Sunday, October 7, 2007

Does movie popcorn have GMOs?

Last night, my man and I had a wonderful sitter who loves our little guy, and we went out to a movie with a clear conscience knowing he was in good hands. My man agreed to see The Jane Austen Book Club. Since it's hard to coordinate getting out of the house, we arrived at the Riviera without dinner in our bellies, so we decided on some popcorn and a soda. I already know not to ask about the soda, but I asked the handsome, flirtatious boy man behind the counter a simple question about the popcorn that any sane person would ask.

"Is this popcorn made from genetically modified corn?" The smile left his face and he looked around for packaging, as if it would just give him the answer.
"Orville Redenbacher," he said. "I think that's a pretty good brand."
"Thanks!" I said. I decided, seeing as we were on date number 4 since the baby was born, that I'd take my chances. After watching a great movie, we went straight home to relieve the poor girl who sat with little E for a two and a half hour fuss session. the popcorn question had to be answered, so I did a search and according to an article entitled Pop Secrets by Amy Wmmer Schwarb, here's the scoop:

Popcorn has more going for it than a reputation as the most fun grain in the maize family. While some U.S. crops—soybeans, field corn and tomatoes come to mind—have been genetically altered with DNA from other living organisms, popcorn remains pure, its parentage selectively bred using techniques as old as Charles Darwin. The many improvements it has enjoyed over the decades are the result of good old-fashioned farming know-how—and lots of trial and error. Yet within the industry, breeders know there may come a day—five years from now? 10? 20?—when keeping up with the field production of genetically modified crops could challenge them to reconsider. Though the crop has ancient roots, the quest to breed a better popcorn is largely a 20th century phenomenon—one that might eventually be plagued by this even more modern question. No popcorn currently on the market is genetically modified (known in the breeding world as GMO), but Ken Ziegler, who retired last year as the popcorn-breeding agronomist at Iowa State University, says a nod of consumer acceptance could shift the future. “The big companies, for sure, have GMOs on their shelf, ready to go,” Ziegler says. “They have to, to be competitive.”


Chryss said...

Sometimes, ya just gotta go for the popcorn... live a little! Date nights make the world a better place.

Kristin Anderson said...

I couldn't agree more! Date nights are world changing :)

Chris said...

"...there may come a day... when keeping up with the field production of genetically modified crops could challenge them to reconsider."

Did you know that GM crops don't actually increase yield? Conventional breeding, to this day, does a much better job!

I enjoyed your post, and couldn't help but share this. This article has just about anything you could ever want to know about GMOs in it. Enjoy!

Donna617 said...

The latest and greatest from the company that manufactures Orville Redenbacher popping corn:
Some of our products contain ingredients that were produced from crops produced using biotechnology. All of these ingredients are approved by the USDA and the FDA, and we stand by the safety and integrity of our ingredients.

The products that most likely contain biotech ingredients would be those that contain corn and soybean. Biotechnology modified versions of these crops have been approved for use and are common in the food supply. Because they are fundamentally the same as crops developed through traditional breeding, they are difficult to segregate and trace. Even if they were traceable, our formulas and suppliers change from time to time, so we couldn't say definitively if biotech ingredients are included in a specific product. We stand by the safety and integrity of our ingredients.

Our labeling practices follow all government regulations. The FDA requires labeling when a food's nutritional content is significantly changed or if the food could cause an allergic reaction in some people. But when an approved biotech food is virtually the same as its traditional form and its nutritional content is not changed significantly, the FDA does not require special labeling. This is the case with all of our products.

If you prefer to purchase products that do not contain biotech ingredients, we can recommend organic products. Per the USDA's certification requirements for organic products, organic ingredients cannot be derived from biotech (genetically modified) seeds.

The FDA is NOT a consumer safety interested agency! Buyer beware!