Cheerios, the popular breakfast cereal of General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS), is now free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) ingredients amid growing oppositions for such additives. The company started labeling its original Cheerios boxes with “not made with genetically modified ingredients.”
In a blog post, Tom Forsythe, vice president of Global Communications for General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) said, “Original Cheerios has always been made with whole grain oats… General Mills offers non-GM choices in most of our major categories in the U.S., and now we can say the same about the ingredients in original Cheerios.”
Change is not about safety
He emphasized that there are no GMO oats and the company only use a small amount of cornstarch in cooking the product and adds only one gram of sugar per serving. Forsythe added that General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) is using corn starch and sugar from non-genetically modified corn and pure sugar cane.
According to him, the company changed the process of sourcing and handling of certain ingredients in its plants because it believes that consumers will embrace it. However, he emphasized that the move of the company is not about safety given the fact that biotech seeds or genetically modified seeds have been approved by food safety agencies worldwide. He added that General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) seeds have been used by farmers around the world in global food crops for almost two decades.
Studies show GMO is not safe
Many activists and organizations such as the Non-GMO Project showed studies that foods with GMO ingredients are not safe for human and animals’ consumption. Michael Antoniou, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan, authors of the report "GMO Myths and Claims" cited a statement from the American Academy of Environment Medicine101 which reads, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects…. Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation,including upregulation of cytokines [protein molecules involved in immune responses] associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation.”
Victory for consumers: General Mills
Meanwhile, activists declared a victory for consumers after General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) assured consumers that Cheerios is free from GMO. Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director for Green America said, “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.”