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Kashi Cereal: “Natural” or Not?

Kashi Cereal: "Natural" or Not?

Kellogg is facing backlash from angry customers on social media sites who claim the company has misrepresented its Kashi cereal line as “natural.”

The Kashi controversy went viral last week after a Rhode Island grocer removed the cereal from his shelves, replacing it with the following note:

“You might be wondering where your favorite Kashi cereals have gone. It has recently come to our attention that 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.”

Photos of the sign began appearing on Facebook, Twitter and food blogs, amidst claims that Kellogg was misrepresenting its cereal.

The store owner posted the sign after reading a publication called Cereal Crimes, a  Cornucopia Institute report which notes that only four of Kashi’s 24 cereal products are certified organic. The 2011 publication also states that Kellogg, the company that owns Kashi, “purchases genetically engineered ingredients for its ‘natural’ Kashi products,” including GMO soy.

The soy in Kashi cereals comes from soybeans that have been genetically modified to protect them from the herbicide Roundup, which kills weeds.

Cornucopia Institute co-director Mark Kastel noted: “We tested their product, their Go Lean cereal product, which gets it protein from soy, and it tests 100 percent genetically engineered.”

Kashi’s general manager says the cereal company has done nothing wrong, noting that the FDA has chosen not to regulate use of the term “natural.” Kashi defines “natural” as “food that’s minimally processed, made with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners.”

Perhaps partially in response to this backlash, the company also just announced that all new Kashi products will be Non-GMO Project Verified and contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients beginning in 2015.

Still, the fact that many consumers feel misled by Kashi’s packaging and advertising raises important questions about use of the term “natural.” What do you think? Should use of the term “natural” be regulated?

Image Credit: Mayce Hodges/Flickr


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3 comments on “Kashi Cereal: “Natural” or Not?”

Click to add comment
6 Years Ago

/ This IS hopeful, beaucse we are still in a world where the markets rule. Initially I didn't think the consumer route would be fast enough, given the complexities of making the right choices for a sustainable world, but in fact consumers are starting with sustainable human development looking after their families, their health, what they put on their bodies and ingest. Those concerns alone can go a long way to to indirectly cause financial services to take notice and the ripple effect can be very impactful.Thank-u for posting this data..going to be useful in my how to build sustainability awareness at the Bank' project! ..Val

Shannon Bixler
6 Years Ago

100% genetic modification of the soybean sounds minimally processed to you, Mr. General Manager?! I think you should step down and let someone who is qualified, intelligent, and in support of health through Mother Nature's nutrition do the job right. I despise your deceptivness!

E. Kaye
6 Years Ago

Who cares? it's not like they claimed it was organic. Natural doen't mean anything, it's a marketing term. If you want organic food, by organic food.


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