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Ask Walmart to Say No to GM Sweet Corn

Food and Water Watch is organizing a campaign for consumers to ask Walmart to say no to GM sweet corn on their shelves.

Monsanto’s genetically modified sweet corn is being planted on 250,000 acres this year – approximately 40% of the sweet corn market. This GM sweet corn is Roundup-resistant and also resistant to corn-borer and rootworm.

Labeling of genetically engineered foods is not required, so there will be no way of knowing if the fresh produce in your shopping cart is GM or not.

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and General Mills have agreed not to use genetically modified sweet corn in any of their products. If Walmart adds their buying power to the rest of those, the effect on the market will be significant.

Walmart has said several times that they are interested in sustainability, supporting small farmers, and improving the environment.  Ask them to say no to GM sweet corn in their stores.

Food and Water Watch has a petition at their site that you can sign.

Photo of little girl eating corn on the cob via Shutterstock

8 comments
  1. Richard

    Why would one want to prevent consumers from eating GMO foods, unless one has a business interest in the organics market. Millions of people have been eating GMO foods for years without ill effects. And genetically engineered crops have reduced the amount of bug and disease damage to our crops while increasing yields and allowing crops to grow in drought conditions. GMOs have undergone rigorous safety testing and have been approved the the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many other federal and state departments dealing with food safety. I agree that consumers should be able to make a choice on whether or not to buy GMOs and this should be transparent in labeling. But to boycott foods simply because they contain spliced protein molecules that protect plants from predators and disease is simply ridiculous. GMOs are as safe and healthy as conventional grown crops and organics. And they are not a safety issue.

    1. Becky Striepe

      For me, it’s that I don’t trust biotech firms who are working to patent seeds and control our food supply. I have no business interest in organics, it’s what I prefer on my plate.

    2. Becky Striepe

      If we labeled GMOs, it might be another story, but since big ag doesn’t want us knowing what is and isn’t genetically modified, the only way to be sure your corn isn’t GMO is by either only buying organic or pushing to get it off the shelves all together.

  2. Urban Artichoke

    I used to think that GMOs were necessary, but as I looked into their use I was surprised at what I learned. The issue I have with GM agricultural crops is that they are causing massive problems for the farmers that bought into growing them, then got caught “between a rock and a hard place” because the crops required either much more fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides etc. as pests or weeds adapted. These practices are doing great harm to soils, and it’s a losing enterprise (unsustainable).
    Additionally, companies such as Monsanto, have demonstrated that they are unethical- witness how they have treated organic farmers whose livelihoods were harmed by GM contamination. I don’t understand why Monsanto did this- it doesn’t even make good business sense.

    1. GH

      Well, it isn’t actually true that GE crops require any additional inputs. Think about it for a second: how does inserting a gene for insect resistance or herbicide tolerance suddenly make a plant need more fertilizers? As for pesticides, the insect tolerant ones need less. The herbicide tolerant ones don’t need the herbicides, rather they are simply able to grow with them, and it isn’t as if farmers didn’t know that they could do this, if fact, there’s a reason farmers buy herbicide tolerant seed. If you’ve ever watched RFD-TV,, you’ll know that in commercials for seed that is actually a selling point (ask yourself, if they have been so bad for the farmers, why is that so, and why do they continue to buy them and use the herbicides?). And yes, it is true that weeds and pests have adapted to one of the herbicides used and some of the insect resistance traits, however, this is not unique to GE crops. It has happened before with other crops, with other chemical inputs. Population genetics does not care if genetic engineering is involved; if you create selection pressure, pests will adapt. Funny enough, if you point out these resistances (as many who oppose GE do), you must also accept that there was selection pressure to create them, in other words, that the GE works.

      About them being necessary, I suggest you ask if the Rainbow papaya was unnecessary. It is a GE papaya, developed by the University of Hawaii, that is resistant to a virus that was destroying the Hawaiian papaya industry. Without it, there would likely be almost no commercial papaya production in Hawaii. Necessary? In some cases, yes. In others, ask yourself this: is is necessary to use hammers to build a house? We tend to think so, but you could just pound nails in with rocks. Are the currently used GE crops necessary right now? Not strictly speaking, but they are an improvement, and it is highly likely that, like the rise of hybrid seed before them, the will become necessary. As for harm to soils, well, I’m sure that spraying any herbicide is bad for your soil. That’s not the question though. You can’t compare one alternative with an ideal situation, you have to compare one alternative with another. In this case, the herbicides used with GE crops are generally better than the herbicides they replaced, and they’re better than tilling to control weeds (which promotes fertilizer runoff into streams & rivers and soil erosion). By facilitating the spread of no-till methods, for all the ill will directed toward them, herbicide tolerant GE crops have done quite a bit of environmental good. If anyone else has another way to make all the weeds go away, I’m sure the farmers would love to hear it…remember, every gallon of Round-Up or Liberty that the farmers spray is money from their bottom line. You think they want to spray it?

      You say it is unsustainable, I ask how in the world genetically improving a plant is unsustainable?

      I’m not quite sure about what particular action by Monsanto you’re talking about so I can’t say much on that topic, but I will point out that what any given company does is no reason to generally support or oppose genetic engineering itself; that call should be made on science alone.

  3. Urban Artichoke

    dear GH,
    clearly these issues are complex and I can’t address all your points here as I don’t think I can properly in this space, but I’ll attempt to address some of them. I agree that agricultural practices (and much of our activities!) should be based on science and demonstration (I spent my career in biomedical science, and I’m not opposed to genetically engineering micro-organisms to produce certain drugs, for example). So I’ll point you to some references that I use. For excellent examples of what I mean by “sustainable farming practices” (including projects in other countries) please see John Jeavons’ work at : http://www.growbiointensive.org/
    Another useful one is the Genetic Engineering News blog curated by Thomas Whittman who provides credible back-up for his information: http://www.eco-farm.org/blogs/genetic_engineering/
    On the subject of herbicide resistance due to GM crops, the following was posted by Whittman: The widespread planting of “Roundup Ready” crops that are genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate has led to the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds in fields in the United States. Of these weeds, the species believed to pose the greatest threat to agricultural productivity is Palmer amaranth – more commonly known as Palmer pigweed – which has infested cotton and soya farms across the southern US and is expected to spread to new areas and crops.” So in this case, farmers are now trying cocktails of herbicides to try to control these weeds. You’ll find this referenced at the web site. The only point I want to make is that in my discussions with organic farmers, they have committed to “sustainable practices” that is, those that promote the health of the ecosystem: crop rotation, biodiversity (planting hedges that attract beneficial insects, using mulch and composting etc.
    As for the lawsuit against Monsanto, please see my post: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2012/01/05/at-last-a-chance-at-justice-for-organic-farmers/
    It’s an interesting legal case.
    Our planet is in a sorry state- for my part I’m attempting to educate on the issues and offer alternatives that may help reverse some of the damage. Some of these will take along time to implement- and one solution will not “fit all”.
    Thank you for your comments- open exchange is a good thing, and it’s up to each individual to weigh the evidence for themselves.

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