Now that it’s summertime, you might be seeing pickup trucks parked at the side of the road loaded with sweet corn for sale. Is that corn genetically modified (GM) or non-GMO? What about other kinds of corn, like feed corn and popcorn?
Sweet corn indeed may have been grown from GM seeds. Since 2011, when GM seeds were introduced on a large scale, GM sweet corn has become increasingly prevalent in the U.S.
Feed corn is a very different kind of corn. It is harvested late and only fed to animals. In states like Iowa, huge feed-corn fields roll on as far as the eye can see in many places, part of an estimated 88.9 million acres of feed corn grown overall in the U.S.
But while we see many GM varieties of feed corn, we are also seeing a growing acreage of non-GMO corn as well. Some of it is used to produce animal-derived Non-GMO Project Verified products such as milk and cheeses.
Popcorn comes from yet another kind of corn seed. There is no GM popcorn on store shelves at this time (June 2016), nor is there any available for farmers to grow. But that doesn’t mean popcorn is necessarily non-GMO because many modern popcorn products contain more ingredients than just popped popcorn. There can be added oils, butter, seasonings, spices, sugar, preservatives, or salt included in the mix — any of which could be derived from genetically modified organisms.
So, the popcorn itself may be non-GMO, but the oils, flavorings, etc., may be GM. And conventional popcorn also runs the risk of being subject to pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilizers. That’s why you may want to choose to pop organic popcorn tonight, and, if the popcorn contains additional ingredients, you can completely ensure a non-GMO experience by purchasing Non-GMO Project Verified!