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More Trains Carrying Oil Causes MN Grain Shortage

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(credit: CBS) Kate Raddatz
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A boom in using trains to ship oil to Minnesota could cause a shortage at the breakfast table.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Canada is months behind in grain shipments, as railroads have been shipping more oil instead.

“Well, the shortage isn’t in grain, it’s more or less transportation of moving grain and that’s our biggest problem right now,” Minnesota Grain and Feed Association executive director Bob Zelenka said.

That means higher costs for companies like Minnesota-based General Mills to make their cereals. Without enough oats, Cheerios may be off the shelves, according to the article.

“They’re probably our number one cereal … with all the different brands too. So the Honey Nut Cheerios and the Cheerios are probably our number one selling cereal,” said Douglas Borsch, the assistant manager at Kowalski’s on Grand Ave.

“(I have) three sons, they all eat Cheerios,” said customer Ruth Gough from Edina. “I think people will stock up if they find out its true.”

Canadian government officials have said the backlog on grain could mean Cheerios could run out in two to three weeks, but General Mills is saying they have enough.

A spokesperson for General Mills released a statement saying, “We don’t normally discuss commodity sourcing, but we do have the oats we need to operate our business.”

Customers are hoping they continue to see the yellow boxes on the shelves.

“I think the General Mills people would probably do something to at least help it. I don’t predict Cheerios going away forever,” said Kyle Lyons, a customer from Maple Grove.

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