Corn is widely cultivated throughout the world, and a greater weight of corn is produced each year than any other grain. The United States produces 40% of the world’s harvest. Worldwide production was 817 million tonnes in 2009.

Genetically modified corn made up 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009.

Sweet corn is a variety of maize with a high sugar content. Unlike field corn varieties, which are harvested when the kernels are dry and mature (dent stage), sweet corn is picked when immature (milk stage) and prepared and eaten as a vegetable, rather than a grain.

Since the process of maturation involves converting sugar to starch, sweet corn stores poorly and must be eaten fresh, canned, or frozen, before the kernels become tough and starchy. Maize and cornmeal (ground dried maize) constitute a staple food in many regions of the world.