General Mills has so far spent almost $2 million to keep GMO labels off its GMO-contaminated products. Now the junk-food cereal maker hopes to cash in on a new label on its original Cheerios that touts, of all things, “no GMOs.”

Last week (Jan. 2) General Mills announced on its website that its “familiar yellow boxes of original Cheerios now say “not made with genetically modified ingredients.” Why the change? “We did it because we think consumers may embrace it.”

We think they did it to make more money. (The non-GMO foods market is forecast to grow 13 percent annually, and make up about 30 percent of food and beverage sales—totaling $264 billion—by 2017, according to Packaged Facts).

But we also think their reasons were more complicated than that. We think the move is part of the food industry’s scheme to preempt state labeling laws with a voluntary, weak, watered-down federal “solution” to GMO labeling.

General Mills has no plans to provide independent third-party verification that Cheerios is now GMO-free. You, and millions of consumers, are just supposed to take their word for it.

This is what “voluntary” GMO labeling will look like if Big Food gets its way in Washington D.C. No testing or verification. No legal definition of “trace amounts.” And most likely, a long list of exempted ingredients.

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