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Pesticides in Oatmeal Could Have Been Detected Before Entering Food

A precedent set by the jury at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco agrees with the case that the weed killer Roundup is capable of causing cancer following long-term exposure. Monsanto, the creator of the product, defends its product and the safety thereof. The pesticide ingredient glyphosate was found in August 2018 to be present in certain oatmeal, oat cereals, granola, and snack bars in what the Environmental Working Group deems levels that are unsafe (above 160 ppb).

In many cases, quality control testing and impurities testing can help prevent potentially dangerous chemicals from invading consumable goods such as food. Contamination analysis reveals the kind of contamination and its volume in a given product, the results of which are especially useful for product manufacturers who are producing goods on an exceptionally large scale .

Glyphosate and Its Safety

As stated by Vice President Scott Partridge, Monsanto maintains that the Roundup weed killer product and its ingredients have been proven safe by “more than 800 scientific studies, the US EPA, the National Institutes of Health, and regulators around the world.”

But those ingredients have only been thoroughly studied on an individual basis. The combined ingredients of Roundup may still pose a health threat, and health organizations are still split as to whether evidence about the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate and Roundup is conclusive.

Of 45 samples of oat-based foods tested for glyphosate levels, 31 contained levels of the chemical higher than the safety standard set by the Environmental Working Group. Despite differing positions on the health concerns of glyphosate, higher than normal levels still indicate the contamination of oats by chemical-based pesticide products. The dangers of pesticides in food is still being evaluated but the presence of glyphosate in oat products is a potential cause for concern.

How Contamination of Food Products Can Be Prevented

Most regulatory agencies, including those that handle matters of food and food safety, enforce quality control standards that prevent the contamination of food by toxic substances that may be present in raw materials, on manufacturing lines, in packaging, or in shipping environments.

To remain effective, product manufacturers need to conduct their tests regularly and report to regulatory agencies both on a mandatory and voluntary basis. Tests look for more than just chemical contamination; they can also search for component degradation, trace metals, organic impurities, and the source of strange odors and smells.

In the case of glyphosate in oat products, non-routine impurity testing could have helped keep contaminated food away from consumers. It is possible that a change in sourcing or raw materials before processing oat-based food products could have been why previously tested products were distributed in new batches that contained contaminants. Sudden and major changes in standard manufacturing processes for small- to large-scale producers should always be followed by additional quality control and impurities testing.