Clean Eating Cheerios? Not A Chance….

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Sorry, but I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut on this one. I’m going to sidestep my usual routine around here to share with you a story that I think is really deserving of more attention. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what happened, this is a big deal, and I’m thrilled the word is getting out.

If you follow me on Facebook at all, you know where I stand on GMO’s (a.k.a. Genetically Modified Organisms/Food). I’m very much against them.

Clean Eating Cheerios? Not A Chance....
A sample of the images posted on the Cheerios fan page yesterday.

Don’t know what a GMO is?

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. (Source)

So what’s the problem with GMO’s? 

Many people don’t know what a GMO is, let alone why it’s such a big problem. Then there are people who will defend GMO’s into the ground because they feel that only GMO’s can sustain our growing population. But why are they an issue when there is little proof they cause harm?

Because there is also no proof that they don’t. Even Kaiser Permanente, the HMO giant, came out and publicly advised their patients to limit their exposure to GMO’s. This is not a small move people. This is huge. You see, no long term testing was ever done on GMO’s. We have no proof that these frankenfoods are safe.

Not to mention that cross-pollination is “infecting” our normal food crops. These frankenseeds are creating never before seen environments that are fostering super bugs we can’t fight, and super weeds we can’t kill. They are literally changing the face of agriculture. And once we go down that road, there’s just no going back. I won’t even go into what these seed are doing to traditional farming practices the world over.

If you think you’ve never eaten a GMO before, I’d be willing to bet money you’re wrong. They were first introduced into our food supply sometime in the 1990’s, and the major problem in the USA is that labeling is not required. This means you could be buying GMO foods for your family and not even know it because these big food companies are not required to tell you about it.

Big corporations would have you believe that these GMO seeds will save the world from starvation. But if these seeds are so wonderful, I ask you… why not shout that from the rooftops? Do you have any idea how much money is spent in advertising dollars every year to tout the wonderful benefits of any given product on the market today? If GMO’s are so wonderful, why are these big companies working so hard to hide the fact that they use them?

Things, they are a’changing.

BUT, thankfully the tide is beginning to turn. Even though prop 37 was defeated in California (thanks to the scare tactic advertising and deep pockets of big food corporations), 61 other countries worldwide have banned GMO seeds, and even parts of the US are starting to catch on. San Juan County in Washington state recently banned GMO’s, and other areas are beginning to do the same.

In fact, statistics during this past election showed that 90% of the entire USA population is in favor of knowing what’s in their food (well, duh!). And if you don’t believe me, just check out the General Mills Cheerios facebook wall.

In a recent marketing attempt gone bad, Cheerios added an app to their fan page that allowed people to post images with a few words about what they thought about Cheerios.

Boy did that backfire! In fact, it was a downright PR nightmare. Fan page admins were very busy removing many of the photos posted by angry ex cheerio consumers. In a more than 8 hour onslaught, people went to their page in droves to let General Mills know exactly what they thought about Cheerios and the fact that they donated approximately 1 million dollars to help defeat prop 37 in California.

So yes, the tide is turning. But we have a long way to go in this country to gain the right to know what’s in our food. The best defense is education…. and I just have to say it…. eating clean! The majority of GMO foods are hidden in processed foods. That’s not to say you can avoid them entirely by eating clean, but it’s a darn good start.

And the next time we have the opportunity to force big food corporations to tell us what they are putting in our food, I certainly hope that we are smart enough to seize that opportunity.

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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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  1. Absolutely love this! I did a presentation in gmo’s on Friday & by the end, everyone was speechless. We have to educate!

  2. I preface what I say by telling you I love the things to which you bring attention. BUT I encourage you to be careful about using the term “cross-pollination” in such a negative way. Bees and other insects have cross-pollinated our plants forever, and that is definitely not a bad thing. Farmers have done it since almost the beginning of farming, and that is not necessarily a bad thing either.

    I understand there may be issues with some forced (and even naturally occuring) cross-pollination , but a lot of people who read your blog are not going to get that cross-pollination in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Cross-pollination is NOT a GMO and itself does not produce GMO’s! Cross-pollination did not produce things like wheat with the “super” qualities, companies such as Monsanto did that. (Unfortunately, naturally occuring cross-pollination could actually spread the pollen from GMO’s to our non-GMO plants.)

    Again, thank you for bringing necessary topics to the forefront, but I encourage you to choose your words carefully.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Brenda – But that’s not what I said at all. I didn’t vilify cross pollination. I’m vilifying GMOs.

      1. I stand corrected. When I first read “Not to mention that cross-pollination is “infecting” our normal food crops.” I misunderstood what you were saying. I see now that you were saying exactly what I stated in parentheses above.

        And I do agree with you on GMO’s. I actually worked on research during my undergrad study’s that had a goal of proving that genetically inserting a bactirium into corn would reduce insect damage when the corn was stored. This corn would then be fed to cattle and other livestock, which would effect our milk and meat supply. There are so many people who do not understand what we are being fed.

        Again, thank you for informing people and getting the discussion started.

  3. graciouspantry says:

    I’m sure it is. The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our grandparents ate.

  4. graciouspantry says:

    I’m not sure which part you are referring to, but feel free to click any of the links in my post.

  5. graciouspantry says:

    Go to your local health food store. There are other varieties of “cheerios” that are organic and non-gmo.

  6. Rachel Hall says:

    Way to go, Cheerios. I’m glad more people are paying attention to GMO’s and what’s in their food. For too long, caring what we eat has been not mainstream enough.

  7. Mommy Adventures says:

    Also, how can these GMO seeds save the world from starvation when you can’t harvest seeds from GMO crops for future planting (according to reading I’ve done)? It’s all very ridiculous. No one wants to eat GMO food, so just stop playing God and messing with our crops!

  8. Mygemi28 on Etsy says:

    Tiffany, Why is this coming out now? Is it because of the marketing ploy that backfired? I guess I am curious because I always just assumed that they were made from GMOs.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      It’s not just coming out now. it’s been an issue for a while. But the cheerios thing just happened 2 days ago, so there is new attention on it.

  9. Christine Lorenz Cornelius says:

    it is sad that the food we grew up as kids had to be “changed”, Wish they would have left it alone and not play God, so sad. Thanks for the info

    1. Nancy Danke says:

      you cross polinate plants all the time to get new varieties…what is the difference in that and GMO”s?

      1. graciouspantry says:

        If you read the description, there is a big difference.

  10. Thanks for the mini-lesson. I love(d) Cheerios, won’t be eating them now. I will make sure I am paying better attention to labels from the few items I purchase in the middle of the store.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Just remember GMO’s aren’t labeled. Hopefully that will change in the future.

  11. This is a real bummer, love Cheerios. They’re trash now. Thanks for posting!

  12. Nancy Danke says:

    Let us focus on what is really killing us today…that is eating wayyy too much sugar, processed foods, preservatives and trans fatty foods.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      And what do you think Cheerios is?

  13. So Tiffany, I’m getting educated on GMOs, and I loved this post, however, I’m not sure I understand how you ended the post…..are you saying that ALL the products that you listed of General Mills is ALL GMO?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Those are the companies owned by General Mills. A good majority of the products produced by them have a high probability of having GMO’s. But we won’t know for sure unless these products are labeled.

  14. I didn’t realize this and just bought Cheerios. This is the last time I will buy them. I think GMO foods should be labelled. People should be allowed to make choices about what they eat. In addition, how will I know I am having a bad reaction to GMOs if the product isn’t labelled? I should have the choice to not be a part of this mass scientific experiment and i should not be forced to pay an arm and a leg for organic and natural foods as a result.

  15. Starr Goldsberry says:

    Thank you for this! Many people do not know how bad GMO’s are to our health and the workers health. My Significant other works at a grain bin that houses GMO and Non-GMO corn and wheat and the dust and grains from the GMO products have started to ruin his lungs (because of all the pesticides). Also, the products his company houses that are GMO are shipped to other countries to make plastic and other non-edible materials. Gross!

    It’s on to look for a recipe to make my own for my son, who will be at the cheerio stage soon.

  16. I’ve been reading more and more about GMO’s and it is scary! I appreciate you keeping your readers aware of things like this! Found you on pinterest and now I follow you on FB too!

  17. So, do you have any clean alternatives to Cheerios?

    1. Sadly, no. The one company that did offer that has since changed their ingredients and they are no longer clean. I believe they are also owned by one of the big companies that fought against labeling.

  18. Frankly, I just think people are better off eating whole grain hot cereal and leaving the processed cold stuff alone. I buy Bob’s Red Mill exclusively because I know where the products come from.

    1. Erin – For sure! You can’t say you eat clean if you’re eating Cheerios or other processed cereals.

  19. Cindy Edwards says:

    I agree with you. Wheat has been changed over 40 times since 1950. The problem isn’t that it was modified per se . . . it is that wheat’s dna didn’t stick to what a normal clone does. It’s dna exponentially increased and we can’t digest it . . . because it isn’t wheat anymore. I buy nothing processed anymore, but that doesn’t save me. There is no plant that grows today that hasn’t been modified unless the farmer specifically grows heirloom. That would be YOU growing your own food. Wheat fields completely surround my house. I’ve asked farmers. There is no seed or crop they grow that hasn’t been modified.

    1. Cindy – Very true. I believe even types of wheat like kamut and spelt are hybridized from the original wheat. Probably not as bad as the regular wheat we have now, but still different. It makes me wonder how long this will go on for. How long will it take before nobody can eat it anymore, and then what will they do? So silly really. Mess with nature and you will always end up with a problem.

  20. Katie Welles says:

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG. I’m so glad I found it. I was searching for clean eating recipes one day and stumbled upon it and now I basically read it religiously. Love it love it love it.

  21. Carrie Butterwick says:

    Hi Tiffany. I doubt if this comment will ever see your blog as a post but I hoped that you would read it yourself. I just realized today that you have blocked me from following you on twitter. I never meant to come off as some twitter stalker-type person when we were having that discussion about GMO’s (I am @aggrad96). Tone and intent is always difficult to convey in something like twitter – 140 characters is just not enough sometimes!! I am a big fan of your recipes and have even donated to your blog as I use it like a recipe book! I am a fan of discussing both sides of any issue and trying to see things from both sides. I thought as educated adults, we could respect each other’s viewpoints and maybe agree to disagree and maybe both of us would have done a bit more research to see things from each other’s perspective. I am sincerely sorry if you felt that you needed to block me. To be honest, I am certainly not a big fan of Monsanto. They have done a terrible job of bringing items to market and are their own worst enemy. We, in fact, jokingly refer to them as ‘Monsatan’ in our office. I did copy you in on one tweet (not sure if it was before or after you blocked me) detailing the orange juice industry’s struggle to decide how and what to do about GMO’s. I sent it to you to show you that it is not always “big business” that is just using GMO’s to make money and that consumer safety is on the fore-front of most of the food industry’s decisions.
    I am a mother of 3 and as such, I am certainly concerned about food safety – but I agree with your one reader’s post about the sugary, trans fats, highly processed foods being a bigger concern than GMO’s. I also work in the agriculture industry and am proud of the work that my clients are doing to improve their efficiencies, reduce their input loads and bring high quality, safe food to the global marketplace.
    Again, I am very sorry that you felt you had to block me. I am literally feeling sick about this!!! I wish you all the best with your Gracious Pantry blog/business.

    1. Carrie – Well, I think it’s safe to say that 140 characters can definitely give the wrong impression. I think we have to agree to disagree on consumer safety being at the forefront of food industry’s decisions. I believe their profit margins are at the forefront of those decisions. But disagreement can often lead to enlightenment for both parties. 🙂

      It’s safe to say that I will never support GMO’s and feel very strongly that they are the worst thing that has ever been done to our food supply. But I also realize there are people who feel strongly about the opposite position.

      If I can figure out how to unblock you on twitter, I will. I simply blocked because I didn’t know who you were, and as you said, 140 characters is just not enough sometimes.

      Thanks for supporting my blog. I do appreciate your readership.


  22. Joanie Dorsey says:

    Hi Tiffany, I found your blog thru Pinterest. I love eating real food or clean eating. My personal opinion is processed foods are at the root of obesity and many acquired diseases. I completely agree with you on the GMO front. How do you feel now that General Mills has announced that Cheerios will go GMO free? The people have power. We must continue to make them hear our voices. Thank you for sharing your recipes! Glad I found you.

    1. Joanie – Welcome! I’m very happy to hear that they are doing this. Particularly since so many parents give them to their young children. They aren’t clean, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. The only thing is, the last I read they were refusing to get certified GMO free by the non-gmo project. So unless that has changed, I’m not holding my breath. They can put anything they want on a label.

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