In recent years, sweet corn or American corn has been not only known as the highly nutritious staple but also the food bringing surprisingly economic value to Vietnamese farmers. However, in the past month, sweet corn farming has been hit hard by the rumor of cancer concern related to genetically modified (GM) sweet corn.

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Vietnamese sweet corn
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A corn field at Vinh Ngoc commune in Dong Anh district, Hanoi.

Low price corn, tiresome farmers

According to the analysis of nutritionists, especially the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), sweet corn contains lots of healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1, B3, B5, C, A, E, thiamine, niacin and minerals like iron, zinc manganese, selenium … which benefit our health. Therefore, sweet corn used to be very popular.

The farmer fells puzzled about the rumor.

The evil rumor then made consumers doubt on sweet corn and automatically associated it with GMO food. Mrs. Nguyet (Yen Nghia, Ha Dong District, Hanoi), a housewife said: “I am not sure whether this rumor is true or not, but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. From now on, I will turn to traditional corn instead of the sweet one.”

Meanwhile, according to Mr. Huy, a sweet corn farmer in Dong Anh District, before this rumor, he could sell for about 5,000 VND per cob. Since this false information, sweet corn sale has considerably gone down. Thus, the sweet corn price is quickly decreased to 2.500 VND per cob. Worse, sweet corn became stockpiled. He said that this misleading rumor has made lots of loss not only to him but also to many other farmers in the neighborhood.

The interview with Mr. Huy about his farming.

They reported that they resort to drying unsellable corn for animal feed due to economic loss they suffered. “If this situation continues, we might consider planting other crops.” said Mr. Huy.

The farmers hesitate to continue the next sweet corn crops.

The rumor has significantly panicked the consumers as well as adversely impacted sweet corn farmers. “There has been any reliable evidence for the information, farmers have already suffered from loss”, said Ms. Thoa Nguyen, Manager of Cultivation, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hanoi. Some consumers even massively assume “tasteful” produce are GM food without considering they may be hybrid ones. Vietnamese food image is somehow affected by this presumption. All in all, when it comes to rumors, everyone, especially consumers, should be sober and critical to have the best food choice.

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