Walmart, the world’s leading food retailer, is facing a national campaign to live up to its promise of supporting local farming and healthier eating by not selling genetically engineered sweet corn, recently approved for sale by the American government.
Food & Water Watch, a national consumer organization, has launched a national campaign targeting the retail giant to commit not selling Monsanto’s GE sweet corn, basing its efforts on public opinion polls conducted by Consumer Reports which show a vast majority of consuming Americans would not eat genetically modified food.
FWW also notes almost all consumers - 95 percent - insist GE foods be labeled as such so they can make informed decisions.
“We’re giving Walmart a golden opportunity to join other major retailers and do the right thing,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, in a news statement.
To date, General Mills, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have agreed not to use GE sweet corn in their product line.
Walmart is the leading grocery retailer in the U.S., selling $129 billion annually in food products. “Just last week, they launched a brand new website to flaunt their green credentials, and in several high-profile events in the past couple of years, they’ve declared support for local farming, healthier eating and providing an oasis in food deserts. If Walmart is genuine about protecting the environment and bringing healthier food to everyone, they’ll listen to the vast majority of consumers across the country who don’t want untested, unlabeled GE sweet corn in their grocery carts,” Ms. Hauter continued.
Even though the USDA does no independent testing of GE foods, it quickly and quietly gave Monsanto approval during the Christmas break for selling the GE corn. FWW notes Monsanto is gearing up to grow 250,000 acres of its new corn this year, about 40 percent of the sweet corn market in the U.S., making it the first GE vegetable of its type to be commercialized by Monsanto.
GE-affiliated herbicides have given rise to superweeds and pests such as the rootworm, which have developed resistance to these chemicals. As such, an increased use of toxins has occurred in countering their resistance.
GE crop risks include increased allergies, as well as unknown long-term health effects in humans. Environmentally, these crops may contaminate organic and non-GE crops via cross-pollination and seed dispersal. FWW pointed to the
significant ethical and economic concerns involved with the patenting of living organisms and the corporate consolidation of the seed supply.
Monsanto is the world’s largest seed company, and is involved in a “constellation” of megacorporations, including the U.S. military, in maneuvering for who will control the green economy, according to a recent report.
“It’s bad enough that GE ingredients in some form or another are in about 80 percent of highly processed foods like cookies and chips, but with this new GE sweet corn, even people who avoid packaged junk food for fresh corn could run the risk of unknowingly consuming high doses of GE material since labeling is not required,” Hauter continued. “If Walmart sincerely does want to help its customers make healthier food choices, it should take the first step and choose not to sell GE sweet corn in its stores.”