Cheerios and GMOs: FAQs

Cheerios and GMOs: FAQs

We don’t use genetically modified ingredients in original Cheerios.  Our principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats – and there are no GMO oats.  We use a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste.  But our corn starch comes from non-GMO corn, and we use only non-GMO pure cane sugar.   

Q: What are GMOs?

A: Genetic modification refers to a method of seed development used to introduce desirable traits in a plant such as corn.  Once approved by global food safety regulators, such seeds may then be planted by farmers.  Biotech seeds, also known as GMOs, have been approved by global food safety agencies and widely used by farmers in global food crops for almost 20 years. In fact, GMOs are present in 70-80% of foods consumed in the U.S. today – and have been for years.

Q: Are genetically modified foods safe?

A: Yes.  There is broad consensus among major global scientific and regulatory bodies that approved genetically modified foods are safe. The World Health Organization (WHO), the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada have all weighed in on this question – and all have found approved biotech crops to be as safe and acceptable as their conventional counterparts.

Q: Does Cheerios contain genetically modified ingredients?

A:Original Cheerios cereal is not made with genetically modified ingredients.  Though there may always be a chance of some small amount of material coming from some other source, such as in shipping or manufacturing, none of the ingredients in original Cheerios are genetically modified. 

 

Q: Did the formula for original Cheerios change?


A: The formula for original Cheerios has not changed. We did make some changes in sourcing and in our plants – for example, to separate cane sugar from beet sugar. But Cheerios remains the same great-tasting, wholesomely good cereal that’s been a family favorite for years.


Q: Do other Cheerios varieties contain GMOs?


A: The main ingredient in original Cheerios is whole grain oats – and there are no GMO oats. But some Cheerios varieties use other grains, such as corn, that may be grown from GM seed.  The simple and unique nature of our product made it possible to label original Cheerios as not being made with genetically modified ingredients.  We made investments in new systems at our production facilities to separate the ingredients we use to make original Cheerios from our other products.  For example, we store only non-GMO corn starch where we store our corn starch, and only cane sugar where we store our sugar.  And though there may always be some chance of some small amount of GM coming from some other source, none of the ingredients in original Cheerios are genetically modified. 


Q: Will you make all varieties of Cheerios with non-GM ingredients?

A: It’s the unique and simple nature of original Cheerios that made this possible – and even that required significant investment over nearly a year.  Cheerios’ principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats, and there are no GMO oats.  We use just a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste.  So 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.  For our other cereals, the widespread use of GM seed in crops such as corn, soy, or beet sugar would make reliably moving to non-GM ingredients difficult, if not impossible. General Mills produces several organic cereals that by definition cannot use GM ingredients – and sell those products nationally – so we already offer consumers a wide range of non-GM cereal choices. 

Q: If Cheerios are made without GMOs in Europe, why not do the same in the U.S.?


A: Cheerios in Europe do not use genetically modified ingredients. But the agriculture and regulatory environments in Europe and the U.S. are quite different, and we offer consumers choices in both places.  Original Cheerios – and the many organic cereals General Mills produces in the U.S. – also don’t use GM ingredients.  Almost half of the cropland in the U.S. is used to grow genetically modified crops, and 70 to 80 percent of the foods in the average grocery store likely contain GMOs.  In Europe, there is a national standard for labeling non-GM ingredients, and the grain supply is very different.


Q: Does General Mills oppose GMO labeling?

A: General Mills supports a national solution. There’s a government-approved national standard for labeling non-GM products in Europe and in Canada, and General Mills believes a national standard for labeling non-GM products would benefit American consumers as well.  We’ve long opposed state-by-state labeling laws, as we’ve explained publicly.  But we do support a national solution for labeling non-GM ingredients, as we explain on GeneralMills.com.

Q: How can I learn more about GMOs?


A: For further information about the safety of biotech crops, we invite you to visit www.factsaboutgmos.org, the European Food Safety Authority, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the U.N. World Health Organization