Monday, September 26, 2011

Sneaking GMO corn to the dinner table

Monsanto’s newest GMO sweet corn scheduled to be sold directly to an unsuspecting public. This experimental corn will not be labeled, so consumers will not know when they may be eating a GMO food that contains a toxic pesticide in every bite. 

Monsanto’s corn is a new GMO variety that has been genetically modified for three different traits: to resist two different insects and to withstand heavy spraying with Monsanto's toxic Roundup herbicide. 

Because there are already untested varieties of other insect-resistant and Roundup-Ready varieties on the market, federal regulators are not requiring ANY approval process—which means NO public comment on its introduction into our food supply.
~Center for Food Safety

There is genetically modified produce in a lot of the processed food you eat, but this is the first time that Monsanto is taking fresh GM produce from the ground straight to your mouth. If it works out, there will be plenty more.

Almost all non-organic, multi-ingredient, packaged food sold by major retailers contains unlabeled genetically engineered ingredients. Anything that is derived from non-organic corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets or alfalfa is likely genetically modified.

The worst genetically engineered ingredients are high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils and milk, eggs and meat from animals raised in factory farms on a diet of GMO grains.

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, is known for developing engineered crops (i.e. corn and soybeans) that end up in many of the food products found on grocery store aisles, as well as in fibers and animal feed. Up until now, the company’s GM crops have only been available in processed foods–in other words, in little bits and pieces. But now Monsanto is making a move into the consumer market with GM sweet corn, which will be found in a supermarket produce bin or farmer’s market near you starting this fall.

There  is a good chance you’ve already eaten GM sweet corn: 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.

Monsanto, which already controls 60% of the U.S. corn market, is including traits in the new sweet corn that make it resistant to both Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and to insects (through the inclusion of Bt toxin, a trait that disrupts insect digestive systems and eventually kills them). 

At least 21 weed species have become resistant to Roundup. And Bt toxin may have negative health effects–a recent study found the toxin in the maternal and fetal blood of pregnant women, though the implications of that aren’t known quite yet…. Source

(You didn't really think I'd let this pass without comment, did you?)

If GMO labeling matters to you, please use the search engine of your choice for the "Millions Against Monsanto" petition and add your name.

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