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How This Very Popular Cereal Is Exploiting Americans & What You Can Do About It

When I saw Cheerios in my parent’s pantry, my stomach dropped to the floor, steam came out of my nose and I almost flipped a lid. But then I reminded myself that my Dad who bought this very popular cereal isn’t on Facebook, so he hadn’t seen my posts about how Cheerios can contain several different GMO ingredients nor had he seen that I was actively involved in a campaign as a Steering Committee member of GMO Inside to get GMOs removed from Cheerios.

It wasn’t his fault that he was buying this stuff, he was in the dark, like many of us still are. I mean, this cereal is even sold at places like Whole Foods for goodness sakes! It is estimated that 6.4 million people in the US start their day with a bowl of Cheerios. Geez.

Cheerios Can Contain Several GMO Ingredients

Cheerios is one of the first solid foods introduced to most children when they start to eat. To expose our children and ourselves to GMOs is a big mistake, considering all the health implications that are being seen with their introduction to the food supply.

The commercials talking about how wholesome Cheerios are and how your grandparents ate Cheerios and how they are the same today make me want to hurl something at the TV because they are all marketing lies. Cheerios have been in fact changed through out the years to include genetically engineered ingredients. These ingredients were added after it was introduced into the United States & Canada sometime after 1996, right under our noses.

The report titled “Deception at General Mills: The Real CSR Report” by Green America & GMO Inside revealed a startling comparison. Take a look at what Cheerios was made with in 1945 and what it is made with now:

1945 ingredients: oat flour, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, malted wheat flour, calcium carbonate, iron, niacin, thiamine (Vitamin B1), and riboflavin

2013 Ingredients: whole grain oats (includes the oat bran), modified corn starch, sugar, Salt, tripotassium phosphate, wheat Starch, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) added to preserve freshness. (Likely GMO ingredients in bold and red).

General mills claims to manufacture wholesome and healthy products when, in reality, its brands have changed over time to include GMOs. While General Mills promotes Cheerios for its use of whole grain oats, stating, “the whole grain oats in Cheerios cereal are natural,” it is silent about the fact that many of the other ingredients in Cheerios sold in the U.S., including modified corn starch, sugar, vitamin e, canola, and natural flavors, are at high risk of being genetically modified.

See all the potential sources of GMO ingredients in a sampling of Cheerio products here (GMO ingredients are listed in red):

Cheerios Have GMOs

General Mill’s Voluntarily Removed GMOs From Their Products In Europe But Not For The US or Canada

When Europe decided to enact GMO labeling, General Mills voluntarily removed GMOs from all their Cheerios products overseas. The report details out the difference in ingredients and exposes General Mills for exploiting Americans & Canadians by using GMOs here but not in Europe. This is the same stuff Kraft pulled with their Macaroni & Cheese, when Europe enacted GMO labeling. Instead of labeling their European products with “contain genetically engineered ingredients” – they voluntarily took the GMOs out and replaced them with natural conventional ingredients.

Take a look at some example Cheerios products from Europe below – none of them contain GMOs. This makes you wonder how you can trust a company that is feeding our friends across the pond safer foods, while feeding us untested and harmful ingredients back home – and to their own fellow citizens! Is it too much to ask the same for us in the United States of America? How much do our sickness, obesity, and mortality rates have to worsen before they respond to us?

GMO Cheerios

General Mill’s Cheerios Parent Company Is Giving Millions Of Dollars To Prevent GMO-Labeling

Adding insult to injury, General Mills has spent $1.1 million to oppose GMO labeling legislation in CA, thus perpetuating consumer deception.  In Washington State, General Mills is covertly funding the campaign opposing labeling initiative 522 through the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). (Breaking – The GMA is getting sued for hiding the sources of these funds right now). General Mills’ CEO Ken Powell is the vice chair of the GMA, which to date has given $7.2 million to fight I-522.  Polls of Americans demonstrate that more than 93 percent support the labeling of GMOs. General Mills has ignored growing consumer concerns about GMOs and failed to even label their products that contain GMOs.  Instead, the company defends GMOs as safe and beneficial.

Vote With Your Dollars, Choose Safe Brands

I understand many people have grown up with Cheerios and want alternatives and they are wondering what to do next considering this startling deception by General Mills. This chart below details out good alternatives to Cheerios that are both non-GMO and organic. It also shows you other brands that don’t make the cut. Please share with your family and friends and encourage them to stop buying Cheerios.

Cheerio Alternatives

5 Ways To Take Action Now

So what else can you do about this? Take at least one if not all of the actions below:

  1. Sign petition to General Mills’ CEO
  2. Call General Mills at (800) 248 – 7310
  3. Post on the Cheerios Facebook page
  4. Read the full report “Deception at General Mills: The Real CSR Report” 
  5. Watch a new video about the concerns with GMOs in Cheerios

When you sign the petition, you are asking General Mills to be a leader by:

  1. Removing GMOs from all General Mills products – Starting with Cheerios (by 2015), General Mills will responsibly source its products’ ingredients from sources that are certified non-GMO or organic.General Mills will commit to and publish a timeline with incremental deadlines to shift its entire portfolio to non-GMO sources by 2018 (Including all Cheerios varieties, all cereals, and all other food categories.)
  2. Testing for and Labeling GMOs – During the transition period from its current GMO-intensive supply chain to a non-GMO supply chain, General Mills should test its supply chain for GMOs and voluntarily label its GMO ingredients in all products that contain or likely contain GMOs.
  3. Ending all opposition to GMO labeling – General Mills will commit to spend no money against state and federal GMO labeling initiatives. General Mills will encourage the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to end its opposition to GMO labeling. General Mills will offset its contribution through the GMA to “No on I-522” (Washington State’s ballot initiative for GMO labeling) by contributing the same amount to “Yes on I-522” or in support of a future state labeling initiative.

Holding these companies accountable is just as important as voting with our dollars.

If you know someone who might still be buying and consuming Cheerios – please share this post with them. And if you know anyone in Washington State, make sure you tell them how important it is to vote yes on 1-522! 

Thank you for your support. You are the Food Babe Army – and I love you!

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201 responses to “How This Very Popular Cereal Is Exploiting Americans & What You Can Do About It

  1. Awww, this is sad! I grew up on the Original Cheerios and years after have been eating the Honey nut Cheerios! I tried the multi Grain, frosted, Apple and Cinnamon, and the Chocolate. T hey are not as tasty as the Honey nut brand. Well, again foods we have been eating for years are now GENETICALLY MODIFIED! CHEAPER TO MAKE FOR THE BIG COMAPNIES AND MEANWHILE MAKING PEOPLE SICK! I have to see what other cereal to eat!

    1. Ya Know Charmaine, For all the ranting and raving people put out about how you’re going to die a horrible death if you eat GMO, I don’t recall ever seeing any research to back that up from any reputable organization. The Europeans just blocked it based on FUD. It’s new to them. They don’t know if it could be bad and they don’t want all their farmers converting to GMO and then finding out there’s is something bad about it. So far the bad hasn’t happened. If there’s valid research, without hidden sponsors and hidden agendas, I’d love to see it.
      The worst thing about GMO is the licensing that farmers are subjected to.
      Also consider that genetic modification has been going on for decades. Farmers have been cross breeding things like tomatoes basically forever.
      Also consider that by 2042 there’s going to be 9 billion people on the planet or 2 billion more than there are now. Those 2 billion people will need a place to live. How many can you fit in your guest room? Those two billion people are going to use up a lot of the farmable land that we still have. More people with more stress on the available resources*. The planet isn’t getting any bigger. Any intelligent person can see this can not go on like it is for very much longer. GMO is here to stay unless you can convince people to stop having babies. For those who want their “clean” food, they’ll need lots of money.

      One of the more disturbing, well intentioned but destructive trends, is solar farms. The idea is to replace fossil fuel power with solar but many of these solar farms are being built on farmable land. Once you build a solar farm, you can no longer use that land to produce food. I think there should be laws that require solar panel farms to be dual-purposed. For the most part, this means putting the farm on top of existing buildings. Cemeteries are an incredible waste of land. They would be ideal for solar farms but I could see people being against that based on religious and aesthetic reasons.

  2. I noticed the TJ’s O’s have modified corn starch like Cheerios… I thought they were supposed to be GMO free??

  3. I read that Cheerios has dropped GMO’s in the original flavor- is this correct? I’m sure it was because of you and putting the pressure on these companies. I came to your website to verify but didn’t see an update to this story.

  4. I take issue with General Mills marketing cereals with artificial colors and trisodium phosphate to children. My kids BEG for Lucky Charms and Trix all the time and they are so harmful to kids. Following the Food Babe’s lead, I called GM to find out why they use these ingredients and they didn’t give any solid answers. The representative even told me that she “didn’t know if she would give these cereals to her god children”. I recorded the call here Please help me and my kids with this Food Babe and thanks so much for all your inspiration.

  5. This isn’t news, but I am glad you are making the masses aware. People don’t care to read labels, they need blogs, or catchy headlines in order to take notice.

  6. I use to eat the plain Cheerios as a child and young adult, but I no longer can eat Cheerios because my mouth / tongue would instantly have a strange reaction and I could not figure out why. Now knowing that Cheerios has GMOs in their cereal makes since because I do not have any known allergies. (I have been tested recently.) I no longer buy this cereal and try to read labels more to buy quality, healthy ingredients for my family.

    1. Did your allergist test for gluten intolerance/sensitivity? I doubt your issue is with GMO grains specifically.

      I haven’t had Cheerios in years. I tend to stay away from the 4 white guys…bread, pasta, potatoes and rice, even though I do eat them from time to time. I love them pretty much all the time though.

      I believe Cheerios were originally made just from oats but then they added whole wheat in attempt to make the cereal healthier and more attractive to buyers.

      Many products change over the years. I remember a time, long ago, when Log Cabin syrup was called Log Cabin Maple Syrup. Over time they reduced the amount of maple syrup in the syrup. Eventually they completely eliminated the maple syrup. Now they just call it Log Cabin Syrup. It has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. Nowadays it’s just high fructose corn syrup, flavorings, colorings and preservatives. Basically, no redeeming social qualities what so ever.

      My point is…the goal posts are constantly moving. Re-check your ingredients listing from time to time.

      1. If you really believe it’s the GMO grains in Cheerios, go online and buy a box of non-GMO Cheerios from Europe.

  7. While you’re looking at cereals, have you (or can you) taken a look at the added iron that is literally ‘magentizing’ these foods… there are youtube videos of people ‘moving’ their cereal around, dry and in a bowl with milk, with magnets. These are heavy metals and CANNOT be healthy for children, the bulk of the eaters, with their tender, growing immune systems being assaulted in this way. Any thoughts? Thanks for all you do to help us be more aware of what we are putting into the only body’s we will ever have! Blessings to you.

    1. Actually iron is not a heavy metal and it is good for you, within limits.

      It’s amazing what people can come up. Your body is made up mostly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Maybe you should eliminate those as well? Your body needs minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and a bunch of others. Without them you might not be alive and if you were alive you would likely be under developed in some way. Assuming your a women (you can’t really be sure of much anymore) you may actually have an increased need for things like iron and folic acid.

      This site completely amazes me sometimes when I read some the stuff that people absolutely believe is fact.

  8. Don’t eat any commercial cereal, Kellogg’s contains in the cereal BHT a preservative (it’s a hazardous material) Look it up for your self. Then many other common brands contain BHT in the packaging. IT’S A HAZARDOUS MATERIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t want that in my cereal anywhere near it, touching it or anywhere near me!!!!!!!!!
    But notice the cartoonish commercials on TV Kellogg’s has

  9. This past Sunday I poured myself a bowl of Plain Cheerios and out of curiosity I picked up the box and began reading the ingredients. I was shocked to find cornstarch as the second ingredient. GMO controversy aside, filling a cereal with cornstarch is not healthy. Why not use whole corn meal. I had assumed that I was making the healthy choice in the type of Cheerios cereal I had selected. When did you begin putting corn starch in your cereal? Disappointed. Will not be buying again.

  10. I see some new US 2015 dietary guidelines were very recently released. The new science is that dietary cholesterol is of little to no concern. In effect, have as many eggs as you want. Saturated fat is still a concern. Eggs have to little fat though.

    The new guidelines bring into question is the need for statins and what purpose there is for eating things like Cheerios to lower cholesterol. I’ve always believed that if you are eating foods with low cholesterol, you are less likely to eat foods with high cholesterol. Partly because if you eat the Cheerios or oatmeal first, you will have less appetite for the bacon and hash browns. And if you know enough about cholesterol, then you are likely already sensitized to the adverse effects of high cholesterol foods like bacon and are more likely to exclude those foods. But it’s more about the saturated fat in bacon than the cholesterol.

  11. Now your father knows to hide the Cheerios when you come over. Your husband is probably already hiding the Newcastle beer.

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