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Biotech Businesses Science

Cheerios To Go GMO-Free 419

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.


  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:42PM (#45861265)

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

  • 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.

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:45PM (#45861283)
    GP is giving all the credit to GMO seeds. He's lying.
  • 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).

  • 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.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:53PM (#45861369) Homepage Journal

    Most consumers don't have a scientific background. What they do have is a memory of how many 'harmless' things turned out to be anything but. For example, the trans fats in margarine. For another, cigarettes. So when consumers see a bunch of agribusinesses fighting tooth and nail to not label GMO foods, it naturally makes them wonder what they're trying to hide.

    They may be wrong, but they're not idiots. They've just been lied to far too many times.

  • 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.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:57PM (#45861403) Homepage

    Even before GMO foods were invented we allowed a lot of produce to rot in this country for various reasons. The problem isn't that we don't have enough land or good enough seed stock. Feeding people (or not) usually has to do more with local politics and who controls the land.

    It's like how the entire Irish potato famine was very avoidable.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:57PM (#45861405) Homepage Journal

    Who needs to go to India for evidence of Monsanto raids on farms? We've had stories of thess actions posted on /. for years, further, they are well documented in legal proceedings, where Monsanto goons have appeared with local law enforcement dragged in as their flunkies, to seize farms where they suspect a farmer is reusing seed or is using crop seed contaminated from a neighboring GMO field. All they need is their expert witnesses to show up in a court and state that Farmer Brown has some of their IP in his field, without paying them and he's done farming this year and likely stuck with a ruinous monetary settlement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @06:59PM (#45861415)

    I'm seriously sick of this ignorant crap. There is absolutely no known possible mechanism for GM foods to cause cancer because they're GM. If you're going to speculate, at least look into real possible risks like those associated with glyphosate salts used in agriculture. If you're going to attack GM, focus on the real issues like intellectual property associated with staple crops.

    Also, look up mutation breeding, which is how most of our non-GM foods came into existence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:05PM (#45861499)

    Food disclosure is a great idea. But "GMO Inside" disclosures aren't disclosing anything meaningful. There's nothing inherently harmful about GMOs, and I can guarantee you that. Numbers? I don't need numbers. "GMO" is a meaningless label originally used by seed salesmen and now used by fear mongers. Saying that GMOs are harmful is like saying that "chemicals" are harmful--or "potentially" harmful if you want to hedge and sound balanced.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:06PM (#45861505)
    So...why are you people ripping up GMO crops that have nothing to do with Monsanto and its legal bullying?

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/08/09/13/militants-wreck-gm-rice-test-farm [abs-cbnnews.com]

  • 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 Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:12PM (#45861567) Homepage

    Have you actually looked into the actual court cases surrounding Monsanto?

    You would be surprised. The examples that people trot out of "Farmer Brown" as you say, had the farmers lose in court as they were deliberately and knowingly taking GMO seeds.

    Monsanto will in fact, pay farmers for any crops contaminated via cross pollination for farms that do not have an agreement.

    The truth of the matter in agriculture is much more complex than all the IT people here on Slashdot would have you believe.

  • 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 Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:19PM (#45861621)
    Quiet - does not fit political narrative.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:27PM (#45861685) Homepage Journal

    What is gained through product labeling when consumers don't have anywhere near the background or understanding to interpret the labels?

    I'm all for people being able to make well-informed and rational decisions about what they put into their bodies, but avoiding GM foods because of perceived health risks is NOT making a well-informed and rational decision.

    Well, so far, we're not too stupid to have labels required for ingredients, for % of nutrients...

    We're not too stupid to have labels required on things like fish, to know what their country of origin is....

    So, what's the deal with giving us a label to know if it is GMO or not? I'd dare say, most people too stupid to study this and make an "informed decision" are likely not ever going to bother looking at the labels.

    But for those that do want to know..what's the harm? When is having information about your food ever a bad thing?

  • 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 WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:40PM (#45861807)

    What is to be gained by informing consumers when they just can't really understand the issues! This is what you're saying and not even in other words- that's just what you're saying. It's disgusting. I can see why you posted AC.

    It's called having faith in democracy and the ability of the polity to sort out issues. If that doesn't sound reasonable to you, then why not head off to N. Korea where the leaders think just like you do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:42PM (#45861815)

    How big do you have to be before you get to have shills?

    I mean Whole Foods profit rose 20% [bloomberg.com] in Q2 of 2013, and Hain Celestial, the owner of Earth's Best Organic, boasted a 21% [hain-celestial.com] increase in net sales in Q1 of 2013. I have no idea what Michael Pollan made in 2013, but I doubt it would be a tenth as much if he wasn't a big name in the (insert preferred adjective)-foods circle, selling books to concerned eaters, and getting appearance fees from talking on shows and at events.

    Does Monsanto have some patent on having shills, or are we willfully overlooking the fact that there's plenty of people who would rake in the cash by overblowing concern with respect to "natural" and "organic" foods?

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:44PM (#45861829) Homepage Journal

    Cue the organic food fanatics for the same countdown.

    Both sides of the argument are full of hyperbole and bullshit. As per usual, the truth lies between.

  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:53PM (#45861907) Journal

    What is a non-GMO food anyhow? Aren't all of our modern foodstuffs heavily modified through centuries of selective breeding? Labeling food with made-up categories doesn't seem to help.

    Let's face it: what the hipsters really want is food labeled "not associated with any Evil Corporation", as if inefficiency were something to be proud of. We already have the "Organic" label for you losers, can't you be content with that?

  • Every time this subject comes up, someone comes to raise the objection you're raising.

    Those people are trolls.

    So are you.

    Breeding is not the same as GMO, and no amount of claiming that it is will make it so. It simply isn't. You can get results with GM that you cannot get by breeding, which proves the difference. And before GMO, nobody was splicing animal genes into plants, period. It may have happened in nature, but nobody then went on to plant a whole field of that organism.

  • by kumanopuusan ( 698669 ) <goughnourc.gmail@com> on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:07PM (#45862005)

    Attack the real problem, then! We can feed the planet and get rid of patents on organisms at the same time. You're throwing the baby out with the bathwater!

  • by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:16PM (#45862071)

    You're not getting it. It's not about the absolute rightness or wrongness of GMO . It's about the fact that a very significant portion of the people WANT GMO labeling.

    People also want a lot of things I could do without, but so what. Who am i? Who are you? Who is Monsanto to decide we can't know true facts about the things we put in our bodies???

    The worst disasters in history haven't been because people had too much information some of which was useless. The worst disasters come about because some small segment of our population thinks it knows what's good for the rest of us and tries to impose it's will on us. So that's shit like Vietnam and all kinds of imperialism generally. People want this- it means something to them. People also want kosher shit because it MEANS something to them. People want country of origin labeling for meat for GOOD reason- because some nations practice poor CJD defense and some don't. People want dolphin free tuna because it MEANS something to them and their value system. Stop telling people what should and should not be significant to them.

    Just. Stop it.

    Also, as a matter of fact, you don't know that all present and future GMO products are not unsafe in ways people fear. I know what because I looked into it and decided for myself that the risk it low, but by no means zero. By no means.

  • by danlip ( 737336 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:26PM (#45862151)

    The first world generally has negative population growth, not counting immigration. So yes, it is the third world that needs population control, and there is nothing racist about that statement. I suppose you could debate whether the first world should be putting pressure on them or just let them figure that out themselves, but the pressure is applied via strings attached to foreign aid: are you suggesting we should stop giving them aid and just let them starve?

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:36PM (#45862239)

    so in spite of corn yield going from 60 bushels per acre to 150 or so (from 1960 to 2010), a yield increase of somewhere around 150% (2 and a half times in the last fifty year), you are saying that this had nothing to do with the GMO seed sold by Monsato. In your dreams. Farmers make money by growing more corn. If the Monsato seed did not work, farmers would not be buying it and using it.

    This does not mean that GMOs do not have problems, but since your main statement was that GMO do not boost production is false, it kinda calls in doubt your other statement about pest plants picking up the mutation from the corn plants.

    refer to the http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/YieldTrends.html for some charts showing the yield gain.

  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <charleshixsn@ea r t h l i n k.net> on Friday January 03, 2014 @10:16PM (#45862759)

    There's reasonable evidence that the prevalence of obesity is related to the liberal use of high-fructose corn syrup on prepared foods. And a part of the reason for that use of corn is GM corn. More of the reason, of course, is government subsidies, Of course the government subsidies are totally unrelated to lobbying from Monsanto, the vendor of the GM corn seeds. And the only legal vendor of those seeds.

    Yeah, I'd have a lot less problem with GM foods, if they weren't leading to monopolization of the food provision chain by one or a very few companies.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @10:44PM (#45862899)
    We've found a number of "impossible" things to be possible, such as gene leakage cross-species (spliced genes ending up in unrelated but nearby plants, with unknown, untested results). How do you assure us of 100% safety for eternity when genes mutate and organisms evolve? Those types of unknowns are why slower is better. We aren't smart enough to know all the unintended consequences.
  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @11:29PM (#45863055) Journal

    The 'White Man' feedling the third world is part of the problem. When the UN air drops in tons of free grain, it completely decimates any motivation on the part of the local population to grow their own grain, because it drops the price of the grain to near zero. It wipes out local producers completely.

    The solution is technology transfer: help the local producers obtain the means to locally grow the food the local people need.

    This, however, does not give the large Agribusinesses in the first world tons of money from the government buying their grain and/or collecting it in exchange for price-support subsidies. In fact, it enables the people in other parts of the world with the ability to complete with said large Agribusinesses.

  • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:33AM (#45863293)

    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, are mostly myths spread by, you guessed it, the anti-GMO groups.

    Fact is, if there were no Monsanto, it would be necessary for the anti-GMO moment to invent it. When your argument largely revolves around everyone disagreeing with you being paid shills, and most scientists disagree with you, you need a conspiracy. Doesn't matter if we're talking evolution, climate change, vaccines, or GMOs. Same thing. In this case, it is Monsanto who ties together the GMO conspiracy. Clearly, I am a paid shill, because the facts [agbioforum.org] have a pro-Monsanto bias.

    and the notion of routinely spraying Roundup on all our cereal grains (both for humans and livestock) weren't quite so heinous.

    What gets me about that is it isn't! I'd much rather glyphosate be sprayed than one of the nastier herbicides out there. And what are your other options? Tillage and hand weeding mostly, and the first destroys the soil while the second is economically preposterous. The problem is that people are so damned disconnected from agriculture that what should be seen as a good thing is instead demonized. I'm not saying that it is an ideal situation, but realistically, you have to deal with weeds somehow. weed control is not optional, if it were farmers wouldn't bother spraying in the first place, but for not, herbicide tolerant systems are the best we've got.

  • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @07:30AM (#45864335)

    Yeah, I'd have a lot less problem with GM foods, if they weren't leading to monopolization of the food provision chain by one or a very few companies.

    Then you should advocate for less restrictions of GE crops. Many in academia would love to be able to release new GE lines of crops, but cannot because the high regulatory burden favors large companies like Monsanto. Ironically, people who are ideologically opposed to GE crops and demand greater regulation are shielding Monsanto from competition.

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