As farming has transitioned from a once localized industry to an international one, it's brought with it a new set of challenges for U.S. farmers. Spurred in part by a growing demand for biofuel, along with federal subsidy programs, about 180 million additional acres of corn and soybeans have been planted around the world over the last decade. In the U.S., this two-crop cycle of corn and soybeans has become the dominant model in the Midwest, thanks to the federal farm policy that subsidizes these crops, with devastating consequences to human health and the environment.
Healthy Traditions announced earlier this year that they had added Mexican heirloom corn products to their line of GMO-tested and Glyphosate-tested products. They explained how truly GMO-free corn is almost non-existent in the U.S., as even corn that is USDA certified organic or verified to be GMO free is still contaminated with small amounts of GMO DNA, according to their own laboratory testing. The corn products, which include corn flour, corn meal, grits, and whole kernel corn, are on sale this week. They are thought to be unique to the U.S. corn market.
Healthy Traditions Offers First-ever GMO-tested and Glyphosate-tested Heirloom Corn Products from Mexico
Over the past few years we have tried to find corn in the United States that tested clean for the presence of genetically modified material and the herbicide glyphosate. We tested corn products that were USDA certified organic, and corn that also made claims to be GMO-free. We found that all of them were contaminated. We have been successful in some years growing clean corn with our farmers in Wisconsin, but often subsequent harvest years turned up positive results of GMOs in our testing, forcing us to find new sources of open pollinated heirloom corn. As a result, we did not have much corn to sell to our customers, and some years we had none. But now, we have located some rural farms in Mexico that seem to have clean corn from native varieties. Healthy Traditions is excited to bring you a new line of products made from corn grown in the region where corn is thought to have originated, Central Mexico! In order to find a consistent supply of corn that tested negative for both GMO and glyphosate contamination, we began searching in Mexico, where commercial GMO corn production is currently banned because of the rich genetic diversity and cultural significance that corn has there. This open-pollinated corn has been grown in a traditional fashion, much the same way it has been done for hundreds, if not thousands of years in this region. The family of the farmer that grew this corn has a connection to the land for over a century, and the seed he uses has been passed down from generation to generation. Healthy Traditions views the opportunity to help preserve this genetically diverse corn as a great honor and one in which we are proud to be a part of. We are also pleased to work with a grist mill that has agreed to dedicate one of their stone grinders just for grinding GMO-tested and Glyphosate-tested corn. This mill processes no other grains in this facility and our corn is ground in small batches to ensure freshness.
Mexico’s unique and treasured native corn varieties could be under threat as Monsanto, the world’s largest seed producer, vies to plant genetically modified (GMO) corn in the country. In August 2015, a Mexican judged overturned a September 2013 ban on GMO corn, thus opening more business opportunities for Monsanto and other agribusinesses pending favorable later court decisions. Monsanto even announced in October 2015 that it was seeking to double its sales in the country over the next five years. The GMO corn ban remains pending a ruling on the appeal, but a final decision could end up in Mexico’s supreme court.
In 1997, Gottfried Glöckner, an award-winning dairy farmer in Germany, became the first farmer to grow and feed Bt176 corn to his prized Holstein cows. The test continued until 2002. According to Séralini, this was the longest running and most detailed observation of farm animals ever performed for a GE crop. Since 1986, when Glöckner took over the farm, he’d had no cases of serious disease on his farm. That all changed once he started feeding his cows Bt176 in 1997. As Glöckner increased the amount of Bt176 corn in the cows’ feed, gradually going from 2 to 40 percent over the course of two years, the worse his cows fared. At the outset, 70 percent of his cows produced high yields of milk, which is considered normal. Once the GMO content of the feed reached 40 percent, a mere 40 percent of his cows were high-yielding. In 2000, milk tested positive for the Bt176 DNA specific fragment, which under European law meant the milk had to be labeled as coming from GE-fed animals. Peak mortality was reached in 2002, when 10 percent of his cows died after suffering a long period of partial paralysis. Thirty percent of the herd was sick with a variety of ailments.
10,000 Sue Syngenta Over Unapproved GMO Corn Shipped to China – U.S. Farmers Lose $5 Billion in Sales
Town hall meetings have been taking place recently regarding corn litigation with the Syngenta company. The lawsuit is regarding claims that Syngenta sold genetically modified corn with a strain called MIR-162 to China without their approval of the modification. "The first shipment that tested positive for MIR-162," Hecker Law Group attorney Jacob Hecker said, "was destroyed by the Chinese in 2013. Afterwards all other shipments with trace amounts of the strain were sent back to where they came from." Due to the boycott, agriculture experts say the cost of the damages involved is in the range of $5 billion.
Cornbread can be found in many forms throughout American history. It was the bread of the people of this country when the more expensive wheat was not available. It was a staple for many a family who grew corn in their own backyards. Today there are many forms of cornbread, the most ubiquitous being a sweet, light cornbread made with sugar or honey and a good portion of wheat flour. Similarly, gluten-free cornbread can be made in which the cornmeal is stretched with a portion of gluten-free flours and starches. Old-fashioned cornbread, on the other hand, is akin to a traditional cornbread made solely with cornmeal. There are no additional flours or starches and it is only very lightly sweetened. The high liquid content comes together with a hot oven to create a moist, flavorful cornbread that pairs perfectly with golden butter.
The process of nixtamalization is a simple one, one that has been practiced for generations by those whose mainstay is the corn grain. Corn masa, the dough that makes tortillas and chips and tamales, cannot be made without this process. But it wasn't done for frivolous reasons or for aesthetic purposes. Instead, those who subsisted off of corn and other local foods found it imperative to their health. Pellagra is a disease often acquired by cultures who began to utilize corn in large amounts in their diet. When corn was introduced to a new culture through travel or trade, and the historic practice of nixtamalizing the corn was ignored, people often fell ill with skin, digestive, and mental disorders. This was later diagnosed as pellagra. Those who had been subsisting on corn for generations and who were taught to soak their corn in lime, however, consumed corn as the backbone of their diet without such symptoms. Their was wisdom in the preparation. This process of soaking and cooking the corn in an alkaline solution - nixtamalization - is now known to release a B vitamin called niacin. Pellagra - and the vitamin and amino acid deficiencies related to it - can be prevented when the diet contains enough niacin. Nixtamalization, therefore, is a simple practice that transforms corn into a nourishing everyday food by releasing the niacin and making the grain more digestible.
For the first time in over a year, Tropical Traditions is selling corn again. For the past few years, Tropical Traditions offered an open-pollinated organic heirloom corn and corn meal to its customers, grown by small-scale family farmers in Wisconsin. However, in the Fall of 2013, they found out that this corn had become contaminated with GMO DNA, and they were no longer able to offer it to their customers. Tropical Traditions has a ZERO tolerance level for the presence of GMOs and the herbicide glyphosate in their products. After much searching, the farmers in Wisconsin were able to purchase some seed corn for the 2014 crop that was open pollinated, and had tested to be free from GMO contamination. Knowing how far the wind can blow pollen from corn field to corn field, the farmers determined that simply shielding their corn from neighboring farms was not sufficient protection. Therefore, they calculated the time frame where they knew their neighbors' corn would be pollinating, based on when it was planted, and then planted their open pollinated GMO-tested corn at a later date, so that it would pollinate after the surrounding farms' cornfields were finished pollinating. In the Fall of 2014, this corn tested to be free of both GMOs and the herbicide glyphosate. It is now offered to the public, shipped direct from the farm as either whole kernel, or stone ground fresh into a corn meal.
With more and more people waking up to the dangers and false claims being made for vaccines today, it is becoming more difficult for the pharmaceutical lobbyists to enact mandatory vaccination laws at the local level. A recent bill in Colorado was defeated when citizens turned out to oppose legislation that would have prohibited vaccine exemptions. Are pharmaceutical companies now looking for new ways to market their vaccines that bypass the freedom to choose completely without the consumer even realizing they are consuming their products? The chemical industry, after all, has been successful for years in getting municipalities to put fluoride in public water supplies completely bypassing consumer choice. Recently obtained information through a freedom of information act shows that pharmaceutical companies and biotech are teaming up to produce genetically modified corn that will contain vaccines like hepatitis B. There are secret locations along California's Central Coast where plots of experimental genetically engineered corn are producing proteins for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, including an experimental vaccine for hepatitis B.