Product Information for Farmers
(Bt/Roundup Ready Sweet Corn)
Thank you for visiting the FAQ page to get the facts about biotech [or genetically modified (GM)] sweet corn. We have listed some frequently asked questions below, and we understand that you may have others. Feel free to contact us with any other questions so we can help clarify the facts.
Why do farmers want to grow biotech sweet corn?
Biotech sweet corn allows farmers to significantly reduce the number of insecticide sprays.
- Insect pests love great tasting sweet corn as much as we do. Sweet corn farmers must use insecticides to keep those insects from ruining their corn before they can harvest it from their fields.
- Farmers want to grow biotech sweet corn because it contains a protein found in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that protects the sweet corn from certain insect pests. In fact, farmers who grow biotech sweet corn can reduce insecticide applications by as much as 85 percent.
- That also means sweet corn farmers do not have to drive their tractors across the field as often to apply insecticide, which reduces their use of fuel and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from their tractors.
- Farmers choose to grow biotech sweet corn because they can grow healthy plants with fewer insecticide sprays, while producing sweet corn that is nutritious, fresh and flavorful.
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Is this the first biotech crop for human consumption?
No. U.S. farmers have been growing several biotech crops for more than 15 years.
- While biotech sweet corn is a newer product for Monsanto’s vegetable seed brand, Seminis®, farmers have been growing biotech sweet corn for more than a decade.
- U.S. farmers grow biotech squash, papaya, sweet corn, soybeans, canola, corn, cotton, sugarbeets and alfalfa. All of these crops have been extensively tested, and food and feed from them have been determined to be as safe to eat as their conventional counterparts.
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Is biotech sweet corn safe to eat?
Yes. All biotech crops go through a rigorous testing and approval process before they are grown by farmers and made commercially available to consumers.
- Researchers have tested biotech crops more rigorously than any other foods; more than 300 peer-reviewed safety studies on biotech crops have been published. These studies confirm that biotech crops are as safe as their conventional counterparts.
- Specifically, researchers conducted years of studies to determine if biotech corn is safe for us to eat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluated the results from these studies to determine the safety of food and feed products grown from GM crops.
- The FDA has found there is no basis for concluding that bioengineered foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by biotechnology present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding. Regulatory agencies worldwide also reviewed these studies for safety and have come to the same conclusion.
- In addition, each of our biotech products has undergone many years of research, field trials and internal approvals before submission for regulatory approval and commercialization. It can take several years and cost tens of millions of dollars to complete all of the required tests. Learn more about our safety testing here.
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Is biotech sweet corn labeled to indicate that it is biotech?
No. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require that biotech sweet corn be specially labeled because there is no meaningful difference between biotech sweet corn and sweet corn produced conventionally or organically.
- The law allows for voluntary labeling as long as the information is accurate, truthful and avoids misleading consumers about the food.
- Food companies and retailers can voluntarily label products noting certain attributes, including production practices, based on their customers’ preferences. This includes products labeled as certified organic under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program or products labeled as not containing GM ingredients.
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Is biotech sweet corn developed by putting chemical insecticides in the corn?
No. Biotech sweet corn contains a protein that protects it from damaging insects and actually helps farmers significantly reduce chemical pesticide applications.
- To protect sweet corn from damaging worms, the naturally-occurring protein found in Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt is built into the seed genetics.
- The built-in insect protection, or Bt protein, targets specific insect pests and have no adverse effect on beneficial insects that may prey on pests.
- Organic growers use Bt proteins to control these same insect pests.
- Biotech sweet corn farmers can reduce their insecticide (pesticide) use by up to 85 percent. This means that sweet corn farmers do not have to drive their tractors as often to apply insecticide, which reduces their use of fuel and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the tractors.
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Do other groups or organizations support food biotechnology or GMOs?
Yes. Respected and well established organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), and the World Health Organization (WHO) among others, support the use of biotechnology to enhance food production.
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IMPORTANT: Produce Marketing: Performance Series™ Sweet Corn has received the necessary biotech approvals in the United States and Canada; however, approval has not been received in all major sweet corn export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Direct all produce from this product for sale or use in the United States, Canada or Mexico. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. It is the grower's responsibility to talk to their produce handler or purchaser to confirm their buying position for this produce so that the marketing requirements can be met.
Herbicide Information for Performance Series™ Sweet Corn: Make sure the intended use is approved in your state. Do not use this information as the basis for any glyphosate product other than Roundup® branded agricultural herbicides. You must have the supplemental labeling for use on Performance Series™ Sweet Corn containing Roundup Ready® technology and the product label with you when making the application.