Just a few days into the new year, we have our first victory of 2014 to celebrate.
After a year of pressure from you and other Green Americans, General Mills announced on its corporate Web site that its “original” Cheerios are now produced without genetically modified ingredients. General Mills announced that the company was “able to change how we source and handle ingredients to ensure that the corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn and our sugar is only non-GMO pure cane sugar.”
This announcement comes after tens of thousands of you called, e-mailed, and posted on Cheerios Facebook page demanding non-GMO options for the US market.
One year ago, in November 2012, Green America’s GMO Inside campaign starting organizing consumers to put pressure on General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs. Cheerios are a top-selling cereal in the U.S. and often one of the first solid foods fed to children. As soon as the campaign launched, tens of thousands of consumers started flooding Cheerios’ Facebook page with concerned comments regarding GMOs in Cheerios, and used an app put out by Cheerios to spell out anti-GMO messages in the Cheerios font. In October 2013, Green America issued a real corporate responsibility report for General Mills, and called on consumers to email and call the General Mills to get GMOs out of Cheerios. Our GMO Inside campaign also put out a video highlighting the GMOs in Cheerios that was watched by over 200,000 viewers. Over 25,000 people took part in the email actions and calls to the company. In the last week of 2013, callers to the company were told that Cheerios would have a big announcement about GMOs soon.
“Removing GMOs from original Cheerios is an important victory in getting GMOs out of our food supply and an important first step for General Mills,” says Todd Larsen, Green America’s Corporate Responsibility Director. “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.”
This is a great victory for the non-GMO movement, as a major manufacturer of a top breakfast cereal proves that it is possible to shift a supply chain to non-GMO ingredients in response to consumer demand.
Throughout 2014, Green America’s GMO Inside campaign will push for more food brands to follow General Mills’ lead, and we’ll push for General Mills to shift the rest of its cereal, and other products, to non-GMO sourcing. We’ll also push to make sure that all companies who remove GMOs from their food, provide supply chain transparency and verification.
For now, only “original” Cheerios in the iconic yellow box have been announced as GMO-free. General Mills continues to manufacture 11 other varieties of Cheerios. Please take a moment today to thank General Mills for its first step toward non-GMO breakfast cereals. General Mills listened to YOU. Please let them know you appreciate it.