Will trade barriers in China and beyond reign in GMO corn’s grasp on American food?
The United States grows an absurd amount of corn, and more than 90% of that is genetically modified corn, which is then processed and put into foods and drinks of all kinds, particular in its most notorious form – as high fructose corn syrup, as well as dozens of other ingredients.
Now the cornerstone crop of GMO foods is facing new pressures, including a possible split between Big Agra corn producers like Cargill and Archer Daniels and the biotech companies that supply the GM seeds that these agri-giants cultivate.
China is now rejecting GM corn on the basis that its safety is not proven, raising the stakes in a complex East vs. West trade war that has often brought the U.S. economically to its knees.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. grain industry has suffered blowback from more than 1.45 million metric tons of rejected GM corn and heavy losses. Cargill, for one, attributes a 28% decline in quarterly earnings to the Chinese export setback.
The corn giants Cargill, Archer Daniels Midlands their peers at the North American Export Grain Association, are putting blame on biotech and asking for reimbursement and a halt to growing seed varieties not approved in major markets like China. Jacob Bunge wrote in the WSJ:
“The North American Export Grain Association, which includes ADM and Cargill, has called on seed companies to fully bear the risks and liabilities from selling their products. It also has objected to introducing seeds with genetics that haven’t secured approvals in major markets. Grain groups have called on Syngenta to stop selling such seeds until China grants approval.”
Of course, none of them every bothered asking the American people if they were comfortable eating it, either. Vocal protests, polls – both informal and formal – as well as major efforts to mandate GMO labeling state by state have all made clear that there is major resistance, but the corporate movement ‘for cheap corn improved by science’ has thus far gone on regardless…
But the latest trade tensions with China over GM corn are now happening concurrently – with Vermont now poised to be the first state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling law with teeth (on the heels of weaker laws in Connecticut and Maine, and failed efforts in California and Washington state).
There is also further push back, with several countries – most recently France, and a few months ago Mexico – banning the cultivation of GM corn, and numerous other nations refusing trade in some GM crops (including Russia) and/or requiring GMO labels (as in the EU).
Will all these economic pressures give enough economic incentive to reign in what has until now been an almost-forced deluge of corn consumption for the average consumer (who apparently hasn’t got the right know what is on the end of his fork)?
$427 Million: The Rise of Genetically Modified Corn Comes at a Price
U.S. Corn Exports to China Dry Up Over GMO Concerns
Vermont steps closer to passing GMO food-labeling law
French parliament bans genetically modified maize
Mexico Bans GMO Corn Effective Immediately
Russia refuses to import GMO corn
The Most Irony Ever: Food Poisoning Strikes Diners at Gov’t Food Safety Summit
“Extreme Levels” Of Herbicide Roundup Found In Food