Cereals giant Post Foods has unveiled non-GMO verified Original Grape Nuts, just days after General Mills announced it had reformulated Original Cheerios to remove GMOs.
Mangala D'Sa, Brand Director, Grape-Nuts said: "Grape-Nuts Original has been verified as non-GMO. Grape-Nuts Original still contains the signature crunch, ingredients, and 49g of whole grains known and loved for more than a century.
"We've confirmed our recipe and suppliers do not contain GMO ingredients, and the Non-GMO Project seal will appear on boxes of Grape-Nuts Original on store shelves."
She did not say what changes had been made to the recipe - for example whether the soy protein had been changed. (Original Grape Nuts contains whole grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, isolated soy protein, salt, whole grain barley flour, malt extract and dried yeast.)
Recipe was 'modified slightly' and no longer includes Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Riboflavin, and B12
However, a spokesman sent over this statement: "In order to achieve the Non-GMO Project verification, the Grape-Nuts Original recipe was modified slightly, but still contains the signature crunch and 49g of whole grains people have known and loved for more than a century.
"Grape-Nuts Original now has 45g of carbs per serving and no longer includes Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Riboflavin, and B12."
Activist group GMO Inside, which has been calling for large cereal firms to eradicate ingredients from genetically engineered crops from their supply chains, also released excerpts of a letter from Post Foods it had received recently in which the firm said it was "exploring some of our other cereals to see if there is potential going forward to add more non-GMO verified products to the Post Foods product line".
Commenting on the move, Green America GMO Inside campaign director Nicole McCann said: "GMO Inside thanks Post for removing GMOs from Grape-Nuts Original and congratulates them for doing it right with third party verification [Gen Mills has not used a third party].
"We're glad Post is also considering removing GMOs from other cereals and look forward to seeing them on the shelves. We would also love to see Post supporting mandatory GMO labelling."
Post Foods: We are always listening to our consumers
While Stonyfield Farm chairman and Just Label It (JLI) chairman Gary Hirshberg said earlier this week that the JLI campaign is "not an effort to stop GMOs, nor to mark them with a skull and crossbones”, GMO Inside's explicit agenda is eliminating GM crops from the food supply (see p24 of its recent report ).
Currently, federal law does not require the labeling of genetically engineered foods as the FDA has consistently argued that they do not differ from other foods "in any meaningful or material way" or present any different or greater safety concerns than foods developed by traditional plant breeding methods.
Many large food companies, meanwhile, oppose mandatory labeling because they believe it would reinforce an erroneous perception that there is something wrong with GM crops.
They also argue that if the tide turns against agricultural biotechnology, it won’t be a victory for consumers - that there is no evidence that the global food supply would be safer or more sustainable without genetically engineered crops (as a recent report from GMO Inside alleged).
However, supporters of GMO labeling argue that consumers have a right to know what they are eating.
Kellogg, meanwhile, has not responded to requests for comment on Gen Mills' reformulation work on Cheerios.
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Click on the links below to read about General Mills' decision to reformulate original Cheerios.