Are GMO-free Cheerios, Grape-Nuts a ploy by Grocery Manufacturers Association to kill mandatory GMO labeling?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: GMO labeling, Grocery Manufacturers Association, GMO-free Cheerios

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(NaturalNews) Two of the largest breakfast cereal companies in the nation, General Mills and Post, recently announced that they will soon be removing all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from two of their most popular cereal brands, Cheerios (General Mills) and Grape-Nuts (Post). But this sudden move toward transparency in food labeling may be nothing more than a ploy by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), of which both General Mills and Post are members, to shift the public conversation away from mandatory GMO labeling.

As you may recall, the GMA is the same group that fought tooth and nail to defeat Proposition 37 in California and Initiative 522 in Washington, both of which would have required GMO labeling on foods sold at the retail level in their respective states. The GMA was also caught operating an illegal money laundering scheme that involved funneling large amounts of cash from big food manufacturers to the No on I-522 campaign.

More recently, the GMA was exposed for filing a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to declare all GMOs as "natural" so that they can continue to be added to food products sold at high-end grocers like Whole Foods Market and Sprouts. The GMA is also busy working toward the passage of legislation that would actually bar individual states from ever passing their own GMO labeling laws, as we recently reported.

The nefarious activities of the GMA with regard to the issues of GMO labeling and transparency have been so devious in recent days that some media sources have actually started using the word evil to describe the organization, likening it to the agribusiness giant Monsanto. And yet two prominent GMA members that also vehemently oppose mandatory GMO labeling are suddenly and voluntarily embracing a transgenic-free approach, at least for some of their products. So what gives?

Voluntary GMO labeling ruse an attempt to derail GMO labeling movement, suggests blogger

The truth of the matter, as we recently pointed out, is that both Cheerios and Grape-Nuts have been largely GMO-free all along. The former is made primarily from oats, for which there are currently no GM commercial varieties, and the latter is made mostly from wheat, which is also non-GM. With the exception of having to change a few extraneous additives like corn starch to non-GM varieties, in other words, it was really not that hard for either General Mills or Post to make these two cereals GMO-free.

Since both companies have also indicated their intention to keep adding GMOs to all their other cereal formulas, it appears as though the whole charade is more of a publicity stunt than a major shift of opinion about the continued use of unlabeled GMOs in the food supply. One popular health blogger believes that the GMA will use this voluntary labeling initiative, as trite as it is, to argue against the need for mandatory GMO labeling.

"[I]t's more likely that come next GMO-labeling initiative, one of the tools in the GMA's 'no' campaign will be to point at Cheerios and Grape-Nuts and whatever other cereal brands declare their non-GMO status," writes Jill Ettinger for Eat Drink Better. "Their argument will sound a little something like: 'Why push a mandatory label law forward when brands are voluntarily doing the work already? This is cheaper, dear taxpayers.'"

Voluntary GMO labeling, no matter what the true agenda behind its adoption by major food corporations, is still a positive step forward in raising awareness about the existence of GMOs. It is also indicative of shifting public perception and increased demand for cleaner foods produced on farms rather than in labs. But it is important to remain vigilant about the sinister tactics of an industry that we know is inherently dishonest and hellbent against having to be transparent with consumers.

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