Richardson Milling says glyphosate dessication acceptable for its oats

Richardson Milling, the largest oat miller in North America, has no intention of changing its policies on glyphosate.

Tracey Shelton, director of corporate communications with Richardson International, said the company would continue to buy oats that have been desiccated with glyphosate. The company operates oat milling and processing plants in Portage la Prairie, Man., Martensville, Sask., Barrhead, Alta., and South Sioux City, Nebraska.

Grain Millers, a major oat buyer in Western Canada, announced last month that it would no longer buy oats if the crop has been treated with glyphosate before harvest.

Grain Millers, which is based in Minnesota and has operations in Yorkton, Sask., had noticed problems with its oat quality and functionality for about three years. Oat groats were brittle and chalky and didn’t meet specifications. The problems were similar to frost damage.

Terry Tyson, Grain Millers procurement manager in Yorkton, said the company discovered through a process of elimination that pre-harvest glyphosate was likely causing the damage.

Desiccating oats with glyphosate has become more commonplace in Western Canada in the last decade. The herbicide evens up the crop and allows farmers to harvest a more consistent product.

Tyson said Grain Millers also learned that glyphosate was compromising beta glucan levels in oats.

Beta glucan is a soluble fibre linked to improvements in cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. Food manufacturers can place a “Heart Healthy” claim on oat-based cereals because they contain beta glucan.


Tyson said an early application of glyphosate causes a shortcut to crop maturity, which may decrease the amount of beta glucan in the oats.

“In order to meet those (Heart Healthy) claims, beta glucan levels in the raw oats (have) to be in excess of four percent,” he said.

“Other factors can also adversely affect beta glucan levels, but our research demonstrates that premature application of glyphosate can have that effect.”

Shelton said Richardson Milling hasn’t observed or heard about changes to oats because of pre-harvest glyphosate.

“As a miller, we are not aware of any scientific assessment or findings that would suggest the quality or functionality of oat products are affected, when manufactured from oats treated with glyphosate,” she said.

“If we noticed something that was being affected, we would certainly address it…. We’ve seen nothing in terms of practical use … that would lead us to make any changes.”

A spokesperson for another oat miller in Western Canada, who didn’t want to be identified, said the company is sticking to the status quo. It will continue to buy oats that have been treated with glyphosate.


Grain Millers released its new policy about a month after a World Health Organization report classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans.

Grain Millers said its decision wasn’t a response to that controversial report. The company was studying and thinking about glyphosate long before the WHO classification.

In April, Reuters reported that food companies, scientists and consumer groups in the United States were asking laboratories to conduct more tests for glyphosate residues on food compared to previous years.

Shelton said Richardson Milling clients haven’t badgered the company about its policies, despite the intense interest in glyphosate.

“It’s not like we’re getting a lot of questions or requests (regarding glyphosate),” she said.

“Unless something drastically changes, if the regulations are changed, we will continue to follow (established) practices…. At Richardson we make science-based decisions…. They (pesticides) are only registered if the level of exposure to Canadians doesn’t cause any harmful effects.”



  • Denise

    The reason you were not getting a lot of questions,regarding the effects of pre-harvest glyphosate sprayed (desiccated) oats, is that most people were not aware there was a problem. You will get lots of questions now!
    Given that the nutrient quality of oats is damaged from this treatment, I will not be surprised when they find the same problem with other desiccated crops, like wheat.
    You can take a stand and fight the change, if you want, but the train is already pulling out of the station.

  • SageThinker

    Big props to Grain Millers for being proactive and noticing what glyphosate is doing to oats. It’s only a matter of time until others catch up. Richardson Milling is going to have to face a market that cares more about whether glyphosate is in food. I would like to have my oats without glyphosate, thank you.

  • leaf

    Why would I want to eat oats with glysophate in them?

  • A terrible mistake was made when glyphosate was approved for use on food crops. It was thought to be safe for human consumption because the biologic pathway it damages “does not exist on humans.”

    We now know that 90% of the cells in our body are gut bacteria which perform many important functions for our health like making important enzymes and vitamins, controlling our immune reactions and even telling us when we have eaten enough. All of the safety testing lasted only 30 days and was done on rats.

    Glyphosate is patented as an antibiotic and, unfortunately, kills the beneficial bacteria in our gut, leaving mainly harmful, resistant bacteria. When you are eating glyphosate it takes years for the symptoms to develop as the the gut bacteria change and vitamins and enzymes they produce run out.

    Monsanto has spent millions on spreading disinformation on this problems, using the same tricks the tobacco companies perfected decades ago.

    Here is a good source of factual information on this terrible problem:

    • SageThinker

      Sadly, the science to test this hasn’t been done, or if it’s been done, it hasn’t been published. One would think that such basic science about a chemical that is in the world’s food supply would have been done. And yet, when i look for studies on glyphosate and the human gut microbiome interaction, i find nothing. I find a study on four fistulated sheep from 2005, and they don’t even check rumen bacterial populations. There seems to be nothing on this topic in the literature, and yet people insist that it’s safe and the science has shown that?

      • Sally Oh

        There is no requirement for a chemical company to test a new chemical. They are all presumed safe until there is evidence of harm, THEN it’s tested. Of the 82k chemicals worldwide, only 200 have ever been tested, only 5 banned. Apparently, the WHO revelations aren’t good enough for the US EPA to warrant a look-see.

        • SageThinker

          The WHO IARC monograph actually used the 1991 EPA memo’s data as evidence for glyphosate’s cancer causing correlation, whereas the 1991 EPA memo itself tried to explain away the same data as not being glyphosate-related. What we have here is different agendas. One is industry-friendly and one is critical and more independent.

    • Peter Olins

      Surely, Thomas, you understand that antimicrobial activity depends on the concentration of the antibiotic present? This is true for salt, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, and thousands of others substances present in our diet. Do you have any reason for singling out this one molecule (present at the level of parts per billion, in studies that I have seen) for special scrutiny, rather than any one of the thousands of substances?

      As far as 30-day toxicity studies, where did you get this strange idea?

      BTW gmoawareness is an activist site: you’ll need to look a little further if you want to understand the relevant science. If you click on “about” gmoawareness you get a statement that “I love to cook, I love to eat…”, not the name of a real person, let alone the name of a real person who has any relevant credentials—even relating to cooking. A major challenge these days is to be able to judge what material to take seriously on the Internet, especially if the topic is outside your own expertise. I urge you, Thomas, to do some more homework before sharing your conclusions on comment streams such as this.

  • Dayton

    Seems Health Science is catching up to Corporate Science and Corporate Science doesn’t like it at all.

  • ed

    Maybe these companies can re-task some of their chemicals into the cancer treatment therapy field to redeem themselves.