Food & Beverage

General Mills drops '100 percent natural' on Nature Valley granola bars after lawsuit

Brett Molina
Source: Target

General Mills will drop the "100 percent natural" label from its Nature Valley granola bars to settle a lawsuit claiming the oats it used contain a pesticide.

The complaint filed in 2016 alleges the granola bars, which carry the label "Made with 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats," contain a chemical called glyphosate, a key weed killer ingredient linked to cancer.

According to the complaint, tests from an independent laboratory found the amount of glyphosate in Nature Valley products was 0.45 parts per million. EPA standards allow for 30 parts per million in grains.

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"No reasonable consumer, seeing these representations, would expect that the oats or any ingredients in the Products to contain something that is unnatural," read an excerpt of the complaint.

General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas said the company chose to settle to "avoid the cost and distraction of litigation" and focus on creating products with 100 percent whole grain oats.

"Nature Valley is confident in the accuracy of its label," Siemienas said in a statement.

The complaint was filed by three consumer groups: The Organic Consumers Association, Moms Across America and Beyond Pesticides.

"Agreements like the one with General Mills is just the first step," Katherine Paul, associate director with the Organic Consumers Association, said in a statement. "We still have to push for a long-term solution to the problem of using the word 'natural' in ways that mislead consumers."

Earlier this month, an environmental advocacy organization conducted a study of popular breakfast foods such as cereal, granola bars and instant oats, and found many contain dangerous amounts of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup, a popular pesticide made by Monsanto, which was recently ordered to pay $300 million to a man with terminal cancer after using the product. Monsanto said it will appeal the decision.