Who needs labels? Raccoons naturally choose non-GMO

By Ken Roseboro
Published: August 31, 2012

Category: GM Food Health Risks

Non-GMO corn grown in the USA

Raccoons ate this row of non-GMO corn but left the GM corn on either side untouched.

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While Americans debate the need for mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, some animals appear to be beyond such debate. They don’t need labels; they seem to know instinctively if a food is GMO or not.

Alternated planting GMO corn with non-GMO

Take the many anecdotal reports of animals such as cows, deer, and even mice that, when given a choice of eating a non-GMO crop such as corn or a GMO corn, always choose non-GMO and ignore the GMO.

We reported on one such incident involving mice in the May 2008 issue of The Organic & Non-GMO Report.

Ron Constain, a conventional farmer who lives near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has heard these stories and recently he witnessed this phenomenon first hand with raccoons.

This spring Constain planted Roundup Ready GM corn. Mark Terpstra, owner of Mark Seed in Perry, Iowa, also gave Constain two bags of non-GMO corn to test in his field. He alternated planting the GM corn in 10 rows and then two rows of the non-GMO corn, aiming to compare the performance of the two varieties.

Night and day difference”

One July day, while checking his fields, Constain noticed that two rows of non-GMO corn had been eaten. The corn’s ears were “roasting” or still at an immature stage.

Meanwhile, the rows of GM corn on either side of the non-GMO weren’t touched. “It’s night and day difference,” Constain said. “The raccoons left 10 rows of GM corn and got the non-GMO corn.”

Mike Terpstra, Mark Seed sales manager, saw the remains of the raccoon’s non-GMO feast and couldn’t believe it. “I never thought I would ever see what I saw. I had heard stories, but you kind of dismiss what you hear until you see it in person.”

While Constain hasn’t inspected the other non-GMO rows in his field, he expects the same results. “I’m sure they got the other non-GMO rows clear across the field.”

Constain jokingly told Mike Terpstra “I can’t plant your corn again. The raccoons eat it all.”

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, September 2012