I love corn. However I do not love that it is ‘genetically-modified’.
Genetically-modified in the case of corn, refers to the fact that it has been altered in a lab to be able withstand huge loads of pesticides. Without modifying the corn to withstand insect-killing toxic pesticides, the plants would die from the chemical load.
How does it become genetically-modified? Specifically, corn is spliced with a gene from soil bacteria, known as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The toxin-containing seeds are then sold to farmers, ultimately affecting food we eat. You will never be able to see the pesticide OR wash it off….you are stuck with it. And the fact that this particular pesticide works by rupturing the gut of insects that eat it, makes it EXTRA unappetizing. It’s no wonder GMO food products including corn are now implicated in ill health.
GMO corn is reported to be making its way to some roadside stands, farmer’s markets and even grocery store shelves. The worst of it is that you may never know if your corn has been grown from GM seeds and peppered with more gut-wrenching pesticide than you can imagine. Neither Canada or the US have joined the dozen or so other nations with mandatory labelling GMO of foods. So this summer, our usual family tradition of buying roadside corn on the cob will also be modifed.
As corn is used in oodles of processed food ingredients, it is best to know that you may be eating GMO corn even when you don’t think you are eating corn. And sadly, uber popular corn snack products… popcorn and corn chips are most often genetically-modified. That alone is an issue in my house (READ: corn chips are my kids favourite after school snack and movie night just isn’t movie night without popcorn).
As with many debates on whether these toxic chemicals will harm humans…be assured you will see both sides of the debate if you research the topic. I am in the camp with well-regarded experts who believe that by eating GMO foods, we are the test subjects for a huge science experiment. Who has the time it takes for absolute conclusive evidence? By then my kids might be grown. So while both sides duke it out, I choose to avoid GMO foods.
Recently at a backyard BBQ, when the roasted corn on the cob was passed around… I passed. Who needs the stress?
Tips for avoiding genetically modified foods of any sort:
- Buy organic. Organic foods cannot be genetically modified. Even organically-raised animals cannot be fed GMO grains.
- If possible, grow your own.
- Ask food companies whose foods you buy if their products contain GMO ingredients and hope you get the correct answer.
- Search out retailers who are vowing not to stock GMO foods. Lists exist of such retailers. And conversely it has been reported that some retailers will be stocking GMO corn.
- Look for the non-GMO Project symbol on foods.