It's your right to know what's in the food you buy, but food producers would rather you didn't

For me, the words “sweet corn” conjure up summertime images. Simple roadside produce stands… Shucking ears over a newspaper… A table piled with steamed blue crabs (which happen to go perfectly with hot buttered corn on the cob)…

Here’s what “sweet corn” NEVER makes me think of… Walmart.

Walmart reps recently announced they’ll begin selling sweet corn. But not just any sweet corn. These ears will be grown from genetically modified seeds produced by the biotech giant Monsanto.

Troubling? Beyond troubling! And many organizations are reacting in horror. No question, that’s exactly the right reaction. But it’s one year late.

In 2011, I told you about the introduction of Monsanto’s sweet corn. So it’s a little ironic that those who are worried about Walmart’s GMO corn may have already eaten the very same corn, sold at their local grocery.

Of course, they could have avoided that corn if grocers had displayed a sign reading… “Contains GMO.”

That’s it. Just 11 letters. But you might be amazed to learn what food producers will do to keep that sign from ever going up. They don’t want us to know the truth about their corn and other GMO foods. They know what most of us will do.

We’ll just say, “NO!”

California dreamin’

Monsanto’s sweet corn is Roundup Ready. That means it’s genetically modified to survive drenching with Roundup, the weed-killer made by Monsanto.

But Monsanto scientists didn’t stop with a weed-proof corn. They also modified the genes to contain an insect toxin called Bt. That means that a pesticide is in the roots, the stalk, the ears, the kernels — literally, every cell of the plant.

This is something new in nature. It’s a whole food. But at the same time, it’s also infused with chemicals. That’s a true Frankencorn!

So what’s the problem with just being honest and alerting shoppers that the corn is GMO?

The industry (that is, bio-techs and food producers) say it’s unnecessary. And the FDA, USDA, AMA, and other industry-friendly groups are climbing on board. They say there’s no proof that GMO foods pose dangers. And they often take it one step further. They dismiss any disagreement as “unscientific” and “fear mongering.”

Science? They know it’s virtually impossible to conduct safety studies of GMO effects in humans. And they just ignore the animal studies that link kidney and liver problems to GMO food consumption.

Fear? You can smell THEIR fear a mile away. You can even put a price tag on their fear… $12 million.

Bio-techs and major food producers have raised about $12 million (so far) to defeat a ballot initiative that Californians will vote on in November.

It’s called Proposition 37, and it simply calls for food manufacturers to inform consumers when a food product contains GMO ingredients.

Prop 37 doesn’t call for a GMO ban. It doesn’t call for restricting sales of any products. It does just one thing. If passed, it will require GMO foods to be labeled as GMO. Done.

And the good news is that this goes way beyond California.

Because of California’s size, most food producers probably would not bother labeling only items sold in the state. They would more likely label ALL their products, wherever they’re sold. So if Prop 37 passes, it may be an important boost toward a nationwide labeling of GMO products.

Good for you. Good for me. For Monsanto? Not so good. It might lead to a much wider awareness of what that company is doing to our food.

You can learn more about Prop 37 and donate to the campaign on the Right to Know website (

“Walmart announces it will sell genetically modified sweet corn” Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune, 8/6/12,

“19 Studies Suggest Link Between GMO Foods and Serious Organ Damage” Jill Ettinger, Organic Authority, 4/12/11,

“Opponents of campaign to require GMO labels raise $12 million [Los Angeles Times]” Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/14/12,

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