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Corn

Corn: Pesticides & GMO, Esther Dives In

by Esther Trepal MS RDN on August 29, 2016

Is it advisable to eat conventional (not organic) corn?

Good question and one that needs a little explaining. According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental group, corn is low in pesticides.  They include it on their “Clean 15” list of conventionally grown foods that are considered safe to eat.  On the other hand, while pesticide use is not an issue, many people are concerned about eating genetically modified foods (GMO). And corn is one of the top GMO foods produced in the US.

The good news is that the vast majority of corn grown for table consumption is not GMO corn. So, buying fresh corn on the cob at your local supermarket or farmers market should not be a problem. But we’re not completely off the hook. GMO corn is commonly used for animal feed and as additives to processed food (for us humans). Whenever you see corn oil, corn syrup, corn starch and corn flour, that is likely GMO (unless the product is certified organic).

GMOs remain controversial as to their health risks. However, at this time the US Food and Drug Administration recognizes them as safe. If you are concerned about eating GMO corn, I suggest that you shop at farmers markets and verify with the farmer that the corn is non-GMO (most likely it is). And I would also check food labels on processed foods. If they contain corn derivatives, go for organic products.

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