Prevent Disease | April 25, 2012
There is an established misconception among consumers that natural or even organic labeling means more nutritious and less toxic ingredients.
This is not always the case and breakfast cereals are no exception.
The Kashi brand is owned by Kellogg Company, one of the largest breakfast cereal makers in the world.
The ownership base of Kashi is still not widely recognized or common knowledge, especially since the Kashi website continues to paint a picture of being a small company. Investigations into Kashi cereals show deceiving claims after their breakfast products were found to be riddled with genetically modified (GM) and pesticide loaded ingredients.
The deception at Kashi runs deep, especially when it comes to its association with Kellogg which is kept very discreet from the public. “We are a small (after 25 years, still fewer than 70 of us) band of passionate people,” it says, despite being owned by the nation’s largest cereal manufacturer. Kellogg does not include its name on Kashi packaging.
The Cornucopia Institute’s “Cereal Crimes” investigation uncovered some distrubing facts about this supposed natural breakfast cereal. The investigations found that Kashi brand cereals contain “high levels” of genetically engineered ingredients. These include soy and corn based ingredients.
For non-organic “natural” products making “non-GMO” claims, results showed that these claims cannot always be trusted.
Most companies do not share detailed standards for “natural” foods with the public. Kashi would likely be uncomfortable sharing with their
customers that their “natural” foods contain hexane-extracted and genetically engineered soy ingredients.
On August 31, 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed against Kashi for allegedly misleading consumers with its “natural” claims. One Kashi
product in particular, GoLean Shakes, is composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients, according to the plaintiff.
Kashi Heart to Heart Blueberry Cereal was found to contain organophosphate pesticides implicated as causes of neuropathy in humans.
“Natural” Kashi Golean Honey almond Flax was found to contain malathion in the wheat and chlorpyrifos and piperonyl butoxide in the almonds both which are prohibited in organics due to their neurotoxicity and hormone disrupting ability in mammals.
Other toxic ingredients in Kashi cereals include GM canola oil, GM corn flour, GM corn meal, GM corn bran, irradiated cinnamon and soy lecithin.
Golean Original Cereal contains GM soy grits and protein, GM corn meal, GM corn flour and GM corn bran.
Golean Crisp! Cinnamon Crumble contains GM soy grits and protein, GM canola oil, GM corn flour, irradiated cinnamon and soy lecithin.
Golean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble contains GM soy grits and protein, GM canola oil, GM corn flour and soy lecithin.
All other Golean products contain similar toxins in their ingredient lists.
Kashi sources all of their grains from farms in the US. They do import some fruits from other countries, but the soy is primarily grown in the USA. Corn-based ingredients are also locally derived. Since 95% of Soy and 80% of Corn is Genetically Modified you can expect any non-organic product that contains either of these two ingredients to be GM.
Kashi has attempted to improve their public image by joining the Non-GMO Projectand have their products tested and verified to be GMO-free. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization which offers North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products.Their standard includes the following;
“Absence of all GMOs is the target for all Non-GMO Project Standard compliant products. Continuous improvement practices toward achieving this goal must be part of the Participant’s quality management systems.”
However since cross pollination can occur, there is never enough testing procedures to follow-up on every single grower’s operation. That’s why many products still contain GM corn and soy, despite being enrolled in the Non-GMO Project. According to the Cornucopia Institute, the Non-GMO Project “enrolls” products before it verifies them as being non-GMO which doesn’t make very much sense.
It is in your best interest to stay away from anything Kashi or Kellogg. Always remember that “natural” and even some “organic” standards depend on how these standards impact profitability. Environmental concerns are unlikely to weigh heavily, if at all, in this profitability equation. If the company is a publicly traded corporation, such as Kellogg Company their primary legal responsibility is to increase profits for shareholders. Consumer opinion is insignificant until it reaches the masses and a full boycott is achieved. So how many people will you share this with? Only you can make a difference.
This article was written by Natasha Longo.
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.