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General Mills shareholders on Monday showed strong support for the company's decision to use genetically-modified ingredients in Big G cereals and other products because U.S. regulators say they are safe.

A proposal asking the cereal and snacks maker not to use gene-altered ingredients until long-term testing shows they are not harmful to humans, animals and the environment was defeated by shareholders at the company's annual meeting by a margin of more than 21-to-1.

The proposal also had asked that General Mills, in the interim, label and identify products that may contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Chairman and CEO Steve Sanger said biotechnology is a safe way to develop improved seeds for farmers and can be used to produce foods to keep people healthier.

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