Information on GMO Sweet Corn

Unbeknownst to the majority of consumers, in the summer of 2012 large quantities of GMO sweet corn appeared on grocery store shelves and roadside produce stands. In 2011, Monsanto announced plans to grow genetically modified sweet corn on 250,000 acres, roughly accounting for 40 percent of the sweet corn market. The sweet corn is being used for frozen and canned corn products, and it is also available fresh across the country.

In 2013, Friends of the Earth released a first-of-its-kind study tracking the prevalence of GMO sweetcorn and brought us some good news! According to the study, out of 71 samples of fresh, frozen and canned corn tested from around the United States, only two of those tested positive (both were confirmed to be Monsanto Seminis® Performance Series™ sweet corn).

Here are key facts you need to know:

What?
GMO sweet corn is genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant (Roundup Ready) and to produce its own insecticide (Bt Toxin). Like all GMOs, genetically modified sweet corn has not been thoroughly tested to ensure that it is safe for consumption.

Who?
While GMO sweet corn has been produced in the past by Syngenta, this is the first attempt by a biotech company to corner the sweet corn market.

Where?
GMO sweet corn can be found in the produce aisle of your local food store and at farmers’ markets and farmstands. It can also be found in processed foods that contain sweet corn

How can I keep GMO sweet corn off my plate?
All of the Non-GMO Project Verified sweet corn is listed here; however, if you can’t find a Verified version, eating Certified Organic sweet corn is a great way to protect you and your family from this experimental food. Under the regulations of the National Organic Program, Certified Organic farmers are not allowed to knowingly plant GMO seed. Learn more about all of the benefits of Certified Organic here.

I want to do more. Any suggestions?

  1. Read our blog, “GMO Sweet Corn–Anything but Sweet” for ideas on how to take action
  2. Leave a note at your local farmstand or farmers’ market explaining your concerns about GMO sweet corn. Download a letter template for farmers
  3. Speak with your local retailer and share the retailer sweet corn flyer. Download the retailer flyer (PDF)
  4. Check out the Friends of the Earth article and study.