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Grape Nuts and Cheerios Lost More than Just GMOs

February 27, 2014
FoodNavigator-USA’s Elaine Watson, recently published a much needed informational piece for consumers titled “Goodbye GMOs (and vitamin B12, D, A, and Riboflavin): New non-GMO Grape Nuts and Original Cheerios are ‘certainly less nutritious’, claims professor.”  The article details her interview with Dr. Wayne Parrott, professor of crop science at the University of Georgia, who explains his confusion around the General Mills and Post Food decisions to use non-GMO formulations which ultimately goes against their mantra of providing wholesome foods:
“It is one thing for General Mills to say they took GM out [of Original Cheerios] due to consumer preference.  It is another to claim that they are more wholesome because of it – something they are doing on the box itself and on their website, particularly when they took an important nutrient out of it almost completely.”

In fact due to this change, non-GMO Grape Nuts no longer include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).  Additionally, non-GMO Cheerios no longer have Riboflavin on the ingredients list (the old version had 25 percent of the daily value in a 28g serving while the new version has 2 percent of the daily value).
“Cheerios went from being a major source of Vitamin B2 to being almost zip,” Parrott told Food-Navigator-USA.  “This was particularly ironic given that a large percentage of people who say they are avoiding GMOs claim to do so for health reasons.”

Interestingly, General Mills told FoodNavigator-USA that they “made no assertion that non-GM ingredients were ‘more wholesome.’  That is simply mistaken.”

So, why not source non-GMO vitamins?  According to Bethany Davis, R&D/Regulatory Project Lead at dietary supplement firm Mega Food, “it has proven to be difficult to ensure that all of the starting materials and additives” in certain vitamins are non-GMO.

Watson wonderfully begins to wrap up her article by citing a recent NDP Group consumer survey which shows that 67 percent of primary grocery shoppers are not willing to pay more for non-GMO foods. She concludes her piece with this statement from the Trendwatcher Hartman Group which needs to be amplified:  “If companies do not start speaking more openly about GMOs, they could lose their place in the conversation altogether.”

Read the article for the entire interview and note that FoodNavigator-USA has included a great infographic comparing the nutritional difference between non-GMO Original Cheerios and Original Cheerios.