Cheerios Go GMO Free, General Mills Announces
General Mills has revealed a stealthy surprise. A few weeks ago, the megagiant food company started developing original Cheerios that don't use genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It's unclear when the brand-new Cheerios will hit shelves, but at least General Mills are giving customers what they want: opposition to using GMOs in food continues to grow amid health concerns surrounding the additives.
Activists and some studies suggest that GMOs cause health problems, and aren't environmentally friendly because the crops require more chemicals. For American Cheerios, GMO ingredients had included cornstarch and sugar, though oats, the major ingredient in the cereal, weren't grown using GMO seeds. But over in Europe, none of Cheerio's ingredients include GMOs.
General Mills said that their recipe change wasn't driven by these health concerns: The GMO seeds had been declared safe for 20 years, they wrote on a blog post. Instead, it was purely a business move.
What changed is how we source and handle certain ingredients in our plants.
Why change anything at all? It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it.
General Mills offers non-GM choices in most of our major categories in the U.S., and now we can say the same about the ingredients in original Cheerios.
The decision came after Green America launched a GMO-free Cheerios initiative that drove consumers to launch a flood of comments on the Cheerios Facebook page.
Too bad GMOs have only been removed from original Cheerios — the flavored ones are still made with GMOs. Apparently it's too "hard" to switch those corn-based ones out, said General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas. Plus, all of General Mills' other cereals will also continue to be made with GMOs.
GMO has always been about business interests, though: Last November, a Washington ballot requiring the labeling of products with GMO ingredients was up for vote. General Mills, alongside PepsiCo, Nestle, DuPont, Monsanto (pioneering king of the GMO crop) and others spent $22 million in an ultimately successful effort to destroy the bill.
Oh, Big Food.