Kashi GoLean Cereal Loaded with GMOs

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist August 7, 2012

Despite being highly processed and not at all healthy, consumers still purchase box after box of “natural” and organic breakfast cereals thinking it’s good for them.

This is because consumers get so easily excited about a label with just one or two ingredients and no chemicals or preservatives, but rarely seem to consider how those ingredients are sourced or processed – which is many times more important!

Kashi GoLean, an extremely popular brand of “natural” cereal recently got slapped for abusing this misplaced consumer trust by The Cornucopia Institute’s Cereal Crimes report.

A box of Kashi GoLean cereal was purchased from a Whole Foods in Boston and sent to an accredited lab for testing.

The findings?

The cereal was 100% GMO and had pesticide residues despite having “natural” on the label.

Kashi responded by saying the information was inaccurate and misleading because it was not based on a formal scientific analysis of Kashi products.


How can testing a box of Kashi cereal at an accredited lab not be scientifically accurate?

Oh wait, I know!  It’s because Kashi wasn’t funding the testing behind the scenes so they could stealthily control the results that were reported, right?

Kashi’s arrogant and lame response is typical of giant food manufacturers like Kellogg, which owns Kashi, who are used to being able to claim just about anything they want about their products and get away with it.

Even more lame, when it became apparent that Kashi wasn’t going to be able to spin its way out of the PR nightmare, it was announced that Kashi would be 100% GMO free by …


Don’t worry guys.  Keep on eating that GMO, pesticide laced cereal for just a few more years and we’ll be sure to get our act together and get rid of them before you’re in a wheelchair!   And, if we’re lucky, you will forget all about this messy public relations snafu in a few short months so we won’t really have to change at all!

The fact is, Kellogg supports GMOs for use in “natural” products. According to the grassroots organization GMO Free USAKellogg is actively working against requiring the labeling of GMOs having contributed $33,000 so far to propaganda campaigns to defeat it.

Best not to trust food companies with your most important meal of the day and go barcode free with your breakfast choices.   The soaked cereals of traditional cultures are an excellent choice or, if you really need a cold breakfast cereal, make a truly healthy one yourself so that it doesn’t contain the extruded, denatured, allergenic cereal grains of the heavily processed, boxed variety that are falsely promoted on the label as somehow healthy because they are natural or organic.


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Comments (122)

  1. Pingback: Is Eating Kashi Cereal Healthy | We Get Healthy

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  3. I look for GMO Project emblem. More and more products are going that way finally. Love my organic lifestyle. So many wonderful kind polite and courteous people are also organic consumers. I see rage all around but never in a natural food store or farmer’s market. Go organic or go home

  4. Linda Dobey via Facebook January 17, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Yep I’ve converted breakfast at our house to your “soaked oatmeal” thanks to the video you posted with the instructions! I’m thankful you are educating us on the traditional cooking methods where the real nutrition is found :))

  5. Gloria Cotton via Facebook January 16, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    That’s right Tom, Organic is not real either – Just like factory food (Kashi) is not food.

    People can believe the illusions until they no longer can. Then, they open their eyes, like Melissa said, and Wake Up.

    The “By Design” system is much more complex then the arguments of GMO’s, Organics, or Factory Foods. xo

  6. i am so glad i don’t eat any boxed processed sereal or feed it to my little boy but i feel so bad for those who trust these misleading titels on boxes. We have to push to label GMOs there is no other way to protect ourselves from these companies!!! I just wish our contry woud get rid of GMOs all togther the way 50+ other countries have!!!!!! Wake the hell up America and stop hurting your people!!!!! You know the deadly health effects on GMO now so what are you waiting for!!!!!

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  10. I do not use “natural” if I can. And always research “organic” first too. My question: why, if you are so concerned about heathy, do you have Cracker Barrell cheese ads? They are not organic either!

    • Cuz she doesn’t choose the ads. For example right now I have a Fred Meyer and a Lexus ad. The system, whatever that is technically, chooses them.

  11. How about Alpen cereal’s? That was the last cereal I purchased frequently before transitioning to homemade cereals. Occasionally (twice a year at most) I still grab a box of Alpen however.

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  15. Any chance of posting the name of the lab, some contact details for the lab, a summary of the report’s findings, a summary of the testing procedure, and/or link to a website with the report?

  16. Sarah, your question “How can testing a box of Kashi cereal at an accredited lab not be scientifically accurate?” tells me you don’t know anything about natural products analysis. Analytical results can vary wildly, depending on the lab and methodology used. The results and analytical methodology should be confirmed by a second lab, at least.

  17. Christina Maldonado via Facebook August 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    All these companies that start out awesome, sell to large corporations (most people dont know) and then the corporations do what they want. Burts bees is now owned by clorox and its not 100% natural anymore, same with Ben N Jerry’s…it always comes down to $

  18. Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook August 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    My grandson hates me for not buying him cereal anymore. I was getting it for him, especially the organic brands thinking they might be better. He is adjusting well to the change and hasn’t pitched a fit anymore when I don’t buy cereal. He says he hates Kelly the Kitchen Kop..LOL She’s the only real foodie blogger he knows that I follow…LOL Don’t worry Sarah, he doen’t hate you..LOL

  19. Thank you for sharing this – It is so dissapointing to see what big companies are doing to our food supply and what they are promoting as “food”. Although I am not sure cereal counts as food, this is another example of the deceptions going on…

  20. yah well we only eat cereal usually about 4 or 5 boxes a year. I see it as a treat. hahaha.we get it for camping etc.however I did have it as a wierd craving at end of prego. but not kashie as I didn’t want even organic soy let alone gmo because of headaches durning prego. oh and yes i eat organic soy. i know what some think of that but i and many naturel people disagree.

  21. No kidding…. at last estimate, 86% of all corn grown, 93% of soy, canola, and cottonseed are all genetically grown. What has happened is that they made these crops “Roundup ready”, which means that all the pesticides applied to these crops during their growth is absorbed by these plants and passed on to the finished product for us to consume. There is a Monsanto anecdote that is going around which has sobering consequences… “No food shall be own that it does not own”….This is truly scary…. States need to pass any GMO labeling initiatives that come before the voters… California has Proposition 37 coming before the voters in November… Monsanto is going to spend MILLIONS in trying to defeat this proposition with TV advertising that blatantly spread lies and scare tactics without regard. If they are challenged about the validity of their statements, they will simply states AFTER the election…”so sorry… we may have been wrong”… yeah right…

  22. I love when people complain about any prepared foods they eat. When will you people wake up and realize that you can’t trust any food that you don’t prepare yourself. People are sheep and will believe anything… diet of the week.. vegetarianism is good for the body.. vegans rule.. etc..
    Make your own food. Eat sensibly. The end.

  23. Thank you for the useful information, but please don’t use “lame” as a perjorative adjective. It’s offensive (which I know you did not mean.)

    • Really Melinda? Sarah just provided us with some very beneficial information and this is your complaint? This isn’t your blog so Sarah can use whatever PEJORATIVE adjectives she would like to use… The fact that you can’t spell PEJORATIVE is offensive.

  24. I uncharacteristically bought some of their bars because of an in-store coupon. The fact is, they tasted like such junk there is no way I would ever buy them again. I was kind of like, “Oh good, these are horrible, I had a feeling they were a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

  25. Organic and “natural” are not one and the same. Its rather disappointing that so many consumers are not aware of this fact.

  26. Never been a big fan of dry cereal. However, while it hasn’t been for a few years, I used to eat the Kashi hot cereal. At the time, I thought the hot cereal was pretty good. I’m glad I have had the hot cereal for several years if the grains they use are “crap.”

  27. How disappointing. I love(d) Kashi and felt like I was doing the right thing by including it in my morning meal. I think I’ll just stay away from cereal except oatmeal. But how do I know that my oats aren’t GMO? What the heck am I going to feed my kids in the morning!

    • Sadly, the only way to know they’re not GMO is if they’re organic.

      As for your kids, they’d be getting far more nutrition from a couple of eggs fried in real butter and a cup of yogurt or homemade kefir with some berries on top.

  28. Dry cereal is a modern product that has always been of questionable value. But Kashi really looks bad here. GMOS and pesticides are not, by any stretch of the imagination, healthy.

    Thank you, Sarah, for exposing this travesty. A good reminder to NEVER believe marketing.

    I will stick to nitrate free bacon and pastured eggs, an occasional grassfed breakfast steak, and sprouted toast smothered in pastured butter.

  29. Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    When Im in the mood for cereal, I have some homemade raw milk yogurt with organic ground flax seed, fresh berries, and.some stevia.

  30. Jessica Austin via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    NOT to mention how freakin expensive it is!! If they consider it such a healthy alternative to regular cereal why do they make it cost so much more??? I don’t know anyone who would spend that much on breakfast cereal on a regular basis just because they say it is healthy….

  31. is OK…we have all learned over the last 365 days most of what the government is alowing to go on in the food industry…is the same as all government subsidised programing….Now If they would RSVP the invitation we sent them to stop…..we could get alot more done quickly

  32. I’m always grateful for the energy and passion you put into your subjects. Thanks so much for the information you have been providing – I know it can’t be easy!

  33. Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Not even organic cereal is any good. It has way too much sugar and even though its organic, it still has processed refined grains. I get a kick out their commercial…7 grains on a mission. Im like, yeah on a mission to kill…lol

  34. Corinne Riave Loskot via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Beware most packages foods that have a long shelf life. Few of them are good for you because “natural”, “healthy”, etc are marketing terms attached to products/processes, without any widely accepted standards.

  35. BE A LABEL READER!!! I read Kashi labels years ago and knew they weren’t good. Also, know which ingredients are available in gmo (soy and corn are two) and buy only organic when those are listed. And for us, we avoid soy altogether.

    While we are talking about healthy cereal, Sarah, can you tell me how to incorporate traditional soaking of grains with my steel cut oats cereal that we eat? I soak the oats in boiled water an hour or more (until the oats are tender and water absorbed), then add nuts, dried fruit, etc. to make a muessli that stores in the refrigerator. When we eat it, we add Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Thanks!

    • Susan and Pamela, if you click on the Categories search feature midway down on the right side, and click on Breakfast, you’ll see her posts on traditionally soaked oatmeal, homemade cold cereals, etc.

      And speaking of cold cereal, we enjoy leftover soaked oatmeal in the summer straight out of the frig. Of course it has many good things already mixed in from the day before, including shredded coconut, coconut oil, raw butter, sea salt, and coconut sugar or maple syrup. I have a rare two-quart Le Creuset cast iron enamel pot that’s perfect for this.

      • I’m not experienced with this and would like specific instruction :)

        Would I just add a little lemon juice when the oats are in the water? Would it change the taste? This recipe does not give “mushy” oatmeal, the oats are more formed. And I don’t know what it would do to soak it overnight. I do make it the night before, and have put a little whey from the greek yogurt in when mixing it up. But it goes straight to the frig. I don’t know if that is enough “soaking” though.

  36. There are countless examples of big food companies presenting misleading and outright false information on their labels – after all, their budget for producing the product goes mostly to this effort, and not the quality of the product itself. Kashi is certainly not the only one, but it’s been in the news a lot lately, and so many people I know buy these products and think they are great. I stopped buying Kashi and similar products probably 7-8 years ago, and I’ve discovered that the only way to go is to buy food from sustainable, local producers you know and trust.
    Raine\’s last post: Right to Know Rally & Rebuttal to ID Senator Mike Crapo re: Labeling GMO Foods

  37. This is insane! I worry for my own health, but also the health of the people of America, and my future children. If ONLY the American public wake up as whole and start demanding on a mass scale REAL FOOD (or grow it ourselves)! But most only care about quantity, NOT quality! God help us! But on a happier, note there are MANY people out there who are trying to turn this around, thank you Sarah!

  38. This is a prime example of finding out who own the label.

    Hello – Kellogg!

    Another huge one is Johnson and Johnson. People think they are buying something safe for their baby when getting Aveno products. It’s the same junk as all the other Johnson and Johnson brands but labeled differently!
    Amanda\’s last post: Why Become Vegan?

  39. Lauri Sheats Rottmayer via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Agree with Brittany but Kashi cereals don’t even taste good. The only time I indulge in crap is with the promise of something tasty. ;-)

  40. I remember the backlash they received a few months ago on FB and at that point I decided to never purchase their products again.

  41. Elsie Unrau via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Ever read the label? Sugar is named and renamed a hundred different ways. Whatever isn’t sugar, turns to sugar in the body. You’re right, its crap.

  42. I guess they go for this stuff thinking they are doing something wonderful for their bodies because it says natural even though it tastes like crap and is truely not good for you body. Great for the advertisers, what wonderful words are SALE, ALL NATURAL.

  43. Heather Jacob via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I used to eat this all the time, and it made me feel like crap. But I kept eating it because fiber must be healthy. Yeah, thank goddess I stopped that line of thinking.

  44. TerriAnn Welsh-Farrell via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I understand why people feel there is a breach of trust, however, Kashi never said they were GMO free. If not organic, then you are getting GMOs. This is true of all “natural” companies.

  45. Jennifer WeTopia Lawrence via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    i was given a box of that stuff and as soon as the person left, it went right into the garbage!

  46. Melissa Phillips May via Facebook August 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

    And like eating shards of glass. The few times I ate Kashi cereal I actually cut my mouth and throat on the product. No exaggeration. That stuff is dangerous in more ways than one!

  47. You’re not safe anywhere anymore. We eat mostly homemade breakfasts, waffles, yogurt and chia seeds, that kind of stuff. And I’m still not feeding my family safe food. It’s very disheartening.

  48. That is outright shameful on Kashi’s part. Can no one be trusted? I haven’t touched a box of breakfast cereal in many months since I became more aware of the traditional methods of cooking real food. Sadly, I too used to eat Kashi bars thinking that they were “healthy” but once I found they contained “expeller pressed” (aka GMO) canola oil, soy, and GLYCERIN of all things, I tossed them. Thank you for the informative article Sarah. The best that people can do is be informed consumers, otherwise we’re damned by the greedy monsters who call themselves food companies.


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