Cheerios, Weed Killer and Putting the Customer First

cheerios and weed killer

Update on the below post. Perhaps I should have done more research before posting it. I believe in science. Dinosaurs: real. Climate change: real. Vaccines needed: real. You get the point. I try my best never to be swayed by public opinion. I’m also very wary of large corporations doing what is in the customer’s best interest. I’m a cynic and a lot of my cynicism has come to fruition. So I’m a bit jaded. EWG, the company that warned about the high levels of glyphosate in the cereals and also connects glyphosate strongly to cancer, is not without its controversy. And the more I read, the less enamored I become of them. Does it mean they are wrong? Not necessarily but it should give you pause at least. So please do your research. Don’t just listen to the first or the loudest voice. It’s so hard in today’s world, where everyone has an opinion and everyone has a platform, what’s truth and what is bullshit. I always try to find and promote the truth. I think I’ll stick to talking about what I know best: the earth being flat. I mean celiac.


Hello my fellow celiac peer-ios. Yes once again it’s time to talk about Cheerios. Would I rather be talking about gluten-free beer-ios? Obviously that’s clear-ios. I too get wear-ios of talking about Cheerios. But after this post, it may be clear-ios that you should fear-ios ever eating Cheerios for the next hundred year-ios.

No, I won’t keep this up the entire post. You’re welcome.

So yes…Cheerios, the is in the news once again. (If you don’t know the history with Cheerios and gluten, read this. And this. Definitely read this. Oh…and this too. And if you can spare 5 minutes more, read this.

Yes…I’ve written about Cheerios a lot here. And yet, even though many celiacs have seen the light and swore off them for good, there are many in the community who still eat them. And let’s not forget, my friends at (using sarcasm font) still have their logo on every box.

So what happened to prompt this post? Excess amounts of weed killer. Let me explain. Actually, let explain:

In 2018, a study was done by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) that conducted multiple tests to determine the presence of weed-killer in certain breakfast foods, including Cheerios. The report tested levels of glyphosate in 45 samples of conventionally grown oats and determined that 31 fell below its safety criteria. Ten weeks later, the EWG tested another 28 samples, focusing exclusively on Cheerios and Quaker Oats products, and found that all but two showed harmful levels of glyphosate, according to its measures.

The EWG considers any cereal with a glyphosate level of more than 160 parts per billion to be unsafe. The legal limit for oats — as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency — is 30 parts per million, or 30,000 parts per billion, for adults, making the EWG’s threshold nearly 188 times as stringent as the EPA’s regulations.

General Mills response? “Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels.”

Dude note: This response reminds me when Cheerios first went gluten-free, and many celiacs were getting sick. Their response was complete denial, insisting the cereal is safe. What happened a few months later? A recall of 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios because…wait for it…they contained gluten.

GM noted that “most crops grown in fields use some form of pesticides and trace amounts are found in the majority of food we all eat” but said it was working to “minimize the use of pesticides on the ingredients we use in our foods.”

General Mills did not directly respond when asked why it is reducing pesticide use when it already considers its products to be safe.

Dude note: Cause they’re lying? Cause all they care about is profit? Cause they’re assholes??

Ok…now let’s fast forward to this week. EWG ran another report on General Mills products. The result? As you would expect. All but four of the products tested had glyphosate levels higher than what an environmental group considers safe for children. The two highest levels of glyphosate were detected in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch and regular Cheerios, at 833 parts per billion and 729 parts per billion, respectively, the group said.

A reminder: EWG considers anything over 160 parts per billion to be unsafe for children.

EWG concluded its report by urging companies to find safer sources of oats. They write, “The only way to quickly remove this cancer-causing weedkiller from foods marketed to children is for companies like General Mills and Quaker to use oats from farmers who do not use glyphosate as a desiccant.”

You mean putting the customer first? What a concept?!

You know me, I am not anything close to a fear mongerer. I don’t believe gluten is in everything and you need to live in a bubble to keep safe. And I know there is some debate about glyphosate being linked to cancer, although it seems to be getting clearer and clearer. I’ll let the scientific community sort that one out.

And I know farmers work their asses off and the weed killer allows them to protect their crops.

But do you really want those high levels of weed killer in your cereal? And if there is a way to avoid it, shouldn’t General Mills be doing what they can to do so? We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to BE better.

One final thought: CHEERIOS…KISS MY REAR-IOS.

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5 thoughts on “Cheerios, Weed Killer and Putting the Customer First”

  1. This morning I read the post from Celiac Soldier April 2015. It’s precisely what I needed to read today. I had a total meltdown yesterday over my difficult life. Celiac Soldier put it all into just the right words for me. Thank you Celiac Soldier and thanks Gluten Dude.

  2. Beyond cancer, Glyphosate is a chelator, which will demineralize the plants, soil, and your body (really not good). Do a web search for “Marion Copley” and “Glyphosate” to read more about the hazards of this weed killer. Marion was an EPA scientist.

    The web site has good information.

  3. Thank you so much for bringing this up, Gluten Dude. This is part of the reason why I added Organic to the already complicated Gluten Free requirements I have. It’s complex and strict, but it helps me a lot. I’m constantly amazed that they get away with this sort of thing. If Mr. Kellogg were alive today he’d be livid. He was trying to make a healthy cereal. Denial of tainted food is not his intention. The part of this that scares me is the antibiotic aspect of it. Apparently glyphosate disturbs the gut biome of animals and people.

    EWG has done some great work exposing this lack of enforcement by the EPA, and the EPA is now considering reauthorizing glyphosate for another 15 years. There are increasing calls for banning it entirely. If you look at the tolerances, you can pick out the crops that have the most glyphosate, by the tolerance levels jumping from 0.2 ppm to 30ppm or more. I’m guessing those crops use glyphosate to “ripen” the grain before harvest.

    No wonder people are abandoning grains entirely and going Paleo.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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