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Got The Blues About GMO Corn? Two Varieties Remain Uncontaminated

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 Got The Blues About GMO Corn? Two Varieties Remain Uncontaminated

In case you’re wondering, YES

Your suspicion that the bucket of  “cleaning fluid” used to sanitize the elementary music class recorders smelled a little funny was spot on. After one very shocking junior high truth or dare session with a group of boys from several elementary schools (and other girls), it became crystal clear why a few of them rarely asked to be excused to the restroom. [cringe]

Most of us can look back and laugh about those kinds of things – especially if we played the triangle and not the recorder! However, there’s a giant company that’s doing the equivalent of peeing in the bucket, only it’s our food supply and the “pee” is poison. Yesterday Kristen of Food Renegade posted a quote from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, which found that based on the seeds they’ve tested about half of America’s heirloom corn varieties are now contaminated with GMO strains. I’m not laughing, you?

Fortunately, if you want avoid GMO’s but can’t give up your chips, here are some options:

Hopi_Blue_CornBlue Corn

According to the Institute For Responsible Technology, blue corn does not cross-pollinate with GMO varieties. You can buy the seeds to make your own cornmeal and corn chips or just buy some at the store.

UPDATE: The Institute has updated their info and now states that “Blue corn cross-pollinates with current GM corn varieties.”

There are a couple of things to keep in mind, though:

  1. Conventional corn is a heavily sprayed crop. Even if GMO’s are not a concern organic is still the way to go for this one. (See this post for times it’s not a huge deal to skip the organic label)
  2. Blue corn chips prepared with non-organic canola are likely to be GMO. Even if the canola is organic it may be contaminated. Safflower or sunflower are okay. Coconut oil is even better.


Here’s what blogger Elizabeth Yarnell has to say:

At the Seeds of Doubt conference recently, Jeffery Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and GMO expert, assured us that even though almost 90% of the corn grown and eaten in this country is GMO corn, popcorn comes from a different seed and has not been genetically modified.

So, while you should assume that your Doritos brand corn chips and those sweet corn cobs on sale at the grocery store are Genetically Modified even though they are not labeled as such, you’ll never have to worry about your popcorn being GMO. Makes you feel a little bit better about ordering that large tub at the movie theater!

Is this good news or WHAT!?!? I confess I’ll still be sneaking popcorn into the movie theater with real butter and salt, but it’s still great news. I double checked with the Institute For Responsible Technology website and was able to confirm that popcorn does not cross-pollinate with GMO varieties of yellow and white corn, leaving it’s status as one of the healthiest snacks you can eat intact.

Want one more reason to celebrate? Then check back this Friday, because I’m sharing a popcorn ball recipe you former Rice Krispy treat junkies do not want to miss!

Photo Credit: Asbestos,  Abrahami cc

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39 Responses to Got The Blues About GMO Corn? Two Varieties Remain Uncontaminated

  1. Taylor says:

    Is there a kind of corn you can eat off the cob that is GMO free? Also, is it possible to find organic, GMO-free oil, blue tortilla/corn chips anywhere?

    • Heather says:

      I think there’s a risk of cross-contamination with all sweet corn now, so you can never know for sure. Regarding the blue tortilla chips, I’d say if they were 100% blue corn fried in sunflower/safflower or coconut oil you’d be pretty safe. I’m not a huge fan of sunflower/safflower oil, but it’s definitely not GMO and sometimes I think that’s good enough :)

  2. AmandaLP says:

    One thing to watch for with Popcorn is that GMO crops require that 20% of the farmers plants have to be a “refuge” plant, aka not GMO. Many conventional GMO corn farmers use Popcorn as their refuge plant, so they are exposed to many of the same chemicals. So, go organic Popcorn for the pesticides, not the GMOs.

    In other news, I saw a popped popcorn snack that proudly said “NON GMO POPCORN,” yet popped with conventional GMO canola oil.

  3. Sara says:

    Whoa… My family (except for me) eats TONS of corn chips and other corn products, including pop corn. Personally, I find that the blue corn tastes better that yellow or white, which is the main reason I can say “no.” My brother loves his pop corn, though, so even though he nukes it in the microwave and it’s loaded with artificial flavors, at least it’s not GMO. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

  4. LeAnn says:

    YAY!! Popcorn is literally my all-time favorite food! I prefer white popcorn, but haven’t found organic white where I live so I’ve settled for organic yellow. It’s great to know I can enjoy white without worry of GMO!

    • Heather says:

      HI LeAnn! From what I understand some white corn varieties are GMO, but the variety specifically used for popcorn isn’t.

  5. Lorina says:

    Great post! Thanks for the info….so glad to hear about pop corn kernals…it had been heavy on my mind for a while now….but no more! Yeah!

  6. Erin says:

    Is it possible to obtain seeds for blue corn and grow them at home? Just curious – since it seems that all other fresh corn is likely tainted with GMOs.

  7. Evette says:

    I miss corn tortillas!!!! =(

  8. Jessica says:

    oh the madness!!! GMO and pesticides are in almost EVERYTHING. this is very scary. ahhh!

  9. Prudence Baxter says:

    Boy, do I wish I knew this a week ago! My husband and I just purchased our seeds for this years garden and had worked very hard trying to find some heirloom corn seeds so we would not have to worry about GMO’s. We did buy Japanese White Hull-less popcorn seeds, but the rest were either Golden Bantam Sweet Corn or Country Gentleman. So…do you cut out all corn products from your diet or what?

  10. Jennifer says:

    What is a non-gmo popcorn I can buy?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Jennifer! According to the Institute For Responsible Technology, all popcorn is non-GMO. I personally would still get an organic brand though, because conventional corn is heavily sprayed with pesticides.

  11. Kumquaty says:

    yay!!!!!!! thank you for the good news…and so easy to remember

  12. Jessica says:

    My husband and I were JUST talking about this! He is going to be gardening on an acre this spring and selling to a local farmer. He said he wanted to do Blue Corn for fun and the first thing I said was, “is it non GMO??” (he already knew) what good timing!! Can you make tortillas and cornbread out of the cornmeal? I’m going to have to do some research!

  13. Katie says:

    So happy to see I can still get some good ‘ol corn without GMO’s..I want to try to make tortilla chips one of these days! :)

    Thanks for doing the research on this,

  14. Susan says:

    Great post. Can you share any of your favorite brands that are Non-GMO and Organic?

    • SH says:

      I buy products from TJ’s (Trader Joes) – they state that all of their label/brand are GMO free. They have both organic and regular. Unfortunately we cannot use the organic cause we have a sea-salt allergy, but the regular ones don’t seem to cause us any problems. My sister didn’t switch, and she developed a severe allergy to all corn, EXCEPT pop-corn. I keep telling her it’s the GMO’s.

  15. Sam Cobb says:

    I find it hard to believe that popcorn is non-GMO when Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn is trademarked. A generic bag of popcorn at the grocery lists the ingredient as “popcorn” and the Orville (or other) brands say something like, “Orville Redenbacher popcorm (TM)”

    • HeidiGirl says:

      Orville’s popcorn seeds are labeled Non-GMO, but they use palm oil that might be GMO & while the corn is growing it is sprayed with pesticides. So it’s partially Non-GMO, but not organic. I still give in & eat a mini size portion now & then, but I think I’ll buy an old fashioned popper & buy my own seeds like my Dad did (more fun for the kids anyways) :)

  16. Paula says:

    I have to comment on the popcorn. I have a funny suspicion about it. If I eat non organic, I get the SAME reaction I do if I eat GMO corn. But I can eat organic no problem.

    • Kenneth says:

      Your reaction to non-organic popcorn may be from the pesticides. As I understand from a previous poster, the same pesticides are used for non-organic popcorn as regular corn. Also, I’ve read that cottonseed oil is gmo. So, avoid anything soy, cottonseed, canola (rapeseed) and corn.

  17. cutaway5 says:

    PLEASE UPDATE THIS INCORRECT INFO! I called Orville reddenbacher sevarl months ago, and they confirmed that ALL the POPCORN IS GMO!! Or, “genetically enhanced,” as they like to say.
    You MUST buy organic if you want to avoid GMO popcorn. Newmans Own and Trader Joes are the only I know of.

  18. E. Gasçon says:

    Yes, you’re absolutely right, popcorn comes from a different seed that’s not genetically modified. We don’t have to worry about popcorn being GMO! Visit: Genetically Modified Foods in America | Health Documentary
    47.08/57.06 (at this point in the video)

  19. Got The Blues About GMO Corn? Two Varieties Remain Uncontaminated « The Mommypotamus | Ishtarmuz's Blog says:

    […] See on […]

  20. Katie says:

    Do microwave popcorn bags have anything in them besides corn? Or does the corn have oil on it? Just wondering if the oil is also GMO free. Thanks!

    • Heather says:

      Yes, they often have chemicals, unhealthy oils, etc. I personally always make my popcorn using an air popper or on the stove :)

  21. Jennifer says:

    I’m a little confused..
    You’ve stated “According to the Institute For Responsible Technology, blue corn does not cross-pollinate with GMO varieties.”
    but when I clicked the link to their site it tells me this…
    “What seeds are at risk?

    Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres). (Number in parentheses represents the estimated percent that is genetically modified.) Blue corn cross-pollinates with current GM corn varieties. And now, with the sugar beet growers going GM, there is the possibility of cross-pollination into other beet varieties and near relatives, such as chard. All but soy cross-pollinates.”

    They say it does cross-pollinate…Where did you find that it says otherwise? I can’t seem to find it.

    • Heather says:

      Nooooo! They must have updated their info recently, because the last time I checked they did not cross-pollinate. I am so sad about this because I was planning on planting blue corn this year. Will update the post!

    • Jill Lee says:

      Thanks so much for checking!

  22. Barb says:

    From what I am reading 90 something percent of Americans do NOT want their food GMO contaminated, What can we do to bring back the traditional farmer?
    Even the bee’s are dying at an alarming rate because of the GMO.

  23. HeidiGirl says:

    Wish I could find Non-GMO sweet corn where I live (Lancaster County, PA)! I would love to freeze about 40 dozen for my growing family. I ask people selling corn if its GMO or not & they look at me like I have 2 heads or something. I even found corn labeled organic at a farmer’s market, but they said it was GMO seed that was grown organically without pesticides. I feel like its a losing battle & I don’t have enough space right now to grow corn. Does anyone know of a website that lists organic & non-GMO farmers & where to buy? Thanks!

  24. nicholas says:

    All corn can, will and does cross pollinate with other varieties of corn planted nearby. All corn varieties are from the same species so they will cross if given the chance. Non gmo corn can become contaminated in a variety of ways from contaminated planting seed or pollen on the wind. There is a natural trait bring bred into organic varieties that makes organic corn not easily except pollen from different varieties.

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