A lawsuit seeking class-action status has been filed against PepsiCo, the owner of Quaker Oats after testing found traces of the glyphosate herbicide in a Quaker Oats oatmeal product. The Quaker Oats glyphosate lawsuit was filed over the weekend on behalf of plaintiffs in New York and California, though attorneys expect that it will soon be filed in other states.
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which has been sold by agrochemical giant Monsanto since the 1970s. The glyphosate herbicide is used in the cultivation of corn, canola, soy, sugar, beets, and other crops, as well as on golf courses and home gardens around the world.
Since the introduction of genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the 1990s, the use of the Monsanto Roundup weed killer has increased dramatically. According to the United States Geographical Survey (USGS), nearly 300 million pounds of glyphosate herbicide was sprayed on crops in the United States in 2013 (the most recent data). Well over two-thirds of that total was sprayed on corn and soybean plants alone.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, though the herbicide has also has been linked to liver and kidney disease. With more and more research linking glyphosate and cancer, environmental agencies and consumer groups have been scrutinizing the use of the herbicide, specifically its presence in the foods that we consume every day.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced earlier this year that it intends to test some foods for glyphosate. Other countries that have previously run glyphosate testing have found traces of the herbicide in beer, wheat, wine, cauliflower, oats, and rye. Studies have also found traces of glyphosate in farm animals like cows, who tend to be exposed to higher levels of the herbicide.
Monsanto is currently facing Roundup lawsuits filed by individuals who claim that exposure to glyphosate herbicide caused them to develop cancer. A number of people claim that exposure to glyphosate caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, or melanoma diagnosis.
What Are the Claims in Quaker Oats Glyphosate Lawsuit?
The plaintiffs in the Quaker Oats glyphosate lawsuit claim that Quaker Oats has been misleading consumers in the U.S. and around the world by marketing its oatmeal as “100 percent natural,” even though independent testing found traces of glyphosate in some oatmeal. The Quaker Oats products named in the lawsuit include Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned, Quaker Steel Cut Oats and Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute.
The Quaker Oats glyphosate testing was performed by an independent laboratory in California, which found glyphosate traces at a level of 1.18 parts per million while sampling Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute product.
On its website, Quaker Oats advertises its oatmeal by claiming the oats used in its products are grown in safe and environmentally responsible conditions. The oats purportedly require less herbicide spray than other grains, so there is less risk of pollutants and groundwater contamination.
Plaintiffs in the Quaker Oats glyphosate lawsuit believe that these claims in particular are false and misleading. The lawsuit accuses Quaker Oats of branding its oatmeal as something that it isn’t, attempting to capitalize on growing consumer demand for natural and healthy food products.
For its part, Quaker Oats acknowledges that the glyphosate may have been applied by farmers to the grains before harvest, but insists that the company itself does not add the chemical at any point during the milling process. The company further claims that it puts its oats through a cleansing process. “Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are trace amounts and significantly below any limits which have been set by the E.P.A. as safe for human consumption,” a spokesperson for Quaker Oats told the New York Times.
Plaintiffs in the Quaker Oats glyphosate lawsuit acknowledge that the level of glyphosate in the oatmeal was below the limit set by federal regulators, but the amount of glyphosate contamination isn’t what is being called into question. The principal issue at stake is that Quaker Oats claims to be 100 percent natural, but there is nothing natural about glyphosate. Plaintiffs in the Quaker Oats glyphosate lawsuit are seeking refunds for purchasers. They also want PepsiCo to either change its oatmeal product line to be in accordance with the ‘100 percent natural’ claim or disclose that there are trace amounts of glyphosate found in the products.
Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit
If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to Roundup weed killer or another glyphosate herbicide, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a glyphosate cancer lawsuit. The personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman are currently evaluating Monsanto Roundup cases on a free, no-obligation basis.