The Anti-GMO Movement’s Clever Marketing Gimmick

By Keith Kloor | March 17, 2013 5:13 pm

Several weeks ago, Whole Foods, the organic supermarket chain many people have a love/hate relationship with, announced that by 2018 any of its products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would be labeled.

A Bloomberg Businessweek article called the move “clever marketing” and said:

Transparency is something worth paying for these days.

I find it amusing that this whole GMO labeling campaign has been framed as some kind of consumer rights cause. It’s the “right to know” sales pitch by the anti-GMO movement that has been clever marketing, which Whole Foods is quite happy to capitalize on: 

We are the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.

Everyone knows the whole point of this is to scare people away from eating those godforsaken “frankenfoods.”  You want to know what transparency really means? This is from an organic grocer in Washington. Some folks on Twitter have been discussing those labels. What does GMO Alert! say to you?

UPDATE: Just catching up with this New York Times editorial that asks: “Why label genetically engineered food?”

UPDATE: The owner of the Washington store that is slapping its own GMO labels on food products writes on Facebook that he looks forward to a future “that doesn’t use the human population as guinea pigs in a massive genetic experiment.”

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: genetically modified foods, GMOs
  • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

    Increasingly people are becoming aware of this, I suspect. There was a pretty good piece on the WA label initiative just the other day:

    http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2020542841_bruce13gmofoodsinitiative522xml.html

    Who wants it? So far, the largest donors to the campaign for 522 are PCC Natural Markets, Seattle; Organic Consumers Association, Finland, Minn.; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Escondido, Calif.; and Mercola Health Resources of Hoffman Estates, Ill. The biggest company to support 522 in Olympia March 6 was Whole Foods Market.

    Initiative 522 begins to look like an organic-food industry effort to impose a label on its competitors.

    emphasis mine

    And the label “May contain…” offers absolutely zero actionable information, except to avoid the food. It offers nothing for allergens, herbicides, patents, or any of the other complaints people claim they need to have transparency about.

    • Joshua

      And the label “May contain…” offers absolutely zero actionable information, except to avoid the food.

      Actually, it offers “actionable” information for those people who care about GMOs. Disagree with their concerns about GMOs as you will, but your notion of the labeling not being “actionable,” is obviously, proven false.

      Some folks will take “action” by not buying the foods so labeled, and take “action” by deciding to shop at that store as compared to others, because it labels foods that may contain GMOs.

      By what definition do only the “actions” you agree with count as “actions?”

      • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

        It has no actionable information for telling you if the things you want to avoid are involved. At all.

        Does it tell you the patent status? No–lots of non-GMO things have patents. So you can’t tell from that.

        Does it tell you if herbicides were used? No, because there are non-GMO herbicide systems.

        Does it tell you anything about allergies? No, because there’s no indication if a given protein is present or not.

        If it’s only a warning system for your philosophical problems with GMOs, then it’s like Kosher or Halal. And then it should be monitored, tracked, and tested by the communities that want to have that warning about the production system. It’s not a safety issue. The government shouldn’t be mandating that. Much like the soda thing, it’s capricious and arbitrary.

        • Joshua

          We don’t live in a binary world. Labeling foods differentiate what people eat along a continuum. For example, it won’t completely eliminate their exposure to herbicides, but it will reduce their exposure to some herbicides, and arguably reduce their overall exposure (depending on what they eat).

          We can only go so far with this argument w/o just repeating – as it is essentially a semantic one. I will, though, repeat that irrespective of your assessment of the value of the resulting action, the labeling does provide “actionable” information.

          Similar to “that soda thing.” It isn’t capricious and arbitrary. It would likely have some impact on reducing obesity Is it a perfect measure? Of course not. Send me a post card from Shangri-La – where perfect measures exist in abundance. Meanwhile, excuse me if I don’t agree that drinking BIg Gulps is a right of much significance.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            I’m not the one who seems to think it’s binary. I’m suggesting it’s much more complicated that GMO vs not GMO.

            I can remember this legislator somewhere in the midwest a couple of years back. She wanted to prohibit in vitro fertilization for unmarried couples or single people. It was a back-handed way of keeping teh gayz from having kids. Of course, the fertility mommy boards lit up with people trying to explain to her that it wasn’t that simple. She had to back down and admit it was more complicated than she thought.

            This attempt to label GMOs is the same thing. It is an attempt unfairly single out one bogey-man based on a philosophical opposition. I’m sorry if you think it’s Shangri-La to hope for evidence-based legislation founded in science, not in fearmongering. But I will continue to hope for that.

          • ross Heidebrecht

            You’re again oversimplifying the situation. It’s a little more complicated than a philosophy. It’s about corporate greed and political, regulatory and scientific corruption. Its about involuntary experimentation in the food system. Its about perpetuating techno fix industrial agriculture that is depleting once fertile farmland. It’s about debt cycles, intimidation, lawsuits and suicides. It’s about redeeming US global trade. Maybe this is an attempt to end gmos altogether, who can blame them, all the other avenues haven’t worked. Like trying to get elected officials to listen to the majorities concerns.

          • Joshua

            I’m not the one who seems to think it’s binary.

            Dude.

            Does it tell you if herbicides were used? No, because there are non-GMO herbicide systems.

            That’s a binary argument. In response, I will repeat the non-binary argument:

            it won’t completely eliminate their exposure to herbicides, but it will (depending on their “actions” help them to reduce their exposure to some herbicides, and arguably help them (depending on their “actions”) reduce their overall exposure.

        • ross Heidebrecht

          Good point comparing gmo labeling to kosher, the community that wants the labeling should pay for it. Like maybe the 90%+ of people that say they want it? You don’t want your tax money spent on gmo labeling, well I don’t want mine spent on drones and fossil fuels. I think gmos are a little less significant though, maybe you should find another issue with more importance to disagree with, eh?

        • http://www.facebook.com/no.gmo.9 No Gmo

          Actually it does give you certain information that is nearly universal to the currently approved GE foods such as tnos, 35S and an ARM. These are some of the primary concerns for GE foods in general. For example the British Medical Association states, “there should be a ban on the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM food, as the risk to human health from antibiotic resistance developing in micro-organisms is one of the major public health threats that will be faced in the 21st Century” and the World Health Organization has stated, “Antibiotic resistant genes used in food production that encode resistance to clinically used antibiotics should not be present in foods” so if someone wanted to generally avoid ARM’s used in GE foods they could do so with a generic, “genetically engineered” label.

      • nofiat.forme

        What a waste of language and space.

  • http://twitter.com/AgBioEye Andrew Apel

    The ‘GMO Alert!’ placards strongly imply that the retailer would prefer that the customer buy other products instead. Since the retailer would never knowingly give shelf space to dangerous products, another motive must be at work.

    Is it possible that the non-GM products have a bigger mark-up? Very likely, as according to recent reports, Whole Foods will be charging an extra ‘transparency premium’ for its non-GM offerings.

    Whole Foods is waiting for food manufacturers to do the GMO labeling. Apparently, at least one retailer is not that patient.

    • jh

      “Is it possible that the non-GM products have a bigger mark-up”

      DUDE!!! Retailers LOVE organic. Why do you think it has so much shelf space? It definitely has a bigger markup, but it doesn’t need one. $1.89/lb tomatoes cost the same to transport and stock as $2.89 tomatoes. If the markup is 10%, then the retailer makes 30% more profit per pound, no? Am I getting this wrong? All the better if the retailer can charge $3.29 or $3.49 then.

      Frankly, Frankenfood has nothing to do with it. Organic food is about money, money, money.

      FYI, hear the story on NPR today about “craft” beers? The “craft” brewers are pissed bcz the large brewers are selling “craft” beer. So the craft brewers want – guess what – LABELS! Labels to ID a craft brew – meaning brewed in a small brewery. What a bunch of crap.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-C-Beekeeper/100000812765746 Bill C Beekeeper

        Totally missing the point…go right ahead and eat tons of gm soy and corn and see how your next of kin turns out.

  • Joshua

    Some people want GMO foods labeled, so a store seeks to satisfy its customers and make a profit as a result. Is this supposed to be some deep insight, Keith?

    • aprilreeves

      I think it’s just respect. When one group is asking for a change, would it not be a good thing to do so? It’s also the grocer that bears the damage from not labeling foods. Really? Do you think for one minute that anyone that eats GM now will really change? I don’t….

  • Joshua

    Since the retailer would never knowingly give shelf space to dangerous products, another motive must be at work.

    Here’s a wild suggestion. Some of the store’s customers want GMO foods labeled. So by labeling them, the store gives those customers what they want. Those customers who don’t care about GMOs don’t mind the labeling and have access to the GMO foods they might like to buy despite containing GMOs. The store has a competitive advantage for those customers who care, with no downside for those who don’t care. More happy customers = more profits for the store.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    • kkloor

      And sometimes a disingenuous argument is…disingenuous.

      • Joshua

        How was that disingenuous? I think that the motives are readily apparent. They are labeling because it satisfies their interpretation of customers’ needs. Quite possibly, also, the proprietors themselves think that GMOs pose some level of safety risk.

        Of course non-GMO foods (e.g., organic foods) are likely to have a bigger mark-up. Higher mark-up based on differentiation of ingredients is endemic to our food industry. Should I be despairing about how the olive oil industry capitalized (literally) on consumers’ perceptions about how their products are differentiated?

        Don’t you think that it is a bit amusing to see ardent free marketeers hand-wringing about profit motive? (not assuming that Andrew meets that description).

        • kkloor

          I don’t know what ardent freemarketers you’re talking about, and in any case, that’s not the point of my post.

          What cracks me about you, Joshua, is that you always call for more data and evidence in support of arguments you disagree with. Here, it’s clear that safety evidence about GMOs and the real reasons why people want them labeled don’t matter to you.

          Why don’t you be honest and come out say why you don’t object to this kind of labeling? This is not about transparency or actionable information, as mem points out above.

          All I’m looking to do here is have an honest debate about the reasons for GMO labeling. Do you want to do that, or do you want to play the kind of semantic games you regularly accuse climate skeptics of?

          • Joshua

            Keith –

            I have some concerns about the politics and economics
            related to the debate – not that I think that those issues are well-served when anti-GMOers promote bad arguments…

            W/r/t the evidence on the safety of GMO. I don’t quite share (what seems to me to be) your opinion that the evidence invalidates any concerns about the safety (e.g., considering precautionary principle perspectives), but I do agree that there are those on the concerned side who are arguing from ignorance, inflating evidence, promoting bad evidence, promoting irrational arguments, etc. I even agree that some folks are flat-out fear-mongering.

            I think that your work in engaging those issues is useful an informative – to a point. At the point where, IMO, you go further to add to the polemics and polarization by fear-mongering about fear-mongering, and (IMO) over-generalizing, I think your work is counterproductive. We’ve been down this road before.

            As for GMO labeling – I don’t have a problem with it if it is done voluntarily. As to whether it might be mandated, I don’t have a problem with it if the labeling is done within the context of a representative democracy. Hopefully, if labeling is legislatively mandated, then serious consideration will be given to the problems associated with labeling – and that future legislative efforts will be better than the California proposition.

            I see problems and valid arguments on both sides of this debate. I disagree with your characterization of the “real reasons” people want labeling. I find that characterization to be pedantic, condescending, overgeneralized, and polemical. There are a variety of reasons that people want labels, just as there are a variety of reasons that people object to labeling.

          • nofiat.forme

            No, clearly you are full of shit Joshua. The bad science is the corporate science that say’s all GMO is A-OK. Do you actually deny the conflict of interest between corporate science and profit motive? One would have to be stupid, or paid. Europe is banning the poison. Go eat your BT toxins. I have a right to know what I am eating, and I will patronize a store that lets me know. The truth is not fear mongering, it is the truth.

          • RealityCheck131

            Another chucklehead. Talk of conflict of interest from a nutter that thinks his pseudoscience blog sites directing traffic to their own products don’t have any such conflict.

  • Johmgf

    Keith, you’re an embarrassement to the scientific community and Discover blogs as well.

    • aprilreeves

      We should embrace all these articles: they wouldn’t be written if Non-GM advocates weren’t making great headway….

  • Benjamin Garbe

    No seedless watermelon for me. Genetically modified foods like that are scary!

    • ross Heidebrecht

      get back to foxnews for more misinformation about cause and correlation

  • Harlan Harris

    I think people would be more positive towards GMO foods if they knew that, compared to conventional commodity agriculture, it lets you use no-till techniques (reducing runoff) and less-toxic herbicides and pesticides. Of course, it’s no Organic, and there are IP issues, but it’s not a horrible thing intrinsically. Still, I do support labeling, as a right-to-know issue. Perhaps instead of trying to criticize people who want labeling as fear-mongers, you should instead try to talk about the benefits of GMOs?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Wager/1523554676 Robert Wager

      Harlan
      Have you ever tried talking to those who are firmly opposed to GMO’s. try it and come back and tell us how that went. Those of us who do try on a regular basis know exactly what response you will receive.

      • ross Heidebrecht

        I am firmly opposed to gmos, unless they are used to develop fuel and fiber, then its a positive technology. I prefer not to eat something designed by the same companies that manufacture chemicals designed to kill things, seems like a conflict of interest to me.

        • http://twitter.com/r343l Rachael Ludwick

          The Rainbow Papaya wasn’t developed by “companies that manufacture chemicals”. Instead it was developed by a state university. Not all GMs have to be corporate, but it’s extremely expensive to commercialize them. Is it any wonder that most that have been are sold by large companies that can sell to a lot of farmers growing commodities?

          • gmomustgeeoh

            a state university funded by biotech.

      • gmomustgeeoh

        the biotech shill speaks

      • http://www.facebook.com/no.gmo.9 No Gmo

        Funny Robert because I have responded to several of your comments on other articles and have never once received a response from you. From my experience you do not have experience talking to people about GMO you just talk at them.

    • aprilreeves

      Good point Harlan, but I think what most of the Non-GM advocates are looking for is proof that they are eating something that won’t harm them, and all the Pro GM can give them back is lip service. The real stories hide behind “patents”, which is such a crock, since I use to have a large marketing firm for years which marketed patent products, and every one of those clients couldn’t wait to release their test results to the public. Not a single one hid under the “patent”veil. That alone renders questions everyone on this thread should be asking. People keep asking for long term studies on the health effects, but no one to date can get that from Monsanto and show it to us. They want Monsanto to deliver these studies. Where are they?

  • Jill Lacious

    I may not be a scientist but my sister is. As a biologist, she worked to develop GMOs and, without a word of reason, refuses to eat anything not labeled “non-GMO.” She won’t discuss it. Now, her actions say more to me than her words ever could. I am a consumer; I want my food labeled; I will not purchase GMO products. What about that don’t you understand?

    • http://twitter.com/r343l Rachael Ludwick

      Does she research biotech or genetics at all? Because that’s the opposite of most scientists I know who just aren’t worried about it. Some even avoid non-GMO labeled things because the companies that do the labeling will certify products that cannot possibly be GMO (like coconut oil which has no commercialized GMO varieties) which is misleading as it implies unlabeled competing products might be GMO.

      • http://www.facebook.com/no.gmo.9 No Gmo

        Most scientists who do not have a financial or professional conflict of interest appear to have a, “moderately negative attitude to GM crops”. “Scientists in factor 1 had a moderately negative attitude to GM crops and emphasised the uncertainty and ignorance involved, while scientists in factor 2 had a positive attitude to GM crops and emphasised that GM crops are useful and do not represent any unique risks compared to conventional crops. Funding had a significant effect on the perspective held by the scientists in this study. No ecologists were associated with factor 2, while all the scientists employed in the GM-industry were associated with this factor. The strong effects of training and funding might justify certain institutional changes concerning how we organise science and how we make public decisions when new technologies are to be evaluated.” http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/ev/2007/00000016/00000001/art00007 You can also see the same type of moderately negative attitude to GM crops in this UN report by over 400 scientists. http://www.agassessment.org/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Global%20Report%20(English).pdf

        • http://twitter.com/r343l Rachael Ludwick

          Thanks for bringing some data into it. I’d like to see the data (how did they select which scientists to interview?) but I’d like to point out it sounds like the scientists were asked for their “perspectives on the release of genetically modified (GM) crops into the environment” which in many cases provide fair reasons to generally oppose them. I know plenty of scientists who have somewhat negative attitudes about GM for reasons like that. However, the comment I was replying to strongly implied that the biologist friend feared personal risks from eating GMOs, not that they ethically avoided them because of environmental concerns (otherwise why wouldn’t they explain that to their friend?). These are very different reasons to avoid GM foods and human safety issues are not supportable..

          • http://www.facebook.com/no.gmo.9 No Gmo

            There are a variety of potential health risks specific to certain GE foods but one of the general risks for the huge majority of GE foods according to the British Medical Association are ARM’s, “there should be a ban on the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM food, as the risk to human health from antibiotic resistance developing in micro-organisms is one of the major public health threats that will be faced in the 21st Century” and the World Health Organization has stated, “Antibiotic resistant genes used in food production that encode resistance to clinically used antibiotics should not be present in foods”. This risk is also mentioned in this recent study, “This study not only reveals environmental contamination of synthetic plasmid vector-sourced blá drug resistance genes in Chinese rivers, but also suggests that synthetic plasmid vectors may represent a source of antibiotic resistance in humans.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23215020 So for an individual prone to infections who may rely on antibiotics there may be good reason to avoid GE foods to avoid the potential for antibiotic resistance.

          • http://twitter.com/r343l Rachael Ludwick

            The bla plasmid studied in that research is available from hundreds of bacteria having nothing to do with plant GE and that study doesn’t clearly source where it comes from (it’s also used in drug and medical research which seems a more likely source than plants breaking down). The bla marker itself was only used in early crops and UK government doesn’t believe they pose a risk to humans.

            It seems foolish to avoid crops based on a single, very recent and unreplicated study.

          • http://www.facebook.com/no.gmo.9 No Gmo

            The plasmid is synthetic and as can be seen in the study “While antibiotic-selectable synthetic plasmid vectors have proved invaluable tools of genetic engineering, this class of artificial recombinant DNA sequences with high expression of antibiotic resistance genes presents an unknown risk beyond the laboratory setting. Contamination of environmental microbes with synthetic plasmid vector-sourced antibiotic resistance genes may represent a yet unrecognized source of antibiotic resistance. In this study, PCR and real-time quantitative PCR were used to investigate the synthetic plasmid vector-originated ampicillin resistance gene, β-lactam antibiotic (blá), in microbes” it is not, “from hundreds of bacteria having nothing to do with plant GE” as you suggested although it could possibly be from the same synthetic plasmid being used in medical research(you provided no evidence it is) the authors seem to indicate it is from GE crops. As I stated earlier there are a variety of potential health risks and declaring, “human safety issues are not supportable” is not based on science which would require safety of GE foods be assessed individually based on replicated studies. The problem is that with the exception of safety studies conducted or contracted by the company who engineered the GE seed no health studies looking at a variety of health parameters exist for many GE foods currently consumed by humans. To use your own logic, it seems foolish to consume crops based on a single and unreplicated study, yet this is the case for many GE foods. Even for the GE foods that have been studied beyond the regulatory study conducted or contracted by the company, “it should be noted that most of these studies have been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible for commercializing these GM plants.” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412011000055

            and “it was found that the existence of either financial or professional conflict of interest was associated to study outcomes that cast genetically modified products in a favorable light (p = 0.005).” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919210001302
            When you look at a GE food like NK603 the only data that I am able to find that actually looks at health parameters and not just carcass weight, etc. is the Monsanto funded Hammond study, the Seralini reevaluation of Monsanto data and Seralini’s recent study. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637 Based on this limited evidence an individual may choose to avoid NK603 if they have any of the health issues the NK603 fed rats exhibited since there is limited data to go on. While NK603 is not specific to GE foods in general it does give you an idea of how limited the independent data is and therefore to err on the side of caution would be rational for an individual with the type of health issues that may be impacted from consuming GE foods as suggested in these studies. Just like it would be rational for an individual prone to infections to avoid ARM’s considering this is suggested as a health risk both by some medical practitioners and some researchers. Since human studies are not conducted as part of the regulatory studies used to approve GE crops and side effects that occurred in the regulatory studies are not made known to the consumer a refusal to label GE foods would be a human rights violation by having human subjects unknowingly and possibly unwillingly participating in a human medical experiment. If you would like to decide that, “It seems foolish to avoid crops based on a single, very recent and unreplicated study.” that would be your choice and you can make that choice using GE labels and if another individual decides that they are prone to infections, etc. and they would not like to take that risk of consuming GE foods they can also make that choice using GE labels.

          • http://twitter.com/r343l Rachael Ludwick

            And I guess we’re done here. I really have no interest in debating the validity of Seralini’s recent study. It was unethical and poorly executed science in my opinion.

          • http://www.facebook.com/no.gmo.9 No Gmo

            This statement, ” Instead of having groups of rats each getting 11%, 22% and 33% of the GMO corn, they could have just done one percentage.” suggests you have no idea what proper study design is. Funny that you don’t apply the same unethical and poorly executed argument to the regulatory studies by biotech companies but then you would have to understand why using 3 doses is necessary for proper study design and you obviously do not.

          • http://twitter.com/r343l Rachael Ludwick

            I don’t think it’s “funny” at all. Seralini’s study doesn’t have the necessary control groups to reliably find what was claimed — every critical review I’ve seen of it says this and it was obvious to anyone with a passing interest in experiment design or knowledge of statistics. I would be very shocked indeed if the studies used for regulatory approval allowed 9 experimental groups with a single control group with only 10 in it. Typically the number of control animals is matched to the number of experimental animals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lieschen.muller.5836 Lieschen Muller

    Interesting that the “Alert” is given for gluten-free products – is there a fight for the market shares of the “healthy” and esoteric shoppers going on? Organics and GM-free was the last craze and now people believe gluten is at the root of all evil (and perhaps care less about GMOs)…

    Apart from that, it is genuinely despicable to scare people who suffer from celiac disease (and who already have enough to worry about when it comes to food) about the few products they can actually buy (and I’m not even talking about the high mark-ups they’re facing).

    Actually, pushing people who have to rely over proportionally on corn away from eating GM corn exposes those people to real long-term risks! GM corn (being better protected against insect damage and subsequent fungi infestation) has lower levels of carcinogenic mycotoxin contamination than other (organic) corn. That is, activists who warn people with celiac disease of the (non-existent) dangers of GMOs should know that they drive those people right into cancer’s embrace later on in life… And that’s a known risk!

  • john55

    I demand that organic foods be labeled with “this product was fertilized with cow manure”.

    • aprilreeves

      Actually John, I do that very thing. I always tag our products as to how the soil is constantly amended. I also note the advantages of steer manure well composted. What minerals etc is being extracted by the plants. It’s what my customer wants to know, and as a farmer, I deliver the goods.

      • john55

        I guess I’ll have to look more closely for those labels next time I’m in the organic produce section of my local grocery store.

  • gmomustgeeoh

    Have you ever heard of the FREE MARKET? There is no demand for GMO’s at all. Their only support comes from the Biotech industry and their friends at Big Food and Big Ag in collusion with the FDA. It is our right to know what we’re eating. It is our right to know if our food is grown in a toxic environment where all other life dies. It is our right to know if our food produces its own insecticide. And that is scary!

  • aprilreeves

    I almost grew GM in the 90′s, but after watching an insect die from it, something struck me. I didn’t want to find out, down the road, that the food I was growing was responsible for the health of children. That led me down a road of growing organics, and I’ve never looked back. I do know one truth: that the consumer dictates what I grow. No one else, not even Monsanto. And if the whole Non-GM movement is growing (and it is or this post wouldn’t have spawned), then I guess, as a farmer, I’m poised to be quite well off very shortly. And at the end, profit rules.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dean.hutchins.3 Dean Hutchins

    I have only one question for Keith Kloor.

    Why would non-disclosure of any or all the ingredients and/or contents of any food product be superior to full disclosure?

  • Jill Lacious

    Since I, an average consumer, have no idea what has been modified and what has not been modified, I err on the side of caution and eat only foods marked non-GMO or organic (as certified by 3rd parties). Say what you will about me; however, if you, a food producer, do not wish to put “non-GMO” on your non-GMO products, support requirements calling for all GMO products to be labeled as such. It’s a no brainer.

  • ElizabethConley

    I’ve been thinking about the GMO labeling issue for a while. I don’t like the majority of GMO products making their way into my family’s food supply right now. Why is immaterial. I’m going to avoid buying that garbage.

    I don’t care for government mandates. To err is human, to really foul something up takes a computer, and nobody compounds computers and human error to apocalyptic effect like a pack of government azzclowns.

    I do have the right to know what’s in the food I feed my family, and you’d better believe I’m going to know. The retailers interested in the 10,800 dollars a I spend on food each year will give me full disclosure. They know where their bread is buttered.

    You folks can argue yourselves blue in the face over government mandated labeling. I couldn’t care less about the outcome. I will continue to feed my family food purchased from sources I trust. More and more retailers will line up to earn my trust. I will get my accurate and complete food labels, because I am not alone.

    Do you think consumers like me are being unfair to poor, helpless widdle corporations like Dupont, Monsanto, Kraft, Coca-cola and General Mills? Really? Cry me a river.

  • JonFrum

    I want to know what products are made by companies owned by the Jews. Just because. So when stores comply and label packaging with yellow stars, we’ll all be cool with that, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/newcamelot.thenewcamelot NewCamelot Thenewcamelot

    Shock findings in new GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow horrifying tumors, 70% of females die early

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012
    by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
    Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles…)

    68K

    330

    (NaturalNews) Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming
    trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to
    develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death.
    That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.

    The
    study has been deemed “the most thorough research ever published into
    the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats.”
    News of the horrifying findings is spreading like wildfire across the
    internet, with even the mainstream media seemingly in shock over the
    photos of rats with multiple grotesque tumors… tumors so large the
    rats even had difficulty breathing in some cases. GMOs may be the new thalidomide.

    “Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and GM maize implicated in ‘shocking’ new cancer study” wrote The Grocery, a popular UK publication. (http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/topics/technology-and-supply-chain/monsant…)

    It reported, “Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.”

    The Daily Mail reported, “Fresh row over GM foods as French study claims rats fed the controversial crops suffered tumors.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205509/Fresh-fears-GM…)

    It goes on to say: “The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.”

    The study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. You may find yourself thinking it is absolutely astonishing that no such studies were ever conducted before GM corn was approved for widespread use by the USDA and FDA, but such is the power of corporate lobbying and corporate greed.

    The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was just presented at a news conference in London.

    Findings from the studyHere are some of the shocking findings from the study:

    • Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.

    • Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.

    • Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.

    • The study fed these rats NK603,
    the Monsanto variety of GM corn that’s grown across North America and
    widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that’s in your
    corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.

    The Daily Mail is reporting on some of the reaction to the findings:

    France’s
    Jose Bove, vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s commission for
    agriculture and known as a fierce opponent of GM, called for an
    immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import authorisations of
    GM crops. ‘This study finally shows we are right and that it is urgent
    to quickly review all GMO
    evaluation processes,’ he said in a statement. ‘National and European
    food security agencies must carry out new studies financed by public
    funding to guarantee healthy food for European consumers.’ (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205509/Fresh-fears-GM…)

    Read the study abstractThe study is entitled, “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health.” Read the abstract here:
    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

    That abstract include this text. Note: “hepatorenal toxicity” means toxic to the liver.

    Our
    analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM
    maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects
    were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary
    detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects
    were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and
    haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of
    hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to
    each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic
    consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

    Here are some quotes from the researchers:

    “This
    research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and
    more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the
    extreme negative health impacts.” – Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular
    biologist, King’s College London.

    “We can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health.” – Dr Antoniou.

    “This
    is the first time that a long-term animal feeding trial has examined
    the impact of feeding GM corn or the herbicide Roundup, or a combination
    of both and the results are extremely serious. In the male rats,
    there was liver and kidney disorders, including tumors and even more
    worryingly, in the female rats, there were mammary tumors at a level
    which is extremely concerning; up to 80 percent of the female rats had
    mammary tumors by the end of the trial.” – Patrick Holden, Director,
    Sustainable Food Trust.

    Spread the word: GMOs are toxic!Share this story. Tweet it, Facebook it, post it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/newcamelot.thenewcamelot NewCamelot Thenewcamelot

    GMO corn fed to Rodents cause cancer quickly and the third generation are born infertile. It’s in your cornflakes people.

  • Guest

    there is nothing wrong with GMOs, they articles are all a bunch of bullshit

  • Steve Peak

    Ignoring all of the data showing health issues related to GMOs (an excellent reference for which is also featured in “Genetic Roulette”) … let’s just consider the necessity of GMO foods. Why do we even need them? Farmers in multiple countries have burned GMO sees after they have been donated. Why is this?

    First off… there are multiple “technologies” being used to produce higher food yields with less water than traditional farming. GMO can’t even compete with aquaponics… which can produce greater yields (with INCREASING annual yields because those systems gain strength over time) on about 10% of the water of traditional farming. Some aquaponic systems can easily (on the low end!) produce more than 5,000 TIMES the “edible flesh” per acre when compared to your average cow farms. I know this because I build aquaponic systems as a hobby. I can confirm much greater results than I ever found with regular gardening with very little water use. Systems like this are being set up all over the world… especially in places where there is no access to clean water. This is just one newschool method of farming being used that can clearly outdo GMOs (which can’t always yield higher anyway)…

    So the next question… and then my epic conclusion. Why do farmers in other countries burn GMO seeds? I mean. Monsanto CLAIMS that they can solve world hunger with GMOs, right?! You’d think people who are literally starving would be all over that. Those farmers realize that GMO seeds are actually a trap (insert Admiral Ackbar voice here!). GMO seeds are built to not reproduce, and are more expensive than traditional seeds. Farmers must buy these seeds every year from Monsanto in order to continue growing them. It puts them in debt to GMO creators. The idea is to CONTROL those organisms. That’s why Monsanto lobbied so hard to make it legal to patent a life form (another issue entirely). Also… if you plant GMO seeds… some of them will cross pollinate with like-species and essentially take over. Monsanto is already well known for suing farmers found to be “illegally” growing their GMO crops… when they had no intention of doing so in the first place.

    The question, to me, is more about control. Why should some giant company create and control our food? When did we become so disconnected from all this? It’s nature! We’re part of it. We can’t possibly expect to improve on billions of years of natural progress in a few years by literally shooting it (in a very sloppy fashion) with viral genes… and supposing we could, there’s no point!

    People don’t want GMOs. It’s practically unanimous. Farmers are burning these seeds by the ton. Study after study shows potential health threats associated with BT crops. And BT crops can’t stand up against true organic farming or aquaponics to begin with. I mean, even Monsanto’s “round up ready” crops have been shown to not work… as insects have ALREADY grown immune. It’s nonsense! They’re trying to sell us a solution for something that THEY (read: “big-ag”) made into a problem. It’s the agroindustrial, monoculture method of farming that is broken. GMOs are just another failed product attempting to control the market. The pro GMO camp doesn’t have a leg to stand on. If Monsanto wanted to end world hunger, they wouldn’t be selling TERMINATOR seeds. Seriously. That’s what they’re called.

    Distilled point: There are better solutions already available, and GMOs are an expensive and unwanted proprietary failure.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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