A staple of the American breakfast table has been boxed in by controversy in 2012 and 2013. Cereal sales have been slipping in the past few years, unit sales dropped by 4% in 2012, largely due to higher prices from global-grain shortages due to extreme weather. Now cereal makers have something new to worry about, a campaign to label genetically modified (GM) cereals. GMO Inside, a coalition dedicated to helping consumers to know whether or not foods are genetically engineered, today (Jan. 17) announced that it wants Kellogg’s and General Mills to label or remove the ingredients in their products that are genetically engineered. For cereals, this could apply to as much as 80% of ingredients, including corn, soy, and processed sugars made from corn.
Throughout January, GMO Inside is calling on consumers to sign petitions, phone the companies to request non-GMO products, and take action on the Facebook profiles of each company and their many brands. GMO Inside is also urging Kellogg’s and General Mills to pledge not to fund any opposition to I-522, the Washington State ballot initiative for GMO labeling, which will be up for a vote in November 2013—or any other initiatives and legislation emerging in states around the country.
To date, more than 5,000 consumers have taken action with GMO Inside signing a petition to General Mills to remove GMOs from its bestselling Cheerios line of products, and more than 17,000 Facebook fans helped to shut down the company’s Cheerios Facebook app in December 2012.
“We're calling on consumers to get a fresh start this year by beginning every day with a healthy breakfast, free of GMO ingredients," said Elizabeth O'Connell, GMO Inside Campaign Director. "Putting Kellogg's and General Mills under our January spotlight is part of GMO Inside's commitment to educate consumers about which products are likely to have GMO ingredients. We'll call attention to new products every month."
GMO Inside believes that everyone has a right to know what’s in their food and to choose foods that are proven safe for themselves, their families, and the environment. Both Kellogg's and General Mills sell their iconic products in Europe without GMO ingredients. In Oct. 2012, General Mill and Nestle decided to lower the sugar content in cereals sold outside the United States. The news was met with skepticism from health-watch dog groups in the EU. But it isn't know if US consumers can expect the same efforts, especially given that GM grains are to intrinsic to the American agricultural system.
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