Is Monsanto Weed Killer in Aldi or Trader Joe’s Cereals?

Earlier this week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) a Washington, D.C.-based environmentalist organization, published an article entitled “Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup?“, which argues that unsafe levels of weed killer can be found in a number of oat cereals and granola bars. The herbicide, glyphosate, is manufactured by Monsanto under the label Roundup. (This is not the only Roundup news this week, as the company is currently embroiled in a lawsuit over the weed killer.) The EWG report claims to have tested a range of different products, finding unsafe levels of Roundup in most of them.

The story quickly made its way into the press, and a lot of people are understandably concerned. Does this mean that oat based foods are dangerous? For us, there was also a more specific question: how does this relate to Aldi oat products or products by Aldi’s distant cousin, Trader Joe’s?

First off, while some media sites see this as cause for alarm, several sites have also argued that the report is misleading or overblown. Slate, for example, argues that the report arrived at its conclusions by using a threshold much lower than standards used by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, adding that the EWG paper was not submitted for peer review like most scientific papers are. Popular Science notes that the threshold used by the EWG is 100 times lower than California, which has one of the strictest standards in the nation. (We’ve all seen those stickers that says “this product is known in California to cause cancer,” right?) And NBC News points to research that is very mixed on the link between Roundup and things like cancer, even in higher doses.

So while this does appear to be a story worth following, there are also a number of voices arguing that this is not necessarily cause for throwing out the oat products just yet.

What about Aldi and Trader Joe’s? A couple of notes there. One, no Aldi or Trader Joe’s house brands were tested by the EWG. Most of the products tested were national brands or, in one instance, Walmart’s Great Value line. Of course, Aldi and Trader Joe’s may well source oat products from many of the same places that national brands do, but that would only argue that all oat products are affected, not merely those sold by Aldi and / or Trader Joe’s.

Two, neither company has commented on the situation. Aldi has been silent on both on its press page or its recall page, and Trader Joe’s has done the same on its announcements page. While it’s possible either grocer might speak out at a later date, in our experience both stores tend to generally keep quiet on stories like this, unless it is taking some direct action on the matter, which we do not expect them to do at this point.

We’ll update this story if new details warrant it.

About Joshua

Joshua writes about a variety of topics, including video games, parenting, and, of course, Aldi. He's also a science fiction novelist. You can learn more about him at www.joshuaajohnston.com.

3 Comments

  1. Personally I would like there to be absolutely NO poison in my food if humanly possible. I don’t trust the highly lobbied (read corrupt here) FDA to determine the safety of anything. Obviously when women’s breast milk is testing positive for glyphosate there is something horribly wrong. It gives ME pause anyway. The huge rise in all types of cancers over the last 40 years should make us wonder a little. Consider for a minute the fact that the CDC projects that soon 50% of our children will be autistic. Nothing to see here folks.

    Heaven forbid that people should lose money. You know, money, the absolutely worthless paper that our governments make out of thin air and convince us to murder each other over. Money, a faith based system of control. These people don’t actually care about money. They are concerned that we will realize that they are poisoning us before we die.

  2. Is there any way to determine what major companies produce the store brands, such as Aldi, Trader Joes, Shop-Rite, Stop & Shop, Krogers, Publix, etc.? Some of the Aldi products seem apparent by the label – sometimes it is similar to the brand name – for instance I believe “Millville” products are made by General Mills. If anyone has insight into this, please advise. Thanks.

  3. “Slate, for example, argues that the report arrived at its conclusions by using a threshold much lower than standards used by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, adding that the EWG paper was not submitted for peer review like most scientific papers are.”

    The EPA used a number of non-peer reviewed studies supplied by Monsanto itself in establishing its thresholds. The EU uses peer reviewed studies in establishing much lower safe thresholds. There is no a clearly established statistical link between large doses of Glyphosate and Non-Hodgkins. The mechanism remains opaque.

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