Product Information for Farmers
(Bt/Roundup Ready Sweet Corn)
With all the misinformation confusion about our new biotech sweet corn (sometimes called GM sweet corn) circulating right now, we applaud you for visiting our sweet corn FAQ page to get the facts.
Why do farmers want to grow biotech sweet corn?
Biotech sweet corn is nutritious, and it’s better for the environment because it significantly reduces the use of insecticides.
- Insects love sweet corn as much as we do. Sweet corn farmers have to use insecticides to keep those insects from ruining their corn before they can pick it from their fields.
- Farmers want to grow biotech sweet corn because it contains a protein that protects the sweet corn from those insects without using insecticides. In fact, farmers who grow biotech sweet corn can reduce insecticide applications by as much as 85 percent.
- That also means sweet corn farmers don’t have to drive their tractors as often, which reduces their use of gasoline and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Farmers choose to grow biotech sweet corn because it is better for their farm land and better for their families who eat the corn. They can grow healthy plants in a sustainable way, 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 many biotech crops for more than 15 years.
- While biotech sweet corn is a new product for Monsanto’s vegetable seed brand Seminis®, farmers have been growing biotech sweet corn from a different seed company (Syngenta) 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 tested, and they are as safe to eat as non-biotech foods and ingredients.
- Approximately 70 percent of processed foods sold in grocery stores contain ingredients from biotech crops. (Source: Council for Biotechnology Information, 2011)
- Approximately 16.7 million farmers grew biotech crops on 395 million acres in 29 countries in 2011. More than 90 percent are resource-poor farmers in developing countries. At least 60 countries have approved biotech crops for growing and importing.
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Has biotech sweet corn been tested for human safety?
Yes. Similar to prescription medicines, all biotech crops go through a rigorous testing and approval process before they are grown by farmers and made available to consumers.
- Researchers conducted years of studies to determine if biotech corn is safe for us to eat. The Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluated the results from these studies on biotech corn. They determined the proteins are safe to eat. Regulatory agencies worldwide also reviewed these studies and confirmed the safety of the proteins.
- Researchers have tested biotech crops more rigorously than any other foods. These studies help ensure it is safe for us to eat biotech crops, as well as safe for animals and the environment. It can take 6-12 years and cost $6-$12 million to complete all of the required tests.
- Researchers have published more than 300 peer-reviewed safety studies on biotech crops.
- People around the world have eaten several billion meals containing biotech ingredients. There have been NO reliably documented human or animal safety issues since farmers first grew biotech crops in 1996.
- Respected and credible organizations support the use of biotechnology to enhance food production 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.
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Is biotech sweet corn labeled to indicate that it is biotech?
No. Biotech sweet corn is as safe and nutritious as other sweet corn so it does not require labeling.
- The FDA only requires food labels if there is a meaningful difference in the safety, composition or nutrition of the crop.
- Food companies can voluntarily label products to market qualities not related to safety and nutrition, such as products that are certified as organic under the National Organic Program or products labeled as not containing GM ingredients. The law allows for voluntary labeling as long as the information is accurate, truthful and avoids misleading consumers about the food.
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Does biotech sweet corn contain pesticides?
No. Biotech sweet corn contains a protein that protects it from damaging insects and actually helps farmers significantly reduce pesticide applications.
- The built-in insect protection comes from a Bt protein that naturally occurs in the environment. BT proteins are considered an environmentally friendly way to control insects, because they target specific insect pests and have no adverse effect on beneficial insects.
- Organic growers use Bt proteins to control these same insect pests.
- Biotech sweet corn farmers can reduce their pesticide use by up to 85 percent. This reduces the chance for soil and groundwater contamination, which is important for farmers and their families. It also means sweet corn farmers don’t have to drive their tractors as often, which reduces their use of gasoline and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions.
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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.