General Mills today reported record sales and earnings for its fiscal 2001 third quarter. Diluted earnings per share totaled 54 cents, up 8 percent from the 50 cents per share earned in the same period last year. Earnings before interest and taxes increased 5 percent to $295.8 million. Third quarter interest expense was higher, as anticipated, due to increased debt levels associated with prior-year acquisitions and share repurchases. As a result, earnings after tax grew 3 percent to $157.5 million. Sales for the 13 weeks ended Feb. 25, 2001, grew 5 percent to $1.70 billion.