Eye irritation, burning eyes, blurred vision, skin rashes, burning or itchy skin, nausea, sore throat, asthma and difficulty breathing, headache, lethargy, nose bleeds, and dizziness. If you've experienced any of these symptoms lately, you may have been exposed to Glyphosate poisoning. Glyphosate ," is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops." (2016)
This same herbicide is known to cause severe liver and kidney damage and Chronic kidney disease, disruption of hormonal systems which can potentially lead to multiple organ damage and hormone-dependent cancer; developmental and reproductive toxicity, including damage to sperm and miscarriage and premature birth, disruption of beneficial gut bacteria, similar to the growth of botulism-causing bacteria in cows. It causes damage to DNA, birth defects, neurotoxicity, and cancer. One would conclude that this is one herbicide that should be stayed away from at all costs. Why then is it found in a common household food item.
PepsiCo, the owner of Quaker Oats has recently been sued for using glyphosate in their oatmeal product, while labeling it natural. This led me to research the FDA's definition of "natural," and my findings were startling to say the least. Let's first start with the original meaning of "natural" as defined by Mirriam-Webster is, existing in nature and not made or caused by people: coming from nature: not having any extra substances or chemicals added: not containing anything artificial.
Now, let's take a look at the FDA's (Food and Drug Administration) official statement on the definition of "natural":
"Although the FDA has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term “natural,” we do have a longstanding policy concerning the use of “natural” in human food labeling. The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. However, this policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor did it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization, or irradiation. The FDA also did not consider whether the term “natural” should describe any nutritional or other health benefit." (FDA, 2015)
Wait, what? Doesn't one directly affect the other? Food production in all of its stages must meet the true definition of "natural" and the FDA must make it their prerogative to ensure that this takes place, especially if you are allowing it to be labeled as such. With this ill regulated process of food production, GMO's are at a greater risk of turning up in our foods unbeknownst to the consumer. "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... Oats are not a genetically engineered crop. But glyphosate is increasingly being used as a “dessicant” to dry out crops to speed harvesting."(Adams, 2016)
My question to Quaker Oats is, Are you not ultimately responsible and accountable to your consumers to ensure that the process of your food production meets the quality standards that you profess? Or maybe this is a good sales pitch to get in on, since the world is becoming more health conscious? I then now retract by making this a rhetorical question and claiming the latter of the two.
So what we have here is the FDA not regulating the production methods and processes of crops, then companies not regulating the chemicals that are used to grow its crops. How irresponsible, misleading and dangerous! Although oats are not considered to be a GMO product, after its production process is complete, it becomes virtually unfit for human consumption. Quaker Oats unsuccessfully defends themselves by stating that the glyphosate can be washed off. In this case, it is then now possible to wash just the cocoa butter out of your lotion or just the cocoa itself out of the butter. Right!, very silly! The glyphosate is embedded in the crop, therefore cannot be removed by any process of elimination other than the decision to not use the product at all!
Adams, M. (2016, May 04). Quaker Oats sued over glyphosate found in its 'all natural' oats... the truth is starting to come out about widespread glyphosate contamination of the food supply. Retrieved May, 2016 http://www.naturalnews.com/053897_Quaker_Oats_glyphosate_instant_oatmeal.html#ix zz485MyMHNe
Glyphosate. (2016, May 06). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015, December 28). Retrieved May, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm456090.htm