The PepsiCo owned Quaker Oats Company has been in the media about a pending lawsuit on the “100% Natural” marketing claim as made by the company. The suit came after testing found traces of the pesticide glyphosate in some oatmeal.
While the level of glyphosate – the active ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup – detected in the oatmeal falls well below the limit set by federal regulators for human consumption, the lawsuit accuses Quaker of false advertising because it markets the oatmeal as “100% natural.”
In August 2017 a federal judge, Charles Ronald Norgle tossed the lawsuit stating that “because Congress has pre-empted the field of food labelling and because federal status governs the presence of pesticides and chemical residues, plaintiffs cannot challenge Quaker Oats labelling under state or common law.”
However, this decision did not last long as the case was appealed. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Courts in New York and California, contends that such statements are false and misleading. “There is nothing unlawful about Quaker Oats’ growing and processing methods,” the suit says. “What is unlawful is Quaker’s claim that Quaker Oats is something that it is not to capitalise on growing consumer demand for healthful, natural products.”
In a statement, the Quaker Oats Company said that it did not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process but that it might be applied by farmers to certain grains before harvest.
The company said it puts the oats it receives 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,” the company said.
However, it is worthy of note that glyphosate is one of the most widely used pesticides around the world which the Monsanto Company began selling in the 1970’s. It is also used in home gardens, on golf courses and other places.
Last year, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a “probable” carcinogen. Since then, environmental and consumer groups have begun to focus their efforts on the pesticide, and a growing number of reports on glyphosate in food have surfaced.
Most of these tests have not proved a direct carcinogenic effect after the use of glyphosate in planting, the introduction of genetically modified foods (GMF) is gradually causing a wave of harm in the world at large.