According to the USDA, almost 90% of the corn planted in the US is genetically engineered. Since 2000, the North American grain market has changed significantly. There is a rapidly shrinking supply of non-GM corn in North America.
Meyer notes most corn chip varieties are GMO contaminated, and even those derived from regular corn can end up the same way because of cross pollination from the huge percentage of GMO corn in U.S. fields.
Since the FDA refuses to label all genetically modified food, an alternative to GMO corn is blue corn. According to The Institute for Responsible Technology, blue corn currently does not cross with the current varieties of GM corn being grown.
“If you were growing blue corn on your farm and your neighbors have Roundup Ready yellow corn and pollen contaminated your corn, you could pick out the kernels,” said Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Organizations.
“If it wasn’t blue corn, it would be a pretty good guess that it’s GE (genetically engineered) corn.”
Gerritsen said he’s not aware of a Monsanto blue corn variety that is GMO, although it wouldn’t surprise him if they had one in development because of how many other varieties of crops they have awaiting deregulation.
But Gerritsen insists the best way to ensure a GMO-free supply of food is to know your farmer and to buy from small organic farms that test for cross contamination as much as possible.
Meyer warns that consumers buying blue corn products such as chips should also be vigilant where labels are concerned.
“Some companies owned by bigger brands have been known to use organic corn while also sneaking GMO canola oil or other products that are likely to contain GMOs onto their ingredient lists.”
The USDA approved Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt sweet corn at the beginning of the year. This is the agri-giant’s first GMO corn product made available directly to consumers.
Monsanto’s GMO Bt sweet corn will also be used in canned and frozen foods, and will be indistinguishable from natural corn because the FDA does not require genetically altered food products to be labeled.
Walmart signed a deal with Monsanto to begin carrying Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt sweet corn, and will stock their shelves with the un-labeled, pesticide-laced GMO corn.
Thanks to consumer pressure, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills have all agreed to not use Monsanto’s GM sweet corn in any of their products.