The food industry has had a bad wrap in the media lately and rightly so. Thanks to the likings of Micheal Pollan and other food journalists, the general public has become increasingly wary towards food that contains genetically modified organisms or GMOs. More and more people want food that is GMO free in 2014. In an effort to restore public relations, General Mills stated it cut approximately 6.4 trillion calories from the food distributed in 2012 and that the cereal Cheerios would no longer contain GMOs.
General Mills recently decided to produce GMO free Cheerios despite being a major investor in the fight against GMO labeling in both Washington and California. The company is reported to have given $1.2 million and $ 598,800 to each. The reason being, almost all General Mills products overwhelmingly consists of GMO ingredients. However, labeling food as “GMO free” is a superfluous undertaking for GMO food, since organic products are already labeled “organic,” meaning by definition, they are GMO free. Unfortunately, most consumers to not recognize “organic” and “GMO free” are equivalent.
Cheerios restored its relationship with GMO opponents when it announced that the beloved cereal would no longer contain traces of GMO ingredients. In addition, Cheerios has proudly worn the badge of being both low in cholesterol and certified by the American Heart Association. However, once the seal is peeled and the bag is broken, a careful read on the back of the box reveals Cheerios’ ingredients to be anything but a nutrient rich breakfast cereal, despite healthy media relations.
The sugar currently used in Cheerios is corn syrup and would be substituted with cane sugar in its GMO free form. Corn syrup is completely refined; whereas whole cane sugar is grown organically. However, despite GMO free promises, Cheerios remains a processed cereal that consists mostly of inflated grain coated in sugar. The cereal also contains tripotassium phosphat that, along with Coka-cola, is an excellent degreaser. Although Cheerios is food that is GMO free in 2014, it is anything but what the tenacious Cheerio bee qualifies as “hardy.”
Another problem with General Mills efforts to tailor its food towards the health conscience is that it feeds on the public’s ignorance as much as the public feeds on General Mills. This is most noted by the General Mills claim to have cutback 6.4 trillion calories in its products in 2012. Yet, to re paraphrase the late George Orwell, “All calories are equal, but some calories are more equal than others.” In short, some calories are good and other calories are bad. Although General Mills has manufactured fewer fat calories, it has not cutback on the amount of sugar calories produced. To make matters worse, sugar calories are precisely the kind of calories that contribute to cultural illnesses, such as diabetes.
Consumers are prone to believe that just because something is GMO free, then it is also healthy. Yet Cheerios do not lack GMOs because General Mills is health conscience. Substituting Cheerios with organic sugar is sure to increase the brand’s price. However, the General Mills spokesman stated in a recent interview that it would be quite difficult, if not impossible, to produce Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios devoid of GMOs. Deeming organic food as necessarily healthy is a false equivocation brought about by an industry that feeds upon profit rather than whole foods. To state it tersely: The food that is GMO free in 2014 is not necessarily green.
By Nathan Cranford