August 5th, 2013

Why I’m Not So Crazy for Corn on the Cob

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Groovy Green Livin corn

Summer and corn on the cob are almost synonymous in my book. When corn is in season it’s unbelievably sweet and delicious and I can’t get enough. Every trip to the local farm stand or grocery store  inevitably involves bringing home a dozen ears.

While my love of corn isn’t wavering, my willingness to eat it a few times a week is changing.

Most corn in the US is genetically engineered

During a recent family vacation in Wisconsin I couldn’t help but notice field upon field of corn stalks. While staring in amazement at the never-ending ears I began to realize that most of it (if not all of it) was genetically engineered.

Corn is the No. 1 crop grown in the U.S. and nearly all of it — 88 percent — is genetically modified. What’s even more alarming is that although common in the U.S., GMO corn is banned in the 28-nation European Union. What do they know that we don’t? I think a lot.

Groovy Green Livin corn

My love of corn on the cob began when I was very young. Every summer I looked forward to going to the Sweet Corn Festival in Wisconsin. Once the nominal admission fee was paid it was all you can eat. Let’s just say I don’t do well with buffets. I have vivid memories of feasting on sweet corn until I was physically sick.

Fast forward to the present. The sweet corn festival continues in my very own dining room usually 2-3 times a week. Especially this time of year we can’t eat enough-it’s delicious.

There’s no GMO label on my corn

GMO corn has been manipulated in labs to resist disease and drought, ward off insects and “boost the food supply” and the long term damage to us is still being studied.

Europe requires all GM food to be labeled unless GM ingredients amount to 0.9 percent or less of the total, but not here in the US. We know that most corn sold in the US is genetically modified, but it isn’t labeled in the US because it doesn’t have to be. We all have the right to know what we’re eating, don’t we?

Choosing organic corn is one way to avoid GMOs, but organic corn on the cob can be hard to come by.

The health risks of GMOs

The long-term health effects of GMOs are being studied and we have a long way to go. I worry. GMO corn requires massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. It can’t be good. How many times have you heard someone say: “I don’t remember kids having food allergies when I was growing up”?  Maybe GMO’s are the cause or at least a factor in this surge of food allergies, environmental allergies, ADHD and other diagnoses.

Everything in moderation

I’ve always been a believer in “everything in moderation”, but there are also foods that just shouldn’t be eaten. Ever. I’m not suggesting that corn on the cob is one of those foods, but I do think it’s time I gave some thought to how often we eat it.

So there you have it. I’ll be scouring the farmer’s market and local farm stands for organic corn and cutting back on the amount of conventional corn on the menu.

Do you avoid genetically modified corn or eat it in moderation?


photo credit: Nicholas_T via photopin
kmakice via photopin cc

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26 Responses to “Why I’m Not So Crazy for Corn on the Cob”

  1. I actually avoid eating corn on the cob all together unless it is labels non-gmo (which as you can imagine is almost impossible to find). My way of thinking is corn syrup is in so many things I am already getting a fill of GMO there. It is hard though because there is nothing like sweet corn in the summer!
    Leigh recently posted..We Need More Charging Stations!My Profile

  2. I also love corn on the cob and have NEVER seen an organic version. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough?

  3. I just recently started buying corn on the cob from
    Local farmers markets. I asked them if the corn was GMO free and they told me “yes” so I bought
    Some. Are they lying to me?

  4. I buy local corn from a non-gmo and pesticide-free (bad chemicals) farm. Had it just the other night. Yum. I will not eat corn unless it is organic or I know where it came from and it is GMO-free. It is not worth it for me. I inhale and am subjected to enough crap, I limit where I can. I too, love corn. :)
    Stephanie @GoodGirlGoneGreen recently posted..UnDiet Your Life: Blue-Green Power SmoothieMy Profile

  5. I have been having exactly the same thoughts this summer. I too remember eating cob after cob of corn in East Hampton Long Island as a kid. First of all, I don’t think the corn is as good anymore, at least out in Long Island. But more importantly, it makes me shudder to think that we are in the middle of a huge science experiment with GMOs. And my gut tells me that the effects of this experiment are not good for us. It is one more example of feeling out of control in relations to the big food industry and chemical industry (one in the same?) As a first step, we need GMO labeling!!!

  6. I’ve been avoiding corn on the cob this summer for the same reasons. it is just sad.

  7. I was fearful of sweet corn for a long time, butaccording to the EWG’s latest Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Executive Summary, “Field corn, nearly all of which is produced with genetically modified seeds, is used to make tortillas, chips, corn syrup, animal feed and biofuels.” It’s not sold as a fresh vegetable. Sweet corn actually made the EWG’s Clean 15 list. So personally, I eat it again without fear and enjoy every sweet bite! ;-)

  8. I LOVE corn on cob and we eat a great deal of it in August, but your post prompted me to call my local farmer to ask about GMOs. They assured me they do not use them in any of their crops. I was relieved since I’d hate to give up one of my favorite summertime foods!
    Cathy recently posted..That Time at the Track When I Ignored a Symptom of Heat ExhaustionMy Profile

  9. I love corn in season as well as most. However, until I can be certain that the corn I purchase is non-GMO, I will avoid it. It is also important to avoid other products made from GMO corn. According to the Environmental Working Group, field corn, nearly all of which is produced with genetically modified seeds, is used to make tortillas, chips, corn syrup, animal feed and biofuels.

  10. I have to admit that I’ve never seen corn on the cob labeled as non-GMO. Have you ever seen any Leigh? I’m searching for organic corn. I need my summer fix!

  11. Couldn’t agree more Francesca- GMO labeling is a must. It’s the only way we’ll truly be able to make educated choices about the food we put into our bodies. Have to admit that I’ve had some pretty delicious corn this summer.

  12. Do you avoid it completely? I don’t know if I can do that! I’m searching for more organic corn.

  13. Thanks for your mention of the EWG Clean 15 list. The EWG site also points out that “EWG advises people who want to avoid it to purchase the organically-grown versions of these items.”

  14. Good for you Cathy! So great you were able to check in with your local farmer to confirm that there aren’t any GMOs. Another reason I love buying local food.

  15. Hi Deborah, It’s amazing to me how many processed foods contain some from of corn. If it isn’t organic the likelihood is that the corn is GM.

  16. Hi Leigh, I have a hard time avoiding corn on the cob all together- I love it too much! You’re right, there are GMOs in so many processed foods. Corn is some form is in so many things.

  17. Hi Cass, Is the corn you’re buying from a local farmer organic? Buying locally is great- it allows you to ask the questions. This is something we lose out on when we buy food in the grocery store.

  18. Hi Stephanie, buying local corn is a great option. So nice to have the ability to ask the farmer directly how they grow their corn. You’re right- there’s a lot of stuff out there that we’re all inhaling. If we can control a small piece why not do it??!!

  19. Sarah, I also have a hard time finding organic corn on the cob. I wonder why? I don’t think it’s you…..

  20. […] of GMOs and that has me a little worried. My friend Lori wrote a post on her blog explaining her concerns about corn on the cob and GMOs and you should check it out since she is way better at explaining these things than I am. Also […]

  21. Having fun growing heirloom, organic, non-GMO corn this year! Thanks for sharing about this critical food topic.
    Anne recently posted..Big Names and Big Talk at BlogHer13 in Chicago: Sandberg, Kawasaki, Zuckerberg and moreMy Profile

  22. I’m impressed that you’re growing your own corn Anne! Have you tried it yet?

  23. I buy local non-GMO corn from a farm less than 5 minutes from me :)
    Jen @ Go Green recently posted..When Upcycling Goes WrongMy Profile

  24. I do eat corn on the cob sparingly … but I can also buy it here in my area locally grown and organic…

  25. You’re so lucky to have that option Jen! I need to touch base with our local farmers to find out if their conventional corn is GMO free.

  26. I think the key is to eat it sparingly Erin- I have been eating it a lot this summer! Good to know that you have a local option.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

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