General Mills says Cheerios no longer include genetically modified ingredients

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2014 - General Mills' original Cheerios cereal no longer includes genetically modified products, the company announced today.

“The simple and unique nature of our product made it possible to label original Cheerios as not being made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs),” the company wrote on its website. “We made investments in new systems at our production facilities to separate the ingredients we use to make original Cheerios from our other products.”

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There are no genetically modified oats - the main ingredient in Cheerios - which will enable General Mills to label the original product as GMO free. 

The company noted, however, that FDA-approved biotechnology crops are “as safe and acceptable as their conventional counterparts.” It says it will continue to use genetically modified ingredients in a number of other cereals, which include varieties of Cheerios, Chex, Lucky Charms and Total.

Still, many green and anti-GMO groups are calling the announcement a win.

“Original Cheerios in its famous yellow box will now be non-GMO and this victory sends a message to all food companies that consumers are increasingly looking for non-GMO products and companies need to meet that demand,” said Todd Larsen, director of corporate responsibility at the environmental advocacy group Green America.

General Mills also noted that it supports a national solution to GMO labeling. In November, the company donated money to the Grocery Manufacturers Association's fight against a labeling law in Washington state. General Mills' contribution was revealed when the state's attorney general forced the association to disclose its donors.

After the disclosure, General Mills said it opposed state labeling laws because they “would result in a patchwork of different labels in different states that would increase the cost of products for companies and consumers alike.”

Updated at 11:20 am.  

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