General Mills has now publicly announced that original Cheerios cereal is non-GMO. This announcement, in which General Mills also falsely claims that genetically modified ingredients are “safe” — as if this had been proven or something — is available here.
But Cheerios cereal is made from oats, and there’s no such thing as commercially-produced genetically modified oats. So proclaiming that original Cheerios is non-GMO is not especially meaningful. It’s like an aloe vera juice company claiming its aloe vera juice is non-GMO. To their credit, General Mills explains they did change their sources for a very tiny ingredient in the cereal: corn starch.
“…we were able to change how we source and handle ingredients to ensure that the corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn,” explains General Mills.
This doesn’t seem so amazing, especially in light of the fact that General Mills continues to claim, entirely without any reasonable proof, that GMOs are 100% safe to consume and carry absolutely no risk whatsoever. (This is the definition of “safe.”) Furthermore, General Mills explains on its website that it has no intention of making all its other Cheerios products (there are over a dozen) non-GMO, claiming that such a move is “difficult, if not impossible.” Really? Then how does Nature’s Path make all their cereals non-GMO if such a thing is “impossible?”
GMOinside.org is suggesting this is a victory against GMOs. John Roulac, founder of Nutiva and one of my favorite people in the natural products industry, explains:
This is a huge victory for the non-GMO movement. I want to thank all the “GMO Insiders” for using social media to convince America’s largest packed food brand to go non-GMO with a major product. History is being made today and more food brands will rush towards non-GMO foods.
I hope he’s right. But as much as I really love John Roulac and all the amazing things he stands for (he really is a pioneer in superfoods), I see this differently. For starters, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the announcement about General Mills adding any sort of “non-GMO” label to Cheerios boxes. If it’s not labeled non-GMO, then it’s not really a win for consumer education and product transparency. It seems as if General Mills wants Cheerios to be secretly non-GMO while avoiding bringing any real attention to the issue.
General Mills’ history of deceptive labeling
General Mills also has a long history of deception when it comes to how cereals are named or labeled. For example, the company made a cereal called “TOTAL Blueberry Pomegranate” which contained neither blueberries nor pomegranates.
I actually made a hilarious comedy skit called “Total Mind Games” based on this insidious deception. You can watch the video here.
General Mills, in essence, was lying to consumers by falsely implying their cereals contain fruit when in fact they don’t. Keep in mind that the FTC throws people in prison for lying about weight loss claims in popular books, yet companies like General Mills can lie to the public right on the front label — in large letters! — with absolutely no FTC investigation, lawsuit or settlement. “Deceptive advertising” scrutiny is never applied to large food companies, it seems.
General Mills is also the same company that makes Lucky Charms and other junk food cereals loaded with refined sugars (from GMO sources), artificial colors and a huge assortment of refined, processed ingredients which many nutritionists believe is linked to type-2 diabetes and obesity, especially in children.
I just can’t get excited about this company changing one tiny little ingredient source in one cereal product out of the dozens of junk products they manufacture and aggressively advertise to children.
In my opinion, if you want to eat healthy cereal, don’t buy anything from General Mills. Buy cereals from Nature’s Path instead. Their entire product line is non-GMO!
Let’s face it: Many General Mills cereals are really only fitting for people who are too stupid to realize what they’re eating — the kind of people who don’t read ingredients lists or who have no real interest in the nutritional aspects of what they’re eating in the first place. Anyone who knows even the slightest thing about nutrition wouldn’t be impressed at all with General Mills products.
Watch my “TOTAL Mind Games” comedy skit here: