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Cheerios celebrates 70 years

General Mills employees Denise Greer of the human resources department and Paulette Crabb of the finance department serve cake to Julie Liu, who works in logistics.

General Mills employees Denise Greer of the human resources department and Paulette Crabb of the finance department serve cake to Julie Liu, who works in logistics.

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General Mills Plant Manager Mark Bible speaks to local officials and General Mills employees during a birthday celebration for Cheerios Thursday.

COVINGTON -- It's a food enjoyed by toddlers the world over, but Cheerios qualifies as a senior citizen.

The popular multi-grain cereal produced by General Mills is marking its 70th birthday. Since the Covington plant on Industrial Park Boulevard is one of the world's largest producers of Cheerios, local officials thought it only appropriate to celebrate with General Mills employees Thursday afternoon. Representatives with the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan and Covington Mayor Kim Carter were on hand to distribute birthday cakes and thank General Mills for being a good corporate citizen.

"I'm very proud as I travel through the state to say General Mills is in Covington," said Carter, who read a proclamation declaring Thursday, Aug. 26, "70 Years of Cheerios Production Day."

Morgan said for the 22 years the company has been in Covington, it has demonstrated a commitment to employees and the community at large.

"You make all of us you work with better people because we try to live up to your standards of excellence," she said.

Plant Manager Mark Bible thanked officials for their support of General Mills and industry in general.

"We are quite honestly the envy of other plants thanks to the relationships we have," he said.

Bible said the Covington plant is one of the largest producers of Cheerios in the world, producing several flavors.

The cereal launched in 1941 as CheeriOats. A name change to Cheerios followed in 1945. By 1951, Cheerios had become the number one selling cold cereal for General Mills. The company began advertising the cereal as a food for toddlers in 1974. Honey Nut Cheerios was introduced in 1979. There are now 11 varieties of Cheerios, including Original, Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut and even Chocolate. One out of eight boxes of cereal sold in America is Cheerios.