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General Mills Cheerios may now be "non-GMO" but it is virtually guaranteed to contain Roundup herbicide residues, as disclosed by North America's largest oat supplier.
While there are no genetically modified oats on the marketplace today, non-organic oats might as well be labeled Roundup Ready (RR). This is because it is common practice to spray them with Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate, putting them in the same category of glyphosate contaminated crops which includes RR GM soy, corn and canola.
Why must oats be sprayed? Known as pre-harvest desiccation, glyphosate is sprayed on oat crops right before their harvest, ostensibly to increase product uniformity and yield, and to save time in harvesting.
"Specifically, Monsanto International published a paper in 2010 touting the application of Roundup to kill crops right before harvest, in order to dry out the crops in advance and produce a more uniform and earlier harvest (starting on page 28):
"Uneven maturity and green tissue delays harvest. Spraying glyphosate desiccates green foliage & stems. The photograph (below left) shows the uniform dessication of sunflower by the use of glyphosate(Roundup Bioaktiv) applied by helicopter in Hungary (Czepó, 2009a). The photograph (below right) shows complete foliar desiccation of grain maize on the right side 14 days after application of glyphosate (Roundup Bioaktiv) at 0.54kg ae/ ha in 7 0L/ ha applied by helicopter using Reglojet nozzles and including Bandrift Plus at 0.1 % at 34% grain moisture in Hungary, with the untreated visible on the left-hand side."
Assuming pre-harvest desiccation actually works as Monsanto claims, it should result in lower drying costs, an earlier harvest, and ultimately higher profit. But what is not figured in is the cost to the consumer who is already faced with widespread exposure to a chemical that has already been found in most the water, air, rain samples tested and which may retain serious toxicity at concentrations in as low as parts-per-trillion range?
Most people today consider Roundup herbicide exposure to be a problem linked solely to GMO foods, and not oats. This misperception has been a convenient fact for the non-GMO sector of Big Agra, which continues to use a wide range of highly toxic agrochemicals in food and feed crops that can still legally be described and/or labeled as non-GMO.
But the industry is beginning to be forced to respond to both a powerful shift in consumer awareness and demand in favor of organically produced, non-GMO oat products, as well as to a WHO report released last March that identified glyphosate to be a 'probable carcinogen.'
Did General Mills' Move Towards "non-GMO" Cheerios Distract From the Roundup Problem?
When General Mills announced Cheerios would go non-GMO, the decision was received with some skepticism by those who quickly pointed out the fact that GMO oats don't exist and Cheerios, for the most part, was already a non-GMO product. One writer for Modern Farmer addressed the deceptive tactic:
General Mills' decision to stop using genetically modified organisms to make Cheerios (and, more to the point, its decision to brag about it on cereal boxes) was relatively easy: there's no such thing as genetically modified oats.
While General Mills decision to switch Cheerios to non-GMO sugarcane sugar could be considered a positive step forward, it effectively distracts from the fact that General Mills' oat products are contaminated with glyphosate due to the use of raw material that underwent post-harvest desiccation. How do we know this? Because North America's largest oat supplier, known to supply General Mills, Kraft, Kellogg, On Agra Foods, and others, just announced it will continue to buy oats that are sprayed with glyphosate.