This is the first summer, though, that my family has really questioned our favorite summertime vegetable. This is the first summer we learned we might be eating genetically modified corn on the cob.
According the the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, there are very few fresh fruits and vegetables sold in America that are actually genetically modified. In fact, the only commercialized GMO is Hawaii’s papaya. This fact was true, but it seems that things are about to change.
Just this month, Wal-Mart Supercenters announced they will be carrying a line of Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn, despite the public’s outcries, according to a report from CommonDreams.org. As it is with all GMO foods in America, the store does not have to label the corn, and they said they won’t be.
The type of corn Wal-Mart is selling is a blend that has been modified to resist the toxic impact of being sprayed with chemical pesticides and herbicides.
Another blend has been growing this summer, too. MotherJones.com reported that a drought-tolerant corn was approved by the USDA in December 2011. They said farmers could begin growing and testing this crop this summer. Given the drought we’ve had this year, it lent a perfect excuse for such a blend of corn.
Currently it’s the sweet corn, though, that has made its move from the fields to our shelves. This is the first unpackaged GMO to go directly to the consumers. Previously, the products have been processed into items such as sugars or oils and then added to foods. No longer can we assume that our fresh produce is GMO-free.
One bright spot, however, is that particular stores have declared they will not carry the Monsanto corn. SustainableBusiness.com reported that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have made that vow. The major brand General Mills has spoken against the product as well. Meanwhile, major chain stores like Safeway and Kroger have made no statements.
The summer grilling hasn’t ended at our house. We try to ride out the delicious flavors of the season as long as we can. However, we’re being torn over this issue with our beloved corn on the cob. If labeling isn’t mandated this election year, we may have to change our menu come next summer.
We reached out to Wal-Mart but they did not return our message.