Cheerios to ditch genetically modified ingredients

General Mills said the change is "not about safety."
Posted By Kate Stanton Follow @KateStan Contact the Author   |   Jan. 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- General Mills said Friday in a blog post that its original Cheerios brand will no longer contain genetically modified ingredients.

Though the cereal-makers have never used GMO oats, General Mills communications exec Tom Forsythe said that the company did switch to non-GM cornstarch and non-GM cane sugar.

The change won't apply to Honey Nut Cheerios or other variations. Such a move would be "difficult, if not impossible," rep Mike Siemienas said in a statement.

Forsythe emphasized that the change is "not about safety," noting that "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."

"We did it because we think consumers may embrace it," he added.

WaPo's Lydia DePillis notes that while there's scant evidence that GMOs post any health risk, consumers worry about them. She points to a recent ABC News poll, in which more than half of Americans said they believed GMO foods were unsafe.

Cheerios undoubtedly hopes that the change will impact its bottom line. Sales for the brand dipped 7 percent last year.

[CNN Money, Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek]

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