The Cartoonish March Against Monsanto

By Keith Kloor | May 25, 2013 11:45 pm

Because the crazy train on genetically modified foods has already left the station, I’m puzzled by the headline of a recent post:

Biotechnology Industry Organization: It’s not too late to change the conversation on GMOs

That’s the equivalent of the IPCC saying, “It’s not too late to change the conversation on climate change.”

If you want to know the state of the GMO discourse, look at the event that has just attracted worldwide attention. As AP reports:

Organizers say two million people marched in protest against seed giant Monsanto in hundreds of rallies across the U.S. and in over 50 other countries on Saturday.

“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they wanted to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Founder and organizer Tami Canal said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries…The group plans to harness the success of the event to continue its anti-GMO cause. “We will continue until Monsanto complies with consumer demand. They are poisoning our children, poisoning our planet,” she said. “If we don’t act, who’s going to?”

No, the only thing that’s truly being poisoned is the biotech debate by such rhetoric. I’m also willing to bet that organizers are being as truthful about the number of marchers as they are about the science on genetically modified foods. (Kinda interesting that the Guardian headline for the AP story states the estimated protesters as fact, when it’s just a claim by the march organizers.)

Nonetheless, there does seem to be many people who buy the notion that dangerous GMOs are being foisted on the world by Monsanto. I suspect this owes to influentials like Vandana Shiva, the globe-trotting environmental activist who is held in high esteem by foodies and greens. In a video filmed several days ahead of the GMO protest, Shiva characterized Monsanto’s corporate power and its patenting of seeds as “a new form of fascism” and a “new form of dictatorship.” She elaborated:

When Hitler came to power and the Nazis came to power, with their kind of genocide, people created resistance movements everywhere. Today, this new fascism is over life itself, in all its diversity. It’s not just controlling one religion, one race. It’s wanting to outlaw all diversity of all life on earth…This march against Monsanto is a call to end the dictatorship over seed, over life, over our food, and over our freedom.

I could write a few choice words about Shiva’s Nazi and genocide analogy, but I’ll let it speak for itself. (She made another offensive equivalence a few months ago.) You can listen to the whole thing here, if you’d like.

Meanwhile, at Monsanto’s evil incorporated headquarters, I’m thinking there is somebody who looks like this.

File:Drevil million dollars.jpg

Rachael Ludwick says it best (and be sure to read her excellent post):

CATEGORIZED UNDER: biotechnology, GMOs, Monsanto, select
  • Karl Haro von Mogel

    I want to point out that their 2 million marchers figure is absurd. If you do the math, that means an average of 4,600 attending each of the 436 demonstrations. I attended the Madison demonstration and I only saw about 50 people (The facebook page for this event indicated that 600 planned to show up, and a 1/10 ratio for facebook clicks is typical for public events). Some larger cities doubtless had more, looking at the pictures, but not anywhere close to four thousand people at any single march. Before the march, the organizers claimed that they expected 200,000 people. It’s pretty obvious that they are inflating the numbers by a factor of ten at least.
    I started a Biofortified Forum discussion to see who amongst our readers attended and what they saw: http://www.biofortified.org/community/forum/genetic-engineering-group3/news-forum12/march-against-monsanto-thread330/#postid-2040

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

      I could imagine protests in major European and east Asian cities
      having much larger attendance, but the numbers in most United States cities were probably similar to Madison. Seattle, judging from the photos and video I’ve seen (see this facebook page), may have had a couple hundred. The event claimed 3,500 planning to attend.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523308419 Shannon Cunningham

        Our event listed 463as on fb we estimated 800-1k photos now bring a final count to just over 1kthe in a city of 15k…

      • Felix Tejeda

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    • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

      I attended the march in Portland, Oregon. The Portland PD is estimating that a little over 6,000 people attended that march alone, not to mention the handful of other cities across Oregon that also marched.
      And don’t rely on pictures. I took pictures, and in mine it only looks like a couple hundred people were there. But really, since I was taking it from a street view, it could only show so much. But I assure you, there were easily thousands of people there. I was in absolute shock.

      • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

        So, it is ENTIRELY possible that the number came to 2 million, as some cities had closer to 10,000 marchers.

        • nullhogarth

          I find it unbelievable in the extreme that 2 million people in this country care enough about the GMO issue to hit the streets in protest.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            It was 2 million worldwide, not just the US. There was demonstrations in 436 cities around the globe.

        • Karl Haro von Mogel

          You would still need 200 cities with 10,000 participants to get to 2 million. Most cities did not appear to have very many, but some of the bigger and more politically-aligned cities certainly had the most.
          Police departments are a good source, and maybe someone can try to get a rough count of the total participation. However, the 2 million announcement was made without such careful counting.

        • jh

          OMG. Get me out of the PNW. Too much time in the dank, moldy forest for Portlanders and Seattleites. Mold spores cause early onset dementia and OCD.

          Or maybe too many bong hits. You know dope makes you paranoid, don’t you?

    • First Officer

      I had similar thoughts that the organizers were confusing facebook likes with actual participation. I tried to get numbers from local news sources but they were few and far between. What i did get confirms your suspicions. 3000 in NYC, 800 in Orlando, only 80 in Birmingham, Al. Only Portland, Or could be said to have a sizable turnout vs. it’s population at around 6000 marchers. No surprise there. I could get no numbers for overseas locations.

  • Chromodynamix

    Has anyone actually died as a result of eating GMO food?
    That is the question!

    • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

      It hasn’t been around long enough to really prove a link to human diseases (I’m sure it will come to pass in the future, though). However, it has been directly linked to the Colony Collapse Disorder amongst the bees. The bees that pollinate GMO crops are dying off by the hundreds and thousands. If bees go extinct, so do we.

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

        No, GMOs have not been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder. There are quite a few plausible causes but GMOs aren’t one of them. It’s been studied and it doesn’t seem likely.

        • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

          There is a big population of bee keepers that have risen up against the pesticide companies (such as Monsanto) because their bees have died off while pollinating GMO crops. Some of the largest bee hives declined by as much as 60%. Many of them have moved their bees off of the GMO farms and have not suffered such heavy losses after it. There is most CERTAINLY a connection. I’m not saying that it is the only cause, because I’m sure there are other factors at work, but GMO crops certainly seem to be helping things along at a very rapid pace. The article that you cited is posted on a website that is specifically geared at “proving” that GMOs aren’t dangerous, so of course they would disagree with GMOs being the cause.
          http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-of-the-bees-genetically-modified-crops-and-the-decline-of-bee-colonies-in-north-america/25950

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

            Monsanto doesn’t produce or sell any of the pesticides that have been tentatively linked to bee decline. Now, neonics have been used extensively in corn farming so that’s a link, but I don’t think you can really blame Monsanto for that.

            Also, if you think Biofortified has the goal of “proving” that GMOs aren’t dangerous, then you completely misunderstand the point of that site. They post science-based and reasoned discussion about agricultural technologies. I linked to that particular post because it’s comprehensive, relatively easy to understand and links to all the research papers I might have linked to instead.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            I read the article. I am not convinced, but I suppose we can agree to disagree. It even cited an article trying to say that bee losses are normal in history, but seemingly ignoring the part of the article that states that the recent bee decline is extreme in comparison, and also stating that there must be some new factor in play.

            I am looking at the front page of the website. Almost all of the articles listed are out to disprove GMO-related theories. I will say that I do think that a lot of people are extremists when it comes to GMOs, but I also think that there is something wrong with chemically altering our food. Why not just label the food? Why is Monsanto fighting so hard to protect themselves and refusing to label their food if there’s nothing wrong with it? It doesn’t add up whatsoever, it’s extremely suspicious.

          • nullhogarth

            The are fighting labeling the food BECAUSE there is nothing wrong with it.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            That doesn’t make sense. If there’s nothing to hide, why not label it? There’s plenty of unnatural things in foods that are listed in the ingredients of foods, and there’s nothing wrong with those things. Why are GMO foods exempt from having to list the full ingredients, when it’s required for every other product?

          • Rob Hooft

            Every plant or animal product contains hundreds of known chemical compounds, and many more unknown chemical compounds. Putting everything we know on the label, whether it is important for consumer safety or not, obscures the really important information that needs to be brought across. It is like putting too many road signs along a busy road: nobody will see the really important ones any more.

            Animal and plant ingredients are normally indicated by their short name, e.g. “corn”, or “corn starch”. There are hundreds of races of corn, but practically nobody ever labels an ingredient as “northern flint corn starch”, and it is equally nonsensical to label “monsanto gmo corn starch” as a distinct ingredient.

          • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

            You seem to think GMO is a thing. It is not. It is a process. It can encompass many different changes. Labeling as GMO is next to useless as a descriptor. To be useful, the label would have to describe the type of changes made. No current labeling proposals do this, primarily because it would be impractical. Another point: GMO does not imply “adding” a chemical to a product. In may be as simple as turning on or off an existing genetic construct.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            GM crops are driving substantial increases in pesticide use and the bee harming neonics are used as a seed treatment on GM seeds. http://gmwatch.org/latest-listing/52-2013/14815-gm-driving-substantial-increase-in-pesticides-and-toxins

            If BioFortified is so keen on science why does it not link to the article “Immune Suppression by Neonicotinoid Insecticides at the Root of Global Wildlife Declines” by Rosemary Mason, Henk Tennekes, Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, and Palle Uhd Jepsen? There is a very interesting story to the delay and mysterious (non-)publishing in a journal detailed here:

            http://www.gmfreecymru.org/pivotal_papers/bee-losses-paper.html

            It appears that journal editors with links to the EPA possibly do not want papers like this properly published.

            When a similar paper appeared in Nature, it was attacked in a piece in the same issue by a Syngenta funded scientist. This means the neonic paper was shown while it was in the press which is publishing malpractice.

            The defenders of the ‘science’ of GM are becoming more ridiculous as well as sinister.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            Look, more conspiracy theories… now the EPA is involved?
            This has nothing to do with genetically engineered crops. Neonicotonoids are applied to GE and non-GE crops alike.

          • OTGTX

            Conspiracy Theory? Michael R. Taylor is working for the FDA and has friggin Monsanto on his resume.

            “As an instance, Ferrara noted the FDA’s approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered cattle drug rBGH which failed to gain approval in either Europe or Canada despite intense lobbying and accusations of malpractice: “Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy, wrote the FDA’s rBGH labelling guidelines. The guidelines, announced in February 1994, virtually prohibited dairy corporations from making any real distinction between products produced with and without rBGH. To keep rBGH-milk from being “stigmatized” in the marketplace, the FDA announced that labels on non-rBGH products must state that there is no difference between rBGH and the naturally occurring hormone. In March 1994, Taylor was publicly exposed as a former lawyer for the Monsanto corporation for seven years. While working for Monsanto, Taylor had prepared a memo for the company as to whether or not it would be constitutional for states to erect labelling laws concerning rBGH dairy products. In other words Taylor helped Monsanto figure out whether or not the corporation could sue states or companies that wanted to tell the public that their products were free of Monsanto’s drug.”

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            If you like I can list the documented behaviour of the biotech industry to try and discredit science and scientists. However currenly I’ll respond to your allegation of ‘conspiracy theory.” Neonics are linked to bee decline, that is why the EU recently banned 3 of them for 2 years. A decision that was based “on strong scientific evidence showing harm.”

            http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jsass/the_scientific_evidence_agains.html

            This ban was brought in place in spite of strong lobbying by Bayer and Syngenta.

            The EPA and USDA have recently released a report on these neonics but “The report is conspicuously silent on reducing the overall use of bee-killing pesticides, that is, on recommendations that would reduce the overall sales and profits for chemical makers.”

            So chemical companies lobbied hard to stop bans on neonic pesticides in Europe. Conspiracy theory? No. You can read the letters they sent here:

            http://corporateeurope.org/publications/pesticides-against-pollinators

            Now the US regulators are silent on the bee killing pesticides. Is it likely that the chemical companies in the US also lobbied to prevent them being banned? I would say it is extremely likely.

            Next we have journals rejecting, delaying and ‘disappearing’ science showing problems with neonic’s.

            At the very least you should be concerned about how apparently fluid ‘science’ is and the difference in attitude between the US and Europe.

          • OTGTX

            OMG! Biofortified is backed by Monsanto!!!!! Quit using them as the poster boy for objectivity!

          • OTGTX
          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            Right, and GM Watch completely made that up – an outright lie. They have refused to take it down.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            MADGE Says:
            “If you like I can list the documented behaviour of the biotech industry to try and discredit science and scientists.”

            Discrediting Science = anti-science agenda.

      • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

        How do you explain Europe then? Little GMO grown, but they had issues, right?

        • Rob Hooft

          What do you mean, “they had issues”? Are you being deliberately vague in your argumentation?

          I’m European. And I disagree with the stance taken here.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            I think they’re referring to the fact that every country loses bees every year. That’s actually part of nature- however, especially in North America, there has been a rapid increase in the deaths of bees in the past few years.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Rob Hooft: I’m trying to show Corinne that her logic is flawed. At the event I was at today Europe was used as a model of non-GMOness. So I asked her to explain why–if there’s no GMOs, how come they had issues with bees. Right?

            Now she tells me it’s

            That’s actually part of nature

            . So it’s not GMOs.

            I just wanted to make her admit that out loud. And she did.

      • nullhogarth

        We depend on pollinators – which includes other animals besides bees – for about 1/3 of our food. If bees disappeared, it would be a disaster, but hardly extinction. As it happens, while commercial hives have been seeing die-offs, native bee species haven’t been disappearing; According to the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society in a recent paper, of the species of bees that were around 150 years ago in the Eastern U.S., 95% of them are still around. This isn’t to say numbers haven’t declined, but the suggestion of mass extinction seems overwrought.

    • MADGE Australia Inc

      People have died or developed birth defects due to the growing of GM crops and the pesticides they require. Watch “Argentina’s Bad Seeds”

      http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2013/03/201331313434142322.html

      and “Poison on the Pampas.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlJXjs9PyJc

  • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

    Oh, we didn’t have anyone going Godwin. Or at least not that I could hear–there didn’t seem to be a sound system. Occasionally a chant would roll over the group. I’m told we can save the planet | go organic.

    My chant never caught on:

    Fight for

    the right to grow

    off-label GMO!

    Yay Bowman!

    But they were all het up about patents, so I couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t more love for the farmer who battled up to SCOTUS. Alas.

    I was promised some science on the Facebook page. I didn’t hear any. But the facebook page is now full of chemtrails. So, I guess that’s chemistry related….

    • MADGE Australia Inc

      Hi Mem

      Here is some science for you – about 380 abstracts showing adverse effects from GM crops and food:

      http://re.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Scientific_Papers_Compiled_March_2013_coalition-for-a-gm-free-india.pdf

      If that’s too tedious to read watch what’s going on on the ground in South America. Argentina’s Bad Seeds. This is a news report from Al Jazeera. I’m sure you will dismiss it as such but sometimes news reports on what is happening:

      http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2013/03/201331313434142322.html

      This is not just a one off, Have a look at Poison on the Pampas, another news report from Argentina (2010). You can turn on the english subtitles down the bottom. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlJXjs9PyJc

      Dr Andres Carrasco has done research into glypyhosate/Roundup and birth defects. When he went to discuss his research in a small farm town a mob of 100 people attacked the delegation before they could get to the school where they were to speak. One person was paralysed, another had head injuries.

      http://archive.truthout.org/war-over-genetically-modified-crops-gets-ugly-birth-defects-superweeds-and-science-intimidation64915

      “Witnesses said the angry crowd had ties to local officials and agribusiness bosses, and police made little effort to stop the violence, according to human rights group Amnesty International.”

      This is the ‘science’ you are defending.

      • Karl Haro von Mogel

        This document does not list 400 studies that show adverse effects… clearly you are not reading the abstracts. There are a bunch of studies thrown in there that don’t have anything to do with the topic (like performance of barley under different rotations), others that are observational that are reporting interesting findings but are not adverse effects, and then a pile of papers about herbicides, not GMOs. There are even some that report beneficial outcomes, like the absence of crop failures in cotton. Then you have a stack of news articles, which aren’t studies at all.
        Meanwhile, whoever runs your twitter account easily dismisses our list of 600 studies:
        http://www.biofortified.org/genera/studies-for-genera/
        I find that rather puzzling. Anyhow, thanks as always for pointing to more papers, because we intend out GENERA project to include ALL the peer-reviewed science, not just a few that are cherry-picked to advance a political cause.

        • Samantha Lee

          Ah yes, the now oft-cited GENERA-gathered studies. 85 day studies on lab rats. Hilarious.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            plus long-term feeding studies on various animal models, compositional analyses, environmental impact studies, metabolomics and transcriptomics, you bet.

        • OTGTX

          Nearly half the blogs Monsanto promotes are authored by the Biofortified team.

          The above Mr Karl Haro von Mogel being a biofortified contributor.

          Not exactly objective.
          Plus biofortified’s mascot is a freakin’ ear of corn named ‘Frank N. Foode’. C’mon, they’re just laughing in you face for buying this crap at this point.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            “Nearly half the blogs Monsanto promotes are authored by the Biofortified team.”

            We can’t help it if we are awesome and company PR can’t hold a candle…

            “The above Mr Karl Haro von Mogel being a biofortified contributor.”

            Correction: Co-executive Editor.

            “Not exactly objective.”

            Does not logically follow. Disagreeing with your opinions does not make one non-objective.

            “Plus biofortified’s mascot is a freakin’ ear of corn named ‘Frank N. Foode'”

            Patent pending. :) Our mascot makes the issue approachable for everyone. Take a look at our photo album and you will find pro- and anti- GMO people getting their photos taken with him.

        • MADGE Australia Inc

          Hi Karl,

          I’m sorry you found it hard to read the document on studies showing adverse effects. It’s divided into 8 sections. 1) Imprecision and unpredictability of science and technology of GE 2) Health impacts 3) Environmental impacts (where the barley is discussed) 4) Horizontal gene transfer 5) Gene flow, contamination and field trials’ risks 6) Yield myths 7) Other related papers 8) Unpublished but important papers.
          http://re.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Scientific_Papers_Compiled_March_2013_coalition-for-a-gm-free-india.pdf

          Interestingly both your list and this one contain the Podevin and Jardin paper about viral Gene VI. Regulators have not properly addressed the issue of whether it may be causing harm. http://independentsciencenews.org/commentaries/gmo-regulators-hidden-viral-gene-vi-regulators-fail/

          It is interesting that a new function of Gene VI was discovered while the Podevin and Jardin paper was in the press. http://independentsciencenews.org/commentaries/regulators-discover-a-hidden-viral-gene-in-commercial-gmo-crops/

          This suggests that there is still a lot to learn even about genes that have been known about for a long time. It would be nice if science investigated these genes. Just saying they have no effect and can’t harm anyone or anything is as ignorant as it is unscientific.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            Um, you seem to be having as much difficulty reading my comment as you did the abstracts themselves. I read through a sample of them, and pointed out how they aren’t what the headline says they are.

            “Interestingly both your list and this one contain the Podevin and Jardin paper about viral Gene VI.”

            That’s because ours is intended to be comprehensive. That’s academic-speak for not picking and choosing the evidence we wish to believe.

            “Just saying they have no effect and can’t harm anyone or anything is as ignorant as it is unscientific.”

            Don’t put words in my mouth. But the blog posts you link to make the leap of claiming that they are harmful, which is not supported by the science.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Sorry Karl, The science I like actually investigates things. The dismissal of the questions raised by Gene VI is on the basis of no scientific investigation.

      • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

        Ah, another person who confuses YouTube with science. That’s so common in these discussions. And as Karl notes, your grasp of what is science isn’t so hot in your other categories.

        Can you tell me MADGE–did you support the Bowman case?

        • MADGE Australia Inc

          Sorry Mem what has the Bowman case got to do with science?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            He’s a farmer who likes the technology–which came about through science!

            Did you support his case? Do you support farmer freedom to grow GMOs if they want?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            The Bowman case was a test of patent control of seed not of science.

            Regarding choice. The legal maxim is “The right to swing your arm ends at the end of my nose.” GM crops contaminate. They were introduced into the US with virtually no discussion. The science behind GM technology has been made redundant ie the one gene one protein central dogma that was destroyed by the Human Genome Project showing that there can also be one protein many genes or many proteins one gene.

            Releasing GM has been an act of folly, recklessness and arrogance. It has been aided and abetted by government, regulators and the courts. It has distorted both democracy and the law. If you want to read what it has done to science I highly recommend Don Lotter’s papers: Lotter, D. 2009. International Journal of the Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Part 1: The Development of a Flawed Enterprise; Part 2: Academic Capitalism and the Loss of Scientific Integrity

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            So you don’t really support Bowman? Shiva does–she said so in the video.

            Were you in some kind of sleep for 40 years? I don’t think you have a clear grasp of genome biology. Nothing was destroyed by the human genome project.

            So there’s no GM you can imagine supporting?

            Yeah–the Lotter paper. I cracked up when he confused mice and rats. I’m sure the other stuff was right though.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Silly forms of argument and hair splitting do not enhance your case Mem. Bowman was an issue of patents – about when they are exhausted.

            “Nothing was destroyed by the human genome project” except for the central dogma of GM breeding ie that a gene will produce one protein and only that protein. Your logic may lead you to believe that is nothing but I disagree.

            So you cracked up about mice and rats in Lotter. I think this is called not seeing the wood for the trees. If you can’t see that patents giving control over seed, which is really control over food production, may cause problems then I can’t help you. Most of those patents are held by one company Monsanto. It has the US government promoting its products and allowing GM food onto the market without independent testing. The FDA rely on Monsanto saying their food is safe. If you can’t see that this is leading to the corruption of science, government and the law then I can’t help you. You need to develop a critical mind, it might be useful in a science career.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Apparently you did sleep for decades. Even Watson admitted he didn’t mean dogma–he meant hypothesis and used the wrong word. You are like a creationist latched on to junk DNA.

            Even funnier though, is when you guys simultaneously try to claim that humans genes are irrelevant and that teeny pieces of sequence in a plant can cause death by–wait for it–suppressing ONE GENE!! OMG!! Eleventy!!! (see Heinemann’s crack analysis and Judy Carman’s smoking crack claims there) How do you guys keep those ideas in your head simultaneously? Do you not think them though, or do you actively suppress that–like Christians who watch porn?

            That FUD probably works on your true believers, but people with actual science training see through that stuff. You really need to get better guidance.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            You are bizarre. I’ve never claimed that human genes are irrelevant. Sickle Cell Anaemia is caused by a change in one nucleotide in DNA that leads to a change in one amino acid that changes how the haemoglobin protein folds. This change leads to a change in the shape of red blood cells, making them sickle shaped. So one nucleotide change leads to a cascade of effects. Your divergence into other totally unrelated issues used to insult me undermines your claim to reason, evidence and science.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Oh, cut the crap. I know you are totally on board with the Latham crockery. This central dogma line of BS you are throwing is part of that. And–let me remind you–you brought that up.

            Again, I’m sure you can fool the clueless with that line. But I know what you are doing.

            There’s no need to insult you. Your ignorance is perfectly clear.

        • MADGE Australia Inc

          Sorry Mem are you saying that Al Jazeera and the Argentinian news programme made up the illnesses and birth defects in the communities near the GM soy fields? If so, please tell me what you think is going on.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Sorry, I don’t rely on television media for science. I also saw on TV that there are mermaids. But I’m waiting for the paper to come out.

            Feel free to come back when you have scientific evidence.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            So you believe nothing is happening in Argentina? Have a listen to Sofia Gatica a mother whose baby died of pesticide-caused birth defects. She spent years finding out what had happened and realised her whole community was being poisoned by the chemicals on GM. She campaigned for years to protect her community. She won the 2012 Goldman Prize for her work. http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/sofia-gatica

            When you compare this information to ‘mermaids’ you appear callous and ridiculous. People are having their children born with birth defects and are suffering cancer and other illnesses. It is a crime and must be stopped. For you to dismiss all of this as imaginary is unbelievable. Have a close look at what are you defending. Why are you defending it?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Well I’ve been around this rodeo for a while dear. I’ve seen TV create unfounded vaccine drama. Just last week the NYT was talking about how the “crack babies” epidemic that the media had flogged was nothing of the sort.

            They can create heart-rending images that manipulate people into believing things for which the evidence is scant. Creating policy around TV or movie claims might not be wise. If they haven’t got the cause right it will do more harm than good, as the actual issue won’t be addressed.

            That’s why we do science.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Shame on you Mem for pretending that the pesticide poisoning that is happening in South America is invented. Have you actually watched either Poison on the Pampas or Argentina’s Bad Seeds?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Please provide a scientific reference and I would be delighted to read it.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Here is a report “Roundup and Birth Defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” It is fully referenced so there are many scientific papers you can read.

            http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/Roundup-and-birth-defects/RoundupandBirthDefectsv5.pdf

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            EarthOpenSource is a cherry-picking activist group. Again–you clearly have no grasp of what science actually is.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            The report has references and is written by scientists. What your promotion of GM shows is that people supporting GM ignore, deny and attack instead of looking, questioning and researching.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Well, maybe you’ll know this then–I have asked Claire Robinson for the data on vedic pandits that Fagan promotes, but I never got it from her. Do you have it?

            http://gmopundit.blogspot.com/2012/09/genetics-expert-dr-john-fagan-promotes.html

            He’s a full-on loon. And if the rest of the team thinks he’s got a clue, they are also questionable.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Play the ball not the man Mem. Have a read of the crazy things that scientists like Sir Issac Newton believed.

            http://www.cracked.com/article_19777_5-great-scientists-who-believed-wildly-unscientific-things.html

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            I would love to see the evidence that Fagan has, but nobody will give it to me. Do you have it? I mean an scientific journal of course.

            All I have is the nuttery there. I’d be so pleased to see a paper.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            In case you missed it, here’s the NYT story. A small study was blown out of proportion, and the media went wild.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/booming/revisiting-the-crack-babies-epidemic-that-was-not.html?_r=0

            At the same time it deflected attention to the problem of the babies born with alcohol syndrome.

            A doctor in the video says: “There’s a whole lot of people who feel that if you can just scare people sufficiently about something then that’s better than actually telling them the truth about something because that will prevent them from doing bad things.”

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            The babies in Argentina are not low birth weight. They are dying, like Sofia Gatica’s baby, or have severe birth defects. If you respond with a link to a crack baby epidemic “that never was” it appears that you have not watched the Argentina’s Bad Seeds report and so do not know what you are supposed to be responding to.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Your response makes it clear you do not understand that sensational media reports are not the same as scientific studies. That is one of the biggest problems in this arena.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            The thalidomide scandal was revealed by the Sunday Times. Therefore not all ‘sensational media reports’ are unfounded. Also the use of asbestos by James Hardie in Australia and the illnesses and deaths it was causing was tracked down over years by and investigative reporter. Dismissing all news as sensational and wrong makes you appear weird.

            News reports are showing that there is a health crisis in South America linked to the growing of GM soy and the pesticides used on it. Dr Andres Carrasco has shown that Roundup/glyphosate causes birth defects of the type found in Argentina. So we have both news reports and scientific studies.

            Apparently neither is good enough for you. Why are you burying your head in the sand over the harm GM crops are causing? Are you paid for this? I cannot understand.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            No dear–an official at the FDA refused to approve it in the US. I think the FDA scientists are underappreciated.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Countries other than the US exist. The Sunday Times in BRITAIN revealed the scandal of what was behind the birth defects. In the US Frances Kelsey was the FDA employee that prevented the release of thalidomide. She did this due to her integrity and research skills, not due to the rigour of the FDA approvals system:

            http://truth-out.org/news/item/16349-if-frances-kelsey-could-protect-america-from-the-pharmaceutical-industry-in-1962-congress-can-today

            “In 1960, Richardson-Merrell Pharmaceuticals applied for FDA approval to market thalidomide in the United States under the brand name Kevadon. At the time, pharmaceutical companies were required to show that their drugs were safe, but could sell drugs 60 days after they submitted requests to the FDA, so long as the agency didn’t object, which it rarely did, because it mostly relied on the manufacturers for information.”

            ….

            “Kelsey, who as a graduate student had helped with the Sulfanilamide investigation, quickly figured out that there was something fishy about Richardson-Merrell’s Kevadon application. She had seen a British study that linked thalidomide to significant neurological side effects. She discovered that many of the company’s claims that the drug was safe were not backed up with evidence. She asked the company for additional information. She demanded that Richardson-Merrell contact the physicians who were given Kevadon samples, but the company didn’t comply. She then asked the company for the names of patients who had been given the samples, but the drug company didn’t provide the list. Instead, Richardson-Merrell harassed Kelsey with constant phone calls, went behind her back to talk with her superior and threatened to file a lawsuit.”

            So powerful companies pressure regulators to allow release of their product even when studies show they are harmful. Even when babies are being born deformed and they know their products are implicated. Sound familiar?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Quite–she had seen a study….wait for it…in a medical journal!

            Here’s a protip: EarthOpenSource ≠ medical journal.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            The reports I have sent you have studies…wait for it …published in journals too.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Did you see XKCD today? http://www.xkcd.com/1217/

            People who don’t have science backgrounds fail to understand this a lot.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Kelsey did not just depend on a study when she refused to allow thalidomide onto the US market. She knew of a British study showing harm. She realised the company’s claim the drug was safe was not backed up by evidence. She asked for additional info, the company did not comply. She asked for the names of patients given samples, the company did not comply. Instead the company harassed her and her supervisor and threatened legal action. She found that some documents used to ‘prove’ safety were falsified. She heard that doctors in Europe were reporting birth defects.
            There are many parallels with GM food but, unlike Kelsey, the regulatory agencies are not following up on reports of harm, are not asking for more studies and accept corporate science without question but attack science that shows harm from GM.

            Thalidomide caused birth defects that were severe and obvious. It still took 10,000 births of affected children before people realised that thalidomide was behind this. Parents in the US are reporting that their children’s health improve when they remove GM from the diet. The conditions that improve are as diverse as allergies, stomach complaints, infections and even autism. Kelsey would be spinning in her grave to see how the FDA has ignored her example and have just allowed GM ingredients into food.

            Finally you are always asking for the scientific papers before you will accept anything. When I have provided them you dismiss them. You dismiss reports from around the world of harm from GM. Do you require scientific papers (that you approve of) for every aspect of your life? As a thought experiment how do you know you exist – or is there a scientific paper showing you do?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Oh, and no–I’m not a paid activist. Are you?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No, as I’ve said before I’m a mum. No one pays me anything. I’m trying to protect my kids and family and know what’s in my food and to inform others. What’s your motivation?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Well good–then we are both on the same footing. I am interested in accurate information getting to the public, that is grounded in quality evidence. I hate to see people get manipulated by liars. I feel my science training provides me a duty to protect the public from deceivers. So it’s a public service.

    • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

      Oh, good, there’s video of the crazy train stop in Boston. And that chant you hear is about the full substance of what I heard.

      Me and my sign are just under the green light at about 8 seconds.

      And there’s the other signage with all the [citation needed] problems.

      http://youtu.be/7YSKk0tNR8Y

  • Michael Lindsay

    Been said before and needs to be said again.

    Monsanto is NOT the most ethical corporation in the world and GMO is NOT an evil scheme from Dr Evil.

    Monsanto does do absolutely obnoxious things like suing farmers for keeping their seed stock and using it more than once. The public record is crystal clear in this regard.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/13/supreme-court-monsanto-indiana-soybean-seeds

    It’s not as simple as either the hysterical anti-GMO hippies or the corporate apologists would have everyone think!

    • luwokoveheh

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    • nullhogarth

      Monsanto sues farmers who violate the contract they agreed to when they purchased the seed. Monsanto’s product belongs to Monsanto, not the farmers.

      • Michael Lindsay

        Including farmers who accidently get Monsanto seeds blown onto their land.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_Canada_Inc._v._Schmeiser

        Heinous seed stealing farmers, should have put up bigger fences!

        • Mike Bendzela

          Read the court documents. Schmeiser sprayed the crop with Roundup, collected the seeds, and replanted them. Now we can argue about whether this should be against the law, but there is no argument about the fact that he did break the law as stated.

          • Michael Lindsay

            What I’ve argued is that Monsanto’s behaviour is unethical, not illegal. Being a fabulously wealthy corporation they tend to have laws written in their favour anyway.

        • Shi

          False. See #2:

          http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/18/163034053/top-five-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted

          That claim was taken to court against Monsanto, case was dismissed.

    • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

      So you would say you also support the right of a farmer to grow off-label GMOs? And use roundup on them?

      • Michael Lindsay

        Sure, how an induvidual farmer runs their business is their business provided they aren’t hurting anyone else. P.S. using secondhand seeds isn’t hurting a deep-pocketed shibboleth like Monsanto.

        • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

          Great. Because the patents start to come off soon. I just wanted to be sure that people supported farmers who want to use the seeds.

  • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

    Yeah, I don’t trust a company that was purely a chemical company until 17 years ago to make my food. Let alone the company that produced Agent Orange, which, as you’ll remember, KILLED ALL THE PLANT LIFE WHERE IT WAS RELEASED. Juuust in case you forgot.
    It’s totally cool if you want to go on eating GMO food, really, it is. But put labels on it and let the rest of us be able to choose whether or not wen want to consume GMO foods.

    • nullhogarth

      Note to Corinne: your food IS chemicals, and so are you.

      • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

        Not bio-engineered chemicals.

        • djfldjfl@hotmail.com

          There’s almost no difference. We can and do create the exact same stuff that happens in nature. We do this every day. Natural does Not equal healthy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

            That must be why it’s safe to directly inject adrenaline into a human, or insuline, or anything else our body produces really…

            Wait, none of that is safe.

            You are a fucking idiot.

          • http://twitter.com/KrisVal Kristen Valanoski

            Even the most “natural” substances can be dangerous when used improperly. You can sit and keep ingesting water until you die.

            Alcohol is also a toxin to our bodies. And one can easily overdose. Instead of banning it outright, we establish safe doses.

            (p.s. genetically engineered bacteria create human insulin for diabetics. And it keeps them alive.)

          • dogctor

            And your point is?

            1. Insulin is made by a very precise process- nothing like randomly shooting genes into a plant.

            2. Insulin, erythropoietin, G-CSFs, interferon underwent clinical trials

            3. Doctors discuss their benefits and risks involving the patient in the decision

            4. They are transparently labeled

            5. They are contained.

            How many similarities do you see between microbial GMOs and agricultural GMOs?

        • Guest

          Corinne:

          The only difference between inserting a gene in the lab and breeding for it is the time it takes to get from start to finish.

          There are no “unnatural” or “bioenginerred” genes.

          • dogctor

            Yeah, yeah, yeah– whatever.

            DNA is DNA, RNA is RNA, protein is protein, plants make toxins, and GMOs are just like conventional breeding

            …..read all this crap hundreds of times before, from arrogant, self-serving, misinforming creeps who advocate for sloppy genetic engineering techniques of shooting as many EPSPS genes into a plant genome as get integrated, or as many truncated cry proteins as they wish, with as much superfluous DNA in reverse orientation they want, while not doing any proper feeding trials as part of the “safety” assessment, and forcing unwilling people like Corinne to absorb all the risks.

            There are indeed harmful and unnatural genes in the food supply inserted by sloppy pseudo-scientists in a hurry to capitalize on patents.

            Lets compare how insulin is genetically engineered to how Round Up Ready crops are genetically engineered. Shall we?

      • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

        You are an idiot.

      • Charles Rader

        Corinne, you are looking at the glass that’s half empty instead of the glass that’s half full. Here’s this evil chemical company that made Agent Orange, but has seen the error of its ways and switched its business to making it easier to grow food.

        By the way, the Agent Orange story is like 50 years ago. I seriously doubt that anyone who was making company policy at that time is making policy today. That doesn’t mean that you should trust Monsanto, but I think you need to come up with a better reason not to.;

    • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

      It already has a label… Organic. Try it.

      • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

        Only fresh produce has the organic label. Things like cereal, snacks, drinks, etc., don’t.

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

          Uhh… Lots of processed foods (cereals, crackers, juice, soda, etc.) have organic labels. I buy them all the time.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            I have never seen any in my area. You can only get things that you know are truly organic at specialty stores that sell local produce (and are extremely expensive).

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

            I’ve mostly lived in big cities. Whole Foods, for example, sells organic versions of just about every product.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            Whole Foods, in my area, is very very expensive. I am a single mom with a very tight wallet, and I can’t afford to shop at places like that, unfortunately. I am forced to mainly shop at my regular local grocery store, where 80% of the foods are GMOs and unlabelled. For my own peace of mind, I would like to be buying things that are not GMO. They only label the organic produce (which is also way more expensive than regular produce, but I do as much as I can).

          • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

            So if the magic GMO label were applied, you’d avoid 80% of the items anyway. You have to make up the difference in organic counterparts or do without. Exactly how is this better for you? You’re spending more money and getting less choice.

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

            Yes, Whole Foods is certainly expensive. I was just using it as an example of “non-produce items labeled organic”. Safeway, at least around here, often carries organic brands (usually house) that are barely more expensive than the conventional ones, so that’s an option too.

          • FosterBoondoggle

            So you want everyone to absorb the cost of your desired label? Organic is expensive because of the certification and the restrictions. GMO-free (which already has a private certification process) would also be expensive for the same reasons. But you think it’s right and fair that everyone else should pay the expense of this certification process because of your own fear. Do I have that right?

            In any case, as a single mom with a tight budget, if you avoid processed foods you’re most likely avoiding GMOs and making your nutrition dollars go further. Most GMOs are grown for either corn syrup manufacture, animal feed or non-food uses. Lentils, rice, chicken, tomatoes, dark leafy vegetables, etc. are all non-GMO and sticking to them will give you a pretty healthy, nightmare-free diet. No need to politicize the matter.

          • Regina

            Surprise! Lentils are going GMO, as are apples, salmon and many more that they won’t tell you and they don’t have to! Isn’t that great! Again I say, you can eat food or you can eat poison. Choose poison because it’s less expensive if you like but for my family, the extra cost for food is definitely worth it.

          • Shi

            If they won’t tell you, how did you find out all these things are going GMO? You must have some access to some secret food newsletter. Oh, wait, it was all over the news, and all the info is readily available, just not on a label…

          • http://twitter.com/mvl1014 Michael Lombardi

            Don’t you think that if you aren’t eating GMOs, you’ll have to pay more for food that takes more resources to produce? You can’t have it both ways, either you can afford to feed your kids exclusively organic or you can’t.

        • Charles Rader

          Corinne, I’m looking at a box of cereal that proves you wrong. Worse, I like tofu, a very processed food, and I absolutely cannot find any tofu that isn’t organic. 95% of US soybean production is GMO, and yet none of the tofu manufacturers market a 100% soybean product that uses GMO soybeans. And that’s blatantly because of the anti-GMO propaganda. Think about my tofu when you complain about consumer choices.

      • Andres

        Don’t be ridiculous. Organic is an opt-in certification with stringent requirements. Go to your local farmers market – you’ll find the majority of small farms there aren’t certified organic, despite the fact that their crops are non-GMO. It’s because they often times can’t afford the certification process, or can’t jump through all of the requirement hoops.

        Likewise, I buy products from my local coop that will sometimes use a mix of organic and non-organic ingredients. They will use organic wheat, for example, but non-organic olive oil (presumably to keep cost down while still avoiding GMOs). That means they can be GMO-free, but aren’t certified organic.

        The GMO-free label has value, and it’s not equal to certified organic.

        • jh

          Oh, but wait! Organic coffee growers are hoping to be excused for using insecticides and fungicides, while many fruit growers have been excused from the rules for over a decade and are crying foul because that exemption will soon end.

          So much for organic. Grown in BS.

    • Ankhwatcher

      What were you doing 17 years ago Corrine? Have you learnt anything new or changed your life in any way since then?
      Would you rather Monsanto continue to make Agent Orange? Is it not a positive thing that they turned their focus to improving food through science?

      • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

        Monsanto is owned by Jews and Pfizer.

        That should be enough for any intelligent person to hate them.

        • Ankhwatcher

          Well I certainly can’t argue with bulletproof bigotry like that.

        • isaacschumann

          wowzers

        • Charles Rader

          Besides the blatant bigotry of your post, it’s demonstrably false.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000980613760 Kevin Folta

      Corrine, MON never made “Agent Orange”. The government weaponized two herbicides. One was 2,4-D, and MON made that herbicide along with many other companies. 2,4-D was not the component that caused human ills (as far is known), as that came from dioxin produced with 2,4,5-T, the other major component of Agent Orange. Together they were a defoliant used in jungle warfare. It was a sad time in history, and sad today that so many, like you, exploit that imagery to errantly foment fear against biotech crops.

      Many veterans and civilians on both sides of the conflict were affected by this weapon. It may be advisable to be sensitive to the real agents of harm and the tragedies of war on this Memorial Day weekend.

    • http://twitter.com/mvl1014 Michael Lombardi

      Was not the entire purpose of Agent Orange to kill “all plant life where it was released”? That’s what herbicides do.

  • Bernie Mooney

    I didn’t attend the main rally I went to the “after party” in Washington Square where they were having their “discussions.” It was sad because the people I talked to, save one, weren’t dumbasses, but well meaning smart people who had no clue, if that makes sense. It bummed me out.

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

    I didn’t actually attend the one here. I probably should have but it didn’t really appeal. But there’s plenty of documentary evidence of what kinds of signs people had up on the internet. The local Food and Water Watch branch linked to some photos. One set of signs were hung up on the fence around a new children’s play area in Westlake park (where the march started). The slogans on that set all started with “What can you do?” While I thought some were quite reasonable (e.g. suggesting how people direct their money), others were just conspiracy-theorizing or hinting at non-existent risks of GMOs:

    * “Continue to reveal Monsanto’s secrets and expose their true agenda, which is profit above all else including the health of humans, animals and environment!”

    * “Avoid processed and fast food which are loaded with GMOs & chemicals and learn to cook!”

    * “Demand the repeal of the “Monsanto Protectino Act” & insist on an inquiry into Monsanto’s history of covering up the true dangers of their products.”

    Another set of signs (very well designed actually — nicely typed, then mounted on a skull-headed scarecrow) started with the question “Did you know?”. Basically every single sign was a half-truth at best and most had outright falsehoods. A few of them:

    * “Monsanto is the creator of Saccharine, Aspartame, PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone & Glyphosate which have all been linked to cancer & other health problems.”

    * “Monsanto’s GMO seeds & chemicals are harmful to the environment and scientists have indicated they have caused massive decline among world’s bee and Monarch Butterfly populations.”

    * “Monsanto’s RoundUp, which is used around the world, has been linked to numerous health problems in animals & humans, including cancer & infertility.”

    * “Monsanto’s GMO products distory nature’s foods in ways that can now rewire your body and have been shown in animal tests to cause sterility, illness and death.”

    These are exactly quoted from the signs. I am distressed that this was the kind of content at this protest, especially as Food & Water Watch Washington “liked” these photos on facebook. Food & Water Watch is heavily involved in the GMO labeling campaign here and I’d really hoped they’d stay away from outright fear mongering or lies about health risks. :(

  • lukeweston

    Here are a couple of photos from recent “March Against Monsanto” events.

    http://screencast.com/t/faz2aQ58daTg

    https://twitter.com/tbn97/status/338140437900578819/photo/1

    Here’s some advice for the people out there who have genuine concerns or questions about agricultural biotechnology. If you want to ever try to be taken seriously by scientists, stop it.

    Lose the chemtrails, 9/11 conspiracies, Boston bombing conspiracies, anti-vaccination conspiracies, Alex Jones etc. If anybody brings this stuff in to your events or meetings or Facebook pages or what not then shun them – drive them away.

    When asked for scientific references or evidence to back up your contention, a video on YouTube is not credible source material. Natural News is not credible source material. Mercola is not credible source material. David Icke is not credible source material. Info Wars is not credible source material.

    • Mike Bendzela

      And then nothing is left.

    • Madeleine Love

      Monsanto in-house testing data (usually the only data presented in support of applications for GMO food and crop approvals) is not credible source material. Yet the food and crops are set loose and without full labelling we have no choice to avoid it, nor its contamination.

      • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

        Well, Madeline–I’m told there are a lot of countries that do label. Do you have any evidence of harm from those places?

        • MADGE Australia Inc

          As you should know Mem there has not been a single study done anywhere in the world to find out what has been the effect on public health of the release of GM food.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            But I thought that was the point of labeling–that you could trace these things. Are you saying that’s not the case?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            In the US there is no labelling. In the EU they have process based labelling. This means if canola oil comes from GM canola it is labelled as GM. However animal produce is exempt. Germany has a government labelling scheme for animal products and France has a supermarket labelling scheme for animal products. Australia has a product based labelling system meaning that if canola oil comes from a GM plant then is is assumed to have no GM protein or DNA and so escapes labelling. There is no labelling of animal produce.

            That is a quick run down of labelling. However it still does not alter the fact that there has been no study done to ascertain what the effect of introducing GM food has had on public health.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Too bad activists couldn’t raise money for those studies instead of flailing around with wild claims. It would be way better for them.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Why should activists raise money for these studies Mem?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            You wouldn’t find that information valuable? I think it would totally help your case.

            Lots of activists communities raise money for studies. Safe Food Foundation paid Jack and Judy for their work, right? That gave you talking points. They were wrong, of course–but you still got to talk about it.

            But other groups participate in trying to learn more about their issues–autism, breast cancer, etc. I can see where you wouldn’t want to cut into your administrative budgets of course. But some groups who are really interested in answers find ways.

            But you would also be eligible for grants I’m sure.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Ha ha Mem. Since MADGE is an entirely self-funded voluntary organisation we have no budget, administrative or otherwise. We have never had a grant and never applied for one. We are a bunch of mothers and others concerned about food. We use our time and our energy to let others know what is going on. We work from home when we get the time.

            We are fed up with GM food being released, unlabelled into our food. The pre-release studies are not worthy of the name. The NK603 GM corn that caused tumours in rats starting at 4 months was approve in the EU after a 3 month study. In Australia the same corn was approved after a 9 DAY acute toxicity test. We have release a report on how shameful the regulatory process has been. It’s called Fed Up With FSANZ. FSANZ (Australia/NZ food regulator) posted a response which we have responded to.

            http://www.madge.org.au/fsanz-response-fed-fsanz-report-madge-and-madge’s-comments-201212

            GM food should not have been released based on the inadequate data GM companies presented to regulators.

            The GM promoters repeatedly say that GM food has been eaten for years and caused no harm. This statement is misleading and should no longer be said as no studies have been done to find out what the effect has been on public health from GM. To suggest that MADGE should pay for this type of study is beyond ridiculous.

            However it’s not just Australian mothers that are concerned about GM and the lies we are being told about it (ie that it has harmed no one – a statement based on no evidence whatsoever) Listen to US mothers are saying about how the health of their families improves when they remove it from the diet. Google “Moms Across America.” This time why don’t you actually listen to them?

          • Gabriel Alan King

            “Wild claims” ? Like the rats fed GMO foods grew tumors and died prematurely? Or did you conveniently not see those tests?
            Go head and suck up all the GMO food your little heart desires….. one less mushroom collecting Social Security.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Somebody slept through statistics at Uni….

          • Chris Kelly

            Madeleine Love from MADGE Australia comes from a place that has labelling,……wait for it….. Australia! Get out there and chase those cooties Madeleine

          • Madeleine Love

            In respect of Chris’s first sentence, see reply to mem above. In respect of Chris’s second sentence, I find his tone to be really nasty, and I hate talking with him.

        • Madeleine Love

          Well.. ?mem – In Australia we
          have incomplete GM labelling. It might not shock you to learn that food manufactures have the marketing wisdom to exclude any ingredients that would meet the GM labelling criteria. So the GM ingredients in our food are those that evade the labelling criteria or compliance. The same applies in Europe, although their labelling critieria is slightly stricter. Generally, people don’t know when they are eating processed food
          containing GM ingredients, other than on the manufacturer’s assurance of a non-GM product. When you’re sick, it’s difficult to tell the doctor you’ve been eating GM food if you don’t know you have.

          Dr Paul Brent, Chief Scientist at FSANZ, did acknowledge to a Senate Estimates committee that no attempt had been made, anywhere in the world, to conduct any study into the post market effects of human consumption of GMO’s. I know of no medical monitoring system associating illness events with GM food consumption,
          anywhere in the world. Our AMA (Australian Medical Association) has policy positions calling for full GM labelling and a monitoring system, so health responses could actually be tracked, yet none. I know of no pathology resource
          where a doctor could have eg tumors, blood, tested for residues of GM crops.

          When I followed up the Australian longterm childhood studies there were no variables looking at GM food consumption, even for those dramatic increasing illnesses of the GM-era, such as life threatening allergy, and discussions led me to understand they had no intention of including such variables. It’s a bit hard to find anything if there is no system asking the questions or recording data.

          Do you think it would make our government look bad if a problem with GM was found after they had repeatedly assured citizens that GM food was as safe as non-GM food? I think there’s a disincentive there.

        • Madeleine Love

          Well, mem – In Australia we have incomplete GM labelling. It might not shock you to learn that food manufactures have the marketing wisdom to exclude any ingredients that would meet the GM labelling criteria. So the GM ingredients in our food are those that evade the labelling criteria or compliance. The same applies in Europe, although their labelling criteria is slightly stricter. Generally, people don’t know when they are eating processed food containing GM ingredients, other than on the manufacturer’s assurance of a non-GM product. When you’re sick, it’s difficult to tell the doctor you’ve been eating GM food if you don’t know you have.

          The Chief Scientist at FSANZ did acknowledge to a Senate Estimates committee that no attempt had been made, anywhere in the world, to conduct any study into the post market effects of human consumption of GMO’s. I know of no medical monitoring system associating illness events with GM food consumption, anywhere
          in the world. Our AMA (Australian Medical Association) has policy positions calling for full GM labelling and a monitoring system, so health responses could actually be tracked, yet none. I know of no pathology resource where a doctor could have eg tumors, blood, tested for residues of GM crops.

          When I followed up the Australian long term childhood studies there were no variables looking at GM food consumption, even for those dramatic increasing illnesses of the GM-era, such as life threatening allergy, and discussions led me to understand they had no intention of including such variables. It’s a bit hard to find anything if there is no system asking the questions or recording data.

          Do you think it would make our government look bad if a problem with GM was found after they had repeatedly assured citizens that GM food was as safe as non-GM food? I think there’s a disincentive there.

          • Madeleine Love

            Sorry, this is a repeat of the comment submitted earlier – I thought it had been lost (I’m new to this forum) or deleted because I had a name in there.

      • Karl Haro von Mogel

        At least the scientists doing the testing work are actual scientists and provide their data. The sources that Luke Weston criticized above are not doing science at all. Monsanto has a conflict of interest, however, if their data was wildly different from the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that are independent, then there would be cause to distrust their data. But it is not.

        You can also buy things labeled non-GMO or Organic, and as I understand in Australia there is GMO labeling.

        • Madeleine Love

          Karl, I find your term ‘actual ‘scientists’ interesting (worth exploring some time). I like to call the work at Monsanto ‘invention’ which profits from the science done by scientists at other institutions such as our publicly funded CSIRO.

          “hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that are independent”

          Karl; [sternly] This is a very misleading thing for you to write and if there is any value of worth within you should be feeling bad about it. I
          know that your group has promoted a long list of studies on the general GM topic, describing them as safety studies. Yet when one reads the studies on the list one reads many antithetical findings to those claimed by the industry and government ‘(de-)regulators’. The studies,
          many published in journals that have not required information relating to financial conflict of interest, and of which a minority are independent, and fewer still are actually relevant to the GM crops we are consuming without our knowledge, and at my last reading, devoid of any example of human food safety assessment.

          As reported below, there is a profound professional conflict of interest in
          most studies purporting to assess for health risk…

          Association of financial or professional conflict of interest to research outcomes on health risks or nutritional assessment studies of genetically
          modified products; Diels et al; Food Policy, Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 197–203

          • Madeleine Love

            The line beginning “The studies..” was grammatically unfinished, sorry, but I think you can work out where it was going.

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

        In the United States, we have companies that wish to market a product pay for and do the testing because otherwise the government (and all taxpayers) are paying for it. This has historically been seen by many to be subsidizing the profits of a private company. Why should I (Jane Q. Taxpayer) pay so some company can make money? Moreover, many Americans have historically thought that the if you have to get approval from the government before you can sell something or go into business, then that’s an unnecessary restriction on freedom. In this context, our weird voluntary testing system makes some sense. I admit there are problems with it, but that is why it exists. It’s not some conspiracy to hide the truth or try to harm people.

        • Regina

          “Why should I (Jane Q. Taxpayer) pay so some company can make money? ”

          Simply to insure that the tests are not skewed in favor of the applicant. If I provide my own evidence, I’m definitely not going to show anything detrimental to my purposes.

          • TerryMN

            If that’s the case, you’re a very dishonest and unethical person. In addition to being a goddamned loon. You go girl. (?)

          • dogctor

            You do know that a person who uses ad hominem concedes they lost the argument by definition. Right, genius?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000980613760 Kevin Folta

            Regina, companies/scientists don’t do tests to show a product is safe or to prove what we think. Companies test the hypothesis that it is harmful. Across science we do the most rigorous tests– not to confirm our suspicions, but rather to show that we’re wrong. That sounds strange I know, but that’s the truth. If the tests are “skewed” it is to be the best most sensitive and stringent. When the data come back we can be quite confident with them.

            As my PhD advisor said, “Stuff stays in print a long time” so we make sure it is correct. Companies consider every possible facet of safety– think about it. In our litigious society one illness directly linked to a product (GM or otherwise) has massive ramifications for the company and industry.

            While it is good to be skeptical of corporate claims, don’t sell out to conspiratorial thinking. I’m always glad to answer your questions about how we do science.

          • Gabriel Alan King

            If you don’t have some “conspiratorial thinking”, then you probably haven’t been doing much thinking at all. At least, not anything in the direction of truth that is.
            And don’t sweat the ramifications- Barry signed the “MonSatan” protection Act, and the former Vice President of MonSatan is now head of the FDA.
            To “conspiratorial” for you Mr. Science ?

          • Regina

            Not really conspiratorial to say that some corporate administrations ride their science departments to come up with desired results. If you don’t think that happens then you’re pretty naive.

          • dogctor

            Kevin. Could you please post links to those rigorous tests of safety?

            As a medical practitioner, whose patients eat a lot of GMOs, and who has done an in depth literature search and failed to find any rigorous safety studies, I sure would appreciate some links.

            The safety tests I did find, are on a statistically underpowered number of rats ( so that only grossly dramatic differences could be detected in metabolic function), contain an inadequate number of tests, are only performed on a single day preventing any assessment of trends, are not blinded and are missing half the rats.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=hammond+safety+assurance

          • AnotherLover

            Oh you have a PhD? So do the scientists (hired by industry) that told us BPA was safe. And by “the scientists” I mean 100% of them. Flip to the public paymaster and you have nearly 100% of the scientists showing BPA’s toxicity. So today public policy is being driven by only half the science, right? It’s true that testing chemicals et al for safety is a massive burden. But it’s ridiculously obvious that’s companies do indeed “do tests to show a product is safe.” And even more obvious they have massive impetus for showing the safety of their products.

            And, dude, uh — could you sound a little more condescending in your next post, please? I still have a little vomit left in my stomach and I’d really like to throw it up as well.

          • Regina

            Hi Kevin, it’s refreshing to see such an idealistic view of the science involved with the promotion of GE crops. It’s quite naive, though. Money and power are both strong influences in the end report of a scientific study done on its own product in many (not all) companies. Monsanto has shown time and again, a complete disregard for the environment and public safety, but we should believe them now?

          • Kevin Folta

            Because the work of thousands of independent scientists confirms their conclusions. Time confirms their conclusions. Farmers confirm their conclusions. All the power and money in the world can’t change the Truth. If there really was something wrong over the last 15 years someone would have figured it out. I wish it was me.

            Maybe the folks that fight science are naive. Come to think of it, they are. However, they know that they are experts. Sadly, their insistence on being better scientists than the tens of thousands of us that work in public, academic science harms the environment, farmers and the future. Stay hot.

          • Regina

            Thousands? Really? Well I know of a group of 800 esteemed scientists (Institute of Science in Society) who have repeatedly, since 1999, updated their letter to the UN and all the world’s governments to cease this dangerous experiment in the open field and bring it back to a controlled environment where it can be assessed for safety and feasibility. I’m inclined to align myself with them instead of a paid employee of some corporation whose aim is profit above all else.

          • Kevin Folta

            ESTEEMED? Sure, a Ph.D. student in Ohio maybe doesn’t clear my definition of esteemed. I’m sure you consider my 27-year record un-esteemed.

            But if you were to poll ASPB, ASHS, SIVB, APS, etc , the professional societies of plant scientists, or even bigger with scientists in general, you’d find almost unanimous agreement among those tens of thousands that there is much more benefit than risk with transgenic plant technology.

            ISS is a whack-job organization run by Dr. Maewan Ho. She’s nice, but is an activist and lacks a little hard-scientific resolution. I had a recent exchange with her about repeating an experiment. She was all for it… until it got real. This is pretty revealing- and she’s the one with your list of 800.

            http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2013/05/you-asked-for-independent-replication.html

            I don’t know who you think is a paid employee of a corporation. There is not one academic, independent, non-profiting scientist (like me) that thinks transgenic technology’s risks outweigh its benefits. Not even close.

          • Regina

            David Suzuki

          • Kevin Folta

            Okay, maybe, but that’s not 800. Suzuki wrote great text books and did wonderful science. He is absolutely 100% in opposition to the scientific consensus here.

            If we lived in a world where we knew GM was dangerous and forbidden and one well-recognized scientist said it was a good idea, we probably would not be too compelled to change things.

            Same with Suzuki. He’s off the deep end on this issue for sure.

            Someday when I get the time (probably never) I’ll go through that list and sort it into who is really there. Who is fake (like Prof. Dennis Dennis Poopy) and who is not a scientist (like organic farmers, economists, “wholistic (sic) healers) and see how many are left.

            Yes we find the usual suspects on there like Cummins, Seralini, etc. Those are the all stars on that rather thin team.

            The Creationists did the same thing. They got a conservative think tank to find 700 “scientists” that said evolution was a fraud. The science community responded by finding 1200 scientists named Steve that said the evidence was pretty good.

            Check out Project Steve on google. We’ll probably do the same for GM one of these days.

          • Regina

            I was holding back a little. The Union of Concerned Scientists. Here’s what they have to say regarding GMOs:

            http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/risks-of-genetic-engineering.html

            What about my question ( in another string) regarding labeling? I know in lab animals it’s accepted practice to feed them diets to prove or disprove something. Is it scientific to extend this practice to an uninformed public? In the case of certain allergens it could prove damaging or even fatal.

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

            My intent wasn’t to say the system was perfect. It was merely to explain why it exists — and why it is hard to change politically. I hope that’s clear.

          • Gabriel Alan King

            Perfect? It’s a crony system owned by international bankers. Unless your one of those sheeple who still think the Federal Reserve is “Federal”…. lol

        • Gabriel Alan King

          “It’s not some conspiracy to hide the truth….” OH, REALLY ?
          Well then you tell MonSatan to go ahead and LABEL this great product they are so proud of…. as they have “nothing to hide” as you stated.

      • Charles Rader

        Madeleine, I keep seeing the incredible claim that the only food safety tests that show no problem come from Monsanto. Or are funded by Monsanto.

        Not long ago, the European Union funded something like 125 projects researching GMO safety. This was while the EU was contesting a complaint at the World Trade Organization, about its ten year moratorium on approving any new GMO foods. I find it very hard to believe that EU was wanting those studies to come up with no evidence of concern – which is what they showed – or that somehow they convinced Monsanto to foot the bill.

        So there’s your credible source material.

        • dogctor

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=safety+assurance+hammond

          These, and studies like them, are the only safety studies I found.
          They are horribly flawed and are not at all reassuring of safety.
          In fact, they are suggestive of renal and hepatobiliary disease, from B.t and Round Up ready corn, in rats in under 90 days (13wks).

          Do you have others, Charles?
          I would appreciate links.
          Please post links to specific feeding trials to be contrasted with position statements by authorities ( logical fallacy aka= appeal to authority) and sites like GENERA, predominantly containing clinically irrelevant production and in- vitro -studies.

          • Charles Rader

            dogctor, if you eliminate all the collected lists of safety studies and ask me to find new ones, you are going beyond my knowledge base.

        • Madeleine Love

          Charles, in respect of your first paragraph, I have read many Monsanto dossiers submitted to FSANZ for otherwise completely untested GM crops, and indeed, this is the only material about the crop that is supplied before approval. You can access dossiers that have gone online via the FSANZ website http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/gmfood/applications/Pages/default.aspx

          Re the second paragraph, can you give me a reference for a report describing these 125 studies, because if it’s the report I think, these studies weren’t studies of the type that examine the human food safety of GM crops we are eating, but rather just general research studies.

          • Madeleine Love

            Adding of course that other GM/chemical/pesticide companies (Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont, Dow) submit dossiers on their GM crops with the only detail about the crop being sourced from in-house data.

        • Regina

          Reading through the conclusions to the report generated by those studies, it appears to be coming from the viewpoint that the tiger’s already in the house – how do we safely learn to live with it. I see nothing involving the effects of continued use upon test animals, perhaps due to the fact that these companies will not release sample product for the purpose of independent testing. All of the testing that has been done independently has been done with samples that were not permitted by the respective companies. I’m guessing the EU could not put themselves in the same position. Maybe that’s why I don’t see any mention on safety of consumption. They do conclude that restrictions should be in place to guard against unintended expansion of GM crops as well as environmental studies to determine the safety in the differing countries. Why have so many EU countries banned the use of GMO’s?

          • danguss

            Because if EU countries are doing it, it MUST be a good idea, right? It’s not like any of them have shown horrible judgement…

          • Regina

            The question was Why? If you see storm clouds gathering, are you going to proceed to the beach? Wouldn’t you INVESTIGATE b4 loading your car? And if the news said “sunny & clear”, are you still going to the beach?

    • aresrising

      Luke you have a valid point about conspiracy theorists distracting from our Label GMO cause. At this point in the movement we need all the help we can get. Note the Media blackout on the March coverage. A huge worldwide demonstration and nothing on CNN, BBC and other major news outlets–why? Monsanto and biotech companies used every dirty trick in the book to defeat California’s prop 37 (the label GMO initiative). We should focus on the facts. GMO crops use more not less chemicals, GMO crop yields are not greater and the crops are not cheaper. We do not need GMO crops to feed the world. I am not anti-science just anti-bad science. Do you really believe there has been adequate testing of GMO products?

      • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

        There is no media black out, or your Google search fucking sucks.

        • aresrising

          So nothing yesterday on CNN, and BBC was not a little strange? Yes LA times, ABC and USA today had coverage as well as some network local coverage. I did not mean to imply total blackout sorry.

        • http://www.creativecow.net Ron Lindeboom

          I saw absolutely nothing on any of the big US “news” networks. Not a thing. I suspect that Monsanto’s ad budgets for products like Round-Up had a lot to do with that. And you can call me a conspiracy theorist all you like, I am the former managing editor of a daily newspaper and I know that ad budgets do indeed “edit” what news is covered. I once walked out on a publisher whose news was so “edited” that I basically called his newspaper a fish-wrapper. By today’s standards, he’d have been an investigative journalist. (There is an AP wire story repeated by a bunch of outlets and little else, except for RT. Maybe you are seeing the repeats?)

        • OTGTX

          Me and my family drove an hour to the march in downtown Ft Worth TX. We were in the middle of the line and couldn’t see the beginning or the end of it. Hundreds of people. NO mention in the Ft Worth Star Telegram. Same thing in Dallas and the Dallas Morning News. Not a peep from CNN. Of the very scant articles published you can quickly see it’s versions of the same base AP article. This issue is being intentionally ignored.

        • AintNoTimeTohate

          Dude to black out Google would be too fucking obvious. Come on man don’t be a fool

      • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

        It’s not just exogenous conspiracy theory–the Monsanto monomania here is hurting your case. If GMOs were banned (as called for at the marches I saw) which of these problems of modern agriculture would go away:

        1. Patents? Nope.
        2. Herbicides? Nope.
        3. Monoculture? Nope.

        This fixation with Monsanto is taking your eye off the larger issues.

        • aresrising

          Monsanto led the fight to defeat prop 37 in California. If you defeat the biggest bully in the bar the others will fall into line.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Fall into line on what exactly? I’m not sure what you are suggesting would have happened.

          • Regina

            If California had passed prop 37, the GMO labeling initiative, the market is so large that it would have forced the entire country to label GMO’s. It would not be economically feasible to print dual labels, on for Calif. and one for the rest of the country. That’s why so much money was spent to mis-inform the people of California and it worked. At least for now, but they may have awakened a sleeping giant.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Funny you say that about it not being economically feasible to have dual labels–all the Prop37 proponents said it wouldn’t cost a thing.

            But what would that have done for agriculture? Would it end patents? Herbicides? Pesticides? Monocultures? Those were the claims in the campaign about why this needed to be done.

          • Regina

            Changing the label would be a minimal cost if any, dual packaging is another story, you’re maintaining two different packaging formats. two print designs. separate shipping instructions, etc. While the cost to maintain this would not be exorbitant, business doesn’t work that way. Wherever they can simplify, they do. They’d print one label.

            Seed patents, without a profit base, would disappear. Herbicides and pesticides would need to become gentler, not to harm the real crop. Monoculture will kill us if we don’t kill it first. Sustainable agriculture is proving itself all over the world to be the better choice for production levels, quality of produce and profitability.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000980613760 Kevin Folta

            Regina, as a guy that works more and more with plants and patents all the time, I can guarantee you that the vast-vast-vast majority are not GM. Seeds you plant are likely under variety protection and most veg propagated materials are protected too– almost no GM.

            For 100 years companies have protected their breeding programs through use of hybrids. Two highly-inbred lines, each with favorable traits, are crossed and the next generation of seed is superior. These are sold to farmers. If farmers were to keep seed from those hybrids the next generation would be non-uniform and would perform poorly. The ultimate terminator technology.

            Plant breeding is laborious, time consuming and expensive. Companies, big and small, need to protect their investments to ensure the continued production of new varieties to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

          • Regina

            There’s a difference between cross-breeding plants and splicing genes from two or more life forms that NEVER, even given millions of years, would have bred together.

          • billeeb

            Why?

          • Regina

            Hi Kevin, I know what hybrids are and how they are used. I also know how they are developed by cross breeding and splicing plants that have an affinity to each other. The topic is genetically modified foods, splicing the dna of one species into another that has no affinity for it. The ramifications of doing this has not been weighed and environmental safety has not been assured. This is a pandora’s box that has been opened onto an unready biosphere.

          • Kevin Folta

            That’s your hyperbole, your fear. DNA is DNA. The plant does not care if there is something from one species or the other. In current GM crops we know how the proteins work, precisely. There is no pandora’s box.

            The “ramifications” have been weighed, perhaps too much. What has not been weighed are the ramifications of not deploying GM faster.

            The current set of plants being de-regulated are genes that could have been bred in, if we had decades. These intragenic or cisgenic plants are still criticized.

            I stood in a field trial the other day that was just amazing. GE plants, no environmentally-dangerous anti-microbials needed (the same ones used in organic too), blowing away those that were not engineered. They can’t be commercialized because of YOUR fears.

            So you think you are doing something good for the environment and for people. You are screwing them both.

          • Regina

            OK, IF genetic modification of plant and animal species is a valid and worthy science then it’s not I or people like me who are the real hurdle. The hurdle has been created by the actions of Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, et al, who have lied to the public, taken shortcuts, “invested” in politicians and made promises they could not deliver. IF a real and worthy science exists, then that science should cut all ties with those criminals. Their BT corn DOES NOT out perform corn that is sustainably grown and in fact, yields are decreasing and pesticide and herbicide usage is rising. Studies are surfacing everywhere showing the health risks of GMO’s. So don’t even dare tell me that I’m the problem. The old saying applies here: Remove the log from your own eye b4 trying to remove the splinter from another’s eye.

          • Kevin Folta

            Regina, You have no idea, so please keep posting your uninformed OPINION. Let me tell you how it is. There are 10,000 scientists in this country that support transgenic technology and have zero corporate ties. We have solutions to problems that YOU are stopping. That’s a plural YOU, meaning you and others that have plenty of food.

            Sorry, but the big companies just have it right. Science is science, and they got it right, you got it wrong. I don’t like it either, but that’s how it goes.

            You say Bt does not outperform sustainably grown corn, whatever that means. So, farmers are idiots? Why is it 90% of acreage? If you are ever down here we can visit fields when the corn is on the plants. You won’t see spray planes flying over the non-Bt corn, but they HAMMER the other stuff with pesticides, while the corn is on the stalk!

            I’ll dare to tell you that you are the problem. You , along with those that deny the science of climate change, vaccination, stem cell therapy, evolution, or any other issue where loud activists attack and vilify science and scientists because they don’t like what the evidence says.

            Take a screen shot. Stick it on a fridge. Then remember the millions of poor, hungry people you helped screw by your anti-scientific fear-mongering rants.

            I’m not mad at your per se, but I’m mad that you’ve bought the BS. Regina, there are people out there to fool you and it worked. That’s what makes me mad as a scientist and educator.

          • Regina

            Ok, you definitely would never win me over with your “holier-than-thou” condescending attitude. I’m not an idiot and I vet the info that I receive. As far as “loud activists” go, I believe they are the ones who would not stand for claims that the world is flat, that vaccines containing mercury are safe, that you should cover your yawn or the devil might enter, that the sun revolves around the earth, that fluoride in your water is good for you. Just because you say GMO’s are safe and perform better than sustainable farming (I’m surprised you don’t know what that is) does not make it so. The problem with most scientists is that they limit their world mostly to their science and cannot see, or choose to ignore the myriads of other sciences outside their realm of experience into which their science must fit and mesh. You miss the rest of the museum because you’re fixated on one painting. You need to open up more and accept the real possibility that you are wrong. Only from that vector would you have a chance of proving to me that you are right.

          • Kevin Folta

            Regina, please understand it is just frustration talking. You came at me a bit pointy and I was pointy back, and I apologize for that.

            I do know what we refer to as ‘sustainable farming’, I was simply referring to the point that even those in “sustainable farming” agree that it is not sustainable, but just low-input. It is a nuance we have in the field here and I probably should have not expected that to be understood. My bad.

            Just a quick point about your perception of science. Let’s start with the comment, ‘The problem with most scientists is that they limit their world mostly to their science and cannot see”.

            This is the POINT of science! We don’t limit our hypotheses, at least we make them based on good evidence or logical principles. Everything is open to test. No problem. Where we do limit ourselves is in our acceptance of data (needs to be high quality, reproducible, statistically backed) and its interpretations (which should be conservative). We are bound by evidence. Just because we, or anyone believe something is true, does not mean it is. That’s not science. So yes, science is narrower than magic and belief, but that’s not a problem- that’s why it is so good.

            I don’t only accept the possibility that I’m wrong, I’ll tell you that I’m wrong all the time! No problem! I LOVE that outcome. It means my vision changes and I can move along to the next question. That’s science too- it adjusts as the data and evidence build.

            This is why belief is so hard to discuss. As a scientist, the bar is high. I’m not so interested in what happened to someone’s kid when they ate cherrios or that a lab publishes a one-time junk paper with no replication in a lousy journal. That does not sway me.

            The day that I get hard evidence that transgenic technologies are dangerous to health, I’ll be the first one on that bandwagon. We’ll do stellar research and publish in great places. I say all the time, I hope my lab finds some danger– I’ll get a collaborator to repeat the work independently and publish it on the cover of Nature, then wait for my Nobel Prize!!! There is a LOT of incentive to finding a problem with transgenic food!!!

            I did find your last note to be a gross mischaracterization of me and of science in general. It is absolutely open minded. If you read any of my published work you’ll find that we break established rules all the time– not on purpose, it just works out that our original hypothesis was not supported or much weirder than we planned. That’s great! It is the stuff discovery is made of!

            … and I never am “holier than thou”, but I do know a lot of stuff in this area. The one place where the anti-GM movement fails is in its ability to recognize true experts, and then have the courage to listen to them. I know that’s tough, but as you said, a lot of people didn’t believe Galileo about that not-flat-earth.

            That’s the heartbreaker for me. As a scientist that does TONS of outreach and teaching beyond the university (voluntarily and at my expense) it is a real bummer when people shut off and don’t want to learn. I know something about this topic and want to share– and I get the big “F-U”. So it goes. Have a good day.

          • Regina

            A very thoughtful and considerate reply. Not enough to sway me but definitely not worthy of an FU. Let me leave you with this query: As a scientist who obviously cares about what he does and its effect on society, with so many in favor of labeling food products that contain GM ingredients, wouldn’t you agree that people have a right to know if they are eating them or not? And if they are so safe, wouldn’t it behoove the industry to use the money it’s spending on killing labeling initiatives to prove to the public, beyond any doubt, that they are safe?

          • Kevin Folta

            Regina, to me, as a scientist deeply concerned about food, farms, the environment and consumers, there is no doubt that these products are safe. I don’t say that like a scientist, but in the lay sense. That’s the scientific consensus- that they pose no more risk than conventionally-bred crops. We know that. We can’t even think of ways they can be harmful, we don’t detect anything harmful and nothing bad has ever happened. This is good technology.

            I would like to see the industry stop spending money on defeating initiatives. Their stance on Prop37 was embarrassing. However, they simply fought fire with fire. When activists bent the truth and used fear to sway voters, the corporations did the same. Both were wrong.

            Labels. I have no problem with labels in theory. The only problem is that once food is labeled, then you’ll see the huge fear campaign. Right now it is awful– imagine if there was a way to develop a clear target. That’s my only problem. It is good technology. Why put a warning label on it?

            Right to Know…. You can already choose organic food, non-GMO Project food, and many other companies that are labeling as non-GMO. That’s awesome. If there is a demand, the market will respond. That’s how this should work.

            By making the government pass bad policy (like prop 37, just awful) that is really targeting seed companies and will kill U.S. corn, cotton, canola, an soy farmers, too many people are harmed.

            The science, seriously, says we don’t need a right to know. It is something some people want. Going forward, we need to really make our decisions based on science. That’s so important.

            I hope this is a good follow up. My username is my real name, you can find me online, so feel free to email anytime too. Thanks.

          • Charles Rader

            Regina, all along I have stated my belief that the great majority of the opposition to GMO crops is coming from propaganda-driven ideas.

            Part of why I think so is that so many people believe things that are false, or accept misleading comparisons. But the other big reason I think so is that the same people willfully ignore comparable situations like the non-comparable safety regulations I just explained.

            I think you took a step toward agreeing that GMO crops are not coming into the food supply with NO concern at all for public interest. I hope that you also agree that many non-GMO crops have come to market with less attention to safety. If you propose that we make comparable safety requirements apply to all foods, I would happily agree. But let’s face it – you didn’t pay any attention to Rio Red, triticale, or Cavendish bananas because nobody was waging a propaganda campaign to stir you up.

            Similarly, the whole push to label food with GMO ingredients is coming from people who, by their own admission, DON’T want to buy them. The propaganda machine goes on about a “right to know”, but nobody really cares about a right to know other stuff about their food. How many years did the corn in your tortilla sit in a silo before it was ground into flour? Nobody seems to care because there’s no propaganda campaign. There are non-GMO soybeans grown with a herbicide called Liberty, but nobody cares because the campaign is against GMOs, not herbicides. Nobody pays much attention to the genetically modified enzyme used to make hard cheese, because the propaganda campaign has mostly ignored it.

            The great interest in sustainable agriculture is laudible, but the crops that GMO crops are replacing use more gasoline, more insecticides, more toxic herbicides, displace more wildlife habitat, and yet the propaganda campaign is directed against GMOs alone. Sustainable agricultural technology is a good thing, but the mind-controllers see it only as a weapon in a propaganda war.

            I’m going to end with a separate post about biodiversity – which makes me so angry that I really have to censor myself when I write it.

          • dogctor

            I beg to differ. The majority of support for agricultural GMOs comes from a propaganda driven PR machine. Team GMO is anti-science and furthermore, unbelievably reckless and cheap. Otherwise, they would have safety studies to cite–these would be multigenerational studies, would contain proteomics, immuno-histology to look at nuclear splicing structures and other advanced techniques.
            Team pro-GMO can’t eve seem to find the funds to run an HPLC on corn, even as a novel corn mitogen was discovered in corn in the food supply in 2002, whose LOAEL for breast cancer and prostate cancer is 0.5ppm.

          • Charles Rader

            Biodiversity:

            For many years, dedicated ecologists from many countries were meeting annually to lay the groundwork for important treaties to protect biodiversity. One important result was a treaty about trade in endangered species. Another important result would have been agreements on internationally accepted protocols that would prevent the spread of invasive species. This is a huge environmental problem. And lots of progress was being made.

            Until the anti-GMO zealots arrived around 2000 and took over control of those meetings. Suddenly it was impossible to talk about anything except how to prohibit the international movement of viable GMO seeds. Danger? If they are GMO, we must assume that they are dangerous. It is the top priority.

            Snakes and goats reaching the isolated island environments and destroying the native fauna – that has to wait. Stopping the GMO seeds comes first. Crabs devastating a coastline halfway around the world, transferred when ships empty their bilge water, very bad but we’ll work on that later. First we have to devise even stronger protection against the dreaded GMO seeds.

            We’ve seen more than a decade of delay in important ecological work while these zealots have drowned it out with their distorted priorities.

            These are many of the same people, or at least the same kind of people, who made the Kyoto Treaty useless by insisting that it couldn’t encourage biotechnology. Suppose you are a farmer who pulls a ten foot wide harrow over a square mile of farmland. Now suppose there’s a technology that let’s you omit that tractor ride. Five hundred miles you don’t need to drive the tractor. The original Kyoto treaty gave each country credit for encouraging that change, but not after the GMO zealots got their hands on it.

            Converting an acre of cropland into a woodlot obviously takes carbon dioxide out of the air and the original Kyoto treaty gave each country credit for encouraging that change, but not after the zealots got their hands on it.

            Regina, I want you to understand – these propagandists are NOT, repeat NOT, interested in creating the changes we both want. They are deceptive and manipulative and they are damned good at it.

            And getting so angry is probably not good for my health, so I’m going to back off.

          • Regina

            Yes Charles, I agree with an across the board, applicable to all, program for public safety in agriculture. And you’re right, I didn’t protest the banana, grapefruit or rye because I didn’t know about them. I hope you’ll agree, though, that their effect is profoundly insignificant when compared to the splicing of genes that would be incompatible in nature. You’re also correct in that I’m one who really isn’t interested in purchasing a non-GMO product unless it’s been organically grown. But you’re wrong in thinking that it doesn’t affect me. I’m very much concerned with the quality of life on this planet and the propagation of genetically modified organisms presents a huge change whose outcome has not been sufficiently examined. Responsibility dictates that we stop and take a microscopic and telescopic look at what the potential is. We stop considering the profits and rights of an industry when that industry may change life as we know it for us all.

          • billeeb

            Your comparison is futile.
            There’s no direct relation between what was done in a certain time and no one realised about it and what is done now and everyone is realising and want to know.

            If one follows your logical thinking then we would be discussing why you became a republic and left behind monarchy.

          • joeboosauce

            So… Are you against labeling of products to inform consumers of gmo ingredients??? Consumers don’t have a right to know?

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            I could be convinced if there was a science- and evidence-based label. But I have yet to see one.

            I still think you are better off with a label like Kosher, where you keep the government out of it and control the rules yourself. You (the community who shares your philosophy) set the regulations, you monitor, you test, you address the breeches. Oh–and you pay for that.

          • Regina

            So they’ve introduced a gene INTO corn that causes sepsis in the insect pest that tries to eat it. The insecticide is in the very essence of the corn and inseparable. This changes what people thought they were buying and consuming. Don’t you think people have the right to know that? If they put chocolate flavoring in your milk carton without telling you, wouldn’t you be ticked off, even if you like chocolate milk?

          • Shi

            Regina, do you drink coffee? Tea? Wanna know another insecticide that’s “in the very essence” of what we eat? How about caffeine?

            http://web.as.uky.edu/Biology/faculty/cooper/bio350/Bio350%20Labs/WK6-Heart%20rate%20in%20crustaceans%20Lab/caffiene%20in%20Manduca.pdf

            What else should be required on labels? Where the food was grown? Which water source it was irrigated with? Which pesticides/herbicides/fungicides were used on and around it? Which crops it was grown next to? How long ago it was harvested? How it was propagated? What chemical treatments it’s had? All of these are things that affect food in ways that somebody might care about. Does it all belong on the label? If you think it does then I suggest that you expand your cause to include ALL foods, not just GMO foods, since presumably I have the right to know whether my organic apple was sprayed with Bt.

          • twangthing .

            Regina, keep doing the all natural things you’re doing, and I’m going to keep doing mine. We all have a right to know what’s what with the food, there is no reason at all for a company/corporation to hide what’s in the “food” they sell. But the reason is simple that you won’t get traction with most “people”, and I use that term loosely…The reason is found in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”…

          • jh

            “Consumers don’t have a right to know?”

            The question for the FDA is this: is there a compelling health reason to issue a Federal regulation? The answer is NO.

          • andy_o

            The Prop 37 thing was completely unscientific, and it showed how dishonest its proponents were. You could see in both official pro and con websites clearly who had the cold hard facts and who was appealing to emotion with half truths and ridiculous insinuations that GMOs are to be feared.

            The most glaring one was the “whose side are you on” of the organizations that were anti-GMO, showing only the GM corps and other evil-sounding names, but conveniently omitting the AMA and other health and science organizations, most of which, if they had an opinion were against it. Also, major newspapers like the LA times saw through the BS.

          • aresrising

            The Anti 37 forces lied and distorted the truth including fabricating endorsements and FDA statements:
            http://www.carighttoknow.org/documented_deceptions

          • andy_o

            Funny, I came across this earlier when I was searching for links to back up what I remembered. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/05/news/la-ol-proposition-37-engineered-food-20121105

            That’s about the FDA statement.

            The other things on that link are just half-truths and quote mining.

            The same NAS report states that the products of genetic engineering technology “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.”

            Of course that is true, but it’s irrelevant. Of course genetic engineering can be harmful, but so is every other technology. That doesn’t mean that GM products are inherently worse or unhealthier. Want pure natural, how about some arsenic with your tomatoes? This whole natural/unnatural thing is a false dichotomy, it even has a name, the naturalistic fallacy.

            World Health Organization says that ongoing risk assessments are needed and that “GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.”

            Again true and you’d be hard-pressed to find a science-based advocate that will disagree with that. And it’s not even irrelevant, it’s an argument against the labeling that they wanted, which puts all “GMO” under the same umbrella as if it all were the same thing. You guys are railing against a technology as if it were one product.

            And about the third claim, I don’t have time to dig deeper, but I’ll take it at face value and believe it. What was done, and by whom? So one person misrepresented the opinion of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and sent that one wrong fact to the Secretary of State. But you’re missing the forest for the trees, and this is what I’m talking about when I say half-truths. What about the fact that the Academy didn’t have an opinion on the subject, yet? If they were harmful as a whole, wouldn’t they be one of the top organizations against them?

            Shouldn’t something that has previously passed safety studies, and is backed up by most of the scientific community relevant in this field be mandated by the government to be labeled as if it was in any way harmful? Because let’s face it, after all the double talk that’s what the labeling implies, only the anti-GMO crowd, just like the creationist and anti-vax crowd, learn to evolve to not say such things outright. You know what, pro-organics are free to spend their own money in labeling what they so religiously believe to be better, and no one is denying them that right. Just don’t buy anything without your own approval label.

            And be noted that you didn’t answer any of my own criticisms of the Yes-on-37 campaign.

          • aresrising

            Andy appealing to join the prop 37 movement by saying whose side are you on is weak and not an argument I remember—got a link? BTW is this the best criticism you have?

            The tests on the safety of GMO products are not done by the FDA but the companies making the product. We are asked to trust Monsanto because their tests were peer reviewed. But peer reviewed by University profs of Universities most likely getting Monsanto grants. I am sure the grants would be renewed if they found fault in their study–NOT.

            I would have more faith in GMOs if impartial Universities were used to study long term effects.

            If these products are so great why not label them? We label calories, fats, preservatives, etc. People still eat junk food even with the labels so what is the big deal about labeling GMOs? Further why is Monsanto getting the congress and president to give them a get out of jail card? Most of us are not anti-science and I am not anti-vaccine or a creationist. I am an ex CEO that knows marketing BS when I see it.

          • andy_o

            If these products are so great why not label them

            Because it costs money and sends the wrong message when it’s mandated by government. Why don’t Organics label them, if they’re so great and they’re pro-labeling things? Nobody is stopping you.

          • LeslieFish

            Actually, producers of organic foods *do* label their foods as “organic”. They’re proud of it, and boast of it. So why are the GMO producers willing to fight tooth and nail to *prevent* their foods from being labeled?

            –Leslie < Fish

          • dogctor

            The same NAS report states that the products of genetic engineering technology “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.”

            Of course that is true, but it’s irrelevant. Of coursegenetic engineering can be harmful, but so is every other technology.

            Rational people chose what technology they want to spend money one. You don’t get to coerce them into supporting your technology–that is tyrannical and dictatorial behavior.

            Everyone evaluates risks and benefits for themselves. In the case of GMO technology, plant specialists and arguably farmers are reaping benefits, while the risks are externalized and borne by the public.

            Label the crap and compete in the free market based on merits of your product, like everyone else does, you despicable lying creep.

          • andy_o

            Yup, you’re the rational one. Got it.

            Fortunately for me others in this sub-thread have already made the point against your diatribe, so I don’t have to spend time on you. You just need to learn how to read words.

          • dogctor

            Read this: you are a despicable lying creep.
            Got it?

          • Regina

            I can’t believe you’re using the AMA as a beneficial ally. Look into it’s history, how and why it was founded. Anyone who knows anything about health would not be swayed in the least by an AMA endorsement. And, well, the LA Time is just that. They sell papers and advertising. If you want facts, you won’t always find them there. They’ve retired most of the good investigative reporters. Those that are left know how to tow the line.

          • Regina

            Obviously you drank the kool-aid.

          • Frank

            Why are you trying to dispute “FACTS” by accusing those who share the facts of being emotional? That is such a lame game, you are really pathetic. What is your stake in fighting these facts with all your back and forth commenting?

          • Benjamin Edge

            So Regina, now you are saying labeling costs money? Isn’t that one of the biggest lies the anti-GMO movement claimed Monsanto was making?

        • Regina

          1. Seed patents would die (no money in them)
          2. Herbicides would become safer – need to be concerned with the vitality of the plant your protecting.
          3. Monoculture would diminish as folk recognize the profitability of sustainable agriculture.
          4. Pesticides would become safer same as 2.

          • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

            Wrong on all counts. First, of course, is that huge amounts of the GMOs are animal feed or fuel. Since that was not affected by Prop37, that would be still grown the same way.

            And specifically:
            1. GMOs are not the only things patented. That’s a myth perpetuated by people who have no grasp of the system.

            2. There are many non-GMO herbicides already. They exist for corn, lentils, wheat, and other stuff. Further, Roundup existed before GMOs so it has other uses obviously.

            3. No–as I said most monoculture would be unaffected. But even if they moved to a conventional herbicide-tolerant corn, for example, there would be no difference. That’s just wishful thinking on your part.

            4. Wrong again, as in #2.

            But I’m sure you believe all of that.

          • Regina

            I wish I only believed it, It would then be easier to stay out of these frays. Unfortunately, I know it. Makes it more difficult to ignore the proverbial wool being foisted over our eyes.

          • Frank

            You are so inane, why do you bother- actually how do you manage to breath with such a small brain?You might have well stated “my argument is BOOT” That is how much sense you made.

            “GMOs are not the only things patented” – Good job genius! Who knew! Wow you are a FI! There are 3 different types of patents, it was GE that pushed the limit on patenting living organisms in 1980- Monsanto jumped to exploit the new law. Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth and numerous health issues it has spent billions fighting compensation in court.

            You are absolutely uneducated about matters of plant diversity and the effects the spread of these GMOs have- and will have on it. You are just really stupid, arguing nonfacts based on ZERO knowledge. Get educated before you spew off dummy!

          • Charles Rader

            Regina, let me focus on your claim number 2, “herbicides would become safer”. Of course you don’t mean that any specific herbicide would become safer, but that farmers would switch their use to safer herbicides. I hope that’s what you mean, because that’s what I will try to contradict.

            Before there was “Roundup-ready” corn, there was “Atrazine-ready corn”. It didn’t come from Monsanto and it was not GMO. Corn has always been unaffected by atrazine. God made it that way. So many corn farmers used atrazine to control weeds in their cornfields. And atrazine was therefore the world’s most used herbicide. Round-up (glyphosate) has now displaced most of that atrazine use. But here’s the kicker – atrazine is 230 times more toxic than glyphosate. I’m going by the FDA regulations on what’s allowed in public water supplies. Atrazine 3 parts per billion, glyphosate 700 parts per billion. I think it’s safe to assume that if GMO corn were banned, lots of corn farmers would go back to using atrazine. That’s the exact opposite of your claim number 2. More important, it’s the exact opposite of what you want.

          • Regina

            It’s not the round-up that’s the real danger here. it’s the corn itself.

          • Charles Rader

            So you are telling me that a kind of corn that has been one of the most eaten foods, by humans and animals, for the last decade, is more worrisome to you than a chemical that EPA – sorry I carelessly wrote FDA above. I hate the alphabet soup – says can only be in public water supplies in parts per billion? I don’t know whether you are serious.

          • tweetanify

            Why are you all ignoring the fact that GMO crops tend to take over and eradicate other crops on its own expense and create an agriculture where there is one and only one crop of potatoes, corn, whatever you like which can very easily be destroyed completely if natural conditions change? We need the security that nature and biodiversity brings, not fragile ecosystems based on risky monocrops.

          • Charles Rader

            I’m not ignoring it. I’ve looked into it and it isn’t true. It’s just one more of the bits of anti-GMO propaganda. Whenever a new GMO species is transformed, such as corn, the breeders do crosses with scads of existing varieties, so soon there are scads of different GMO varieties. You can easily check this out yourself by going to a seed company’s on-line website to see what they have to offer. Typically they will have you fill out an on-line questionnaire about where you live, when you intend to plant, etc., and then they’ll give you several suggestions for varieties that would be suitable for your situation. Try filling out the form with different answers, and you’ll get more suggestions. Try another seed company and you’ll get more suggestions. Instead of one uniform GMO corn variety, you’ll find hundreds all together.

            But it’s even more anti-GMO propaganda than that. Many of the GMO crops involve a Bt gene and for one of those crops you can’t even legally plant a pure stand of it. You have to plant a mixture of the Bt GMO variety and another non-Bt variety in the same field. The bag of seeds actually contains a mixture of the two types of seed.

            tweetanify, I can’t blame you for falling for that propaganda. The danger of genetic uniformity is very real, and serious breeders learned that lesson long ago. The propagandists have just borrowed an important theme and twisted it into an anti-GMO argument. Meanwhile the real breeders went about managing the problem of genetic diversity.

          • lauraimprovises

            Mr Rader, I teach my kids at home and am having one of them do a research paper on Monsanto. It is so very hard to find rational information doing a search and you seem to have studied things. Would you be willing to point us toward some resources? And do you have some input into the recent news about bees being confiscated because of Monsanto? Thanks!

          • Charles Rader

            Hi Laura, I have paid a lot of attention to the facts about GMO agriculture, but not a lot of attention to Monsanto – except that so many of the people who have bad things to say about GMO food seem to think that Monsanto abusing its corporate power is a bad thing about GMO food and a lot of the claims about the sins of Monsanto are just made up. Quite few years ago I wrote an essay about genetic engineering in agriculture and put it one the web at http://http://members.tripod.com/c_rader0/gemod.htm – I sort of make an effort to keep it up to date.

            There’s an excellent web site presenting the pro-GMO side of the controversy – http://www.biofortified.org/ – and, of course, a huge number of web sites giving the other side. But I would suggest that you have your kids read one or several of the following books:

            Lords of the Harvest, by Dan Charles;

            First Fruit, by Belinda Martineau;

            Pandora’s Picnic Basket by Alan McHughen;

            Improving Nature?: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering by Michael Reiss and Rogert Straughan;

            and The Ecological Risks of Engineered Crops by Jane Rissler and Margaret Mellon.

            If you want to interact more with me, the essay web page contains my email address.

            Charles M. Rader

          • greycanuck

            When it crosses out, Monsanto sues the farm off of you. Read Percy Shmeiser and meet the hooligans.

          • Regina

            Its danger is that it’s not perceived as dangerous. I agree that it’s one of the most eaten foods in the US diet. It’s in most everything and it’s in every soft drink. Can you tell me that the general health of the nation has not declined in the past 2 decades? Autism and juvenile onset diabetes, allergic sensitivities, gastro-intestinal disorders and a host of other conditions and syndromes have skyrocketed with one common denominator – the food we eat. Wouldn’t that prove to you that a good look at one of the major changes in our food supply is warranted?

          • danguss

            Yes, Regina, I can tell you that. I don’t believe for a single moment that the general health of the nation has declined. The rate of diagnosis has certainly increased, but I would credit that to medical advancements rather than to health deterioration. I can’t believe you would seriously bring up Autism in this context, because that is one of the most obvious conditions that has become MUCH more widely recognized in recent years – not because it’s become more common, but because people have become more aware of it, and the reach of the “Autistic spectrum” has been expanded to include more people.

          • Regina

            Then there’s not much I can say to that. Clearly you’ve chosen to shut out reality. Facts are: the general health of this country HAS declined drastically. Diabetes alone, has more than doubled since 1994. Re: autism, the jury’s still out on whether the dramatic increase in diagnoses are due to better detection or there simply are more cases. It’s looking like some is due to improved detection but there is also a growing number of new cases. Obesity is a huge problem, not only in adults but with our youth as well. Cardio-vascular disease and strokes are disabling and killing more and more Americans. Where’ve you been? It’s all around you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Metzger/100000430697091 Jim Metzger

            Ah Regina, when you have no more ammo with which to defend an argument, you just claim you know everything, so you don’t need to bother with silly little things like empircal evidence.

          • Regina

            So, ridicule. Is that considered acceptable “ammo”?

          • danguss

            And I could point out scads of maladies that used to be widespread and are now nonexistent/rare, as well as many that used to be deadly and are now completely treatable.

            I don’t see how you can say that about Autism when Aspergers only began to be diagnosed in the 80s and is only in recent years really becoming a popular diagnosis. Do you really think it just wasn’t around before then? Adding Aspergers into the diagnostic spectrum had a HUGE impact on increasing the rate of diagnosis.

            Diabetes used to be MUCH less understood and acknowledged than it is now. Problems like heart disease and stroke are generally old age problems, which only have the chance to occur if people are actually surviving to that age without being horribly stricken by something else first. Our general standard of what is considered “healthy” has risen dramatically over time. People used to just put up with symptoms that now send them to the doctor.

          • Regina

            Sorry, Even if I agree with your reasoning, that would only account for a fraction of the rise. It also doesn’t account for the many symptom reversals for those who get off these foods and move to an organic, whole food diet. So I suppose your next move is to label me a food nut.

          • billeeb

            Completely false. There’s NO difference between a tomato grown with machines, herbicides and nutrients and another one grown in the jungle. Studies exist, don’t be so biased.

            It’s just like the crap about the Omega-3. The final study done in UK (if my memory is correct) says there’s not a single benefit that another good oil couldn’t equal by eating omega-3. No better memory, same parkinson, same alzheimer, so on.

          • Regina

            Link to your claims please? I’m interested in reading them.

          • billeeb
          • dogctor

            Citations please

          • billeeb

            You should stop eating at mcdonalds and your health will improve drastically, nothing to do with crops.

          • Regina

            That’s so funny! I haven’t been in a fast food in over 7 years. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life and healthier than most around me. I have genetic dispositions that I’ve defeated with, guess what? Diet. And that diet does not include genetically modified organisms. And won’t. Everything about health has to do with what you put in your mouth.

          • dogctor

            What are your credentials in public health and do you have epidemiological studies to cite to back up your unfounded assertion?

            What are the trends in prevalence rates of chronic diseases like IBD and NAFLD since introduction of GMOs?

            Are you aware that animals likely eat more GMOs than people and that veterinarians are reporting a novel metabolic disease associated with inflammation in the gut in cats-pancreatitis. When I graduated ’90 the disease did not exist in cats ( was found in <0.6% ) prior to GMOs and is now seen in 67% of them via histology?

            Please cite a safety study in cats reassuring me that GMOs do not cause pancreatitis associated with IBD, as Manuella Malatesta suggests in her work.

            Ultrastructural analysis of pancreatic acinar cells from mice fed on genetically modified soybean.
            Malatesta M, Caporaloni C, Rossi L, Battistelli S, Rocchi MB, Tonucci F, Gazzanelli G.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12448776

          • Charles Rader

            A look at one of the major changes in our food supply is surely warranted. But you and many others have skipped over that look and jumped directly to the conclusion. It’s way too early in the thought process to be marching in protest and trying to change how people conduct their lives. You need more than a gut feeling to do that. What if it turns out that you are wrong?

          • Regina

            Perhaps the protest movement is just a knee-jerk reaction to the curtailed approval process of GMO’s. Public safety was ignored, no long term testing was involved and independent testing has not been permitted (though it’s been done without permission with dark results). What if it turns out that I’m wrong? The much more serious question is what if I’m right? Then we’ve polluted our food system with something that will take years to clean out. Are only the pro-GMO scientists worth listening to? The vast number who warn of the dangers of GMO’s are all kooks?

          • Charles Rader

            Regina I’m going to make a new point – incredible as that seems – and I hope you will respond.

            When you say “Public safety was ignored” you are talking about new crops developed by gene transfer using recombinant DNA technology. I understand you to mean to say “Public safety was not adequately considered” since we all know that it was not ignored. So I think it is fair to ask you for an example of a crop developed by other technologies and explain to us how that public safety evaluation was better.

            For example, Rio Red grapefruit was one of many foods developed by irradiating the original ancestral grapefruit with gamma rays to induce mutations. What testing was done with the Rio Red grapefruit and how was it better than for GMO crops from the point of view of public safety?

            For another example, the crop triticale was bred by merging the complete 7-chromosome-pair genome of rye iwith the 21-chromosome-pair genome of wheat, not using r-DNA technology but a technique called embryo rescue. Triticale is by any definition an entirely new species. What testing was done with triticale and how was it better than for GMO crops from the point of view of public safety?

            For a third example, here’s how common Cavendish bananas, the variety you are used to seeing, came to be. Some kinds of banana with seeds were sexually crossed over multiple generations until the breeders liked the result, except for the seeds. Then one of the good bananas was treated with a chemical called colchicine, which causes the chromosome count to double and then the doubled chromosome banana was crossed with the normal banana, to get a fruit with three of each chromosome. When the chromosome count is odd, the fruit is sterile so it has no seeds. The bananas you see in the market are all clones of that triploid banana. What testing was done with the Cavendish banana and how was it better than for GMO crops from the point of view of public safety?

            I understand that it would be very burdensome for you to research the history of the introduction of those three crops into our food supply. I don’t really expect you to do it. But I have. There was virtually no system of testing for those crops before marketing. It’s really puzzling and, frankly unfair to be so dismissive of the safety testing of the GMO crops, when they have been tested many times more rigorously than other newly introduced crops.

            Now to switch gears, I have another comment. You said “independent testing has not been permitted”. You can only be referring to the policy by Monsanto (never adopted by other GMO breeders) of using its patent rights to disallow use of its patented plants by independent researchers. That was Monsanto’s policy, and it was deservedly criticized by independent researchers and by advocates of independent research. But a few years ago, Monsanto relented and changed their policy to the complete satisfaction of independent researchers. The only thing they now disallow is research aiming to produce competing new GMO varieties. But as so often happens in the GMO debate, some complaints are too compelling to give up. They just keep coming back like zombies in a horror movie.

          • Regina

            So, you’re saying that because other crops were created as a result of a fault in the system, we should leave that fault uncorrected so that others can do the same? That argument never worked with my parents. It’s reassuring that Monsanto has changed its position on independent testing, but are the listening to the results? I can’t imagine that changing the genetic structure of our food supply, a structure that took millions of years to build, will not have a profound effect on this planet. Such a profound effect should have serious study before being allowed to take place. There is a universe beyond known science that we uncover grain by grain every day to be added to the science we know. This universe has no dollar signs and its mysteries will unravel as it pleases. Let’s consider whether what we do will include us in this process, or exclude us by our actions.

          • billeeb

            They’re not changing the genetic structure. If they do that then the fruit will stop being what we already know. They are doing OBVIOUS changes. Indeed if the banana wasn’t “natural” then why in the earth it crossed with a perfectly “healthy” one?

            Nature has being doing this crossovers and cloning and mutations for millions of years. What I may agree is that our tendency to eradicate “less useful” species in favour of this new more useful and more “economically appealing” species.

            The other problem is the implication that you won’t be doing natural crossovers any more cause every little species, seeds, clones and whatever that came from those GOM seeds are, by laws, owned by the original creator, so if they catch you using some seed that your bees decided to take to your land, you’ll be charged as thief.

            Eating modified crops ain’t a problem, we already eat a lot of crap, venoms and heavy metals and I can’t see no antiGMO bright head claiming against that.

          • Regina

            Pretty scary logic.

          • Dominic Amann

            This is fascinating information. I have never considered the story to be one sided. However, I have concerns about agriculture overall – which are perhaps intensified when it comes to GMOs. One of the things I have noted over the years since my childhood is the gradual sterilization of farmer’s fields. It used to be that birds followed the plow to eat the creatures that turned up. Nowadays, the soil is almost barren of fauna.

            We now replace the necessary nutrients that would have resulted from a rich complex soil structure entirely by fossil-fuel made fertilizers. This is not caused by GMOs, but one of the many goals of GMOs is to make crops more resistant to the various chemicals sprayed on them. It would seem we are switching to a form of hydroponics, just using the soil as a holding medium.

          • Shi

            Can you please define “general health” and then cite your claim that the general health of the nation has declined?

            Let’s suppose for a moment that it has. What other trends have we seen? Rise in obesity, for example. Or how about an increase in the consumption of organic food. If correlations are all you are going by, how do you know our supposed health decline isn’t due to organic food consumption?

          • dogctor

            Charles.
            Were they blanket spraying every field with atrazine, like they are doing on Round Up Ready crops ( and soon on 2,4-D/ dicamba/ “fops”-ready crops) every season, or did they employ scouts and spot- treated the weeds?

          • Charles Rader

            dogctor, farm by farm, I don’t know, but obviously atrazine didn’t become the world’s most used herbicide because farmers were only using a little bit of it.

          • dogctor

            Sorry, Charles, but I am going to hold you to scientific standards, because having seen you around I know you to be capable of it.
            Do you have a citation to total volumes of atrazine used prior to Round- Up- Ready crops to compare to total volumes of Round Up used on corn last year, for instance?

          • Charles Rader

            dogctor, thought it would be an easy matter to find something like that with a few minutes of google-searching, but a few hours later, I realized that I wasn’t finding it. I’ll tell you have the factoid got into my head. In 2006, I took a 2-day mini-course given by FDA for volunteers who run municipal drinking water systems, and there was a handout. The handout included a plot of annual use of various chemicals, almost all of them agricultural or industrial. I can’t find it anymore. That’s an embarrassment.

            The use of atrazine principally on cornfields is documented in Solomon, et al., ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF ATRAZINE IN
            NORTH AMERICAN SURFACE WATERS; Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 31–76, 1996 – see Table 2 on page 33.

            There’s a rather old web page from someone called Tyron Hayes – http://www.atrazinelovers.com/m2.html – which is an anti-atrazine screed, and it contains this statement: Atrazine is the second largest selling herbicide in the world (largest until 2001). He gives references but following them leads to web pages that don’t work – except for the one I gave above.

            Now this puts me in a quandary. I’ve disparaged others for posting comments based on non-existent data, like improving their health by taking the GMO wheat out of their diet, or the supposed explosion in cancer rates. To be consistent with my own prescription of ethical behavior, I’m going to have to modify my comment about glyphosate and atrazine.

            Here’s a modified that I think makes the same point:

            “Before there was “Roundup-ready” corn, there was “Atrazine-ready corn”. It didn’t come from Monsanto and it was not GMO. Corn has always been unaffected by atrazine. God made it that way. So many corn farmers use atrazine to control weeds in their cornfields. In 1993, the US and Canada used 36,000 tons of atrazine, almost all (30,000 tons) on cornfields.

            But now many corn farmers have switched to an attractive alternative weed control chemical, Round-up (glyphosate). But here’s the kicker – atrazine is 230 times more toxic than glyphosate. I’m going by the FDA
            regulations on what’s allowed in public water supplies. Atrazine 3 parts per billion, glyphosate 700 parts per billion. I think it’s safe to assume that if GMO corn didn’t exist, many more corn farmers would be using atrazine. That’s worse for the environment, not better.”

          • dogctor

            Thanks Charles.
            I found the broken links frustrating, particularly these ones.
            Bummer.
            The advantages of atrazine reportedly include increased corn yield and decreased soil erosion due to the ability to use no-till practices for corn-growing (with weed control by atrazine making up the potential yield losses associated with a no-till practice). The highest yield differentials for corn (11%), reported by Syngenta [3], are for atrazine-use compared to non-atrazine use on crops with no-till practices. In fact, in most areas, fewer than 25% of corn growers use no-till practices, so this increase in yield is not experienced for most farmers, nor are the benefits of decreased soil erosion (which require the use of no-till practices). The 4.3% increase in yield due to atrazine, reported by Syngenta [3], is more realistic, but the USDA reports a yield loss of only 1.2% if atrazine was eliminated. Further, independent studies report that when corn fields that used atrazine were compared with fields that did not use atrazine, they “…were equally effective in overall weed control…” and that “Corn yields were similar between atrazine and non-atrazine treatments…” [4]. Thus, the benefits of atrazine are questionable. It is my goal, however, to focus here on the risks of continued atrazine-use, not to debate the questionable benefits.
            I am not yet convinced that replacing atrazine, with questionable benefits with Round-Up, which suppresses cytrochrome p450 @ 3.7microMolar is a good trade off. Sorry.

          • LeslieFish

            In point of fact, the safest pesticide known is also the cheapest — and the “greenest”. Simply interplant your crops with Pyrethrum Daisies, and let the pyrethrins do the work. Of course no herbicide company will mention this, because the Pyrethrum Daisy has existed in nature far too long for anybody to patent it, and since the plant will happily re-seed itself, there’s no repeat sale. In other words, no big money in it. Boo hoo.

            –Leslie < Fish

          • Charles Rader

            LeslieFish, I’m truly puzzled. You seem to be answering something but I don’t remember making any claims about natural pesticides. In my backyard garden I do interplant vegetables with plants that repel insects, so I hardly see myself as an opponent of that technique. But I never thought of pyrethrum as a herbicide.

            I’m assuming that you know the difference between a herbicide and a pesticide, but on the chance that you don’t, I did a google search using the terms herbicide and pyrethrum. I didn’t find any web page that claimed pyrethrums have a herbicidal property. In fact, I found one claim that farmers who grow these daisies, as a source of the pyrethrum for sale as an insecticide, are using herbicides to control weeds to increase their production of the daisies.

          • LeslieFish

            Pyrethrum is an effective and safe *pesticide*. Herbicides in general are a bad idea because of their widespread and long-lasting effects. A farmer would do better to use mechanical weed-prevention methods, of which there are several.

            –Leslie < Fish

          • Frank

            The amount of ROUNDUP- owned by Monsanto- increases each season as weeds and pests become resistant. Nice business model but don’t be such an idiot to try and pull off some backwards argument that it is better for the environment and our health. WHY IS MONSANTO BRIBING FOREIGN MINISTERS- *CONVICTED* ! I’m sure your position in the PR dept serves YOU well, but get off of it!

          • Charles Rader

            Frank, Your last sentence is quite a bit more revealing than you may have intended.
            You refer to “my position in the PR dept” as if it’s something you know about. Even if you don’t believe my denial, one still has to wonder how you could know that I work for Monsanto. We can therefore conclude that you are comfortable just making things up, that the truth for you is whatever you want it to be.

            By the way, for any given farm, it would seem to be logical that as weeds evolve resistance to Roundup, farmers will turn to other herbicides that are still effective and that farmer will use less Roundup not more. So perhaps an increase in Roundup use might have some other cause, if it even exists.

            The fact remains that any corn farmer who formerly used atrazine and switched to using Roundup is doing many times LESS harm to the environment. That’s not a backwards argument. It shouldn’t even be an argument at all.

        • Gabriel Alan King

          Uh…. GMO’s would go away? And that’s a good start ?
          I think your taking your eye off the GMO’s issue.

        • Frank

          Wow! It’s incredible how few “facts” you apply to your argument. You choose to stereotype and villainize something you haven’t a clue about. No doubt Monsanto pays in the billions for lobbying/pr efforts the likes of your lame attempt.

          1) Give ONE *good* reason why GMO’s can’t be labeled

          2)Give ONE *good* reason why biotech companies should continue to be self regulated.

          3)Do some homework on diversity of plant life and how Monsanto seeds changes that dynamic.

          4)Do some homework on how more and more pesticides are being used with GMOs as pests and weeds become resistant.

          5) Do some homework on the bully factor of Monsanto making people sign contracts and buy new seeds each year- otherwise they will sue- and how it has created the Megafarm but bankrupted many average farmers (look up the suicides of Indian farmers)

          These are FACTS, you play a game that states what you don’t know can’t be true and anyone who states a FACT that threatens to test your paradigm must be a crazy fanactic. Time to grow up …and buy yourself a brain!

      • First Officer

        We do need GMO’s to feed the world. They are already feeding a large part of it. Real world yields are significantly higher than their conventional counterparts whether measure by a pre hectare basis or by a per input basis.
        Technically, there is enough food to feed the world today. But not to try and develop higher yielding crops today, even if there is currently enough food is like not building a house to live in today because the weather is currently nice.

      • http://kustomdesigner.com/ michael h

        people like you are why this country will fail. I just hope assholes like you suffer hard on the way down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

      Scientists are fired every time they try to come forward with test results.

      You really need to study up on the situation that has unfolded over the last 20-30 years.

      • http://www.creativecow.net Ron Lindeboom

        I have to smile that scientists who see the incredible genetic diversity of life — flowers, plants, trees, insects, soil types, etc. — would want to put the food production mechanism in a single company’s hands. It makes absolutely no sense to me to think that in a world where diversity reigns, we would want to break that scientific pattern and trust it to a single entity — I think in nature the closest pattern we find to this, is called “in-breeding.” (The end result of it is usually not very pretty.) The math just does not make sense — especially when the US courts are upholding cases wherein farmers are sued for cross-contamination of their crops by GMO pollens. (You can say that is a conspiracy theory but it is happening.) You may think that is honorable and right but yet again, the math escapes me.

        • jh

          There is no “put the production method in a single company’s hands”. What crap.

          Monsanto invented the products. It owns the rights to them. If you invent a GMO product, you own the rights to it. Head on home and get your little kit out and get your lazy little butt to work.

    • chomps

      Fine. But where is the harm in labeling GMO food truthfully to let the consumer decide?

      • Tom

        As a consumer you already have the ability to choose non-GM. Just buy organic.

    • Gabriel Alan King

      YOU are not a source of “credible material”, Luke. At least people like Alex Jones support clean water and natural organic foods! Oh, but your too “smart” for that huh?

      Alex also ardently supports the US Constitution….. but you probably think that’s “silly and not credible” too now don’t you?

      Your a joke wanna be sucking up to the crony cowardly sell out mainstream science community. You’ll most likely stand in line to get your UN “global citizen liberty chip” LOL.

    • First Officer

      This is what i got to say about the good Dr. Mercola:

      To the Tune of Officer Krupke (Westside Story)

      ACTION:

      Dear Dr. Mercola,
      You gotta understand.
      Your potions are just cola
      Your quackery’s out of hand!
      Your patients are all junkies,
      for Homeopathics, should be banned.
      Holy, Moses ! You’re a scheister upon the land !

      ACTION AND JETS:

      Oh, Dr. Mercola, we’re very upset!
      You gives us magic tonics in place of what we should get.
      We ain’t no dummies, it’s really understood.
      Deep down, you know they’re no good !

      ACTION:

      They’re no good ?

      ALL:

      They’re no good, they’re no good
      They are no damn good !
      They never do anywhere near what they should !
      They should put a halt, to your himalayan salt !
      Cause, deep down, you know it’s no good !
      No Good !

    • http://kustomdesigner.com/ michael h

      Your a tool. So MSNBC is credible but infowars isnt? I have listened to infowars for a long time now and have yet to find any lies or false information. I get so sick of idiots like you tearing down good people. Maybe if your family gets killed in a false flag terror attack then you’ll believe what this govt is capable of. What about Operation Northwoods? You have no base for your BS, retardboy.

    • Frank

      …and you are credible? You haven’t included anything in your post other than nonsense stereotypes.

      Monsanto GUILTY- bribing Indonesian environment ministers

      Monsanto Guilty- having full knowledge that PCB’s were toxic and caused great health risk and pollution.

      Monsanto has been sued, and has settled, multiple times for damaging the health of its employees or residents near its Superfund sites through pollution and poisoning.

  • lukeweston

    “Let alone the company that produced Agent Orange, which, as you’ll
    remember, KILLED ALL THE PLANT LIFE WHERE IT WAS RELEASED. Juuust in
    case you forgot.”

    Really? My goodness! I guess that’s why they call it a herbicide! Herbicide kills plants, who would have thunk it.

    In fact, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T do not kill ALL THE PLANT LIFE, since they are selective herbicides, used as foliar sprays for selective action against broadleaf weeds (or broadleafed plants more generally, in the context of their use as defoliants during the Vietnam war) whilst leaving most monocots such as desirable grasses and cereal crops unaffected.

    • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

      It was designed to kill food crops. 400,000 people were killed/maimed as a result of its use, and 500,000 children were born with birth defects as a direct result.
      So… why are we letting these people make our food again?

      • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

        Boeing built the planes that carpet bombed the crap out of civilians in Vietnam, yet we entrust them to fly civilians around the world now. How come you people don’t march against Boeing?

        BTW, It was your government that was spraying AO, not the evil Dr Monsanto.

        • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

          Because Boeing has always built planes. Comparing the two is comparing apples to oranges. Boeing designed a plane because it is a plane company, that still designs planes. Monsanto designed a deadly chemicals because it is a chemical company, that now produces food.

          • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

            I see. So as long as I don’t change what I make, I get a free pass, no matter how deadly/amoral my products are/were. BTW: Boeing now makes many components of technology that are not planes and that we use every day in civilian life.

          • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

            The comparison you made was ridiculous in the first place and didn’t make any sense.

          • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

            Not really. You complained about a company that made something dangerous that is now applying their business to civilian commodities. I gave another example of a company doing the same thing, but getting different treatment.

          • jh

            Monsanto doesn’t produce food. It produces seeds. Farmers buy the seeds. They produce the crop. The crop is sold to another company – say, ADM – and they produce the food.

            Dow and DuPont also produce seeds.

            It makes sense for the company that produces the crop chemicals to also produce the seed, so that the seed can be bred or engineered to make the crop chemicals less damaging and more effective.

            Corinne, you’re heart is in the right place I’m sure. But stop for a minute and think a little more about why things are the way they are. There’s usually a rational, sensible, and beneficial reason.

      • lukeweston

        “It was designed to kill food crops.”

        And yet we use 2,4-D as a selective herbicide to kill weeds in food crops every day?

      • Benjamin Edge

        It was not designed to kill food crops, it was designed to defoliate the jungle. And Monsanto was not the only company making it for the US government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523308419 Shannon Cunningham

    1k of us marched in Eureka, CA. We have seen first habd in our small city the lack of crop yeild, soil depletion, super weeds and know gmos have madeour pets, children, ourselves and environment sick.Corporate lies on falcified clinical studies are NOT science!! An exMonsanto Ceo is heading our FDA, the EPA took bribed and Clarance Thomas overturned 4 previous rulings for them failing to exclude himself despite being an exMonsanto attorney…GMOs are dangerous-Monsanto is evil!WAKE UP USE REAL SCIENCE NOT CORPORATE LIES!

    • Karl Haro von Mogel

      This sounds almost like the myths I heard in Madison. Clarence Thomas hasn’t worked for Monsanto for over 30 years, no ex-Monsanto CEO runs the FDA, EPA was bribed??
      How many GMO crops are grown around Eureka, really?

      • Samantha Lee

        WRONG karl: “On July 7, 2009, Taylor once again returned to government as Senior Advisor to the FDA Commissioner.[21] And on January 13, 2010, he was appointed to another newly created post at the FDA, this time as Deputy Commissioner for Foods.[22]

        Taylor is featured in the documentaries The Future of Food and The World According to Monsanto[23] as a pertinent example of revolving door since he is a lawyer who has spent the last few decades moving between Monsanto and the FDA and USDA.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523308419 Shannon Cunningham

    Is it not ironic the caffateria at Monsanto headquares serves ONLY ORGANICs & NONGMO/GE foods?

    • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

      This is completely false.

    • Benjamin Edge

      That is not true. They do OFFER organic food, but not ONLY organic.

  • Cees de Valk

    Though I agree that the anti GMO campaign is misguided and hurts the poor, I also see something very negative in the dominance of the global seed business by a few very large companies. In the Netherlands (and I suspect also in the rest of Europe), Montsanto simply buys up local competitors to effectively shut them down. The regulations in Europe restricting application of biotechnology in plant breeding have turned excellent and once successful local companies into fair game for Monsanto; without modern technology, development is too inefficient and slow. An (almost) monopoly is never good, not in banking, and not in plant breeding either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523308419 Shannon Cunningham

    Wow the commets here OUR GOAL is to have people research make informed descisions and have a right to know what’s in their food…dare anyone suggest people buy seeds and grow their iwn organic gardens…its a conspiracy of health and single seed purchases oh no!!! Seriously though the backwards paranoia…get off the fluoridated water already and slow your asparthame comsumption-speaking of which FDA just approved asparthame being added to milk-….because…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523308419 Shannon Cunningham

      Marchagainstmonsanto.com go read.

    • Karl Haro von Mogel

      Um… fluoridated water and aspartame? Speaking of paranoia.

    • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

      Who told you not to garden? I think you are full of manure on that one.

      • Samantha Lee

        Such an outlandish notion. Nothing to see here…yet. Why not take a gander at what the gvt is trying to do in the UK: http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedlaw.html

        • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

          Is Shannon in the UK?

          But oh–yes, from your link:

          •Home gardeners will be permitted to save and swap unregistered seed without breaking the law.

          •Small organisations can grow and supply unregistered vegetable seed – but only if they have less than 10 employees

          That’s horrifying! It’s..it’s…what’s the word for that…completely counter to the claim about not gardening. Or, let’s make it easy for you: wrong.

          Do you guys even read the things you flog? Ever?

    • Samantha Lee

      Karl, I’m assuming you know how to google. It’s not tin-foil hat to bring up aspartame and fluoride. Just look it up. And, YES Shannon–all this debating over GMO is an attempt to detract from the central point. US citizens have the RIGHT TO KNOW if GMO’s are in heir food just like their counterparts in most industrialized nations across the globe. Karl, please explain why we don’t have that right.

      • Karl Haro von Mogel

        Yes, and this is what comes up when you do a proper google search: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety.htm Lots of authoritative resources there – I go to the source when I evaluate claims, not anti-science blogs and weird corners of the internet. Don’t educate yourself at Google University, and ask for better sources.
        As far as the “right to know” it is strangely coupled with misinformation by the people who advocate for it. As someone who spends a large amount of his spare time trying to educate people and help them learn about the science of what they are eating, I believe that people need more information and more opportunities to learn about and understand it. The labeling proposals being advocated for do not satisfy a “right to know” but provide little actual information. For instance “may contain GMO” does not allow you to know whether or not it actually does contain GMOs. Moreover, the principles being applied to GMOs in this case are not being applied to other changes made in the genetics of foods. I can ask the question in the other direction – what characteristics of foods and where they come from do people NOT have the right to know? If you can’t answer any characteristics, then you have to now address how you can fit everything under the sun on a product label and have it make any useful sense.

        See this analysis of mine about the Prop 37 debate: http://www.biofortified.org/2012/11/why-did-proposition-37-fail/

        • OTGTX

          Biofortified is backed by Monsanto and Mr Karl here is one of their contributors. Take his opinion with a grain of salt, or a mutated strand of DNA, whatever floats your boat!

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            Nope, you are apparently unable to read:

            http://www.biofortified.org/about/financial-information/

            We do not accept money from private companies, least of all Monsanto.

          • OTGTX

            Ok. Biofortified.org doesn’t accept money from private companies. But you, Mr Karl are working on your PhD at the University of Wisconsin… Monsanto, a leader in seed production, established a $1 million fund at your school to encourage new professionals in plant breeding.

            Also on the biofortified Board is Dr Pamela Ronald, a professor at the University of California Davis. UC Davis faculty currently receive nearly $10 million in research contracts from the private sector – more than a few of them, according to UCD officials, with Monsanto.

            Then there’s Anastasia Bodnar, on the Board at good ‘ol biofortifed, who got her PhD from Iowa State University. A $150,000 gift from Monsanto Company will establish a fellowship to train graduate students studying seed science at Iowa State University.

            Last but not least on your Board is David Tribe, who has been described as a pro-GMO communications specialist….big words, that means lobbyist. He is faculty at Melbourne University, which couldn’t possibly have ties to Monsanto, right? Oh wait, Monsanto USA is listed as a ‘Major Donor’ of the University- over $100,000 per year.

            So, Mr Karl, maybe biofortified.org doesn’t DIRECTLY accept money, but I would hardly consider you or your board to be objective.

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

            Shockingly, scientists who want to research in agriculture go to or research in agriculture work at universities with a heavy emphasis on it. Unsurprisingly, companies that work in those fields (and hire graduates who don’t go into academia) also give money and otherwise support those universities. This is true for every single scientific field I can think of. That’s why people disclose possible conflicts of interest when publishing papers and so on, but no one considers having gone to a school that gets funding from a company a conflict of interest from that company unless their own research project was funded by them.

          • OTGTX

            As I just replied to Mr Lombardi, I have no qualms with Monsanto donating money to schools and funding research projects. Good for them!
            I’m just saying that when every single member of biofortified.org’s Board of Directors is either faculty at, or attending a university that receives huge cash donations from Monsanto, the skeptic in me starts coming out.
            All 4 members are very openly and very vocally pro-GMO.
            Dr. Ronald co-wrote the book ‘Tomorrow’s Table’ and went on Dr Oz to promote it and the benefits of GMOs. She writes articles bashing anyone who would dare question the safety of GMOs and references, who? Keith Kloor and Paul Raeburn as doing such a fantastic job of debunking the slander.
            So Keith Kloor is citing her, and she’s citing him. And they’re all very transparently pro-GMO. These people are criticizing the ‘conspiracy theorists’ for doing the exact same thing they are doing! Picking a stance and running with it and turning a blind eye to anything that may conflict with their paradigm.

            I’m not disputing anything that they claim as science. I’m just saying that I (and I would recommend everyone else) should really examine the source and take their info with a grain of salt.

            My main platform with GMOs is just to freakin’ label them….oh, and repeal the Monsanto Protection Act, that thing is ludicrous.

          • http://twitter.com/mvl1014 Michael Lombardi

            who would you prefer pay for the educational of those students? do you not rail against raises in tuition and student loan rates? scientific research isn’t free. if they have a connection, they disclose that–just like when a guy writes a column on stocks to buy.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            Re: Michael,
            Yes, the $1 million that went to UW Madison went to fund the educations of a handful of other students. They’re good scientists, and they have no devotion to a corporate line. One remarked to me, “I’ll take their money, and do what I want. I don’t care.” If people like our anonymous OTGTX above really wanted universities to have no financial connection to companies, they would push for increased public support of these programs. But they don’t – so that they can conveniently deny inconvenient truths as being done solely to get tuppence from Big Ag.

          • OTGTX

            I’m not complaining that Monsanto donated money. And I don’t rail on anyone for anything. I’m just putting forth the skeptical possibility that biofortified.org has an agenda.
            One of their board members is a pro-GMO lobbyist! C’mon.
            Maybe it’s all just an innocent coincidence and they really are doing their best to present thoroughly investigated, independent evidence…..but like so many other things in this country all you have to do is follow the $paper$ trail, which leads right back to Monsanto. That fact just casts a bit of doubt in my mind as to how wholeheartedly one should trust biofortified.org.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            “One of their board members is a pro-GMO lobbyist!”

            No one on our Board is a lobbyist. Stop reading GM Watch.

            “but like so many other things in this country all you have to do is follow the $paper$ trail, which leads right back to Monsanto.”

            Please show me this paper trail, and I will gladly publish it on our front page. Otherwise, you are simply trolling and have no argument.

          • OTGTX

            David Tribe has been described as a ‘pro-GMO communications specialist’…and it wasn’t on GM Watch, it was on several completely different sources. It turns out that this title is a fancy way of saying lobbyist.
            Everyone associated with your blog is decidedly pro-GMO, which is fine. But when you go on comment boards (which a quick google search quickly shows over 7 pages of) just be upfront.
            Instead of posing as a random guy trying to present objective evidence….just be real and say, ‘Hey, I work in the biotech industry, I feel GMOs are safe, for more information read my blog, biofortified.org”
            If only one of your Board members had ties to Monsanto, that may be a coincidence, or even two. But when all 4 members are employed by schools that are financially tied to them, that’s a pattern!
            You and everyone at biofortified.org are pro-GMO….just be upfront about it.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            In a month, it will be Dr. Karl, thank you very much. ;)
            You are blaming us for other people at our universities accepting money from biotech companies. This is not our doing, not our decision, and what we do does not hinge on whether we think the companies will give to those other people at these universities. We’re completely open about who are are, our motivations, and where we work. Myself, my research has been entirely federally-funded. You would rather set up a cartoon villain than consider for one moment that someone you disagree with is a human being. It shows how you think, not us.
            Also, you may not directly receive money from Monsanto, but they pay taxes that build roads that you drive on. So you must therefore be in their pocket. Please take your ad hominem argument elsewhere.
            And I would have a lot more respect for you if you identified who you were, your employer, and why you take such personal interest in trying to tarnish our reputation.

          • OTGTX

            Congrats on your PhD! Monsanto is more than welcome to do business as it pleases, including paying taxes and donating to schools. But in order to make informed decisions people need to have access to the entire truth.
            Like I suggested in a previous post: instead of popping up on comment boards as a random, informed guy and citing biofortified.org as a source, just be honest and say ‘Hey I’m pro-GMO, check out my blog’
            Monsanto should certainly be held responsible for their actions in court, and like everyone else, be held to any court orders involving them.
            Consumers have the right to know what they are ingesting. Label GMOs. It’s that simple. Kool Aid has to list if it has ‘Color Number 6′ in it. On the list of ingredients just add “This product contains GMOs” or even “This animal was fed on GMOs” Then all the ‘conspiracy nuts’ can avoid them, and everyone else can eat them, and we’ll see how that turns out in a couple of generations.
            If they are safe. No harm no foul. Everyone’s fine. If it turns out they’re not, well that won’t be my problem because me and my family wouldn’t have been eating them.
            There are lots of things that science deemed safe….asbestos, cigarettes, red M & Ms. I know its your profession, but science is not infallible.
            You know what I use as pesticides in my garden? Ducks. They’re 100% natural and they poop organic fertilizer. The natural order of things is how it should be, and when you tamper with the building blocks, you’re playing God. And I’m just not convinced that this is going to turn out as harmless as you say.
            So, let me have my choice NOT to consume GMOs. Label them, and hold Monsanto responsible to the full extent of the law if and when they are found to be hazardous.

          • Karl Haro von Mogel

            ” instead of popping up on comment boards as a random, informed guy and citing biofortified.org as a source” I never did that. I linked to it and said it was ‘our’ site, I said that ‘I’ started a forum discussion, and many of the people in this discussion know who I am. I also comment with my real name. You, however, have not told anyone who you are or anything. You’ve got no ground to stand on.

          • OTGTX

            I am not an expert on anything, nor do I claim to be. I am simply a seeker of Truth and I am doing my best to wade through the BS of both sides so that I can make an informed decision.
            Icarus fell to his death, not because a failure of science, but because of his own ego.
            His father made it because he understood his limitations.
            The story is a myth, but the lesson is quite true: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
            And scientists would be wise to heed this lesson.
            I live on a farm, raise dairy goats for fresh milk, meat and cheese, raise chickens for meat and eggs, feed the animals our food scraps so nothing is wasted, have cats and ducks for pest control and dogs for protection for my livestock. I don’t own a microwave or a cell phone and I dry my clothing on a line. I refuse to have a Facebook or Twitter account. I fight off the rare infection with Vitamin C, hydration, garlic and other natural methods as opposed to antibiotics. And I’m not an anti-science nut, I studied pre-med in college and have a BA from the University of North Texas. I can say that I, personally, have isolated and mapped DNA.
            I choose to live a natural lifestyle and I am happier for it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would like to choose not to consume GMOs and not to feed my 4 year old daughter GMOs. I simply want them to be labelled. I want the absolute truth available to people so they can decide for themselves. Media blackouts, Monsanto approved AP articles, people getting their Facebook accounts suspended for posting pictures of the March Against Monsanto, the Monsanto Protection Act….to me it adds up to something prolific, self-serving and just plain evil, and I don’t want one dollar of mine going to them.

            Label GMOs. Hold Monsanto accountable for its actions regardless of how many millions of dollars they throw at our prostitutes…er, sorry, lawmakers. Even being pro-GMO such as yourself, how can you argue with that?

      • Tom

        Google hard enough and you will find that Monsanto is run by Lord Xenu, George Soros, Elvis, Bigfoot and the zionist freemasons who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks in order to enslave humanity with GM crops just in time for the alien invasion (and I own the movie rights). 10,000 Google hits do not a reality make.

  • Corinne Marie O’Donnell

    The last I’m going to say on this subject is this- Monsanto is the Walmart of farming.

    • AnonyMLA

      You mean they greatly increase the ability of those with less income to consume inexpensive products? I think they’d like that comparison.

    • jh

      Hilarious!

      If you’re a single mom on a tight budget, why would you hate walmart? Better prices and the “Great Value” store brand is better tasting than the store brands at Safeway, Kroger and even Costco. Hole Foods? Don’t know, never buy trendy over-priced stuff (like iPhones or other Apple products).

      My cousin has only a HS diploma. He worked his way up to store manager at Wally’s and has done pretty well for his family. His oldest is in college now thanks to WalMart.

      God forbid anyone make money without appealing to the tastes of the hyper-trendies.

      • Regina

        Take a gander at “Walmart, The High Cost of Low Prices”. Maybe won’t change your opinion of Walmart, but it’ll put a human aspect into the equation.

        • jh

          Regina,

          Take a gander at a history text book. The era post-war of US economic hegemony is over. US wages for low-skilled workers will be under pressure for decades to come. Wal-mart didn’t dig the canyon. They just figured out how to run it before anyone else did.

  • NYCrocks

    Poland has banned GMO corn because it is killing bees. Eight EU countries have banned GMO crops. Using hormones and antibiotics in animal feed is banned in several European countries as well but here in the U.S. livestock is fed both routinely and they end up in our bodies. If we can’t get GMO foods labeled then watch as the popularity of foods that are labeled non-GMO rises just like organic eggs and milk which are labeled as not containing antibiotics and growth hormones have become. You used to have to buy organic eggs from health food stores. Monsanto wouldn’t seek protection from mandatory GMO labeling if there wasn’t a good reason to keep the general population in ignorance of the dangers of GMO foods. Patents are not granted on natural substances and that is their reason for modifying of food in the first place: to own and control the world’s food supplies. Monsanto will be controlling lives from the cradle to the grave. They also manufacture chemotherapy drugs, which you will probably need after consuming GMO foods for years. It’s quite diabolical! They will force you to buy the rope you hang yourself with, if we don’t stop them!

    • AnonyMLA

      Where is the evidence that GMO crops “probably” cause cancer? Where is the evidence GMO crops can even possibly cause cancer?
      As for Monsanto seeking protection from GMO labeling, it is because they understand (rightly) that people who don’t understand the issue will look at GMO labels as a warning label to avoid the crop. The end result would likely harm Monsanto’s bottom line, and at this point with no discernible benefit to the consumer nor world food production capacity. So why should they not fight it? They know it is the equivalent of McCarthy labeling people as Communists in the 60s.

      • NYCrocks

        You can’t paste links here but just search for “Cancer rats GMO”. The Daily Mail page shows photos of the rats with tumors. Why would you care more about Monsanto’s profits than the health of humans and animals? That aside, just the fact that Monsanto is monopolizing the world’s crops via patenting and changing what nature has made ought to be cause for alarm in any rational thinking person. Do you really want to see Monsanto owning and controlling what you and future generations will eat? That’s way too much power for one organization to have.

  • Kenny Chaffin

    The problem is not GMOs as far as I’m concerned. It’s the patenting of life and the SCOTUS supporting Monsanto in allowing it.

    • Tom

      But it isn’t patenting of life itself, it’s patenting of an invention that happens to be a crop variety. And it has been possible to patent plant varieties in the US since the 1930s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_Patent_Act_of_1930). No-one is forcing farmers to buy Monsanto seeds.

  • tamicanal

    This is only the beginning….you are more than welcome to check out the events and see the massive turnout for yourself. Two million was low-balling the parricipants, I’m sure we had more. Finally, we are aware Monsanto is just one pawn in this sadistic, corrupt game. We will get to all of them, trust me!!

  • Aimee

    What a truly disappointing piece of “reporting.” I would have expected better from Discover Magazine. Instead of discussing the issues and the marches yesterday, you trot this guy out to insult and belittle. Your organization has fallen a couple of notches in my opinion.

    • Tom

      Ok, fair point Aimee. I can agree that Keith gets a bit snarky some times but he has good reason to. I’m a genetic engineer (microbes though, not crops) and I’m more than happy discuss the issues (safety, labeling, environmental impact, patents etc) without insulting or belittling anyone as long as I get the same treatment in return.

  • robin early

    While some refuse to be informed the rest of us will continue to march, rally, buy organic and spread the word. A legitimate company does not need the government to protect them from lawsuits.

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

      “A legitimate company does not need the government to protect them from lawsuits.”

      Actually, that is exactly what modern civil society IS. Instead of private factions fighting in the streets or assassinating their competitors, they take their conflicts to a court where (eventually) a respected arbiter judges and “protects” one side or the other. Monsanto isn’t “protected” from lawsuits, just protected by judges to decide what the most fair outcome is. That right is available to us all.

    • jh

      Please do keep buying organic. Companies that sell “natural” and organic foods have much higher profit margins. I personally would never waste my money on organic, but the fact that you do makes me wealthy. Thanks!

  • robin early

    You tube contains most everything ever been on film. Including legitimate news, college lectures, and scientific reports. Get with it instead of downing it. Read, watch and get informed before you nit pic. We will keep going and from this march we have recruited many more concerned folks all over the world. Can’t stop us know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

    Whoever wrote this article is clearly paid for by Jews or Monsanto.

    I have personally written two articles on GMOs, and have been directly exposed to the farming practice with HORRIBLE results and outcomes medically.

    You should be shot for writing this.

    My articles, which are not paid for propaganda:
    http://annapolisvalleynews.com/genetically-modified-organisms-in-kings-county-fields/1612/

    And:
    http://annapolisvalleynews.com/agricultural-warfare-part-ii/2008/

    • jh

      “I have personally written two articles on GMOs”

      OMG, a real authority! Finally, someone we can trust! Two entire articles! You’re headed for a PUlicker! Pulitzer!

  • jh

    Keith,

    Take a step back. What do AGW and GMO protesters have in common?

    A massive hate on for, fear of, and fear of conspiracy within, industrial corporations. That’s pretty much what drives both movements. Dr. Evil could just as well be the CEO of Peabody, Exxon or Shell. From here on out, it won’t matter what these companies do. Even if they do something beneficial, it’s surely just a trick to hide their nefarious intentions!

    The public – or at least a significant segment of it – believes that they are the victims of large corporations. I mean, look at the comments on this thread at NPR about McDonalds (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/23/186304643/this-9-year-old-girl-told-mcdonalds-ceo-stop-tricking-kids). The common theme is that marketing makes us eat McDonalds. After seeing a McD’s commercial we simply have no choice but to rush out and have a gallon of soda, a grocery bag full of fries and few Big Macs! And as I pointed out above, the fact that McDs has introduced many healthy foods is irrelevant: to the fearful public, these are just tricks to get us into the restaurant to eat a big mac. I mean, we “know” food companies are filling their foods with addictive substances, right?

    If the local farmer were selling “organic GMO” would any body be whining?

    • aresrising

      You just aligned the science community with the so called anti science community i.e. AWG believers and GMO protesters. So you really think that the IPPC is full of corporate haters? As an ex CEO with a love of Marketing I will confirm that McD’s does want you to run out and buy their product. McD’s stock price and market dominance seems unfazed by the NPR comments.

      “organic GMO” is the best oxymoron I have heard today. Maybe Monsanto can use their influence and money to own that name and push through it’s acceptance by eliminating the leaders of the organic and food movement. You should submit the idea to Monsanto marketing.

      • jh

        “I will confirm that McD’s does want you to run out and buy their product.”

        No **** Sherlock. Everyone who sells a product wants you to run out and buy their product. I’m not sure how that’s a revelation.

        The question is: does the advertising compel you beyond your strength of will to buy the product? No, it doesn’t. You still have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy the product.

        James Hansen, the supposed father of AGW, is most definitely a corporate hater. He called for prosecution of fossil fuel company CEOS for “crimes against humanity”. In case you haven’t noticed, anyone who disagrees with anything less than the most virulent projections of AGW is quickly labeled a “greedy fossil fuel shill” or some such thing. Yes, many IPCC authors and editors use that kind of rhetoric, and have frequently claimed that there is a corporate conspiracy to stop action on global warming.

        I’d think a marketing executive would have especially good skills at rebranding things that have a negative image. If you don’t like “organic GMO”, then why not try this one: “made with all natural genetic material”. That should sell a few cans of soup.

        • aresrising

          JH so IPCC scientists and 98% of climate scientists are irrational dingbats and bio tech scientists supporting GMOs are god’s gift to humanity–got it. BTW we organic fanatics have little use for the marketing bs label “natural” when used to sell products so that won’t work.

          • jh

            “IPCC scientists and 98% of climate scientists are irrational dingbats” – arerising

            Your quote, not mine. Pursuing one’s interests or beliefs does not make one irrational, only biased.

            98% agree the globe is warming, therefore warming will be highly damaging or catastrophic? 98% agree the globe is warming, therefore corporations are responsible for crimes against humanity?

            I’m part of the 98% that accept global warming. Acceptance of global warming is trivial.

  • JonFrum

    Crazy train? Take a look at your own comment thread, and tell me it looks any different than the birthers, black helicopter nutters or Jewish banker conspiracy loons. You have met the enemy, and they are your readers.

    • kkloor

      Jon Frum,
      Nice try. Nearly all the “crazy train” commenters are new to this blog–or at least first time commenters here. That is likely because they learned about this post via social media, where it has been widely circulated.

      They are no more representative of “my readers” than you are.

  • bernie

    calling the march “cartoonish” is extremely disrespectful to the people who have done their homework.

    typical tactic for ridiculing rather than sticking to the facts,https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=486846841383643&set=a.246627515405578.57501.246619938739669&type=1&theater check:http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2013/may/6/former_pro_gmo_scientist_talks_dangers_of_GMOs/

    • Tom

      Ok bernie, let’s discuss doing one’s homework and having a mutually respectful debate. Let’s start with homework i.e. where do people get their information and who can you trust. I am a scientist, which means that I feel very reluctant to make statements about facts or what the truth is unless I have seen the original source data and have some basic understanding of them. It also means that even though I may not be an expert on plant molecular biotechnology (which I’m not), I can quickly tell who is even less informed than me and if that person starts making statements about “it has been proven..” or “the facts are…”, I will have to struggle to debate that person without being patronizing or sarcastic. When debating people who are against GMOs, I’m always confronted with wild statements treated as God’s truth followed by a link to an anti-GMO website that then cites another anti-GMO website and so on until I finally reach the original source material. Sometimes it’s a scientific article, sometimes it’s a fact sheet put out by Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth. Who should we believe? When you train as a natural scientist, you learn to always question the data that is presented to you. Just because some random dude in a white lab coat says X = Y doesn’t necessarily make it so. The gold standard of scientific communication is through peer-reviewed articles. That means that you as a scientist submits a manuscript to a suitable journal in your field and that paper will then be scrutinized by two or sometimes more scientists in the relevant subject area to see if your experimental approach and the conclusions you have drawn from the results you got are up to scratch. 19 times out of 20 you will get your manuscript back with some requests for changes, better experimental design etc. Sometimes (not too rarely) your manuscript get rejected altogether as not good or interesting enough. It’s damn frustrating but it ensures that there is some kind of quality filter out there for what goes into print. Does that mean that every scientific article out there is true? No, peer-review is not fool-proof. And the reviewing process is generally more lax for less “important” journals although the two top scientific journals Nature and Science are not immune to sloppy reviewing. Still, if you want to be taken seriously by someone with scientific training, you need to cite peer-reviewed research not random websites or Google statistics. Now you might say “A-haaa!!! But there ARE peer-reviewed studies showing that RoundUp ready corn gives you cancer!” (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637) I will not debate the merits of that particular paper here but what my counter-argument would be is “Yes, but there are hundreds of studies using the same methodologies published in equally good or better journals that show no harmful effects of either glyphosate or RoundUp Ready corn.” Which brings us to the concept of “scientific consensus”. There are still papers being published in a handful of peer-reviewed journals that claim that global warming isn’t happening or that the theory of evolution is false. But those few (often seriously flawed) papers are drowned out by the vast amount of scientific literature that show proof of man-made global warming and the theory of evolution. This brings me to respect and credibility. Scientists refuse to take you seriously. Why? To us, someone dressed in a bee-costume holding up a sign saying that Monsanto is killing the bees means that we automatically place you in the same category as people who deny man-made global warming or evolution. The sources you cite are for the most part no better than this one (http://www.glennbeck.com/). You all have a legitimate right to be concerned about GMOs but you must also put forward legitimate arguments for those concerns. Only then can we have an informed debate.

      • bernie

        thanks for your explicit reply

        i too have a science and medical background and actually had little concern about GMO’s until i did some of my own investigations.

        your mention of “peer reviewed studies” and the IPCC doesn’t impress me the least as,in my experience, human nature generally overrides any lofty “scientific” ideals as is well expressed in this article:http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/supress1.html
        can you tell me why the “precautionary principle” is constantly espoused in the context of AGW whereas ,when GMO’s are concerned,they were deemed at their inception by law as “essentially the same” as unmodified food,thus negating the necessity for any long term ,multi generation animal studies?

        • Tom

          I totally agree with you that any government agency whose purpose is to serve and protect the interests of the people (IPCC, UN, FDA, EPA etc) will never be fully immune to intervention from corporations or political organizations. But at least we have them. And if the climate scientists got to run the IPCC by themselves, I’m fairly sure their rhetoric would be a lot more aggressive. Peer-review and scientific consensus are not without fault either. Some scientific discoveries are so against the current “dogma” that it will take time and effort before it becomes the established “truth”. Take Dan Shechtman, the winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2011 for his discovery of quasicrystals, who had to take a lot of crap by the chemistry community before his results were accepted as fact.

          Now for the second part of your post – why do we get to apply the precautionary principle to global warming but not GMOs? My understanding of climate change (and please note that I’m a molecular biologist by training) is that once the warming progresses beyond a certain threshold, there’s no going back. The effect will be global, highly unpredictable and potentially catastrophic. (As a non-specialist, my main sources have been two excellent popular science books – Richard Alley’s “The two-mile time machine” and Tim Flannery’s “The weather makers”.) The three things that genuinely scare me about the effects of climate change are (1) the Gulf stream shutting down meaning goodbye Scandinavia (where I live), (2) massive methane release from clathrate deposits in the ocean which will massively accelerate warming, and (3) the disappearance of glaciers in the Himalayas, which in turn supply most of the freshwater to the two most populous nations on the planet – India and China. I’d be ecstatic if the scientific consensus changed and said “hey, we put the decimal point in the wrong place – just keep burning that coal” but so far they haven’t and as long as they’re going with the “global armageddon” scenario I will prefer to err on the side of caution. Aslo, we already know that increased warming and acidification of the oceans is decimating marine ecosystems. People are dying from from air pollution and oil spills are just a drag.

          Now GMOs. First point, every GMO must be considered on a case-by-case basis. When it comes to my field, which is engineering microbes, I totally agree with you. Microbes are hard to contain, evolve fast, are able to exchange genetic material across species barriers and damn hard to get back into the petri dish once they escape the lab. I’m less worried about GM crops (although – again, each case must be considered on its own merits). Domesticated crops have already been “softened” by generations of traditional selection and are unlikely to become invasive. However, in the of Bt-containing crops, I think we need to be careful that the Bt-trait does not move from the crop onto some wild plant that is important for beneficial or even just plain “innocent” insects. I’m less worried about the RoundUp Ready trait because it only applies to herbicide resistance and won’t make much of a difference out in nature (if there’s any left out there…). So you could argue that there are legitimate concerns (such as gene flow) and therefore we need to ban GM crops altogether. The two counter-arguments I would make is that (1) we can improve the GM traits so that they become safer and less likely to spread to natural populations and (2) the GM technology has so much potential for good that if used carefully, it can greatly benefit both people and the environment. So far we’re only used to herbicide and insecticide resistant crops but already now we see many benefits. Yields are better because of fewer weeds and smaller losses due to insect pests. Even if seeds are more expensive, farmers tend make a better profit with GM crops. The Bt trait ensures that only insects that actually eat the plant are killed (instead of killing all insects in the field with traditional insecticide sprays) and the farmer is not exposed to insecticides. As an added bonus, the levels of carcinogenic mycotoxins from molds (normally vectored by pest insects) are decreased. Because of glyphosate, farmers can switch to no-till farming which means decreased soil erosion and better carbon sequestration. The next generation of GM crops will bring even more benefits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance, improved nitrogen uptake or even nitrogen fixation and some scientists are even trying to improve the efficiency of the photosynthetic process itself. So if we can grow our food more efficiently with less of an environmental footprint (something like 5 % of the global natural gas production is used only to make nitrogen fertilizer), I think it’s worth a shot. GMOs are not the silver bullet to our global problems but I think they can have a truly positive impact.

          As to your last point about safety, if GM crops weren’t safe, wouldn’t that show up in the statistics since something like 90 % of all corn and soy are GM in the US? I know that some people claim that food allergies and autism have increased since the introduction of GM crops but I haven’t seen any studies that convinced me. It’s just as easy to find a clear correlation between the increase in diagnosis of autism and the increased consumption of organic foodstuffs.

          • bernie

            thanks again for taking the time to reply and for your sincerity and genuine concern.

            with respect to AGW–i also shared the exact concerns you outline until i started looking into both sides of the climate science arguments….and empirical evidence(currently the temperature data,especially the satellite ones,appear to be diverging from the computer predictions significantly on the downside)

            (i live in a ski resort in british columbia and at one point in the 1990’s seriously considered moving as i feared there would be no skiing left within a decade or 2.
            instead,we have had awesome ski seasons,especially in the past 5 years.

            when you look at the physics of the greenhouse effect,the majority of the CO2 heat trapping occurs under 200 ppm and doubling would only add about 1deg.C—can’t find the log graph at this moment…

            the computer models all assume positive feedback mechanisms that don’t seem to be not borne out in the real world—-i have spent quite a lot of time looking at this as i am concerned about what kind of world my children and grandchildren are likely to inherit.

            additionally,recent empirical NASA data shows that in the upper atmosphere,CO2 actually acts to cool the planet:

            http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/163-new-discovery-nasa-study-proves-carbon-dioxide-cools-atmosphere.html

            the IPCC claim of “melting of the Himalayan glaciers” has already been officially retracted by the organization itself as exaggerated.

            the most plausible effect of a warming climate would only make the glaciers retreat —this would likely be accompanied by a higher average precipitation level.

            recently,even some of the more extreme climate alarmists have moderated their rhetoric:

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134092/Gaia-scientist-James-Lovelock-I-alarmist-climate-change.html
            —also,given the “concensus” of climate science,i find it highly paradoxical that over many decades now,governments worldwide have bought big time into “globalization”,which has a collossal carbon footprint,while simultaneously funding AGW research to the tune of billions—not to mention the carbon footprint of the largest war machine in history,used to dominate sources of more fossil fuels!

            —as to the gmo issue,i read with interest your conclusions and agree that the permanent contamination of world crops by the likes of bt corn and the likes perhaps pose a more serious
            risk than the roundup ready stuff as the herbicides used before were more toxic but this should not be an excuse for complacency as there are demonstrable effects on human metabolism +gut flora:

            i do have some understanding of the pharmacology of this.

            http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

            admittedly the links i sent you are not exactly mainstream but science should ideally be done as evidence based only and NOT consensus,regardless of whether the majority of “scientists” are signed on

            —history is undeniable proof of this phenomenon.

            lastly,i enjoyed the lively debate in the comments section,although it seems tragically polarized.

            particularly relevant items include the lessons from thalidomide and smoking

            and the “monsanto protection act” seems stranger than fiction.

            lastly,the abscence of labelling in the US and Canada makes me and my family feel like an unwilling labrat and i will continue to fight for labelling.

            cheers

            bernie

          • Tom

            Hi bernie. For some reason I’m unable to reply to your last post. Maybe it’s copy-paste issue.

          • Tom

            Hi bernie. I’ve been unable to reply to your final post because of some weird restriction or bug. I’ve done a small debunk of the paper you cite here (http://www.biofortified.org/community/forum/genetic-engineering-group3/is-it-safe-forum27/samsels-and-seneffs-paper-in-entropy-thread340/#postid-2102).

  • robin early

    I would rather put profit in the pockets of farmers or companies that sell organic than a huge chemical superpower who killed with their DDT and Agent Orange and are slowly killing us and the environment. Thanks I will keep buying and eating organic as well as growing my own food with non GMO seeds that will produce their own seeds like nature intended. And my body thanks me for that everyday.

    • Wes

      I can’t help but laugh at the silliness of this comment.

  • Regina

    Independent studies, not authorized or recognized by Monsanto or DuPont et al, have shown a substantial risk of developing cancer on a GMO diet. Rats fed GMO’s are being born sterile in the third generation. The genetic pesticide in GM corn is suspected as the cause for many gastric problems. We are a population who has become inured to the quality of our food, slowly and seemingly systematically over the years. We have “declared acceptable” levels of toxins on our food. Think on that for just a sec, let it sink in. We’re headed in the wrong direction, folks. That slope will lead, most definitely to our extinction. We have a choice: we can eat food or we can eat poison. You can choose the poison because it’s less expensive if you like but is that really what you want to feed your family? I’m sticking with food.

    • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville
    • Wes

      Can you give me citations on this. Don’t tell me its that idiot Seralini.

  • Price Weston

    Reminds me of the court cases of years gone by about how “safe” smoking was claimed to be. I don’t go out of my way to eat organic, will spray my garden as necessary, but given a choice between gmo and non-gmo, I will avoid gmo every time. There is no nutritional upside and a potential downside. No, I won’t smoke what monsanto is burning until a couple of decades of forced experments are completed. I also always choose older drugs over newfangled ones regardless of a doctor’s preference. Truth in labeling: no rational person should be against honestly. At some point I might have to reluctantly only go with organic to avoud gmo until decent length human studies are completed. 20 years minimum.

  • robin early

    Why silly? I guess you just hang onto the mainstream media sheep to get you information.

  • OTGTX

    Wow, Keith Kloor is so rabidly PRO-GMO it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s receiving kickbacks. Freelance journalist and adjunct professor don’t pay too good, and NY has a pretty high cost of living.

    So, Keith,
    Putting aside all the name calling and insults for people you clearly consider left wing nuts…… why is it too much to ask if these foods are labeled? Freakin’ Kool Aid has to list if it’s got ‘Color Number 6′ in it, so why not GMOs? If they’re so safe, then why is it too much to ask for them to be labeled?

    And could you please write a piece on the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’? I would LOVE to hear your opinion on this. It’s going to take some pretty fancy dancing to explain how it’s NOT a slap in the face of the American people.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for this much anticipated article from you, but I have a feeling you will avoid the subject altogether.

    • brian

      There isn’t a ‘Monsanto Protection act’. The act that you refer to is to protect farmers.

      http://www.agprofessional.com/news/There-is-no-Monsanto-Protection-Act–200676131.html?view=all

      • OTGTX

        Call it whatever you want, it’s a slap in the face to every American to have a corporation be able to buy its way onto a bill and exempt itself from all present and future court action. Monsanto has no problem using our court system to sue farmers into oblivion, yet they feel they should not be held responsible for their actions by the same system? C’mon, man….really?

        • brian

          Have you actually read what the bill says?

          • OTGTX

            Sounds pretty mundane, but it basically means that Monsanto- or whoever else with enough $ can keep operating regardless of court injunctions due to harmfulness of their products. Considering it was drafted by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and who?…oh yeah, Monsanto….it’s pretty safe to assume that it was for their own benefit. But “it is only a one-year protection.” Sen. Blunt -March 25 …you believe that, I got some ocean front property in Oklahoma.

            ‘SEC. 735. In the event that a determination of non

            4 regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the

            5 Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated,

            6 the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any

            7 other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower,

            8 farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary

            9 permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to

            10 necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with sec

            11 tion 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which

            12 interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduce

            13 tion, continued cultivation, commercialization and other

            14 specifically enumerated activities and requirements, in

            15 cluding measures designed to mitigate or minimize poten

            16 tial adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the

            17 Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated

            18 status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able

            19 to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and

            20 carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner:

            21 Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only

            22 for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to com

            23 plete any required analyses or consultations related to the

            24 petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That

            25 nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the

            1 Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of

            2 the Plant Protection Act.’

  • Robert Wilson

    Impressive. GMOs are the new Nazis, but are created by Jews.

    So many varieties of bigotry and fanaticism on display. Maybe we should raise the tone by accusing Keith Kloor of being in the pay of the industry. Oh, someone just has. Excellent stuff. Now, we just need someone to claim GMOs are making men sterile and we’ve got ourselves a party.

  • OTGTX

    Dear Robert Wilson,

    I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or serious, but here ya go:

    “Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov and his team fed three generations of hamsters varying diets (one without soy, one with non-GM soy, one with GMO soy, and the final with higher amounts of GMO soy). By the third generation, the pups from the fourth group suffered a high mortality rate and most of the adults were infertile or sterile.”

    Sorry, it’s just hamsters, not humans…..yet.

    • Robert Wilson

      Thanks,

      This sounds like a good solution to population growth. Human stupidity would appear to be insufficient to slow things down.

      • OTGTX

        I agree 100%. The government can order that GMOs be labeled. The people that believe it’s a problem can boycott it. The people who believe it’s safe can eat it. Darwinism at it’s finest!

    • brian

      Any links to this paper? In English, preferably.

      • brian

        Never mind……

        http://veganskeptic.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/alexey-surov-and-gm-soy-recurrent-tale.html

        “While the researchers did manage to find statistically significant differences between the groups after a few generations they did not show that the groups fed GM-soy were significantly different from groups fed non-GM soy or no soy whatsoever since they only had a sample size of one for each diet. Had the researchers wanted to conduct such a test they would have needed several groups of hamsters on each diet.”

      • OTGTX

        Dude….there’s this thing….called Google. You type in what you want to search for. This was just the first out of like, 3 million entries regarding studies of the adverse effects of GMOs.
        I’m not here to do the leg work for you. I just want GMOs labeled so I know what NOT to buy. And when it becomes public knowledge that GMOs are not so great (a la asbestos, nuclear power, cigarettes, red m&m’s) I want whoever’s responsible to be HELD responsible in a court of law. Shouldn’t be too much to ask.

  • Ron_Peters

    Would you care to post your tax returns for the last five years? GMOs are THE LEAST of the reasons for opposing Monsanto Corporation, probably the most evil company that has ever existed. And you support them, why…?

    • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

      You go first.

  • Gabriel Alan King

    50% of the male, and 70% of the female rats grew tumors and died prematurely…. and under the advice of scientists NOT ON THE TAKE- many countries have banned GMO’s.

    And yes, MonSatan was founded by a Knight of Malta John Francis Queeny…. and created and used agent orange….. and is killing bees everywhere…… and they are so loved they had to hire Blackwater mercs to protect the corp….. while an organic farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes…. and MonSatan sues people they contaminate with their POISON….. frames Amish milk farmers who have never hurt a soul, and destroys 3rd world nations…..

    Clean water, natural foods? Yeah, that’s real “crazy”…..

    But yeah, what’s the big deal? lol. Besides the cartoonish A-holes who wrote this propagandic tripe…..

  • Gabriel Alan King

    And of course there’s no “conspiracy”….. I mean sure, food companies are required to inform consumers with stuff like “Nutrition Facts” and “Ingredients”…..

    But it’s crazy to label GMO’s! Because, Um, well… the FDA says so. Which is now run by, ironically, the former Vice President of MonSatan…..

    So from now on, under “Nutrition Facts” it should say: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. And under “Ingredients” it should say: BUGGER OFF YOU IRRITATING PEASANT.

  • bumpercrop

    China just burned 3 huge, imported shipments of GMO seed corn, joining India, Russia, Brazil, amongst others in banning Monsanto genetically modified corn. Last week Hungary burned 1000 acres of GMO corn. Over 20,000 Indian cotton farmers have committed suicide because of Monsanto’s evil business practices. There have been no long term studies done on humans to understand the physical effects of genetically engineered foods. Yet Monsanto spent 36 million dollars to prevent GMO foods from being labeled. No wonder the masses now distrust the science community. Psychopaths are now in charge. How about a genetic test for determining psychopathy?

  • Sandra Sutherland

    Kind of a lot of cities and kind of a lot of people are protesting a monopoly of the world food supply with unknown possible side effects — such as the dramatic rise in autism and the massive deaths of bees.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifa33dLp6OA

  • Sandra Sutherland

    Millions of people, hundreds of cities world-wide.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifa33dLp6OA

    • Sandra Sutherland

      This video at least validates a world-wide concern. It isn’t a few ill-informed nuts. It’s LOTS of people. How clever of them not to offer studies to validate their product. How clever of them to black out news coverage. How silly of farmers to commit suicide rather than be blackmailed into paying Monsanto for seeds for the rest of their lives on ancestral farms.

      • brian

        ‘Millions’? How do we know that?

        • http://twitter.com/UnendImprov Inane Rambler

          We take the loons word for it.

          Little hint: If you hear a protester’s estimate for the size of a protest, it’s half the number given, at best.

  • Gabriel Alan King

    “Discover” is propaganda. I see they have removed any comments which were positive toward the march, or negative toward MonSatan.

    Tell me geniuses….. if MonSatan is so proud of their product, then why don’t they label it ? And why do they not eat their own product ?

    How much do you get paid to spread your lies Discover ?

  • Emma Millard

    Its funny because if anyone questions anything the mainstream media say then you are instantly labelled a conspiracy theorist. Large corporations rule along with banks and they will do as they please to make a profit, profit before humanity. As Ghandi said

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

  • Regina

    Well Keith Kloor, did you expect so much backlash on this? And much of it so erudite? Has Discover Magazine discarded science totally? Have you forgotten the scientific method (taught in most grade schools). These large corporations have set aside science in preference to profit. Seems they’ve convinced some of you to doff your ideals and delve into their pseudo-science. Now that’s sad.

    • Tom

      Hi Regina. I have a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from 2000 and a PhD in cellular and molecular biology from 2007. I am currently an independent researcher at an academic university. What are your academic qualifications? Can you please explain to me what your understanding of the scientific method is?

    • FosterBoondoggle

      Erudite? Seriously? “Have you forgotten the scientific method (taught in most grade schools).” That’s rich coming from someone who cites Seralini and some mysterious Russians with their inbred hamsters.

  • Kenn Amdahl

    I read many studies about herbicides while writing “Revenge of the Pond Scum.” Based on those studies, the careless use of Roundup makes me nervous. Although fewer than a fourth of the people who use it to commit suicide succeed (by swallowing it) there’s evidence it’s more dangerous when inhaled. According to the American Bird Conservancy, “Experimentally induced inhalation of Roundup by rats produced 100 percent mortality in 24 hours.” Like other herbicides, it may be also have long term effects, perhaps contributing to Alzheimer’s, for example. By creating crops that are resistant to Roundup, we encourage spraying a lot more of it on our fields and lawns. By gradually making sure that all soybeans, for example, are “Roundup resdy” we put all the farmers who’d prefer not to use the stuff at a disadvantage. To me, that’s the big danger of Monsanto’s drive toward a monopoly on herbicide resistant crops via GMO. — Kenn Amdahl

    • Tom

      Hi Kenn. I know that this probably a futile response to your post but at least I can provide some context to other people reading your post. So, first – if you’re planning to commit suicide by ingesting a chemical, may a suggest using ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) rather than glyphosate (we’ll disregard the RoundUp formulation it comes in for now but it’s basically equivalent to chugging dish washing detergent) since the acute oral LD50 of table salt is about half of glyphosate (3 g/kg bodyweight for sodium chloride comnpared to 5.6 g/kg bodyweight for glyphosate – in rats, no-one has yet done this with humans…) So committing suicide with glyphosate is woefully inefficient. May I suggest using either copper sulfate pentahydrate (0.3 g/kg bodyweight in rats), which is an organic-certified fungicide or rotenone (0.3-0.5 g/kg bodyweight in humans – yes, somehow they measured it!), which is an organic-certified insecticide.

      (Please note! Irony! Do not ingest any of the above substances – except perhaps table salt, and only add salt when the hostess isn’t looking.)

      There are plenty of seriously toxic herbicides out there. Glyphosate is not among them. There are plenty of peer-reviewed (non-YouTube) epidemiological studies showing no hidden, long-term effects (e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22683395 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21798302). Still, that doesn’t mean that you should put glyphosate on your fries. It just means that you should be happy for all the farmers who no longer have to be exposed to nasty “traditional” herbicides and can now practise no-till farming, thereby avoiding soil erosion and decreasing carbon emissions from the soil. Yes, farmers LIKE RoundUp-ready crops. Otherwise they wouldn’t buy the seeds.

      • aresrising

        Tom thanks for injecting humor into the discussion. I remember a note in Chem 1A saying don’t taste test reagents “if you have enough KCN to taste you have a lethal dose”. I am sure there are more toxic herbicides than Roundup but that is not very comforting.
        Please apply your technical skills in addressing this disturbing glyphosate story in Reuters referencing a peer reviewed report in Entropy.
        http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/25/roundup-health-study-idUSL2N0DC22F2013042

        • Tom

          Hi Kenn and aresrising.
          I’ll try at a joint response here (and thanks for the kind words about my attempt at humor). But first of all, let me reiterate that whether glyphosate is good for you or not is a bit beside the point. If you’re exposed to enough glyphosate, you will get sick. If you are exposed at low levels for a long time, chances are there will be detrimental effects (although the two credible studies I cite in my previous post are unable to find any so far). No-one is arguing that. The point is that glyphosate is so much LESS toxic than other herbicides – like atrazine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrazine) for instance. To me it’s a case of “let’s not make ‘perfect’ the enemy of ‘good’ “.

          Now on to the study by Samsel & Seneff in Entropy (you can find the full text here http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416).
          Ok, first some typical prejudices from a scientist regarding any publication. First, neither of the authors are listed as epidemiologists or toxicologists or even biologists (Seneff identifies herself as a computer scientist). Second, it is a low-impact physics(!) journal that I have never heard about. If these authors wish to raise serious concerns about glyphosate toxicity, they should do so in a medical, toxicological or food science journal (which will ensure that the manuscript is reviewed by people who are competent in the field). If you believe that scientific publishing is controlled by a cabal of Monsanto operatives then please remember that the 1999 paper that described lethal effect of Bt corn pollen on Monarch butterfly larvae was published in the journal Nature, which is probably the best journal you can publish in. (That Nature paper was later shown to have serious flaws. Delayed response by
          Monsanto cabal perhaps?) Then my first criticism, this is not an original research article, it is a literature review. So the authors are not providing any new data to support their claims. My second criticism is more general, the claims they make throughout the paper are taken completely out of context to reinforce the idea they’re trying push. I will give you one example from page 5 (the full paper is 48 pages long and I have other stuff to do) which is exactly my area of research (microbial metabolism):

          “Pseudomonas spp. is an opportunistic pathogen and an antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacterium that has been shown to be able to break down glyphosate to produce
          usable phosphate and carbon for amino acid synthesis, but a toxic by-product of the reaction is formaldehyde [37], which is neurotoxic, and low levels of formaldehyde can induce amyloid-like misfolding of tau protein in neurons, forming protein aggregates similar to those observed in association with Alzheimer’s disease [38].”

          Ok, first of all, there are millions of enzymatic reactions in your body right now that produce formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a very common
          intermediate in metabolism and it very quickly gets converted into formic acid and then to carbon dioxide by the enzymes in your cells. You can overwhelm those enzymes by drinking methanol (don’t!), which gets turned into formaldehyde that either turns you blind or kills you. Now unless you gurgle Pseudomonas bacteria and glyphosate 30 min each morning after brushing your teeth, it’s not going to give you Alzheimer’s. What the authors are doing is taking true statements (Pneudomonas produce formaldehyde as a byproduct of glyphosate breakdown; formaldehyde exposure causes Alzheimer’s) out of context to imply that the increased use of glyphosate in agriculture will lead to more people getting Alzheimer’s. You
          should be more worried about the naturally occurring furfural (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furfural)
          in your coffee or the acrylamide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylamide)
          in your French fries. And it’s better to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables even if there might be minute traces of glyphosate on them. An unhealthy diet will kill you long before glyphosate does. There’s nothing wrong about being vigilant but these things must be considered in the proper context. But I’ll be
          the first one to admit that this is a complex subject.

          • Tom

            Come to think of it – even gurgling with Pseudomonas wouldn’t work. Since formaldehyde is just as toxic to bacteria as to us, they also convert it to carbon dioxide. So, glyphosate spraying of fields will NOT cause formaldehyde emissions. And even if they did, formaldehyde is so reactive that would quickly react with air or soil particles to become non-toxic. So their statement was even further out of context. But not easy to spot for a non-specialist.

      • Kenn Amdahl

        Tom–I appreciate your thoughtful tone, as well as your humor, and don’t disagree with your larger points. I talked about rotenone and others in Revenge of the Pond Scum as well. The typed up notes for that book, which include a whole bunch of “non youtube” studies, ran several thousand pages. My point was not to suggest ways to commit suicide but rather to note that, just like rotenone is implicated in Parkinson’s, especially when inhaled, and especially when accompanied by the fungicide maneb (both certified for organic use) so Roundup has been proven deadly when inhaled (at least to the lab animals) and is similar enough to other herbicides that we know can cause neurological diseases that I’m nervous about them. My point is: just because a GMO plant is harmless when eaten, there are other legitimate concerns. You may be one person who would actually enjoy my book, available for reviewers now only as a Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/Revenge-Pond-Scum-Amyotrophic-ebook/dp/B007YKA388/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1369687733&sr=8-4&keywords=kenn+amdahl

      • Regina

        Or simple eat BT corn. it’s got 13g/kg.

    • MADGE Australia Inc

      Hi Kenn, I googled your book and thought it looks really interesting. This is a very important topic. Thanks for writing this.

      • Kenn Amdahl

        Thanks for your comment.

  • Hey Jude

    If GMOs and pesticides in your food are so good for you, why won’t manufacturers advertise them instead of being closemouthed and secretive about them. We are required to label the contents of a mattress, why not what is in your foods? Why would you think that the makers of Agent Orange, DDT and PCBs have our health in mind? Thank you very much but I don’t believe GMOs have offered the world increased yields. Quite the opposite as it has contaminated soil that can no longer grow anything if not genetically modified first. It seems to me that if a modern day farmer needs a hazmat suit and is cautioned against touching the chemicals they are putting on produce then I don’t want it in my mouth. And I want the ability to choose chemical-free foods and not have it rammed down my throat.

    • brian

      You know that you’re eating pesticides all the time right?

      “Of all dietary pesticides that humans eat, 99.99% are natural: they are chemicals produced by plants to defend themselves against fungi, insects, and other animal predators. Each plant produces a different array of such chemicals”.

      http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cpdb/pdfs/Paracelsus.pdf

      “Even though only a small proportion of natural pesticides have been tested for carcinogenicity, 37 of the 71 tested are rodent carcinogens”

      • gandalfsbeard

        Yes, and we’re used to those natural biological pesticides, We have a long history with them. We barely have any history with synthetic pesticides. But the evidence we DO have tells us it’s poison and toxic to humans.

        Every bottle of pesticide has warnings about toxicity

    • Tom

      The idea that glyphosate herbicides contaminate soils is a popular myth that you can easily debunk in your own back garden. Glyphosate herbicides can be bought at your local gardening outlet or Amazon (just search for glyphosate). Get two plastic tubs, one slightly larger than the other. Punch a few small holes in the bottom of the smaller tub and then fill it with soil from your garden. Now place the smaller tub inside the larger one but keep it slightly raised from the bottom (use a pair of bricks or equivalent). This ensures that the soil in the smaller tub will drain properly and not become water-logged. Now leave the tub outside until weeds start growing in it. Apply the glyphosate formulation according to the instructions provided along with it until the weeds die (Monsanto’s patent on glyphosate has expired some time ago so there are plenty of generic alternatives). Now leave the soil (and the microorganisms inside of it) to stand but keep it watered along with the rest of your garden. After some time you can start trying to plant seed in the glyphosate treated tub to see if the soil microbes have degraded it yet. Or simply wait until the weeds return. If the myth is true, nothing will ever grow in that tub again.

  • Buddy199

    When Hitler came to power and the Nazis came to power…

    ——-

    Whenever you hear the Hitler analogy you know you’ve just entered bullshit nut job land and can ignore anything that follows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678162576 Ce Gzz

    with many patents about to expire, the market will be interesting as Cuba, Brazil, Argentina (in America) have already their own GMOs. Then there won’t be Monsanto to blame, but only their ignorance and their lack to use more technology. (you been eating modified crops longer than you think!)

  • FosterBoondoggle

    Calling all gmo-fearful: your prayers are being answered. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/business/food-companies-seeking-ingredients-that-arent-gene-altered.html. The Non-GMO Project is doing lots of new business certifying GMO-free food. The only catch? It costs a lot more. “Two years ago, a bushel of non-G.M.O. soybeans cost $1 to $1.25 more
    than a bushel of genetically modified soybeans. Now, that premium is $2.” (That’s about a 13% premium.) So you get what you want – more certified gmo-free food. You just don’t get it for free. (You get what you want unless what you want is just to rant against Monsanto to show tribal affiliation.)

    • Buddy199

      That’s easily fixed. Just levy a surcharge tax on GMO food to “level the playing field”. Problem solved.

  • AintNoTimeTohate

    wow I went to the closest march and there were a lot more people than I expected which got me really excited and I kept thinking and saying. “Yeah! Food is something we can all agree on! We all want CLEAN food.” Well I see am sadly mistaken.

    • Buddy199

      Meaning, if you’re not anti-GMO you want dirty food?

      • AintNoTimeTohate

        Umm… I don’t know how much clearer I can get. LOL of course that is what I mean

  • AnotherLover

    “The only thing that’s truly being poisoned is the biotech debate…” Well, that may be true… if you consider RoundUp to be as non-toxic as… Monsanto says it is.

    But in terms of the safety of the GMO products themselves there does seem to be a lack of testing. The study that produced all the tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rats (I don’t have the reference — you saw the pictures, though — that one) had serious problems in its methodology and results, true, but… it was, I understand, the only multi-generational study on GMO food products done to that point. So we ignore it for its flaws, but are left without multi-generational studies. Feeding corn to a few generations of rats doesn’t seem like a massive challenge. Let’s see some of those studies carried out.

    And currently there have been raised several issues involving GMO impacts on gut flora, as well as the poor nutritional content of GMO crops. And this after these food products have been on the market for over a decade. Personally, I want the testing done prior to consumption. Just sayin’…

    And as for the comparisons of Monsanto with totalitarian and fascist governments — the revolving door between industry and government is real (the name Michael Taylor comes to mind). This whole push for GMO foods does feel very forced — pushed over the will of the people — very totalitarian — and Monsanto is right in the middle of it.

    Common sense demands thorough testing of novel food products — food products that no animal in the history of the planet has ever eaten — before people are fed the stuff wholesale. I haven’t heard of straightforward feeding studies performed for each new type of GMO product. These studies should be legion at this point.

    Now, I know it’s a logical misstep to address the entity and not the subject of discussion, but… this is Monsanto we’re talking about here. BGH Monsanto (banned across the world — but not here in the states, of course (see “the revolving door” above)). Agent Orange Monsanto. I know people today with serious health problems because their fathers were exposed to Agent Orange. And on the topic of BGH, Monsanto is the corporation that sued dairies for advertising their non-use of BGH.

    And on the subject of Ad Hominem attacks… it turns out that’s all this article is. A lot of name-calling and offense-taking. Cheap shots.

    • Tom

      (I’ve tried a million times to reply to this post but it’s gone the next time I reload the page.)

      Hi AnLo. There have been many studies made on the safety (or rather absence of harm) of GE foods – but, they tend to be hard to find, use technical jargon and are generally not freely available to the public. This is a serious problem. There is a very good and comprehensive take-down of the rat tumor study here (http://www.ask-force.org/web/Seralini/Arjo-Plurality-Opinion-Scientific-Discourse-Seralini-2013.pdf). The same journal that published the original tumor paper by Seralini et al (Food and Chemical Toxicology) actually published a really good literature review on the safety of GE foods before that. Sadly that review is not open access but the pre-publication proof can be found here (http://www.ask-force.org/web/Longterm/Chelsea-Assessment-Health-Longterm-2011.pdf).

      It is within your right to be concerned and GM technology is a VERY complex issue. Sadly the most accessible information out there tends to be very negative and often completely untrue. Let me know if you you’d like to know more about any specific aspect of GM technology and I’ll do my best to locate it for you.

  • gandalfsbeard

    I think if anyone is being cartoonishly villainous, anti-science, and spreading deceit, it is corporate propagandists–paid liars–like Keith Kloor.

    It is Keith Kloor and his ilk that are the equivalent of Climate Deniers. Just as Energy Company “scientist” shills pretend that Climate Change doesn’t exist or that they aren’t responsible for modern climate change and poisoning us and our environment with their petroleum based products; Kloor would pretend that Bio-tech/Big-Agra aren’t poisoning us and our environment with their petroleum based pesticides and fertilisers, and with organisms modified with virally inserted genes.

    http://independentsciencenews.org/commentaries/gmo-regulators-hidden-viral-gene-vi-regulators-fail/

    • brian

      Perhaps you could point out the lies that Keith has made?

      Actually, just as most scientists agree made made global warming is a fact most scientists agree that food made from GMO is no more harmful than non-GMO food.

      • gandalfsbeard

        In fact, it took a while for most scientists to agree in regards to Climate Change–several decades. A consensus on climate change wasn’t reached until around the turn of the century.

        And though they are few, Industry scientists still challenge the consensus. This is no different. Giant Corporations are polluting our bodies and our planet for their own profit. And they lie about it. And they pay people like Keith to lie about it in the media.

        And frankly, you know you’re not dealing with a person who argues in good faith when they start off with insults (“Cartoonish”), unfounded assumptions (he claims he’s willing to bet about the veracity of the protesters without providing any shred of evidence to back up the assertion), and baseless Straw Man attacks (pretty much the entire article was a Straw Man, conjuring an image of activists as a bunch of deluded unscientific hippies).

        Never mind that Keith didn’t offer any substantial evidence for any of his assertions; he didn’t even offer anything substantive regarding the science.

        I, on the other hand, pointed out some of the basic facts that we all have to start with when discussing this topic. Such as the fact that their pesticide and fertiliser products are petroleum based, that those prodcts are toxic, and the fact that GMO’s require viruses to carry the pieces of the genetic code they want to insert into an existing species genetic structure.

        I didn’t get around to mentioning it, but there is also the FACT that cross-contamination WILL occur when you release a GMO into the environment.

        Just those facts alone, should give anyone pause as to whether the industry’s spokespeople are being honest. And if they are being honest, why hide it and try to ban the labeling of GMO’s?

        And finally, I offered a link to a scientific article countering the claims of non-toxicity by industry scientists.

        Keith’s op-ed was just a Hit-piece.

        • brian

          OK, so not only is Keith a liar he’s a paid liar? I don’t suppose you actually have any evidence to support this outlandish claim?

          Let me get this straight, you’re saying it’s fine for the anti-GMO brigade to around calling Monsanto and other biotech companies as ‘liars’, ‘evil’ and ‘murderers’, to imply (or state outright) that their products cause small farmers to commit suicide, but when Keith calls out the MAM for creating a cartoonish villain this is somehow an insult?

          Modern farming certainly uses a lot of fossil fuel – the Haber-Bosch process, for example, is a huge user of energy (although this is generated by natural gas rather than oil as you suggest) – but that’s really nothing to do with GM.

          Oh, and the virus thing? If you don’t want viruses in your food – too bad. We’re eating plant viruses all the time (GM, conventional or Organic). Plants have viruses – deal with it.

          • gandalfsbeard

            If the shoe fits… Tobacco companies lie. Energy companies lie. The Insurance industry lies. Banks lie… And Biotech/Agra companies like Monsanto lie. You clearly didn’t read the article I posted which evidences industry lies (that’s what I do to back up a claim :P ).

            Keith Kloor works for Discover Magazine. He gets paid to blog. And he blogs about how wonderful GMO’s are.

            As to the insults, bring them on. I don’t run away and cry when someone insults me. I just insult them back. Keith threw down the Gauntlet in as Trollish a manner as possible. I simply picked it up.

            And you clearly have no idea as to what you’re talking about. How can you defend Monsanto when you don’t even know the basic science.

            When I say “petroleum” you are so ignorant that you don’t even know that natural gas is also a form of petroleum. I never once used the term oil (so that one is on you).

            As to “the virus thing,” again you apparently don’t have a f****** clue as to what the basic science is. But that’s why I posted the article.

            I wasn’t planning on teaching a course in genetic engineering today. But to start, you are attempting to conflate naturally occurring and evolving viruses (which we have developed some immunity to) to the viruses used to create Recombinant DNA. Either you are just ignorant of the facts, or you are being disingenuous.

            http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/genetic-engineering-techniques.html

            “Recombinant DNA techniques use biological vectors like plasmids and viruses to carry foreign genes into cells. Plasmids are small circular pieces of genetic material found in bacteria that have the ability to cross species boundaries. The circles can be broken and new genetic material added to them. Plasmids augmented with new genetic material can move across microbial cell boundaries and place the new genetic material next to the bacterium’s own genes. Often the bacteria will take up the gene and begin to produce the protein for which the gene codes. Where the new gene codes for insulin, for example, the bacterium will begin to produce insulin along with its other gene products. A large vat of bacteria engineered to produce insulin can then become a sort of pharmaceutical factory.

            Viruses can also act as vectors in genetic engineering. Viruses are infectious particles that contain genetic material to which a new gene can be added. The virus can carry the new gene into a recipient cell in the process of infecting that cell. The virus can also be disabled so that while it can carry a new gene into a cell, it cannot redirect the cell’s genetic machines to make thousands of copies of itself.”

            So what Monsanto and other Bio-tech firms are doing is creating new viruses in order to infect an organism and alter its genetic structure, essentially creating a new organism.

            So your comment “We’re eating plant viruses all the time (GM, conventional or Organic). Plants have viruses – deal with it,” is a bloody meaningless non-sequitur. :P

            And apparently you are fine with being a lab-rat, because there have been no long-term studies on the health effects of GMO’s and the mutated viruses they use to create them. None of this stuff should have ever been let out of a controlled environment. So we are the human test subjects, and our planet is the petri dish.

            In anticipation of your next dumbass statement, which will be to claim that there is no evidence of negative health and environmental effects of GMO’s, I should point out that in fact Monsanto is in deep s*** over the news that European researchers have discovered a “hidden” virus in Monsanto crops.

            A virus with potentially serious or deadly effects. It’s all in the scientific article I posted a link to, and which you did not bother to read.

            Here. I found an article that may be a bit easier for you to read…

            http://www.responsibletechnology.org/posts/breaking_news_viral_gen/
            “Whenever critics of genetically modified (GM) plants warn that GM crops are inserted with dangerous parts of a virus, biotech advocates rush in to correct their “misunderstanding.” We don’t have to worry, they tell us. Only a small portion of a plant virus is used in order to “turn on” the accompanying gene. Called the promoter, it’s like an on-switch. They say it’s completely harmless.

            Researchers in Europe finally got around to looking more closely at the genetic sequence from that promoter, and… well… now we can worry.

            It’s called the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) Promoter and is used in most GM crops to force the foreign gene to pump out their proteins at high volume, 24/7. But the actual strand of inserted DNA turns out to have much more genetic material than it was supposed to have. And this addition might be causing a health catastrophe.

            Just beyond the promoter, or more accurately overlapping with it, is part of an actual virus gene. It is sufficient in size and characteristics such that it could theoretically be producing viral proteins. And that would be bad. Viral proteins are well known to suppress defenses against viral infection—for both plant and humans.

            In other words, if you eat food from any of the 54 types of GM plants that use the CaMV promoter (including soybeans and most corn), you may be much more susceptible to viral infections, including colds, hepatitis, even AIDS. And because viral proteins can also be toxic to cell functions, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in your diet might also promote cancer and other diseases.

            Crops too can be more susceptible to both viral and bacterial diseases.”

            But it doesn’t stop there. The specific nature of this viral gene, called Gene VI, allows it to switch on multiple genes downstream along the genome. This means that depending on where it is inserted into the DNA, it might produce allergens, toxins, carcinogens, anti-nutrients, etc. And because it is randomly inserted, each of the 54 varieties of GMOs that contain Gene VI carries their own unique and special danger.”

            So, Brian, next time, before shooting your mouth off, do your f****** homework.

          • brian

            So… that’s a ‘no’ to there being any evidence of Keith being a paid liar then?

            I think you’re still confused on the virus thing – but don’t take my word for it, listen to the EFSA, for example:

            http://www.farminguk.com/news/No-safety-implications-of-GM-viral-gene-says-professor_24870.html

            And don’t make the mistake in thinking we’ve evolved to deal with ‘natural’ threats from the environment. As this paper

            http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cpdb/text/handbook.pesticide.toxicology.pdf

            regarding the cancer risk from pesticides points out

            “Humans have not had time to evolve a “toxic harmony” with all of their dietary plants. The human diet has changed markedly in the last
            few thousand years. Indeed, very few of the plants that humans eat today (e.g., coffee, cocoa, tea, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, avocados, mangos, olives and kiwi fruit) would have been present in a hunter-gatherer’s diet.

            Natural selection works far too slowly for humans to have evolved specific resistance to the food toxins in these newly introduced plants.”

      • Regina

        (Repost)
        The Institute of Science in Society, an institute of esteemed scientists from all over the world, beginning in 1999 with 300 members, today they number 834 from 84 different countries, has steadfastly opposed the propagation of genetically modified organisms and say so in an open letter to all governments, which they continue to update year after year, noting the dangers of this propagation. So are these folks kooks?

        • First Officer

          I’ll take a wild guess. Yes.

  • http://twitter.com/BioWonk David Ashlin

    I fully concur with the complaints about Monsanto’s abusive business
    tactics and legal intimidation. Biased legislative
    protection as well as appointing a former Monsanto VP of PR as #2 in
    charge of food safety are also valid concerns. If the GMO opposition kept to those, I would not have a problem with them.

    It
    this continued assertion of what is literally science fiction as fact
    that I oppose. They consistently use the term “toxins” with no understanding of how toxins expressed by the crop require specific receptors on an organism’s cell surface to be activated. Receptors that humans lack, but the targeted pests do not. Then there are the claims of correlation to diseases that are completely independent of genetically modified food intake. Most recently are the claims that the wide spectrum herbicide glycosophate is expressed in the crop when it is actually sprayed on the crop and has been used since long before recombinant DNA techniques were viable at an industrial agriculture level.

    As well, the blatant hypocrisy of disregarding safety
    issues of other food items just because they were not modified by a
    process developed in a laboratory. Contaminated organic spinach caused 3 outbreaks of Salmonella that *actually* made people sick and even killed a few. This happened in 2006, 2009 and 2011. Where are the cries for safety labeling of organic produce?The only reason for the labeling campaign is to initiate a de facto ban by working to equate GMO with “poison.”

    Then there is the utterly disingenuous “I have a right to know what goes in my body” argument.
    Unless they have PCR and genetic sequencing equipment, how do they know
    what is in food sources that have not involved transgenic engineering?
    Viruses and horizontal gene transfer have been modifying foodcrops since
    before agriculture began. Why are they so concerned only now, and only with TE foodcrops? Even if a gene from peanuts is assimilated it would not trigger an allergic reaction unless it is the gene that expresses the allergen.

    This
    is nothing but an argument from the deliberate ignorance of “nature=good/lab=bad” propagated by those who
    cannot be bothered to “do the research” of actually being educated in
    the science of recombinant DNA techniques, genetics and proteomics. Not one opponent of GMOs whom I have asked can even explain the most basic element of what is used in genetic modification without a cut and paste. And when I ask the person manning the table to procure signatures for mandatory labeling laws, all I get is deflection and science fiction.

    They
    can oppose the immoral corporation all they want, but don’t lie about
    the science or cherry-pick examples in order to gain sympathetic
    supporters. If they can’t demonstrate even a basic understanding of the
    science, they should not be opposing it. All they are doing is
    contributing to the scientific illiteracy and the anti-science hysteria
    that is damaging our society.

    • Charles Rader

      David, thanks for saying that.

      There are some criticisms of genetic engineering in agriculture who HAVE an understanding of science. When those critics point out problems, they don’t have to march in the streets with costumes. The realistic problems are taken seriously and fixed.

      That’s why we plant unmodified crops alongside BT crops. That’s why we test rigorously for allergenicity before doing a gene transfer into a food crop. That’s why we test for whether a new gene in a crop species could escape into the wild populations and make them more invasive. Ultimately, it’s why the GMO foods now being marketed have a great safety record.

      • gandalfsbeard
        • Charles Rader

          gandalf, you gave us two links which have already been thoroughly discredited. Right in this comment thread I’ve discredited Jeffrey Smith. The hidden virus claim is scientific nonsense, already thoroughly discredited, but these things keep coming back. mem_somerville has made the apt comparison to a game of whack-a-mole.

          If I can offer you only one piece of advice, it is this. Whenever you see a criticism of GMO food, look around to see if anyone has refuted it before you pass it on.

          • gandalfsbeard

            You say it has been refuted. There is disagreement but no refutation. And you haven’t even provided anything to back up your position. You just state it and expect people to believe you.

            Can you counter either article point by point? Not by yourself, but by providing a link to a source that DOES counter the criticisms point by point? I’ve read some of the articles and papers that claim to refute the people I sourced, but I’m not going to do your homework for you. Find them yourself. And please pick someone other than Keith Kloor, as he has demonstrated that all he has is baseless assertions, insults, and cheap-shots.

            And you presume that informed people who disagree with you, are NOT informed. It is true there are ignorant people on both sides of the issue. But you hypocritically refuse to admit that.

          • Charles Rader

            [.. you haven’t even provided anything to back up your position.]

            Why should I bother? There have been many comments on this article that contained false statements and you can easily see the replies I have made to correct the errors. You can easily see that I’ve tried to make my corrections clear and understandable and usually given ways for people to check on whether I’m right. But it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

            If you want a point by point refutation of Jeffrey Smith’s statements, or of the Jonathan Latham viral gene story, a google search will find them for you. Then you can redirect direct your anger at them instead of me.

          • gandalfsbeard

            Well isn’t that convenient for you. I provide sources and cite them, and you provide nothing.

            The ball is in your court and you won’t even throw it. It is your response that is lacking.

            I care not if you won’t post a link, or cite a source to support your continued baseless assertions. You are just ceding the argument to me by not doing so.

            I’ve read the articles rebutting (not refuting–you may want to take an English class :P ) the articles I posted. But I am not rebutting myself by posting them. That is YOUR job (you apparently don’t understand how debate works either :P ).

            And you accusing me of being “angry” is just hilarious. :D Even if i was angry (rather than being bemused), it has no bearing on the discussion. You are saying more about yourself than me.

    • gandalfsbeard

      What is damaging our society are people who pretend that they are more intelligent than those that disagree with them. You made a lot of unfounded assertions about how stupid you think people who disagree with you are.

      Evidence please…

      The recombinant DNA technique used in most GMO crops relies on the old standby, modified viruses to carry the gene desired into the organism to be modified.

      Now as to uninformed supporters of things, there is a Monsanto defender on this very thread, and Brian is his name. He couldn’t get one basic fact right. So you might want to stop making your own idiotic comments about the non-scientists on the anti-GMO side. It’s just hypocrisy.

      And apparently, nobody here is interested in reading the latest news about “…The ‘hidden’ viral gene in question is called Gene VI and it resides within a DNA sequence called the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. The CaMV 35S promoter is important for the reason that it is almost ubiquitously used in commercial GMOs. In the ISN article we further proposed that Gene VI of CaMV represents a potential threat to crop health and human health.”
      http://independentsciencenews.org/commentaries/gmo-regulators-hidden-viral-gene-vi-regulators-fail/

      http://www.responsibletechnology.org/posts/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/State-of-the-Science-of-GMO-Health-Risks-sm-.2013.pdf

      • First Officer

        I gene does not a whole virus make.

        • gandalfsbeard

          No kidding. I never said it did.

  • donp48

    If Mr. Kloor were actually interested in the details of the protest, he would find that it was led in Oregon by local organic farmers and seed producers whose livelihood is threatened by efforts to introduce GM sugar beet seed production into the Willamette valley. Tiny (really?!) Monsanto is also trying to pass a law that will, in effect, make it immune from any legal action.
    Monsanto is not the evil empire, but their arrogance and short sighted greed are creating significant threats to the diversity of the American agricultural system.
    Mr Kloor could do a serious piece looking at the pros and cons of how GM technology is being applied in practice, but that would take some serious effort, and it wouldn’t suit his particular brand of caricature journalism.

  • Kiltedbear

    Wow, I was thinking as I read this article, “finally some rational discourse on this subject!” Read down into the comments and it didn’t take long for the crazy train to pull into station.. GMO is not evil. I’m not saying Monsanto should be ignored, but *stop* vilifying a process that could very well eventually end world hunger.

    Reminds me of a story about corn in Germany. So a company want to grow a GMO corn crop. Anti-GMO groups lobbied to stop it, but lost when it was shown that this crop would not cross pollinate because of precaution taken to cover the crop. What did the anti-GMO activists do? Go in with clubs and batter down the grown corn plants, thus allowing the plants to do exactly what they thought they were stopping AND they posted nuclear signs around the field. Such ignorance and thoughtlessness is rampant in many of these anti-GMO groups. Nuclear?! Seriously?!

    • gandalfsbeard

      You should know as well as anyone that the Nuclear Signs were put up to draw a symbolic comparison between Nuclear Apologists and GMO Apologists.

      You have merely demonstrated ignorance and thoughtlessness on your part.

    • Regina

      Sorry Kiltedbear, Crop yields have already proven to be less than sustainable agriculture and even conventional farming. The promises GMO seed companies are false and foundless. It cannot cure world hunger as long as the chemical companies own the seed as proven in India where GM farmers have gone bankrupt due to the machinations of the seed companies. All this for a product that is proving more and more to be a health risk to consume.

      The ignorance surrounding GMO’s is due mostly to lies propagated by the companies. They lie to the public, they lie to government agencies charged with public safety. They lie to government bodies. Is it any wonder that folks refuse to believe what they hear from them?

  • Tom Scharf

    Keith,

    Boy you hit a nerve here. Don’t you know coming off as pro Monsanto gets you permanently removed from the leftist reservation? Time to send you back to a re-education camp.

    For the record, this is exactly what it is like for me when discussing extreme event linkage on climate change. Discussion of the actual track record of GMO’s is verboten by the anti-GMO crowd and FUD rules the day. Discussing the historical facts / trends makes the other side angry, as they consider this misinformation.

    However all you need to do is read these comments and the anti-GMO crowd comes off as a bunch of crazy people infected with the naturalistic fallacy and anti-corporate ideology. The movement is so tribal that there is no attempt to talk down even the most outlandish claims form “their” side.

    Anti-GMO = New age hippy.

    Emotional bluster is a sure sign of a weak argument.

    • gandalfsbeard

      Where is YOUR argument? You haven’t even made an argument yet–weak or not.

      All I can see in your post is your emotional bluster, insults, and unsupported assertions.

    • Regina

      You know Tom, your ridicule is a reassurance. Let’s us know we’re on the right track.

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      Mahatma Gandhi

      • FosterBoondoggle

        Don’t you want to get a mention of Galileo in there too?

  • Cees de Valk

    Wow.

  • Regina

    The Institute of Science in Society, an institute of esteemed scientists from all over the world, beginning in 1999 with 300 members, today they number 834 from 84 different countries, has steadfastly opposed the propagation of genetically modified organisms and say so in an open letter to all governments, which they continue to update year after year, noting the dangers of this propagation. So are these folks kooks?

    • FosterBoondoggle

      Yes.

      This has been another episode of short answers to stupid questions.

      • Regina

        Or, perhaps, stupid answers to short questions?

  • First Officer

    Has anyone actually try to tally the numbers worldwide? From what i could glean, NYC had 3000, LA had several hundred, Portland had 6 to 10 thousand (by far the largest in the US), 300 in Bend, Oregon, New paltz, NY had 350, All of Hawaii only mustered several hundred, 800 in Orlando and 200 in Pensacola. Birmingham, AL only had 80.
    This doesn’t look to be adding up to 2 million, with very large population areas only rallying a couple thousand each.

    Off the top of my head, i’d say only about 200 to 300 thousand worldwide actually participated in this Millions against Monsanto and GMOs march. I think the organizers may have confused facebook likes with actual participation.

  • AintNoTimeTohate

    And ANOTHER thing… What is with all this “Where is the scientific evidence gmos are bad”? WTF? At least 3 countries now have a complete ban on gmo foods being grown and distributed. The European union is discussing a european-wide ban. Do you think these other countries are doing this without scientific backing?! How many of you defending monsanto are NOT from America? LOL… America…. America…. ATTENTION…. AMERICA…. YOU LIVE…. IN… A….. BUBBLE

  • beverins

    Listen, the point of the protests is not so much Monsanto in specifics. The protest uses Monsanto as a call to arms; a scapegoat that represents the corruption at the heart of the USDA and FDA thanks to corporate lobbyists that seek to eliminate any oversight on their products. The protests can’t do much about foods already in circulation. These protests are all about the BIOTECH RIDER that was passed. It benefits all companies who make GM foods. Monsanto has a known brand name so the focus is on them…. I’m also certain that Monsanto paid royally through its lobbyists to have that Biotech Rider attached and passed – lots of people in Congress, the FDA and USDA are now loads richer thanks to this bill being passed.

    But, no.. it’s all right. After all, corporations always have your best interests at heart! They would NEVER, EVER falsify any test data EVER to get a product on the market! The corporate folks at Monsanto, etc. are the most ethical people on the planet, they will do no wrong! No worries here! GM foods are safe, safe, safe!

  • Anon

    44 nations around the world and millions of average citizens take a stand and march against Monsanto

    and your media network neglected the voice of the people.

    Mothers and citizens who care about this planet and the food that goes not only into their own mouths

    but the mouths of their children and your lack of True Unbiased

    media coverage shows we the people where you stand.

    I am appalled and shocked by your

    lack of concern for our planet and all it’s inhabitants large and small.

    This matter will effect you

    and the generations to come.

    Shame on you Discovery Mag and your media group.

  • Anon

    here’s just a few links for you … we were out by the MILLIONS …

    Video from around world of March Against Monsanto from Global Rev Live

    http://youtu.be/s8wm3I-FeJQ

    Photos from around the world – high quality

    http://youtu.be/Ifa33dLp6OA

    Photos from around world

    http://youtu.be/Gkt6zvHw89Y

    March Against Monsanto Press Release

    http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/p/press-release.html

    March Against Monsanto CapeTown Set to Rage Against the Machine

    http://youtu.be/x15d3XSs-Wc

  • Tami Carson

    And what are their plans to end world hunger? Oh, that’s right.. they don’t have any plans to end world hunger. They’ll just sell some GMO “fortified” bananas as a public relations stunt, (as if that’s going to help anything – NOT). Meanwhile, Permaculture design principles are being used in Ethiopia (and around the world) to restore natural waterways, create crop diversity and food security (with zero toxic chemicals). GMO foods and crops are a dangerous and unnecessary technology. Big-Ag biotech companies only care about how rich and powerful they can become, while they bully, buy-out and control anyone who gets in their way, including federal and state governments. Corporate fascism at its finest. CNN can’t even talk about it. Have you seen how many of Monsanto, Dupont and Bayer related commercials have aired on CNN lately? They must have spent a fortune on buying-out the media this year.

  • Tami Carson

    “Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the
    merger of corporate and government power” – Benito Mussolini

  • Tami Carson

    NAZI SCUM

  • Tami Carson

    Censoring my comments is further evidence of a fascist mindset.

  • Tami Carson

    Respectable ethical scientists would never want to work for a junk “science” company such as Monsanto.

  • Tami Carson

    Monsanto is cartoon science.

  • Tami Carson

    Bad science that can’t hold up to international independent peer review.

  • Tami Carson

    Bad science that tested a few mice over a three month time period. No long-term studies? Why??? BAD SCIENCE !!!!!

  • Tami Carson

    Just delete anythig you don’t like. If a tumor pops-up on a mouse after four months of eating your Roundup corn, just delete that last month and no one needs to know….Then when a comment you don’t like pops-up on your cartoonish article on the comment thread, just delete it. No one will ever know it was there. SAME THING!!! LOL BAD SCIENCE!!!!!!!!

  • Tami Carson

    Oh, I’m sorry… Was this comment experiment only for three days? I must have missed it. It was a short-lived experiment. Guess that means it’s safe? LOL

  • Tami Carson

    Monsanto and company uses WordPress. WordPress is poop too.

  • Tami Carson

    Junk….. science.

  • Tami Carson

    Junk science that can’t hold up to scrutiny.

  • Tami Carson

    And a blogging service company that is run my idiots.

  • Tami Carson

    And a hollywood media company called Discover which produces mostly shallow and uninteresting programming day after day.. yawn.

  • Tami Carson

    WOOOOOOOOO is it shark week again???? LOL

  • Tami Carson

    Set your Tivo! Don’t miss shark week again!!!!!!!

  • Tami Carson

    Set your Tivo! This time Discover will have sharks with lasers attached to their heads!!!!!!!!! Don’t worry, it’s safe! Don’t miss it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tami Carson

    It’s not evil. It’s just sharks with lasers attached to their heads.

  • RealityAlwaysBites

    You only have to look at the lawsuits monsanto bring against small farmers….. only psychopaths with lawyers try to take out all the little guys.

    Agent orange is good for troops and plants, just ask monsanto!

    Monsanto…. The Matrix for plants.

  • Warron van Riet

    All those annoying little details, where is the big picture?!

    Why, if Monsanto has such great products do they need their own special bill to sidestep those failsafes’ built into the system?

    Why do we really need plant varieties that need little or no water, what of our Ecology?

    Why do we need fruit and vegetable varieties that are bred for transportation and holding, not for aroma and taste? Since when do you change the product to meet transport requirements and not vice versa?

    Why do we need plant varieties that terminate themselves? Why do we need to patent life if but for good business sense.

    Since when do we need and design varieties to be resistant to the very chemical spray that was supposed to protect it?

    Why should we criminalize the production and distribution of unregistered varieties of seed, which is nothing more than a natural process of it’s environment, our Earth!

    Why should we allow a few to have such a large say in what we eat, our basic requirement, our food production?!

    Why should we put a price on Mother Nature’s treasure chest, lastly calculated at upwards of $500 trillion?!

    Really guys?! Why are we having this discussion?

    Sarcastically yours….

  • TrackTheMoney

    Keith, apparently there is somebody at Monsanto that looks like Dr. Evil!

    • TrackTheMoney

      This is Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, posing with some genetically modified crops they have patented. They only made a billion dollars last year.

  • First Officer

    “What are you afraid of? You do have nothing to hide?” A taunt oft repeated with the logic that if, indeed, you have nothing to hide, you are obliged to disclose whenever asked, whatever it may be. And so the logic also goes that you would not be hiding what it is if it were indeed
    harmless to those you are disclosing it to.

    But the logic fails when
    what is disclosed is indeed harmless to all but the discloser and/or
    if the act of disclosing brings harm to others. This is probably why
    the U.S. constitution enshrines the right to remain silent as
    fundamental. It is usually interpreted that we all have the right
    not to incriminate ourselves. However, it is falsely assumed that,
    just because one remains silent on a subject, that means one must be
    culpable in some fashion.

    “What are you afraid of ? You can tell us.” In the case of GMO’s, it is well known that the those who lobby for labeling are not doing it for any rights to know or choice. Quite the opposite. They want no one to be able to choose GMO’s or know them for themselves. This is not conjecture. Many have said outright that they see labeling as a tool for
    outright and/or defacto banning. They seek nothing less than a GM
    free planet. So, even though GMO’s have been proven at least as safe
    as any other food by hundreds of studies and nearly 20 years of
    consumption, there is plenty to be afraid of on the part of those
    pressured to disclose.

    Or, to put it another way, there is nothing wrong with being Jewish. Jews have contributed greatly to the good of the world and have much to be proud of. But, mfaced with a Nazi back in Nazi Germany, exclaiming, “Are you Jewish? You can tell me? Aren’t you proud to be a Jew?”. If the person being asked fails to disclose he’s Jewish, then, by the logic of the anti-gmoer, there must be something wrong in being Jewish. Clearly, that is not the case.

    So at the heart of the
    matter is the possible total destruction of a technology that will
    literally keep billions from starving. We already have gotten a
    taste of this when Zambia refused GM food in 2002, at the behest of
    Greenpeace and millions starved. We have seen the effects of such
    defacto bans in the blind eyes of millions of VAD children whose
    sight could’ve been saved a decade ago. Even now, generally GM free
    Europe cannot feed itself while GM America picks up the slack
    (indirectly by feeding 100’s of millions that would otherwise be a
    demand on GM free food stocks).

    The FDA responsibility with food is to make sure dangers and allergens and what the food is,
    is labeled as such. If you use apples in your product, you have to
    label that as such. However, you don’t have to label that they’re
    Rome, or McIntosh, Gala, or that they came from Pennsylvania instead
    of New York. Likewise, the logic goes, you have to say Corn, but you
    don’t need to label whether it’s hybrid strain XX or Iowa grown, so
    long as such corns are similar enough not to introduce new dangers to
    the consumer. And that is the case for the GMO’s, as proven by the
    tests they have undergone.

    So if this were a right to know and choice crusade, i would be with you. But, we all know it is not and literally billions in the future will suffer for it. That is what i’m afraid of.

  • mossonit@gmail.com

    Only thing here to “Discover”is another corporate shill.What a bunch of BS on this magazine of science web site.The only thing cartoonish I see is your ridiculous web site.

  • MstrJames

    Soon the government (same one that protects Monsanto) will seize the farmland, for the good of the people. Its the socialist dream. Control the money and the guns, then healthcare and food production. Then everything will be hunky dory. :D

    • MstrJames

      socialists became democracy advocates (democrats) , then new democrats, then moderate democrats, then progressive democrats. They should just call themselves the Hunkydory party. Everyone would support a hunky-dory world. Independent thought is overrated right?

  • twangthing .

    I’m a simple guy who just wants to eat organic healthy food, and that will be lost if we keep supporting agri-giants and their “products”. You want to debate all the small points, be my guest. But neither I, nor anyone else here who isn’t “educated” on agriculture need a 150 IQ and a doctorate to know that over time, when all the chemicals leach into all of our drinking water, and the seeds get blown by wind into other fields and everything is cross contaminated, will we then reminisce about the times we had peace of mind about our food supply, when it wasn’t controlled by corporations, like the water supply soon will…

  • LeslieFish

    Look, the problem with GMO is that when you break a linkage in a DNA molecule in order to insert a different code, you don’t just break that *one* link; you break a lot of them, many of which have dangerous consequences. Nobody’s saying to stop gene experimentation; we’re just saying to stop marketing GMO foods while the technology is still so crude.

    As for why the protests are concentrating on Monsanto especially, it’s because Monsanto has a long history of producing dangerous products, lying to the public about them, bullying independent farmers, bribing and lobbying politicians to keep their dirty doings protected. Biotech is the wave of the future, but Monsanto is a dirty company and shouldn’t be doing it.

    Concerning vaccines, the real problem with vaccines (besides those lead-containing preservatives) is giving them too young. Any veterinarian can tell you not to vaccinate your puppy or kitten before three months, lest you damage the little critter’s immune system — and the same is true for human babies. The mother’s milk will protect a baby until it’s six months old, and vaccinations shouldn’t be given before then. Giving vaccines to newborns for the convenience of the doctors instead of the safety of the child is unconscionable.

    –Leslie < Fish

    • Tom

      Leslie, are you aware that many “conventional” crop varieties are generated by harsh mutagenic methods (radiation or chemicals) and have been for almost a hundred years? Those varieties can have thousands of unknown DNA changes but are not subject to the same level of regulation or safety testing. And they can be sold as organic.

      • LeslieFish

        Indeed, I know of it. I also know that crops subjected to those methods were subjected — as you said, for nearly 100 years — to much more rigorous testing than Monsanto’s GMO crops. They were tested by being tried in the field, literally, under varying natural conditions — without the backup plan of supportive pesticides, herbicides… and lawsuits. As usually happens with mutations, 90% of them proved lethal to the organisms, 9% proved harmless but useless, and 1% proved beneficial. Farmers tested those crops, without threats from the breeders, and those that sickened livestock — or purchasers from groceries — were quickly shunned. In fact, it was the failings of many such that inspired the “Heritage Seed” movement, the growing appeal of “open pollination” crops, and similar trends in the farming community — which have likewise been going on for nearly a century. Monsanto is only the latest and worst of a bad bunch. Caveat cultivator!

        –Leslie < Fish

  • PeterPisum

    Charles Rader is right: Atrazine is a much more toxic herbicide (and environmentally undesirable) than roundup.
    According to the EPA Atrazine is the most heavily used herbicide in the U.S. with 76.4 million pounds applied annually. See:
    http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/atrazine_background.htm

    Atrazine toxicity facts can be found at: http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/24d-captan/atrazine-ext.html

    Glyphosate toxicity (or the lack of it) can be found at: http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/dienochlor-glyphosate/glyphosate-ext.html

    Herbicides are used because crop production is decreased by weeds more than any other factor.

    The comments on pyrethrin are out in left field because pyrethrin is an insecticide and not a herbicide. Insect resistant Bt crops decrease the use of insecticides by about 80%.

  • Mk

    Check out Monsanto’s Board of Directors and ex-Directors and tell me if you see a pattern with agenda or not. Can you believe Hillary C. is on it??? Obama trying to make ex Monsanto Director the chief of FDA? The Nazis ridiculed the Gypsies, the gays, the Freemasons, the extreme left and the Jews too…. just like you are ridiculing the opposition. Monsanto invented DDT and Agent Orange, certain PCB’s and now we have this GMO corn which causes infertility and cancer. Seriously, what is the moral difference between Cyclone-B and Agent Orange? The economically weak in this world and the racially underprivileged are the first to suffer the consequences of these toxic food products. Their sustained ignorance and poor lifestyle obliges them to consume Monsanto products directly and indirectly. Here in Central America the poor farmers are still using cheap illegal 30 year old DDT. Its the same racial and social cleansing all over again, this time on a world scale. I don’t judge presumed or declared intentions. I just look at the results….

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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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