MINNEAPOLISGeneral Mills announced its original Cheerios cereal will no longer be made using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), following consumer and activist pressure to remove the GMO ingredients from the product.
While Cheerios were never made with GMO oats, the company has made changes to its sourcing to ensure other ingredients, like sugar and corn starch, come from non-GMO corn and non-GMO pure cane sugar.
According to a statement released on Thursday, General Mills began its investment to make original Cheerios GMO-free nearly more than a year ago.
The company has no plans to remove GMO ingredients from its other U.S. cereal products, including other Cheerios varieties. "For our other cereals, the widespread use of GM seed in crops such as corn, soy or beet sugar would make reliably moving to non-GM ingredients difficult, if not impossible," the company said in the statement.
Green America Corporate Responsibility Director Todd Larsen said in a press release, "Original Cheerios in its famous yellow box will now be non-GMO and this victory sends a message to all food companies that consumers are increasingly looking for non-GMO products and companies need to meet that demand."
In November 2012, Green America and GMO Inside began rallying consumers to put pressure on General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs due to concerns over the health and environmental impacts of GMOs.
And this isn't the first time consumers have stood against manufacturers on the topic of ingredients. Last year, Kraft Foods removed artificial dyes from three of its kid-friendly Macaroni & Cheese products. The decision was prompted by the public's response to a Change.org petition led by food advocate and writer Vani Hari. More than 348,0000 health advocates, consumers and families rallied behind Hari to show support of the petition.
Further, in a different Change.org petition last year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urged the confectionery giant Mars to abandon dyes they claim are linked to hyperactivity and other problems for children.
Retailers are also jumping onboard. Whole Foods Market will require that all products in its Canadian and U.S. stores include labels by 2018 specifying whether the food contains GMOs.
Currently, advocates are rallying behind mandatory GMO labeling of food products in the United States.