NOTE: This is a guest post from Zack Kaldveer, Assistant Media Director for the Yes on Prop 37 campaign.
Labor Day is just around the corner and that means friends, family and neighbors will be gathering together to grill up their favorite foods. Barbeque season will be in full swing, and that means supermarkets will be filled with shoppers searching for the usual assortment of typical fan favorites like chicken, steak, burgers, and corn on the cob.
But when it comes to the new sweet corn that Walmart will be selling, do people really know what they’re buying? This new sweet corn, thanks to Monsanto, the world’s largest agribusiness corporation, has been genetically engineered with an insecticide inside it — not on the corn, but IN it.
The Bt toxin infused in the corn works as an insecticide by disintegrating the lining of insects’ stomachs when they eat the corn. So what might this do to the bodies of adults or children? We don’t know.
The genetically engineered sweet corn, which has also been manipulated at the DNA level to withstand pesticides that are sprayed on it, has never been proven safe. The US Food and Drug Administration require no safety testing of genetically engineered foods. No long-term health studies have been conducted, and no labeling will be provided to alert unsuspecting consumers exactly what they are eating.
Yet there are studies showing there is reason for concern. For example, a 2009 study in the International Journal of Biological Sciences linked Monsanto’s genetically modified corn to kidney and liver damage in rats.
A 2011 Canadian study found that 93 percent of blood samples from pregnant women and 80 percent of blood samples from umbilical cords contained traces of a component of Bt toxin used in genetically engineered foods.
What are the health effects of these toxins on babies and children? No one really knows.
What then should we make of a recent statement by a Walmart spokesperson who told the Chicago Tribune he sees “no scientifically valid reason” not to sell this corn? A convenient non-answer in light of the fact the U.S. doesn’t require such safety studies.
Photo courtesy of CA Right to Know.
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