General Mills made some quiet changes and a similarly discreet proclamation that original formula Cheerios are “not made with genetically modified ingredients.”
The familiar yellow boxes of cereal with the unfamiliar label claim began showing up in stores in early January.
"Did we change Cheerios? No. Not really," Tom Forsythe, vice president of global communications for General Mills, writes on the company blog, the only apparent statement on the issue. "Original Cheerios has always been made with whole grain oats, and there are no GMO oats. We do use a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste. And now that corn starch comes only from non-GM corn, and our sugar is only non-GM pure cane sugar. What changed is how we source and handle certain ingredients in our plants.
"Why change anything at all?" Forsythe continued. "It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it."
Forsythe says the semi-change is not about questions over the safety of genetically engineered ingredients, nor is it about pressure from the public.
"It’s not about safety. Biotech seeds, also known as genetically modified seeds, have been approved by global food safety agencies and widely used by farmers in global food crops for almost 20 years. And it was never about pressure. In fact, General Mills’ position on GMOs hasn’t changed." The blog points to another General Mills web page that carries and supports various scientific statements about the safety of genetically engineered ingredients.
"Neither has Cheerios, really. The simple and unique nature of Cheerios made this possible – and it’s not much of a change at all. The product is essentially the same.
"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."
See the full statement at: http://blog.generalmills.com/2014/01/the-one-and-only-cheerios/#sthash.Arhb1JuF.dpuf.