Oatmeal is a very basic early food for babies and toddlers. But there may be an unwelcome ingredient in the cereal you are feeding to your young ones that you may be unaware of. Most people have heard of glyphosate or at least Round Up, which is the most commonly known weed killer that uses this agricultural chemical. It is primarily used on genetically modified crops, however it can also be sprayed on crops like wheat, oats and bbarley to dry them out so they can be harvested earlier. Glyphosade is known to be linked to cancer as well as to disrupt the gut microbiome, which in and of itself can increase the risk of numerous diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which puts out the Dirty Dozen, Clean 15 lists each year, many oat products contain residues of this chemical. They found by testing oat-based breakfast products that are primarily marketed to children that 2/3 contained glyphosate in amounts higher than what is considered “safe.” Testing actually revealed 43 out of 45 products made with conventionally grown oats tested positive for glyphosate and 31 of those products had levels higher than the EWG scientists find to be protective of children’s health.
Glyphosate has even been found in PediaSure Enteral Formula, which is given to infants and children via feeding tubes. Thirty percent of the samples tested contained levels far higher than have been found to destroy gut bacteria in chickens. Let that sink in for a moment.
So what should you do? My strong recommendation is to be sure to choose only certified organic oat products for your children and for yourself. Since glyphosate is a synthetic herbicide, it is not allowed to be used on organic crops. That being said, it is in the air, ground water and soil so there will be some contamination even in organic oats, but significantly lower levels than products made with conventionally grown grains. Every little effort to reduce exposure, especially in our children, will make a positive difference. There are a few brands, like Bob’s Red Mill, whose suppliers no longer use glyphosate as a pre-harvest dessicant.
It is encouraging to know that levels of this chemical in people’s bodies drop quickly within a few days of transitioning to an organic diet, so I would strongly encourage you to replace any conventionally produced oat products with organic as you are able.
Do you or your children eat oats regularly? Are they organic or conventionally produced.
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