The GMO Fear Train Has Left the Station

By Keith Kloor | May 9, 2014 11:46 am

For GMO opponents, it’s been a good news/bad news week. The good news: Vermont became the first state to mandate the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. (More about that in a minute.) The bad news: New York Times food writer Mark Bittman, a darling of the food movement, wrote a column that called on his compadres to stop obsessing about GMOs, particularly the labeling issue, which “plays on irrational fears.”

The battle over GMOs, Bittman said, was not important to the larger goal of sustainable agriculture. What’s more, “the technology [involving genetically modified foods] itself has not been found to be harmful,” he wrote, and its “underlying science could well be useful.” How do you suppose this went over in organic food co-ops across the United States, where GMOs are about as welcome as disposable plastic bags?

Bittman’s column was baffling and disconcerting to leading food warriors. I can understand why they might feel that way. For in previous columns dating back the last few years, Bittman was singing a different tune.

From a 2012 column urging that genetically modified foods be labeled:

G.M.O.’s, to date, have neither become a panacea — far from it — nor created Frankenfoods, though by most estimates the evidence is far more damning than it is supportive.

From one of his columns last year:

When I read a news story like this one, which claims that G.M.O.s are linked to leukemia, I might be scared out of my wits — Americans can’t avoid genetically modified food without a huge effort, and even then there are no guarantees. So are we doomed to years of chemo? Perhaps not: If I sit down and do my homework all I can really say with intelligence is that it’s premature to conclude that ingesting food with genetically engineered ingredients is safe.

As I noted at the time, Bittman’s expert sources for such statements were beyond parody. It was also obvious that he was scare-mongering about GMOs while trying to appear reasonable. Now, in his latest column, he’s chiding those who sound the same frightful notes he once did:

Let’s be clear: Biotech in agriculture has been overrated both in its benefits and in its dangers. And by overrating its dangers, the otherwise generally rational “food movement” allows itself to be framed as “anti-science.”

No wonder anti-GMO foodies feels betrayed.  It wasn’t that long ago he was egging them on and feeding into their greatest fears. Perhaps Bittman has learned from the example of Mark Lynas, who, in a widely discussed 2013 speech, said he had “discovered science”–with respect to crop biotechnology. Lynas accepted the scientific consensus on climate change but had previously disregarded the same consensus on GMOs. The inconsistency troubled him, especially after he shed his prior assumptions and looked closely at the science. It appears that Bittman is now following the same path.

As I have said to Lynas, this kind of turnabout owes not so much to discovering science but more to unshackling oneself from a fixed ideological and political mindset. You can’t discover science–or honestly assess it–until you are open to it. The problem for celebrity food writers like Bittman and Michael Pollan, who is also struggling to reconcile the actual science on biotechnology with his worldview, is that their personal brands are closely identified with a food movement that has gone off the rails on GMOs. The labeling campaign is driven by manufactured fear of genetically modified foods, a fear that both Pollan and Bittman and like-minded allies have enabled.

It’s hard to rein in hysteria once it’s been encouraged and winked at by thought leaders. Pollan, for example, seems to know in his heart of hearts that genetically engineered foods are safe to eat. They aren’t going to make you infertile or give you cancerous tumors or autism. But guess what? The person who makes those claims–Jeffrey Smith–appears on national TV, speaks at biotech forums around the world, and is the go-to source for Vermont legislators who ushered in the state’s GMO labeling law. In fact, one of them recently said to Smith that his books (on supposed GMO dangers) were instrumental to their success:

Genetic Roulette has been my bible for the last few years, and to be honest, Seeds of Deception really got us going on this.

Of course, Smith is not the only one to spread fear and false information on biotechnology, but he is the most relentless and effective anti-GMO merchant. His college campus talks, books, TV appearances, testimony to state legislatures helps fuel the kind of GMO labeling campaigns that finally bore fruit in Vermont.

Now that this train has left the station, there is no calling it back, as Bittman seems to be suggesting in his NYT column. (And let’s not forget that Pollan was cheering on the train a few years ago.) In his mea culpa last January, Lynas rued his own role as an instigator of irrational GMO fears:

What we didn’t realize at the time was that the real Frankenstein’s monster was not GM technology, but our reaction against it.

This is something that America’s influential food writers are just starting to reckon with.

UPDATE: See this Economist article entitled, “Vermont v Science,” which notes:

Food scares are easy to start but hard to stop.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: biotechnology, GMOs
  • Norm

    “Generally rational Food Movement”? Huh. Really?

  • mem_somerville

    I’m collecting the Sternly Worded Letters aimed at Bittman. There are a couple more I’m waiting for. I didn’t agree with everything in his piece, but I recognized the sea change in tone, so I uncharacteristically have quietly accepted that this is a baby step towards reality without nitpicking much.

    But the VT legislators really were embarrassing on this, practically kissing Smith right on the lips. It’s like asking Jenny McCarthy for help with vaccine policy.

    I wish that people would realize, though, that this legislation is just a veneer for what the anti-GMO team really intends to do. They want to scarlet-letter foods to take aim at the producers and to go further. We have the evidence of that. https://storify.com/mem_somerville/gmo-labels-the-purpose-is The actual goal is keeping all of us from having access to these tools.

    • GreenMedInfo

      There is no such thing as an “anti-GMO” movement. Rather, there is an awareness of the clear and present dangers of GM technology, and the basic human right to abstain from them and/or obtain informed consent (truth in labeling). The non-GMO movement simply stands for you not force feeding the population toxic/toxicant contaminated ‘food.’

      • RobertWager

        “clear and present danger” you say. The WHO says:

        “The GM products that are currently on the international market have all passed risk assessments conducted by national authorities. These different assessments in general follow the same basic principles, including an assessment of environmental and human health risk. These assessments are thorough, they have not indicated any risk to human health.”

        WHO (2013)

        The European Commission says:

        A
        Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research

        2001-2010

        Food Safety:

        “The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups,
        is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.” EC 2011

        Health Canada says:

        “Theoverwhelming body of scientific evidence continues to support the safety of genetically modified food and feed products in general…However, whenever new information concerning the safety of an authorized product arises, this new data is carefully reviewed.”

        HC 2012

        • Katherine Schmidt Edmund

          The Royal Report: Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of
          Food Biotechnology in Canada details how the
          Canadian Government has successfully gagged science with regard to GM technology and, in fact, uses the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada and Health Canada to promote Corporate advancement with no regard to
          their own scientists warnings of human risk.

          http://rsc-src.ca/en/expert-panels/rsc-reports/elements-precaution-recommendations-for-regulation-food-biotechnology-in

          • RobertWager

            You are quoting a document that is 14 years old for a technology that has been commercialized for 20 years?

          • Jim Young

            Thanks for the reference. Time and time again, I run into the sponsored, for-profit, “science” that claims they have proven their case forever, no prolonged study or follow up monitoring is needed. I believe the report you referenced is as valid today in principle as when it was written, and the continued examination of direct or indirect affects is always valid.

      • mem_somerville

        Can you explain the difference between “anti-GMO” and “non-GMO”? I have screen capped this in case you attempt to edit it.

        Are you saying that you are not opposed to GMOs?

        • GreenMedInfo

          There is a dialectic here. If you are against something (thesis), i.e. being antithetical, you imply it has legitimacy, or that it has already proven its right to exist. I do not believe adequate safety studies have been performed to justify the position that GMOs are by default valid and justified. Therefore I do not believe that the burden of proof is on anyone but he who claims they have intrinsic legitimacy and authority to exist and proliferate freely. Non-GMO is the idea that informed consent, at the very least, should be honored. It is a non-violent opposition to something that claims it (GMOs) are already preeminent, justified, legitimate – which they are not. It is not like saying BAN THEM. Or to claim that I, or anyone out there has the right to take away your choice to consume them. We simply want the choice to not consume them. Labeling, for instance, is the first step in making consumer choice possible. Is that too much to ask?

          • mem_somerville

            So you are not anti-GMO?

            I totally support your choice to buy organic.

            Isn’t it great we can agree on this? I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Ok, so let us assume you are cool and reasonable as you appear. How can you justify an agricultural system that biopollutes (i.e. wild GM pollination of non-GM crops), inserting transgenes into germlines, forever corrupting their previously non-GMO status?

          • mem_somerville

            Oh, so you are concerned about changes in organisms over time? I guess I don’t share your dismay. I’m quite comfortable with the concept of evolution. Those pesky sequences have been moving around all of the organisms and changing species for…well…a really long time.

            But if you have religious type objections to things, that’s fine. You just aren’t allowed to use those philosophical complaints to set policy in our system. Some places you could–I would recommend some fundamentalist countries for that.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Your concept of Science is scientism — the ultimate religion that thinks it has the right to devour all other belief systems, and will coerce and collude to extinguish anything it does not understand. Your ignorance is dangerous.

          • mem_somerville

            Ha ha ha! Yes, I’m sure you are ready to shed the enlightenment. That’s clear from your hilarious disconnect from data and facts.

            Your misinformation is actually dangerous to people’s health, unfortunately.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Good luck with your life. I really hope that when the cold, discriminating eye of accurate historical accounts of what transpired here looks back at this moment, your promotion of Roundup-saturated GM foods doesn’t appear to be a crime against humanity.

          • mem_somerville

            Actually, I’m hoping very much that this Nobel prize-winning scientist will take your team to the International Court of Justice. I would volunteer to help that effort in a heartbeat.

            http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nobel-laureate-bats-for-gm-crops/article5441159.ece

          • GreenMedInfo

            Interesting that you reference the Nobel Prize. Remember a recent president that received a Nobel Peace Prize while actively, illegally bombing a Middle Eastern country with DU munitions while receiving it. Nice plea to authority. How about a plea to reality?

          • mem_somerville

            Sorry, can you please cite what you are talking about? You seem to have gone off the rails–I mean off topic.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Oh, that’s right, something like that doesn’t register. Reality is something you need intravenously fed to you through mainstream media. Do your own research. Oh, that’s right. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if that were the case.

          • mem_somerville

            Are you saying you don’t have a citation? As much as enjoy watching you flail, it does look bad to people who come by later and see you weasel out of your claims.

          • GreenMedInfo

            LOL. I can work with your lack of understanding. I doubt you will read it: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/obama-wants-bomb-syria-monsanto-already-carpet-bombing-us

          • mem_somerville

            Yeah, so, here’s the thing: citing your own fever swamp is not really the same thing as “evidence” as most people understand it. I can see a reference to DU use in Iraq, but you may be confused on the timeline there. Bush was President then.

            It’s possible the organic pesticides like spinosad are scrambling your brain.

          • Sayer Ji

            I do actually appreciate your attempts at being clever, but it is all quite superficial considering you believe what amounts to force feeding our world Roundup contaminated pseudo-food is perfectly sane and ethical. There is something so fundamentally immoral about your position that I can not justify a single additional moment of my life ‘debating’ you. This is religion and livelihood for you, nothing else. Good bye. (Notifications deactivated)

          • mem_somerville

            Oh, you run away again? And I thought we were making some progress by agreeing that you weren’t anti-GMO and that I was glad you could choose organic.

            Your evidence-free assertions might work on others, but they won’t work on me, I’m afraid. I was prepared for your bizarro world claims about religion based on the fiskings I’ve seen of your BS around the intertubz. In fact, you are the one with faith-based assertions. All the more humorous, though.

            Alas. Well, we’ll still be over at Biofortified whenever you want to discuss the actual science. We’ll keep the light on. Maybe someday you’ll find it, like others have. We can always hope.

          • GreenMedInfo

            “evidence-free” assertions. Please provide a single reference to peer-reviewed published and research and then maybe, your pro-GMO claims would have some standing.

          • Rod Herman

            Hey – Don’t blame the spinosad! This guy is on his own. I don’t think he knows a cabbage plant from a puff ball mushroom.

          • Jonathan

            I’m sure you would too! I’m not sure why the guy is using such strong language such as “crimes against humanity” and aimed against those against GMO’s. The simple truth is if those two million children are affected by Vitamin A deficiency, there are far more cost effective means to deal with that than spending I don’t know some $100 Million on creating a GM rice plant when if they really cared at all they could just supplement the vitamin A right now for a fraction of the cost involved in creating a GM strain plant with increased levels of Vitamin A.

          • Aidan Benelle

            “scientism” – Great post!

          • CycloneFarms

            Only an empty-headed dolt like you would consider it damage control.

          • Mark D

            Man’s gotta eat. There’s about 7 billion of them now. Can’t all eat local, organic kale (as wonderful as it is).

          • Bongstar420

            I support their right to pay more for it too

          • Bongstar420

            The only reason to want “non-GMO” is because you are “anti-GMO.”

            If that weren’t the case, you would ask for actual chemicals being on the label rather than the way the product was assembled.

      • Bongstar420

        Coco the Chimp’s IQ was considered to be 70-95. There are a lot of people in the same range. Should Coco be making important policy decisions for people with +130 IQ’s?

  • GreenMedInfo

    What is sad and irresponsible about this article, and the general perspective that informs it, is that the issue is not solely about antigenicity of transgene proteins, rather, about the contamination of almost all of the major GM food and feed crops with agrochemicals such as Roundup (glyphosate), and soon Dow’s Enlilst 2,4 D, which was a major ingredient in Agent Orange. How can anyone responsibly deny the problem associated with these toxicants? Or is the point to divert attention away from these potentially far more damaging aspects of the “GMO” problem?

    • mem_somerville

      In case anyone wants an example of how the

      “food movement” allows itself to be framed as “anti-science.”

      See http://www.greenmedinfo.com/

      • GreenMedInfo

        Where in your criticism is the word “science” used as anything other than a faith-based plea to some authority you yourself do not understand. Where are your ncbi references to uphold your pro-GMO stance? Can you show me how many you have that deny the reality associated with those clearly showing Roundup herbicide is highly toxic?* And what happens when you exclude those funded by the very industries who create or promote those agrochemicals? Your pro-GMO/pro-agrochemical “science” qua peer-reviewed published journals is primary an excreta of the industries that profit from them. It is so obvious to those outside this cultish following that wastes their time diverting attention from the truth.
        *http://www.greenmedinfo.com/toxic-ingredient/roundup-herbicide

        • Rod Herman
          • AldivosTarril

            This 2008 U.N. examination of farming in 24 African countries found that organic or near-organic farming resulted in yield increases of more than 100 percent. http://unctad.org/en/docs/ditcted200715_en.pdf

            Compared to e.g.:

            Genetically engineered corn and soybeans in the United States for more than a decade has had little impact on crop yields despite claims that they could ease looming food shortages. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g53DoblG25y7O5t4KPsuzYyxMd6Q

            Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa. http://digitaljournal.com/article/270101

          • Rod Herman

            Here is 2010 review of 49 peer reviewed publications in the journal Nature which provides actual data, not an organic taskforce opinion. The second link is to a 2012 review of organic yields. Both are by scientists, not policy folks. Data trumps opinions in science.

            http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v28/n4/abs/nbt0410-319.html

            http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v485/n7397/full/nature11069.html%3FWT.ec_id=NATURE-20120510

          • AldivosTarril

            Rodney The Shill is getting desperate – he’s citing Janet Carpenter, another blatant GMO shill.

            * The author of that paper is Janet Carpenter who used to work for the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy – described by Nature as “a pro-GM industry group” (http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=94). They are funded by: Arvesta Corporation, Aventi, Bayer, Cheminova, E.I. DuPont de Nemours, FMC, Gowan, Griffin, **Monsanto**, Rohm and Haas, Syngenta. Janet has since left the NCFAP and is now offering independent articles supporting… GM crops.

          • Rod Herman

            You do not need to be even of average intelligence to understand that an agricultural technology adopted by farmers in record time and in record numbers provides them with benefit.

          • AldivosTarril

            By your infantile logic smoking is good for people.

          • Rod Herman

            Farming is a vocation. Is you vocation smoking? Smoking what I wonder?

          • CycloneFarms

            You must be a complete idiot.

          • Michael Phillips

            Shouldn’t there be a version of Godwin’s law that covers the use of the word “shill” instead of comparing your opponent to Hitler?

          • DrDenim

            In these cases I use “argumentum ad Monsantum” as a sign that all rational debate has ended. See below.

          • Michael Phillips

            Thanks.

          • hyperzombie

            This 2008 U.N. examination of farming in 24 African countries found that organic or near-organic farming resulted in yield increases of more than 100 percent.http://unctad.org/en/docs/ditc

            This report was written by the African Organic industry, Not the UN.

            Genetically engineered corn and soybeans in the United States for more than a decade has had little impact on crop yields

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-21/u-s-sees-record-corn-soybean-harvests-boosting-reserves.html

          • Jonathan

            So its okay to post studies that are written, funded and so on by Monsanto and Co then?

          • Jonathan

            “Safety Evaluation and Risk Assessment of the Herbicide Roundup 1 and Its Active Ingredient, Glyphosate, for Humans” Hmm right so reputable is a study which is directly influenced by Monsanto itself which can found in full version. Major COI in this case yawn!

          • Rod Herman

            Then read the one by the USDA authors posted above or the one below by university scientists.

            http://www.ask-force.org/web/HerbizideTol/Williams-Safety-Evaluation-Risk-Assessment-RR-2000.pdf

          • Jonathan

            That’s the one I got the information about the COI concerning Monsanto.

          • Rod Herman

            Sorry you lost me. What conflict of interest?

          • Jonathan

            The fact Monsanto was directly involved in that study I find it a COI. Way too many industry funded studies seem to push the positive studies and withhold the negative studies. Now the main bulk of this is found in medical studies but its certainly not confined there. Take the GMO crop rat study there was talk of forcing the people who did the study to retract it and that’s not science that’s nothing but an agenda in my opinion. There could be study done that falls into the Pro category and it will be taken at face value, while anything that falls into the other side of things get taken apart and ripped to bits.

          • Rod Herman

            How was Monsanto involved in that study? The rat study that you mention was done by the “eminent” Dr. Seralini, who has multiple retracted studies to his name (the journal retracted it due to lack of credible evidence supporting its conclusions). He has a pretty unusual “accomplishment” which puts him in a pretty “exclusive” class of “scientists” with multiple studies that were found to unsuitable). His self-published anti-GMO video that accompanied the publication still survives though, so you can re-enforce your superstitions and convince yourself that you are not irrational.

          • Michael Phillips

            Speaking of COI, what about Smith, Vandana, and others using tragedy to advance sales of their own books and videos? Isn’t that part of the shameless commercialism your movement decries or do they just get a pass?

          • Michael Phillips

            I guess I should have added Sayer Ji to that list as well.

          • GreenMedInfo

            By ‘trash’ do you mean anything that runs up against your rabidly pro-GMO agenda. Way to be ‘evidence-based’ Rod. Way to go!

          • Rod Herman

            So you do not think that using Google Scholar to limit a search to scientific evidence is a suitable way to separate facts from fiction? I think you may not be the best person to be giving advice on how to find the truth. Are you against vaccinations as well?

          • GreenMedInfo

            Google scholar and pubmed.gov are excellent starting places for any ‘evidence-based’ debate. Though the limits of scientific inquiry are clear. Only because something is not published in a peer-reviewed journal does not mean it is not true, or is not a phenomena, would you agree?

          • Rod Herman

            I agree, but for someone who cherry picks activist propaganda, the scientific literature is a great propaganda check. Glyphosate has been used for over 40 years, so there are thousands of publications to look at to reach an informed opinion.

        • mem_somerville

          I do not think that study shows what you think it shows

          I’m referring, of course, to Sayer Ji, and his website GreenMedInfo, a website that subverts legitimate research and misrepresents science in order to support “natural medicine.” Examples of the sort of “intellectual firepower” Ji brings to the issue of “natural medicine” include a post in which he described biotech and vaccines as “cannibalism” and another post in which he tries to represent evidence-based medicine as being no more reliable than a coin flip.

          I don’t think studies would really help you. You know “the truth” anyway.

        • RobertWager
          • First Officer

            Damn ! I was all set to pick up Germany on my next shopping trip. Ach du lieber, mein Gott im Himmel!

        • Michael Phillips

          Wow, really hostile post. Not sure if it is worth responding. You can go to NCBI and find references too if you are truly interested in learning the actual science. Do you expect strangers to do your homework for you? You don’t seem to know much about the science industry. A lot of public researchers all over the world do good science without industry funding and have no stake in the outcome of the research. And their results do not find the scandal you are craving. I am a public scientist and do not appreciate being lumped into a cult of industry sell outs. I’m afraid your tone won’t make much headway with educated people, so consider a change in strategy if you actually want to communicate with people. However, if you just want to vent…

      • GreenMedInfo

        Anti-Science? LOL. Greenmedinfo.com has 23K ncbi abstracts indexed.

      • GreenMedInfo

        Actually, so far this article, and these forum posts are conspicuously absent of ncbi references. It’s all lip service, ad hominem attacks, and hand waving.

        • mem_somerville

          This post is not about data (not that this would have any impact on you anyway). It is about people with some sense of embarrassment distancing themselves from the likes of you.

          • GreenMedInfo

            If it is not about data, how can it claim to be coming from a place of sound, scientifically-confirmed reasoning? Why even pay lip service to the idea that the ‘Science’ is on your side, when there is absolutely nothing to substantiate that? This is nothing but polemical, i.e. propaganda, therefore.

          • mem_somerville

            We would be delighted to discuss any data you want over at Biofortified in the forum. Please post a paper you wish to discuss and we can help you understand it. http://www.biofortified.org/

            Keith’s post here is about the public perception based on misinformers like you. So it is downstream of your fictions.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Who are you? Are you willing to go public with your identity to establish that you are not being cavalier and derogatory because of the false sense of anonymity provided by this avatar?

          • mem_somerville

            Are you really that stupid that you can’t search for my twitter name? And we’re supposed to think you are some kind of [on] crack researcher?

          • GreenMedInfo

            Wow. You really have drowned yourself in the coal tar dyed Kool-Aid.

          • mem_somerville

            He says from his pseudonym, without irony.

          • GreenMedInfo

            I a glad you have the choice to eat GM foods. I just don’t understand why you do not believe we have the right to abstain from them. Kinda fascist, don’t you think?

          • mem_somerville

            We’ve already established that I am pleased that you can choose organic. I don’t think that word means what you think it means (hey–this seems to be a theme in your life, doesn’t it…???)

          • GreenMedInfo

            How do you ‘choose organic’ when 99% of the products on the market contain unlabeled GMOs. Reality check.

          • mem_somerville

            [citation needed]

            I mean, I know you aren’t really good with data, but you must have some to make a claim like that, right?

          • GreenMedInfo

            What data? Have you provided a single citation during this entire thread? I’ve linked you to hundreds so far.

          • mem_somerville

            You need to cite your claim that 99% of organic products contain GMOs. I mean, it smells like manure, but I would be happy to look at data that supports your claim.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Good luck with your life. I hope that GM food continues to support your brain function, which apparently is topnotch.

          • mem_somerville

            Run away! Run away! Run away!

            See kids—this is what happens when you make claims, you get called on them, and you can’t back them up.

          • Rod Herman

            You point out something very important fact. The market determines what is available, and right now it demands less than 1% of agricultural land be planted to organic production. You are a flea on the tail attempting to wag the dog, and the dog is not having it.

    • brian

      Charcoal is a major ingredient of gunpowder. Better ban those barbecues…

      • hyperzombie

        Yeah and steel is a major component of Nukes, we should be safe and ban that as well.

        • http://wildernessvagabonds.com/ Mike Lewinski

          We all know what atom bombs are made of…

          • hyperzombie

            I know “those evil ATOMS” we should ban them as well. 100% of all poisons are made from atoms.

        • GreenMedInfo

          Yeah, because nuclear energy is SOOOO safe! What is your point zombie? Nice avatar by the way. Apropos.

      • GreenMedInfo

        You got it Brian. Because carbon is just as toxic as glyphosate. Thank you for clarifying this toxicological truism. We wouldn’t want people to be unjustifiably alarmed. : )

        • fairyweb1 .

          greenmed, they have to be trolls surely to god. how do intelligent humans come to that conclusion?

          • GreenMedInfo

            Intelligence? Where?

          • Rod Herman

            GreenMed – exactly what kind of green medication are you on, and what medication prescribed by a doctor are you substituting it for?

        • Michael Phillips

          Well, you’re the one who doesn’t understand that 2,4D was not the causitive agent in Agent Orange which harms people.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Yeah, because 2,4 D is perfectly safe to apply to our food. Why should ANYONE be concerned? Thanks Michael for clarifying that.

          • Michael Phillips

            Your above comment clearly implies that it was 2,4D that made Agent Orange harmful, but it was actually a dioxin. Perhaps these details don’t matter to you, but I assure you they are important. You are mixing up the facts in a way that suggests the truth does not matter to you.

          • Neil

            According to the WHO, 2,4 D is in the same class of toxicity as pesticides commonly used in organic farming (pyrethins, rotenone). I presume that you are not concerned about the use of pesticides in organic agriculture, right?, So why are you concerned specifically with 2,4 D? Seems hypocritical to me.

            fyi, glyphosate is less toxic than the pesticides used in organic farming.

        • Benjamin Edge

          Carbon is a component of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), therefore we should ban carbon, because HCN can kill you, right?

    • Mackinz

      This Glyphosate?

      http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/glyphotech.html

      One of the most mild herbicides known to man… and you’re scaremongering about it.

      The only word to describe you is baka.

      • Michael Freeman

        What about the bees! What about the bees, flowers and birds. Nobody has mentioned one bee and this is part of the argument being played out in social media against GMO. What about the bees!

        • CycloneFarms

          Can we put your dash-cam in a beehive? That would be cool.

          • Michael Freeman

            dash-cam. I would like a dash-cam. This past weekend was rough on the roads. Humor is good. I also appreciate all the research shared. I did read it. Look, I am not an expert in this debate. Hardly. I only wanted to raise the human element being played in social media regarding the relationship between bees and GMO. The author raised the human element but I found it lacking a response. This cannot go unnoticed. It’s there and it’s getting loud. Not only has the train left the station, but it has taken the form of a bullet train and has picked up thousands of bees along the way. Many thanks.

        • Mackinz
        • mem_somerville

          Sherwood bee deaths: Pesticides ruled out after testing, state says.

          Commenter:

          There you have it. Time to ban cars, as they are a deadly threat to bees. Without bees the Earth dies.

          • CycloneFarms

            I hope Fred and Carrie are taking note. What better way to start the next season of Portlandia than Kath and Dave saving the bees?

          • mem_somerville

            I totally want Bee Crossing signs.

          • CycloneFarms

            One can only hope the Mayor dedicates the City’s 3d printer to that task!

          • GreenMedInfo

            Yeah, because bees don’t matter, nor do angiosperms that largely depend on their fertilization role — only 70% of the crops we depend on require pollinization by these useless insects. Way to go mem! What a scientific point you make.

          • Michael Phillips

            Again with the snark and sarcasm. You’re not convincing anyone with that approach.

          • mem_somerville

            I am enjoying watching you unhinge even more. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.

        • Rod Herman

          Those organic insecticides sure can knock the socks of of bees!

          http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/xerces-organic-approved-pesticides-factsheet.pdf

        • RobertWager

          Verdict on Bt crops: The specific Bt cry proteins used in GM crops were intentionally chosen to not cause harm to bees. There is no evidence to
          date that they do. On the other hand, Bt
          crops require less use of insecticides that are clearly toxic to bees [25].

          Verdict on GM crops in general: Allow me to quote from the USDA:

          …there is no correlation between where GM crops are planted and the pattern of CCD incidents. Also, GM crops have been widely planted since the late 1990s, but CCD did not appear until 2006. In addition, CCD has been reported in countries that do not allow GM crops to be planted, such as Switzerland [33].

          http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick-bees-part-18e-colony-collapse-revisited-genetically-modified-plants/

        • Michael Phillips

          The comment you are responding to mentions glyphosate, while you seem to be mentioning Bt. If you understand the difference (benefit of the doubt), what is your point in reference to glyphosate?

          • GreenMedInfo

            Please do explain the difference Michael! Please.

          • Michael Phillips

            Are you also Sayer Ji or do you just post using his website name?

        • GreenMedInfo

          Bee colony collapse is like most idiopathic syndromes: NOT causes by environmental exposures/chemicals. lol

      • GreenMedInfo

        Ignorance.

    • CycloneFarms

      Please define, “…antigenicity of transgene proteins…”

      You sound like you’re trying to create a Seneff word salad. Is that anything like “biosemiotic entropy”?

      You do realize that USDA has their Pesticide Data Program, right?

      • GreenMedInfo

        There is this thing called a dictionary. You might learn something.

        • Michael Phillips

          Sarcasm are condescension are not helping you make your point.

      • mem_somerville

        I saw him totally make up the definition of “gluten” recently. Facts are not something Sayer clings too at all.

        • CycloneFarms

          I’m not the least bit surprised.

          People like him will claim, “GMO wheat has higher gluten which has caused an epidemic of Celiac disease” without batting an eye.

    • Justin Couron

      Yeah those horrible toxic chemicals like glyphosate which has an outrageous LD50 of 5000+mg/kg. It’s so dangerous, I mean there aren’t chemicals we regularly ingest on purpose like say caffeine. Hmm what is the LD50 of caffeine? That is at what concentration does caffeine become fatal to 50% of a population. Well according to just about ever source you can find its at a rate of less than 200mg/kg. Notice something about those two numbers. The fact that Glyphosate is orders of magnitude less toxic than caffeine and we willingly consume caffeine. Stop fear mongering and learn some science. You are the Global Warming Denialist/Creationists of the left driven by and ideology of “natural” equals safe or better.

      • Jonathan

        Very good and could you also explain to the class the rest of the Lethal dose levels for all the rest of the insects and water life because for a Bee its 273 µg because after all it is broad spectrum

        • First Officer

          273ug is a lot of glyphosate for a bee to run into. Average worker bee weighs about 95mg. That amount would be equivalent to us downing about 200 grams worth.

          • Jonathan

            The average bee on a collection trip is said to visit 50 to 100 flowers or such so my question is as what level is there harm to a bee? And then all that pollen in the hive what effect is there of that?

          • First Officer

            The maximum spray rate for glyphosate is less than 28mg per square ft of field. (Just enough to kill 50% of 10 bees if those 10 bees ingested it all) The square ft includes the entire corn plant and the ground underneath. So any exposure would be from what little was intercepted by the pollen and nectar of the corn flowers That’s if the corn is sprayed at all at that late stage of growth, when it’s tall and flowering. According to the article below, the farmer is unlikely to wait until then.

            http://www.purdue.edu/uns/html3month/2006/060330.Johnson.roundup.html

          • CycloneFarms

            Herbicide application in corn ends when the corn canopies over. This happens long before the corn goes into reproductive stage, so I don’t see how bees could possibly get any significant exposure to glyphosate.

        • Matthew Slyfield

          Please note that the LD 50 is in dose per kg of body weight. 1 kg is a lot of bees. P.S. I had a dog that died due to an accidental caffeine overdose. How much caffeine do you think it would take to kill 1 kg of bees?

        • Michael Phillips

          I think you are thinking of the Bt protein. Glyphosate is an herbicide, not an insecticide.

      • GreenMedInfo

        Orders of magnitude less toxic than caffeine? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23756170 endocrine disruptive (estrogenic/carcinogenic) activity within the parts-per-trillion range. Yeah, really, really safe Justin.

        • RobertWager

          But glyphosate is neither an endocrine disruptor nor a carncinogen. You really need to read the scientific literature from real science and stop relying on activist literature.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Not sure what literature you are looking at. NCBI references good enough for you Robert? http://www.greenmedinfo.com/toxic-ingredient/glyphosate

          • Rod Herman

            I think you are citing yourself as proof that what you say is true. Do you understand how silly this looks.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Please post some references proving your statements are anything more than industry propaganda.

          • CycloneFarms

            You made the claim that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor and a carcinogen. It’s up to you to prove your claim.

    • Matt

      There are already limits set on acceptable residuals of glyphosate and 2,4-D:

      http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/viewtols.htm

      Meanwhile, some GMO crops dramatically reduce the use of insecticides:

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007094508.htm

      So if you are concerned about the use of agrochemicals, you should be working to promote the use of GMO crops with Bt.

      And if you are concerned about *overuse* of agrochemicals, there are already regulations in place that deal directly with the pesticides. It doesn’t matter whether a crop is GMO or not; they have to meet those standards.

      • Jonathan

        The levels are going up and thats why the EPA increased the residuals of glyphosate in crops aka food! Besides that issue the issue of pesticide synergy and their combined toxicity is a huge issue.

        • Farmer Guy

          cite your blog! Quick!

        • First Officer

          The increased them because Glyphosate just isn’t toxic to us in any quantity that could come our way from farm use. Glyphosate is an herbicide. It kills certain plants. We’re not plants !

    • Neurotic Knight

      Water is a major ingredient of agent Orange, ban it too?

      • hyperzombie

        And Agent Orange was “Sprayed”, if we banned “Sprayers” it would totally solve the problem.

        • Rod Herman

          There is oxygen in Agent Orange too. Banning that would resolve the situation pretty fast.

          • hyperzombie

            LOL…….you crack me up!

      • First Officer

        Ban Oxygen! It’s the main ingredient (by weight) in Carbon Monoxide !

    • aggie

      You don’t want to know what chemicals were used before GM crops….GM crops have allowed farmers to use less amounts of less harmful chemicals such as RoundUp. EDUCATE your opinions!

      • Jonathan

        Really? Thats why glyphosate use has gone up!

        • Farmer Guy

          It went up because it replaced every other herbicide on the market………

          • First Officer

            This really amazes me. I’ve never worked more than a day on a farm in my life and i completely understand the concepts behind glyphosate use. This seems to point to a lack of science and even math education in this country. The above argument only needs basic algebra to understand and, apparently, that is not present here.

          • Michael Phillips

            And more land is dedicated to farming than 50 years ago

        • aggie

          Yes it has gone up, it’s a good thing, the chemicals it has replaced were absolutely horrible, what would you rather see….a farmer in a chemical handling suit & respirator handling old style chemicals that don’t exist anymore because of GMO crops, or a farmer using MUCH safer Glyphosate in regular work clothes because they don’t have to worry about the dangers? Glyphosate tolerant GMOs have made everything safer for EVERYONE, including you & our food supply.

          • Jonathan

            Okay you seem to be missing the point here, Glyphosate is toxic and was made that way! And as far as I know you still have to use protective clothing. Now as for the last part of what you said I have to sit here and shake my head at you. GMO’s have not made everything all better like in the Disney movies and fairytale’s of old. Its created a lot of issues and a big mess and now the only answer is more dangerous chemicals to be used and thats the game plan from now on with this subject.

          • aggie

            “As far as I know” pretty much sums up your education on the entire subject. Are you involved in agriculture in anyway? I am, my info is first hand. You are attacking agricultural sustainability, what is your solution? If you would have actually read my last comment I stated that the more toxic chemicals are no longer in use, Glyphosate is a safe chemical, I don’t have to worry about what I’m handling anymore. The major issue the world has now is that the stupid people are very loud.

          • Jonathan

            Agricultural sustainability eh, that’s a good topic really and do you really think applying huge amounts of toxic chemicals to the soils and altering their microbiology is in any way sustainable? Roundup itself was forced to change its label for the home use kind as it was found that it didn’t break down like they said. Glyphosate is a toxic chemical because that is what they are created to be like I have said! As for the solutions perhaps something on the lines of this: A 75% reduction in herbicide use through integration with sorghum + sunflower extracts for weed management in wheat. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20549775

          • aggie

            75% decrease, Well it looks like you have it figured, come run my farm for me, see if that works on the hundreds of other potential weeds I have to deal with.
            I can argue this topic all day, but it looks like it’s gonna go in circles just because you read something on the Internet/Facebook. I have to get back to seeding my RoundUp Ready Canola, which has increased my yields, decreased my Chemical cost & use, and has made it easier to control noxious weeds, which would make my land unusable. You have no idea what you are talking about, all your information comes from mislead, illinformed BS you read online.

          • Jonathan

            I noticed you side stepped the issue of soil microbiology.

          • aggie

            Lol ok, we get soil tests done on our land every year and there have been no areas of concern in that matter. There has been tests that show that Glyphosate appeared to be directly and rapidly degraded by microbes, even at high application rates, without adversely affecting microbial activity.

          • GreenMedInfo

            LOL. Let’s just pretend like the data on glyphosate depleting the soil of important microbes doesn’t exist. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/un-earthed-monsantos-glyphosate-destroying-soil

          • Michael Phillips

            You side stepped every comment he made

          • GreenMedInfo
          • hyperzombie

            Johnathan, did you actually read the study that you cited? They did use 75% less pesticide, but far more dangerous ones, over 3x more toxic than glyphosate. And they didn’t test the health consequences from mixing toxic herbicides with sunflower extract.

          • Jonathan

            So at least we have gotten to the point of admitting that glyphosate is toxic. And and heres the bombshell they never tested the toxicity of the pesticide adjuvants for toxicity too!

          • hyperzombie

            So at least we have gotten to the point of admitting that glyphosate is toxic.

            Oh course Glyphosate is toxic, but so is water.

            And and heres the bombshell they never tested the toxicity of the pesticide adjuvants for toxicity too!

            BS, they have all been tested. Ya gotta quit getting your info from Naturalnews et al.

          • Jonathan

            It was late last night and I meant combined pesticide toxicity and posted 5 links last night about it but can’t seem to see them today.

          • hyperzombie

            Combined pesticide toxicity,,, Hmmmm. Interesting. Like a 2-4-d/glyphosate mix?

          • Jonathan

            Most toxicity studies from what I could see was based on single pesticides and not combined effects of multiple pesticides.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Let’s not be alarmist here! Toxicity can only be determined by taking one chemical in isolation, because in real-world exposures, that’s all that ever happens. Synergistic toxicity is as fantastical as unicorns and Jewish Popes.

          • Farmer Guy

            I read all of them and I promise you no one is missing out on anything.

            You gave us Seralini and another study which says that if you pour glyphosate and surfactants (soap) onto human cells, in vitro, they will die. Im sorry if you lack the critical thought to understand why I dont respond to either of them.

            Your other 3 studies were about tank mixes involving glyphosate and other toxic chemicals like atrazine. One of them even mentioned organophosphates, which are no longer used in row crop agriculture… Yes, if you mix glyphosate with other chemicals, it becomes toxic.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Yeah, water is SO toxic!!! Thank you zombie. That is just such a profound statement. You’ve really upped the intellectual ante with that one. lol

          • hyperzombie

            Hate to break it to you but water is a toxin.
            Toxicity for water is
            Oral, rat: LD50 = >90 mL/kg;

          • GreenMedInfo

            This is the ‘scientific’ and ‘intellectual’ gravitas this forum brings to the topic. Ok. Time to get on with life. Its been interesting.

          • CycloneFarms

            You’re out of your league here. Go make up some pseudoscience for your website.

          • aggie

            You do realize that Glyphosate is generally applied at a rate of 1 liter over an entire acre right? So concentration is quite dilute….

          • GreenMedInfo
          • RobertWager

            Please tell this forum what exactly in in the sunflower extract. Since thousands of toxic compounds come from plant extracts should we not know exactly what the active compound in that extract is and whether we should worry about its use?

          • GreenMedInfo

            Hold on Jonathan. Your comment is just too radical and anti-scientific for this forum.

          • Jonathan

            Laughing, yeah not enough unicorns right.

          • GreenMedInfo

            LOL. Glyphosate as a tool for sustainability! This is better than Comedy Central. Way to go aggie.

          • Michael Phillips

            I understand your anger and frustration, but I hope you don’t really think people make a concerted effort to make and use chemicals because they are toxic. That sounds paranoid. Glyphosate is very cheap to make because its synthesis is extremely simple. It has very low toxicity compared to other herbicides (and compared to table salt even). It happens to fit into an active site for an enzyme involved in making aromatic amino acids. A slightly different version of the same enzyme from a bacterium is not affected by glyphosate because its shape is little bit different. Protective clothing is necessary for handling any chemical in concentrated form.

          • GreenMedInfo
          • Michael Phillips

            Why do you keep citing your own blog as if it were a source of unbiased information?

          • Rod Herman
          • Jonathan

            One of the main reasons its assumed that Glyphosate does not effect humans is the fact it targets the shikimate pathways and humans don’t use it. But doesn’t the bacteria in our guts use this pathway.

          • Rod Herman

            The effects of glyphosate have been tested in animal studies for over 40 years. One does not need any assumptions to understand the toxicity. If you can convince these animals to show ill effects, then go ahead, but they are not like people who can be convinced that anything is making them sick. That is why double-blind placebo studies are used in humans to separate the “hypochondriac factor” from any physical effects.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Go drink some to demonstrate its safety. Please. Do demonstrate for us.

          • Rod Herman

            I would not drink dish detergent either, but I do use it on my plates and utensils. I do not pour salt down my throat either. We use and eat many things at quantities that are safe, but would be toxic in large quantities. You might benefit from a layman’s toxicology book.

          • GreenMedInfo

            If you are familiar with the concept of endocrine disruption, sometimes lower concentrations of a xenobiotic can be more disruptive or harmful than higher concentrations because instead of a cell undergoing programmed cell death it will alter its phenotype in response. The same concept may apply to low-dose radioisotope exposure and nanoparticles. The old toxicology paradigm needs to adjust to the new facts that have emerged regarding lower concentrations or particle size having in some cases higher toxicity.

          • Michael Phillips

            So are you saying more Roundup would be safer?

          • Rod Herman

            That is why all pesticides and herbicides are tested for endocrine activity. Glyphosate displays none.

          • Jonathan
          • Rod Herman

            You are linking to a well known pro-organic, anti-GMO web site. Try Google Scholar. It filters these out.

          • Jonathan

            How about you reply to what is spoke of in that link seen as the article itself is not about organic food or GMO is it. Its about how animal studies don’t pan out that great for humans concerning toxicity of chemicals.

          • Rod Herman

            If this is a scientific concern, rather than an activist “what if”, then how about you find a peer-reviewed scientific publication on the subject for me to read. Better yet, how about finding a actual confirmed finding of harm to anyone from a GMO after a trillion meals being eaten. I can find plenty of harm originating from organic vegetables and fruit, which are raised on less than 1% of agricultural acres..

          • Jonathan

            It is concerning chemical toxicity studies using animals. Hence the link I posted to which you appear to have run right over. The links you want are in the article and can be found in the references at the bottom.

          • Rod Herman

            Do you know of any scientifically documented case of a GMO hurting anyone?

          • Jonathan

            I see you just don’t want to even touch this subject as you are avoiding what is spoken of in that link.

          • Rod Herman

            I see that the authors of this opinion piece (on an activist site) cherry pick a very small number of papers and misinterpret the mass of literature on safety testing. If they had a valid scientific argument, they could easily publish it in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. I am not going to spend time refuting silly activist banter unrelated to the article which deals with misplaced fear of GMOs.

          • Jonathan

            National Academy of Sciences is peer reviewed also pro GMO, The Journal of Immunology is also peer reviewed and so is the BMJ.

          • Rod Herman

            What they are is pro-science. They say that currently commercialized GMOs are safe. Each new GMO is safety assessed. Is the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also pro-GMO?

          • Jonathan

            yes with the standard 90 day animal feeding study! So whats the issue with the studies then now I brought up the fact they are ALL peer reviewed.

          • Rod Herman

            I am not sure what you are trying to say. If it is that 90-day feeding studies should not typically be required to test GMOs for safety, then we agree. These studies are a waste of animal life for GMOs with a composition that is equivalent to the non-GMO crop like almost all GMO crops. EFSA scientists agreed but the EU politicians over-road them.

          • Jonathan

            In concern of what you say about GMO and none GMO take a look at this study. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf904439y

          • Rod Herman

            This study is a great education opportunity. Thank you for posting it. Breeding efforts of any kind produce lots of lines (GMO or non-GMO). The vast majority of them are unsuitable for cultivation and have all sorts of unintended aberrations. However, once these are weeded out using normal techniques whereby breeders select out the lines with commercial potential, all those aberrant lines are discarded due to having no commercial value. However, those with commercial potential resemble existing commercial lines both in appearance and composition. Of course, non-commercial lines do not (thus their non-commercial potential). The study that you posted illustrates this very well since the authors evaluated aberrant GMO events. Such events would never be candidates for commercialization.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Exactly!

          • Michael Phillips

            Bacterial EPSPS (the enzyme targeted by glyphosate) is different than the plant ortholog. That is why they used the Agrobacterium EPSPS to transform RR plants.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Organic farming doesn’t exist. WE NEED CHEMICALS to grow our food. It is how things were done for millions of years, right?

      • GreenMedInfo

        LOL.

      • GreenMedInfo

        Please do explain what chemicals were used and supplanted by wonderful, safe, edible Roundup aggie. Please do explain.

    • hyperzombie

      Yeah and organic farming is so much better for the environment.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuuSJf8JHq4

      • First Officer

        Those must be zero carbon, solar powered flames.

      • First Officer

        So, that’s how they grow organic popcorn !

        • hyperzombie

          ROTFLOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so funny. :-)

    • Farmer Guy

      What is sad and irresponsible is your ridiculous blog website where you propagate misinformation to masses of equally uneducated ninnies.

      History is going to LAUGH at you, mark my words.

    • Michael Phillips

      Please explain how harmless proteins become antigens (I assume you mean allergens?) just because they passed through a laboratory.

      • Michael Phillips

        GreenMedInfo, you have been pretty snarky and offensive in this thread. Care to redeem yourself by answering the above question or is this the image of your movement you wish to leave us with?

    • marque2

      Agent orange was a mix of two chemicals – one which affects the growth of broad leaf plants (dicots) 2-4D and the other which affected the growth of grassy plants (monocots) 2-4-5 T. It was the 2-4-5T which caused all the problems. In fact 2-4D is by far the most common weed killer in “weed and feed” fertilizers that are dreamed safe enough for the average idiot to apply by himself. Though its use in sprays has declined because newer netter chemicals now exist.

      So your scare story – it was used in Agent Orange – is false logic.

      • Michael Phillips

        It was likely dioxins in Agent Orange that caused human health problems but agreed othewise.

        • marque2

          Could be dioxins – but the 2 4 5 T was banned because of potential human side effects. 2 4 D is still with us.

          • Michael Phillips

            Noted and thanks.

    • Benjamin Edge

      When you mention Agent Orange as an argument, you lose all credibility.

  • Bearpants42

    I’d just like to point out that discovermagazine.com has adds on it pointing to GMO/Frankenfood scare websites. It’s a bit of a mixed message.

    • bobito

      The adds are google ads (hover and look at the URL). So they are based on your own preferences…

      • Bearpants42

        Website admins can impact what kind of sites show up on Google ads.

        • bobito

          If their was a “block crazy conspiracy theory websites” option I’m sure they would select it.

          • Bearpants42

            It never hurts to point it out. I’d do the same if porn or hate speech sites snuck through.

          • Matthew Slyfield

            As pointed out above, those are Google adds. If you are seeing adds for porn and hate speech sites it’s because you’re doing Google searches for porn and hate speech.

        • marque2

          Not so much. The ads are algorithmic based on parsing of the article and any cookies you have which show viewing and search preferences.

  • marcbrazeau

    I see Bittman’s shift as part of a general trend. The labeling movement, by calling the question, has forced journalists to actually do their homework on the issue rather than trade in he said/she said reporting. (Witness the editorial board scorecards for 37 and 522)

    Anti-GMO groups may win some victories via labeling campaigns in the short run, but they are alienating journalists and sending the grown ups in the Food Movement scrambling for higher ground.

    • GreenMedInfo

      Yeah, why should we implement informed consent? You shouldn’t have to know what you are eating, or exposed to. It’s absolutely communist and anti-American to demand such a thing.

      • Ce Gzz

        you eat pasta and bread? well you are eating wheat that was modified with mutagenesis, thanks to X ray or gamma ray. When will you demand that those go labeled? Heck, why they don’t put the chemicals they are exposed to (herbicides and insecticides).

  • Michael Freeman

    What about the bees! What about the bees, flowers and birds. Nobody has mentioned one bee and this is part of the argument being played out in social media against GMO. What about the bees!

  • JH

    Parallels between Smith and McKibben? :)

  • Justin Couron

    This fear mongering was predicted when the USDA allowed the creation of the organic label. In the early 2000s several organizations noted that the creation of an organic label would be used to spread fear about anything not “organic”. Look at where we are today where we find snack foods with half a dozen labels describing them as Gluten Free, GMO Free, No MSG, No TransFat, Sustainably grown, Natural. None of these labels saying outright that other products are dangerous but infer it by simply having the label.

    • Peg Wolfe

      Imply, not infer. They imply, you infer.

    • fairyweb1 .

      i want to know what is and is not going in my food. why does that imply i want to be in involved in scaremongering ???

      • Matthew Slyfield

        Why? See this comment for an explanation: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/05/09/gmo-fear-train-left-station/#comment-1378940488

        Simply labeling something as GMO actually conveys a negative amount of information.

      • Rod Herman

        You can want whatever philosophical labeling that your heart desires, and the market can serve your needs on a voluntary basis, but everyone else is not required to pay for it, just like voluntary organic, grass-fed, non-GMO, and kosher labels.

        • Katherine Schmidt Edmund

          If glyphosate were available in a salt shaker, would you sprinkle it on your food?

          • Rod Herman

            No, but when I rented out some of my fields, it was the only chemical that I allowed to be sprayed after GMO crops were commercialized. My house and well are on the property, and I have children, so I set the safety bar pretty high.

          • CycloneFarms

            If common sense were available in a salt shaker, would you sprinkle it on your food?

          • Bongstar420

            Obviously not

    • GreenMedInfo

      Fear mongering? It is called the precautionary principle. It means that unless we know that a new, novel technology is safe we must exercise caution. And why? Because our children are being affected and we care. That simple.

      • RobertWager

        Please tell us what tests not already done you would like to see added to the evaluation process for GE crops and why.

        • Katherine Schmidt Edmund

          I’d like to see studies not funded by those profiting from GM technology.

          The frequently cited claim published on the internet is that several hundred studies “document the general safety and nutritional wholesomeness of GM foods and feeds”. While examination of the studies “reveals that many do not provide evidence of GM food safety and, in fact, some provide evidence of a lack of safety. Read on for detail @

          http://www.ensser.org/increasing-public-information/no-scientific-consensus-on-gmo-safety/

          • CycloneFarms

            ENSSER is a joke.

          • Rod Herman

            They are not even honest with their name. They formed as an anti-GMO activist organization and then chose a “sciency” name in an attempt to get credibility. How sad that folks fall for this.

          • RobertWager

            You link to the anti-GMO group that has been demonstrated to mislead and out right lie to the public to counter the opinions of every food safety authority, every health authority and every National Academy of Science in the world that ALL state GE crops and derived food are safe. Interesting pov.

          • Katherine Schmidt Edmund

            site your source

          • Benjamin Edge
          • Bongstar420

            *cite

            as derived from “citation”

          • Bongstar420

            I like to see a reason why Monsanto has legal protection that Pfizer does not?

            The last time I looked, pharmaceutical lawsuits are about as common as water in Canada. Why aren’t people suing GMO companies for their maladies that are “clearly” the result of eating GMO’s (never mind what kind).

      • RobertWager

        Europe uses the PP for their political decisions (their science agrees with the rest of the world) on food. Here is the opinion of the European National Academies of Science on this:

        The misuse of the
        precautionary
        principle has
        led to restrictive legislation and both
        a political and market mistrust of genetically
        modified organisms (GMOs).

        This has
        had a profound chilling effect
        on both public
        and private. EASAC 2013
        investment for European agricultural
        research

      • RobertWager

        Your fear is real, the reasons for it are not.

      • Matthew Slyfield

        The precautionary principle is two lies for the price of one. It is neither truly precautionary nor has it ever been applied in a principled manner.

        There are two major problems with the precautionary principle.

        1. The precautionary principle treats safety as an absolute binary condition, something is safe or it is not. This is a completely false. Safety is always relative, nothing, not even standing completely still and doing nothing but breathing is completely safe to the degree demanded by the precautionary principle.

        2. In demanding that anyone proposing A prove that A is safe, the precautionary principle completely ignores the possibility that even if A isn’t 100% safe that it is safer than not A.

        • GreenMedInfo

          So, instead, let’s determine ‘an acceptable level of harm’ by killing 50% of a test group of rodents and then extrapolating from there, based on human body weight, what can be tolerated ‘safely.’ Genius! Pure genius!

          • Matthew Slyfield

            Even something as simple, ubiquitous and necessary for life as water couldn’t meet the safety standard you are demanding of GMOs.

          • RobertWager

            That’s their agenda. Im[possible standards therefore a defacto ban on the technology

          • Matthew Slyfield

            I know that, but it would be nice to make them admit it.

          • Bongstar420
          • Bongstar420

            Many natural water sources definitely would be considered pollution. Some are completely deadly with out being touched by the “evil” hands of a hominid.

          • Benjamin Edge

            That is done with pesticides, but it includes a safety factor of about 100 or 1000x. The thing is with GMOs, the same amount of conventional food would exhibit the same negative effects, if any, because there is so little difference between them. I’m still waiting for the photos of Seralini’s control rats.

          • Bongstar420

            Rats in cancer studies are bred to have high cancer rates so that clear results can be presented. No one studies wild rats to prove something causes cancer.

    • Bongstar420

      It is good branding if anything. That is for sure.

  • RobertWager

    How does the saying go? A fear story is half way around the world before the truth gets its pants on…

  • RobertWager

    What the GE food label push is really all about:

    }“How– and how quickly – can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2% market niche, to the dominant force in American food and farming?
    “The first step is to change our labeling laws.

    Ronnie Cummins
    ◦https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/02-0

    “Personally, I believe GM foods must be banned entirely, but labeling is the most efficient way to achieve this”

    Dr. Joseph Mercola

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/29/new-vermont-gmo-labeling-policy-officially-introduced.aspx

    “We are going to force them to label this food. If we have it labeled we can organize people not to buy it.”

    Andrew Kimbell-Center for Food Safety http://www.activistcash.com/person/1562-andrew-kimbrell/

    • GreenMedInfo

      Your input is appreciated.

  • Jeff Clothier

    OMG – They’re spraying dihydrogen monoxide on our food!

    • hyperzombie

      Oh no, think of the children!

      • GreenMedInfo

        You think that’s funny? Sick F@#$@#

        • hyperzombie

          Hell yeah, its is hilarious.

          dihydrogen monoxide is water.

          Sodium chloride is table salt.

          Oh and you green people have no sense of humor.

          • Matthew Slyfield

            Alas, I have but one up-vote to give.

          • Ce Gzz

            actually common salt is more toxic when overused.

      • GreenMedInfo

        Yeah, because children are guinea pigs. Thanks for the clarification.

    • Matthew Slyfield

      It’s not just on the food, it’s in the food. It’s in the tap water and the lakes and rivers. It’s in the air, it’s everywhere.

    • Jeffn

      It get much worse. Do you know what canneries and restaurants do with GMO foods? They put sodium chloride on it! Sodium chloride is a preservative and so-called flavor enhancer that is know to be extremely dangerous to people! Who will stop these murderous corporate greedheads!

  • Jeff Clothier

    Just labelling something “GMO” is meaningless. What matters is whether there is any resultant risk factor – unique chemical substances – present in the end-user consumer product, and what those demonstrated risks precisely are, and to what degree. Current food labelling should and does list actual ingredients and, in many cases, advise of known risks.

    This is unsatisfactory to conspiracy theorists who hope “Contains GMOs” will be a scarlet letter tainting the technology.

    If GMO-free is desireable, it stands to reason that food producers who do not use the technology would feature that fact in their labelling, making it easy for food-finicky buyers to locate “GMO-free” foods.

    • Michael Phillips

      Thanks for using the scarlet letter metaphor, one I prefer to characterize the labeling movement. I wish it were used more, as it provides the answer to the highly disingenuous question “If they are so proud of this technology, why not label it?”. Well, if they’ve demonized the label, they ought to understand why food companies oppose bearing the scarlet letter.

      • Jeff Clothier

        It fits. Food fundamentalists have no problem “knowing what’s in their food.” It’s all about using the force of government to make food producers do their own negative marketing.

      • Rod Herman

        I also want to know why organic producers do not proudly label their food “produced with processed poop”?

      • RobertWager

        Or “Uncle Joe’s Certified Organic”-made with ionizing radiation mutagenesis.

    • Bongstar420

      They do. They are also expecting increased sales from implementing “GMO” because they more people will move to out of sheer lack of understanding and erring with traditionalism as normal “non-GMO” labels.

  • bmc

    If find the use of the word hysteria an assumption to use the word hysteria. Really that is just a strategic word used to discredit.

    Whatever one feels about GMOs the bottom line is that people have a right to know what they are eating. It is a right and there is no question, no back and forth, no negotiation.

    Demanding one’s rights be respected and upheld is hardly hysterical. It is rational completely rational and it is one’s duty.

    • Rod Herman

      This is not a right. The right is to have mandatory labeling based on health, nutrition, and safety, and this right is enforced by the FDA is the USA. We do not label food or pharmaceuticals in this country based on a public vote. When you need medical advice do you ask your mechanic? Do you ask your doctor for help fix your car? Mandatory labels in the USA are determined by trained scientists at the FDA. Voluntary labels are allowed as long as they are accurate and that claims are substantiated by scientific evidence. That is why you see no health claims on organic food. They are not permitted in the absence of scientific evidence to support them.

  • bmc

    I’ve edited 3 times and this stupid site does not seem to be saving my edits. I was in a rush, so if my comment does not read smoothly, my apologies. I did try several times to edit.

    • hyperzombie

      Thanks for the effort, and welcome to the conversation :-)

  • bmc

    After editing 3 times and not having it saved, then writing a comment apologizing for the typos, I now cannot find my original comment. I guess this is to be expected from such a site.

    • Michael Phillips

      It is disqus, not this site. Try preparing your message in a text editor, update your browser, and try to post again. Also, check for incompatible add-ons/plugins. I hope you manage to get it to work.

  • bmc

    I find the use of the word hysteria an assumption. Really it is just a strategic word used to discredit.

    Whatever one feels about GMOs, the bottom line is that people have a
    right to know what they are eating. It is a right. There is no question,
    no back and forth, no negotiation about it.

    Demanding one’s rights be respected and upheld is hardly hysterical. It is completely rational, and it is one’s duty.

    • Farmer Guy

      I agree. Morons with irrational fears of plant breeding technologies should absolutely be free to choose whatever appeases their naturalistic fallacies………

      Which is why there was an entire new agency created and a subsidized labeling program begun. Also, you now have the Non-GMO verified label among others. You do NOT get a label mandated by a govt of a rational society, SORRY. The rest of us will not be forced to live in your fantasy world.

    • hyperzombie

      But do you really know what you are eating? Food is chemicals and they are never labeled, so according to your logic eggs should have the following label.

      • Matthew Slyfield

        “Food is chemicals”

        Everything is chemicals.

      • Matthew Slyfield

        A lot of the ant-GMO crowd are vegetarian, you might get more traction with a list of ingredients for an all-natural carrot.

    • Michael Phillips

      Than why label something as “GMO” at all? It is meaningless. All crops are genetically modified. No labeling initiative has ever proposed actually labeling what the genetic modification is. It is just a scare label to help one industry sector unfairly (the organic/natural foods industry). Promoter, coding sequence, enzyme activity, copy number…this is the information that you ought to be demanding if you truly wanted to know, but I think you really just want to shop without fear, no? Do you think it necessary to also label traditional crops as modified relative to their wild cousins? Are you sure you aren’t just expressing your hatred of corporations?

  • TheNomadicFamily

    for me, it is a good news :D nice article Keith :)
    http://www.faraweek.org

  • falstaff77

    Well done.

  • Kevin Hill

    Apparently Bittman has changed his mind. Why mock him for it? I wish more people were open to changing their positions as they become educated. I wonder if you are as open minded?

  • David Zuckerman

    As an organic farmer, and a lead sponsor of the legislation in Vermont, I want to chime in on a couple of points.

    1) This year I have seen two very important articles that are great myth busters regarding the greatness of GMO technology. One was in a conventional farming magazine called “Successful Farming”. The gist of the article was that in Tennessee alone, farmers were going to spend over $120 million more on herbicides than they had the year before because they had so overused glyphosate resistant crops, that there were major weeds that had become resistant. Now they are going to need to use concoctions like they used in the 80′s to get ahead of the weeds. So, by having the technology unregulated (either by government or the industry), they have overused their “benign” tool (glyphosate) to the point of needing far more quantity and far more toxic herbicides. So I think that throws the “this is better for the environment” argument out the window.

    2) Just recently in the Wall Street Journal there was an article about the corn root borer becoming resistant to the BT toxin. Once again, over use, and now genetically resistant bugs are starting to show up (just as many of us “alarmists” raised as an issue many years ago).

    As an organic producer, I find it fascinating when non farmers tell the world that all of these tools are necessary in order to produce food. That is simply not the case. Then we get into the “feed the world” argument. But the reality is, if we simply ate less meat (and yes…I raise and eat meat) as a society and if we worked to actually solve world hunger problems where they are, then we would get these problems solved a lot faster. People are hungry in the world because of distribution problems and governmental, or ethnic troubles, more so than because there is not enough food in the world. No one needs to get overly excited for or against GMO’s. But they are not going to save the world. And if their use means reducing the viable tools (by overusing the BT gene for instance) for judicious low spray farmers than it should be an option for consumers to make that decision.

    • Michael Phillips

      Transgenic crops can be grown organically. They are called orgenics. The only thing stopping it is an ideology you are perpetuating. I find it sad your movement relies on such awful sources of information like Jeffery Smith. Can you say here you support his arguments based on the science?

      • First Officer

        Proof that the Vermont GMO labeling law and bills like it are nothing more than unabashed luddism.

    • Rod Herman

      Lets pull back the carefully worded propaganda and ignorance just a little bit.

      1) The maximum rate of glyphosate is set by the EPA, Farmers cannot legally apply more than this. Weed resistance to glyphosate has required application of more glyphosate over what was used before glyphosate resistance appeared, but the use of glyphosate, even at maximum allowable application levels, is still much more environmentally benign than the herbicides that it replaced (in the 90s, not the 80s).

      2) Insecticide resistance has occurred to every insecticide ever used, including the organic Bt insectide that comes in plastic bottles (before Bt was ever engineered into GMOs). Resistance to Bt produced in GMO crops (using solar energy) was no surprise, and the EPA required management plans to be in place before resistance ever occurred, to delay resistance, Nothing is known to prevent it. “Alarmists”, like you, do not mention that GMO Bt crops still works great in most locations and against most pests, dramatically reducing insecticide use. In addition, other GMOs still control rootworm (not corn root borer as you wrote) just fine, and new actives are in development.

      Telling folks not to eat so much meat and not to have so many babies is great, but that does not mean that we should not try to make agriculture more productive so that we do not have to tear up more wildlife habitat using lower yielding methods. Organic does not yield what conventional methods do, even if you keep saying it over and over again, as this recent paper in the journal Nature summarizes.

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v485/n7397/full/nature11069.html%3FWT.ec_id=NATURE-20120510

      GMOs will not be successful alone, but they can help compliment political and behavioral changes. Organic production requires that only a limited number of production tools be used (which includes some insecticides and synthetic chemicals), while conventional agriculture allows all these same tools plus many more. We (mostly my wife) have grown high-intensity vegetables and sold them at farmers markets for 20 years right next to organic growers, except that we sell more at a higher price based on quality and environmental stewardship. This high yield and efficiency has allowed us to develop most of land as wildlife habitat. Agricultural fields, including organic fields, are very poor wildlife habitat. Spreading lower yielding agriculture over more land is environmentally irresponsible, but not as irresponsible as deceiving folks with half truths..

    • First Officer

      It has been posted many times that bt resistance was observed before bt gmo’s made their debut. As far as overusing glyphosate, it should be noted that corn has always been resistant to altrazine and you can’t tell me that some farmers, being human, only started overusing just glyphosate. So we went from some overuse of altrazine to some overuse of glyphosate, a much,much better situation.

      As an Organic Farmer, who does stand to materially gain from the Vermont GMO labeling law, you know you are restricted to no new compounds. So, eventually, and especially if Organic production became the mainstay, pests will evolve against the entire organic tool bag. You’ll then be trying nothing new and be all out of ideas. Under such a regime, you’ll get your less meat scenario as meat will become much more expensive to raise. This will cause a huge drop in manure produced for that dominate organic farming, leaving us with no choice but to expand farmlands to make up the difference in the lack of fertilizer.

      As a side note, organic farming gets a huge nitrogen input from synthetic fertilizers as the manure they use comes largely from animals fed conventional grains.

      And yes, we technically grow enough food to feed the world today. But such an attitude that we need not raise yields because of that is tantamount to say to first wait for many more poeple to starve and then raise yields. As a farmer you well know that you make hay while the sun shines.

      You rail against petsicide overuse but you champion a GMO labeling law rather than a pesticide labeling law. This is regardless if said GMO’s were raised without pesticides and/or are simply nutritionally enhanced GMO’s like Golden Rice. This tips your hand showing that GMO labeling laws are nothing but unadulterated luddism, at best, and unabashed fear marketing and competition ellimnation by decree for the benefit of organic producers at worst.

      • David Zuckerman

        I appreciate the feedback. Actually, it is quite clear that organic producers are benefiting from no labeling as the only alternatives for those that want to avoid GMO are either organic certified products (although admittedly there is no guarantee that might not have been cross pollinated) or GMO free verified. Both of those are often quite a bit more expensive for the consumer. In the event that the court challenge fails, there will then be another option for consumers which is conventional products that are not made with GMO ingredients. With the labeling requirements, it will be far easier for those consumers to make that decision. So in fact, there is a group of consumers who are buying organic today that will not need to purchase organic tomorrow. So I think the conclusion that this is for organic farmers benefit is actually not true. I do not think it is a large portion of organic buyers today, so I don’t think the change will be large one way or the other. But I did want to address that charge.

        As far as glyphosate overuse, sure, better that than Atrazine (not altrazine). However, the total system has not learned from this kind of mistake over and over. It is time for the chemical companies and industrial ag. model to wake up and start learning about rotating crops and other techniques so that we can use our effective tools indefinitely rather than trying to stay ahead of the evolution that is bound to occur.

        As far the organic tools becoming obsolete, that shows how little you know about what we do. Part of organic production is about rotating crops, tools etc., so as not to develop the pests, diseases, or other challenges that come with repeated monocropping. Sadly, there are industrial organic farms that are trying to capitalize on the term organic without really practicing what it means beyond the official label. With the NOSB allowing more and more practices that allow for “industrial” organic farming practices, this will only get worse.

        With respect to working on other issues (pesticide labeling etc.) I am not sure if you have reviewed the various issues I have worked on over the years. Maybe you have. But please do not assume that I only work on one issue at a time. In fact, this could be said for Bittmans article as well. This is one issue. There are many. I am taking on this agricultural issue as well as other issues (both agricultural and other topics).

        As far as golden rice, I would far rather we look at what naturally occurring vegetative matter used to grow in those regions and enhance the use of that. Part of what has happened across the world is that wild acreage gets brought into mass agricultural production, thus eliminating the diversity of diet that once occurred. Look at our own grain belt, there are few areas with non-managed land. Also, it would be far less expensive and far less controlling if companies like Monsanto were to donate their profits to actually feeding the world, or transporting nutritional supplements if that was what they really wanted to do.

        My goal is far from starving people as you imply. And I think that sort of charge is beneath what you can be. I am always trying to increase my efficiency and yields. Our farm is also very involved with a number of systems to get nutritional food to those who need it. My point is not that we should sit by and watch people starve, but that we need to be honest about recognizing why people are hungry and look at the bigger picture. I always find it interesting as we all sit at our computers typing comfortably in heated or air conditioned space to perfect comfort discussing about how there are hungry people in the world. There are many many things that we all could be doing that would be far more effective measures to deal with world hunger…but alas…people do not want to sacrifice our own comfort in order to help others…a very sad statement about our society.

        • First Officer

          I’m Sorry Mr. Zuckerman but i don’t buy that GMO labeling is about the right to know. For one, it’s about as much right as knowing if Sara Lee used Rome, McIntosh, or Braeburn apples in their apple strudel as opposed to, “apples”.

          It costs more for practicing Jewish and Muslim families to buy kosher and halal prepared and labeled food. I can make the same case it would be cheaper if everyone in the world labeled what is not kosher and halal for them.

          Two, this Storify from Mem_somerville sums it up pretty well what it’s really about:

          http://t.co/CeHKPH7RJS

          It is about increasing market share by the likes of Ben and Jerry’s, Chipolte, and Whole Foods. It’s about the Jeff Smiths and Mike Adams’ of the world increasing their political power and marketing their questionable concoctions. It’s about taking over an industry and forcing out all who don’t conform to their naturalistic ideology. They pick GMO’s because, more than any other biotech that came before, it holds the promise of incredibly cheap, nutritious food for all. But it is technology that did not on its own spring forth from the earth without human thought and intention behind it. Since the Ionians of ancient Greece, there has always been groups of people who find such advancements irrationally offensive, not the will of the gods or nature. So, please, don’t pee on our legs and then tell us its raining.

          As far as the farming practices you mentioned, they can and do work equally well with GMO’s. And, yes, even these techniques, evolution will find ways around them. There are weeds that mimic the look of rice plants to evade manual weeding. Again you mention our dependence on pesticides but go after technology that is independent of pesticides. Your labeling law applies equally to GMO’s with pesticides or without, applied externally or not. Organic farming also uses its fair share of pesticides even with those other techniques, some fairly more toxic in the quantities used than the synthetics. You may have worked on pesticides but your actions speak louder than your words.

          I have to say your paragraph on Golden Rice dosn’t seem to be grounded in the reality of the situation. VAD has been a huge problem for hundreds of years and the reason why farming is so widespread in SE Asia is because of the huge populations and because of the rather low yields of subsistance farming. The paragraph is also a bit hypocritical to suggest they need only go back to what may grow locally, which they have been doing for the past few millennia. How many of the crops grown in Vermont are native to Vermont? Certainly not corn or wheat and not even those sweet Vermont apples. Even those free ranging chickens originate is S.E. Asia.

          So, rather than fighting Golden Rice, because and ony because it’s a GMO, it needs to be added to the VAD fighting toolkit as soon as possible. even if it saves only 10% more, that’s still be 50 to 100 thousand lives per year.

          I too find it interesting that comfortable, well fed people are on their computers doing all they can to permamently stop this wonderful technology that is already helping to feed the world. In example, mostly GM-free Europe can’t feed itself while GM America pick up the slack.

          http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/09/24/the-italian-job-farmers-facing-insect-infestation-pay-dearly-for-europes-anti-gm-stance/

          http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2013/05/should-world-keep-feeding-europe.html

          And we didn’t even get into the constitutional problems with this law.

          • David Zuckerman

            Thank you for the thoughtful (although again, a bit charged) response. I have no issues with those of you who support GMO technology. I will admit, I overstepped in my response. My main point is simply that people should be able to choose. You disagree. I also believe there is science to show that there are some questions about health and environmental issues. You disagree. While we disagree we will continue to also disagree whether people should have the choice to be a part of this scientific experiment (which may turn out to have good and bad results).

            There are some major bread baskets around the world; China, Ukraine, US, Brazil, that tend to feed much of the rest of the world where the population is bigger than the carrying capacity of the soil and the land area. That has been the case since long before GMO technology and will continue long after.

            I do not use rotenone or pyrethrins. Not all organic farmers are the same, just as not all conventional farmers are the same.

            I am also curious, what do you do for a living? My jobs are very clear. I am curious if you work in the industry? Or are you interested because of your interest in food issues in general?

          • First Officer

            I admit i can get passionate defending science. I am an engineer, electrical by degree and i’m in manufacturing, responsible for procedures, processes, test equipment, test software and, ironically, production and product labels. I can tell you first hand that labeling really is not a trivial matter, the least of which is the actual printing of such.

            You say people have a right to choose and a right to information. I agree. But the right to information does not mean the right to demand the dislosure of any information you may want. People have the right to remain silent too. I did say people, not corporations, but corporations, and all businesses are organizations of people and they don’t check all their rights at the entrance when they report to work. As was already decided in the rBST case, the consumer does not have the right to any and all information he or she may think he or she deserves. If it were so, there would be no limit to the types and numbers of disclosures that could be demanded. There is also the balance of what society may gain from GMO labeling vs. what the producers of such may bear to disclose. We already seen the in the EU, where such labeling is largely the law, how GMO labeling has led to activists threatening boycotts of stores if they dared to sell GMO foodstuffs. As laready demonstrated, anti-GMO groups have clearly and loudly proclaimed their intent to use such labeling for the total ellimination of GMO’s in food and, for some groups, even in medicine. And for what? They are safe and, “may (or does) contain GMO’s”, tells you absolutely nothing about what kind or how much it is, or how it was farmed or raised. It is also worthless as a tracking tool. It doesn’t even create a new choice as that has already been created through the Organic and GM-free private labels, just like the aforementioned Kosher or Halal. We are no more part of a science experiment than we are when restaurant chefs change or try new recipes. Even less so as years of testing go into each and every GMO before they are commercialized.

            You may in fact only be advocating GMO labeling just so people may know but the groups that have supported the passing of this law are then using you as a stepping stone for their goal of a total ban. And, for people like Jeff Smith and the Natural Law party, food is only the first step in implementing their worldview.

            P.S. China is now a major importer of corn and soybeans.

        • Rod Herman

          There are higher priced foods labeled non-GMO too. They not only cost more due to the labels, but also because it costs more to exclude modern agricultural tools from production. It is simply not morally right to require a mandatory label on something that is compositionally equivalent and as safe as its unlabeled counterpart, It does however work well in a political campaign to frighten folks and then rush to the rescue with a solution to an imaginary problem that you helped create. Shame on you!

          https://www.facebook.com/davezuckermanvt

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Zuckerman_(politician)

        • First Officer

          One point i did not pick up before is the notion that forced GMO labeling will not benefit organic growers and GM-free food producers, but may actually hurt their sales. This is only true if no stigma or effort to boycott the GMO products. Through such boycotting, organic growers and GM-free food producers may become the only producers in the market, like it is in the EU. Therefore, for the organic producers, they may lose market share on a percentage basis, but their take would still be greatly enhanced from the much bigger pie to be had.

          • David Zuckerman

            Thank you for your responses. On this point, I only spoke to the issue of organic producers. I actually do think the non GMO conventional folks stand to gain from this type of labeling. So I am not in disagreement with your point above. I was just trying to clarify that our business was not in such a position.

            Again, it is also up to the consumer to decide what they want to purchase. If the GMO producers (who have far more marketing money) want to proactively market their product then labeling should not be an issue. If others want to argue against it so be it. But there is far more money behind promotion than detraction.

    • mem_somerville

      So Bt resistance was observed before GMOs. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.en.39.010194.000403?journalCode=ento

      Should farmers like you stop using it? I mean–if resistance is the key metric, you need to abandon it right now.

    • http://pdiff.weebly.com/ Pdiff

      FYI, this is the SF article Zuckerman is referring to: http://www.agriculture.com/crops/pesticides/herbicides/120000000-pest-thats-just-one-state_179-ar34725 .

      It points out that the problem was misuse, against extension recommendations, not overuse. It also states that before GM, TN farmers were using ” two postemergence shots of glyphosate” anyway, hence resistance would have developed there from continued use of this practice sans GM. This type of problem has nothing to do with GM (or any other specific ag) technology. It is a management problem, as is the rootworm resistance Zuckerman mentions later.

      • David Zuckerman

        While you indicate it was the farmers fault for not listening to extension etc., the tool they were sold with marketing by seed dealers etc. is that it was too good to be true. The seed companies were warned that there would be resistance (pests and weeds) if their product was introduced and overused. People indicated they thought it would be 15 years. The companies themselves said they thought it would be more like 7-10. But that by then, they would have new tools. So they were well aware that there would be abuse, overuse, etc., but not to worry. Why not, along with their instructions, make it very clear that they would only allow the sale of certain traits to be done on an every other year basis or some other governor to make it all work better longer? The reason is called patents and profits. They only could profit off of glyphosate resistant crops so long as they had the time limited patents. So they wanted to milk their product for all the profits they could.

        • mem_somerville

          So are you saying we shouldn’t believe the pitches of organic salespeople, or folks tied to that industry?

          • David Zuckerman

            Not sure where you are going with this? I was talking about the overuse of the GMO technology…

  • Aidan Benelle

    93% of Americans when polled support GMO labeling.

    In 2014, more than 60 bills have been introduced in 23 states requiring GMO labeling or prohibiting genetically engineered foods.

    Now its time for Kraft, Monsanto, DuPont, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association to get out of the way and allow the American consumer to have the same rights to GMO labeling and food transparency as – 64 other countries do today.

    • RobertWager

      How many of those told the consumer that in order to have such labels the cost of their food would go up 10%? I am betting none.

      Care to discuss this shortcoming of such polls?

      • Aidan Benelle

        From the New York Times:

        Americans overwhelmingly support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered, according to a New York Times poll conducted this year, with 93 percent of respondents saying that foods containing such ingredients should be identified.

        Three-quarters of Americans expressed concern about genetically modified organisms in their food, with most of them worried about the effects on people’s health.

        Thirty-seven percent of those worried about G.M.O.’s said they feared that such foods cause cancer or allergies, although scientific studies continue to show that there is no added risk.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/science/strong-support-for-labeling-modified-foods.html?_r=0

        • Rod Herman

          I am sure that Americans overwhelmingly support a one-million dollar check being sent to every citizen too. That is why we have a representative government and why scientists at the FDA are in charge of mandatory food and drug labels. You go ahead and take a web vote the next time your child gets sick. I’ll consult a medical professional.

          • Aidan Benelle

            A good product will never need 5000 comments to justify it Mr Herman

          • Rod Herman

            It took a long time and a lot of “comments” to convince the masses that the earth is not flat too. Over one in three Americans still do not accept an “old earth” or evolution of species. Perhaps you can post a single comment to all the creationists explaining the evidence for evolution that will succeed where others have failed?

          • CycloneFarms

            And you repeat the same debunked garbage over and over and over again.

            At least Rod Herman knows what he’s talking about. Unlike you.

          • RobertWager

            So 18 million farmers growing GE crops and over 400 million acres planted this year says what about the farmers of the world adopting this technology?

  • RAndrewOhge

    Obviously this blog is a private club for pro-gm commentary.

    As a Consumer, I want the Freedom of Choice, and old-school American Ideal that managed to work for many decades.

    Oh yeah, being responsible for my own choices puts more pressure on me, and I risk making a bad choice every now and again, but the alternative, is a Bureaucracy easily bought and controlled by big money, anyway-so what kind of choices does THAT offer?

    None.

    You want ME to pony up MY money for your crap?

    Tell me what I buying, or hit the bricks. Mom advised me when but a small child to “NEVER buy a pig in a poke.” [Smart woman, my Mom.]

    • RobertWager

      You already have the choice. Look for non-gmo labels, organic labels or GMO-free labels if you want food without ingredient derived from GE crops.

    • Michael Phillips

      “…private club…”
      Not at all. I welcome your comments, as long as you can convey them in a rational tone and explain your thoughts without resorting to hate speech like your movement leaders GreedMedInfo and Sayer Ji.

      • RAndrewOhge

        Reality Speech-not hate speech…and speaking of hate speech, I hate to tell you, but the fake reality of Patent Snake-Oil Gene Products is crumbling around the world. REAL Bio-science has eclipsed it with Quantum Level Tech that does NOT require the out-dated practice of “gene splicing”…FORTY PLUS years out of date. Not only is THAT horse dead, it’s ghost is laughing at Monsanto and their BFF’s for pretending to the world that they actually practice science. LMAO!

        • Michael Phillips

          Quantum level tech bioscience? Sounds like Deepak Chopra.

          • RAndrewOhge

            Sounds like YOU have NO clue what’s going on with the very science you claim to be championing…how sad for you.

          • CycloneFarms

            There’s a bed at Oakdale with your name on it.

          • RAndrewOhge

            Ah…the typical last resort of the disqualified. I bet you said that when you were in 3rd grade. You haven’t come very far it seems.

          • Michael Phillips

            Imagine what it is like for professional scientists to have to listen to types like you

          • RAndrewOhge

            Fortunately, those are people who wouldn’t likely be friends of YOURS. Of course, YOU sound like YOU’RE from the intellectual high ground…NOT.

  • GreenMedInfo

    There are so many trolls in here it feels like a scene from Tolkein’s Hobbit…

    • Aidan Benelle

      You are 100% right.
      Just five (5) of these trolls posting here today have a combined past pro GMO commentary of more than
      16,000 comments,
      Their orchestrated attempts to control the GM narrative is obscene

      • GreenMedInfo

        Its hilarious. These folks reference “Science” as if it were a pagan God, and pretend like chemicals are the elixir of life, without which we would all be dead. What a joke and waste of time. So, I wonder who is trolling who. A lot of time wasted here, while the real activists are getting the word out in the real world where it counts. : )

        • Aidan Benelle

          Their focus is to confuse, manipulate and overwhelm every discussion on GM when essentially the world has decided to labeled because the long term safety issues are still pending.

          • GreenMedInfo

            Honestly, I do not know how they sleep at night. Many of them have children, I suspect. I guess to them their jobs, their comfortably numbed lives take precedence over protecting our children.

          • First Officer

            Very well, knowing science has reduced childhood mortality many, many fold.

          • RobertWager

            How many were children in the organic bean sprout contamination episode that killed fifty people in Europe? How many of the 3000 that were infected were children? How many of the 1000+ that have permanent kidney damage were children?

          • Sayer Ji

            Excuse the French, but you F$@@&@ idiot!

          • RobertWager

            Critics of GE crops and derived food has consistently accused such food of being dangerous. Fine. Children’s health should be primary to us all. But there has never been so much as a sniffle attributed to food derived from GE crops while the money behind the smear campaign of this safe food has a significant safety issue and completely ignores it. Please explain how that works if food safety is really the motivation?

          • Michael Phillips

            Sayer, I am hoping you will respond to Robert’s question above and comments regarding organic related death and poisoning. Please try to make your point without profanity. It would also be appropriate to apologize for your prior outburst, if you have enough character to do so.

          • CycloneFarms

            You’re a reprehensible piece of s–t. You profit from selling fear.

          • GreenMedInfo

            LOL. What do you think Roundup is, or GMO corn? A gift to humanity? LMAO Remember, it is sold to the world as a “Solution to World Famine.” Talk about profiting from fear.

          • CycloneFarms

            I know what Roundup is. I know what GMO corn is.

            I also know what you are.

          • Sayer Ji

            Do you?

          • Michael Phillips

            Are you also posting as GreenMedInfo on this thread?

          • CycloneFarms

            Yes. You spew nonsense to make a buck. You’re like a carnival barker, but with a website.

          • GreenMedInfo
          • First Officer

            Sorry GreenMedInfo, but references to GreenMedInfo has already been shown to be extremely biased and a great many times untrue.

            http://www.greenmedinfo.com/

          • RobertWager
          • RobertWager

            Are you aware GE corn has 1/100th the level of fungal toxins that conventional or organic corn does. Fumonsin B1 (one of the toxins) causes neural tube defects in the unborn. So yes GE corn is a gift to humanity, especially in the developing world.

          • Michael Phillips

            GMO corn is redundant. Also, famine is real and lots of children die of it. It is immoral to not recognize the reality of that. It is also immoral to block efforts to solve those problems based on your superstitions, much like the Taliban blocking vaccinations and killing UN aid workers based on theirs. GMO harm has not been demonstrated despite quite a lot of looking, so campaigning on that is what constitutes fear mongering.

          • GreenMedInfo

            So you want to make the argument that famine is caused by a GMO deficiency much like cancer is caused by a chemotherapy deficiency. Nice try.

          • Michael Phillips

            I never said that. And please drop the snark. I have never used that tone with you.

            If starving children are an issue we should address in a serious way, we should use all the tools at our disposal to solve this problem. Agricultural technologies, including transgenics, hybrids, mutants (just like the organic produce you support), pesticides, and others should all be on the table to make sure people in a vulnerable situation have enough to eat. Do you agree?

          • GreenMedInfo

            I agree that if your authentic belief is that DNA recombinant technology will reduce suffering in the world, and you allow room for traditional (hybridization) and organic farming techniques, then we at least can respect our differences and continue on with a reasonable debate.

          • Rod Herman

            How come folks think hybridization equates with traditional agriculture? Do folks really feel that they have any background in agriculture when they do not understand what a hybrid is, and that many of the most advanced non-GMO crop varieties are not hybrids? Do anti-GMO posters here understand the difference between the breeding of corn hybrids and soybean varieties? No wonder folks cannot understand what a GMO crop is!

          • CycloneFarms

            Poor attempt at a strawman.

          • RobertWager

            This is for Greenmedinfonot CycloneFarms

            Please explain this from the US National Academy of Science 2010 report-Impact of GE crops on Farm Sustainability in the US:

            “In general, the committee finds that genetic-engineering technology has produced substantial net environmental and economic benefits to U.S. farmers compared with non-GE crops in conventional agriculture.”

            It is available for free on-line

          • Rod Herman

            GMOs increase the food supply while causing less environmental disruption compared with the technologies that they replace. Increasing food helps decrease famine. That is simple enough logic for most to understand.

          • Aidan Benelle

            “As scientists, physicians, academics, and experts from disciplines relevant to the scientific, legal, social and safety assessment aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs),[1] we strongly reject claims by GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists that there is a “scientific consensus” on GMO safety[2] [3] [4] and that the debate on this topic is “over”.[5]

            We feel compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO
            safety does not exist.

            The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue. Moreover, the claim encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment”.

            More:

            http://www.ensser.org/increasing-public-information/no-scientific-consensus-on-gmo-safety/

          • CycloneFarms

            Hilarious! You think ENSSER carries any kind of scientific weight?

          • Michael Phillips

            That’s not a scientific organization. It is an activist organization and has nothing to do with any government body as far as I know. Those EU stars in their marquee are for show only. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I have been doing research in Europe >10 years and I have never heard of them until they published that statement, and only activists seem to trust them. A scientific organization with relevant expertise on this subject would be EPSO, EMBO, or the Royal Society. I think you know their position on the safety of GMOs, just like every plant scientist I have ever met, including the 200+ at my institute (http://www.cragenomica.es/). Thanks for the link, but I am afraid that is no more compelling than a statement from Greenpeace. You can also try the National Academy USA, AAAS, and several other reputable scientific organizations in the US. But it surprises no one that an anti-GMO group would publish an anti-GMO statement. It is pure marketing, but if you were actually in plant biology research, you would know a real scientific organization from ENSSER.

          • Michael Phillips

            You could address his comment in a calm tone and indicate why you disagree. Instead, you reply with pretty offensive hostility. Why do you say things like that and still expect anyone to take you or your movement seriously?

          • Rod Herman

            Organic food is pretty safe, but not as safe as using synthetic fertilizer in place of composted manure.

          • RobertWager

            In case you have not been keeping track. There have been at least 19 recalls for pathogenic microorganism contamination of organic food since 2011.

            Can you list the recalls for GE food in its entire history?

          • Aidan Benelle

            There have been no long term studies on GMO’s and there is no scientific consensus that these are indeed safe. How long did it take to make the connection to cancer from smoking or DDT to breast cancer.

            The reason 64 countries presently label is so their consumers can make informed decision about a technology that has endless possibilities of future modifications and all should be market GM.

          • Michael Phillips

            That is just flat out false. There have definitely been long term studies and there is absolutely a scientific consensus, unless you consider Sayer Ji/GreenMedInfo to be a scientist.

          • CycloneFarms

            “We examined 12 long-term studies (of more than 90 days, up to 2 years in duration) and 12 multigenerational studies (from 2 to 5 generations).

            The studies reviewed present evidence to show that GM plants are
            nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely
            used in food and feed. ”

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399

          • RobertWager

            These long term studies have been done:

            Review

            Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding
            trials:

            Chelsea Snell, et al.
            ab s t r a c t

            The aim of this systematic review was to collect data concerning the effects of diets containing GM maize, potato, soybean, rice, or triticale on animal health. We examined 12 long-term studies (of more than 90 days, up to 2 years in duration) and 12 multigenerational studies (from 2 to 5 generations). We referenced the 90-day studies on GM feed for which long-term or multigenerational study data were available. Many parameters have been examined using biochemical analyses, histological examination of specific organs, hematology and the detection of transgenic DNA. The statistical findings and methods have been considered from each study. Results from all the 24 studies do not suggest any health hazards and, in general, there were no statistically significant differences within parameters observed.
            However, some small differences were observed, though these fell within the normal variation range of the considered parameter and thus had no biological or toxicological significance. If required, a 90-day feeding study performed in rodents, according to the OECD Test Guideline, is generally considered sufficient in order to evaluate the health effects of GM feed. The studies reviewed present evidence to show that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.

            Food and Chemical Toxicology 50 (2012) 1134–1148

          • Aidan Benelle

            These are ‘all’ animal studies-

          • CycloneFarms

            No kidding, Einstein!

            Now for bonus points, tell us why animals are used and not people.

          • RobertWager

            Please explain the unique mechanisms that would cause disease in humans but not multi-generational animal testing.

            According to the National Academy of Sciences:

            }1987
            National Academy
            of Sciences white paper “Introduction of Recombinant DNA-Engineered
            Organisms into the Environment.” The three
            major conclusions are:

            (a)There is no evidence that unique hazards exist either in the use of rDNA techniques or in the movement of genes between unrelated organisms;

            (b) The risks associated with the introduction of rDNA-engineered organisms are the same in kind as those associated with the introduction of unmodified organisms and organisms modified by other methods;

            (c) Assessment of the risk of introducing rDNA-engineered organisms into the environment should be based on the nature of the organism and the environment into which it is introduced, not on the method by which it was produced.)

            These were written 25 years ago and after 25 years of research the same conclusions are held by every food safety authority, every health authority and every National Academy of Science in the world.

          • Rod Herman

            Clearly your ideals take precedent over evidence. Have your poor children been vaccinated?

          • Aidan Benelle

            Its from ‘their’ industry talking points/playbook:

            First attack with claims of -
            anti science
            climate deniers
            Or have your children been vaccinated?

            Then when all else fails intimidate: with luddite or idiot or worse…

            And lastly, have all the other ‘industry line’ folks hit the ‘like’ button giving the false ‘impression’ its a good post.

            Yes, you do have it down to a science

          • Michael Phillips

            Okay then, perhaps you could respond to the points Robert Wagner made above. Organic produce has a documented track record of causing death and poisoning via bacterial contamination, mostly affecting children. While rare, these deaths and poisonings are well known and happen almost every year. No such cases have been documented from GE crops. How would your movement react if a single death were clearly linked to a GE crop?

          • CycloneFarms

            Try using google scholar to defend your claims.

          • Rod Herman

            You started with the false claim that scientists are putting our children at risk. That sounds just like the anti-vaccine folks. BTW – Are you anti-vaccine? The American medical Association, National Academy of Sciences, and World Health Organization (among many others) support the safety of GMOs, so the anti-science label is pretty accurate.

          • Rod Herman

            How many years are required before a new technology need to be used with no known safety issues before you are comfortable? How long did you wait to buy a flat-screen TV?

          • Aidan Benelle

            What your industry line about DDT?

            Back then, people just like you were singing its praises

          • Michael Phillips

            Well, it did eliminate malaria from North America

          • Rod Herman

            I can only give you my take on DDT as I do not represent industry in my opinions, but only myself. DDT is very safe to people but is very very persistent in the environment which creates an undesirable environmental profile. DDT has saved millions of lives through control of malaria spreading mosquitoes. It is still saving lives in the developed world through use indoors and on mosquito netting. In most of the developed world (including the USA), we eradicated malaria a long time ago and have better alternatives to mosquito control.

          • Aidan Benelle

            Women exposed to DDT in childhood have
            a five-fold increased risk of breast cancer as adults

          • Rod Herman

            Can you please post the study that reports this?

          • Aidan Benelle

            Isn’t Google Scholar working

          • CycloneFarms

            Let’s see if you can figure out how to use it.

            Clearly you’ve never used it before given your idiotic claims you repeat over and over and over.

          • Aidan Benelle

            Then stop reading them

          • CycloneFarms

            So you’re proud of the fact that you post debunked claims over and over and over?

            That’s pathetic.

          • Rod Herman

            It is simply an opportunity to repeat the actual science. Don’t look at it as a problem, but rather an excellent opportunity for readers to see what is being hocked and the evidence that proves it deceitful. Without these comments, fewer people would be exposed to this discussion. I trust that most folks can reach a rational conclusion when presented with all the evidence. These discussions are not going to have any effect on “true believers”, but they may be useful to readers. Folks like Aidan Benelle are providing a service by making such claims in a forum where scientists can respond with documented scientific facts. Its a public service!

          • Aidan Benelle

            No Cyclone. You and your (1563) posts are pathetic and add nothing to the conversation

          • CycloneFarms

            Post your address and I’ll send you a crying towel made of 100% GM cotton.

          • Rod Herman
          • First Officer

            Not to mention it’s effect on bedbugs was so effective that they did not return in force until decades after DDT was banned.

          • Katherine Schmidt Edmund

            certainly more than 3 months…

          • Rod Herman

            Well your in luck! GMOs have been commercially used for 20 years and over a trillion GMO meals have been eaten without a single confirmed case of human harm. On the other hand, confirmed illnesses and deaths from organic produce are not difficult to find, even though organics are raised on less than 1% of agricultural land.

          • CycloneFarms

            You sound like another victim of activist blogs and facebook groups.

            These long term studies have been done:

            Review

            Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding
            trials:

            Chelsea Snell, et al.
            ab s t r a c t

            The
            aim of this systematic review was to collect data concerning the
            effects of diets containing GM maize, potato, soybean, rice, or
            triticale on animal health. We examined 12 long-term studies (of more
            than 90 days, up to 2 years in duration) and 12 multigenerational
            studies (from 2 to 5 generations). We referenced the 90-day studies on
            GM feed for which long-term or multigenerational study data were
            available. Many parameters have been examined using biochemical
            analyses, histological examination of specific organs, hematology and
            the detection of transgenic DNA. The statistical findings and methods
            have been considered from each study. Results from all the 24 studies do
            not suggest any health hazards and, in general, there were no
            statistically significant differences within parameters observed.
            However,
            some small differences were observed, though these fell within the
            normal variation range of the considered parameter and thus had no
            biological or toxicological significance. If required, a 90-day feeding
            study performed in rodents, according to the OECD Test Guideline, is
            generally considered sufficient in order to evaluate the health effects
            of GM feed. The studies reviewed present evidence to show that GM plants
            are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be
            safely used in food and feed.

            Food and Chemical Toxicology 50 (2012) 1134–1148

          • Guest

            No pretending, chemicals ARE the elixir of life. Everything you eat, ‘organic’ or not is made of chemicals. The poor choice of the ‘organic’ moniker for the ‘back to nature, when it suits us’ food movement just illustrates how little understanding of science the movement has.

          • Aidan Benelle

            Selective Science –

            “Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal.

            In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering.”

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research/

          • CycloneFarms

            Nothing like dredging up 5 year old stuff…

            All of the biotech companies issue research licenses to legitimate organizations.

            Try again.

          • Aidan Benelle

            Have you read this article?

            Is Monsanto’s Roundup linked to a deadly kidney disease?

            “Entire communities of sugar-farm laborers in Central America are being crippled by a sometimes deadly kidney malady — and nobody knows why. But some think the herbicide glyphosate, sold by Monsanto under the name Roundup, may be connected to the epidemic.”

            http://grist.org/news/is-monsantos-roundup-linked-to-a-deadly-kidney-disease/

          • CycloneFarms

            Rod Herman says it best: “Folks like Aidan Benelle are providing a service by making such claims
            in a forum where scientists can respond with documented scientific facts. Its a public service!”

          • Aidan Benelle

            Facts are:

            More than 60 bills have been introduced in 23 states requiring GMO labeling or prohibiting genetically engineered foods.

            And you still think your rhetoric is holding up?

          • CycloneFarms

            Yes, because you keep repeating the same old garbage over and over and over. You’re completely unable to respond to questions directly posed to you. You just ignore them and re-paste the same old crap.

            Facts are: GMO labeling went down in flames in CA and WA.

          • Aidan Benelle

            You’re only fooling yourselves.

            To everyone else ( outside the chemical industry) you’re a transparent joke.

          • CycloneFarms

            My, my, aren’t you self-important! You really think you speak for “everyone else.”

            Sad.

        • First Officer

          What do you reference? Tossed Chicken bones?

          • GreenMedInfo

            You think voodoo isn’t ‘evidence based’? LOL.

        • RobertWager

          As a walking, talking bag of bio-chemical reactions, how would you like to frame this discussion?

          • GreenMedInfo

            Please do explain the non-difference between biochemicals and petrochemicals. This should be quite interesting.

          • RobertWager

            Oh, so not all chemicals are bad, just some. We are making progress in this discussion. By which criteria are chemicals slotted into one of the Good or Bad categories?

          • Rod Herman

            The only petrochemicals used as pesticides that I know of are approved for use on organic farms (spray oils and mineral oil). Petrochemicals are derived from oil while biochemicals are chemicals that come from things that are alive. Of course these are just two examples of chemical classes. Interestingly, oil also originated from living organisms, maybe that is why petrochemicals are used more frequently on organic farms?

        • Michael Phillips

          Yes, chemicals are the elixir of life.

        • Benjamin Edge

          No need for pretending, chemicals ARE the elixir of life. Everything you eat, ‘organic’ or not is made of chemicals. The poor choice of the ‘organic’ moniker for the ‘back to nature, when it suits us’ food movement just illustrates how little understanding of science the movement has.

      • First Officer

        I’m impressed. You really read all 16,000 comments and found them all having to do with GMO’s and pro at that?

        • Katherine Schmidt Edmund

          meta data baby

      • CycloneFarms

        Your idiotic repetition of debunked activist garbage is obscene.

    • Michael Phillips

      Then why is all the profanity and hate speech coming from your side?

  • gillian march

    It wasn’t too long ago that Bittman readily admitted he couldn’t give a rat’s proverbial about animal welfare in agriculture, now he is a proponent of eating meat from animals raised under high animal welfare standards…AND eating less of it. Bittman writes for a living – so sometimes has to write something new and not churn out the ‘same old same old’. Yes we have to have a balance argument and maybe have less of the drama but I for one am sticking to my guns on this – labeling of our food is a right not a favor, then the consumers can vote with their dollars as to whether they want to be a science experiment or not.

    http://www.vitalawareness.org

    • Rod Herman

      In the USA, you have a right to accurate labeling, and mandatory labeling for health, safety, and nutrition, but not for philosophical beliefs like organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, or kosher. These are allowed by the FDA on a voluntary basis (if accurate), but not mandated. The FDA also prohibits false health claims which is why you will find no health claims on organic or non-GMO labels.

  • Hello

    Going on google scholar has shown me that there are hardly any studies done on the safety of GMO foods. These foods are not proven to be safe and so cannot be called safe. The idea that there is no evidence that GMOs are harmful and therefore they are safe is ridiculous. Since there are hardly any studies done on their long term safety, then the most people like Bittman can say is that we don’t know their safety. At least people who say that GMOs are potentially dangerous make sense when they say things like the Bt toxin produced by GMO is a toxin to humans as well. As for sustainability, well, it’s a bit hard for sustainability when the seeds are patented and people cannot save seeds from the harvest from year to year. I will admit that GMOs have shown to have better yields in tropical climates where certain pests that are more vulnerable to the Bt toxin are prominent. But after hearing all the stories about suicides in India, I’m not so sure it’s worth it. I am also not sure that GMOs are the only way to decrease the impact of those particular pests. Also, there is nothing sustainable about spraying pesticides and herbicides which are just creating a pressure for evolving resistant weeds and sprays. Sorry, but when it comes to man vs nature, nature always wins. And in the end, we are still stuck with the burden of all these toxins and their consequences to deal with.

    • CycloneFarms

      You missed April Fool’s by 42 days.

    • Rod Herman

      You may need some help. The link below has links to over 1700 peer-reviewed scientific safety studies on GMO crops listed in a Microsoft Excel spread sheet (click on the “1,783″ link). You can just Google the titles of each paper to find them.

      http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/with-2000-global-studies-confirming-safety-gm-foods-among-most-analyzed-subject-in-science/#.U3NIN4FdV8E

      Among these studies, you can find real data on Indian farmer suicides that debunk the connection with GMO crops. As a matter of fact the only GM crop cultivated is Bt cotton, and over 90% of farmers continue to pay extra for this seed every year due to the much greater profits they make when using this. I think you are on the fear train that the article talks about. If you want to get off, start reading the thousands of safety studies published in peer-reviewed journals. After 20 years and over a trillion GMO meals consumed, not a single case of human harm has been documented, while it is quite easy to locate documented cases of illness and death from consuming organic food, which is quite safe itself.

      • Hello

        First, I wanted to say sorry I didn’t reply earlier. I didn’t check the box for being notified of responses by email.

        In my comment above, I said I agreed that tropical climates have better yields with GMO crops than usual. And when I said that, I did mean India because I remember reading studies on that. I did click on some of those safety studies on the spreadsheet you linked. Again, I’ve seen this research before when I was looking for safety articles myself in the past. They’re not actual safety studies but papers on how safety studies can be conducted on whole foods like GMOs. And again, I had a hard time finding a long term study on the toxicology of GMO foods. Yes, human harm has not been documented. Human studies have also not been done. I did admit that I heard about the Indian suicide episodes and did not research that myself. I will probably do that later though not now.

        • Rod Herman

          Becoming knowledgeable about a subject does take time. This review paper on long term studies is a good start.

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399

          This may help with you research on Indian suicides

          http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v27/n1/full/nbt0109-9.html

          • Hello

            I read both linked articles. I have to say that personally, I don’t really like reviews that much because it is much better to read the original research papers to look at the methods and results myself. I mean whoever wrote the review you linked was so biased, I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t under some opinion section. Everytime that there was no significant difference between GMO fed groups and non GMO fed groups, he was like there you go, GMOs are safe. Everytime there were studies mentioned where there were biological changes observed, he went on and on about all the flaws in the studies. I mean seriously, all the studies with no significant change really had zero flaws? Why didn’t you critique those studies as well? Also, most of the studies referenced measured weight gain or change to see if there was a difference in kcalorie absorption. I found this a problem when I was doing my own research previously looking for good tox studies. This is what I meant about having a hard time finding decent studies in the past. What about the rest of the toxicological parameters that should be measured? As a matter of fact, most of the time when the studies he referenced did measure actual important biological parameters, those studies were the ones he criticized because they found some differences between the groups.

            Whoever wrote the review also had the audacity to say GMO crops are nutritionally equivalent to non GMO crops because they seems to have equal amount of kcalories. Well, I’m sorry, but nutrition doesn’t just include kcalories but also a bunch of different vitamins and minerals. Where are the studies comparing the contents of those?

            I did research the Indian suicide incidents a little myself. Most of the article you linked agrees with what I have read myself. Here’s a link to another article not on GMOs specifically, but if you look on page 64, it does talk about Indian suicides in general http://www.navdanya.org/attachments/WTO_and_Globalization2.pdf . Basically, the farmers are so dirt poor and their social system is so flawed that any costs they have means borrowing money from moneylenders at an incredibly high interest. Being a poor, debt ridden farmer means any set back like crop failure results in a helplessness that often leads to suicide. There are several reasons that can lead to borrowing money, losing money, and suicide. But the idea that GMO seeds have nothing to do with the suicides doesn’t make sense. GMO seeds are more expensive than regular seeds, which means going to the moneylenders with exorbitant interest rates to borrow money they don’t have. Then there’s the fact that Bt cotton is effective against the bollworm, which often resides in tropical climates. India, however, is a huge country with many different climates. In dry climates for example, the Bt cotton is not very successful, hence crop failure and suicides result.

            I think I also mentioned this previously, but I really don’t think GMO are the only way to protect against pests. Ecological agriculture and permaculture look promising to me. Nature seems to always win against man so why not work with nature instead of against it, especially since eventually the resistant pests and weeds will prevail. Evolution is happening and will happen.

          • Rod Herman

            There are literally thousands of safety studies on GMOs. If you do not trust the World Health Organization, National Academy of Sciences, FDA, or the American Medical Association when they endorse the safety of GMOs, then I am not sure what might sway you from your misconceptions. Do you even understand that suicides among Indian farmers is below the overall national average across all occupations? You have blinded yourself to the mass of evidence that conflicts with your beliefs. Over a hundred studies have shown the compositional equivalency of GMOs to non-GMOs, and those are just the one’s in peer-reviewed journal publications. However, you are not alone in your ailment:

            http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2014/04/28/eco-puritanism/

          • Hello

            Blinded myself to the evidence? I did my own research and read scientific articles. I found the hardest time finding a decent tox study. If there is so much evidence, why does it feel like I’m looking for a needle in a haystack? Even the articles you sent me were all opinion pieces.

          • Rod Herman

            Please provide a link to a tox study with a crop variety that you consider “decent” so I know what type of GMO variety tox study you are looking for. Otherwise, I can only go by the international guidelines that have been developed to conduct such studies for OECD countries.

          • Hello

            I don’t have a decent tox study in mind. But when I think of a decent study, I imagine large numbers of test subjects, long term studies without limited feeding periods of tested food, measuring and testing to collect data on things other than just simply kcalories or energy absorption or milk production or weight gain etc. Basically, testing parameters of health, not testing does this affect how fast I can get this cow fattened up before slaughter.

          • Rod Herman

            The guideline toxiciology studies are in rats, not livestock. Eminent toxicologists from around the world wrote the study guidelines used by technology providers and required by regulatory agencies. They did this based on scientific knowledge, evidence, and experience.

          • Hello

            They can be on both rats and other animals. The review you linked referenced studies using both as well.

  • Hello

    Just watched a great interview with a researcher who did a study on GMO foods and pigs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70vn5VtAl4M

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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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