What is in this article?:
- GM Foods Unlikely to Concern Wal-Mart Shoppers
- Advocacy Groups File Petitions
“The fact is that we are not directly sourcing genetically modified corn.”
— Dianna Gee, spokeswoman, Wal-Mart
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Despite a media storm and several petitions asking Wal-Mart Stores not to sell genetically modified sweet corn, industry experts say the issue still ranks low among the retailer’s core shoppers.
“I think that overall, there is a small but growing percentage of shoppers that is even aware of the biotech food issue,” said Jay Jacobowitz, president of natural product industry consulting group Retail Insights, Brattleboro, Vt. “The ones that are aware probably don’t want biotech ingredients in any of the foods they buy. Those that are not aware will probably purchase biotech wherever it is offered.”
Earlier this month the Chicago Tribune reported that Wal-Mart wouldn’t label or restrict sales of a new variety of GM sweet corn developed by agricultural biotech company Monsanto.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee argued that the Tribune story did not include one important point, saying, “The fact is that we are not directly sourcing genetically modified corn.”
However, she added that the retailer does not take genetic modification into consideration when making sourcing decisions.
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“We are following the guidance of the regulators, scientific and medical experts who have looked at this issue and who consider genetically modified products equal to the traditional counterparts,” Gee said.
The corn, scientifically engineered to resist pests, reduces the need for insecticides, according to Monsanto’s website.
“[Genetic modification] is not a specification in our sourcing requirements,” Gee said.
Since earlier this year, a number of consumer advocacy and environmental groups have campaigned to convince Wal-Mart to change its buying policies.