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    Anti-Science Hippies Make Progress Toward Labelling GMOs (Except Organic Ones)
    By Hank Campbell | June 13th 2012 04:00 PM | 138 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

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    I just wrote an article talking about how limiting choice is framed as 'leading the way' when it comes to a pet belief - and anti-science Californians who insist any genetically optimized food is dangerous are making my point while making some inroads into turning their non-reality-based beliefs into law for everyone in the state.

    Advocates have collected more than half a million signatures to get a November measure in front of voters which would force special labels on virtually all foods sold in the state - outside Whole Foods, anyway.  They say they are promoting transparency and trust, but those are two things lacking in the Organic Food industry, since dozens and dozens of inorganic ingredients are allowed without it losing its 'label', there is no surprise checking of organic farms and 25 % of imported organic food has been found to be not organic at all, even more in the actual countries we are importing organic food from.

    And what is exempt from the initiative? Organic food made using plants or animals with engineered genetic material - GMOs.  That's right, traditional food with GMOs would need to be labeled but not organic ones. Oh, and alcohol is exempt too.


    What do you mean GMOs can't enter the food stream until they are safe? They should be labeled for transparency. Unless they are in organic food.  LA LA LA LA LA. Credit: Shutterstock

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not give any special status to organic or genetically modified foods(1) compared to traditional foods for a simple reason. 'Organic' is just a process, not a food type, and genetically modified foods have yet to cause a single stomachache in a decade and a half of use  - they are not a different food type either.  The list of illnesses and deaths due to tainted organic food is, however, as long as your arm.  Since the FDA has no positions on GMOs but California is creating an artificial one, that means we will see a raft of frivolous court decisions - even sillier than when the Wilderness Act and the Endangered Species Act keep each other from restoring endangered fish.  

    "This could become a lawsuit magnet well beyond the borders of California," Tom Scott, executive director of the Sacramento-based California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, told the Associated Press. "You're just going to see trial lawyers walking up and down grocery store aisles saying this doesn't meet the labeling requirements."

    The secretary of state this week certified the measure for the state's November ballot. Look for progressive science bloggers to dutifully frame their fellow voters as 'anti-corporation' and not anti-science.

    NOTE:

    (1) Yet. Congress is trying, spearheaded in typical anti-science fashion by one of my own Senators in California. That 53 out of 55 are Democrats is not proof that progressives are anti-science about food, supporters claim, 2 out of 55 means it is bipartisan. However, if 49% of the right denies evolution, compared to only 40% of the left, it means Republicans are anti-science, to progressive science media:

    Anti-GMO Republicans in the House:

    Richard Hanna (NY-24)
    George Miller (CA-7)

    Anti-GMO Democrats in the House:

    Peter DeFazio (OR-4)
    Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
    Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
    Keith Ellison (MN-5)
    Raul Grijalva (AZ-7)
    Peter Welch (VT-At Large)
    Hansen Clarke (MI-13)
    Earl Blumenauer (OR-3)
    Lloyd Doggett (TX-25)
    Anna Eshoo (CA-14)
    Sam Farr (CA-17)
    Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
    Rush Holt (NJ-12)
    Chellie Pingree (ME-1)
    Jim McDermott (WA-7)
    Madeleine Bordallo (GU-At Large)
    James Moran (VA-8)
    John Olver (MA-1)
    Jared Polis (CO-2)
    Charles Rangel (NY-15)
    Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1)
    Pete Stark (CA-13)
    Howard L. Berman (CA-28)
    Robert Brady (PA-1)
    David Cicilline (RI-1)
    Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11)
    Steve Cohen (TN-9)
    Dianne DeGette (CO-1)
    Bob Filner (CA-5)
    Barney Frank (MA-4)
    Luis Gutierrez (IL-4)
    Janice Hahn (CA-36)
    Michael Honda (CA-15)
    Barbara Lee (CA-9)
    Zoe Lofgren (CA-16)
    James McGovern (MA-3)
    Jan Schakowsky (IL-9)
    Jackie Speier (CA-12)
    John Tierney (MA-6)
    Melvin L. Watt (NC-12)
    Lynn Woolsey (CA-6)
    Maxine Waters (CA-35)
    Grace Napolitano (CA-38)

    Anti-GMO Democrats in the Senate: 

    Barbara Boxer (CA)
    Patrick Leahy (VT)
    Bernie Sanders (VT)
    Daniel Akaka (HI)
    Dianne Feinstein (CA)
    Ron Wyden (OR)
    Mark Begich (AK)
    Jon Tester (MT)
    Richard Blumenthal (CT)
    Jeff Merkley (OR)

    Sanders of Vermont caucuses with Democrats but is technically independent. However, he is a full-on anti-science kook.

    Comments

    Why the distinction, Hank? Does the "Organic" crowd control a larger lobby than, say, Monsanto or ConAgra?

    Hank
    No, they are about the same.

    Unlike stupid anti-science conservatives and their irrational anti-evolution beliefs, anti-science hippies against biology actually kill people. Plus, all of science media beats on anti-science conservatives whereas the anti-science left is coddled with 'they just don't trust corporations' rationalization - while they are killing people.
    I suppose people object to those who would like to monkey around with the food supply on a genetic level. This is especially since they can put patents on their GMOs, and essentially work towards a monopoly on control of the food supply. They can also sue people for cross-pollination of what is supposed to be crops of non-GMO foods. This cross-pollination is possibly why organic crops will sometimes have GMOs. This name calling people as "hippies" is hardly scientific, and it made me disenchanted with this, for me, newly discovered site. There I was contently reading about DNA links of Neanderthals and Humans probabaly having interbred, shared it on my Facebook, and then I come across this.

    So I'm anti science because I believe in fully scientifically testing something before exposing the public to it? JUST LABEL IT

    GMO food not served in the monsanto cafeteria.
    http://crisisboom.com/2011/08/22/gm-foods-not-served-in-monsanto-cafeteria/

    covering animal death from GM corn
    http://www.nationofchange.org/busted-biotech-leader-syngenta-charged-ove...

    Just Label it.... Just look at history, why do you think monsanto wouldn't poison mass amounts of the public for profit. They did with agent orange and ddt, they covered up the effects then. Just label it... I don't want to eat it.

    Gerhard Adam
    See ... this is a problem I have with these posts.

    The first link does NOT claim that GMO food is not served, but rather that it is labeled.
    Monsanto confirms the authenticity of the notice, but company spokesman Tony Coombes says the only reason for the GM-free foods is because the company “believes in choice.” Coombes says in other Monsanto locations employees are happy to eat GM foods because they are “sprayed with fewer chemicals.”
    http://crisisboom.com/2011/08/22/gm-foods-not-served-in-monsanto-cafeteria/
    So, you're playing fast and loose with the interpretation.

    Similarly, I have a problem with the second link, because it is being presented as a conclusion instead of what it is:
    In a riveting victory against genetically modified creations, a major biotech company known as Syngenta has been criminally charged for denying knowledge that its GM Bt corn actually kills livestock. What’s more is not only did the company deny this fact, but they did so in a civil court case that ended back in 2007. The charges were finally issued after a long legal struggle against the mega corp initiated by a German farmer named Gottfried Gloeckner whose dairy cattle died after eating the Bt toxin and coming down with a ‘mysterious’ illness.
    http://www.nationofchange.org/busted-biotech-leader-syngenta-charged-over-covering-animal-deaths-gm-corn-1339776077
    The only FACTUAL piece of information in that paragraph is that the company was "charged".  Everything else is alleged.  More importantly, even the charge itself isn't necessarily evidence of anything and could simply be the byproduct of legal maneuvering and interpretation.  In short, there is nothing scientific about this case [at this point].  Perhaps some scientific data will come out of it, but as it stands, it is strictly a legal issue.

    For those not familiar with it, the argument being advanced here, is that Syngenta is legally guilty of denying knowledge that livestock died because of Bt corn since they compensated the farmer for his losses.  Therefore, this is being used as an admission of guilt or culpability despite no such evidence ever having been presented.  Therefore this is a legal maneuver [attempting to connect the reimbursement to an admission of guilt] and isn't based on any actual scientific data.  Primarily the problem is that apparently there is no autopsy data from the cows themselves.  So, hopefully something useful will come out of it, but, as I said, it doesn't mean much at this stage.
    Mundus vult decipi
    I believe in choice too, Just Label It. Enjoy it if you want, eat it up, I wouldn't recommend it. It hasn't been rigorously scientifically tested like a new drug, especially for a process that is so drastic and unknown. There is mounting evidence of it's negative consequence beyond just health concerns. But in terms of health concerns there are plenty. Just ask many of the countries who's political system isn't completely dominated buy money f*ckers.

    "GMO Crops Continually Banned Around the World in Display of Health Freedom"

    Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/gmo-crops-continually-banned-around-world-heal...

    Our government is built on a system of legalized bribery, and lobbying influences. Why expect them to represent the actual public good? They can't if they want to. The head of the FDA is an ex monsanto big wig. Most policy is written by actors of corporate interest. History is filled with examples of companies acting in the most inhumane ways imaginable until someone stops them. Now there is less power to stop them then ever. Why do you trust them?

    As a consumer I should have the right not to support companies that are actively engaging in practices that are damaging from a multitude of perspectives. Especially since my vote is becoming more worthless, I most vote with my wallet. I know many of the plants and food I buy are not as "natural" as I'd like, but to do more, is better then to do nothing.

    Just Label It.... and while we are at it, get money out of politics.

    Hank
    "GMO Crops Continually Banned Around the World in Display of Health Freedom"
    This explains why you think science is just another world view.  You think science is the same partisan crackpottery as in that article you linked to, except the opposite.  

    Postmodernism has found a new home; the anti-science left who claims to love science.

    Anyway, I agree with your overall point; label the genetic modifications in all food, including organic.  Label the genetic modifications in the feed fed to organic cows.  Label all of the inorganic ingredients in "100% organic" food, label all the toxic pesticides and herbicides used in organic food, label all of the bacteria on organic food.  And required a verified chain of ownership for organic food.

    That is true transparency yet no one behind this 'warning label' legislation wants organic food to have the same accountability as GMOs.


    "Just Label It"

    Sure. And while we're at it, let's stick labels on all certified organic food that reads, "CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU'VE BEEN TOLD TO BELIEVE, PESTICIDES HAVE BEEN USED ON THIS PRODUCT" as well. Just label it.

    Why to hostility toward making our food system as sustainable, healthy and safe as possible?

    We can just make certified organic mean what it was originally intended to mean before all the lobbyist money changed the law that had widespread public support. I mean, we have to sustainably farm or we will continue to see an escalation of the negative consequences of our ignorance. Continued degradation of our soil, pollution of our fresh water sources, and untold health consequences from our genetic food creations, are all happening right now and they don't have to. We have solutions to all these problems, we know how ecosystems work.

    So just label it. let the consumers speak with their wallet. If you have to misinform to sell your products that should be a pretty solid hint you have started to sell your soul.

    Hank
    I doubt anyone has an objection to honesty in labeling but the organic food PR machine is behind this legislation - and they have exempted themselves from honesty.  I agree with you that GMOs make food sustainable, healthy and safe, not to mention affordable. 

    It's no secret that the less people spend on food the better their lives are and the more educated they become.  Organic food creates a food ghetto for poor people and GMOs make actual food able to be grown locally with fewer pesticides.  That is a win for poor people who would like to 'grow local' but cannot do it now/
    woa there hank. Don't misinterpret me, GMO's have not been proven safe.

    "Just Label It" let the free market work. I have the right to not put it in my body if I don't want to. That simple.

    GMO's should be labeled, and certified organic should have stricter guidelines. Why confuse the two issues, it is intellectually dishonest, and I fear it is the intentional theme in your article.

    Hank
    No, honesty is the theme.  You have a bias against GMOs ('not been proven safe' - what has been proven safe?  Not a single product in the world can be proven 'safe' and organic food has caused far more illnesses and deaths in the last 15 years than any GMO has).

    No one has an issue with labels but this is instead a warning label - again, if intellectual honesty or transparency were the goal, all food, organic or not, would have to list its genetic makeup and all ingredients.  Organic food will be out of business if that happens.

    So if you care about the right to know what is going in your body, then apply it uniformly to all foods, not just ones part of a feel-good fallacy.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I have to agree with you Hank, that all GMO foods should be labelled, regardless of whether they are 'organic' or not. I also think that 'organic certification' also needs to revised to reflect whether 'organic' GMO insecticide sprays have been used and whether or not the 'organic' foods are truly 'GMO free'.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    This is looking bad ... Helen, you, and I all agree on this.  All foods should be labeled without any distinction for GMO or organic being given special considerations and certainly no warning labels.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    This is looking bad ... Helen, you, and I all agree on this.
    No, I think its looking good Gerhard, we make a formidable duo! Now all we need is for Hank to agree with us about the possible dangers of GMOs and the need for more scientific research and scientific data transparency, along with GMO food labelling and we will start to make REAL progress! 

    Oh dear, was that a pig I just saw flying past my window or just more of Derek's fairy qualia on their way to try to alleviate Sascha's baby's suffering? 

    Or maybe its a pig that ate too much GMO corn and is on its way to the Pearly Gates? Oh well at least It looks happy and isn't suffering any more!
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Actually I suspect it's just a GMO pig.  :)  [The labeling is self-evident]
    Mundus vult decipi
    The Glöckner ./. Syngenta case was closed February 2009 after the court of ultimate resort dismissed the claim. In the reasons given for its judgement the court states that Glöckner was unable to come up with evidence that the cows died from Bt corn. Experts found botulism bacteria in at least two of the cows and found that the animals died from a variety of illnesses, among them tick bites, chronic botulism, chronic pleuritis, mastitis, and heart failure. They also found that dosing of the fodder was too high and not properly balanced. Germany's Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) which also looked into the case stated the most likely reason for the health problems of Glöckner's animals had been the insufficient quality of the silage he used as forage. The court ruling (in German) can be found here: http://www.lareda.hessenrecht.hessen.de/jportal/portal/t/tay/page/bslare...
    Interestingly, the court statement also deals at length with personal and financial problems Glöckner had during the time his cows died.

    The human species will not be satisfied until he/she has ruined this wonderful planet called Earth.--- We are meant to respect and nurture it, Chimps would do a much better job, ------

    Hank
    Why would you think that?  The dumbest person you know is still a lot smarter than the most intelligent chimp in history.
    Gerhard Adam
    Except that they don't. 

    The sad part is that you don't even understand what you're saying.  You have no concept of what it is to live "in nature".  You have no concept of what it takes to live in that manner.  In all likelihood you would be appalled at the idea that you might not be able to take a shower every day.

    Grow up!  This "wonderful planet called Earth" will use you for dinner as readily as provide one for you.
    Mundus vult decipi
    ::sigh:: That's so sad. I've long known that humans are the strangest critters on this earth. It would seem that a great many of the strangest have migrated to CA.

    Are there geographic pockets of sanity, or has the infection spread throughout the state?

    My direct exposure to the hippies was in a different epoch. There were lots of flower-wearers and the free love movement was in full swing. Times change. Hippies grow up to become radicals.

    Hank
    I draw the distinction between sane hippies and anti-science hippies.  If not, we could just say 'hippies'. I know a lot of sane hippies; they are engaged, funny, considerate and compassionate. Anti-science hippies are a much different breed.  While sane hippies in the '70s (and for two years in the '60s) wanted to stop wars and for people to be nicer to each other, anti-science hippies read Rachel Carson's anti-science screeching about DDT and determined that protesting all science was how to make a difference.

    Generally, the farther you go from the coast the fewer anti-science hippies you see.  When someone else in California is trying to figure out if I am the insane kind of Californian, they will ask where I live. I say "East of the 5" and they know that, judging solely on stereotypes, the chances of me being a nut are lessened.
    Hank, organic food is not GMO by definition. The fact that the FDA allows food to be labeled organic when it isn't organic is not the fault of the "anti science hippies." It's the FDA that did that, against the wishes of the organic community.

    There's nothing anti-science about pointing out that GMO food is being tested on people, like lab rats. Nothing proves its safe. It's the cigarettes of our time. Forty years from now, after all food is GMO, we'll wonder why the population is becoming extinct.

    You, nor anybody else, have any idea whether or not GMOs have caused disease. They're not labeled, so you can't study their impacts.

    Hank
    Hank, organic food is not GMO by definition. The fact that the FDA allows food to be labeled organic when it isn't organic is not the fault of the "anti science hippies." It's the FDA that did that, against the wishes of the organic community.
    Alice,

    As you will see, this not is not true. Why intentionally exempt something from having to have a label if it has any manmade genetic modification if it can't have a manmade genetic modification by its very existence?  Answer, because it can.

    Not being labeled does not mean people do not know where that corn is. They know right where it has gone, from seed to kernel.  Not a single stomachache, not one.
    Hank, you don't know that it has not caused disease. We have tremendous increases in obesity, diabetes, allergies, and many long term chronic diseases over the time period that GMOs have been in the food supply. No one knows what has caused this, so to say that GMOs didn't cause it is impossible.

    Hank
    Hank, you don't know that it has not caused disease. We have tremendous increases in obesity, diabetes, allergies, and many long term chronic diseases over the time period that GMOs have been in the food supply. No one knows what has caused this, so to say that GMOs didn't cause it is impossible.
    Alice, you do not know I am not an alien from planet Nibiru.  Requiring that someone disprove a negative is a logical flaw - it's impossible.

    You're contending that a chronic disease precautionary principle be in effect for GMOs and nothing else.  Do you know how many natural pesticides are on organic food?  Would you shut down that industry because you cannot prove organic food did not cause more chronic diseases?
    Hank, human beings ate organic food for the hundreds of thousands of years that humans existed. If organic food caused disease, those chronic diseases would have been among us chronically. That they showed up only in the last twenty years should be a scientific alert to look at what changed. It's not scientific to say that making a change has no consequences, and that radical change in a natural process shouldn't be treated with precaution.

    I'm confused about why a blogger who purports to promote science would take such a Blackwater/Xe approach to attacking people who also promote science, but with a different viewpoint. Attacking those who disagree with you on a personal level is a warfare tactic. Are you a soldier in a war, Hank? Do you have a command structure and a general? If not, I'm wondering why you would respond emotionally about an issue that has no downside. That is, labeling GMO makes the food traceable, which oddly enough, is exactly what the Food Modernization and Safety Act wants to do.

    What would be your reason to feel emotional about making food traceable?

    Hank
    Hank, human beings ate organic food for the hundreds of thousands of years that humans existed. If organic food caused disease, those chronic diseases would have been among us chronically.
    You're playing at a la carte science. Was the life expectancy greater then or now? Are people healthier then or now?

    You equate better diagnosis of disease with more diseases caused by science.  It's bad logic.

    There is no emotion in my argument; I can assure you I care more about what my family eats than 99% of organic food activists - just because I am not duped by marketing you are attempting to create a stereotype about me. Like your science claims, it has no evidence.

    This act is not designed to promote food transparency, or organic food would be included.  It is designed to promote irrational fears and hides behind claims of 'truth'.  

    I completely agree that organic food should be included. I don't know who wrote a law exempting it, but I also don't know who would argue that organic food shouldn't be labeled. All food should be labeled about what it is and what is in it. As an organic food advocate, I highly object to any non-organic ingredients being in food that is labeled organic. To say that something is "95% organic" is like saying that a woman is "95% pregnant." Something is either organic or it isn't. There's no percentage. I fault the FDA for making up such silly labeling for organic. Being organic is a digital state, not an analog one. But, the FDA is not high on my list of people who have integrity and sentience.

    Hank
    Even 100% organic is only required to be 95% organic.  Don't fault the FDA. The National Organic Program, lobbyists for the various organic food suppliers and retailers, got those exemptions and continues to get more.   The reason is simple; if organic food had to abide by the same rules advocates against GMOs want, every non-subsistence organic farm would be out of business.
    Gerhard Adam
     Not a single stomachache, not one.
    I know you like saying that, and normally I wouldn't say anything, but it's not true.

    I agree that there is no substantive difference between organic foods, GMO foods, or ordinary non-GMO foods, regarding nutrition and/or safety.  In that respect the equivalence principle is a legitimate method of comparison.

    However, let's be a bit more accurate here.  Foods do not cause the stomach-aches.  If they did we would have long ago quit eating them as a species.  Therefore, the health issues are related to contamination by chemicals or microbes.  So in the same way that organic spinach can become contaminated with E. Coli, it is certainly possible for GMO foods to become contaminated with "something" and consequently cause a health problem.  Any food can become contaminated and lead to illness, so it literally isn't relevant to consider whether it is GMO or not.

    It would be a miracle to expect otherwise.

    So, if the point is to argue that production methods may give rise to greater incidences of contamination, then that is a different argument.  Similarly, we can consider all manner of processing mechanisms that may give rise to contamination and consequently problems.  That does need to be examined, because it is unfair to argue organic foods are dangerous simply because some crops were contaminated, just as it would be to argue against GMO foods because a certain production plant suffered from contamination.  Neither is applicable to the actual food in question.




    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    I know you like saying that, and normally I wouldn't say anything, but it's not true.
    Of course it is true, as the rest of your comment says.  Organic food has made tens of thousands sick (and killed plenty) and GMO foods have not.  Now, would it be fair to hold organic food advocates to the same standard of specificity you seek in your comment? It absolutely would, but like in labeling they do not want accuracy, they want to promote fear.  Noting that organic food has caused far more illnesses and deaths is absolutely accurate.
    Gerhard Adam
    ...GMO foods have not...
    You can't know that since none of it is labeled, so who would even make the determination if someone became sick?
    Now, would it be fair to hold organic food advocates to the same standard of specificity you seek in your comment?
    Absolutely they should be.  We don't improve our knowledge of the food supply by loosening the standards of information.  In that respect I agree with you.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    I have to disagree, milk products give me a stomach. And coinencidently, I'm eating pizza for lunch today. I like pizza, and if I don't eat it often, nor a lot of it, and I also eat some lactase when I do. And then I tolerate the discomfort.

    Therefore, the health issues are related to contamination by chemicals or microbes.

    Also wouldn't you agree that if GMO foods require less use of chemical treatments, that would reduce the risk of chemical contamination of the non-GMO version of that food?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I think you're missing the point.  If milk products give you a stomach-ache, then presumably GMO milk products would also.  That isn't something to be blamed on GMO foods.  Similarly, whether GMO foods require less chemicals or not is only relevant if the chemicals are causing health related problems.

    My point is simply that the foods themselves are rarely directly responsible for health issues, but rather it is the means of production.  Therefore it is incorrect to characterize organic foods as problematic any more than it would to characterize GMO foods as problem because of contamination introduced through production problems.

    I have no doubt that GMO foods are as healthy as any other uncontaminated food. 

    However, I do have a problem with the blanket assertion since to claim that GMO foods never even caused a stomach-ache basically renders them miraculous.  Since organic foods can cause problems, and non-GMO foods have caused problems, then GMO foods are truly unique in never having caused problems for the first time in human history.  Sorry, but I don't believe it.

    When this is coupled with the knowledge that we don't actually label foods as GMO or not, then the claim becomes even more dubious, because how would it be established?  After all, since ordinary non-GMO foods can cause health problems, it would be impossible to distinguish between the two types during a medical visit.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Okay, I see your point.
    Never is a long time.
    Hank, Why are you so quick at calling people names just because they dont buy what you are selling?? By stooping to name calling you have made yourself look very silly and you can't be taken seriously at all. It is a real shame how you have decided to try and put yourself on a pedestal above others who disagree with your point of view on GMOs. Instead of trying to convince people of your views, you have lined up like many in history to pigeon hole folks by labeling them in derogatory ways. I wonder if you were a leader of a country, if those folks you HATE so much to call them names, if you would order those folks to be banished or driven into camps and punished for their differences against your point of view. Your hatred towards your neighbors and fellow man is what is wrong with our society. I hope you grow up and realize your internal hatred is a virus nobody needs!!!!

    "According to Judy Carman, Ph.D., very little safety testing is done on genetically modified foods, and when it is done, biotechnology companies conduct minimal testing. "

    Dr. Carman is director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Inc. Dr Carman stated, "The studies done by biotechnology companies tend to show no health problems associated with eating GM food. The independent studies are finding adverse effects."

    Further she states, "...It is interesting that (Russian scientist) Irina Ermakova had similar findings (of reduced fertility) with mice fed GM soy. "
    She doesn't sound like a hippy to me
    You can read the entire interview here: http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/dec08/gm_food_safey_testing_inadeq...

    "Golden Rice: A dangerous experiment"
    In February 2009 a group of 22 international scientists and experts addressed an open letter to Prof Robert Russell at Tufts University School of Medicine, who is in charge of clinical trials on GM Golden Rice, protesting at clinical trials of GM Golden Rice being conducted on adults and children.[1]

    The authors say that the trials breach the Nuremberg Code, brought in at the end of World War II to prevent any repetition of the experiments conducted on people by Nazi scientists.
    Read entire article here: http://www.bangmfood.org/feed-the-world/17-feeding-the-world/37-golden-r...
    I say the hippy GMO engineers should all feed it to their children first to determine if it's safe. Why go around the coutnry to third world environments and induce uneducated people to try it? A short note -if all they are doing with golden rice is putting "VIT. A" into it, why not introduce them to organic carrots instead?

    "This is not the first time that clinical trials of Golden Rice have become mired in controversy. In the summer of 2008 it was reported that a clinical trial on Golden Rice was cut short in China in July 2008, when the government found that 24 children 6-8 years of age at a primary school in Henyan, Hunan, were to be used as guinea pigs." Hey, if the communist hippies in China don't want to experiment on their children, it has to be a bad idea, right?

    These arguments are just the tip of the iceberg. In my time (I'm was a hippy before I graduated from college), the hippies were a radical group trying to change things. This implies, to me, that those GMO Engineers, who are trying to change the way we eat from organic to genetic engineered, are the radical ones and should be called hippies.

    The big problem with GMO foods is they are not needed. There are plenty of foods out there to get the job done and keep us healthy. Ex. Why produce golden rice when carrots and rice can do the job?

    Most GMO organizations are just trying to create a market (that is not needed) and corner that market by patenting their products to prevent other (farmers, home gardeners, etc.) from profiting in their work of growing food without having to pay the GMO people, who don't grow anything at all, without giving them a cut of the action. GMO has more to do with gangsters forcing people to pay them protection money than they do with ernist scientists who want to feed a wold full of hungry people.

    Another bad thing about GMO patented crops is: their pollen can contaminate neighboring organic crops and this gives the GMO companies the right to take the profit away from the organic (or naturally grown foods) farmers. This is a form of theft, in my opinion. A fact the GMO companies knew would happen once they started growoing their crops in close proximity to natural food growers. In short, GMO foods are going to be forced on us, with or without any trials by default.

    It's just bad science gone amok, with the driving force being profit at any cost, instead of increasing our knowledge data base.

    What if, after a decade of GMO food, nature rebels and changes what was once corn into something inedible? Nature had been working with genes much longer than we have.

    What if, the RNA and DNA in the food does a horizontal "stage right" into our genes and decides to grow GMO humans? It is one of the greatest fears among the very scientist who engage in genetic research and work.

    I think the author needs to do more study in the attachment of nomenclature. Hippies is a term best not used to label people who do not smoke pot and engage in radial antisocial behavior while under the influence.

    MikeCrow
    Really? You worry about GMO taking over the human genome?

    It is one of the greatest fears among the very scientist who engage in genetic research and work.

    lol
    Never is a long time.
    laugh if you like but if you check in at John Hopkins University, you'll find they probably already have a patent on your liver and other body organs (funny isn't it , that someone else owns your body parts?" Among other things, they have patented broccoli sprouts so you can't grow them and sell them without their permission (that's funny too.)

    In fact by the time you quit finding this stuff funny, I'll bet they will own all of your body parts and start sending you a bill every time you have an operation on their stuff without getting their permission first. (I don't think this part is very funny).

    No, I don't' worry about GMO taking over my genome because they patent parts of it everyday. You just haven't quit laughing at the idea long enough to find out this fact.

    MikeCrow
    Actually I think it's a great idea, when I need a replacement I now know where to buy one from.
    Never is a long time.
    There is no replacement. They just get a cut of the transaction when you need special therapy. It's about making money, not healing patients.

    This site can explain better what I'm talking about. If your really interested. www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe70s/crops_13.html

    I also find it a bit strange that a blogger on a website that champions 'open science' and communicating science to the public does not want people to know the process that created their food?!?

    Why - precisely - should the public NOT be correctly informed about how their food is made? Or do you just think they are not being accurately informed? Is your objection in principle to informing people about GMO products or in specific about this law?

    Hank
    I have no problem with the transparency aspect of it, but no one in the anti-science community is doing that.  They want to scare people and hide behind a veneer of transparency.  !00% of the time. Transparency would be telling the truth about what GMOs mean, what tests have been done and what harm has been done. 

    I would love for the organic food cabal to disclose how their food is made too; unlike science, though, they do not know.
    It's natural food and has been documented for years in high school biology classes. Nothing to hide there.

    Beside, simple chemical tests can tell you all you need to know.... isn't science great?

    With all the information out about GMOs and the fears of their impact on the natural world, we would be foolish to not insist on full transparency. The reason for hiding this information is to protect their products. I can understand this the product were a technical device, like an iPod, etc but this is tampering with mother nature and we need to proceed slowly and with great care.
    We both know we are dealing with a relatively new idea that is more hit and miss than concrete scientific manipulation, and there could be serious repercussions as demonstrate by the salmon farms. Obviously the scientists did not expect nature to be so demanding on what enters into it's realm. Horizontal gene transfer is a proven phenomenon in the domains of bacteria. If the GMO scientist knew as much as they want us to assume, we would be eradicating viruses that do us harm by now. But, we aren't are we?

    This is something that is best understood by the public in general. All the industry will lose is the right to do business and some other legal problems if things go wrong. But the public could suffer greatly. Look at the price of DDT.

    It would be great if all the rip-roar was done by anti-science people, as you call them, but if fact most of the fear is coming from inside the industry itself, from worried scientist and engineers. We would be fools not to act on their first hand knowledge. These people are not hippies, as you call them.

    The "organic food cabal" has feed the world for thousands of years. Show some respect. The whole idea of GMO hasn't been around that long. They should not proceed as if they know all there is to know. That's just foolish.

    By the way, I like your idea for this site. I registered but haven't received any information yet.

    Gerhard Adam
    No matter what the controversy surrounding GMO's and whether anyone is fear-mongering or not.  There's only one things that is unequivocally "unscientific" here and that's the avoidance of labels, since there can clearly be no data tracking without knowing where things are.

    So regardless of whether people are responding based on emotion or fact, that point is unequivocal and industry will never convince me that they are interested in science if they can't demonstrate that they're interested in data.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    If it was only a matter of putting some more ink on a piece of sticky paper it would be one thing, but I'm pretty sure that you know it's not that easy, and it's going to increase prices.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't buy it.  Unless Monsanto is planning on giving away their seeds, they know exactly who owes them licensing fees, so everyone that stands to make a profit is going to be quite careful in tracking which foods are GMO.  As a result, it's disingenuous to claim that it suddenly can't be tracked when it gets to the grocery.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    The problem isn't with Monsanto, it's the entire food supply chain, where every source would have to be traced through to every destination, including the % volume of each source in each destination. As well as tracking what was in each piece of equipment in previous processing lots. Record keeping of all of this, basically it would be the equal of traceability on Med Device/Pharmaceutical for the entire food industry.

    Personally I think this will lead to costs that will be passed on the the consumer.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    What I find interesting is that we are living in an "information age" where every turn is being presented as the latest in AI and how we'll be replacing the brain soon and yet when it comes to something as simple as tracking inventory, we're suddenly baffled.

    I'm sorry, but every step of the production process is already micro-managed so that these companies can control costs.  They know every supplier and can tell you to the penny what they've ordered, and where it is kept.  It is simply disingenuous to claim that they can't track it to the point of a label.  They certainly can, since every one of them wouldn't hesitate a microsecond if they thought they could save a few percentage points on their expenses as a result of switching vendors.  They know exactly how much and where everything is.

    It takes exactly one bit [not byte] of information in a database for each food item to identify it as GMO or not.  There's nothing exotic here.  More importantly, we already know this capability exists, which is precisely how they track contamination of products, so that they can track it back to the original farmer if necessarily [such as for an E. Coli outbreak]. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Again, it isn't just tracking inventory (which BTW judging from some of the companies I've visited is far from simple).
    Every piece of equipment has to log every ingredient that touches it for it's entire lifecycle.
    Farm equipment, transportation containers, processing equipment, packaging equipment for each stage of inventory, billions of touch points taken all together.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    If they're doing it already, then it isn't a problem and there's no reason to not include the GMO designation.  If they aren't doing it, then why do you feel the need to extend GMO labeling to include "touch points"?  That seems like a rather arbitrary designation if it isn't already part of current practice.

    I expect many food producers already provide this level of detail if they have any interest in access to kosher markets.  So, again, I don't buy the argument that this is a particular onerous requirement.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    What would be the content difference between something that is required to be labeled GMO vs non-GMO?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Good question and I don't have a specific answer.  Initially I don't see it as any different than tracking inventory provided by Supplier A versus Supplier B.  In other words, someone is already tracking this information, so it's largely a question of which stage in the supply/inventory management that that data is lost.

    I would agree that determining the specifics of labeling is necessary, however my point is simply that it is possible and I haven't heard any reasonable arguments as to why it shouldn't occur.

    Given the controversy around GMO foods, and the potential to require information on their use and/or effects into the future, it seems irresponsible to commit to GMO foods and then have no scientific data to track their effects; positive or negative. 

    A recent article by Alex B. Berezow "GM Crops, Organic Food,&Delicious Irony" can only be possible when tracking information is available.  So every positive claim regarding GMO foods, must also raise the question of where the data came from and why it is always presented as being impossible when it comes to labeling.

    NOTE:  As an aside, I noticed this quote in the article:
    "Thanks to genetic modification, farmers in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin who planted the non-Bt corn were saved $2.4 billion over the course of 14 years."

    Would it be inappropriate to ask how much consumers saved?  I would bet that consumer prices continued to rise, so perhaps that might excuse the less than enthusiastic endorsement of GMO crops and their benefits.

    Oh, I can't wait to see which of these corporations is standing in line to return their corn subsidy dollars.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    If, it's treated like allergens, it would have to be down to touch points like I mentioned(think nuts, wheat, milk products, etc, etc). If you want to be able to track human impact, you'd have to have % of each possible GMO source. As I said..............

    Farmers don't seem to in general be the idle rich, plus maybe it kept prices from going up $2.4 billion.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Farmers don't seem to in general be the idle rich...
    True enough, but these days you'd have to demonstrate that farmers are actually farmers and not simply corporations.
    If you want to be able to track human impact, you'd have to have % of each possible GMO source.
    OK , let's think about this statement.  There is nothing more fundamental than food when it comes to human existence and survival.  Certainly other things are equally important, but it's safe to say that food is absolutely essential for sustaining life.

    Equally we would agree that any harm to our food supply would be catastrophic by any definition.  After all, one of the points regarding food production is that a significant part of the planet is still subject to starvation, so I think we can agree that food is extremely important.

    So, here we are embarking on, arguably, one of the most scientifically sophisticated biological modifications of human history.  This could have profound affects, both positive or negative, but I think we can also agree that this is a likely [if not necessary] still in our human future and our ability to sustain our population.

    Now after having gone through that long-winded consideration, let me consider your question again ... "If you want to be able to track human impact..." ...

    Why on earth wouldn't I?
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Why on earth wouldn't I?

    So, I was prescient when I suggested it would require extensive logging far above what the current norm is :)
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, I don't know how much logging is necessary over and above the data already collected.  It does seem strange that no one seems to be interested in tracking the benefits/costs of GMO's. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    That requires a different level of logging, you can basically do that from purchase orders, no need to do any tracking of materials in processes.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    BTW, you raise an interesting point.  Where has it ever been demonstrated that GMO foods are lowering prices?  Certainly if there are significant savings being had, it can't be too expensive to ensure foods are labeled.

    I mean that I'm always hearing about how much pesticide is being avoided, and how much money this saves farmers, and how much money is being saved overall, etc. etc. etc.  So, how come I [as the consumer] am not saving any money?

    After all, I can't imagine that someone would actually present an altruistic argument that consumers should continue to pay the same prices while corporations and farmers simply increase their profits.  If that's the point of GMO foods, then there's nothing scientific about it.  It's just another marketing scheme.

    For a scientific argument I would like to see some real points made about what is being saved here.  Both in terms of actual costs and in terms of environmental benefits, both of which are constantly being referenced as the motivating factors for GMO foods.  So ... where's the data?

    Oh yeah ... if we aren't tracking any of it, then we don't know to even make such claims.
    Mundus vult decipi
    rholley
    From a New Scientist cartoon of the 60s:

    Leader of Hippie colony to neighbour, who is concerned about their “natural” power plant:

    “But man, our pollution is macrobiotic!”


    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    "anti-science" "hippies" and "genetically *optimized*" ???
    I understand needing to use radical language to appeal to an audience, but c'mon. I am hardly conservative, hardly a hippe and very much pro-science but there is a line that science must observe and respect. There are at least 19 studies that link GMOs to organ disruption not to mention numerous studies that indicate Bt insecticide is not broken down by our systems as it has been detected in many human blood samples. Then there are the less serious factors such as conditions like gluten intolerance being on the rise and children having historically high allergies to common foods such as wheat. There's no disputing that GMOs have a been presented s a logical and beneficial solution to issues like world hunger but to imply for even a second that they are "safe" (or that Monsanto gives a shit about world hunger) or that they serving our future well is ludicrous and clearly without research. Im all for scientific advances for our food supply but not at the greater cost of our health or our agricultural system.

    Hank
    Well, it is what it is.  I have no problem with hippies, I am kind of a hippie - I am not the anti-science kid.  And genetically optimizing something so it produces its own natural toxic to ward off pests and won't require harmful chemicals is just that - optimization, precisely done.

    The rest of your comment embodies the anti-science mentality I am talking about. To you, Monsanto is some faceless entity made up of evil robots who care about no one or nothing; the scientists who work there are evil and bent on world destruction to make a buck.   That is the definition of an anti-science mentality, picking and choosing the ethics of the science endeavor based on how it matches your world view.
    Gerhard Adam
    To you, Monsanto is some faceless entity made up of evil robots who care about no one or nothing; the scientists who work there are evil and bent on world destruction to make a buck.
    I realize how it may appear, but I think that's an unfair characterization.  Monsanto is ONLY there to "make a buck" which is precisely the legal obligation its corporate officers have in executing their fiduciary responsibilities.  This doesn't arbitrarily make them evil, but it also doesn't make them good.

    We already have far too long a history of corporations that have no higher ambitions than to increase their profits, regardless of the harm it may do.  We have already seen that they have no problem in taking hand-outs, bail-outs, and all manner of socialism when they screw up in the "free market". 

    Equally we also know that human beings don't have to be "evil" individually to perpetrate acts that may be construed as "evil" within the context of the group they are supporting.  This is clearly evidenced in organizations like Enron and Arthur Andersen.  I don't believe that any of those people were individually evil nor specifically criminal, but their collective acts to make money and to cover their own asses resulted in it.

    Therefore, the only thing we can reasonably say is that there are no arguments regarding "good" or "evil" that we can attribute to Monsanto beyond it's existence being dependent on "making a buck" with its officers legally responsible to meet that objective.  Any other motivation for good is as misplaced as any accusations of evil.
    Mundus vult decipi
    exactly.

    I actually couldn't disagree more, respectfully. I don't look at Monsanto as faceless or evil. The scientists that work to develop these products are, I'm sure, good people who are clearly bright, intelligent and talented scientists with an objective and a job to do. I'm also not denying that, for the plants they are trying to protect, the science they are using is quite incredible. But what is not disputable based on a wealth of scientific studies is that they are detrimental to the health of the human body and that there is no telling how it will impact the health of generations to come. And that is something that Monsanto, as an organization, dismisses in the same way tobacco companies dismiss the harmful affects of smoking. The difference is, tobacco is clearly labeled and I can make that choice.

    Hank
    That strikes to the heart of why this legislation is flawed.  They don't want truth or transparency, they want there to be warning labels, like on cigarettes.  It's okay to admit that, everyone knows it, but a whole bunch of people are couching it in language of 'knowledge'. It isn't about knowledge, it is about warning labels, plain and simple.  

    The problem is, there is nothing to warn people about so this campaign is cynical and dishonest. In the world of science, after there is a problem you put on warning labels.  In the world of anti-science activists, food is guilty until proven innocent - unless it is organic.
    I laughed out loud when I read the "genetically optimized food" line. If Monsanto didn't cut our friend Hank a check for that one, they ought to.

    Good post Casie.

    BDOA
    I don't know how paranoid to be about GMO, responsible GMO creators will put a lot of effort into understanding what there new genes and proteins and chemical will do to creatures that eat them. But the effect on humans takes generations to measure and the system is of a complexity that we can never understand completely. It would worry me to have any society completely or largely dependent on a GMO crop. On the plus site you can sue to the company for what the crop did, leading to money for a cure. But that useless if there are so many people are sick or sueing that the society has broken down. Given that grandfather and mothers are important in society, and humans switch their genes on and off depending on environmental pressures, I would say that is actually takes 9 generations of people, before we can say what is a good crop or not.
    BDOA Adams, Axitronics
    Gerhard Adam
    On the plus site you can sue to the company for what the crop did, leading to money for a cure.
    You can only do that if you have data, and without labeling you'd never get to court.  How would a doctor even be able to diagnose a GMO based malady?  Without the fundamental data indicating that such food was consumed, it would never be known [which is precisely why I criticize this as the most unscientific aspect of deploying GMO foods].
    Mundus vult decipi
    ALL food should be labelled appropriately. And there is not enough scientific studies done to claim one way or the other if some GMO's are dangerous in the long term - it's been rather difficult to get sufficient studies done or to have results from those that are done revealed to the general public.
    True, it's probably close to impossible to avoid certain GMO's, but factory farming practices are rather crude, disgusting and much of what they do is hidden from the public. Can't say the same thing about non-corporate organic farming.
    And I'd like to know from what source the author is claiming there are more illnesses and deaths when comparing organic food to GMO's? And how does conventional 'food' production rank in comparison?
    Overall, a disappointing and biased article. Not what I would expect from this site.

    MikeCrow
    How would you measure the impact of various GMO foods even if you had a complete record of them(which you'll never have even if there's labels) on someones cancer 30 years from now?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't think we need to get to that point in tracking where it's beyond anything ever done before.  If we can't provide a 30 year history now, then it's not likely to be necessary for GMO's.  However, I think it is pertinent to do some obvious short-term tracking.  Do we see any new conditions in infants and young children?  Do we see the rise of conditions that are coincident with the introduction of new foods?

    I think some of these quite simple data elements are quite relevant and important if society is to accept that anyone is serious or concerned about public safety.  The more these ideas are resisted, the more it appears that there's something to hide, and that businesses are trying to protect their profits rather than being transparent.

    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    All this will do is feed the lunatics, consider the autism vaccine link as an example.
    Never is a long time.
    Are you aware of the relationship between genetically modified crops and pesticide use? And are you aware of the mountain of scientific evidence linking pesticides and cancer, birth defects, and other health problems?

    Look, if you want to buy GMOs by all means, knock yourself out.The rest of us have a right to decide for ourselves.

    Hank
    Genetically foods that use fewer pesticides are linked by you to more birth defects?
    Organic foods also use pesticides.  Just because it is 'natural' does not mean it is won't kill stuff - like people.

    Basically, if you buy organic food and eat it without washing it, you are out of your mind. Not just because of the E. coli you get from manure, but because of the strychnine.
    You can slather your corn in Roundup if you believe it's good for your health but you still haven't made even a halfway decent argument as to why I shouldn't be free to decide not to.

    USDA Organic foods ARE non-GMO foods. The label must specify USDA Organic (you'll see the little green and white circle). Foods that only have SOME organic ingredients are not labeled USDA Organic . USDA Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic Foods also do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. Organic meats can only be labeled organic if the animal is also fed an organic only diet. That said, we have a right to know what we are eating, and since you are so fond of labeling, Hank, I'm surprised you're not on board with the initiative. As in all things we need to be informed so that we can make informed decisions. Human bodies are meant to process FOOD, not GMO FOOD. It messes with the functioning of our bodies to be ingesting herbicides, pesticides and weird-a$$ genetic mutations. I'm sure that eating poison on a daily basis has absolutely no link to the massive increase in cancer, Diabetes, Autism and other diseases in todays society. Like everything else, it's purely coincidence.

    Hank
     Foods that only have SOME organic ingredients are not labeled USDA Organic . USDA Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
    Right, natural fertilizers and pesticides are okay and they are used in quantity. Why are natural pesticides okay?   No idea, you just think they are for some reason.   But an entire list of inorganic ingredients do not disqualify organic food.  Because Science 2.0 is honest about food and organic food activists are not, here is the list of inorganic ingredients in your organic food, which is only required to be 95% organic anyway.

    Why do organic foods need to be exempted from the new proposed labeling law, since those never have GMOs anyway, as you claim?  You'd think organic foods would want to be included, just so they never have a sticker. But no, if you learn about the actual organic food industry you will find that organic farms are in big, big trouble if they were held to the same scientific rigor GMO food is.

    Finally, there is no surprise spot checking of organic farms and, I say again, a whole lot of organic food has been found to be fraudulent.  Paying extra for something because someone somewhere filled out paperwork and paid a fee for a sticker is an intellectual placebo. If you did not grow it yourself, you are simply believing in a corporation.
    You can attack organic food until the factory farmed cows come home Hank but it doesn't work as an argument against labeling GMOs. You're making a good case that organics shouldn't be exempted, but that's about it.

    Hank
    My argument was that bad law leads to frivolous lawsuits - and this proposal is why activists should not be handling this.  Someone else made the comparison to gay marriage and there is a reason why it failed and California but worked in New York; people wanted the law written so churches could not be sued and people behind the movement said 'we would never sue' whereas in New York they made it so churches could not be sued over gay marriage.  No one trusts activists. They lie.

    Want 94% of sugar beets to be labeled and 88% of corn too? Okay by me, just label all of the inorganic ingredients, fertilizers and pesticides in organic food also. 
    Food companies already comply with all kinds of labeling laws and regulations. Have you looked at box of cereal lately? I doubt very much that adding one more thing is going to result in a problem with frivilous lawsuits.

    Gerhard Adam
    My argument was that bad law leads to frivolous lawsuits...
    Actually a bad legal system leads to frivolous lawsuits, which is an entirely separate problem that needs fixing.  I'm not prepared to abandon necessary laws because some lawyers are out of control.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "If you did not grow it yourself, you are simply believing in a corporation." Not necessarily. I have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership. All of the fruit and vegetables my family eats is grow on an organic farm less than 50 miles from my house. I know the farmers, I've been to the farm, and I have spoken with them at length about the methods they use for pest control on more than one occasion. I have every reason to trust them and a long list of reasons not to trust ConAgra.

    Organic farming used to just be called "farming". Until relatively recently all farming was organic. The techniques are time tested, tired and true. Can you say that about the latest Roundup drenched GMO crop?

    Hank
    Your techniques that are so time honored and true mean mass starvation for poor people.  I am thrilled you can visit local organic farms and be smug about how awesome you are - a lot of poor people do not have the wealth you have. Have you seen what tomatoes looked like before they were genetically modified?  They were the size of your thumb nail.  Is that what you get at your organic farm?

    GMO means food can grow in hostile places and in all places with fewer chemicals.  You think because a scientist has precisely created something, it is dangerous and inferior and less worthwhile than a random mutation.  That is why you are anti-science, plain and simple.
    We get it, Hank. You REALLY love genetically modified food. That's fine. But you are still failing to make a rational argument about why it shouldn't be labeled, and repeating this garbage about how "everyone who disagrees with you on this issue HATES SCIENCE" a million times won't make it true.
    Fewer chemicals? GM crops promote MORE pesticide use, not less, and they promote the use of ever stronger poisons as weeds become resistant. Oh, and organic farming = mass starvation, huh? While GM crops have ended world hunger? Dream on.

    Hank
    You're exaggerating again.  That is part of the problem, you won't look at an issue critically, you put on worldview blinders and then act either smug or arrogant, whichever suits your argument.  I don't love GMOs, nor do I love organic food - as I have said 10,000 times, given my way, no food my family touches will have been touched, grown, cooked, cleaned or killed by anyone but me.  Organic food is an intellectual placebo for the same people who believe in homeopathy but yayyyyy capitalism, I have no issue with that.  GMOs have done a world of good in feeding people and anyone who wants to invoke anti-science "Frankenfood" hysteria because they claim to care about the people they would rather have starve is dangerous.

    Everything in your statement is made up, I don't know if you copied and pasted it from some hysterical marketing brochure but it doesn't even pass basic critical thought.
    Hank, you are the one clinging on to your beliefs about this issue with an almost religious fervor. Here are some “hysterical marketing brochures” for you to read. New GM Crops Could Make Superweeds Even Stronger
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/new-superweed-evolution/

    GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides, say NGOs
    Report finds genetically modified crops fail to increase yields let alone solve hunger, soil erosion and chemical-use issues http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/gm-crops-insecurity-su...

    Let me take a shot at wading through some more of the bull in this article...

    “Limiting choice” Adding a label to a product does not limit choice. It allows the consumer to make a more informed choice.

    Pro-labeling = anti-science? Wow, that’s quite a leap. I’m not even sure where to start. Let’s imagine you said something slightly less nuts, like anti-GMO = anti-science. Still no good, because being a fan of science in general does not mean that one has to agree with every possible application of it. But I don’t even need to bother arguing against genetic modification of foods (though there is a strong case to be made there) because this conversation is about a labeling initiative..

    “Turning non-reality based beliefs into law”? I’m sorry, did I miss something? Would this measure outlaw GMOs? No, it would not. It would merely require that they be labeled as such. Try again.

    “They say they are promoting transparency and trust, but those are two things lacking in the Organic Food industry”. Right! So we need better labeling of organic foods too. I can’t understand why you would think this point helps your case against truthful labeling of GMOs in any way. We need accurate labels on ALL food.

    “GMOs can't enter the food stream until they are safe” Until they are deemed safe by the FDA you mean? Because they have never approved anything that later turned out to be anything but safe, right? Wrong.

    Poll after poll has shown overwhelming support for labeling. Are 96% of consumers "anti-science hippies", Hank?

    http://gefoodlabels.org/gmo-labeling/polls-on-gmo-labeling/

    Hank
    Then this law is easily going to get approved by 96% of voters - if it doesn't, there is something wrong with polling.  Not saying polls are wrong, they are quite accurate in recent times, except in the elections of 1992,1994,1996,1998,2000,2002,2004,2006,2008 and 2010.

    I just have to wonder why this proposed legislation exempts organic food from the same accountability. I mean, it's about food and choice, right?  Not warning labels for a specific thing anti-science zealots are against.
    Okay. Let's say all of the polls are meaningless. Do you honestly believe there isn't broad support for this? It is one of a very few issues that I have personally heard people from all over the political spectrum agree on. With that said, I doubt very much that 96% of voters will actually vote for it, especially after Monsanto and friends spends millions on a campaign to convince them that they don't actually want to know what they are eating.

    You keep saying "warning label" but there is no warning. No requirement that the label say anything about GMOs being harmful. It's only has to say that it is a GMO.

    Hank
    You keep saying "warning label" but there is no warning. No requirement that the label say anything about GMOs being harmful. It's only has to say that it is a GMO.
    I believe you believe that is the intent. You need to read what this initiative, and its backers, set out to do.  Again, if truth in labeling is the issue, organic foods would not have been specifically exempted.
    So you admit it is not a warning label, but you want me to vote against it because you claim the backers wished it could have been? Let's stick to what the initiative actually does, okay? Your general distrust of activists doesn't do much to sway my opinion, especially when you have just been less than straightforward yourself.

    Initially I would question the integrity of an article that supposes itself to be based on fact with the title "Anti-science Hippies Make Progress towards Labeling GMOS". While it's kind of funny, it appeals to sensationalism of the issue while sweeping the legitimate AND scientific reasons for labeling GMOs under the rug.

    A simple google search of "studies showing effects of GMOs" will yield a whole lot of scientific studies showing some negative health benefits of GMO foods.

    Here is an article showing negative health effects of GMO corn: http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/jan10/scientists_find_negative_imp...

    Also an article on how GMO foods are made, including fusing E Coli DNA into our food: http://www.examiner.com/article/genetically-modified-organisms-how-they-...

    If we are going to talk about the issue of science, it is well known that we do not fully know what DNA does. When we change a DNA structure, it changes how the strand as a whole operates, and there is no scientific evidence that shows that changing the DNA structure in our food is safe. In fact, there is much evidence to the contrary.

    In California, as it gets closer to November with the food labeling GMOs on the ballot, be prepared to see more propaganda (probably put out by Monsanto and co) to squash the push for non-GMO foods by citing "anti-science hippies" and other things. Remember to check multiple sources and read between the lines and through the motives of who is writing the article. Google is your best friend :)

    Hank, we're not really talking about science here, we're talking about basic philosophical principles that are debated hotly in international legal circles (especially at the WTO). European laws support the precautionary principle, which basically says, "You can't sell something unless you do enough testing to convince us that it's not harmful." In the U.S., laws do not support this principle, and our counterpart philosophy is, "Until it harms someone, we're just going to allow it." Forgetting the stereotypes for a second, you seem to have a traditionally liberal (American) viewpoint, while I and other commenters here have a more conservative (European) viewpoint.

    I doubt I can convince you that GMOs need to be better regulated, but I would at least hope that a reasonable scientist would be willing to concede that communication of scientific fact (in this case, about the presence of GMOs) is rarely a bad thing. Labeling simply communicates information between producers and consumers, reducing a market disparity that economists refer to as "information asymmetry." It sounds as if you are afraid that if consumers see "GMOs" on a label, they will make emotional and not rational decisions about purchasing of foods. You're probably right, in some cases, but quite frankly, I'm not sure that's any of your business! I for one am not emotional about the issue and have rational, science-based reasons for not wanting to eat genetically modified products--and I am not remotely ignorant on this subject. Why should you want to prevent me from making a decision about what I eat, as long as it doesn't affect you?

    I believe the only rational argument for not wanting labels on foods with genetically modified ingredients is an economic one, because it could potentially affect you: labeling costs money, and you might see the cost of manufactured food products go up by a few pennies per item. (That was observed in Europe when labeling laws were put in place several years back.)

    There would also need to be a couple of new safeguards put in place along the food supply chain, particularly for manufactured foods. The majority of the structure needed to communicate which foods have genetically modified material is already in place, however, because the U.S. is a major exporter of food products to the E.U., which already requires such labels. Moreover, separate food streams exist already for certified organic foods (which, despite your fears, cannot legally contain genetically modified material; therefore the separate "exemption" written into the ballot initiative is irrelevant and unimportant). Since very few non-certified-organic foods do not contain GMOs, these separate food streams already provide the kind of traceability that the labeling law will require. Please note that only foods not containing GMOs will need to have this kind of traceability; manufacturers of GMO-containing foods will only need to slap a label on the product.

    I believe your fears that consumers will make buying decisions based on emotion is a valid one; there is absolutely a desire on the part of the pro-label crowd to get people to eat fewer GMOs. I'm part of that crowd. Wide-scale cultivation of GMOs has created well-documented resistance to common pesticides and herbicides and has led to dramatically increased use of broad-spectrum herbicides (which in turn has led to well-documented higher levels of contamination in surface and well water). Horizontal gene transfer has been observed repeatedly, suggesting potential for other kinds of environmental harm. And don't get me started on the subject of agrobiodiversity!

    As the technology matures and becomes easier and cheaper, more and more varieties of GMOs are being developed, tested, and released; most countries around the world have little or no regulation of GM technology, however, and little or no capacity to monitor the release of new crops into the environment. (I'm not worried about evil Frankencreatures escaping the laboratories at Monsanto, which has a lot to lose if it causes an environmental disaster; I'm worried about what could come out of a small lab in Nigeria.) GMO development (for pharmaceuticals as well as food) is accelerating, with no progress on international regulation or testing standards. I believe that this means there is a strong chance that we will see insufficiently tested crops enter the environment and lead to an environmental incident.

    Do I want labels to cause people to rethink their consumption of GM foods? Absolutely. Do I also want to know what I'm eating? Absolutely. Don't let my motivations (grounded in science but promoting emotional consumer decisions) distract you from the fact that consumers also have a right to information about what they eat and where it comes from.

    Hank
    European laws support the precautionary principle, which basically says, "You can't sell something unless you do enough testing to convince us that it's not harmful." In the U.S., laws do not support this principle, and our counterpart philosophy is, "Until it harms someone, we're just going to allow it."
    That is a complete fabrication on your part.  I don't mind that you don't know what the laws are, or what science standards are for when something has to be tested and when it does not, but pretending you speak with authority while you are 100% is not great.
    No response to the rest of the comment? I'd thought I was making a lot of sense.

    As to this point: I'm not an "authority," but I have a graduate degree in international law and diplomacy and have been published in a respected journal on international regulation of GMOs. The statement above may have come across as glib, but if you look into WTO trade law for agricultural products, you will see that I am not fabricating anything. The U.S. has consistently fought the EU's application of the precautionary principle, claiming that there is no basis for this principle in international law. This is an enormous question, and not easily summarized, but there are some great examples in _Case Studies in US Trade Negotiation_ that you might be interested to look at. (There's no "right" or "wrong" on this subject--it really is just a philosophical difference between the way we regulate and the way Europeans regulate. Many American legal scholars insist pretty convincingly that the precautionary principle simply can't be applied in the U.S. because of the way our system is set up.)

    I don't mean to say that we don't have safety regulations in the U.S., on the contrary--it's just a question of how we regulate uncertainty and who has the burden of proof. In the case of GMOs, if Monsanto wants to release a new GM crop into the environment in the U.S., they do a lot of studies to demonstrate that it is safe. The FDA (or USDA or EPA or another body, depending on the crop and its proposed use) reviews the research done by Monsanto, proposes a federal rule that will allow the crop's release, accepts comments for a limited period, and then, if accepted, the crop is released. (This isn't a quick process, and the FDA has stalled development of numerous biotech crops as a result; indeed, I'd say that in the U.S. these safety regulations have been very effective so far.) If after a crop is released there is perceived harm, then it's entirely up to an external group to do comprehensive risk analysis and petition the FDA for a new rule that will retract acceptance of that crop. The government itself does not do this testing and does not automatically require third-party risk assessment, as is the case in Europe. There, by contrast, the precautionary principle is enshrined in laws that require third-party risk assessments for any policy decision. Europeans, by and large, would prefer a company to have to prove that their product is safe before it's ever released--which, as you or another commenter points out in a comment above, may be impossible. But that's the difference in our philosophies.

    Speaking of which...What exactly is your "science" and "law" background Hank? I can't seem to find any of that information..including on your own .com bio?

    Hank
    Is that the latest appeal to authority fallacy anonymous people on the Internet are using? Shouldn't you be trying to claim I faked the Moon landing and secretly work for Monsanto instead?  
    Gerhard Adam
    Awww ... you beat me to it on that one.  I'll bet if you can find a quote from Einstein, that will help.  After all, everything Einstein said must be true, even if it's about subjects he knew nothing about.
    Mundus vult decipi
    If that was in response to my question....Why is asking for someone's background an accusation of anything or even an attempt at anything? So again, since you are putting yourself out here as a "science" authority...and also mentioned something about international law...I'm wondering what your background is?

    When someone goes on as much as Hank does about being pro-science while insisting that everyone who disagrees with him is anti-science it is perfectly reasonable to ask what background he has in science, if any.

    If Hank was just another blogger...I wouldn't have asked. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. BUT when you write a book, say you are the creator of science2.0, and also the writer of the article involved. I personally like to check someone's background. I certainly would like to know he/she even has a background in science.

    Hank
    There's just one problem with your reasoning; 100% of the 'studies' cited in these comments as being proof against GMOs are not written by qualified people.  Nearly every expert in applied genetics works at Monsanto, ADM or some other multinational and the rest work for the government you claim is on the hook for Big Ag - not one single expert works for an advocacy group complaining about GMOs.

    So by all means contend that this simple article can only be written by an expert in plant genetics - but I suspect that metric only applies to opponents of your world view.  A politician who agrees with you, for example, likely is not undergoing this scrutiny, and it is obvious from the links people have included here that genetics PhDs are unnecessary...if they are writing what you want to read.
    Nice theory...but untrue. I question everything/one even those I MIGHT agree on. To find out how they came to the conclusions they did. I question to learn. My thoughts on any given subject...are subject to change. If ones were not, why bother even writing the above, or do you only speak to those that agree with you? I came here wanting to find out more about why someone would have a "problem" with food being labeled. I HEAR from you the "problem" is that "organic" food is not going to put to the same test. Many people have said...that's fair, ALL food should be labeled. I heard no response from you. Since you did not respond it made me wonder exactly where you could have come to your conclusion. So I questioned your background. In a courtroom, one does not call themselves an "expert" without citing their credentials. You have a book that's about to be released. Even most journalists site their credentials. If you don't have any, so be it, but your bio should reflect so. Also, if Einstein told me how to paint a house…I would question him as to his background in house painting, before I took his advice. Question EVERYTHING! : )

    I don't know science, I'm a finance writer. But from that angle, I'd just like to point out one of the (more pedestrian) reasons why this law is being passed.

    Once food is labelled, it becomes the consumer's responsibility to be aware of what she's eating. If it turns out there's something in the food her stomach doesn't agree with, the company is protected from a lawsuit: They've declared the ingredients; therefore she could have seen it, she could have avoided it.

    So you're right about legal ramifications. But not in the sense that lawyers will be walking down the isles and checking for what doesn't meet requirements. More in the sense that, should a big company be sued by a consumer, that lawsuit is less likely to succeed.

    MikeCrow
    I'm inclined to think it's a license for every liability lawyer to line up every cancer patient who's eaten something with GMO in it for a lawsuit.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I think that's really stretching the argument.  Lawyers routinely sue over all manner of silliness, but you can't arbitrarily declare something as carcinogenic without evidence.  Now you may argue that lawyers do it all the time ... if so, then I rest my case.  GMO's will make no difference, neither will labeling.

    We need to consider at a philosophical level the kinds of choices people have and should have.  It doesn't matter if someone is anti-science, unscientific, or scientific.  The underlying question is whether the government or corporations have the right to make a decision on your behalf without informing you, when you might exercise a different choice.  That's the issue.  All the rest is fluff.

    It's on that basis that I believe labeling is in order.  People have a right to know regardless of whether their choice is anti-science or not.  Similarly with the argument made regarding vaccines.  I happen to think that vaccines are important, but I'm not comfortable with the idea that people can be forced to have them.  There are certainly some vaccines I don't agree with.  I'm not afraid of what they might do, but rather I just don't think they're necessary.  I wouldn't want the federal government claiming a right over my body to decide how it gets treated and this extends into all manner of health care areas.

    People should be able to choose, regardless of how irrational we may view their choice to be. 


    Mundus vult decipi
    Well. This thread certainly took off. I just want to make one point, then I'll get back to my business.

    Humans have been genetically adapting plants and animals since agriculture and animal husbandry began. The staple products of the US (wheat, corn, beef) bear little resemblance to their genetic ancestors. They have been modified by the selector, humans. The genetics affected by F-1 crosses and the cross pollination of crops were not for genes that would pass on survival traits, but the selection was for the benefit of the selector, humans.

    So, the question is: Is the main argument that the modifications are being largely done by corporations, or that there should be no further modifications at all?

    Gerhard Adam
    Frank, I don't believe this is just about modification, but rather the type of modification and the effect that may have on natural selection.

    Every modification gives rise to positive or negative traits and also generates a selection pressure on any organism that interacts with the modified one.  In some cases this may be good or bad.  Certainly even the plant adaptations that have occurred over history can't be regarded as totally innocuous, although we may be oblivious to the effects.

    We've certainly seen the effects in more striking cases such as Cane toads in Australia or the killer bees.  These are also just as readily a byproduct of modification, or introduction into areas without better study.

    I'm always suspicious of "scientific miracles".  Nothing has a continuous up-side.  Therefore if GMO's are going to solve a particular problem, then I begin to look at what the unintended consequences or down-side issues may be.  We already saw this with antibiotics, where it was going to be a "miracle", but then miraculously, the microbes also began to adapt until we are now faced with a more serious problem than the one we started with.  That doesn't mean that the development and use of antibiotics was wrong, but it demonstrates a high level of naivete.  After all, more prudent use of antibiotics may well have prolonged their effectiveness.

    Similarly, a recent article indicates that there is a positive effect in the ecosystem by ensuring that fewer species are destroyed because of pesticides, despite still controlling the target species.  That's a great positive consequence.  However, the question we should be concerned about is whether these target species are simply going to go away or what?  Certainly we don't expect them to go extinct, so that means we expect them to evolve in a different direction if they are to continue to survive.  So what direction would that be?  Perhaps they go after other foods/plants.  That might be OK, unless it simply changes their impact on humans.  They could potentially evolve a resistance to the pesticide.  The plant itself might evolve. 

    In my view, the problem is that there are far too many parameters to control that we don't fully understand.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it, it just means that perhaps it's not ready for full-scale commercial exploitation.  Or if that's the path we feel is useful, then we need to be more cognizant of collecting more data to help improve our understanding.

    One thing is certain.  We don't know nearly enough about biology to claim that we need NO data, and that we can just go ahead because "science" is good.  That truly is a foolish position.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    One thing is certain. We don't know nearly enough about biology to claim that we need NO data, and that we can just go ahead because "science" is good. That truly is a foolish position.
    There is a decade and a half of data and 40 years of testing.  When is the precautionary principle common sense and when is it just an artificial barrier for this one thing?  Even using the phrase "NO data" when you know full well that is not true is just an indicator you are against it, you just write prettier than the nut jobs who want to put Mr. Yuk stickers on foods that are not cleverly marketed as 'organic'.
    Gerhard Adam
    The use of "NO data" is reflective of the reasoning when people argue that the data isn't available to provide labeling.  So if the data is there, then my statement is incorrect and so is their reasoning for not being able to label the food.

    I'm not against GMO foods, nor have I ever suggested that they were unsafe to eat.  I truly don't trust corporations and I expect them to label things so that consumers can make a choice.  Why?  This whole effort looks too much like litigation avoidance strategies.  Again, I agree that frivolous lawsuits need to be stopped, and I also agree that ALL food [including organics] need to be subject to labeling.

    I don't advocate singling out anyone in this.  In my view, they should all be on the hook to provide better information to the consumers.  If they can fill labels with recipes, then they can also fill them with useful information.

    I don't care if people don't read labels, and I don't particularly care if people eat poorly.  I do care if people don't have much choice and the lack of information is a choice issue. 

    I have my concerns about GMO foods, but they aren't going to be addressed by either labeling or the corporations.  That is a scientific question that we won't get the answer to for several years if not decades.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    The use of "NO data" is reflective of the reasoning when people argue that the data isn't available to provide labeling.  So if the data is there, then my statement is incorrect and so is their reasoning for not being able to label the food.

    I'm going to presume that you really know that you're talking about 2 different types of data here, one is lab testing results on exposure to GMO crops, the other is how commercial business use GMO foods. Two completely different things.

    My point is that adding a label that says "GMO", is meaningless, and forcing companies to note the % of each GMO food ingredient is excessive, costly, and still meaningless.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    It's not meaningless, if done properly.  We don't have to get ridiculous about labeling, but there should be enough information provided so that we can reasonably track anything that might manifest as a human health concern.

    It may be reasonable to limited percentages, etc. so that at this time they may be "below the radar".  I'm not asking that every atom be tracked.  We can arrive at something reasonable.  What I don't accept is that no labeling should occur, so that whatever modifications get made to food are only known to those producing it? ...  That's not acceptable for any type of food.

    Personally I'd like to know what was given to cattle [steroid, antibiotics, etc.].  There are regulations about how long before slaughter these things can be administered, and yet there are abuses.  I also don't believe organic food should be exempt. 

    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    It's not meaningless, if done properly.  We don't have to get ridiculous about labeling,

    I see this first quote being at odds with the second.

    but there should be enough information provided so that we can reasonably track anything that might manifest as a human health concern.

    What specific details would we need to have to differentiate GMO foods as the cause of some illness verses some other environmental cause? Single exposure wouldn't seem adequate(cause we're not really discussing e coli exposure) , so then it becomes: what, how much, how often, which will require detailed percentages.

    For instance HFCS from GMO corn, what % of the corn is GMO, how many HFCS drinks do you drink on average, which brands (because they will all have different sources and therefore different percentages). How does their consumption compare to others? How has the % of GMO corn changed over time, etc, etc.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Don't know and don't particularly care.  Bear in mind, that my position is that I don't need GMO's to meet my food requirements.  Therefore, if someone wants to sell them to me, then they better do it properly.  If the point is to get the government to shield what corporations do to our food supply, then there is every reason to use the power of the government to make it illegal.

    Corporations have no problem over-packaging, over-advertising, and over-labeling every piece of crap that they think they can make a penny from.  So, I'm not particularly interested in their excuses about how this is such an onerous responsibility.  If someone wants to modify the food supply, or the water supply, [or even the air supply], then I'm entitled to know what they've done, especially if they expect to make a profit from me.

    It's not complicated.  As I said, if I have to sue Monsanto because I have a condition and they won't release information that can help doctors make a diagnosis, then I have a serious problem with such a system.  [NOTE: I'm NOT saying that is what would happen].  GMO crops are initially more expensive for farmers to grow.  Someone is making money on this proposition, so if they expect me to buy it, then I expect them to label it.  Anything less is simply the government rolling over to play favorites with corporations.  Once I suspect that is happening, then I don't particularly care how legitimate GMO foods are.  I will fight it at every level, because it is simple corporatism.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Good points all. Okay, back to rat killing for me.

    "Is the main argument that the modifications are being largely done by corporations, or that there should be no further modifications at all?"

    Neither. The argument is about whether GM foods should be labeled or not.

    I just thought I was through. Jane, you missed my point. Which GMO? The ones done by the farmer down the street or the ones done by the corporation? Genetic modification is genetic modification.

    Gerhard Adam
    Actually you raise a good point, and I think that it would affect ALL modifications that are new or novel.  In other words, I would expect that cross-breeding two particular plants to produce something would also be subject to review, testing, and regulation.  Similarly if a cosmic ray produced a mutation the same would be true. 

    Admittedly, in the latter case, we may be unaware, in which case the mutation may have occurred, but we are oblivious to it, so that technically doesn't count.  However, if a random mutation occurred that produced enough variation to draw attention, I expect that it would be subject to review, testing, and regulation [if it was repeatable].

    It's an interesting point, because the plants that have been modified by agricultural practices, were done well before we had any understanding of genetics, so I'm not sure why we should use them as a basis for comparison.  After all, whether it was done properly or not, we have a history that suggests that we can at least tolerate them [although clearly not everyone].  However, I would expect whether a corporation inserts a new gene, or a farmer engages in his own Mendelian experiments, both would be subject to review and neither given a free pass to distribute the results into the food chain.
    Mundus vult decipi
    You say things so much better than I do. You got the message and amplified it well. Perhaps some others will understand your phrasing and take it to heart.

    Folks, our foods have all been modified. What, how much, by whom and will it harm my grandchildren? Those questions should be front and center. We need to know the facts, not the biases, not the hype, not the advertising, just the facts. Then, with due diligence, each of us can make an informed choice.

    There are pros and cons to using GM crops but Hank has dismissed every concern raised here out of hand. It’s no use trying to convince him that this technology is anything less than perfect, but it’s really not necessary to do so because the fact remains that nearly everyone (Republican, Democrat, scientist, and layperson alike) wants to know what they are eating.

    Hank
    So you know what you are eating in organic food?  It isn't on the labels.  I say again, if this is not about cigarette-ish warning labels and instead transparency and truth, the advocates behind this legislation would not be exempting organic food or alcohol or anything else.

    You would be alarmed at how much organic food will be required to have a GMO label if organic food is not exempted.  That it is not more well-known is, as I have said many times, proof that Monsanto sucks at PR and organic food companies do not.

    Because of the nature of the Internet, it seems to be a notion that I am 'against' organic food or 'for' GMOs.  It isn't true at all, once a week I personally post something related to better food. Yesterday I posted another piece about a Whole Foods effort for bees. Do I think you are a sucker for overpaying for their food?  I do, but when they are doing something good I endorse it time and again.  

    Basically, I am not on Team Organic or Team Monsanto. I am on Team Science.
    Some hippie cows that got more than a stomachache:

    http://www.qwmagazine.com/2012/06/14/brazilian-farmers-win-2-billion-jud...

    Gerhard Adam
    I don't know whether this is a legitimate claim or not, but this response is certainly telling:
    There is no real evidence that Bt corn had anything to do with the unfortunate loss of cows.  The fact that Syngenta reimbursed the farmer was not an admission of guilt but an attempt at good customer relations.  Syngenta obviously didn’t feel like telling the farmer that he was committing a logical fallacy by thinking that because his cows died after eating Bt 176 corn, that Bt 176 corn must have killed them.
    http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-1/1-9-bt-corn-is-safe-2/
    I don't believe I've ever read a more patronizing response. 

    Based on this response alone, I would've supported criminal charges against the corporation and the scientists.

    Reading further is only more frustrating, because of the apparent lack of concern in investigating such claims, it further reduces my "faith" that anyone cares what's taking place.
    Little evidence or information is available about this case but none of it provides any evidence of a link between Bt 176 and cow deaths.  No follow-up scientific analysis has been published.
    No follow-up?  How about an autopsy?  I can even understand a published result stating that nothing was found, but no follow-up study?
    Most of the fear-mongering about changes in the DNA reflects a lack of awareness of the extensive changes in DNA that occur in the conventional plant breeding techniques that we have used for many years.
    Yes, except that, in the past, we made those changes in near total ignorance.  In all likelihood, we still probably don't understand most of what has occurred at the genetic level.  Again, this statement is misleading and incorrect, because it shifts the focus away from all the codependent species that are NOT the target of the modification.  Therefore any biologist that is talking as if a species exists in isolation and whose "changes" can be that tightly controlled is also talking out his ass.
    DNA change isn’t bad, it’s the objective of all breeding.
    Statements like this are also infuriating, because they are misleading and ultimately stretching the truth.  Breeding is about wanting to preserve desirable genes, NOT change them.  More importantly, this flies in the face of too many biologists that have argued that "change" [i.e. mutations] are always bad.  Now, because of an agenda, suddenly "change isn't bad".

    It's little wonder that most of it seems like maneuvering and lying.

    http://ps.fass.org/content/84/3/385.full.pdf

    http://www.fhs.d211.org/departments/science/mduncan/bioweb/Biotechnology/Genetically%20Modified%20Foods.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1280366/
    Mundus vult decipi
    A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Hank and Gerhard, have you read this paper mentioned above? The Abstract says :-
    We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world. NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides. Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups. This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties. We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group). 
    Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.
    Keywords: GMO, toxicity, GM corn, rat, NK 603, MON 810, MON 863

    The most alarming evidence that I read in the discussion section was :-

    Last but not least, the most marked and most numerous effects are on organs involved in detoxification like the kidney and liver, usually reached after a diet-linked toxicity.
    For instance in the NK 603 study statistically significant strong urine ionic disturbances and kidney markers imply renal leakage. This includes creatinine (increased urinary clearance), together with its diminution in the blood, and the decrease in urea nitrogen. Blood creatinine reduction has in some cases been found to be associated with muscle problems. It is therefore perhaps of note that the heart, as a very representative muscle organ was affected in the GM feeding groups. The possibility of renal porosity as evidenced by these data may be due to the presence of residues of Roundup herbicide, that are present in GM crop varieties such as the NK 603 maize investigated here. We have previously demonstrated that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup are highly toxic at very low concentrations to human embryonic kidney cells [36], inducing a decrease in viability, noticeably via inhibition of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase.
    The deficiency in kidney function we highlight to be present in male rats is different between animals fed NK 603 and MON 863. The latter is characterized by an increase in plasma creatinine levels and retention of ions, which were associated with a chronic interstitial nephropathy, as originally admitted in the Monsanto MON 863 report and by Hammond and coll. [18]. However, this disturbance in kidney function was dismissed in their conclusions because the strain of rat used in the feeding studies is apparently sensitive to this type of pathology, especially during aging, which was not the case here. However, this reasoning was admitted by various regulatory authorities (EFSA, CGB in France). These arguments again appear flawed as the rats were still relatively young, 5 months by the end of the experimental period and therefore below the age when they might be expected to spontaneously develop kidney diseases.

    Can you believe that the Monsanto scientists were trying to dismiss the evidence of deficiencies in the rats' kidney functions and even the increases in plasma creatinine levels and ion retention associated with chronic interstitial nephropathy in these young male rats fed the GMO corn because this strain of rat that they had chosen to test, is apparently susceptible to this type of pathology when they are very old! Oh well, look on the bright side, it looks as though these GMO crops might be going to fix the global human population explosion problem by killing us all off at a much younger age again, especially males. 

    I have always religiously washed my fruit and vegetables to remove all traces of insecticide but the insecticides in these GMO foods cannot be washed away, they are in every mouthful of the GMO foods that we consume. GMO labelling is now my only means of protecting my family from these proven toxic GMO and  Bt insecticides however even that can't prevent unplanned cross-pollination and horizontal gene transfer to unidentified crops and organisms, even organic ones, can it?

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    I'm not a fan of GMO foods, and I definitely think they should be labeled.  However, I think the argument that they are dangerous for consumption is overstated. 

    I also have a problem with the point that there may be a dozen papers that find nothing wrong, but suddenly one paper that claims a toxic link is considered "proof".

    It could be accurate, it might not be.  That's the problem, because there are too many claims and counter-claims to rely solely on a single paper.  Besides, one thing that should be available is human related studies, since GMO foods have been on the market for a considerable period of time already.  Therefore, if we are to examine toxicity effects, then I would expect to see some correlation to human subjects at this point.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I also have a problem with the point that there may be a dozen papers that find nothing wrong, but suddenly one paper that claims a toxic link is considered "proof".
    Actually if you read the references at the end of the paper there are many more studies of animal consumption of Bt insecticides via GMO studies referenced here Gerhard. Did any of them find nothing wrong? I don't know, I will have to check. 

    The data in this one paper however was obtained specifically from Monsanto's own multiple scientific studies, not just one study, prior to them releasing the GMO corn for human and animal consumption, these regulatory tests were performed confidentially by Monsanto prior to commercialization of their GM crops, pesticides, drugs and chemicals. 

    The authors of this paper investigated all of the available data that allowed comparisons of these studies of GMO consumptions on health effects. 'This allowed the most appropriate statistical analyses to be performed in order to avoid possible false positive as well as false negative results'. The physiological criteria used to either accept or reject any GM significant effect as relevant was made very clear as the authors discussed sex-related, temporal, linear and non-linear dose effects which are often involved in the establishment of chronic and endocrine diseases.:-
    The raw data have been obtained by European governments and made publically available for scrutiny and counter-evaluation. These studies constitute a model to investigate possible subchronic toxicological effects of these GM cereals in mammals and humans. These are the longest in vivo tests performed with mammals consuming these GMOs
    Can you believe that feeding rats GMO corn for a mere 90 days is the longest in vivo tests performed on mammals consuming GMOs in the world and yet apparently 80% of American corn is now genetically modified and Americans and their animals have been consuming it, unlabelled for years? 

    How do we know that recent increases in the 'taupathies' like Alzheimer's, MND and ALS, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, even autism, are not also related to this GMO consumption? Has there been an increase in unexplained kidney, liver, brain and heart disorders in American people, as implied could be possible from these rat studies? If so who would know?

    These rats were fed GMO corn for a mere 90 days and clearly developed toxicity symptoms and effects on their kidneys and livers, although the dietary detoxifying affected organs were different between the 3 GMOs. 'Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system'. The study clearly concluded that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn.
    The animals were male or female young adult rats fed during 5 or 14 weeks with the GM maize NK 603 (11 or 33% in the diet) and compared with controls fed with a ''substantially equivalent'' isogenic maize line. The parameters were measured for 10 rats, except for the organ weights (20 rats), obtained only at the end of the experiment.
    Apparently Monsanto's raw biochemical data, necessary to allow a statistical re-evaluation, should have been made publicly available according to European Union Directive CE/2001/18 but unfortunately this was not the case, the data for this analysis had to be obtained either through court actions (lost by Monsanto) to obtain the MON 863 feeding study material (June 2005), or by courtesy of governments or Greenpeace lawyers. In the paper the authors thank the people that Hank would probably describe as 'the anti-science Europeans' at the Swedish Board of Agriculture, May 30, 2006 for making public the NK 603 data upon request from Greenpeace Denmark and lawyers from Greenpeace Germany, November 8, 2006 for MON 810 material. 

    Can you afford to fund a GMO animal study? I know that I can't, so who should be doing this? It seems that Monsanto were complying with Government regulations by doing these same tests that showed adverse health effects in rats and yet Monsanto's GMOs were still made publicly available as fit for human and animal consumption, so what hope is there for pro-science hippies like me who are anti GMO foods being released into my environment like this, regardless of this statistically significant evidence of adverse health effects actually having been found?
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    In this case I have to agree with you Helen.  I have a problem when these kinds of issues surface and transparency becomes suspect. 

    These are not the kinds of questions we should still not have clear cut answers to after all these years, and there certainly shouldn't be any ambiguity in the mammal studies.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Nobody is saying that one paper is proof. The point is that some real concerns have been raised by scientific research and Hank’s framing (that he is on team science and those who want labeling are not) is ridiculous.

    Bunch of anti-science hippies working at Monsanto!

    http://crisisboom.com/2011/08/22/gm-foods-not-served-in-monsanto-cafeteria/

    I think Hank didn't do his research before he fired this article out!I mean the very first two GMO foods released to the public back in the late 80's early 90's caused widespread issues.Such as "stomach ache", diarrhea, and problems with the food not being absorbed or broken down internally.This is the problem I find more often than not, that the people who are generally for GMO have absolutely no information and have almost never done any real homework on the subject.The only two groups who really know what is happening are the folks who make the GMO and the so-labeled "anti-science hippies".I usually ask these writers if they ever had high school senior english because I remember writing a term paper that needed quite a bit of research and then when presented in the paper there needed to be footnotes on my research.This was fairly common in all classes in college, so common it was the norm.If there was information that was incorrect then we usually failed that project.I hope for all people that this sort of mis-informative reporting style will discover ethics and how to apply them to work presented to the public as fact.Don't worry Hank someday you or your children, Gods forbid, will be taught in college mostly by the sort of folks you have a problem with here.Most teachers and professors I had were very much the socially active hippie type you seem to have so much fear of.However have faith Hank.The battle of GMO will only last so long.Either we will win and defeat this modern evil or we will all die when there are no more seeds to grow plants with and every last plant on earth is infected with the GMO poison.I see it after long study as the biggest problem facing humanity!Mostly because it really is the single biggest one that will affect everything on the planet as well as the humans.As long as there is ignorance by the biased media then there will never be a well informed public.

    Hank
    that the people who are generally for GMO have absolutely no information and have almost never done any real homework on the subject.The only two groups who really know what is happening are the folks who make the GMO and the so-labeled "anti-science hippies".
    This is the funniest comment I will read today, though I assume you did not intend that.  You insist people have some sort of biological GMO radar but that no biologists have found it, only political science majors who work at advocacy groups have.