In January, 2014, General Mills foods announced that it would no longer use genetically modified organisms (GMO’S) to make its original cereal, Cheerios. While Cheerios has never contained GMO oats, the company will now use non-GMO cane sugar, instead of GM beet sugar.
Growing numbers of consumers and advocacy groups are raising concerns about the safety of using genetically altered crops in our food supply; consumer pressure is behind the decision by General Mills.
The company does not plan to stop using GMO ingredients in all its cereals, however, because the use of GMO seeds in crops like corn is too widespread to make it possible to completely remove GMO’s from all its products, according to General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas.
But aside from the fact that some General Mills cereals will still have GMO’s, an important topic that hasn’t at all been addressed by the company is that all varieties of Cheerios, including the original kind, contain unnatural chemical stabilizers, and some varieties also have chemical preservatives, which no child, let alone babies, should be consuming — notwithstanding the TV commercials showing an infant munching on the so-called “one and only” cereal.
The original, plain Cheerios, and Honey Nut Cheerios, for instance, both contain tripotassium phosphate, a foaming or whipping agent. In combination with fatty acids, it’s used as an antimicrobial agent in poultry processing. Being that we all have fatty acids in our systems, can tripotassium phosphate kill off some of the beneficial bacteria in our guts? This is a legitimate question.
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios contain trisodium phosphate (also called sodium phosphate), an inorganic compound used as a whipping agent and to control acidity. Trisodium phosphate is also used as a cleaning agent, stain remover and degreaser. In the Western world, it was heavily used to make soaps and detergents; but that practice ended years ago, due to ecological concerns.
Do you want something going into your kids’ stomachs that was found to be too poisonous for our water supply? Of course not. Trisodium phosphate is a strong chemical that in larger amounts can irritate delicate human tissue, including mucous membranes in our gastrointestinal systems.
Fruity Cheerios have trisodium phosphate, artificial colors, and the artificial preservative BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), a derivative of phenol. Phenol comes from petroleum and is used to make plastics.
Do these sound like ingredients that will nourish your children and keep them healthy? No.
So, Cheerios, you are making progress, but you are far from being a healthy cereal suitable for human consumption.
Better cereal choices are Total, Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, oatmeal, grits and corn flakes that do not have BHT. (Always check ingredients label, to know what you’re getting.)
The way to make a cereal naturally fruity is to add minced fruits (preferably organic), raisins and the like. You get all the nutrition and dietary fiber, and none of the chemicals.
By Lisa Pecos