Published on August 15th, 2012 | by Becky Striepe2
Monsanto’s Corn: Coming to a Walmart Near You
Despite petitions and consumer letter-writing campaigns, Walmart announced plans to carry Monsanto’s genetically engineered sweet corn.
Walmart is the biggest retailer in the U.S. and last year became the #1 grocery retailer in the country, as well. That makes this announcement a big win for Monsanto. It also means widespread distribution of GM corn in our food system.
What’s worse is that since there are no labeling laws for GMOs here in the U.S., there’s no way for shoppers to know if that’s genetically engineered food in their baskets. As Tanya discussed last week, the food lobby – including biotech giant Monsanto – is staunchly against GMO labeling laws.
Sales of Monsanto’s corn at Walmart could begin as early as this summer.
What’s so bad about Monsanto Sweet Corn?
The sweet corn is genetically engineered to contain Bt, a pesticide. The idea is to make the corn more pest resistant, but there are some very negative side effects.
Just like the overuse of Roundup, the overuse of Bt leads to resistant weeds, or “superweeds.” Big biotech’s solution? Stronger, more toxic pesticides and “stacked resistance” crops that are not only resistant to Roundup but to 2,4D, an ingredient in Agent Orange. How long before the problem with Bt resistance gets so bad that we’re spraying Agent Orange on our GMO corn, too?
The other problem is that this toxin doesn’t stay in the corn. One survey found Bt toxin polluting waterways, and we don’t know what impact it could have on fragile aquatic ecosystems. Another study discovered Bt toxin in human – and fetal – blood samples.
Resistant weeds and polluted waterways affect us all, whether we choose to eat Monsanto’s sweet corn or not.
How to Opt Out of Monsanto’s Sweet Corn
You have a few options if you want to just say no to Monsanto sweet corn. The first – and most obvious – option is to stop buying groceries at Walmart. Like any other corporation, what matters to these companies is their bottom line. If they see a big drop in their corn sales, they may reconsider their decision. You can also shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for sweet corn without worrying. Both of these grocery retailers have rejected Monsanto’s GMO corn.
The other surefire way to keep GMOs off of your plate is to eat organic. According to U.S. Organic Standards, organic foods can’t, by definition, be genetically modified. That means Monsanto can’t engineer organic sweet corn.
Are you concerned about Walmart selling Monsanto’s sweet corn? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Image Credit: Sweet Corn photo via Shutterstock