How does your garden grow?
Here in the Mid-Atlantic, we’re approaching the end of sweet corn season. For at least two or three more weeks we’ll be seeing plenty of corn available at roadside stands, farmers’ markets, and most grocery stores.
So get it while you can, because it will soon be gone.
But to be on the safe side, pass on the stuff piled in produce bins at your local grocery store because there’s a very good chance it’s Frankencorn. And I’m sorry to report that it’s alive, ALIVE!
Just a touch of toxin
When you drive past a corn field, you can assume that all those ears of corn are NOT going to be shucked, boiled and eaten off the cob.
That’s because U.S. farmers grow about 250,000 acres of sweet corn for human consumption, and more than 92 MILLION acres for high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, and animal feed.
So growing sweet corn destined for dinner plates is not a big business. And yet, Monsanto, the agri-business giant, recently developed a genetically-modified (GM) sweet corn that will soon show up in grocery stores across the U.S.
Like other types of Monsanto GM crops, this new corn is Roundup Ready. That is, it’s modified to withstand drenching with Roundup, the popular weed-killer made by Monsanto.
But Monsanto scientists didn’t stop with a weed-proof corn. They also modified the corn’s genes to create a trait known as Bt that kills insects.
(Hmmm…all of a sudden I am NOT hungry for a warm, buttered ear of corn.)
This Bt trait has been deemed safe for human consumption (of course!) because it’s destroyed in the gut.
Or so we’ve been told.
The Bt toxin trait has been around for awhile in other GM foods. And recently according to a report in the Daily Mail, Canadian researchers found traces of the toxin in the blood of pregnant women AND in the umbilical cords.
We can only guess what effect Bt toxin might have on fetuses (or on you and me, for that matter), but the study clearly suggests that the insecticide trait is NOT halted and destroyed in the gut.
When GM corn and other foods are placed in grocery produce bins in Japan, Australia, and the European Union, do you know what they do? You’ll never guess! They actually label the bins so shoppers will know the food has been genetically modified.
What a concept!
But don’t expect to see that happen in the U.S. It seems that Monsanto and other companies that produce GM foods just don’t want to worry our pretty little heads about what they do to our food before it arrives at grocery stores.
And of course the USDA and the FDA wouldn’t dream of ruffling any Big Food corporate feathers by insisting that GM foods be clearly labeled.
So if you want sweet corn and other vegetables you KNOW are safe, buy them from local organic farmers. And then let your friends and family know that there’s just no way to predict the wholesomeness or safety of loose produce in grocery stores these days — unless you pick up a dozen ears in Japan, Australia or the EU.
“Monsanto enters into market for fresh sweet corn” P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times, 8/5/11, latimes.com
“For the First Time Ever, Monsanto Will be Marketing its Products Directly to Consumers with Sweet Corn – Serious Implications” Max Goldberg, Living Maxwell, 8/12/11, livingmaxwell.com