Are there pesticides in your oatmeal?

by Lisa O’Gorman, CEC

Oatmeal is a wonderful food with numerous health benefits when consumed on a regular basis. It is a popular breakfast item and often recommended to be incorporated people’s food plans because of the many health benefits it offers. It is also often one of the first food that babies are given either as oatmeal or a cereal to snack on. It outrages me that most people you talk to have no idea that most oats contain pesticides. The following article from Health Magazine outlines the findings from tests done to determine just how much glyphosate and or round up are actually in processed oats. Then you can decide if you agree with what is considered “safe” level or not. Personally, I don’t believe that any level is safe therefore, I choose to buy my oats organic. Yes, they may cost a little more but this is one instance where the benefit outweighs the cost.

Oats are great for breakfast, used whole or ground and used as oat flour in recipes. Steel cut oats are known for their great cholesterol reducing properties. Because of this, I have recently been adding them raw into my soup recipes allowing them to cook with the rest of the ingredients. The texture resembles barley and it adds a nice texture to the soup. The amount you add depends on how much soup you are making and you may have to add some more water or vegetable stock to the soup. No one will ever recognize it as oatmeal and is a nice nutritional boost.

The following article is by Amanda MacMilliann from Health Magazine, updated March 7, 2021 and brings light to the little know facts about your oats and how safe they are or are not.

"Unsafe levels of a weed killer chemical in oat products," cries a headline from CNN published earlier this week. The accompanying article cites a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization, that revealed traces of glyphosate—the main ingredient in the pesticide Roundup—in several types of oat cereal, oatmeal, granola, and snack bars. Almost three-quarters of food samples tested "showed higher glyphosate levels than what the group's scientists believe to be 'protective of children's health,'" CNN reported.

This sounds pretty scary, especially for anyone who eats oats regularly. (At Health, that’s a lot of us—the whole grain lowers cholesterol, burns fat, and fills you up with fiber, folate, and potassium.) Plus, we've been hearing a lot about Roundup lately: Last week, a California jury awarded $289 million to a man who says he got cancer from repeated exposure to the chemical during his years as a pest-control manager for the San Francisco school district.

We couldn’t help but wonder: Does this mean we should ditch our go-to morning meal? We dug a little deeper, and here’s what we found out.

What is glyphosate, and why is it in our food?

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and is used in hundreds of weed-killing products. Many health and agricultural experts say that humans don’t absorb glyphosate in the same way they do harmful chemicals like DDT, so it’s safe in low quantities—like what’s left on sprayed crops after they’re harvested, cleaned, and prepared for food sales.