GMO Inside Blog

Cheerios: Exploring Vitamin E

Greetings, GMO Insiders, and nice to meet you! I am the new food campaigns director here at Green America, leading the GMO Inside campaign. 2014 is starting off great with the consumer victory to get Cheerios to go non-GMO for their original namesake cereal and I’m so happy to join the team. I’m looking forward to forging ahead alongside all of you to claim more victories this year.

For my inaugural blog post, let’s talk about Vitamin E (Tocopherol). Many of you may already know that it is often made from GMO crops, but for others this may be news, so let’s explore it a bit.

cheerios ingredientsVitamin E is a nutrient that is found naturally in some foods, added to others, and available as a supplement. When added to foods it is predominantly used as a preservative to increase shelf life, by preventing the deterioration of fats. If Vitamin E is not found naturally in a food there are a couple of ways to produce it, including in a laboratory by chemical synthesis or by extracting from plants. The most common plants in the US used for GMO Vitamin E are soy, corn, and cottonseed. The majority of the supply of these crops in the US is GMO.

When we launched our campaign against Cheerios we pointed to the three ingredients we (consumers) wanted them to convert to non-GMO: sugar, cornstarch, and Vitamin E. In last week’s announcement that the original Cheerios would soon be hitting the shelves without GMOs, they only listed changes in sourcing of sugar and cornstarch. We need General Mills to clarify if their Vitamin E is or is not derived from GMO sources, like soy, corn, or cotton. Any commitment to non-GMO sourcing is incomplete without addressing all possible GMO ingredients.

So will you join us in asking General Mills if the vitamin E they use in Cheerios is non-GMO? Call General Mills at (800) 248–7310 and ask them to clarify. Additionally, take action with us by sending the CEO a note thanking him for removing GMOs from Cheerios and asking General Mills to get third-party verified.

 

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4 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Kelly Moore
    January 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I have been in the natural health industry for 20 years. I believe you need to do more in depth research on your information about Vitamin E. “Mixed tocopherols” does not imply that it mixes from different food sources, or that it mixes natural with synthetic or incorporates GMOs. Mixed tocopherols refers to the naturally occurring broad spectrum of tocopherols: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols. Natural Vitamin E is referred to as “d-” followed by either “alpha tocopherol” (the most common form sold) or”mixed tocopherols” which provide the broad spectrum Vitamin E that is so beneficial for cancer prevention, heart health, brain health,many more antioxidant benefits. Mixed tocopherols typically are derived from rice bran. Mixed tocopherols is considered the gold standard in Vitamin E supplements. If the ingredient list says “dl-” and then alpha or mixed tocopherols, it means that it is a synthetic version, and these would definitely be GMOs, derived from soy or corn. Reading the label and looking for that subtle difference between “d-” and “dl-” is what you should be focussing on here. The basic reason to add mixed tocopherol Vitamin E to their cereal is as an antioxidant, to prevent the grains from becoming rancid, as well as it compliments the nutrients found in the oat bran in the cereal.

    • Nicole McCann
      January 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Kelly. We appreciate you lending your expertise. We’ve updated the post.

  2. John Early
    January 16, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    Please be aware that the famous SELECT trial verified a very strong link between vitamin E causing prostate cancer. How much vitamin e is in a bowl of Cheerios? I am now afraid to eatCheerios until I know how much is in a serving.
    Thank you

    • Michelle Kim
      January 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Thanks for your question, John! Unfortunately, we do not know exactly how much Vitamin E is in a bowl of Cheerios because it is proprietary information. However, please feel free to call General Mills and ask questions you may have about their products.

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