By Jill Ettinger
Kellogg’s Kashi cereal division announced the launch of two new certified organic cereals on Tuesday: Simply Maize and Indigo Morning. The announcement comes just weeks after a photo condemning the cereal company for hidden genetically modified ingredients went viral on the Internet.
Last year, The Cornucopia Institute, a public interest group fighting for economic justice for the small-scale organic family farm, released an in-depth report entitled “Cereal Crimes,” which named several top-selling natural food cereal brands, including Kashi, as testing positive for genetically modified ingredients despite claims that the products were all natural. The World Health Organization defines genetically modified organisms as organisms that have been altered by science and would not occur naturally, and while unregulated, the misuse of the term “natural” has landed major manufacturers including Frito Lay, ConAgra and Pepsi in court battling class action lawsuits over the issue.
Kashi is a division of the agribusiness giant Kellogg’s.
Several months after The Cornucopia Institute’s report, Rhode Island natural food store, The Green Grocer, posted a sign on the empty shelf where the popular Kashi cereals used to sit stating that the cereals were pulled because “… 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is genetically modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.”
The photo, which went viral, led to a slew of comments on Kashi’s Facebook page and calls to their customer service line, and then an announcement from Kashi officials stating that by 2015, all new Kashi products will be at least 70 percent organic and will also be Non-GMO Project Verified.
Dodging the issue of the viral backlash over the use of GMOs, in a press release about the new cereals, the company states only that the cereals are “part of Kashi’s commitment to increase the company’s availability of organic and Non-GMO Project Verified foods.”
In response, Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst and Codirector at The Cornucopia Institute said, “This is a positive move for Kellogg’s/Kashi. We hope that these products are well received they will consider switching more of their products over to full certified organic production rather than their previous commitment of 70% organic ingredients.”
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