Glyphosate

Totally Bogus Attack on Glyphosate in Quaker Oats

Anti-GMO activist scaremongering against herbicide glyphosate almost makes Donald Trump look honest

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GlyphosateDreamstime
Dreamstime: Rene Van Den Berg

The herbicide glyphosate (sold frequently as Roundup) is widely used for weed control in biotech crops designed to resist it. Controlling weeds using glyhosate offers tremendous environmental benefits, such as boosting yields, preventing soil erosion that comes from plowing down weeds, cutting greenhouse gas emissions from fuel use, and  reducing labor costs. But the unhinged and unscientific attack against genetically modified crops (GMOs) by activists means that glyphosate must be demonized. The hyper-precautionary International Agency for Research on Cancer obligingly concluded last year that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.

Interestingly, it now appears that the IARC was influenced by Christopher Portier who chaired the IARC committee that set the agenda for substances to be evaluated. Not disclosed at the time he was appointed was the fact that Portier is a long-time anti-pesticide campaigner who has worked as a "senior collaborating scientist" for the anti-pesticide activist group, the Environmental Defense Fund. He later served as as a "specialist guest" adviser the IARC committee that decided that glyphosate was likely carcinogenic. I am sure that Portier maintained strict objectivity in his scientific evaluation of the dangers posed by the pesticides.

At about the same time, the European Food Safety Authority reviewed the scientific evidence and found that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans as used. The EFSA also detailed its scientific disagreements with the IARC and offered to meet with representatives of the IARC to discuss their different assessments. The IARC declined the invitation.

Activists are now using the IARC conclusions to hammer glyphosate and alarm the public. Naturally the legal vultures that inhabit our dysfunctional tort liability system have pounced. The Richman Law Group paid a laboratory to test Quaker Oats to see if they might contain trace amounts of glyphosate. The Richman Law Group often goes after deep pocket corporations who make what the firm argues are colorable advertising claims.

As the New York Times reports, the laboratory hired by the law firm found "glyphosate at a level of 1.18 parts per million in a sample of Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute. This is roughly 4 percent of the 30 parts per million that the Environmental Protection Agency allows in cereal grains."

The Times added: "Kim Richman, the lead lawyer of the firm representing the plaintiffs, said the amount of glyphosate was not the issue. 'The issue is that Quaker advertises these products as 100 percent natural, and glyphosate in any amount is not natural,' he said."

Never mind the bogus claims about glyphosate, research has often found real and quite natural carcinogens in cereals made using oats. In addition, scaring people away from oats might even backfire healthwise since there is some weak evidence that consuming products made with that grain protects against cancer and heart attacks.

Just as the lawsuit was announced, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published online its scientific report last Friday that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. Oddly, the agency took down the report on Monday. The EPA told Reuters that its review was not yet finished although the news agency notes that the report was marked as the "'final Cancer Assessment Document.'" 'FINAL' was printed on each page of the report, which was dated Oct. 1, 2015." While the science may be final, the politics is evidently not.

When this EPA assessment is FINALLY published, it is likely to put the kibosh on these lawsuits. Of course, this won't stop activists from continuing to scaremonger.

NEXT: It's Not Hedge Funds That Caused Puerto Rico to Fail to Manage Its Debts

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  1. I wouldn’t want to use the “p” word, but just from this morning…

    Is this basically the same article?

    1. OMWC: I actually didn’t see that (though I probably should have), nevertheless thanks much for the link.

      1. Bailey, I thought the problem with glyphosate was that it destroyed the gut flora.

  2. ‘The issue is that Quaker advertises these products as 100 percent natural, and glyphosate in any amount is not natural,’ he said.

    Unnatural in the same way same-sex sex is unnatural? Isn’t everything technically found in nature? Even chemists?

    1. Thank you, but I am not really a product of nature.

    2. Unnatural?

      Just use whichever chemical you like.

    3. I remember seeing a sticker on a picture frame in a shop that said “100% All-Natural Polyurethane”

      I wouldn’t what any un-natural polyurethane in my house.

      1. “Genuine imitation vinyl.”

        1. Harvested from the hyde of the Nauga.

          1. One of the furniture stores used to have little stuffed naugahyde animals.

            I’d love to have one of those now.

            *heads off to ebay*

        2. It’s funnier when you just say “Genuine Vinyl”. Imitation Vinyl could in fact be leather.

    4. A remarkable feature of the English language is that sometimes the same word can be used in more than one way.

      1. Only because you just remarked on it.

        1. No, he is totally right. When the word “natural” is used on a food product, most people understand it the same way: extracted from a plant or animal and not manufactured in a lab.

  3. Oats in the form found in a Quaker Oats package don’t occur in nature, either.

    What Quaker actually says is, “Made with 100% natural wholegrain oats.” The oats are 100% natural and wholegrain (presumably). They don’t say, “Made 100% with natural wholegrain oats.” If bitch wants to make a technical argument, she fails.

    1. Are there unnatural whole grain oats?

      1. That’s the beauty of the claim. It’s like gluten-free beef.

        1. Or non fat sugar.

      2. The argument would be that GMO oats (which would be used with Roundup) are unnatural whole grain oats.

        The herbicide glyphosate (sold frequently as Roundup) is widely used for weed control in biotech crops designed to resist it.

        1. sorry, I was going for bold and italic there.

          The herbicide glyphosate (sold frequently as Roundup) is widely used for weed control in biotech crops designed to resist it.

  4. As the New York Times reports, the laboratory hired by the law firm found “glyphosate at a level of 1.18 parts per million in a sample of Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute. This is roughly 4 percent of the 30 parts per million that the Environmental Protection Agency allows in cereal grains.”

    That’s an unbelievably high number, especially for oats. I’m putting it on my ‘alarmist shit not actually found in food’ list right above syringes, but below broken glass and razors.

    1. Oh, I see, apparently it’s a new terror (non-)trend to kill your crops before harvest with glyphosate/herbicides so they can dry in the field and be harvested on schedule. So, greedy greedy farmers, generally known for their socially liberal/wreckless, are (supposedly) dowsing crops shortly before harvest.

      1. Dowsing the crops?

        Don’t they already know where they are?

        1. Inadvertently, that was kinda my point. I’m not 100% up-to-date on the latest Monsanto products but, AFAIK, the oats would be killed by glyphosate. I presumed the only reason you would find it in them is because of drift, accidental application, or residual contamination.

          But apparently, it has become a thing to kill your crops close to harvest so they can dry in the field.

          1. I’m obviously not a farmer, but don’t they sell oats based on volume? Is there a different price for field-dried oats? Does the lower volume offset the apparently higher cost of dealing with non-dried-oats? Hell, maybe the volume (or weight) difference is trivial.

            1. I think they are sold dry in any case. Otherwise you get moldy oats.

      2. Round-Up ready — GMO — grains have been engineered to tolerate Round-up. So you can spray the crop to kill all the weeds while leaving the crop unharmed.

        No one to my knowledge “kills” the crop before harvest.

  5. “Anti-GMO activist scaremongering against herbicide glyphosate almost makes Donald Trump look honest”

    Gillespie: Okay guys, we need to force a Donald Trump reference into something totally unrelated today. I’d do it myself, but I’m writing about Target’s bathroom policy and I think we can all agree that there’s enough unwanted forcing in Target bathrooms these days.

    *collective groans*

    Gillespie: I kid, I kid. We like to have fun around here. Bailey, aren’t you writing about some faggoty science stuff today?

    Bailey: No, Nick, I’ve told you before – the stuff I write about is serious and actually important.

    Gillespie: Whatever, queer. I expect at least one Trump reference, preferably in the sub-title. Jacket out.

    *pulls down sunglasses, drives away on his motorized scooter with the pimped-out sidecart for the ladies*

    1. A Trump reference was definitely quicker than a column about how the mean jocks touched him in high school.

      1. how the mean jocks touched him in high school

        You people have some weird fetishes.

    2. Wait until Trump becomes president… Imagine the articles we’re going to read here.

      1. Shikha Dalmia will suddenly discover that there are limits to the President’s power vis-a-vis immigration.

      2. SoT: May I respectfully suggest that you (and other commenters here) help spare us all that and don’t vote for Trump? Just a thought.

        1. There isn’t enough money on the planet to make me vote for him, but unless you’re asking me to go around [enter form of violence here] all of his supporters, I’m not sure there’s much I can do.

        2. I doubt Trump will collect many votes from the commentariat.

          Although he’ll probably get more than Hillary will.

          1. I’d vote for Hillary if the other choice were Trump.

            That’s why John hates me and thinks I am an evil kulak

            1. Respectfully, Irish, voting for either one of those jackasses is fucking stupid. It’s likely one or the other is going to win the presidency, but why contribute to it?

              1. ^th th this.

              2. Look if we’re driving the car off the cliff anyways, I at least want to stomp the gas!

              3. “Respectfully, Irish, voting for either one of those jackasses is fucking stupid”

                I think there is a lower limit to how bad a Hillary administration could be.

                There is no lower limit to how bad a Trump administration could be. It could be infinitely bad.

                1. I think there is a lower limit to how bad a Hillary administration could be.

                  I think any promises made about lower limits to a Hillary Administration are a lie.

                2. Here’s the counter argument: It’s likely that Trump would be a disaster, but it’s certain that Hillary would be a disaster.

                  1. Here’s the counter argument: It’s likely that Trump would be a disaster, but it’s certain that Hillary would be a disaster.

                    But to what degree?

                    Let’s say you’re presented two boxes, one red and one blue. If you open the blue one you’re guaranteed to lose $1,000. If you open the red one, you will randomly lose somewhere between $500 and $10,000. Which box do you pick?

                    Formulating it this way is why I think that if someone put a gun to my head and told me I had to vote for one of them, I’d take my chances with the bullet.

                    1. I now realize that the proper response to Irish would have been a Pascal’s wager joke. Oh, well.

                    2. Let’s say you’re presented two boxes, one red and one blue. If you open the blue one you’re guaranteed to lose $1,000. If you open the red one, you will randomly lose somewhere between $500 and $10,000. Which box do you pick?

                      Unfortunately, the blue box guarantees I’ll lose $100,000.

                3. Uhhhh… Hillary having a Lower Limit to Badness and Trump having no Lower Limit to Badness means that Hillary has a guaranteed bare minimum level of Bad whereas Trump could possibly be even not bad. If that is what you really meant, it means Trump is the safest choice.

                  But I think you rather mean “Upper Limit”.

                4. I think there is a lower limit to how bad a Hillary administration could be.

                  I thought there was a lower limit to how bad a Sec State could be.

                  Hillary proved me wrong once. I’m betting she’ll prove you wrong, too, if she gets the chance.

                5. I think there is a lower limit to how bad a Hillary administration could be.

                  Eh. I disagree. She already has rumors of convenience murders, deaths due to dereliction of duty, financial corruption, massive cronyism, IRS political gamesmanship, getting kicked out of the Watergate investigation, the emails issue, and more. I know that WND isn’t exactly “credible,” but the link is good just as an aggregation of all the scandals.

                  I don’t doubt that Trump is skeevy just like Hillary, but I think his lower bound is less scary than hers. On average, I think they’re about the same.

                  Either way, I don’t really give a shit. I decided not to vote when Cruz went off the socon deep end.

        3. Well, you guys won’t tell us who the libertarian nominee is, Ron, so we don’t know who to vote for. For all we know, McAfee killed the other 2 guys and ran off to some jungle in Latin America.

          1. He’d be a fool to return to Latin America, he’s already wanted there. If he needed to run, he would have to go to a new continent.

            1. Russia? Putin keeps getting new friends.

        4. RB: Is it okay if I don’t vote major party? Or not vote at all, as I’ve done for the past 15+ years?

          1. SMOD 2016.

            I just keep hoping for a virus that only affects politicians.

          2. No, I have to answer for Ron I guess. We have rules around here, now declare your support for Hillary or the Donald, now! Choose the form of the destroyer!

      3. Trump deports grandmas and orphans.

        Trump forces illegals to work 16 hours days to build giant wall.

        Trump says mean things, offends everyone.

        Trump’s hair.

        Trump Trump Trump Trump

        Yeah, I can see it now.

    3. I thought reporters generally don’t write their own headlines, so Bailey could have had nothing to do with the heading.

    4. IT-BR: So you think Trump is honest?

      1. I kid because I care. You’re actually one of my favorite writers here.

        No, I was just pointing out the tendency for this website to force Donald Trump *into everything.*

        It’s completely unnecessary. It would be like writing an article about some campus administrator telling a lie and being like “BARACK OBAMA ISN’T THE ONLY DIRTY LIAR IN AMERICA!” as your subheading.

        1. Maybe Ron gets off on watching you throw a temper tantrum about it.

          1. I don’t think joking about Reason’s tendency to fit Trump into everything is a temper tantrum. Given your tendency to completely misrepresent what’s going on, I guess I’ll take your definition of temper tantrum with a grain of salt

            1. Maybe I get off on watching you throw a temper tantrum. Rowr.

    5. Nicely done, Irish.

      Here’s hoping this is an ongoing series.

    6. You guys, knock it off. 1) You’re obviously all Trump supporters, and 2) There’s obviously no more dishonest presidential candidate in this cycle than Trump. I can’t think of a former senator or a former secretary of state or former first lady more dishonest.

      1. I guess I’m a Trump fanboy, so I was told. I’m not voting for him and don’t support him so I’m not really sure what fan boy means. Maybe because I said I thought he will beat Hillary, which I do think that.

    7. You guys, knock it off. 1) You’re obviously all Trump supporters, and 2) There’s obviously no more dishonest presidential candidate in this cycle than Trump. I can’t think of a former senator or a former secretary of state or former first lady more dishonest.

      1. I finally got squirreled. Took nearly three years, even while infrequently posting.

  6. No disclaimers? Ron, Ron, Ron. You must be guilty of something.

    1. Closet Trump supporter. I knew it!

    2. A: Got me – I forgot to mention those Monsanto shares I bought a while back with my own money and given the recent stock price should have sold a year or so ago. Damn!

      1. See? I knew it. Confession is good for the soul.

        To be honest, I was hoping you would state that you were recently caught flirting with Ann Coulter.

        😉

  7. RE: ? Totally Bogus Attack on Glyphosate in Quaker Oats
    Anti-GMO activist scaremongering against herbicide glyphosate almost makes Donald Trump look honest

    Please do not criticize the anti-GMO activists.
    They need the attention since obviously their mommies and daddies didn’t pay enough attention to them.
    Otherwise they will all go away.

  8. You keep referring to scientists, and scientific studies. Isn’t science not to be trusted? Aren’t scientists on the take? Or is that only scientists whose findings we disagree with.

    1. Isn’t science not to be trusted? Aren’t scientists on the take?

      You keep referring to “science” as a whole. Science is a methodology for testing hypotheses, nothing more. Just because we don’t trust certain scientists’ data when their adherence to the methodology is in question doesn’t mean that the methodology is flawed.

      1. It’s one thing to say “I don’t agree with the majority of scientific opinion” on an issue. It’s quite another to suggest that the majority is coming to conclusions for the money, and the money only.

        1. It’s one thing to say “I don’t agree with the majority of scientific opinion” on an issue. It’s quite another to suggest that the majority is coming to conclusions for the money, and the money only.

          I agree with you. Whether it’s climate change or GMOs or Round-Up or one of a thousand other issues, “they did it for the money” is a low-brow argument.

          People need to come to the table with more than that if they don’t want to be laughed out of the room. That applies to all sides.

          1. Yes indeed.

  9. Anti-GMO activist scaremongering against herbicide glyphosate almost makes Donald Trump look honest

    Maybe the gratuitous dig at Trump will keep you on the invite list for the Cool Kids cocktail parties. But I wouldn’t count on it.

  10. ‘The issue is that Quaker advertises these products as 100 percent natural, and glyphosate in any amount is not natural,’ he said.”

    It’s only 99.9999% natural! Fraud!

    1. Well, 99.99% natural is not “natural” and that last 0.01% could be a real doozy.

  11. When you metabolize glucose, the first metabolic reaction is: a phosphate group gets attached to the glucose, making a …[gasp!] … a GLYCOPHOSPHATE!!!!

  12. Glyphosate causes cancer, if Monsanto’s own data is to be believed. And it’s in oats. What more is there to fact check

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