America Says No to GMO: Cheerios Go GMO-Free
The movement against the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food products sold in the United States has gained momentum in the battle for the thorough disclosure by labeling and/or the complete elimination of GMO use. A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genetic material has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. Whether or not these foods have a direct negative effect on health is a widely debated issue, but a recent New York Times poll found that 93 percent of Americans still want genetically modified foods to be labeled.
With this said, it is not surprising that a principal producer of breakfast foods in America would take the lead in banning GMOs in their foremost product. General Mills announced Jan. 2 that it would make its popular original Cheerios breakfast cereal without GMOs, and U.S. consumers would see it labeled as such. "We did it because we think consumers may embrace it," the company said. "But it’s not about safety."
Agrochemical giants such as DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF, joined by food behemoths including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kraft Foods used $46 million toward means to convince voters to reject a GMO-labeling proposal, whereas companies against GMO use spent $9 million. The mere fact that these agrochemical giants are willing to spend $37 million more than their opposing parties should serve as an omen to uninformed consumers, who are kept in the dark, that the giants have something to hide. Consumers and bystanders of the debate must wonder if the main concern being debated regards America’s health or the economic success of these food ventures.