For years, Cheerios has been one of General Mills' most popular, yet basic cereal varieties. On Thursday, the Minneapolis-based company announced that the familiar, whole grain Os are now made without genetically modified organisms.
GMOs go against the grain of consumers who want their foods made naturally.
According to a press release on PR Newswire, the transformation originated a year ago with GMO Inside's campaign calling on General Mills to make Cheerios non-GMO. Some 40,000 Facebook posts advanced the non-GMO movement and helped convince the company to take action.
A General Mills statement explained the process, "It's the unique and simple nature of original Cheerios that made this possible...we were 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."
The group, GMO Inside, starting calling on consumers to put pressure on General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs in late 2012. Activists were concerned about the health and environmental impacts of GMOs.
According to the GMO Inside website, "GMOs are actually increasing pesticide use worldwide which has disastrous effects on the health of farmworkers and water, soil, and air quality."
As soon as the campaign launched, tens of thousands of consumers started flooding Cheerios' Facebook page with concerned comments regarding GMOs in the product and used an app, ironically put out by Cheerios, to spell out anti-GMO messages in the Cheerios font.
"This is a huge victory for the non-GMO movement," said John W Roulac, GMO Inside co-founder and co-chair. "I want to thank all the "GMO Insiders for using social media to convince America's largest packed food brand to go non-GMO with a major product"
Watch the video that was part of the campaign to pressure General Mills to create a GMO-free Cheerios.