How to Avoid GMO Popcorn

Avoiding the consumption of genetically modified, or GMO, popcorn is very easy.  All anyone needs to do is eat popcorn.  Simple as can be.  As this post is written (August 2014) there is no GMO popcorn on store shelves nor is there any available for farmers to grow. I raise popcorn for Weaver Popcorn, and they currently have no plans to explore any biotech traits. I’m not even aware of anyone working on a GMO popcorn (remember popcorn is different from field corn, waxy corn and sweet corn).

But the fact genetically modified popcorn does not exist does not stop Orville Redenbacher, distributed by ConAgra, from using persuasive packaging to lead consumers to believe other brands might contain GMO popcorn.  I’m a proponent of biotechnology, but I’m not a fan of labeling foods in a way that plays on the real or imagined fears of consumers.  I know, I know.   It’s only marketing, and marketers use all manner of sneaky tactics to move product.  This instance just irks me enough to say something.

I don’t want to rip on Orville too much, but he kinda asked for it this time.  Lots of farmers in our area grow for Orville.  The man himself was from Indiana and graduated from Purdue just like me. Last week I saw someone in a GMO discussion group on facebook share a picture of an Orville box advertising non-GMO corn.  It’s a clever marketing tactic since there are people out there looking to avoid biotech foods. And maybe this is not much different from Ford, Dodge, and General Motors all seemingly advertising their trucks have best in class towing and payload.  Each brand is trying to find a way to get a leg up on the competition in a tight market space.

Orville Redenbacher non-GMO via thefarmerslife.com

The above picture is what I found on my last grocery run.  What caught my eye was the asterisk next to the non-GMO popcorn claim.  My guess was the ingredients list would include soybean, canola, or corn oil.  These are all crops that are likely to be biotech.  Pop Weaver proved to have those oils listed as ingredients, and their FAQ page states “Weaver Popcorn Company only grows popcorn from non-genetically modified seed. However, when other ingredients are added to our popcorn, some of those ingredients may be genetically modified.”  But I didn’t find these ingredients with the Redenbacher corn.  What I found was the asterisk below the ingredients.

What did it say? “*Made with non-genetically engineered popcorn.”  Really? I would like to know where anyone would find popcorn that is genetically engineered.  Of course as a popcorn farmer I know better, but most people aren’t going to realize this.  Is this type of marketing disengenuous when there is no GMO option on the market?  I want to hear from people on different sides of the issue so please leave a comment and let’s have a discussion. I also want to look back on some similar post by other bloggers and myself from a few years ago.  We banded together to find #BSLabels at the grocery.  Please go check out all our posts in #BSLabels Roundup.

How to avoid GMOs – Biofortified Blog

Comments

  1. Taking advantage of ignorance is not an acceptable marketing practice, in my opinion as a marketer. What if they said, “Our popcorn has no radiation from Fukushima,” or, “Non-ChemTrails Popcorn?”

    1. I am so glad I researched more into this. I was just about to buy $40. worth of non GMO popcorn. So it really is safe to buy popcorn from the grocery store. I have a hot air popper and I do not use any oils at all. Just butter and salt.

    2. Chuck,
      He is correct. Just because you are vary smart does not mean other that are just beginning know all the in and outs. Save your anger for the real liars and deceivers. Sometime I think people like you want to confuse new people to eating healthy.

    3. What is needed is to pass a federal law that forces food companies to disclose if their food or any of its ingredients are genetically modified. There is no such law on the books now so people have to guess. Many European countries already mandate disclosure of GMO ingredients.

        1. They import an awful lot of GMO crops for having so-called bans on them. I’m not as familiar with China, but Europe does not have a complete ban on growing GMO crops.

    4. not knowing and ignorance is two different things. Orville Redenbaucher’s is deceptively dishonest. Consumers not in the business of growing popcorn would not know, but OR certainly does.

    1. Dear AgFax Media LLC,, a couple of years ago Monsanto announced it’s plans to GMO peanuts and sugar cane in 2015. I grew concerned and spoke with some of the GA peanut growers and mill owners. I learned all about the pig weed that has become so resistant to Roundup that the corn farmers in GA have had to hire crews to pull it out in the corn fields. I think the best way to combat the fight not having GMO’s labeled is to label the non-gmo, so I’m all for labels that say non-GMO even if the particular crop is said to be non-GMO. I like it for the assurance and appreciate companies being willing to label as non-GMO if their product isn’t. Plain and simple…

    2. What you are failing to realize is that while popcorn and peanuts might not be GMO some companies add GMO oils to non GMO things….. Like soybean oil or corn oil

  2. Good post. As a food scientist and food marketer I dislike tactics designed to confuse and already confused public. Same as the endless gluten-free positioning.

    1. Do not get mad at people that give accurate information, be concerned with marketers that lie and deceive. We need not to hinder good information regardless of our bias.

  3. If your competitor does this you might not have much choice. Some consumers do care enough to switch to brands advertised as non-GMO on principle. What do you do when the high ground of reason costs you market share?

    I can see more general arguments for products that are positioned this way in the Organic segment. It is possible that the producer is strongly committed to never using GMOs and wants to assure the customers who share that value. Even if a new GMO ingredient comes on the market the producer is already committed by certification to take active steps to avoid them. There’s a kind of peace of mind for people who care, and that helps build brand loyalty. People want to support brands that share their values (and yes, sometimes that’s still a crass marketing tactic and not a genuine value).

    There’s a general argument that these non-GMO labels are good on the whole because they provide a strong counter-argument to mandatory labeling of GMOs. There are already a wide variety of non-GMO products in the marketplace that meet the consumer choice need. The more irrelevant marketing claims, the stronger this argument becomes.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other brands follow suit, Mike. I wonder if this is something Redenbacher is testing because they only had the non-GMO claim on one flavor.

      1. I know this thread is over a year old, but I agree with Mike. I think that labelling a product as a whole as non-GMO (like certified, part of the non-GMO Project, or what have you) is good, even if it is there are no GM crops related to it. But how that popcorn was labelled, with non-GM popping corn, but likely some other GM ingredients is a crappy practice.

  4. Another way to think of it is that by putting that on the box they are responding to concerns of consumers who don’t want GMO but want popcorn and have no idea the difference between regular GM field corn and no option for GM popcorn. Maybe every popcorn brand should put that wording on their boxes so consumers know that all popcorn is NonGMO. Other option is a super expensive broad campaign to everyone (both those interested in purchasing popcorn and those not) educating them about the limited options in popcorn genetics. I’d say slapping the wording on the box is the better option from the companies’ standpoints.

    1. I agree with you there, Tim. Popcorn is a tough market in the United States. The way we’ve had it explained to us in grower meetings is the consumption of popcorn here is pretty flat year to year, so finding a way to get market share from the competition is one of the best ways to grow. And a reason no one is really seeking out biotech traits for popcorn is because the growing markets are overseas. I think just about all the big brands are now putting gluten free on their packaging, which is a good thing for those people who really need to avoid gluten. Whole grain is getting the same treatment.

      When I get time I want to do a post on the different types of corn. I’ve been surprised by how many people I’ve encountered who don’t realize popcorn and field corn aren’t the same thing. But when you’ve been around farming your whole life it’s hard to know what everyone else doesn’t know. I couldn’t tell anyone how many different kinds of olives or almonds there are or if there are.

      I still have a bit of a pet peeve for this king of thing though when it implies something is wrong with another product that is essentially the same.

  5. It irritates me when I see these labels from foods that don’t have gm options enough to choose a different brand that doesn’t include the label advertising it’s lack of genetically modified ingredients. Almond milk is another product that does this. There are no genetically modified almonds!! (Although it would be a awesome if a gm almond came to the market that used less water) I buy the brand that doesn’t have the gm free label.

  6. GMOs are plant or meat products with DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, resulting in foreign compounds found in these foods. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature and hasn’t been studied extensively.

  7. I will not be buy Orville Redenbacher popcorn anymore. I do not support misleading advertising like this, or advertising that uses fear.

    1. I am glad to find out there are no GMO in popcorn. And while I do not eat microwave popcorn I like Orville telling me the product is GMO free. Get angry at the marketers that lead you to buy something you do not want not someone that points out the things you are looking for.

    2. Sara I think the label they use is great as not very many people know there is no GM popcorn. However the oil in the micro corn will be from GM soy or corn and should be labeled as such.

        1. GMO corn and beans are better for the environment than clear cutting rainforest to plant palm plantations. It would be nice to have a Bt popcorn to help with stalk quality.

          1. Brian, you are the type of people I do not understand. With all the evidence of how natural is better (I would provide links but you will say they are bogus” I do not understand how you can sacrifice our health for profit. I have to assume you are ether motivated by greed (even if it is to support your family it is wrong) or you just are not willing to research and except what is true. Natural farming is more productive if you account for all the government subsidies, costs of issues with cross contamination and cost associated with pesticides correlated allergies, and chronic symptoms and diseases. Please do not provide the friendly knowledge face of your neighbor hood farmer as a way to deceive everyone. I am from Wisconsin, have worked on a farm and have many family members with farms. We have had this discussion and ALL agree. Some just accept it to make a living. Please feel free to discuss off line if you want.

            1. Thank you for your comment Jeffrey. It saddens me and sickens me (literally) that we have so few foods to count on as being non-GMO, and yet there are people who want to take those few remaining foods away. I’m glad I don’t have to pay the extra expense of organic in order insure that I’m not getting GMO’d. Also, it’s a false logic on Brian’s part. You can choose both non-GMO crops, and NOT clear-cutting the rainforrest for palm oil. These choices are not mutually exclusive. I personally buy Orville Redenbacher’s plain popcorn, airpop it, and then add my own oil and seasonings. Also, ironically, if our soy and corn crops were non-GMO, then maybe people would be less drawn to using palm oil in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle of GMO destroying peoples’ health, animals’ health, and the world. Thank God people are waking up, and if Orville Redenbacher is supporting that stance, then good on them. I will still buy them over other brands, simply because they make their position clear, and I support that.

      1. I didn’t know there wasn’t GMO popcorn. I’m new to organic shopping & have to research everything!
        I thought 80-90% of corn was GMO?

  8. Hey, ConAgra’s gotta justify that markup somehow. They sell at a premium price point and the only thing justifying that price point is marketing. In my area, a 30 oz. tub of Orville is a little bit more than TWICE as expensive as the 32 oz store brand bag (Kroger). Cook them up on the stove with a little olive oil, pour the popcorn in a bowl, sprinkle with finely ground salt–absolutely no difference in taste or texture. (And my favorite all time snack!)

    1. I have not looked very close at the tubs. I mostly look at the microwave stuff. Sounds like what you have seen is in line with my buying frozen Walmart brand fruit. It’s a lot cheaper than the name brands.

    2. I taste a huge difference between OR and Kroger- both in flavor and texture, but I am a supertaster. I airpop, so maybe that makes a difference.

  9. Could it be because of the oil they use? I need to go in and look at other popcorn boxes, but I wonder if it’s the palm oil that makes the difference and not the corn. Perhaps there is a soy product used in competitors’ popcorn. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of palm oil. I try to eat closer to home, so I stick with California grown olive oil or canola for high heat.

    Misleading labeling really bothers me, so I’m glad to see you addressing this here. I appreciate having this info that I can share with family and friends.

    1. On the box in question for this post it’s corn they state on the packaging as non-GMO. I thought it might be the oil too, but it’s not. I now see some other brands started to use the same type of labeling including Pop Weaver who we grow popcorn for.

    2. Molly canola oil unless it is organic is A GMO crop. And even then is not good. Have you ever heard of a Canola plant????

      1. Yes, it’s called rapeseed. The “Can” in Canola refers to Canada where much of it is grown. But even organic canola oil is not healthy for you – too many omega 6 fatty acids in relation to omega 3s. Organic olive oil and organic butter are the best for popping popcorn; I use half of each for popping corn.

  10. Brian, Thank you for this Blog, this is fantastic ! great conversation…thank you for telling us about the fact that all popcorn is non-GMO…. i had wondered about that. I did watch a special quite a few years ago about corn pollen and how far it can travel( i think it was up to 300 miles) which does make me wonder what if the gmo pollen got on nongmo popcorn while growing what that does to the nongmo popcorn. From what i understand most soy grown in America is GMO now along with Canola oil too. I know these are used in the bagged popcorn. I prefer popcorn made the old fashioned way(no micros here) with coconut oil. anyways i just wanted to say thanks for your effort, i will be reading more of your blogs and appreciate your work . Thanks for feeding America

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Christy. I found some more information on how far corn pollen travels. 300 miles is a very long way. The majority of corn pollen is deposited within a few feet of the the plant that shed the pollen. Once you get more than a few dozen feet away from that plant the concentration of pollen drops to almost nothing. This post from UC Davis called “Methods to Enable the
      Coexistence of Diverse Corn Production Systems”
      has a lot of information including ways neighboring farms can work together to eliminate drift issues. Also of note is that a grain of pollen is only good for about 1 day after being released.

      “Once released from the tassels into the air, pollen grains can travel as far as 1⁄2 mile (800
      m) in 2 minutes in a wind of 15 miles per hour (27 km/h) (Nielsen 2003b). However,
      most pollen from a cornfield is deposited within a short distance of the corn plant. Past
      studies have shown that, at a distance of 200 feet (60 m) from the source of pollen, the
      concentration averages only about 1%, compared with pollen samples collected about 3
      feet (0.9 m) from the pollen source (Burris 2002). The number of outcrosses is reduced
      to one-half at a distance of 12 feet (3.6 m) from the pollen source, and at a distance of 40
      to 50 feet (12 to 15 m), the number of outcrosses is reduced by 99%.”

  11. Thank you for the information! I researched it because there was a non-verified NON GMO labeling on the bottle of popcorn.

  12. Thank you for the blog and information! I looked it up because there was a non-verified label of being non-GMO on the tube of popcorn. I wanted to make sure it was non GMO. Thanks so much!

  13. I have been buying the Hill Country Fare brand (HEB) bagged popcorn for air popping for many years. Inexpensive, and no additives. Strangely, the last bag popped up like rice cakes. Even the partially popped kernels were very easy to chew…popcorn seeds are not crunchy…they are hard and dense! The whole family noticed the change, and I even checked the product to rule out the possibility of a stale bag. Nope. Why would this corn act like rice cakes? (Crunchy Styrofoam)

    1. Hello, Misti. Not quite sure what happened to you there. Maybe a lesser quality batch slipped through somehow? Have you tried contacting HEB? You’re right about popcorn not being crunchy. The kernels are really hard! In fact the pericarp, or skin, of a popcorn kernel is three or four times thicker than regular field corn. This quality is why popcorn can pop. The outer layer is strong enough to hold moisture inside long enough to build enough pressure to pop when heated.

  14. Is Orville Redenbacker’s Pop Corn GMO or isn’t it. I have a friend that was perfectly healthy and after eating Orville’s Pop Corn for over one year EVERY NIGHT he finally gave it up because it was causing neurological spasms in his neck, shoulder and arm. He thought he was having a heart attack or stroke. He is only 56 years of age and does not drink, no sodas, smoking, drugs or even pharmaceutical drugs. He does non of these. He gained over 5 pounds during this time and experienced bloating after eating Orville’s Pop Corn. After he stopped eating the pop corn ALL symptoms went away within 5 days. He is convinced Orvilles Pop Corn is a GMO Pop Corn. Can you please tell me if Orville R. Pop Corn is a GMO product? Thank you.

    1. You cannot buy GMO popcorn. It simply doesn’t exist on the market today. Popcorn is known to be a healthy snack assuming it’s not covered in butter and all the other tasty stuff.

  15. I came here to find an answer to whether or not my jar of OR popcorn contained GMO, learned a happy lesson and will be eating a lot more plain popcorn. I am not offended with OR’s NO GMO advertising, because the alternative – mandatory GMO labeling, which is what consumers really want – does not exist. More power to anyone that supplies GMO info easily to me in the grocery store. If NO GMO popcorn anywhere is a truism, seems like every popcorn maker is free to do the same if they want, a small 5-letter adjustment on the graphic design of their label.

  16. Interesting forum, Brian. Thanks for the article and your responses to inquiries. Now, on to my question.

    It appears to me that with regard to vegetable foods there are actually two things to look out for: one is whether the food was grown using organic methods, and the other is whether the food is GMO or non-GMO. For a long time I was under the mistaken impression that organic was also non-GMO. Today I look for both messages on store labels. Any comments?

      1. Brian, your comment raises the question of why products like Kashi Berry Fruitful cereal packaging has both labels: “Non-GMO Project verified,” and “USDA Certified.” I remember that Kashi took some hits in recent months for not providing the Non-GMO labels. Are they lying now? Are they over-killing the marketing effort, or is there really two different subjects at hand?

        What’s going on?

  17. Thanks for this article and comments! Here in NJ I was under the impression that all corn was gmo. Several weeks ago I bought a jar of OR popcorn because it said non gmo and paid more than other brands that were available-just because of the label. Now I know!

  18. It’s true O.R. is in the popcorn business, but popcorn isn’t their only competition. O.R. is in the “snack food” business, and as such they leverage their product against other snack foods- some of which are GMO.

    Jennifer your comment above should make this point very plain to everyone: why would almond milk companies market their product as non-GMO if there are NO GM almonds anyway? Because almond milk is a substitute and direct competitor of dairy cow milk, some of which contains GMO.

    O.R. labels don’t say “we’re GMO-free, but be scared that other popcorn is not.” They’re simply letting consumers know that when making a decision to purchase their product as a snack, they are buying a non-GMO product.

  19. I’m not a popcorn farmer, so I assumed all corn was GMO unless it said otherwise. I think all brands should put that “GMO-free” disclaimer on their packaging so the public is well informed. I don’t see it as a marketing gimmick. The public is ignorant until you teach them.

  20. OR popcorn is GMO free. However, OR states that other ingredients might be GMO. OR agrees with FDA & scientists who say GMO is safe. I did not buy the large box of OR popcorn since this answer left a foul taste in my mouth.
    “Your Question:
    gmo

    Answer:
    Our popping corn is non-GMO. Some of our microwave popcorn varieties may contain other ingredients that may be from GMO sources. Please click here for more information about GMOs.”

  21. I thought Elizabeth and Blake both answered this well. Most people know that the bulk of corn is GMO, and many are trying to avoid it, so it stands to reason that a concerned customer might ask, “What about my popcorn?”. If they’re standing in the aisle when they ask, then OR answers this for them and uses it as a marketing edge. OR doesn’t pretended to be an objective consumer education source, they’re in this to sell popcorn. This is a real issue that popcorn consumers want to know about, and they’ve provided an answer.

  22. This is good news Brian! You have a unique perspective of the industry in that you are a producer. As a consumer, we don’t know squat (sometimes even when it is on the label). In absence of mandatory labeling, I go for anything certified organic and then accept things with a “no gmo” label. If you haven’t seen it yet then checkout “Dirt! The Movie”.

  23. I found your post googling, because I do want to know when I’m eating GMO foods. I don’t mind the no-GMO label as long as it’s true. If it’s true that no popcorn is GMO, then that’s even better news to me.

  24. To me, responsible advertising is educating the customer about the merits of a product without being vague or exaggerating. The Non GMO label doesn’t mention anything about any other products and that’s ok. I don’t expect to learn about the entire industry on a box. I expect facts about only the product inside. It could say Non Alcoholic or Asbestos Free and that’d be fine. How effective such statements are is debatable but the truth of them is not.

  25. My understanding is that most sweet and field corn IS gmo in the US. I know Monsanto grows corn that is genetically modified to be Round-Up ready. This refers to an herbicide that is used on corn to kill weeds, but supposedly not the gmo corn. Organic corn treated with BT also kills butterflies that try and use corn nectar for food. Do this mean that popcorn is not treated like sweet and/or field corn? Do we have a choice left?

  26. This is such a great blog and forum and I’m so glad to have found it. Just to be sure there is no GMO popcorn on the market at all? My next question is where I can find non GMO corn and cornmeal for my family? Happy Easter!

    1. Nope. No GMO popcorn on the market at this time. For the corn and cornmeal you can always look for the organic label or a voluntary label like the Non GMO Project.

  27. I was wondering if Dennis’ friend who got sick eating popcorn ate the microwave kind, since the news has been telling us that the bags are lined with an unhealthy chemical substance. No one should eat microwave popcorn. Pop it yourself the old fashion way using good non gmo oils or a hot air popper. I use healthy salt as well on my foods, like the pink Himalayan salt. Still, I don’t trust ConAgra foods and am wondering exactly what type popcorn and method of cooking Dennis’ friend used and what he put on it. Plus I am all for the volunteering labeling. We have to research so much of what we eat today. I also thought all popcorn was gmo unless listed otherwise. How on earth would one know unless they were a farmer? I’m about as removed from a farm as one could get. Thanks for the info.

  28. I understand that 90% of corn production is now GMO so I assumed that most popcorn is modified. I’m glad to know that none of the popped corn is GMO. I think the deceitful marketing is laughable but it is concerning that so many people buy into it.

  29. Thank you for the post and discussion. Actually, as a consumer I’m grateful for the labeling. Con Agra has especially been targeted as an “evil producer” and so to have popcorn labeled that it is non-GMO is probably a smart tactic for them.

    And if the remainder of the industry is worried about it, they can label their products as non-GMO as well… so I don’t really see what is deceptive.

    In other words, Con-Agra is specifically dealing with an issue they have in the marketplace as their brand name has become synonymous with GMO products…

    One question though. I’ve read that GMO corn is planted right next to non-GMO corn, such as popcorn, and that there is cross-contamination as a result.

    We are advised that the reason to buy 100% organic corn is because of how the fields have to be planted to avoid any potential cross-over from GMO products. As you are a producer, I would be curious to hear your take on this.

    Thanks again!

    1. Most commercially grown popcorn is dent sterile. I can’t be pollinated by regular corn. We plant popcorn right night to GM corn fields all the time.

  30. As a movie theater operator over the years I have had many people ask if the corn was GMO free, and many tell me that they didn’t want it because it was GMO. the only way around this was to put a sign on top of the popper that said our corn is GMO Free. We added an asterix as well it says ” * all popcorn in the USA is GMO free and we are unaware of any work being done to make Genetically modified popcorn..”, but what mattered most to folks was being told that they were given a GMO free option.

  31. It is helpful for many of us to know that a product is gmo free as we do not know all types of foods affected. Mostly, I choose to know if
    a product is organic

  32. Thank you for this blog, I learned a lot! We pop our corn in a stir crazy popper using coconut oil. I had been buying Walmart brand until I started getting educated. Last two bags I bought Jiffy Pop because it said NON GMO Certified! I noticed the OR was marked Non Gmo but was not certified. That is the reason I found this blog, I was confused. I guess the important thing now is organic to avoid pesticides and herbicides!!!

    1. Thanks for reading, Connie. Know that if you choose to avoid pesticides and herbicides simply seeking out the organic label won’t guarantee you are avoiding them. Organic doesn’t by definition mean the farm didn’t use those products.

      1. Wowsers. Your comment made me play “go fish” in Google and was immediately disabused of the thought that Organic meant minimal (if any) pesticides were used in the product. According to a Scientific American blog post there’s a TON of pesticide use in Organic farming and in fact can be heavier handed than non-organic. Is that true from your experience? Check this article: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/httpblogsscientificamericancomscience-sushi20110718mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

        Let me know if the above is accurate. Thanks!

        1. I don’t have first hand experience raising organic crops. I confident most organic farmers are like me, and would use their products safely and properly as directed by the label. I don’t take issue with the using these products, but it just seems there is a feeling among the general public that the organic label by definition means no pesticides.

          The article has a good list of myths that need busting, but some of it does get a little sensational in the descriptions in my opinion. A couple of things are quite right. For example, “He was grumbling about how everyone praised the local organic farms for being so environmentally-conscientious, even though they sprayed their crops with pesticides all the time while his family farm got no credit for being pesticide-free (they’re not organic because they use a non-organic herbicide once a year).” If you spray a herbicide one a year your are not pesticide free. I think a mistake many people make is thinking pesticide means something to kill pests like a mouse. Pesticide encompasses all the “cides” that people use. Herbicide, insecticide, rodenticide, fungicide, nematicide, and so on. Think of it like that whole thing about all squares being rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.

          1. There actually is/was GMO popcorn once developed and planted in the US. Due to the developing movement against GMO’s, primarily in the international market, the developers and the industry vowed to pull these of the market and not develop any future lines of GMO popcorn.

  33. Thank you so much for your informative blog! I just learned so much from reading all the comments.
    I now understand there are no gmo popcorn and almonds. Someone mentioned peanuts too. Is that really the case? What other common foods are gmo free by default?

  34. I think all products that are non gmo should say so as it is a plus – regardless if it is not able to be gmo – plain and simple it is or it is not – we need simple black and white honesty and transparency in all the public arena’s not just food.

  35. you can tell popcorn is gmo because it does not pop as it used to break your teeth on kernels that look popped – same brands used to pop big and fluffy now small and many hard centers — SAD

  36. It was my understanding there was no genetically modified popcorn. So, when I was recently asked to sign a petition that was being sent to a popcorn company asking it to stop using popcorn that came from chemically coated seeds, I was surprised. The claim was that the chemically coated seeds were involved with the decline of bees. I can understand bees being affected by sprays but not bees being affected by a seed coating unless the toxin spreads throughout the entire plant and also into the crop. Does anyone have information about coated popcorn seeds? I don’t like the idea of genetically engineered anything or the accompanying chemicals.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Margaret. Almost everything we plant whether it is GMO or not has some type of seed treatment to protect against pests or disease. This includes our popcorn seed. Our popcorn is treated with a product from Bayer called Poncho/VOTiVO. It’s a two part system that includes a biological control from bacteria for nematodes. The other part is chemical and concerns the petition you mentioned which I am familiar with. Neonicotinoids in seed treatments have gotten a lot of attention lately when comes to pollinators. This part of the treatment is systemic. For a detailed explanation I emailed someone I know at Bayer to get info straight from the source for you. Here’s what I received in return.

      “Research has shown that neonicotinoids enter the xylem (water transport system) and move rapidly to the leaves, thereby providing foliar protection against insect damage. Transport to flowers occurs via the phloem (sugar transport) system, but neonicotinoids are not readily transported in the phloem stream because of their chemical properties. Studies find that generally less than 5 ppb is present in bee-collected pollen and nectar when hives are placed in or next to treated crops.1,2 Therefore, residues of neonicotinoids via translocation to pollen and nectar are far lower than the median lethal concentration (200 ppb) and well below the no observable effect level (20 ppb) for colony vitality.”

      References

      1. Maus C, et al. 2003. Safety of imidacloprid seed dressings to honey bees: a comprehensive overview and compilation of the current state of knowledge. Bulletin of Insectology 56(1):51-57.

      2. Pilling, E., Campbell, P., Coulson, M., Ruddle, N., and Tornier, I. (2013): A Four-Year Field Program Investigating Long-Term Effects of Repeated Exposure of Honey Bee Colonies to Flowering Crops Treated with Thiamethoxam. PLoS ONE 8(10) 1-14.

      3. Maus and Schoning (2001). Effects of TI-435 Technical Residues in Pollen on the Development of Small Bee Colonies an don Behavior and Mortality of Honey Bees: Lab Project Number E319 1833-8: 110059.

      I think pollinator health is very important even though our crops do not need pollinators to move their pollen around. From what I can tell there is no single cause to issues with bees. It seems the varroa mite is a major issue as well. The popcorn company we grow for did release a statement saying they will be phasing out seed treatments. I don’t yet know if it will be just the neonics or other types of treatments also.

      1. Thanks for your detailed reply and extra effort. It was more than I expected. I’m not a farmer or much of a gardener, but I do eat a lot of home popped popcorn and have noticed fewer bees in the area. This past summer, I felt I needed to play bee with some potted tomato plants grown from organic seeds. I know I’m not a good substitute for a bee, because this was the third year and there were fewer tomatoes on three plants than one plant the first year. I hope a definitive answer is found and bees can make a comeback as pollinators and honey producers, because I also like natural honey. Thanks again.

  37. All GMOs on the market are proven to be 100% safe. Fact. Organic food is marketing BS, plain and simple. Labeling should reflect only what is factual and only what is actually relevant to real nutrition. As a scientist and farmer, the whole non-GMO and organic debate makes me cringe. The Western world is spoiled and fear is used to sway people; unfortunately, this has huge impact on global food policy and leads to inefficient food production in poorer countries.

    1. A fact means you can prove it. Observable and repeatable. Please show how anyone can prove 100% that anything is safe? In this case you have a very strong statement about Organic being BS but no factual backup. Your “arguments” are exactly what you claim the Organic food marketing does. It has been proven in studies that true organic or “Natural” growing of crops are more effective in the long run. Feeding poorer countries is accomplished better by these practices that do not include pesticides and genetically modified foods. We should call Organic farming “traditional” and modern “Manufactured” http://www.naturalnews.com/049993_organic_farming_India_traditional_agriculture.html
      Link to quality of Organic foods: http://naturalsociety.com/scientist-organic-crops-better-nutrition-gmo-crops/

      I will welcome discussion on this but will reject an outright “Naturalnews is bogus” type argument.

      1. Biology Fortifed actually has a great post called Why no one will ever “prove that GMOs are safe.” Essentially it says we can never prove anything 100% safe, but we can build an ever growing amount of evidence something either does or does not cause harm.

        “When you ask for “proof that GMOs are safe” or ask for a paper that has this evidence, that is absolutely the wrong request. In fact, it’s a loaded question, whether the person asking realizes or not, the “proof” is impossible to provide, no matter the subject. Ask a specific question and then try to find the data showing that it DOES cause harm. Unfortunately, I can’t provide you with such data because I haven’t read a well-designed, well-executed, reproducible study demonstrating that GMOs have a negative health impact.”

        By that logic we don’t really know for sure that organic or conventional foods don’t do us harm either. We do have a lot of evidence that says they don’t.

        As for Mike Adams and Natural News. He’s bogus.

  38. Thanks for the thread on GMO popcorn. …
    I have seen requests for FDA approval of genetically engineered popcorn.
    I do have a Bayer handout for farmers with instructions for use of their postemergence weed control chemical on popcorn.
    I’d post a photo here if there was a way to do that.
    email me jessica@denningfamily.com.
    yes it is good that Reddenbacher puts nongmo on their popcorn.
    Many folks are avoiding popcorn, because they don’t know if there is gmo popcorn and they don’t realize that popcorn doesn’t cross with field corn.
    Given the capture of the FDA and USDA by Corporations, and adulteration of food products with unlabeled GMOs, anything that can be done for honest clear labeling is welcome, in my book.
    there is a substantial difference in GMIs.
    congress just ordered the FDA to label GMO salmon.
    I get a rotten headache from nonorganic corn and my joints ache for days.

  39. Thanks for this info on popcorn. I eat tons of popcorn & prefer it over meat & potatoes. I’m a farm gal & when I was a kid we raised our own popcorn, shelled it, & popped it. Best stuff!! I’m buying it now. Never knew that all popcorn is non-GMO. So glad. Should I be concerned with it being organic or not? Would you recommend any certain brand?

    1. Personally I’m not concerned if the popcorn is organic or not. We do not raise ours organically. We grow for Weaver Popcorn. They package Pop Secret, Pop Weaver, and Trails End for the Boy Scouts along with many other brands.

  40. Good information , thanks. I would like to know if you can explain what is a hybrid popcorn and how do they do that process ?

    1. A hybrid is a cross between two parent plants of different varieties. Hybrids generally perform much better than inbreds. The improve qualities of hybrids outweigh the fact that farmers don’t save hybrid seed because the second generation won’t have the same genetic makeup as the parent. Read more at Hybrids and Heirlooms.

  41. Greetings! We are in the popcorn biz and due to borderline marketing, we now too have to promote what always was. Many consumers do not know, nor to they want to invest the time, to find the truth. A couple years back a woman I know stated on social media “my favorite new snack food is xyz popcorn..Its non-gmo, its gluten free, its whole grain, its high in fiber and its only 35 cal per cup. This company is so awesome! Glad to know I’m not eating junk,” I kindly explained that she fell hook, line and sinker and that plain popcorn has always been those things. (minus the cute and clever packaging of course).

    Agreed, marketing is slick, but also brilliant. Look at the dollars and niche that particular company took from the big guys who weren’t marketing that way.

    Ironically, the reason I found this blog is that I’m about to again market the fact that popcorn is non-gmo and as you know, consumers always like a reference point. I was looking for something else, but enjoyed spending a few minutes here.

    PS: We use Weaver but have been very unhappy over the past few years. Terribly small seeds. Their Weaver Gold was strong and consistent from 2002-about 2011. Since then, its been very inconsistent in size and quality. We’ve been exploring other companies as their distributors tell us “funny, you’re the only one that has said anything.” Really??? People who pay attention to their business have noticed the difference and have the same sufferings. We know there was the 3 years of poor growing, shortage, etc…but by now it should have passed and we’re still experiencing very poor yields and quality from Weaver. Any insights there?

    1. 2012 had some serious quality issues with the drought. For our area 2013-2014 were great growing conditions. 2015 wasn’t great yield due to rain, but our quality was still good. I can’t really speak for other farms or varieties grown.

  42. I was told typing in capital letters was screaming. Can anyone hear me screaming? You farmers and ranchers out there, leave my #*<^+~ food alone! If you have to compromise your conscience to make a living screwing the public by chumming up to a chemical company waving $ at you then you and your family can go straight to hell. I was a Combat Marine in Vietnam 67-68 and have Agent Orange whether I liked it or not. DAMMIT give me the jungle to fight in, to hell with defoliation. So they say I won't live a full life. As a kid we would play in the canals and jump up to reach the spray planes or copters getting that nasty spray all over us. Then jump in the canal play and catch craw dads and frogs to eat. I frankly do not give a rip about a foreign country buying your food. So to hell with the public, its all about money and to hell with the consequences. Leave my popcorn and peanut butter alone. As a teen ager I worked for the DOA vacuuming plants for bugs to be taken to the lab. Then accordingly they would spray the fields. One time us kids went out and raided the fields after they were picked before disking we vomited for days. That was in 1964. I picked melons and corn etc with the Mexicans lived with them ate with them in 65-66 they taught me not to eat the harvest without washing them first. My father grew up in SE Texas and his Father they never had any issue with chemicals in the ground or on the ground or on the plants. No one got sick from left over products. I tell you this nation has turned into Americans screwing Americans. Of all people, farmers and ranchers have sold out for money. To hell with the American consumer. To think I damn near died in Vietnam and now it has come to this. Thanks America.

  43. Why is labeling your popcorn as non-GMO deceptive? Because GMO labeling is not required of all manufacturers of food, some of us look specifically for non-GMO labels. If everyone’s popcorn is non-GMO, then everyone should label their products as such. That’s pretty simple. So the companies that are not adding that label are the ignorant ones.

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