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Monsanto's New Sweet Corn Adds to Debate on Genetically Modified Foods

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our Breaking the Chains page.

As the Midwest crunches into sweet corn season, a new type will be appearing on grocery store shelves - even though shoppers have no way to recognize it.

It's genetically modified sweet corn from the biotech giant Monsanto, engineered to resist a common herbicide and certain pests.

The arrival of the crop's first harvest has alarmed consumer groups and activists who say genetically modified foods may pose environmental and health risks. In recent months they have urged major retailers to avoid Monsanto's sweet corn, prompting Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and General Mills to pledge not to sell or use it.

But this week the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., confirmed to the Tribune that it would not restrict sales of the genetically modified corn in its stores.

"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," said company representative Dianna Gee.