DETROIT — Cereal-maker General Mills has issued an apology for CD-ROM versions of the Bible that are headed to grocery stores nationwide in about 12 million cereal boxes.

The discs are part of a $10 million software-and-cereal promotion that offers CD-ROMs with computer games, dictionaries and Bibles. But the Minneapolis-based company said it didn't know the Bible had been put on CD-ROMs.

"While inclusion of the Bible may be seen as added value by some, it is the company's policy not to advance any particular set of religious beliefs," said General Mills, which counts Cheerios and Chex among its cereals. "Inclusion of this material does not conform to our policy, and we apologize for this lapse."

Greg Swann, founder of Rhinosoft Interactive of Wisconsin, the company that helped create the CDROMs, called General Mills' claims that it was unaware of the software Bibles "a flat-out lie."

"We all knew we were walking through a minefield," Swann said in Saturday's Detroit Free Press. "But I knew this idea was going to be very popular with millions of Christians who will want those free Bibles."

Michigan-based Zondervan Publishing had given free licenses for the software copies of its New International Version of the Bible.