Summer is here, which means backyard barbecues, water balloon fights, and lots of delicious sweet corn! You can bet that at just about every BBQ, someone will throw sweet corn on the grill or bring a hearty helping of buttery succotash.
While we all love fresh corn on the cob straight from our local market or farm, it is important to ensure you are purchasing sweet corn that has not been genetically engineered. The Non-GMO Project classifies sweet corn as a high-risk crop, which means a crop that can be derived from or produced by means of genetic engineering and is commercially available.
Last year, the United States produced 8 Billion pounds of sweet corn, and an increasing percentage of this sweet corn is genetically modified. 1 Overall, 92% of corn cultivated in the United States is genetically modified.2 These rising numbers mean consumers need to be increasingly careful as they choose corn products.
Biotechnology companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta grow varieties of GMO sweet corn that are already showing up in our supermarkets. Examples include a Bt sweet corn variety engineered to repel insects, and Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sweet corn that enables the corn to withstand higher doses of Glyphosate. Glyphosate, a widely-contested herbicide, has recently been recognized as a carcinogen by the State of California. 3 Many consumers are understandably concerned about this compound making its way into their food.
Proponents of genetically modified sweet corn maintain that the crop has the potential to significantly improve yields. However, promises about these yields are not holding up to scrutiny. According to the New York Times, non-GMO corn production in Western Europe and GMO corn production in the United States have grown at a similar rate over the last three decades. 4 The difference is that genetically modified sweet corn is now grown onmore land, with more pesticides and herbicides, and in depleted soil.
Want to keep genetically modified sweet corn away from your family this summer? Consider these four easy four easy ways to source delicious, non-GMO sweet corn:
- Plant Non-GMO Project Verified sweet corn in your garden
- Shop at your local farmer’s market and ask the farmer if they grow non-GMO!
- Look for the Butterfly! Many of our participating retailers carry non-GMO sweet corn both in fresh and frozen varieties, find your local retailer here.
- Build relationships with your local organic farmers and call them to see if they grow non-GMO sweet corn. Support them by picking up a CSA box!
By purchasing organic and non-GMO sweet corn, you are backing the farmers, brands, and retailers that support your right to know what is in your food. You are also protecting your family from harmful herbicides, potential carcinogens, and the unknown effects of genetically modified foods. When serving up a big helping of sweet corn succotash, you are not only nourishing your children but you are protecting and preserving the non-GMO food supply. Need more inspiration? Check out this recipe!
Sweet Corn Succotash
- 4 cups non-GMO Sweet Corn
- 8 oz. of fresh Green Beans
- 1 diced Bell Pepper
- 2 cloves of minced Garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped Chives
- 2 tablespoons of Salted Butter
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Blanch the Green Beans for about 3-4 minutes until tender. Strain and let cool.
- Heat Olive Oil and Garlic in a Skillet, saute Green Beans. Add the Sweet Corn and Bell Peppers.
- Once vegetables are tender and crisp, add butter, salt, pepper, and chives.
- Serve warm as a side dish at your next family dinner, neighborhood potluck, or friend’s BBQ!