GMO Cornholio

I may have sold my soul for cheap corn.  Forgive me–it was 10 for a dollar at Fry’s.  I should have bought the organic version at the farmers’ market—then I would be assured the corn I fed my kids hadn’t been genetically modified.  It was the recent news that Wal Mart has started selling Monsanto’s new sweet corn that triggered these bad feelings.  True, Americans have been eating genetically modified sweet corn for a long time (much of Europe has banned or restricted these foods), but supposedly, this is more sinister.  According to and article on FastCompany’s Co.exist web site:

Syngenta–a Monsanto rival–has been selling it for a decade. And Monsanto already sells GM squash developed by Seminis, which the company bought in 2005. So why is Monsanto’s sweet corn a big deal? This is the first consumer product actually developed by Monsanto. While previous industry attempts to introduce GM consumer-oriented vegetables in the 1990s failed miserably (see Calgene’s Flavr Savr tomatoes), Monsanto may be warming up to the idea. “I think Monsanto is trying to test the waters here,” says Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety. If GM sweet corn works out for the agri-giant, we might see even more GM produce on our supermarket shelves.”

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have pledged not to sell GM foods, but elsewhere, it’s anyone’s guess.  Will I still buy 10 ears for a dollar if Monsanto’s sweet corn makes it past Wal-Mart?  If I buy corn, I probably will because it won’t be labeled.  Most GM food is not labeled.  I was distraught, but not surprised, when the senate voted down the Sanders-Boxer Amendment to the farm bill 26–73.  The Sanders bill would have allowed (not required) states to label GM foods.  And it had over 90% voter support (I saw that number a bunch of times—so maybe it’s true).  After threatening Virginia with a law suit when they tried to pass a similar bill, Monsanto pressured the Senate to reject the Sanders Bill.  See the link at the bottom of this post for a list of senators’ votes on the bill.

Your best bet is to buy organic produce, which cannot be genetically modified.  And if you are only eating sweet corn, you’re not really the problem. 80% of corn produced in this country is used as animal feed and another 12% is made into corn syrup.  This corn finds its way into most of the meat you eat and nearly all of the products you find in the aisles of your grocery store.  If you don’t eat processed food or corn-fed meat you are not supporting the GMO corn producers who wielded so much influence over the recent farm bill and who, with huge government subsidies, may be making our country sick.

Who voted against the Sanders Bill?

Real Time with Bill Maher on GMO video

Avoiding GM Foods

Farm Bill Wins and Losses

In the interest of fairness, an article in support of gmo corn

A response to the Food and Water Watch blog in the Huffington Post  (referenced above–click on “Monsanto’s new sweet corn” for the Huffington Post article)

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