US Organic group sues Shredded Wheat maker over ‘natural’ claim

Leading US organic advocacy group The Organic Consumers Association is to sue Post Foods for claiming that one of its brands, Shredded Wheat, is ‘natural’ despite the fact that it contains detectable levels of the herbicide glyphosate.

If successful the case would throw into question the legality of the term ‘natural’ in any foods containing traces of synthetic pesticides.

“On the back of its cereal box, Post says Shredded Wheat is made of ‘100% Whole Grain Wheat’ and that the product is ‘made with nothing but goodness,’” said OCA’s international director, Ronnie Cummins. “But tests prove Shredded Wheat contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. Glyphosate is not only very unnatural, it is a known toxin, linked to a long list of potential and serious health problems.”

Kim Richman of The Richman Law Group, which represents OCA in the suit, noted that “Consumers don’t expect a product labeled ‘natural’ to contain a chemical that has been classified by the World Health Organization as a ‘probable’ human carcinogen. Post advertises Shredded Wheat as ‘100 Percent Natural,’ and glyphosate in any amount is not natural,” Richman said.

“Post advertises Shredded Wheat as ‘100 Percent Natural,’ and glyphosate in any amount is not natural”

Shredded Wheat samples were tested by an independent lab in California, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, a commonly used technique in medical and chemical labs. The testing found glyphosate at a level of 0.18 parts per million in the sample, a level below that which is allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in cereal grains.

“Even at low levels, including levels below those approved by regulatory agencies, studies show that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor,” Richman said.

The OCA cites a 2014 Consumer Reports survey 66 percent of respondents said that a “natural” label on packaged and processed foods means that “no toxic pesticides were used.”