PepsiCo Inc.’s Quaker Oats has been accused of false advertising by a group of consumers in New York, California and Illinois, who have filed a class action lawsuit challenging the company’s claim of being “100 Percent Natural” despite having traces of the weedkiller glyphosate found in its famous oatmeal.
According to the complaint, glyphosate allegedly made its way into Quaker Oats “not simply because it is used as an agricultural weed killer, but because it is sprayed on the oats as a drying agent shortly before harvest.”
The plaintiffs, who are seeking refunds from PepsiCo., are not accusing Quaker of illegally using glyphosate but that its “100 Percent Natural” claim is “false, deceptive and misleading” since it contains the controversial chemical.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship herbicide Roundup, was declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) last year.
“Quaker knows that consumers seek out and wish to purchase whole, natural foods that do not contain chemicals, and that consumers will pay more for foods that they believe to be natural,” the court document states.
Bloomberg noted that in 1997, “Quaker Oats oatmeal became the first food product to be allowed by the Food and Drug Administration to carry the claim that it was healthy, according to a study that examined the marketing of health foods.”
Quaker advertises its popular whole grain oats for its “wholesome goodness.” However, as the complaint states:
No reasonable consumer, seeing these representations, would expect Quaker Oats to contain anything unnatural, or anything other than whole, rolled oats.
Quaker Oats, despite their labels, do contain something other than whole, rolled oats; namely, Quaker Oats contain glyphosate.
Glyphosate is not “Natural” or “100 Percent Natural.” Glyphosate is a synthetic biocide and probable human carcinogen, with additional health dangers rapidly becoming known.
Quaker issued a defense to the New York Times, stating, “Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are trace amounts and significantly below any limits which have been set by the EPA as safe for human consumption.”
The New York Times reported that in a test paid for by lawyers for the plaintiffs, the Richman Law Group, glyphosate was detected at a level of 1.18 parts per million in a sample of Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute, or 4 percent of the 30 parts per million that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows in cereal grains.