Kellogg’s Froot Loops Tests Positive For GMO and Weedkiller
In 2013, GMO Free USA sent a sample of Froot Loops to a certified lab to test for the presence of GMO material. The quantitative PCR test verified, by DNA analysis, that 100% of the corn in the Froot Loops was GMO, containing DNA sequences known to be present in insecticide producing Bt and Roundup Ready corn. The soy contained DNA sequences known to be present in Roundup Ready GMO soy. This year we plan to continue testing for the presence of GMOs in various food products and now we have expanded our testing to include glyphosate. GMO Free USA plans to further expand testing to include 2,4-D, dicamba, atrazine, and neonicotinoid insecticides.
The corn in Froot Loops produces insecticides from inside every cell of the plant that can’t be washed off and is regulated by the EPA. The FDA, EPA, and USDA allowed the insecticidal GMO corn discovered in Froot Loops to be commercialized without ever conducting human safety tests.
An in-vitro study found that the insecticides in this corn may be toxic to human cells (1). Feeding studies conducted on mammals found adverse effects, including immune system disturbances (2), blood biochemistry disturbances (3), male reproductive organ damage (4), disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system (4) and signs of organ toxicity (4)(5)(6). Industry claims that these insecticidal proteins are broken down in the digestive tract, yet a study found the proteins circulating in the blood of pregnant and non-pregnant women and the blood supply to fetuses (7).
Glyphosate is the active chemical ingredient in Roundup herbicide as well as many other name brand glyphosate-based herbicides. These herbicides are the most widely used in the world and their use has increased exponentially with the introduction of GM crops. In response to agrichemical industry requests, the EPA has increased the allowable tolerance levels of glyphosate residues in crops without any scientific basis. And so, we sent Froot Loops cereal back to the lab to test for glyphosate.
The glyphosate residue test was conducted by an accredited lab using the Specific LC/MS/MS testing method with a minimum detectable level of 0.02 ppm. The test documented the presence of glyphosate in Froot Loops at a level of 0.12 ppm, or 0.12 mg/kg. This gives significant reason for concern.
“We are deeply concerned about the health risks of genetically engineered foods and the associated insecticides and herbicides, especially their effect on the bodies of growing children. Children eat more food per pound of body weight than the average adult. As a result, pound for pound, they have substantially heavier exposures than adults to any toxins that are present in food, water or air. Children are undergoing rapid growth and development and their delicate developmental processes are easily disrupted. We must keep them safe,” said Alexandra Zissu, Editorial Director of Healthy Child Healthy World.
At GMO Free USA, we agree. Yet the EPA’s Chronic Reference Dose (RfD), which is supposed to represent the “safe” daily tolerance level, is nearly 6 times higher than the level set as an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) in the European Union. The EPA has set our Chronic RfD at 1.75 mg/kg of body weight per day, while the equivalent ADI of glyphosate in the E.U. is only 0.3 mg/kg of body weight per day. Despite the fact that children eat more food per pound of body weight, the EPA’s 1.75 mg/kg of body weight Rfd is the same for children and adults, even though children are much more vulnerable.
The USDA recently released the findings of their 2013 Annual Pesticide Data Program Report on food testing for pesticide residues. The USDA concluded, based on the results of their testing, that our food supply contains safe levels of pesticides. One big problem – the USDA report claims they didn’t test for glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in conventional agriculture. It is timely that we release the results of our first glyphosate test following this USDA report. We also believe it is appropriate that the test was conducted on Kellogg’s Froot Loops, a cereal that the company heavily markets to children and was previously documented to contain high levels of GMOs.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence (8) that links glyphosate to health and environmental harm. A 2013 study found that glyphosate, at minute real-world environmental levels of exposure, was able to effectively substitute for estrogen in stimulating growth of hormone-dependent human breast cancer cells at concentrations, starting at 10-12M (169 parts per quadrillion) and peaking at 10-9M (169 parts per trillion) (9). The growth stimulating effect of glyphosate (and the estrogen control) on the breast cancer cells decreased at concentrations higher than 169ppt demonstrating a “non-linear” or “non-monotonic” response, which is typical of chemicals that possess an endocrine (hormone) disruptive capability, where minute levels can actually cause their own distinct problems.
An in vitro study published in 2013 found that Roundup, the full formula herbicide that includes the active ingredient, glyphosate, is up to 1,000 times more toxic to human cells than glyphosate alone (10). This is most disturbing because the EPA approval process is based solely on studying glyphosate and no testing is conducted on the full herbicide formula, which includes the “inert” ingredients and adjuvants that magnify its toxicity.
Another important 2014 study found that glyphosate was frequently present in peoples’ urine, with the levels being higher in individuals with chronic diseases (11). The study also found that levels of glyphosate present in the urine of dairy cows was very similar to that found in the heart, lung, brain, kidney, liver, intestines and muscle tissue of the same animals. This strongly suggests bioaccumulation of glyphosate within the body, which is contrary to the position held by industry and regulatory agencies. Very worryingly, levels of glyphosate found in the urine of dairy cows correlated with greater levels of substances in the blood, indicative of damage to liver and kidney function; that is, the higher the urine glyphosate concentration, the greater was the indication of liver and kidney functional damage (12).
Yet another important study found glyphosate in the organs of piglets born with birth defects. The higher the levels detected, the higher the incidence of defects (13). Additionally, tests performed in 2014 detected high levels of glyphosate in 3 out of 10 breast milk samples from U.S. mothers (14). The levels detected were 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. These studies and test results provide strong evidence that glyphosate bioaccumulates in the body. Furthermore, 3 recent studies linked glyphosate to male infertility (15)(16)(17), and 2 studies linked glyphosate to chronic fatal kidney disease (18)(19).
It is important to understand how glyphosate works. There are 3 patents on glyphosate: It was first patented in 1964 by Stauffer Chemical as a metal chelator that was used to clean or descale commercial boilers and pipes (20). Glyphosate binds to and removes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc that are vital to our health.
The second patent was filed in 1974 by Monsanto as an herbicide (21). Monsanto claims that glyphosate, which kills plants by disrupting the shikimate pathway, has no effect on humans because the shikimate pathway is not present in mammals. However, a recent peer-reviewed study (22) states, “Glyphosate inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme which is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biological function, one of which is to detoxify xenobiotics (foreign chemical substances). Thus, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”
In 2003, Monsanto filed for a patent on glyphosate as a parasitic control type antimicrobial, or antibiotic (23). This patent was granted in 2010. It is proposed that glyphosate be used as a treatment for microbial infections and parasitic control of various diseases such as malaria. A 2013 peer reviewed study documented that glyphosate kills certain beneficial gut flora in chickens at a level as low as 0.075 ppm (24).
Pediatrician Michelle Perro offers this insight:
Digestive health is rapidly declining in children. If children eat conventionally grown food, they will potentially be eating glyphosate, pesticide ingredients and GMOs, as documented by these laboratory tests [of Froot Loops]. What is happening to our children is several-fold: Alteration of their microbiome with subsequent issues of detoxification, production of vitamins and repair of their intestinal lining due to the anti-microbial effects of glyphosate. Additionally, they are mineral-deficient. Since glyphosate applied to plants is known to bind important minerals and make them unavailable to human and animal consumers, it may be contributing to this mineral deficiency. There is laboratory evidence of zinc deficiency, for example, which then leads to immunological weakness/impairment since zinc is an important co-factor in immune system function.
Children are also experiencing an exponential increase in allergies which can be linked to lack of recognition of rogue proteins produced by genetically altered proteins in foods. This can subsequently cause an activation of their immune systems and production of antibodies against foods; the body is seeing the foods as foreign invaders and producing an immune response.
The bioaccumulation effects of glyphosate have not been addressed in children and the standards of safety are arbitrary and not based on any clinical evidence.
Since the introduction of GM crops, glyphosate has become the most widely used herbicide in the world. A 2014 study documented the presence of glyphosate in 75% of the air and rain samples collected and tested from Mississippi in 2007 (25). A 2014 U.S Geological survey documented the presence of glyphosate in more than 50% of rivers and streams, soil and groundwater samples tested from 38 states (26).
Farmers using glyphosate tolerant GM crops have been increasing the rates of glyphosate applied to their crops as they attempt to combat widespread problems with glyphosate resistant weeds. The USDA’s most recent report “Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States” (27) disclosed that the amount of glyphosate based herbicide applied to GM corn crops increased from around 1.5 pounds per planted acre in both 2001 and 2005 to more than 2.0 pounds per planted acre in 2010. The biotech industry’s solution to glyphosate resistant weeds is to develop GM crops that are tolerant to older and potentially more toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba, to be applied in combination with glyphosate. Both of these types of GM crops have been recently approved by the USDA and may well end up in Froot Loops in the not too distant future.
GMOs benefit the bottom line of the biotech industry, while the risks are shouldered by consumers and our environment. Today, it’s glyphosate-laden Froot Loops. Tomorrow, American children may be fed Froot Loops laced with glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D. Through product testing, we hope to bring transparency. With transparency comes accountability. Call Kellogg’s (800-962-1413) and demand that they remove GMOs from all of their products and get Non-GMO Project verified. BOYCOTT KELLOGG’S. Take action HERE
DONATE to help us expand the food testing program. Let’s hold Kellogg’s and other Big Food corporations accountable.
Report written by GMO Free USA
**Michelle Perro, MD, has been a practicing pediatrician for 32 years, presently working at the Institute for Health and Healing in SF, CA in the department of Integrative Medicine. She has lectured both nationally and internationally on the topics of pesticides and GMOs and the effect on children’s health. She is currently working on her book concerning the rising incidence of childhood illness and the effects from various environmental toxins.
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(26) Common Weed Killer is Widespread in the Environment http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/2014-04-23-glyphosate_2014.html
(27) USDA Economic Research Service, Economic Research Report Number 162, February 2014 “Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States” by Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, Seth Wechsler, Mike Livingston, and Lorraine Mitchell. www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err162.aspx