News / USA

Cheerios Breakfast Cereal Cuts GMO Ingredients

(File Photo) Food industry giant General Mills has removed genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its Cheerios brand cereal in response to consumer demand.
(File Photo) Food industry giant General Mills has removed genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its Cheerios brand cereal in response to consumer demand.
TEXT SIZE - +
Genetically modified ingredients have been eliminated from one of the best-known breakfast cereals in the United States after a year-long campaign from environmental groups.

Food industry giant General Mills says it took genetically modified organisms (GMOs) out of its Cheerios brand not out of safety concerns, but in response to consumer demands.

Starting a little over a year ago, The “GMO Inside” environmental coalition rallied tens of thousands of consumers to flood the Cheerios Facebook page and call and email the company telling them to take GMOs out of the cereal.

“We just wanted to encourage General Mills to offer non-GMO Cheerios to consumers here in the United States just like they do in Europe,” said Todd Larsen, a coalition member with Green America. “And apparently tens of thousands of people agreed with us.”

Disputed claims

The campaign’s website says GMOs have “disastrous effects” on the environment and “increasing research is pointing to negative health impacts of consuming GMOs.”

The World Health Organization, the U.S. Institute of Medicine and regulatory agencies in Europe, the United States and Canada have said GMOs pose no more risk than conventional foods and have some environmental benefits.
 
“It’s clear from scientific and regulatory bodies that they are safe,” said General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas. “But we value our Cheerios fans, and we listen to their thoughts and suggestions.”

Ingredient search

Going non-GMO was not easy. Nearly all the corn, soybeans and sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, and 70 to 80 percent of supermarket products contain GMO ingredients.

Cheerios are mostly oats, and there are no GMO oat varieties.

But finding reliable non-GMO sources for the small amounts of corn starch and sugar in the cereal took a “significant investment over nearly a year,” according to the Cheerios website.

Siemienas said it would be “difficult if not impossible” for other cereals to follow suit.

The change only applies to original Cheerios, not the 11 other Cheerios flavors.

Niche market

Non-GMO products have been gaining ground and space on supermarket shelves. Last year, major retailer Target introduced a line of non-GMO foods, fast-food chain Chipotle announced it is phasing out GMO ingredients, and products bearing the “Non-GMO Verified” seal were among the fastest growing categories.

However, agricultural economist Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes says it remains a niche market. For example, organic products, which are by definition non-GMO, made up only 3.5 percent of U.S. food sales in 2012.

“In order to really make a significant shift in the marketplace, consumers have to go en masse and pay to avoid GMOs,” he said. “And we have not seen evidence of that.”

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid