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Cheerios To Go GMO-Free 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the marketing-to-your-fears dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "ABC News reports that General Mills has ended the use of genetically modified ingredients in Cheerios, its flagship breakfast food. General Mills has been manufacturing its original-flavor Cheerios without GMOs for the past several weeks in response to consumer demand. Original Cheerios will now be labeled as 'Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients,' although that it is not an official certification. 'We were able to do this with original Cheerios because the main ingredients are oats,' says Mike Siemienas, noting that there are no genetically modified oats. The company is primarily switching the cornstarch and sugar to make the original Cheerios free of GMOs. Green America has been targeting Cheerios for the past year to raise the profile of the anti-GMO movement. 'This is a big deal,' says Green America's Todd Larsen. 'Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S. We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO.' For its part, General Mills says, It's not about safety,' and will continue to use GMOs in other food products."
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Cheerios To Go GMO-Free

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:25PM (#45861113)

    Genetically modified food feeds over a billion people who would not otherwise be able to eat given the arable land available. The "organic" craze is for marketing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5amLAMRQk5I

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:36PM (#45861213)
      So you're saying that the increase in productivity of GMO grains over "traditional" grains, given the same arable land area is enough to feed an additional billion people? In a word: bullshit.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's a commonly quoted number. See Green Revolution. [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          GP is giving all the credit to GMO seeds. He's lying.
          • by icebike (68054) on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:34PM (#45862219)

            True, the so called "Green Revolution" is not principally due to Genetically Modified Organisms, at least not in the sense those words are used today. (The above referenced wiki article on this subject is about as biased as anything I've ever seen on wiki, bordering on the vitriol normally seen regarding political campaign.)

            However, there is no doubt that prior methods of gene selection (breeding) resulted in massive increase in grain crop yields, with Rice crops developed in the US saving many different countries in South East Asia from huge famines. Resistance to pests was accomplished by selective breeding long before gene splicing was invented. But there is no doubt that these grains were genetically modified.

            • by Urkki (668283) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @06:47AM (#45864247)

              Selecting something is not modifying it. Genetic modification (in today's context) is about producing individual specimens with modified or new genes, not just differently mixed genes of its parents. Trying to muddle this is dishonest.

              Actual genetic modification is going to be the biggest revolution in human history, possibly biggest revolution in the history of life on this planet if we don't destroy our civilization before it becomes as ubiquitous as cell phones are today. Saying it's just extension of what we've been doing for millenia is like saying updating globally accessible Wikipedia article with mobile device on-location and real time is just extension of prehistoric people drawing stuff in sand with a stick. Sure, it is, if you select your viewpoint carefully.

      • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:07PM (#45861525) Homepage

        If you actually study the green revolution and agriculture, it is indeed an accurate figure.

        The only difference between modern GMO food and previous versions, is that radiation mutation was used to create the variants. Now, with targeted gene sequencing and replacing there is no need to use messy, time consuming and partially random radiation mutation methods.

        • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:30PM (#45861705)
          <sigh> The original poster gave ALL the credit for feeding a billion starving people to (only) Genetically Modified/Engineered seeds, completely ignoring the better irrigation, fertilization, insect control, and crop rotation practices, and yes, hybrid seeds that have been being exported to the third world for the last 60-or-so years. I was simply taking exception to his outrageously false claim. Yet somehow, he's Insightful, and I'm Overrated. I think many people would have much less of a problem with GMO foods in general if Monsanto's business practices weren't so oppressively evil, and the notion of routinely spraying Roundup on all our cereal grains (both for humans and livestock) weren't quite so heinous.
          • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Friday January 03, 2014 @11:30PM (#45863061) Homepage Journal
            Right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I think many people would have much less of a problem with GMO foods in general if Monsanto's business practices weren't so oppressively evil

            While I am not a fan of finding myself defending some big multinational, here's the problem with that thought: it didn't start with Monsanto. The fear mongering surrounding GE crops started with the Flavr Savr tomato, developed by a small company called Calgene. Then Monsanto come along and people say 'GMO foods are bad because of Monsanto.' Well, that is clearly ignorant of the history of the matter, and furthermore, a lot of the 'evil' things Monsanto does, like suing farmers for being cross pollinated

          • Sense of scale (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @02:21AM (#45863755) Homepage Journal

            You have to keep sense of scale in mind here. Consider that in the year 1000 there was an estimated 310M humans on the whole planet. The USA alone exceeds that today. It only hit 3B in the '60s, and is up to 7B today.

            As such, in order to gain credit for 1B people, GMO only needs to be about a 14% productivity boost over all the other methods you mention in order to be able to be credited with 'saving' 1B from starvation. If you consider that starvation need not be fatal, the necessary boost to simply keep people from 'experiencing starvation'*, due to uneven productivity and such is much less.

            *Say, a period of 30 days or more without sufficient nutrution = 'experiencing starvation'.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by icebike (68054)

          Radiation mutation in agriculture is a myth, it was the favorite whipping boy of the same people who cry about current GMO gene splicing technologies.

          The actual truth is that the major advances in the Green revolution was by good old fashion selective cross breeding by (mostly american) scientists to increase wheat, rice and corn production, and developed new strains that changed India from the famine capital or the world to a large net food exporter.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:38PM (#45861227)

      Nope, this is a lobbying message subsidized by Monsanto and co, it is actually very possible to feed everyone with the food we create and the land we have. More importantly, it hides the fact that GMOs are not at all used to feed the aforementioned starving peoples. Quite contrarily, GMO seeds have been repeatedly used for market domination through legislative bullying, most infamously ending in the suicide of farmers in india due to non-affordable seed prices after Monsanto cleared the market from other companies by undercutting and legal bullying before rising the cost.

      • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:49PM (#45861323) Homepage Journal

        Nope, this is a lobbying message subsidized by Monsanto and co, it is actually very possible to feed everyone with the food we create and the land we have. More importantly, it hides the fact that GMOs are not at all used to feed the aforementioned starving peoples. Quite contrarily, GMO seeds have been repeatedly used for market domination through legislative bullying, most infamously ending in the suicide of farmers in india due to non-affordable seed prices after Monsanto cleared the market from other companies by undercutting and legal bullying before rising the cost.

        In other news today, 1/3 of the world is now Obese.

        We don't need no stinkin' GMO food, it's all about making seed banks all bound to Intellectual Property and making money for Monsanto, et al. Call a horse a horse.

      • FUD... (Score:5, Informative)

        by bayankaran (446245) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:07AM (#45863163) Homepage

        Quite contrarily, GMO seeds have been repeatedly used for market domination through legislative bullying, most infamously ending in the suicide of farmers in india due to non-affordable seed prices after Monsanto cleared the market from other companies by undercutting and legal bullying before rising the cost.

        I have been following farmer suicides in India for a long time. The reasons are complex. They include crop failure at an inopportune time, non-seasonal and extended droughts, and inability to pay debts from unscrupulous moneylenders and so on. Monsanto or its pricey or unaffordable seeds directly causing a farmer to suicide - you might be able to find one or two examples, but that's not the norm.
        Monsanto is famous (or infamous) in India for their GMO Bt Cotton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bt_cotton [wikipedia.org]. But Bt Cotton is only cultivated in the state of Maharashtra...suicides happen in many other states too. And given the options for cotton seeds, BT Cotton may not be that bad an idea.
        I agree Monsanto is borderline evil and creepy. There are valid reasons to argue genetically modified crops are a bad idea (or a good idea), but you should not add Indian farmer suicides to make a point. That's FUD.

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:45PM (#45861279) Journal

      We throw away over half the food we produce, and we let the commodities market manipulate the prices. We don't need GMOs. You're just spreading propaganda.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by andydread (758754)
      Yes but patenting lifeforms then suing zealously over those patented lifeforms that contaminate non-gmo farms is bad so say no to GMO until they quit patenting life.
    • by erroneus (253617) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:15PM (#45861597) Homepage

      The existence of GMOs have NOT boosted production in the slightest. What GMOs do is make the plants immune to a particular herbicide. This herbicide immunity, by the way, is an immunity being acquired by other "pest" plants which were the original target of the herbicide.

      In the absense of GMOs the people would still be fed. GMOs do not represent a world-saving technology. What they represent is a danger to the world's food supply not only because it comes under control of a small collection of companies, but because it reduces the varieties of plants available. In the event a disease develops to wipe out these GMOs, there may be extreme starvation and human suffering due to the continual growth of GMO use.

      Please shill for Monsanto elsewhere. You're just wrong about so much.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:26PM (#45861129) Journal

    > For its part, General Mills says, It's not about safety,' and will continue to use GMOs in other food products.

    Correct. It's not about safety. It's about giving customers what they want, which is the result of scientifically illiterate scare tactics by talking heads making a career of it.

    It's all one stupid cluster fuck anyway. Science keeps developing ways to make food even cheaper, and government keeps deliberately forcing the price up to help farmers.

    • Well, when the major constituent of Cheerios (oats) doesn't have a GM variety, this seems like a cheap way to give the people what they want. Even if the reason the people want it is poor.
    • by andydread (758754) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:56PM (#45861397)
      For me its a result of Monsanto patenting food staples and suing world + dog. I don't agree with a few multinationals owning patents of the world's food staples so I will do everything I can to avoid GMO products for this reason and this reason only. And I will continue to warn everyone I know against purchasing GMO products until they are no longer patented and the companies stop abusing the patents. THe End.
    • Correct. It's not about safety. It's about giving customers what they want,

      So far so good...

      which is the result of scientifically illiterate scare tactics by talking heads making a career of it.

      And then you blow it, demonstrating that you don't know how capitalism is supposed to work.

    • It'a exactly the same thing as providing fluoride-free toothpaste so that Oregonians need not corrupt their vital body fluids with godless Communism.
    • by fermion (181285)
      Is this one of those cases where conservatives love the free market when it does what they want, but hate it when it results in something that might hurt one of them? GMO has great benefit and is likely going to be big part of feeding a growing world. However, Cheerios has nothing to do with feeding a hungry world. The hungry cannot afford Cheerios. General Mills is not going to advertise Cheerios to markets where everyone lives on $1 a day.

      No Cheerios is a premium product marketed to those scientifi

  • by krelvin (771644) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:27PM (#45861137)

    It is the patents like what Monsanto is doing that are the problem. There is no health issues.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:45PM (#45861291) Homepage Journal

      There is no health issues.

      You can't say that honestly. Initial indications are of harm from glyphosate residues and retained b.t. toxin, at least in pregnant women in the latter case. The truth is we don't know the effects very well and we do know that irresponsible farmers aren't using roundup-ready processes diligently.

      Unfortunately, reckless use has caused unrelated crops like golden rice to be rejected out of fear, which very definitely causes harm (not to mention boatloads of corn bound for starvation areas rejected in Zimbabwe and Zambia out of similar fear).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You can't say that honestly.

        There are literally hundreds of studies out there and most of them are either inconclusive or show no evidence of harm. See here: http://biofortified.org/genera/studies-for-genera/

        Initial indications are of harm from glyphosate residues and retained b.t. toxin, at least in pregnant women in the latter case.

        Citations needed.

        The truth is we don't know the effects very well and we do know that irresponsible farmers aren't using roundup-ready processes diligently.

        Actually, glyphosate

      • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:19PM (#45861625)

        Recent EPA regulatory actions have been to allow INCREASES in glyphosate residues in food because of proven long term safety.

        From:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate [wikipedia.org]

        Epidemiological studies have not found associations between long term low level exposure to glyphosate and any disease.

        The EPA considers glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic and relatively low in dermal and oral acute toxicity. The EPA considered a "worst case" dietary risk model of an individual eating a lifetime of food derived entirely from glyphosate-sprayed fields with residues at their maximum levels. This model indicated that no adverse health effects would be expected under such conditions.

        Primary references available in Wikipedia article.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Not proving the association is not the same thing as proving safety.

          The EPA is a bad joke.

    • It is the patents like what Monsanto is doing that are the problem. There is no health issues.

      There is no grammar either.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        There is no grammar either.

        Grammar died from eating GMO Cheerios. It wasn't pretty. The doctor thought it was "old age", but after some helpful discussions with my cousins Vito and Louigi he issued an amended death certificate.

    • by Alomex (148003)

      There is no health issues.

      That is my one beef (no pun intended) with GMOs. We don't know this since the new foods are not submitted to any set of standard safety testing protocols.

      If you think about it GMO food should be treated even more strictly than a new drug because after all you take medicine just for a few days while you ingest GMO foods for the rest of your life.

  • Sometimes I wish I had intestines for brains, so I wouldn't be annoyed by the stupidity of the rest of the world.

    It would also be cool to have an ass hole on my forehead.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:43PM (#45861269)

    The TPP will make it illegal to label your food GMO free and no, it won't matter what your nation's legislature had to say on the topic or would like to say later. The TPP will supercede the laws of you nation's legislature:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/obama-trans-pacific-partnership_n_4414891.html [huffingtonpost.com]

    http://www.nationofchange.org/trans-pacific-partnership-and-monsanto-1372074730 [nationofchange.org]

    http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/stop_tpp_tafta_monsanto_protection_act_on_steroids/ [fooddemocracynow.org]

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-r-shaffer/tobacco-symbol-of-corrupt_b_4439416.html [huffingtonpost.com]

    http://www.naturalnews.com/041965_tpp_gmo_labeling_monsanto.html# [naturalnews.com]

    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      Then there will be a boom in consumption of organic products. They can't forbid organic labels, it's too big of an industry already.
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      The TPP will supercede the laws of you nation's legislature:

      No, it won't.

      I made the mistake of reading a few of those links, and it's all crazy speculation and blatant misinformation to sell ad-space on sites that sell wheat germ and homeopathy in their spare time.

      • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:33PM (#45861747)

        Yeah you're wrong. It will ban GMO labeling , country of origin labeling and many other of the same types of consumer information that, people think is important to them (which I actually don't except that other people do want these things and they have the right to know )

        Letter form Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, to the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk:

        from: http://delauro.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=406:-delauro-food-safety-critical-issue-in-upcoming-trade-talks&catid=7:2011-press-releases&Itemid=23 [house.gov]

        First, past FTAs incorporate the WTOâ(TM)s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade rules, which are deeply problematic. These rules set ceilings on signatory countriesâ(TM) domestic food safety standards. As a result, WTO panels have ruled against the U.S. meat country-of-origin labeling requirements and voluntary dolphin-safe tuna labels in challenges brought by other WTO countries. We must learn from the record of WTO implementation and modify the food safety-related rules of U.S. trade pacts to best protect the public health, starting with a TPP FTA.

        The FDA has also engaged in extensive harmonization of food safety standards, as required by the WTO SPS rules and our past FTAs. If a TPP FTA is to include food safety harmonization, then it must ensure existing U.S. standards are not weakened. I believe this should include requiring that harmonization may only be conducted on the basis of raising standards toward the best standards of any signatory country and that, with respect to the United States, such international-standard setting should provide the public an opportunity to comment while maintaining an open and transparent process.

        In addition, the past FTA model includes the establishment of new SPS committees to speed up implementation of mechanisms to facilitate increased trade volumes, including âoeequivalenceâ determinations. The equivalence rule requires the United States to permit imports of meat, poultry and now possibly seafood products that do not necessarily meet U.S. food safety standards. I firmly believe that all food sold to American consumers must be required to meet U.S. safety standards, and that a TPP FTA should not include equivalence rules as the basis for the United States accepting food imports.

        Finally, past FTAs allow for private enforcement of extensive foreign investor rights. Under these rules, foreign food corporations operating within the United States are empowered to demand compensation from the U.S. government in foreign tribunals established under the United Nations and World Bank if U.S. regulatory actions undermine their expected future profits. Even when the United States successfully defends against such attacks, such as in the NAFTA investor-state case brought by the Canadian Cattlemen for Fair Trade over the U.S. ban on imports of live Canadian cattle after the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in Canada, the initial filing of the challenge has a chilling effect on policymaking and the U.S. government must spend millions on a legal defense. Accordingly, I believe a TPP FTA must not include investor-state rules that would allow corporations to weaken U.S. food safety in foreign tribunals thereby unnecessarily placing American consumers at risk.

        The food safety issues raised by the TPP FTA negotiations are expansive and in many instances already controversial. Failure to deal with these issues during the negotiations will only create more opposition to a prospective agreement. I therefore urge you to act in the interest of public health and maintain the United Statesâ(TM) strong lea

      • Just remember this- I'm here all night (another Friday night on /. loser!!) , so the more you talk, the more you give me a chance to rebut and further explore this topic.

        Stop the TPP- contact your congressperson this weekedn!

        https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp [eff.org]

        TPP > PIPA + SOPA

  • The consumer is always right, no matter what those who think they are our Lords and Masters say.

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:25PM (#45861665)

    Bravo General Mills and thank you for making my favorite breakfast cereal without GMOs. The market place works. Consumer demand is a far better way to set things than regulations. All we're asking for as consumers is to know what's there so we can make decisions. It worked. Bravo to the free market and capitalism.

  • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:29PM (#45861703) Homepage

    for almost all of human history, we all lived on the edge of starvation...one bad crop or inablilty to hunt due to injury or migration, and we were starved...to death.

    read malthus.

    now, we have so much food we attack those who supply it for us....the irony is unreal.

    i don't know if GMO food is "dangerous" or not....i don't think anyone here really does....but i do know one thing.

    only a population with WAY more food then it could possibly dream of needing could ever have this debate.

  • by organgtool (966989) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:36PM (#45861775)
    Since this is mostly blowback from the assholes at Monsanto, I fully support removing the GMO ingredients. However, when it comes to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, GM really needs to stop using that whole wheat shit or at least take the word "Crunch" out of the title.
  • by zerobeat (628744) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:48PM (#45861861) Homepage
    So, GMO is scary, but the fact that Cheerios barely resemble the produce they are derived from, no problem. All that processing couldn't possibly "change" the food in a bad way. The consumer is an idiot.
    • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:40PM (#45862279)
      Cheerios have to be genetically modified!

      I have seen Cheerios commercials where the Cheerios talk --- and I was like "Talking Cheerios? WTF --- that can't be natural?" --- so all this talk about Cheerios being natural but yet some of them talk. I know the truth.

      And Cheerios are made by a the GM company --- and we all know GM stands for "genetically modified".

      I smell a conspiracy and I am sharing the evidence. What did they do to those Cheerios to cause them to be able to speak? The answer is obvious.
  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:48PM (#45861869)

    If you want thew ability to distinguish GMO from non-GMO in your grocery store then you better act fast because Obama is about to try to ram through the Trans Pacific Partnership which will permit the WTO to ban GMO labeling the way it bans meat country-of -origin labeling and dolphin-safe labels:

    Letter excerpt from

    Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, to United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk,

    full letter:

    http://delauro.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=406:-delauro-food-safety-critical-issue-in-upcoming-trade-talks&catid=7:2011-press-releases&Itemid=23 [house.gov]

    First, past FTAs incorporate the WTO's sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade rules, which are deeply problematic. These rules set ceilings on signatory countries' domestic food safety standards. As a result, WTO panels have ruled against the U.S. meat country-of-origin labeling requirements and voluntary dolphin-safe tuna labels in challenges brought by other WTO countries. We must learn from the record of WTO implementation and modify the food safety-related rules of U.S. trade pacts to best protect the public health, starting with a TPP FTA.

    Contact your Congressperson right NOW! :

    http://www.exposethetpp.org/ [exposethetpp.org]

  • by turkeydance (1266624) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:50PM (#45861881)
    Tribbles Unite! take Oats and Wheat!

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