: GM sweet corn in stores and farmers markets
The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) tested sweet corn samples from across Canada and found unlabelled genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) fresh sweet corn in grocery stores, roadside stands and farmers markets. CBAN testing clearly shows that consumers across Canada could be unknowingly buying GM sweet corn. http://www.cban.ca/corn
Take action to stop GM sweet corn for 2014: “Get GM Sweet Corn Out”
1. Write to Loblaw today and ask them to stop selling GM sweet corn: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Write to the head office of your grocery store:
· Walmart http://www.walmart.ca/en/help/contact-us
· Sobeys http://www.sobeyscorporate.com/en/Contact-Us.aspx
· Metro in Ontario http://corpo.metro.ca/contactez-nous/contact-on.en.html
· Metro in Quebec http://corpo.metro.ca/contactez-nous/contact.en.html
· Check here to see which grocery chain owns your local store: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_supermarket_chains_in_Canada
3. Write to your local farmers market. Ask the market to talk to all the vendors.
4. Talk to your local farmer. Many farmers could be buying GM seed unknowingly because GM seeds are not clearly labelled in seed catalogues. Check http://www.cban.ca/corn for information that you can share with your farmer.
CBAN Tests Found:
· 15 of the 43 conventional fresh sweet corn samples tested positive. This means that approximately 35% of the sweet corn samples were genetically modified.
· GM sweet corn was discovered in samples purchased from Loblaw stores.
· GM sweet corn was also present in samples from farmers markets and roadside stands.
· Various samples from all 4 provinces where samples were collected – Ontario, BC, Nova Scotia and Alberta – tested positive.
· Testing of samples from Sobeys and Walmart did not find GM sweet corn. (There were no tests conducted on samples from Metro stores).
· Results are not statistically significant but provide a snapshot of GM sweet corn in Canada, in the absence of mandatory GM food labelling and any government tracking, including statistics on GM crop cultivation.
The purpose of CBAN’s test was to get an indication of the presence of genetically engineered sweet corn in grocery stores, and at roadside stands and farmers markets in Canada. CBAN tested 43 fresh, conventional sweet corn samples from across the country, at the end of the 2013 season. Half of these were from Ontario, with the rest from BC, Alberta and Nova Scotia. The corn samples were purchased from outlets of the major grocery store chains (Loblaw, Walmart and Sobeys) as well as from some smaller independent grocery stores, farmers markets, and roadside stands.
“Our sample size was small and random but shows a clear presence of GM sweet corn, across provinces and various types of vendors,” said CBAN researcher Taarini Chopra, “The results don’t tell us how much of Canada’s sweet corn is GM, but they do tell us that it’s out there, in both grocery stores and farmers markets.”
CBAN staff conducted the tests at the laboratory of Seeds of Diversity Canada in Waterloo, Ontario, using strip tests for the GM protein Cry1Ab (for insect-resistance).
GM Sweet Corn in Canada:
There has been a small (undetermined) amount of GM sweet corn, from Syngenta, on the market for over 10 years in North America. However, in late 2011 Monsanto launched a line of GM sweet corn varieties as well.
GM sweet corn is the only whole GM food that is grown in Canada – as opposed to GM field corn, which is processed into food ingredients, animal feed and biofuels. GM sweet corn is the third possible GM fruit or vegetable in the produce section of Canadian grocery stores. There could be some GM papaya (from the U.S. and China only) and some varieties of GM squash (from the U.S. only) that end up on grocery shelves in Canada.
The sweet corn is genetically engineered to be both insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant.
Some farmers may be planting GM sweet corn without knowing that it is genetically engineered because seed catalogues do not label GM varieties.