Photo: Courtesy of General Mills.
Of all the buzzy health and nutrition issues that dominated the conversation over the past year, GMOs, their dangers, and their benefits were definitely up there among the top talking points. And, while there's a lot of alarmism, the science is still out on just how much food made with genetically modified organisms can affect human health. At any rate, like carbs, trans fats, and sugar before it, the rise in consumer demand for non-GMO products means that companies have an opportunity to capitalize. General Mills became one of the first major brands to do so when it announced that original Cheerios will soon be available with the label "Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients."
That's not an official specification of any kind, and that statement doesn't get approved by any third parties (a problem which has plagued the abundance of the term "natural" for years). In order to make this transition, a spokesperson said that General Mills will be sourcing different cornstarch and sugar, which presumably accounted for the majority of genetically modified components in the original recipe.
Right now, there is not much scientific evidence to show that GMOs are harmful; however, the concern generally seems to be that there could be long-term effects that are, as yet, unknown. It definitely seems like General Mills is giving consumers what they want, though. We'd argue that a next (and perhaps more effective) step, in this case, would be to make a commitment to wholly organic ingredients and sustainable farming practices. The blessing and the curse there, of course, is that those things are a lot harder — and a lot more expensive — to pull off. (USA Today)