Dangerous Levels of Toxins Found in General Mills ‘LOADED’ Cereal: Report

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Testing results obtained by Moms Across America show toxic heavy metals, glyphosate, and pesticides in popular breakfast cereal.

A new report is raising concerns over General Mills’ new cereal line after testing revealed that Trix LOADED cereal is literally loaded with high levels of heavy metals and agrochemicals.

General Mills, Inc. on Feb. 1 launched “LOADED,” a new cereal line with “puffed-up larger-than-life squares” of General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Trix, and Cocoa Puffs cereals filled with artificially flavored vanilla creme. Trix LOADED boasts 17 grams of whole grain per serving and 12 vitamins and minerals. Yet testing by Moms Across America (MAA), an organization dedicated to educating and empowering others to create healthy communities, found the artificially flavored creme-filled breakfast food also contains measurable levels of aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, lead, mercury, glyphosate, and pesticides shown to be harmful to humans.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, MAA director Zen Honeycutt said her organization tested two samples of General Mills’ Trix LOADED cereal because they were alarmed that the company, which had previously seemed very committed to supporting regenerative organic agriculture, launched a cereal “loaded with creme, food dyes, and highly-processed foods.”

Pesticides Found in General Mills’ Trix LOADED Cereal

In test results obtained by MAA, scientists found residues from eight different pesticides in both samples of Trix LOADED cereal.

The following six pesticide residues were found in trace amounts:

  • Imazalil-1
  • Metconazole-1
  • Pyraclostrobin-1
  • Pyrimethanil-1
  • Pyriproxyfen-1
  • Tebuconazole-1

Two pesticides, piperonyl butoxide-1 (PBO) and fluopyram-1, were detected in higher amounts. Fluopyram-1 is a broad-spectrum fungicide that can cause liver problems, endocrine disruption, and thyroid cancer.

Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is a man-made pesticide synergist that enhances the potency of certain pesticides designed to kill insects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies PBO as a “possible human carcinogen” as studies in rats show PBO can induce thyroid and liver cancers, as well as noncancerous tumors.

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According to the National Pesticide Information Center, PBO is found in over 2,500 pesticide products, including foggers and mosquito control programs. Yet PBO is exempt from the EPA’s maximum residue limits, which determine the amount of pesticides allowed to remain in food. This means PBO pesticide residue is freely permitted in cereals consumed daily by children and adolescents across the United States.

Heavy Metals Exceeded EPA Allowable Levels

According to test results obtained by The Epoch Times, scientists also detected measurable levels of aluminum, mercury, cadmium, lead, and arsenic in both samples of Trix LOADED cereal that in some cases far exceeded the EPA allowable levels in drinking water. The United States does not consistently regulate heavy metals in food or assess the long-term cumulative effects of heavy metal exposure in children, but it does regulate the amount of heavy metal contaminants allowed in water.

For example, the EPA sets the allowable level of arsenic in drinking water at 10 parts per billion (ppb). Trix LOADED cereal samples contained 21.5 and 23 ppb of lead—more than double the EPA’s allowable level. The samples contained cadmium levels 400 percent higher than the EPA’s allowable level.
The EPA allows 0.05 to 0.2 mg/L of aluminum in drinking water, equivalent to 50 to 200 ppb. Cereal samples 1 and 2 contained 2,930 ppb and 3,500 ppb of aluminum, respectively. These were 1,365 percent and 1,650 percent higher than the agency’s allowable level of aluminum in drinking water.
In 2008, the European Food Safety Authority established a “tolerable weekly intake” of 1 mg of aluminum per kg of body weight per week, based on combined evidence from animal studies that assessed dietary administration of aluminum compounds.
Using European Union standards, if a child eats a 40-gram serving of Trix LOADED cereal daily, the weekly consumption of aluminum would be 0.98 mg/week based on one sample and 0.82 mg/week based on the other. This is roughly equal to the EU’s limit without considering other sources of aluminum exposure, such as flour, baking soda, medications, processed foods, and aluminum pots and pans.

Trix LOADED Exposes Children to Toxic Glyphosate

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, was found in both samples of Trix LOADED cereal at 15.83 ppb and 17.47 ppb. It is a key inactive ingredient in weedkiller products such as Roundup.

The EPA has not classified glyphosate as a human carcinogen, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate as “probably” carcinogenic to humans.
Studies have confirmed a link between glyphosate and numerous health conditions, including cancers and nervous system disorders. Additionally, Monsanto, now Bayer, agreed to pay roughly $11 billion to settle claims filed by individuals who say Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other related cancers. As of March, there are 4,253 cancer lawsuits, out of the 4,800 claims originally filed, still pending in the California Roundup multi-district litigation.
In research published by the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, scientists found that childhood exposure to glyphosate is linked to liver inflammation and metabolic disorders in adulthood that could lead to liver cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases later in life. Researchers found high levels of glyphosate residue in the urine of children and adolescents and reported that diet was a key source of exposure—as levels were higher in those who consumed more cereals and carbohydrates.

Glyphosate is routinely used on genetically modified crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, legumes, and produce.

Moms Across America Contacts General Mills

In an email to General Mills provided to The Epoch Times, MAA called on the company to source suppliers who use safe, nontoxic ingredients, despite the lack of laws and regulations that would otherwise require them to do so.

MAA requested General Mills do the following:

  • Require that suppliers of ingredients avoid using glyphosate or other agrochemicals as a drying agent or preharvest weedkiller.
  • Transition away from using glyphosate as a weedkiller within one to two years.
  • Perform quality testing on fertilizers for heavy metal contaminants and direct the safest possible fertilizer to be used.
  • Support and promote regenerative organic farming practices.

“We hope consumers will learn the truth about the contents of ‘loaded cereal’ and make choices to support their family’s health,” Ms. Honeycutt told The Epoch Times. “We also hope they [consumers] will alert their elected officials that these types of foods, with high heavy metals and agrochemicals, have no place in the American food supply.”

Ms. Honeycutt said she believes consumers should know the truth about what’s in their cereal so that they can make choices to support their family’s health, and hopes policymakers will “exercise the political will needed to clean up the food supply.”

The Epoch Times reached out to General Mills for comment.

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