June 19, 2013
September 20, 2012, Press Release : Unprecedented Safety Study Finds Harm from GM Corn The first GM animal feeding trial conducted over the lifetime of laboratory rats to test Monsanto's GM corn NK603 and their herbicide Roundup found tumours, multiple organ damage and premature death. (Séralini, G.-E., et al. "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize." Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012) NK603 was approved in Canada in 2001 and is grown for animal feed and processed food ingredients. For more information click here.
Consumer Advisory: GM Sweet Corn
Write to your grocery store! Ask at your farmers’ market, roadside stand and grocery store.
Genetically modified (GM) sweet corn is now being grown by some farmers who are selling at roadside stands, at Farmers’ Markets, and through some grocery stores. This a new GM crop from Monsanto - the sweet corn is designed to be insect resistant (its toxic to insects!) and herbicide tolerant (its used with Roundup herbicide!).
- Write to your grocery store and ask them if their fresh sweet corn supply is non-GM and ask them to make sure that all their sweet corn is non-GM for next year. The major grocery chains need to hear from you!
- Buy organic sweet corn. Organic farming prohibits the use of genetic modification. Certified organic is your guarantee that your sweet corn is not genetically modified (and is also pesticide-free).
- Ask your local farmer or manager at the farm stand or grocery store if the sweet corn they are selling is genetically modified (also called genetically engineered). Please send your responses to CBAN. Below is some information to help you get an answer. Please also write to your grocery store so your concerns go to head office!
Monsanto’s new GM sweet corn is engineered to be toxic to particular insects. The GM technology transforms the corn plant into a pesticide. In fact, the toxin, from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, is expressed in every cell of the plant including the corn kernels. If certain insects, including the European corn borers, corn earworms, fall army worms and corn rootworm larvae, try to eat the corn, they will die. The Bt toxin attaches to receptors in the gut of some insects, rupturing the gut and killing the insect.
New Article!"GM Sweet Corn Kils Bugs But is it Also Tasty on the BBQ?" by Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, September 2012, Common Ground Magazine
Ask at Your Store or Farmers' Market
Below is some extra informationand a questionnaire to help you get an answer to your question.
- Some farmers may be growing GM sweet corn but not be aware that it is GM.
- Staff at the grocery store, or even the farm stand, will probably not be able to immediately answer your question and are very likely to be misinformed about GM foods.
GM corn is one of 4 GM crops grown in Canada: canola, soy, and white sugar beet (for sugar processing) are the others. The GM corn grown in Canada has been, until recently, all hard corn used for processed food ingredients and animal feed. The Canadian government does not label GM foods and does not keep statistics on how much GM is grown or where. CBAN researches and monitors GM foods for you: for more information please see http://www.cban.ca/gmfoods
- For Farmers: Does your sweet corn have insect protection? Monsanto and Syngenta both have GM sweetcorn varieties engineered to be toxic to insects such as the European corn borer and corn earworm.
- For Farmers: Is your sweet corn Roundup Ready? Monsanto's new insect resistant sweetcorn is also herbicide resistant- it is resistant to Monsanto's brand name herbicide.
- For Farmers: What company did you buy your corn seed from? GM sweet corn is available from seed dealers but sometimes seed companies do not clearly label the seeds as GM. For example, US seed company Seedway sells GM sweetcorn as “Genetically Enhanced” hybrid sweet corn seed. The sweet corn varieties are also called “insect protected hybrids” - the corn is a hybrid but it is also genetically modified. (Seedway also sells organic and untreated sweet corn seed.)
- CBAN has made a questionnaire that you can leave with your grocery store, produce or farm stand manager if necessary. Ask them to fill it out and get back to you.
- Download the PDF Questionnaire Here - or Download the Word Document Questionnaire here.
- You can also print “CBAN’s Quick Guide to GM Foods” to hand to them. (If you have this information from CBAN, you will most likely have more information than your grocery store manager.)
Please contact us:
If you find GM sweet corn, please inform CBAN of the location and of any details from your conversation with the farmer, farm stand manager or grocery store manager. Please send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 613 241 2267 ext 25. Fax 613 241 2506 Thank you for your action!
Stop "SmartStax" Eight-Trait GE Corn
June 28, 2011: German group Testbiotech released a critical new report that exposes unstudied questions in confidential industry documents from Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences on their genetically modified (GM) eight-trait corn called “SmartStax”, approved in Canada in 2009. The GM SmartStax corn produces six different insecticidal toxins and is tolerant to two herbicides. It was allowed onto the market in Canada without a safety evaluation from Health Canada.
- Selected Comments from EU Member States and Listing of Studies Recommended
- Summary and Background on SmartStax corn and risk questions, CBAN.
Tell the Minister of Health its unacceptable that Health Canada did not assess the safety of 'SmartStax' before it was approved. Click here to send your instant email letter.
- Instant email letter.
- Postcards to print and send to the Minister.
- Flyer on SmartStax for printing and folding.
- Talking points for calling or writing the Minister.
- Factsheet: Why 'SmartStax' is Dumb
Background: Health Canada did not assess the safety of “SmartStax” GM corn. Health Canada does not classify “SmartStax” as a “Novel Food” because it has previously approved the eight single GM traits in “SmartStax”, individually in earlier crops. Health Canada says that combining eight GM traits together does not create any new risks and does not need any safety evaluation. Health Canada did not even bother to rubber-stamp “SmartStax” – it was approved for release by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, without Health Canada.
Summary: On July 15, 2009 Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences announced that they received approval to introduce their new eight-trait GM corn 'SmartStax' in Canada and the US. But Health Canada did not assess 'SmartStax' for human health safety and did not even bother to authorize it. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency authorized the environmental release of 'SmartStax' but never conducted an environmental risk assessment and actually substantially weakened its environmental stewardship rules for the crop. Because the eight traits were previously approved in separate crops, Canadian regulators do not see anything new in combining the eight together - despite the fact that the Codex international food safety guidelines that Canada helped to negotiate clearly state that stacked traits can lead to unintended effects and should be subject to a full safety assessment.
- Read the CBAN article in Alive Magazine. February 2010.
- CBAN Opinion: Stacked traits lack assessment, Western Producer, October 15, 2009.
- Monsanto response: Stacked Traits good for growers, Western Producer, November 5, 2009.
- Full Analysis: Why did Monsanto's latest foods get a free pass from Health Canada? rabble.ca article
- Press Release: No Safety Assessment of GE Corn by Health Canada: Canada Ignores International Food Safety Guidelines. July 29, 2009.
- Press Release: CFIA ’s Irresponsible Rubber-Stamping of New Genetically Engineered Corn No environmental risk assessment, and reduced environmental stewardship requirements for new Monsanto/Dow “SmartStax”. July 24, 2009.
- CBAN letter to Health Canada. July 28, 2009.
- Response to Health Canada: ‘SmartStax’ Genetic Corn Really Safe? Montreal Gazette, CBAN Opinion Letter, July 30, 2009.
- CBAN letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, August 3, 2009.
- UN Codex Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants.
- CBAN Briefing Note on GE regulation in Canada.
Failure of Government Regulation
CBAN demands that:
- Health Canada immediately request that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency rescind its authorization of the genetically modified (GM) eight-trait corn called ‘SmartStax’ (Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences)
- Health Canada initiate a full food safety assessment of the GM corn as set out by the Codex Alimentarius Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants.
- Health Canada request the Canadian Food Inspection Agency halt any further approvals of stacked trait products until Health Canada has reviewed its Novel Foods Regulations and initiated a system-wide review of the entire regulatory system for GM foods and crops ("Novel Foods" and "Plants with Novel Traits").
- Click here to read the full letter from CBAN to Health Canada. July 28, 2009.
- Read the Minister of Health's response.
- Click here to read CBAN's letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, August 3, 2009.
- Read the CFIA's response to CBAN.
The UN Codex guidelines for GM food safety assessment state that “unintended effects in recombinant-DNA plants may also arise through the insertion of DNA sequences an/or may arise through subsequent conventional breeding of the recombinant-DNA plant.’’ (this is how stacked trait GE crops like ‘SmartStax’ are produced – through the conventional breeding or crossing of GM plants) and that such crops should go through a full safety assessment (para 14, CAC/GL 45-2003).
The international Codex Alimentarius Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants clearly recommends safety assessments of stacked trait GE crops. The Guideline clearly states that unintended effects can arise not only from genetically engineered (GE) plants, but can also arise when those GE plants are crossed via conventional breeding (as in the case of stacked-trait crops such as ‘SmartStax’): “Unintended effects in recombinant-DNA plants may also arise through the insertion of DNA sequences an/or may arise through subsequent conventional breeding of the recombinant-DNA plant” [bold added] (para 14, CAC/GL 45-2003). Furthermore, the Guidelines also state that such crops should go through a full safety assessment: “The assessment for unintended effects takes into account the agronomic/phenotypic characteristics of the plant that are typically observed by breeders in selecting new varieties for commercialization. These observations by breeders provide a first screen for plants that exhibit unintended traits. New varieties that pass this screen are subjected to safety assessment as described in Sections 4 and 5” [bold added] (para 17, CAC/GL 45-2003).