Scaremongers are at it again: The Breakfast Cereal Follies


“Some folks just don’t have enough to worry about,” my old granny was wont to say when goings-on in the world about her struck her as nonsensical or trivial.

That could pretty much apply to the most recent chapter of the long-running GMO Follies, in which major cereal manufacturers have made much ado that they will henceforth be keeping us safe from the horrors of products that might have minute traces of GMO ingredients, and that their products will be so labeled.

Kowtowing to the scare tactics of the anti-GMO groups, General Mills recently announced that it is making “a significant investment” to make its popular cereal, Cheerios, free of GMOs.

This following Kellogg’s announcement that it is instituting a verification process to insure that several of its Kashi brand cereals will qualify for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, and a Post Cereals announcement mid-January that it will begin marketing a Non-GMO Verified version of its Grape-Nuts.

And the response from the majority of the cereal-buying public will be a resounding ho-hum. The activist groups that keep flogging the GMO non-issue in order to keep dollars flowing to their tax-exempt coffers would do the public a greater service by crusading to get cereal manufacturers to cut back on the excessive amounts of sugar and processed glop in their products that represent a genuine health concern, particularly for kids.

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The USDA has estimated that some 70 percent of food products in the supermarket contain one or more genetically modified ingredients. All have been deemed safe.

Even so, a number of states are considering laws that would require food labels to note the presence of GMOs. Connecticut and Maine, have already enacted such laws. Anti-GMO groups are pressuring President Obama to direct the Food and Drug Administration to require all foods with GMO ingredients to have that information on the label. But, as with nutrition labeling, most consumers, if they like a particular product, will continue buying it regardless of the label.

With many branded cereals already costing $4 per box or more, will consumers pay even more just to get a GMO-free label? It certainly will cost the manufacturers more to obtain adequate supplies of non-GMO ingredients and to maintain the documentation necessary to prove that status — costs they will surely pass along to consumers.

Henry Miller, M.D., and political scientist Gregory Conko, in their book, The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution, note that more than 3 trillion servings of foods containing GMO ingredients have been consumed “and in almost 20 years…there has not been a single confirmed instance of harm to human health or disruption of an ecosystem.”


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