Original Cheerios are going GMO-free

Consumer demand prompted General Mills to eliminate genetically modified ingredients from its classic cereal

Published January 3, 2014 2:13PM (EST)

   (General Mills)
(General Mills)

Original Cheerios made without genetically modified ingredients will soon be hitting shelves, General Mills announced Thursday. The move comes on the heels of a successful campaign spearheaded by Green America, the Washington Post reports, which calls it “an important victory in getting GMOs out of our food supply and an important first step for General Mills."

Other flavors -- Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Frosted, etc. -- will continue to contain some GMOs, highlighting the complexity of sourcing GMO-free ingredients. Only basic Cheerios are simple enough to allow for the change, the company explains in a statement on its website:

It’s the unique and simple nature of original Cheerios that made this possible – and even that required significant investment over nearly a year.  Cheerios’ principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats, and there are no GMO oats.  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.  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. General Mills produces several organic cereals that by definition cannot use GM ingredients – and sell those products nationally – so we already offer consumers a wide range of non-GM cereal choices.

By Lindsay Abrams

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