I love Cheerios. There is nothing better than a bowl of Cheerios with a fresh sliced banana or peaches.

However, Cheerios are off my shopping list in the wake of General Mills’ decision to stop using “genetically modified ingredients” in Cheerios.

There are no GMO oats, so it’s really no big deal. General Mills says it will only use non-GMO sugar cane sugar rather than GMO sugar beets. There is no GMO sugar cane, either. All sugar beets are GMO.

General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas said of the change, "We do value our Cheerios fans, and we do listen to their thoughts and suggestions." Baloney PR. General Mills bowed to the pressure of the noisy, socialist anti-GMO minority. Of course, none of the statements mentioned the fact that no one has caught as much as a common cold from eating GMO food.

Tokenism or not, General Mills is failing to provide leadership in the daunting goal of feeding the world in the near future. Most scientists agree that it will take GMO technology to feed the hungry world of tomorrow.

 

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While the anti-GMO crowd has made lots of racket, the movement has had little impact on agriculture worldwide. GMO technology continues to grow. However, the doubts the movement plants in unsuspecting consumers’ minds have, unfortunately, inhibited scientific research.

Half of the world's sugar is derived from sugar cane. Worldwide, more than 1.6 billion tons of sugar cane is produced from 22.7 million hectares. However, pests and weeds are estimated to limit potential yields by more than 50 percent.

Scientists are researching gene technology in field trials to increase yields with GMO resistance against pathogens and tolerance to glyphosate. They are also using GMO technology to resist sugar cane insect pests. Drought resistance and higher tolerance to salts for cultivation in high saline soils are other scientific goals.

Sugar cane is a feedstock for bioethanol, particularly in Brazil. GMO technology is being researched to increase sugar content and thus produce more bioethanol per ton.

A Texas A&M molecular biologist, Erik Mirkov, hopes that genetically engineered sugar cane can produce a human therapeutic protein. Some proteins used by pharmaceutical companies now are selling for more than $1 million a gram.

Mirkov said sugar cane's simple genetic makeup compared to other crops would make the splicing with human genes easier and less expensive.