Most “Natural” Cereals Likely to Contain GMOs

bowl of cereal

Does “natural” mean non-GMO? Not likely. Many breakfast cereals labeled natural are likely to contain ingredients from genetically modified corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets.

This was a key finding from a survey of natural cereal manufacturers conducted by The Organic & Non-GMO Report. Several natural cereal manufacturers admitted that their products may contain GM ingredients, one manufacturer refused to comment, and three are putting their products through a non-GMO verification program to avoid the use of GMOs.

While GM ingredients are prohibited in certified organic food products such as cereals, “natural” products have no such requirements.

Many natural products use GM ingredients

Four natural cereal manufacturers issued statements saying that their products may contain GMOs. Malt-O-Meal, which manufactures Mom’s Best Cereals, said “many all-natural products use some genetically modified ingredients, particularly corn. We respect that some people object to GMO ingredients for a variety of reasons, and we’re continually researching and testing alternative ingredients that will make our cereals appealing to more people.”

Quaker Oats, which manufactures Mother’s Natural Cereals, said that because it buys bulk grains such as corn, soy, and canola “there is always a possibility that those grains may contain GMO material due to cross contact during manufacturing and transportation.”

Bear River Valley Natural Cereals issued a statement saying “We believe genetically engineered corn and soybeans are likely present in all of our finished products containing these grains.”

Kashi, which is owned by Kellogg’s, said that some of its foods “may contain GMOs.” Kashi also said that “many factors outside our control, such as pollen drift from nearby crops and current practices in agricultural storage, handling, and shipping, have led to an environment in North America where GMOs are not sufficiently controlled.”

With GM corn and soy acreage at record levels in the United States, it is challenging to find supplies of the two crops—especially corn—that don’t contain at least trace amounts of GMOs.

No comment from Bear Naked

Another cereal manufacturer, Bear Naked, which makes granola from “100% pure and natural ingredients” didn’t want to say anything. They issued a statement through their public relations firm, saying: “Unfortunately Bear Naked is not able to comment on this topic at this time.”

>>Next: Non-GMO verification and regulating the “natural” label

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Ray from LA

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About the Author

Ken Roseboro is a journalist who has written extensively about genetically modified foods, GMO testing, non-GMO certification, and identity preservation. His articles have appeared in leading agricultural and food industry magazines, including Natural Foods Merchandiser, Organic Processsing, Seed World, World Grain, American Food and Ag Exporter, Prepared Foods, Food Processing, Food Quality, European Food and Drink Review, Natural Products Industry Insider, and others. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health (2004 Basic Health Publications) and The Organic Food Handbook (2007 Basic Health Publications). He has also given presentations at many conferences, including the Organic Trade Association’s annual tradeshow, All Things Organic. Ken is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association.