A growing segment of the population is worried about GMOs, but that worry is based on ignorance of how farming was done in the past.
General Mills has announced that their classic cereal Cheerios will be made only with non-GMO ingredients from now on.
The change only affects Cheerios and no other General Mills cereals, including Cheerios offshoots (e.g. Honey Nut Cheerios, etc).
The move is “of huge importance,” says Ken Albala, a food historian at the University of the Pacific, according to the Christian Science Monitor. “General Mills is finally realizing that, whichever the way the trend goes, they’re going to follow it.” Albala predicts that “an avalanche” of food companies could end up following the General Mills lead if the change leads to more sales.
The move appears to be largely motivated by relations with their customers, rather than nutrition. “Some consumers have health and environmental concerns over the use of GMOs, though there is little scientific proof that products made with GMOs are less safe,” USA Today reports.
Why are people so concerned by GMOs? What most people who are anti-GMO don’t realize is that humans have been intentionally and unintentionally altering crops for thousands of years, by only planting seeds from the plants that had the traits they want, or intentionally mixing different species.
The only difference about what is done now is method. Rather than mixing plants and waiting to see how they turn out, scientists today can be very specific about what changes they make. In other words, GMOs may actually be safer.