General Mills recently announced on their website that their original Cheerios will now be made without genetically modified ingredients. Other flavors of Cheerios will continue to be made without changes to the ingredients.
, the company states that they have made some changes to their ingredient sources and manufacturing plants, saying, "our corn starch comes from non-GMO corn, and we use only non-GMO pure cane sugar." The company goes on to explain, "Original Cheerios cereal is not made with genetically modified ingredients. Though there may always be a chance of some small amount of material coming from some other source, such as in shipping or manufacturing, none of the ingredients in original Cheerios are genetically modified."
Original Cheerios, which come in the distinctive yellow box, will now be labeled "Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients," though this hasn't been verified by a third party such as the Non-GMO Project. Though this seems like a significant achievement for health-conscious consumers, it should be kept in mind that General Mills is only claiming to not use genetically modified ingredients
, while admitting that GMOs might still be found in other parts of the "manufacturing" process where they might not have to be labeled as an ingredient. The new labels
will also carry this disclaimer: "Trace amounts of genetically modified... material may be present due to potential cross contact during manufacturing and shipping."
The company also erroneously states on their website that GMOs are safe. "There is broad consensus among major global scientific and regulatory bodies that approved genetically modified foods are safe," they claim.
General Mills further takes the time to explain their stance on GMO labeling laws
, writing that, although they oppose state-by-state labeling laws, which they claim would be costly and overly complicated, they support a "national solution." They also deny direct responsibility for the $869,270.55 contribution made in their name by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to the "No on I-522" campaign last year in Washington State, though they admittedly support "broader efforts by the GMA on labeling and other issues nationally."
As consumer demand for non-GMO foods continues to increase, despite opposition from the food and biotech industries, companies will likewise increasingly seek to cash in on that demand. Although this may seem like a cynical axiom of capitalism, it shows how a free market will move to satisfy informed consumers when they make their voices heard, and thus improve itself without the need for bureaucratic government regulation.