Cheerios cereal brand isunder fire for sending out billions of potentially disease-spreading seeds in an attempt to help save bees from extinction.
The brand recently announced that it would mail out free wildflower seeds as part of its “Save the Bees” campaign.
The seeds, once planted, were meant to provide more nectar for the declining bee population.
As of Friday, Cheerios had sent out 1.5 billion seeds, according to General Mills, which owns the cereal brand.
There’s one problem with Cheerios’ charitable effort, however: some of the wildflower species included in the packet of seeds can do serious damage to various ecosystems across the US, reports Lifehacker.
The packets contain more than 20species of seeds, including some that are banned in certain states becausethey can “take up all the space and use up all the resources” and “spread disease” that could be detrimental to plants and humans, an ecologist told Lifehacker.
For example, the packets containCalifornia poppyseeds that arelisted as an “invasive exotic pest plant”in the Southeast, according to Lifehacker.
In response to the article, Cheerios said none of the seed varieties in the packets are considered invasive and thatall of them are already available at retailers across the US.
“General Mills worked with Veseys Seeds and their experts on this program,” the company said in a statement. “It has been field-tested and is known to attract honey bees, bumble bees, and other native bees such as mining bees, leaf cutter bees, sweet bees and long-horned bees.”
Cheerios has also been responding to concerned consumerson Facebook.
Read the full story at Lifehacker.