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Monsanto has developed genetically modified sweet corn, and it’s the first time that the company is doing this with fresh produce, as opposed to processed foods.Activists have worked to try to keep it off store shelves, and its health effects are still being debated.
Earlier this year, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills all refused to carry Monsanto’s corn, but there’s one giant chain that’s going for it — the world’s largest retailer, Walmart.
“After closely looking at both sides of the debate and collaborating with a number of respected food safety experts, we see no scientifically validated safety reasons to implement restrictions on this product,” Walmart told the Chicago Tribune.
As Fast Company’s Ariel Schwartz points out, you’ve probably eaten GM corn before, since Monsanto’s rival Sygenta has been making it for a decade.
Still, this is the first-ever consumer product developed by Monsanto, and if it works out, there will likely be much more to come.
What exactly is the concern with GM corn? From Fast Company:
“There’s a concern with these GE crops that we eat with minimal processing [like sweet corn]…we’re exposed to a lot more of whatever is in it versus a processed corn product.” Bt toxin, a trait found in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (used on Monsanto corn), has been found in the maternal and fetal blood of pregnant women. No one is quite sure what that means at this point.
Plus, right now, producers don’t have to label GM products. So, for consumers who care about things like this, there’s no way for them to know.