Coalition wants bioengineered ingredients out of cereal

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — GMO Inside, a coalition dedicated to advancing the right of consumers to know whether or not foods are bioengineered, is calling on the nation’s largest cereal companies, including General Mills, Inc. and Kellogg Co., to label or remove the ingredients in their products that have been bioengineered. In cereals, this may apply to major ingredients such as corn, soy and added sugars, the coalition said.

As part of its effort, the coalition has set up petitions for consumers to sign, and it is encouraging people to phone companies to request non-bioengineered products and to take action on the Facebook profiles of each company and their many brands.

GMO Inside also has urged Kellogg and General Mills to pledge not to fund any opposition to I-522, the Washington state ballot initiative for G.M.O. labeling or any other potential legislation. The I-522 initiative will be up for a vote in November.

“We have been completely blown away by the amount of consumer support the G.M.O. issue has created.” said Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America, a member of the GMO Inside coalition. “Since Prop 37 was defeated in California in November last year, consumer action has only increased. I am completely inspired by the parents who are standing up against major corporations for the right to know what they are feeding their kids. Kellogg’s and General Mills represent just the beginning of what this coalition is prepared to take on.”

Responding to the petition, Kris Charles, a spokesperson for Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co., said, “Leading health organizations worldwide have concluded that G.M.O.s are safe. They require fewer pesticides, provide improved nutrition and, with increased yields, will help feed the world’s ever-increasing population. For U.S. consumers who prefer an alternative, our Kashi brand offers a variety of Non-G.M.O. Project Verified options. We continue to actively monitoring the science, regulations and our consumers’ preferences on this topic.”

Bridget Christenson, public relations manager of global communications for General Mills, added, “We have long opposed state-by-state labeling, as we openly and transparently explained on our web site months ago. We were not alone in taking that position. Most of the food industry opposed Prop 37 for the same reasons. Some of those unhappy with Proposition 37’s defeat are now targeting companies that opposed it. But we remain opposed to state-by-state labeling, for the reasons we’ve explained.”

In addition to Green America, other members of the GMO Inside coalition include Food Democracy Now!, GMO Free USA, Institute for Responsible Technology and Nutiva.

For more details on the petition visit www.gmoinside.org/take-action.
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