Consumers sue Quaker Oats over glyphosate presence

Last April, Grain Millers, a major oat buyer in Western Canada, announced it would no longer purchase oats if farmers sprayed the crop with glyphosate prior to harvest.

A year later, the company’s decision looks particularly astute because Americans in California, New York and Illinois are now suing PepsiCo and Quaker Oats over glyphosate contaminated oatmeal.

The New York Times reported May 2 that testing found traces of the herbicide in Quaker Oats oatmeal. The amount detected was significantly below the maximum residue level allowed by regulators, but the plaintiffs behind the lawsuits say Quaker used false advertising to sell its oatmeal.

Quaker markets its oatmeal as 100 percent natural. The lawsuits claim that’s misleading because Quaker products contain glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and the most popular herbicide in the world.

Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization, said glyphosate probably causes cancer.

The Bloomberg news service reported that the same group of lawyers is behind the separate legal actions. They are hoping to turn it into a class action case, seeking compensation for consumers who bought Quaker oatmeal because they assumed it was healthy and natural.


Many western Canadian growers spray oats with glyphosate before harvest to control late season weeds and to desiccate the crop. That glyphosate may end up in the oatmeal, even though Quaker washes oats before making its food products.

Grain Millers’ decision was controversial last spring because producers accused the company of buckling to pressure from environmental activists like the Sierra Club.

“There is no scientific backing to this decision,” said Edgar Scheurer, Prairie Oat Growers Association vice-president. “Roundup is registered on oats for pre-harvest application.”

Grain Millers said it made the choice because premature application of glyphosate, before the crop was sufficiently mature, was compromising oat quality.

“When mills cut, flake or roll the groat, it is chalky, it’s brittle, it breaks apart and the finished product doesn’t make spec, in terms of granulation or absorption,” said Terry Tyson, Grain Millers’ procurement manager in Yorkton, Sask.


“The groat integrity is affected much like an early frost affects groat integrity …. (but) frost damage you can see on the groat.”

This winter, Richardson International, the largest oat miller in Canada, said it would continue to purchase oats that are desiccated with glyphosate. It didn’t have concerns about oat quality, but customers did ask Richardson’s to check for glyphosate.

“In 2015, we started including glyphosate residue testing,” said Al Raine, Richardson’s assistant vice-president of crop inputs marketing.

“We found nothing above what we call an undetect level, which is .05 parts per million.”



  • richard

    Beyond the bizarre use of glyphosate as a growth regulator…. when is industry finally going to get it…. People dont want glyphosate in their food ….at any level…..including the trumped up FDA residual limits industry recently perpetrated on food and feed….. Injecting a systemic antibiotic like glyphosate into living food does not inspire any intelligent human to subscribe to the broken food debacle…..

    • Absolute_Shower

      So many shades of wrong.
      “…at any level…”
      Ever heard of ‘the dose makes the poison’?
      It’s pretty much the founding principle of toxicology.
      Without understanding it, it sounds like you’re talking from a dark, nether place.
      “Injecting a systemic antibiotic like glyphosate into living food” is something that has happened to no food ever. And it’s not an antibiotic.

      • richard

        US Patent 7771736B2/2002 antibiotic/antiparasite…..originally registered as boiler cleaner……..still wonder why educated people dont want it in their food????

      • Harold

        The founding principal of toxicology is that it is the science dealing with poisons and their effects and their antidotes, A few of many principals of toxicology is: Dose, Dose-response relationships, Chemical interactions, Mechanisms of toxicity, Routes of exposure, Exposure/Effect characteristics, Hazard, Potency, Absorption, Distribution, Elimination, Accumulation, and detoxification. That’s only a mall portion. Have I ever “heard Of the Dose makes the poison” and “its pretty much the founding principal of toxicology”? Actually No!; have you? Guess I’m with you in that dark nether place with so many shades of wrong. (On a side note- thank you Richard for bringing something to the table)