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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Lawsuit Claims Bob’s Red Mill Ignores RoundUp Pesticide in its Oat Products

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Citing a report that claims to find traces of controversial herbicide glyphosate in oat-based breakfast foods, two women claim Bob’s falsely labels its foods as “gluten free,” “wheat free” and “purity tested.”

    Caption: Image: CC--Mike Mozart

    Celiac.com 09/13/2018 - Bob’s Red Mill finds itself under fire by two women who claim the company knowingly hides the presence of an allegedly cancer-causing weed killer in its steel cut oat and rolled oat products, and falsely advertises those products as healthy. 

    Tamara Frankel and Natasha Paracha filed a federal class action in San Francisco, alleging that parent company Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods knows that its oat products contain or likely contain glyphosate, but fails to disclose it on the label. The women cite a recent report by the Environmental Working Group, an environmental research and advocacy group, which claimed to find traces of controversial herbicide glyphosate in Cheerios, Quaker Oats and other oat-based breakfast foods. The women contend that Bob’s uses labels such as “gluten free,” “wheat free” and “purity tested,” which lead consumers to falsely believe them to be healthy.

    Both U.S. and European regulators have concluded that glyphosate is safe, while that World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it as a probable human carcinogen.

    Bayer subsidiary Monsanto, maker of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup has faced numerous lawsuits over its product.  A San Francisco jury recently found that exposure to Roundup caused the cancer of a school groundskeeper, and awarded him $289 million in damages. Shortly after that verdict, the Environmental Working Group released a report claiming that 31 of 45 oat-based food samples tested positive for glyphosate, and that levels exceeded safety limits of 160 parts per billion.

    EWG applies a more stringent standard than the 2 mg/kg/day of glyphosate standard used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the 1.1 mg per day standard used by the State of California.

    Frankel and Paracha are represented by Patricia Syverson of the San Diego law firm Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint.

    Stay tuned for more developments on this and related stories.

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    Well, this is very unsettling. I've been eating generous amounts of Bob's Red Mill oats, mostly the quick-cooking oats, for years. In fact, in order to eat less rice, out of concern about arsenic levels in rice, I intentionally began using Bob's Red Mill oats, out of which I made flour.

    What does a person do with this knowledge?

    And is there a brand of G.F. oats which do not contain the glyphosate?

    Thank you for any guidance.

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    We are not sure of any brands that test negative for glyphosate, but there may be some that do. Note that by being gluten-free you may be exposed less than most people, as glyphosate is commonly used on wheat. Also, according to California standards, Bob’s Red Mill oats are considered safe.

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    This is ridiculous and upsetting. I loathe Monsanto, but it’s a simple rule- unless a product is organic, always assume it was farmed using round-up. By their logic, they should sue every farmer out there. I hope the courts do the right thing and throw this out. 

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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