2012-08-06

Co.Exist

Monsanto's Genetically Modified Corn Is Coming To A Walmart Near You

The company’s first consumer-focused GM product has been banned from lots of stores, but Walmart has decided to put it on its shelves. But with no labels, you won’t know if you’re getting the GM corn or not.

It’s not a secret: You probably eat genetically modified food every day. Approximately 80% of packaged foods contain GM ingredients like corn, soy, and canola. It might not even matter. The health effects of GM crops are still very much under debate. Or it might. And if it does turn out that GM ingredients have nasty health effects, they will likely be more harmful in foods that we ingest whole, like fruits and vegetables, than in the processed foods where they are currently found. No one is waiting around to find out. Walmart announced recently that it will sell GM sweet corn created by Monsanto.

The news comes after General Mills, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s all announced that they wouldn’t carry the sweet corn, which is the first consumer product developed by Monsanto. Walmart, on the other hand, is seemingly unconcerned with any potential ramifications. The company explained to the Chicago Tribune: "After closely looking at both sides of the debate and collaborating with a number of respected food safety experts, we see no scientifically validated safety reasons to implement restrictions on this product."

We first wrote about Monsanto’s sweet corn when it was announced last year. At the time, Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, told us: "There’s a concern with these GE crops that we eat with minimal processing [like sweet corn]…we’re exposed to a lot more of whatever is in it versus a processed corn product." Bt toxin, a trait found in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (used on Monsanto corn), has been found in the maternal and fetal blood of pregnant women. No one is quite sure what that means at this point.

The other issue here is that Monsanto’s success securing the world’s largest retailer as a customer (Walmart) could mean that it will continue its work on consumer-facing products—another step toward more GM products with minimal processing. As Freese told us last year, it’s possible that Monsanto is testing the waters with sweet corn.

As of right now, producers in the U.S. don’t have to disclose whether their products contain GM ingredients. That may change soon in California, but for now, it’s an advantage for companies like Monsanto. Consumers might not care if their sweet corn is genetically modified, but there’s no way for them to know.

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16 Comments

  • Mike Reed

    You folks are quite the accomplished Panic-Mongering Conspiracy Theorists, and Propagandists for the Business Haters of the stinking OWS freak-fest aren't you?  Spreading myths, half-truths and plain old lies...  implied and insinuated mind you, seems your stock and trade here, yes?

    Every plant or animal currently being used for food across the entire Earth has been "Genetically Modified" in some way, by some means.  "Chemicals", whether manufactured or distilled/derived/harvested from nature, have been used in farming for eons.  Take a general biology or history of science course you emotionally over-wrought, but intellectually challenged, ignorant and gullible people!

    These scare tactics and corporation-hate shows are pitiful and tiresome cover for a Great Marketing Program from multi-millionaires in the Organic Foods BUSINESS!  Can't sell their over-priced and often inferior products to the suckers unless they can convince you that their competitors are Evil Monsters Who Want to Kill You with "frankenfoods", "chemical poisons", yadda', yadda', yadda'.    The owners of the Whole Foods Corporate Chains are RICH One percenters who rightly and legally exploit the naivete' of thought/logic-free accolytes of the 1st Church of Green, Wholesome, Sustainability. 

    Who, with two brain cells rubbing together, believes that Monsanto & WalMart are out to Injure or Kill their Customers?  You know, Paying Customers and their Future Paying Customer Children - who you say make them unfairly, unjustly, horribly Rich?     Well, I see you dim-wits apparently do, so there's that.

  • Fred K

    Actually, a lot of the world's population starve or die. Check your stats. Don't forget the famine in Eastern Africa, among others. How come Monsanto hasn't addressed the poor world's hunger with its magical GMO corn yet? It's supposed to be more resistant but over 80% of the US [GE] corn crops suffered from this year's drought.Also, remember that DDT was deemed safe (on no scientific grounds) until it was deemed... unsafe decades later, once rows of death were reported.

  • JFSII

    A lot more of them would without genetically modified food. All corn that we eat was derived from inedible purple varieties. 

    Look up Norman Borlaug and look what he accomplished, entirely with genetic modification in the 50's, 60's and 70's. He was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Last I checked, Monsanto wasn't actually claiming to be trying to solve the famine problem in Africa with its corn, so I'm not sure what your critique is... but other people, contemporary Borlaugs, are trying to do it - and GMO food is an important tools.

  • JFSII

    Spoiler alert: All edible corn is genetically modified. If it weren't for genetically modified food, whether accomplished by cross-breeding the old fashioned way ("tradional genetics") or modified using new gene-splicing techniques (which both accomplish the same thing...), a lot of the world's human population would starve and die.

  • Genetically modified,yes is mixing different plant strains which has never been harmless. Genetically engineering that is the correct word for splicing plants with Round Up pesticides- then spraying them again with pesticides.Its your right to know about your food.This is doing something to food that has never been done in the past-and we don't really know what the long term effects could be. The day they are labeled there will be less of a controversy because then they would be avoided easily by people that do not want to eat them.The people who do not mind eating them should also be happier because they would get foods at lower prices. We are one of the few countries that accept and do not label GMOs yet. Regardless people now say genetically modified but really mean genetically engineered. I wouldn't take the risk on an infant whatever you believe it is just better to be safe when it comes to baby.

  • jpr0746@gmail.com

    THAT WOULD BE GOOD, ABOUT HALF NEED TO DIE, THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE AS IS, WE ARE WORSE THEN RABBITS.  WE ARE SCREWING DAY IN AND DAY OUT, RABBITS HAVE MATING SEASONS.

  • Mr. Pants

    On the contrary, guitarchitect: I would love to hear you elaborate on how natural mutation (that occurs over the course of generations, tested by trial and error as the genetically unsuited die off and the genetically superior thrive) is no different from genetic modification (that occurs within a laboratory, without the merit of testing).

    I would especially love to hear elaboration further about how a tomatoe, for example, could naturally acquire the genetic traits of a fish. Are you suggesting this can occur naturally?

    Shifting the burden of proof does not a valid argument make. You made the unsubstantiated claim that the two are no different; it is your burden to substantiate that claim, not to deflect that responsibility unto dissenting opinions. That, my friend, is the tactic of a troll, an idiot, or a politician (see also: a troll and/or an idiot )

  • JFSII

    Tim: I would love to hear you elaborate on how they are different, at the cellular level. Whether you're using a carrier, a syringe, or "letting nature take its course", fundamentally it's all putting new genetic material into a host. 

  • Fred K

    Actually, a lot of the world's population starve or die. Check your stats. Don't forget the famine in Eastern Africa, among others. How come Monsanto hasn't addressed the poor world's hunger with its magical GMO corn yet? It's supposed to be more resistant but over 80% of the US [GE] corn crops suffered from this year's drought.
    Also, remember that DDT was deemed safe (on no scientific grounds) until it was deemed... unsafe decades later, once rows of death were reported.Last but not least, this Rodale Institute's 30 year study: http://newhope360.com/agricult...

  • Tim D

    There is a huge difference between genetic engineering and cross-breeding.  There needs to be much more testing of GM crops before they are allowed to be sold.  Let's not even get into the problem with patenting life forms.

  • JFSII

    frank, I would love to see your supposed "thousands of tests", and I would also like to see the "toxic sludge puddle" genes that you're referring to - what gene is that, what does it do, and what food is it in?

    Oh wait - were you just making shit up to try to make a point? I wouldn't be surprised. The fact is, we have been modifying genes to increase yield, flavour, and other characteristics of food for hundreds of years - it's not "natural evolution" or "hybrids". Look up traditional genetic modification techniques!

  • Frank

    Ridiculous.  GMOs have genes from bacteria they found in a toxic sludge puddle spliced into them.  They are genetically engineered to produce toxins to kill bugs.  In tests all over the world those genes have been shown to mutate the stomach bacteria so your own stomach is producing toxins inside you. It is not even remotely like natural evolution or even hybrids.  

    Thousands of laboratory tests done all over the world show GMOs to be extremely dangerous to anything that eats them.  They are banned all over Europe and many other parts of the world.  The evidence is overwhelming but people still believe the propaganda or live in denial.  They are even banned in Monsanto's own canteen.