WASHINGTON -- Cheerios (IW 1000/256) will be made without any genetically modified ingredients in the United States, producer General Mills announced, answering growing consumer concerns about the issue.
The popular breakfast cereal is already made in Europe without GMO (genetically modified organism) content, and the company said late Thursday that Original Cheerios had only contained a small bit of cornstarch from GMO corn.
But that is being eliminated "because we think consumers may embrace it," General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe said.
"Original Cheerios has always been with whole grain oats, and there are no GMO oats," he said.
"We do use a small amount of cornstarch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste. And now, that cornstarch comes only from non-GM corn, and our sugar is only non-GM pure cane sugar."
He said that from this week the Original Cheerios box will state "not made with genetically modified ingredients."
The company has always made Cheerios in Europe without any GMO content, amid tighter regulations and greater consumer opposition to GMO foods there.
General Mills insisted that GMO foods are safe, with genetically modified seeds widely approved by health authorities.
It said its other cereal brands, which include Wheaties, Trix, Kix, Chex and Lucky Charms, will continue to include GMO content.
"The widespread use of GM seed in crops such as corn, soy, or beet sugar would make reliably moving to non-GM ingredients difficult, if not impossible," the company said.
Its "organic"-labeled cereals do not have GM content, it added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014