by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Wal-Mart recently launched a website that shows off its environmental credentials, walmartgreenroom.com. “Together, we will create a more sustainable world to help people live better,” the website proclaims. There is one big problem of the greenwashing variety: Wal-Mart has agreed to sell sweet corn grown from Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seeds. In August, Monsanto, the largest vegetable seed maker in the world, announced it would begin selling the GE sweet corn seeds in theU.S.The GE sweet corn is intended for frozen and canned corn products, but could also be sold as corn on the cob. http://www.walmartgreenroom.com/
Monsanto’s GE sweet corn seeds are engineered to tolerate the company’s Roundup herbicide, and kill insects. After Monsanto announced it would start selling its GE sweet corn seeds, it “received swift approval from the USDA since the agency does no independent testing of GE crops and the seed’s three distinct traits were previously approved,” according to the consumer watch organization, Food & Water Watch. The three traits approved by the USDA are corn-borer resistance, rootworm resistance, and tolerance for glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup.
Food & Water Watch launched a campaign that challenges Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. food retailer, to not sell Monsanto’s genetically engineered sweet corn. The organization launched the campaign in partnership with Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, CREDO Action and Food Democracy Now. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and General Mills have already agreed not to sell or use the GE sweet corn in any of their products
Public opinion polls by Consumer Reports found that majority of those polled would not eat GE food, and 95 percent want GE food labeled. Wal-Mart, as the largest the largest U.S. food retailer, selling $129 billion worth of food a year, could have a big impact if it said no to selling the GE sweet corn. As Food & Water Watch points out, if Wal-Mart refuses to sell Monsanto’s GE sweet corn, other retailers will likely not sell it either, and “farmers won’t feel the economic pressure to plant the biotech seeds”
“We’re giving Wal-Mart a golden opportunity to join other major retailers and do the right thing,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. Hauter mentioned the website, walmartgreen.com. “If Wal-Mart 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 doesn’t want untested, unlabeled GE sweet corn in their grocery carts.”
GE ingredients are in about 80 percent of highly processed foods, according to Hauter. However, with the 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,” said Hauter.
Let your voice be heard by Wal-Mart. Sign Food & Water Watch’s petition urging Wal-Mart to say no to Monsanto’s GE sweet corn.