General Mills says it will stop using ingredients from genetically-modified corn hybrids to produce its Original Cheerios breakfast cereal.
The policy will not apply to other varieties of Cheerios. Some of them, such as Multi Grain Cheerios, use more substantial quantities of corn.
Oats is the main ingredient in Original Cheerios and there are no GMO oat varieties on the North American market. The corn content has come from cornstarch and a sweetener.
General Mills sent out conflicting messages about its decision.
It says it was “never about pressure from critics,” but Tom Forsythe, vice-president of global communications, said “we did it because we think consumers will embrace it.”
This is a development that bears close attention because, depending on sales performance, a lot of other food processors may announce they're also going GMO-free.
As with the ban on pork raised on farms that use gestation stalls, this could become a processor-driven change in the marketplace that will have a profound impact on farmers.