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Horovitz reports: "Under pressure from consumers and activist groups, General Mills says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients to make its original Cheerios cereal."

Cheerios breakfast cereal is made by General Mills. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)
Cheerios breakfast cereal is made by General Mills. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)


Cheerios Drops Genetically Modified Ingredients

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

03 January 14

 

nder pressure from consumers and activist groups, General Mills says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients to make its original Cheerios cereal.

While the oats used to make Cheerios have never contained any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the company did make changes to its sourcing - and now, for example, only uses non-GMO pure cane sugar instead of beet sugar, says spokesman Mike Siemienas.

The change was made "many weeks" ago, says Siemienas, who declined to be more specific on the timing. "We do value our Cheerios fans and we do listen to their thoughts and suggestions," he says, in an e-mail.

Some consumers have health and environmental concerns over the use of GMOs, though there is little scientific proof that products made with GMOs are less safe. The move is being hailed by anti-GMO activist groups as a major victory. It comes at a time activists have been increasingly pressuring American food makers to remove GMOs from all foods - or, at the very least, label all foods that do contain GMOs.

Last year, Whole Foods became the first national grocery chain to require all of its suppliers to label all products that contain GMOs by 2018. In the past year, Chipotle announced plans to phase out GMOs and Kashi is also is taking action to phase out GMOs.

But General Mills has no plans to phase out GMOs from its other cereals in the U.S, even though most Cheerios varieties sold in Europe are made without GMOs. "For our other (non-organic) cereals, the widespread use of GM seed in crops such as corn, soy, or beet sugar would make reliably moving to non-GM ingredients difficult, if not impossible," says the company, in a statement.

Even then, the latest action by Cheerios maker General Mills could nudge other big food makers to follow.

"This is a big deal," says Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director at Green America, a green economy activist group. "Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S." What's more, he adds, "We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO. "

One year ago, the group used social media efforts to rally consumers to pressure General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs. Cheerios was picked, in part, because it's one of the first foods given to many toddlers.

As for the taste of Cheerios, well, that won't change, says Siemienas. "Cheerios remains the same great-tasting, wholesomely good cereal that's been a family favorite for years."

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

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+36 # Walter J Smith 2014-01-03 15:55
Nice. "Some consumers have health and environmental concerns over the use of GMOs, though there is little scientific proof that products made with GMOs are less safe."

But wouldn't it be even more accurate to say that "some consumers have health and environmental concerns over the use of GMOs because of the mounting proof they are disastously unsafe for the environment; because of the growing mountain of proof they are unsafe for the animals eating them; because the US Government's Environmental Protection Agency has proven itself completely inept; and because the US Government has completely abandoned all pretenses to having any food and drug safety program except for the US Government's corporate sponsored, designed, and executed, though government funded propaganda program about the quality services we get from the non-existing US Government's food and drug saftey programs"?
 
 
+18 # DPM 2014-01-03 23:53
A lot more work to do. But, in the mean time, let's take a moment to savor this victory.
 
 
+22 # Willman 2014-01-03 19:29
For all the big agra-chemical blather about gmo's, pesticides, herbicides etc. Not once have I read or heard of an actual health related benefit to ingesting their poisons.Maybe useful as a dewormer.
Super weeds are now appearing in some fields treated with round up.Meaning they survive poison like the crop. Nice work on the part of big chem.
 
 
+10 # bingers 2014-01-04 05:17
They should be allowed, but only after they can prove that under no possible circumstance can they cause any harm to any form of life. And even if they could do that, which would be impossible, they should label anything made with them in the largest letters on the packaging.
 
 
+5 # ConstitutionalSam 2014-01-04 07:58
This strikes me as a very interesting example of a large [and perhaps not entirely evil] corporation responding to the wishes of consumers. Is this in fact an example of the power of education of consumers trumping the interests of big agriculture? In a mostly unrelated observation, just because someting is not illegal does not mean that it is wise.
 
 
+6 # warrior woman 2014-01-04 08:23
This is how it works: BT Toxin is inserted into the seed. It makes the grain RoundUp ready, the plant doesn't die when sprayed with RoundUp or the pesticide whose active ingredient is glyphosate. Sometimes the plants are sprayed with neonicitinoids. In each process, the pesticide is systemic. Glyphosates and neonicitiniods are made to inhibit digestion in the intestinal tract of the insect. What does it do to animals? Humans? Glyphosate is known for endocrine disruption, reproductive organ damage, tumors, cancers, etc. Can it be that the rise in obesity tracks with the initial use of GMO's? "Food" for thought.
 
 
+1 # lorenbliss 2014-01-05 12:22
Yeah, good for General Mills. But remember that covering up product danger by lying about it is standard capitalist practice. Remember too what capitalism is: infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue -- the deliberate rejection of all humanitarian and/or moral principles. Then ask yourselves: can General Mills, or British Petroleum (or any for-profit corporation), be believed when it claims to be cleaning up its act?
 
 
+2 # Pikewich 2014-01-05 22:41
OK, but what about the rest of their products?

""For our other (non-organic) cereals, the widespread use of GM seed in crops such as corn, soy, or beet sugar would make reliably moving to non-GM ingredients difficult, if not impossible," says the company, in a statement."

Sorry this is pure BS.
 

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