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Image: Cheerios: GMO-Free Original Flavor Coming Soon, General Mills Says

Cheerios: GMO-Free Original Flavor Coming Soon, General Mills Says

By Robin Farmer   |   Friday, 03 Jan 2014 03:30 PM

GMO-free Cheerios will be hitting store shelves soon as Cheerios maker General Mills rises to meet consumer demand, the company announced Thursday.

Only the original-flavor Cheerios will be GMO free, The Associated Press reported.

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The change came after anti-GMO activist groups rallied consumers to apply pressure by using social media for General Mills to remove the ingredients.

The company has been manufacturing the original flavor without GMOs for several weeks, although the cereal may still contain trace amounts of GMO ingredients.

"We were able to do this with original Cheerios because the main ingredients are oats," said Mike Siemienas, a company spokesman, according to the AP.

He said there are no genetically modified oats. The company is mainly switching the cornstarch and sugar to make the original Cheerios free of GMOs.

Siemienas said the company did make some changes by switching from using beet sugar, which is sometimes genetically modified, and also switching from certain corn sources to ensure that they were not genetically modified, CNN Money reported. These changes happened over the last year and required a substantial investment.

A date was not disclosed for when the GMO-free Cheerios will be available.

"This is a huge victory for the non-GMO movement," John Roulac, co-founder of GMO Inside, said in a statement.

Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director at Green America, a green economy activist group, agreed.

"Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S," he said, USA Today reported. "We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO.”

Cheerios was targeted in part because it’s one of the first table foods given to toddlers, USA Today reported.

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