General Mills begins selling Cheerios without GM ingredients

Fri Jan 3, 2014 6:19am EST

The General Mills logo is seen on a box of Cheerios cereal in Evanston, Illinois, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young

The General Mills logo is seen on a box of Cheerios cereal in Evanston, Illinois, June 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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(Reuters) - General Mills Inc said it has stopped using genetically modified ingredients in the popular breakfast cereal Cheerios as the U.S. branded foods manufacturer hopes the move will firm up customer loyalty in the face of growing opposition to such additives.

Many activists and critics have cited studies showing that genetically modified (GM) crops are not safe for people and animals who consume them.

Some activist groups opposing GM food also say the crops create environmental problems by encouraging more use of certain agro chemicals, and consumers should have the right to know what they are buying.

However, General Mills, which also makes Betty Crocker dessert mixes and Yoplait yoghurt, said in a company blog post on Thursday that its decision on ingredients was not driven by safety concerns or pressure from critics. (link.reuters.com/vem75v)

"It's not about safety. Biotech seeds, also known as genetically modified seeds, have been approved by global food safety agencies and widely used by farmers in global food crops for almost 20 years," the General Mills blog said.

The Minneapolis-based company said it has begun using non-GM cornstarch and non-GM sugar in Cheerios, adding that oats, the primary ingredient, is a crop that is not grown from genetically modified seeds.

The company hopes that "consumers may embrace" its decision to move away from GM ingredients.

In November, a Washington state ballot measure that would have required labeling of foods containing GM crops did not win wide approval.

A consortium including General Mills, Nestle USA, PepsiCo, Monsanto,, DuPont and other corporate giants, were key contributors to the roughly $22 million raised to campaign against the bill.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad and Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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Comments (17)
MrScott wrote:
Yes, more natural ingredients and less chemicals please!

Jan 03, 2014 1:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
MaggieMP wrote:
I’ve not purchased ‘cold cereal’ for a very long time – but used to sometimes purchase Cheerios as a dry, healthy, snack. Might just do so again! Shame, I understand multi-grain Cheerios aren’t included in this change. (And i wonder – how can cornstarch in plain Cheerios be GM free? I didn’t know any US corn products were GM free!?)

Jan 03, 2014 2:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
maybeinoregon wrote:
I have a hard time believing anything outside the EU hasn’t been GM…

Jan 03, 2014 2:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
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