Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the country's most popular herbicide, Bayer-Monsanto’s roundup. It is often used by farmers to control unwanted plants and dry out crops to facilitate harvesting.
The company claims that the chemical’s use is already somewhat limited in the production of its food, being reserved for occasions when crops need to be harvested quickly due to weather challenges. However, the company said they are aware that some consumers have concerns about its use.
In a statement, Kellogg's said: "Although this practice is not widespread in our wheat and oat supply chains, we are working with our suppliers to phase out using glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent in our wheat and oat supply chain in our major markets, including the US, by the end of 2025."
The company is working with farmers on phasing out the use of glyphosate for drying out crops in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia and Mexico.
Kellogg's also plans to expand its grower survey in order to collect better data on pesticide use and make investments in new pesticide reduction efforts that can benefit farmers as well as the environment.
Residues of glyphosate have been found in Kellogg's cereals such as Fruit Loops, along with popular food products from other companies, such as Nature Valley granola bars and General Mills Cheerios cereal in varying amounts. Although the detected amounts are often below the tolerance levels set by the EPA of 0.1 to 310 parts per million, many consumers are nevertheless alarmed by any trace of glyphosate in the foods and drinks they consume.
Moreover, as more lawsuits make headlines related to glyphosate's link to cancer, more and more consumers are seeking out products that advertise themselves as being free from chemicals and bear non-glyphosate certifications.
Lawsuits against Bayer, who purchased Monsanto in 2018, continue to be filed, and many are resulting in huge damage awards related to cancer claims. Bayer, for its part denies that glyphosate causes cancer and is appealing many of these multimillion-dollar verdicts.
The World Health Organization has called the chemical a probable carcinogen to humans, while California lists it as a chemical that is known to the state to cause cancer.
It is also known for its negative impact on the environment. It has a detrimental effect on biodiversity, water quality, soil health and wildlife. It has also been linked to the declines seen in bee populations around the world that are putting our food supply at risk.
As consumers become increasingly informed about their health and the ingredients in the foods that they consume, Kellogg's is making a smart move here. Although it is often more difficult for companies to find oats and wheat that have not been sprayed with glyphosate and the price tag on these foods may be a little higher, it could work out well for the company, which has seen its sales slipping in recent years, and allow it to boost its reputation as well.
Although Kellogg’s has been careful to downplay both glyphosate’s dangers and its presence in its products, their commitment to stop using it certainly feels like an acknowledgement that the chemical is harmful and has no place in our food.
Sources for this article include: