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“Corn is everywhere in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is the largest producer of corn in the world. Corn is a fixture of U.S. landscapes, food and even industrial chemicals. It’s also one of the most heavily modified crops. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 25 percent of corn crops growing in the United States contained genetically modified corn [source: Fox]. Products containing corn include beer, salad dressing, margarine, flour and, of course, anything that has corn syrup.
So are we eating genetically modified corn? That’s a tough one. While most genetically modified corn isn’t destined for human consumption, one of the biggest concerns in transgenic corn is the possibility of GM corn corrupting unmodified strains.
Corn is wind-pollinated, which means that nearby fields can become unintentionally contaminated. The affected area can be great — in 2001, for instance, scientists even found GM material in wild corn in Mexico [source: Quist and Chapela].
Even if you don’t drink soy milk, you could be ingesting soy through foods like chocolate.
Of all crops, soy is the most heavily modified. In 2007, more than half of the world’s soy was made up of genetically modified strains. Soy is modified for a variety of purposes. Common modifications include increasing its resistance to insects and fungus, as well as enriching its vitamins or fat and protein content so it can be used for animal feed. Soy is also integral to creating chemicals for use in pharmaceuticals.
Since soy is one of the more heavily modified crops (and one of the most useful for additives) chances are in the United States that if the label says you’re eating soy, you’re eating genetically modified material. This isn’t just tofu and soy milk either — foods that include soy byproducts are very common and can be found in staples like bread, cereal, ice cream and chocolate.
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