Are You Buying GM Corn at your Roadside Stand?

DSCN9477 High summer means lots of fresh, delicious, local produce…whether it’s from your own garden or from a farmers’ market or roadside stand.  Today, our family enjoyed our first feast of sweet corn…yum!  We don’t grow it ourselves, because in the past, raccoons have always seemed to get to it ahead of us, and fortunately, we have lots of local places that sell it.

Last week, one of our favourite places to buy sweet corn, Jenala Farms, announced that they were now offering sweet corn at their stand.  One of the first things I did after hearing this was contact them to see whether their corn was genetically modified or not.   I’ll tell you their reply in a minute….

Since the summer of 2011, there is now GM corn being grown in Canada.  As with all GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), there have not been any long term health safety trials to convince me 100% that this new corn is safe.  Because of this lack of evidence, and because I have heard a lot of  anecdotal evidence from other farmers, I don’t think GMO’s are safe, and I will not buy anything that contains them.

Some of the sweet corn has been genetically modified to resist corn borer and corn earworm, two of the main corn pests.  This is done by inserting the Bt gene, which basically acts as an insecticide.  Although the seed companies say that it will kill insects and not harm humans, I’m not convinced….and neither are many others.  Sweet corn has been hybridized through breeding practices for decades, producing some pretty amazing flavour and hardiness.  Why introduce genetic technology which appears to be failing miserably, on many levels?  Interestingly enough, an article  I read from the U.S. that defended GM corn and stated that “food movement activists” who think they are battling with corporations are actually just denying mostly small-scale, local farmers a way to make their job easier”. was actually written by a former employee of DuPont and Mycogen, two of the companies developing the GM seed.  In the end, the decision is each individual’s to make.  Having GM produce and products labelled would allow consumers to make an informed decision.

Back to Jenala and their corn…The reply I got back was that it was “regular old Jester seed from Stokes”.  I looked it up online and learned that it was, indeed, not modified.

Today, I visited our local Shelburne Farmers’ Market, and inquired about Besley Farm’s sweet corn.  I was told that lots of people were asking the same question, but Evan was not sure if it was GM seed or not.  He did, however, know the variety name, Renaissance, which I looked up at home.  Yes!  It was non-GM corn.  I let him know right away, so he could let his customers know.  I also suggested he take the time to find out whether any of the varieties he planted were GM, so that he could at least let his customers know, if they asked.

When you go to your farmers’ market, grocery store or roadside stand, you may run into the same situation.  There are a few suggestions recommended on the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) website.  You can find these here.  All organic corn is GMO-free, so that is always another option.

** CBAN has a great information page, too.  Click here.

Hope you find yourself some delicious corn….it won’t last forever (although I plan to freeze lots this year, so we can enjoy it all winter, too!)

 

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7 responses to this post.

  1. I worry about this. I should ask.

    Reply

  2. Great post, and a great reminder that we all have the power to choose what we put into our bodies! Just ask!

    Reply

  3. Reblogged this on Plowshare Organic Community Shared Agriculture and commented:
    GMO sweet corn… Who knew?!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anne on August 20, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Thanks for the information. I also buy my corn from Jenala farm so I was glad to hear your response from them. I was wondering how you freeze the corn. I am thinking of doing some this year.

    Reply

    • Glad you enjoyed the blog!

      At home, we would blanch the cobs for a minute or two, then let them cool off. The messy part was cutting off the kernels, usually using a sharp paring knife. There are some gadgets out there, which slip over the cob (much like an apple corer), and are pushed down the length of the cob, slicing off the corn. I seem to remember a lot of waste with the ones we tried. Find yourself a helper or two and the work will go more quickly!

      After the corn is all off, I put it in Ziploc bags or other suitable containers. I have heard of freezing the whole cob (after blanching), but that takes up a lot of freezer space.

      Let me know how it works out for you, Anne.
      Julie

      Reply

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