Walmart: Behind the Curve on GMO Corn

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Last fall, biotech giant Monsanto announced its first new genetically modified (GMO) corn variety that would be intended for sale as whole food, in canned and frozen corn products. Previously most GMO corn went for animal feed or into highly processed foods, like corn syrup. But now, people could be eating whole corn engineered with pesticide genes that have never before been part of the human diet.

The Center for Environmental Health took action. In September we sent surveys to major food makers and retailers, asking for their policy on this risky, new corn. Trader Joe’s told us that their company policy to “replace offending [GMO] ingredients with acceptable alternatives” would apply. In reply to a follow-up survey sent by our friends at Center for Food Safety, Whole Foods stated that they will avoid the new GMO corn and would be testing corn products to insure they are made without GMOs.

But Walmart’s reply was less forthcoming. In their response, the company ignored our direct questions about the Monsanto corn. Instead, Walmart simply referenced their generic love of food safety (don’t we all!) and stated that they “have chosen to decline” to answer our survey.

ACT NOW: Tell Walmart to say NO to this risky new GMO corn – petitions will be delivered to Walmart this week!

Recently, there are signs that our pressure is paying off. Following the CEH action in September, a coalition of groups turned attention on Walmart, and by late October more than 250,000 Americans had signed the petition calling for the company to reject Monsanto new GMO corn. Then last month, the Chicago Tribune asked Walmart about the new GMO corn, and a company spokesperson replied, “we currently have no plans to carry it.” Pressed by the reporter about the company’s plans once the crop is harvested and sold later this summer, Walmart said it was not possible to talk about their plans “that far ahead.”

Of course, it’s hard to believe that the world’s largest retailer can’t plan its corn purchasing policies a mere six months ahead. After all, in numerous legal cases that CEH has brought against Walmart, the company had virtually always taken swift action to communicate its demands to its suppliers. And when Walmart, the world’s largest and most influential retailer talks, suppliers respond.

That’s why it’s urgent to send Walmart a strong message this week! Walmart must follow other responsible retailers and reject this GMO corn – which offers no benefits to consumers but poses unknown health, environmental and food safety risks. Please add your name to the petition to Walmart TODAY!

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