Trying to Avoid Corn? Beware, Corn Is EVERYWHERE

Corn isn’t a food. It’s a commodity—and it is EVERYWHERE. Yep, even more than soy. Sure, it’s in tortillas, popcorn, vegetable oils and all that nasty high fructose corn syrup. But our national obsession with corn runs even deeper. Our country is literally built on corn products.

Unless you have a severe allergy to corn and corn derivatives—which is extremely rare—you probably don’t realize the extent to which corn has infiltrated our daily lives. It’s important to note that for most people with corn sensitivities, many of these products do not contain harmful amounts of corn, but it is incredible to realize how reliant our modern society is on this starchy vegetable.

Farmer holding corn grains in his hands

What Products Contain Corn?

Here are just a few of the unexpected places you can find corn:

  • Supermarket meats (sprayed with lactic acid from fermented corn sugars)
  • Bottled iced teas, bagged lettuce, baby carrots, soaps, and other product that contain citric acid (which is often made from a mold grown on corn derived sugar)
  • Frozen fish (dipped in cornstarch prior to freezing)
  • Apples and other grocery store fruits (coated in corn-based wax)
  • Iodized salt (contains dextrose)
  • Wax paper wrappers (made from corn wax)
  • Coffee beans (sometimes polished with dextrose, bags lined with corn plastics)
  • BPA-free can lining (made from corn resin)
  • Any food with added ‘natural flavorings’ (likely corn derived)
  • Bottled water (some added minerals may be processed with a corn derivative)
  • Commercial honey (bigger brands cut their honey with cheap corn syrup—or the bees are fed corn syrup as a way to maximize profits)
  • Products fortified with vitamin D (made soluble in a corn-derived vegetable oil)
  • Ripe bananas & avocados (ripened in the US using ethylene gas, a corn product)
  • Baking powder (contains corn starch)
  • Store-bought mushrooms (likely grown in a corn-based medium)
  • Cheese (corn-based preservatives)
  • IV bags (some contain dextrose, a corn product)
  • Hand sanitizers (corn ethanol)
  • Detergents, bleach, and other household cleaning agents (contain corn derivatives)
  • Supplement & prescription drugs (corn products used as fillers)

And that’s not all. Animals are fed corn. We make compostable bags and plastics out of corn. We wash ourselves and our houses with corn-containing soaps. Restaurant takeout containers are sometimes made from corn. Even natural materials, like organic mattresses, are often made from corn.

It is literally everywhere in the US. For an truly extensive list of where corn lurks in our food system, check out Corn Allergy Girl.

Is all of this Corn a Problem?

While our inescapable reliance on corn isn’t necessarily bad for us—unless you’re severely allergic, in which case it is truly dire—it is valuable to be aware of. We consume so much corn, studies have shown that corn has become part of our DNA.

And it’s not like this around the world. The US is pretty unique in its federal subsidization and reliance on corn as a commodity.

For people who have allergies or sensitivities, it’s important to be conscious of how much corn is actually in our lives. In fact, you probably haven’t eaten a meal in years that did not, in some way, contain a little bit of corn.

How do you feel about the ubiquity of corn in our lives? Does it bother you? Do you think its problematic? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below. 

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52 comments

Gino C
Gino C2 days ago

thank you

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Vincent T
Vincent T18 days ago

thanks very much

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Michael Friedmann

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Greta L
Greta Labout a month ago

thank you

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Maria P
Maria P1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D1 months ago

Ugh

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Angela K
Angela K1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Angela K
Angela K1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Angela K
Angela K1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Paula A
Paula A1 months ago

thank you for sharing

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