retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Tribune reports that Walmart says that "it has no objection to selling a new crop of genetically modified sweet corn created by biotech giant Monsanto ... Monsanto’s genetically modified sweet corn is resistant to a common herbicide, which allows farmers to kill weeds without killing the corn. It also contains a toxin that fends off certain pests." In advance of the decision, the consumer group Food and Water Watch presented Wal-Mart with a petition signed by 463,000 people asking it to boycott the product.

"“After closely looking at both sides of the debate and collaborating with a number of respected food safety experts, we see no scientifically validated safety reasons to implement restrictions on this product,” Walmart tells the paper.

The Tribune notes that "environmental and health activists expressed surprise and disappointment at Wal-Mart’s decision. Earlier this year, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills said they would not carry or use the genetically modified sweet corn."
KC's View:
The story also notes that "labeling of such foods is required in the European Union, China, Russia, Australia and Japan but not in the U.S. Although the FDA encourages companies to do safety studies, they are not required to do so."

I do wish that GMO labeling was required in the US; I think that level of transparency is required in a 21st century business and cultural environment. I think not labeling it will, in the long run, be a mistake.

While I am not happy with this trend, I do have to admit that I heard a story on NPR over the weekend about some small farmers who say that without GM corn, the drought would have just killed them this year, that modified corn has stood up to the horrible conditions better than traditional corn would have.

Which at least got me thinking about both sides of the issue...