While last year’s announcement that General Mills would make the original Cheerios non-GMO (for the most part, saying they may still contain trace ingredients) was hailed as a victory for awareness and activism, many people still don’t trust the company.
And now that Annie’s Homegrown has been purchased by General Mills, many of the same people are calling for a boycott of the company’s products due to their new parent company’s past stance on GMOs.
General Mills is a powerful member of the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, which was caught in a massive money laundering scheme in Washington state this past November to conceal money donated in an effort to prevent a GMO labeling vote from passing.
The company also doesn’t have plans to use the independent Non-GMO Verification Project for Cheerios, which casts suspicion on its decision to stop using GMO corn and sugar in the future in its flagship product and whether they will follow through completely.
In addition, Cheerios refused to acknowledge the effects of Internet and other activism on its decision to make the switch, even though it clearly had a huge impact.
General Mills CEO Powell Wants GMOs Defined as “Natural”
On Dec. 5, a little less than a month before Cheerios’ GMO announcement, General Mills CEO Ken Powell signed a letter to the Food and Drug Administration showing he and his company’s true colors in regards to GMOs.
Powell and Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods, of the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association attempt to sway the FDA into allowing GMOs to be included in “natural” products n the letter, a flagrant, deliberate attempt to deceive consumers considering that GMOs are lab-created and have nothing in common with traditional breeding and hybridization techniques practiced for thousands of years.
“It’s like they’re trying to get the government to say night is day and black is white,” the Environmental Working Group’s vice president, Scott Faber, told The New York Times.
The following is an excerpt from that letter according to this article from Grist.org:
GMA’s members have a strong interest in “natural” labeling for foods containing ingredients derived from biotechnology. Several of the most common ingredients derived from biotechnology are from crops such as soy, corn, canola, and sugar beets. …
[T]here are approximately 65 class action lawsuits that have been filed against food manufacturers over whether foods with ingredients allegedly derived from biotechnology can be labeled “natural.” …
GMA intends to file a Citizen Petition solely direct at asking FDA to issue a regulation authorizing foods containing foods derived from biotechnology to be labeled as “natural.”
Cheerios Hypocrisy Another Important Reminder
Judging from the actions of Powell and General Mills, it’s easy to see why we can’t trust the company to follow through on its promises. They will continue to fight tooth-and-nail to use GMOs in their products and continue to attempt to co-opt the natural and organic movement so long as we continue to give them money.
While buying organic is always a better option, it’s best to boycott anything General Mills for now if you can help it, and to support the independent organic companies we can trust instead. Unfortunately, Annie’s is no longer one of them.