Monsanto, the world’s largest, most widely recognized and often criticized vegetable seed maker, has plans to begin selling genetically modified sweet corn in the United States later this year.
The seeds are genetically engineered to kill insects living above and below the ground. They will be available to companies who serve the fresh corn market in the United States this coming fall.
Crops previously sold by Monsanto were only processed into oils and sugars, which are made into fibers or used in animal feed. The sweet corn seeds they are producing will be presented to companies that frequently produce canned or frozen corn.
Switzerland-based company Syngenta AG has been selling pest-killing sweet corn seeds for more than a decade, and will be the biggest competitor for this section of the Monsanto company.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are about 250,000 acres of sweet corn in the eastern United States, a number much smaller than the amount of grain corn that is grown, which is more than 90 million acres.
A lawsuit was filed last year on behalf of 60 farmers who were out to protect organic farmers from the genetically modified seeds distributed by Monsanto. The case questioned whether or not Monsanto had the right to sue farmers if their seeds landed on their property. After lawsuits and back-and-forth with the farming industry, the company is no stranger to the controversy that will undoubtedly again come about once their sweet corn is on the market.
It will be pretty interesting to see the public reaction to the sweet corn once it’s available in the U.S. Would you eat it?