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Cheerios Lets Nonsense Triumph Over Sense

General Mills has announced that it is removing genetically modified ingredients from its iconic Cheerios. Now there's a non-newsworthy item that is guaranteed to make for flashy headlines and lead stories on newscasts. Cheerios are made of oats and no oat crops are genetically modified! So what are they talking about? The sugar that is added! Some sugar beets are genetically modified to resist pests through the incorporation of a gene from Bacillus thuringensis that codes for an insecticide that affects only bugs. This chemical has no effect on humans. In fact organic farmers can spray their fields with the bacterium and still declare the crops to be free of GMOs, which technically they are even though they may be burdened with more of the Bt toxin than any gm crop.   What General Mills is doing is substituting cane sugar for any sugar derived from sugar beets. Sugar is sugar! Whether it comes from sugar beets or sugar cane doesn't matter. There is no remnant of any gm component in the sugar. Furthermore, Cheerios, to its credit, contains the least amount of sugar compared with any cereal except for Fiber One. So the switch from beet to cane sugar has no practical relevance. This is a marketing gimmick capitalizing on irrational fears. I suppose they may also be referring to the small amount of corn starch that is added to Cheerios and propose to source this from non-gmo corn. Again, the final starch has no genetically modified component. Now if General Mills wanted to talk real sense, it would look at removing sugar from its cereals. 

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