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Cheerios go GM-free

Oliver Tickell

4th January 2013

After 40,000 Facebook posts on General Mills Facebook page demanding GM-free Cheerios, the company announces - 'original' Cheerios contain no GM ingredients.

The corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn, and our sugar is only non-GMO pure cane sugar.

The GMO Inside campaign is claiming victory with the announcement by General Mills that its leading Cheerios cereal product will from now on be GM-free in North America. News of the company's commitment came on the cereal's dedicated website:

"We don't use genetically modified ingredients in original Cheerios. Our principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats - and there are no GMO oats. We use a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste. But our corn starch comes from non-GMO corn, and we use only non-GMO pure cane sugar."

Health and environment concerns

The campaign kicked off in November 2012, when GMO Inside reached out to consumers to put pressure on General Mills to make 'original' Cheerios GM-free owing to concerns over health and environment.

Cheerios are a top selling cereal in the US and often one of the first solid foods fed to children. A video highlighting the use of GM ingredients in Cheerios was watched by over 200,000 people.

John W Roulac, GMO Inside co-founder and co-chair, said: "This is a huge victory for the non-GMO movement. I want to thank all the GMO Insiders for using social media to convince America's largest packed food brand to go non-GMO with a major product. History is being made today and more food brands will rush towards non-GMO foods."

General Mills said the move had represented a major effort: "It's the unique and simple nature of original Cheerios that made this possible - and even that required significant investment over nearly a year ... We use just a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste.

"So we were able to change how we source and handle ingredients to ensure that the corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn, and our sugar is only non-GMO pure cane sugar."

Other General Mills products still contain GMOs

However it is only the Cheerios Original cereal that is going GM-free - for now. "The main ingredient in original Cheerios is whole grain oats - and there are no GMO oats. But some Cheerios varieties use other grains, such as corn, that may be grown from GM seed."

And General Mills' other cereal brands also continue to use GM ingredients: "For our other 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."

Now GMO Inside, a campaign of the national non-profit organization Green America, is now encouraging consumers to demand that all of the 11 Cheerio varieties go GM-free.

The group says: "All Cheerios cereals sold in Europe are made without GMOs, and increasingly, US consumers will be calling on General Mills to make all its cereals non-GMO in the US as well."

 


Photo used on Facebook posting: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by mag3737

 

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