Inc.'s Quaker Oats has been accused of false advertising by a group of consumers in New York, California and Illinois, who have filed a class action lawsuit challenging the company's claim of being "100 Percent Natural" despite having traces of the weedkiller glyphosate found in its famous oatmeal.
According to the complaint, glyphosate allegedly made its way into Quaker Oats "not simply because it is used as an agricultural weed killer, but because it is sprayed on the oats as a drying agent shortly before harvest."
The plaintiffs, who are seeking refunds from PepsiCo., are not accusing Quaker of illegally using glyphosate but that its “100 Percent Natural" claim is "false, deceptive and misleading" since it contains the controversial chemical.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's flagship herbicide Roundup, was declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) last year.
“Quaker knows that consumers seek out and wish to purchase whole, natural foods that do not contain chemicals, and that consumers will pay more for foods that they believe to be natural," the court document states.
Bloomberg noted that in 1997, "Quaker Oats oatmeal became the first food product to be allowed by the Food and Drug Administration to carry the claim that it was healthy, according to a study that examined the marketing of health foods."
Quaker advertises its popular whole grain oats for its "wholesome goodness." However, as the complaint states:
No reasonable consumer, seeing these representations, would expect Quaker Oats to contain anything unnatural, or anything other than whole, rolled oats.
Quaker Oats, despite their labels, do contain something other than whole, rolled oats; namely, Quaker Oats contain glyphosate.
Glyphosate is not “Natural" or “100 Percent Natural." Glyphosate is a synthetic biocide and probable human carcinogen, with additional health dangers rapidly becoming known.
Quaker issued a defense to the New York Times, stating, "Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are trace amounts and significantly below any limits which have been set by the EPA as safe for human consumption."
The New York Times reported that in a test paid for by lawyers for the plaintiffs, the Richman Law Group, glyphosate was detected at a level of 1.18 parts per million in a sample of Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute, or 4 percent of the 30 parts per million that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows in cereal grains.
Glyphosate is the most widely used agricultural herbicide in the world. Farmers sprayed 2.6 billion pounds of Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide on U.S. agricultural land between 1992 and 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The chemical has been detected in several products, from alcoholic beverages and even women's hygiene products. Last month, the Alliance for Natural Health-USA released the results of food safety testing conducted on an assortment of popular breakfast foods, revealing that glyphosate was found in 10 of the 24 food samples tested, including oatmeal, bagels, eggs (including the organic variety), potatoes and even non-GMO soy coffee creamer.
Monsanto has vehemently denied the cancer claims of its blockbuster product and has demanded a retraction of the IARC report.
“Regulatory agencies have reviewed all the key studies examined by IARC—and many more—and arrived at the overwhelming consensus that glyphosate poses no unreasonable risks to humans or the environment when used according to label instructions," the company states on its website.
For instance, in November, the European Food Safety Authority rejected the IARC's classification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen, declaring that the ingredient is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans."
And on Friday, the EPA published a report online that concluded glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
However, the document was pulled on Monday. According to Reuters, the agency said that the document was inadvertently published and it had not finished the review of the chemical.
Oops says @EPA Glyphosate cancer assessment not actually done yet @MonsantoCo documents were "inadvertently posted" but now taken back— carey gillam (@carey gillam)1462224730.0
Unsurprisingly, Monsanto is pleased with the release of the document, telling Reuters after the documents had been removed that they were "clearly labeled and signed as the final report of EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee."
Monsanto's chief technology officer Robb Fraley tweeted, "EPA declares (again) that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is not a carcinogen."
He added, “This is the EPA's highest ranking for product safety—they also do nice job of explaining all of IARC's mistakes."
The Center for Biological Diversity, however, has issued a statement accusing the EPA of relying heavily on "industry-funded studies that have not undergone public scrutiny" for its draft analysis whereas the IARC used publicly available research for its own study. The nonprofit conservation organization also pointed out that the IARC took into account studies on actual products that are available on store shelves, while the EPA ignored those studies to focus solely on studies that tested glyphosate as a single ingredient.
“EPA's determination that glyphosate is non-carcinogenic is disappointing, but not terribly surprising—industry has been manipulating this process for years," Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “The analysis done by the World Health Organization is more open and transparent and remains the gold standard."
A lawyer representing the New York consumers in the Quaker Oats lawsuit told Bloomberg that the contrary opinions from government agencies will not affect the suit because their complaint centers on advertising claims rather than the levels of the herbicide in Quaker Oats.
Monsanto is facing a growing number of lawsuits over its widely popular product, including a wrongful death lawsuit filed in March by the widow of a Cambria, California farmer alleging that the St. Louis-based company had known for years that exposure to glyphosate could cause cancer and other serious illnesses or injuries.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
Collecting With the Current<p>"Plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. To us, that future is unacceptable," <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/green-entrepreneur-sets-sights-on-great-pacific-garbage-patch/a-38855785" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a> declares on its website.</p><p>But Rebecca Helm, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, and one of the few scientists to study this ecosystem, fears that The Ocean Cleanup's proposal to remove 90% of the plastic trash from the water could also virtually wipe out the neuston.</p><p>One focus of Helm's studies is where these organisms congregate. "There are places that are very, very concentrated and areas of little concentration, and we're trying to figure out why," says Helm.</p><p>One factor is that the neuston floats with ocean currents, and Helm worries that it might collect in the exact same spots as marine plastic pollution. "Our initial data show that regions with high concentrations of plastic are also regions with high concentrations of life."</p>
Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
Inshore Solution?<p>Helm believes the best way to tackle the marine plastic problem would be to position the barriers closer to land — across river mouths and bays — to catch garbage before it reaches the sea.</p><p>"Stopping the flow of plastic into the ocean is the most cost-effective — and literally effective — way to ensure that it's not entering our environment," she says. </p><p>As for the plastic already floating in open waters, she does not believe it is worth sacrificing parts of neuston and wants to see more research first. </p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has made barriers across rivers a part of its mission. But it is also going ahead with its original vision of pulling trash from the open water. In late 2018, the project deployed a 600-meter, u-shaped prototype net into the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>. </p><p>The system ran into difficulties, failing to retain plastic as hoped, and needing to be brought shore for repairs and a design upgrade, after which Ocean Cleanup says it gathered haul of plastic that it will recycle and resell to help fund future operations.</p><p>Over the next two years, the project hopes to deploy up to 60 such barriers to collect drifting flotsam. Helm isn't the only one concerned about these plans.</p><p><span></span>"We should think twice about every action we take in the sea," Betti says. "In nature, nothing is as easy as we think, and often, we've done a lot of damage while trying to do a good thing."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2646992655#/" target="_self"></a></em><em></em></p>
By Hope Dickens
Molly Craig's day begins with feeding hungry baby birds at 6 a.m. The birds need to be fed every 15 minutes until 7 at night. If she's not feeding them, other staff at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, Illinois take turns helping the hungry orphans.
By Douglas Broom
"Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people," said former U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt.
So the FAO is using Twitter to remind the world of these five hidden benefits of forests.
A Michigan bald eagle proved that nature can still triumph over machines when it attacked and drowned a nearly $1,000 government drone.
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