US: General Mills offers GM-free Original Cheerios
Yellow box Cheerios to be labelled GMO-free
General Mills has implemented a number of changes in how it sources ingredients to make its Original Cheerios cereal classified as GM-free.
A spokesperson for the company told just-food that, while the Cheerios recipe remains untouched, it has converted to non-GM ingredients in some key areas, sourcing GMO-free corn starch and corn syrup.
"The form of yellow box Cheerios has not changed. We did make some changes in sourcing and in our plants. We began this several weeks ago... It is something we have been working on for nearly a year," the spokesperson revealed.
The "unique" nature of the Cheerios original recipe has allowed General Mills to develop a GM-free product because the main ingredient is oats. "There are no GMO oats," the company explained.
General Mills has no plans to convert its other mainstream cereals to a GM-free platform. "For our other cereals the widespread use of GMOs in the US... would make moving to it difficult if not impossible," the spokesperson suggested.
However, the spokesperson insisted General Mills' organic offering meant that the company already offers consumers a "wide range of non-GMO cereals", all be it at a higher price than conventional products. The price of Original Cheerios will remain unchanged, the spokesperson emphasised.
General Mills insisted the move does not signal its support of the GM-free lobby that is gaining public attention in the US.
Proposed legislation was voted down in the states of Washington and California last year, while Connecticut passed a compromise deal that would see legislation enacted if it was supported by four other states. General Mills insisted it was opposed to state-based legislation and suggested legislators should seek a national solution.
"General Mills supports a national solution. There's a government-approved national standard for labelling non-GM products in Europe and in Canada, and General Mills believes a national standard for labelling non-GM products would benefit American consumers as well. We've long opposed state-by-state labelling laws," the company said in a statement.
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