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    Organic Versus Natural: The Prop 37 Fiasco Gets Sillier
    By Hank Campbell | September 23rd 2012 12:20 PM | 98 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    Newspapers and journalists have given a lot of coverage to Proposition 37, the oddly named California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act. Laurel Rosenhall, writing in the Sacramento Bee today (whose editorial board recommends a 'no' vote on it) oddly mentions the big corporations funding public relations campaigns against it but then seems to pit them against lovely sounding small names like "Amy's Kitchen" and "Nature's Path", without ever mentioning that the biggest reason this is on the ballot at all is because out-of-state crackpots who have been penalized time and again by the FDA for making ridiculous claims - like Mercola, which sells suspect supplements they claim can prevent or cure cancer and who also claims vaccines are causing autism. And that magic soap company isn't included on the 'pro' side either.

    What Rosenhall does get right is that the cultural divide is much greater than the scientific one. A retired university administrator on a government pension doesn't care about food cost, Rosenhall notes - retired government employees are part of the 1% who can afford to pay more - but a former veteran with PTSD living on public assistance wants to eat without being part of an irrational anti-science crusade that changes public health not in the least, makes food more expensive, and lines the pockets of lawyers and organic food companies which have made sure they are exempt. This law would not help poor people in the least but it would sure hurt them. Perhaps you think $400 a year is nothing. If so, you may be on a government pension but you haven't ever been poor.

    With their irrational verbage in drafting the referendum, 'organic' food companies have created an odd enemy - natural food companies that haven't yet been extorted into buying an organic sticker.  They are saying natural food needs labels too. 

    Olive oil that is just olives, for example, is completely natural. But because olives are pressed to make oil, it cannot be labeled 'natural' under the law. Nor can any wheat that has been milled - which is 100% of wheat, and none of it is genetically modified - it is also penalized under this law.  And so 1,900 natural food companies are being forced to lobby against a referendum they would basically agree with were it not written so stupidly. The Natural Products Association, “over 1,900 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products,” is against Prop 37.

    Supporting this fiasco would be cutting their own throats. They discovered that the 'organic' food companies don't care about the public or food, they care about achieving a competitive advantage through legislative fiat they could not gain in the marketplace, and that includes natural foods:

    we cannot support the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. NPA is very concerned with the enforcement provision as well as the limited definition of natural included in the language. Proposition 37 places every supplier, manufacturer, and retailer of food products at risk of unreasonable and frivolous litigation."

    Which is exactly the intent of Prop 37.

    Comments

    Do you think this proposition is going to pass, Hank?

    Hank
    A month ago I would have said 'yes' because California has gone from being the home of freedom and independence to only leading in banning stuff. As the cultural demographic got lopsided so did faith in science and reason. But with almost every media group against it that might make a difference.

    If people read the voter guide, it should fail. If they just listen to PR spin about 'knowing what is in food' it will pass. Even these NPA people are grudgingly against it.  It was written by a lawyer and for a crackpot who wants to make his products look better by making every other product look worse and make some money on lawsuits in the process.

    Declaring all-natural wheat and olive oil unnatural is pretty funny, if it were happening in some other country, like France. 
    Hank, I just read the every sentence of Prop 37, but apparently you haven't. I was just about to say neither did the crackpot who wrote the article, but just realized that's you. Prop 37 clearly points out that there are exemptions so that foods such as olive oil and milled wheat can be called natural. As long as they have been tested and found not to be genetically engineered.
    Also, there is no incentive for lawsuits. That's pure propaganda as well. There are no penalties or multipliers. Lawyers can only be reimbursed for their time and money spent on the lawsuit. No more. This is very reasonable. The bottom line is if foods are labeled properly, there will be 0 lawsuits.
    Best,
    Trace D. Farley

    Hank
    It's sort of funny that a ban-happy anti-science zealot is calling anyone else a crackpot.  If this referendum were as wholesome and wonderful and benign as you claim, it wouldn't be needed.  Companies could just put on their own 'no GMO' sticker and the public is "safe".  And yet this no-cost warning label seems to have a cost when it comes to GM companies doing it.

    So tell me, since your keen legal instincts think this is worded just fine - why exempt restaurants or alcohol or GM foods at all?  It is a real head-scratcher that this super-wonderful wording you adore would leave anything at all out.
    Hank, to be this anti Prop 37 you must be getting paid well by Monsanto, or Dow Chemicals. These are the main companies against this. These, by the way, are not food companies, these are chemical companies. The same wonderful companies that brought us Agent Orange, DDT, numerous pesticides, aspartame, and numerous other wonderful products. Now, they present us GMO seeds. And...oh yes. It's for your benefit.
    But don't forget, you must buy them each and every year from us. But, of course...it's for your benefit.
    Oh, and one more thing. If by chance the pollen from our GMO crop ruins yours, we are going to sue you.

    Veyr simply, it would be impossible to label food in restaurants.
    As for alcohol, I'm not sure and I really don't care. This is a good step in the right direction.

    Perhaps you can tell me...why aprox 50 other countries have either made gmos' illegal, or mandated labeling of gmos, but it's not a good idea for us. I guess all of the scientists and government agencies in all of those countries are just ban-happy anti-science zealots as well yes?
    Keep us the good work,
    Trace

    Hank
    Hank, to be this anti Prop 37 you must be getting paid well by Monsanto, or Dow Chemicals. 
    That's the problem with anti-science zealots; you simply cannot accept that anyone takes a position that is reasonable and sane and scientific, because you cannot.  So anyone disagreeing with you must be getting paid.  It's a shame the anti-GMO contingent is so cynical.

    As common law stories go, a criminal was once asked if he wanted a trial by jury or a trial by judge and the defendant replied 'trial by judge, I don't want 12 pickpockets choosing what happens to me' and so it goes with people who are on the fringe of science crackpottery; if you assume all scientists and everyone else is lying, what does that say about you?
    Good job Hank. That's a great reply to my full email.
    Keep up the good work,
    Trace

    Hank
    You get what you deserve.  You start off with either an ad hominem or a lie (your choice) about me and then devolve further into anti-science nonsense about biology you are clueless on.  Go comment on Mercola.com.
    Trace, Hank isn't the only one offended by your comment.

    I've been reading about this issue long enough to know that when someone begins with "shill...Monsanto," one should stop reading.

    Hank, Mike, you have proven to be a couple of idiots. Prop 37 is going to pass with flying colors.
    http://www.cbrt.org/initiative-survey-series-2012/initiative-survey-seri...

    Screw you and Monsanto.
    Trace

    Hank
    I believe it will pass also.  You seem to think that is a sign of its worth.  In 1865 most people wanted to keep slavery too and I can name lots and lots of positions where the majority was wrong, especially when it comes to science.  If you had been alive in 1850 you would have said we should keep drilling skulls instead of understanding germ theory.

    You seem like an angry, hate-filled person who uses 'caring' about people to rationalize your vitriol.  Everyone can see through it.
    Well Mr. Science 2.0, most of us trust the science. We can always improve the law once it's passed.
    But we improve the body once it's dead or the earth once it's destroyed. Read and learn....

    The Real Problems with GMOs

    19 Studies Link GMOs to Organ Disruption —
    http://www­.responsib­letechnolo­gy.org

    Why genetically engineered food is dangerous—New report by genetic engineers
    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/news/60-why-genetically-engineered-...

    Monsanto's herbicide causing Sudden Death Syndrome in plants
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22488.cfm

    Doctors Warn - Avoid Genetically Modified Food
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/25/doctors-wa...

    GM Crops Decimating Monarch Butterflie­s Habitats
    http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/july2011/GMcropsmonarchbutterflies...

    Guide for the confused — http://www­.organicco­nsumers.or­g/articles­/article_1­860.cfm

    Monsanto tried to block Austrian government research linking GMOs & Infertility
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_15720.cfm

    GMOs failing across America - Farmer to Farmer film reveals disastrous failure
    http://www.naturalnews.com/z033264_farmers_GMOs.html

    Syngenta corporation faces criminal charges for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
    http://www.naturalnews.com/036315_Syngenta_GM_corn_livestock_deaths.html

    Typo Correction:
    But we CANNOT improve the body once it's dead or the earth once it's destroyed. Read and learn....

    Hank
    Well Mr. Science 2.0, most of us trust the science. We can always improve the law once it's passed.
    Passing bad laws and hoping they will get fixed is not the way responsible voters act.  It is simply lawsuits from moment one, and then lawsuits when the law is changed to not be so goofy. It is better to turn this down and write a clean law.

    This is California, 74% Democrats and Democrats here are overwhelmingly anti-science. Finding one to endorse a good law will not be hard.  Almost every California Congressional Democrat and both Senators want GMs labeled or banned so it will pass easily as long as it is not written as stupidly as this one. And this is stupid.  If you as a 'BanGMO' person read this law about penalizing organic food, would you still say 'pass it and fix it later'?  No, because then you would agree how dumb it is. 

    P.S. What none of your links have is any science. While I appreciate that Mercola - who was fined by the FDA for claiming to be able to prevent and cure cancer and thinks vaccines cause autism - is a valid source to you, to rational people none of these are legitimate.  You left out the magic soap company too.


    Your use of the FDA as an arbiter of truth is laughable. The FDA attack herbalists and supplement makers who have never caused any harm to anyone. That same FDA is in bed with big Pharma whose drugs kill over 100,000 a year. (The Starfield study published in the AMA Journal)

    That same FDA spies on and silences its own scientists when they produce results big Pharma doesn't like.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/fda-surveillance-of-scientists-spre...

    The former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Herbert Ley, says this about the FDA—
    "The thing that bugs me is that people think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is protecting them -- it isn't. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks its doing are as different as night and day."

    Open your eyes. Read more independent sources.

    Hank
    This is an independent source.
    Your use of the FDA as an arbiter of truth is laughable. The FDA attack herbalists and supplement makers who have never caused any harm to anyone
    Ummm, you want to ban GMOs, which have also never harmed anyone.  Unlike homeopathy and supplements, though, GM food has helped many.

    Please show us where Dr. Mercola was fined by the FDA. I'm assuming this is just another false statement you are making, I believe that is legally known as 'slander'.

    Hank
    Then let Mercola sue me.  He makes tens of millions of dollars per year exploiting gullible people with his quackery - $1.1 million supporting this quackery alone - and he should give more of it to lawyers so it can be shown in court he is a fraud.

    If you want to believe his Medtherm2000 infrared camera can detect cancer or whatever else he is claiming now ("Heal before you can Feel!"), go ahead and buy it.  It won't make him less of a fraud, it just makes you gullible. Just because he calls it 'medicine' doesn't mean it is.
    So you admit to making false statements against Dr. Mercola so he will sue you and you can prove he's a fraud? How very cavalier of you.

    I would think it would be easier to admit that you made an error, and you had meant he had received warning letters from the FDA and was not fined by the FDA.

    Hank
    ha ha Okay, fine, he has been cited numerous times for being a fraud but his Civil Money Penalty paperwork is still making its way through the bureaucracy.  By all means declare that he is legitimate because he is not in jail also.

    You can continue to refer to him as Dr. but the medical community would prefer that people who specialize in 'musculoskeletal alignment' woo stop making them look bad.  I like that he says HIV has nothing to do with AIDS and vaccines kill kids but that he will sell krill oil to your dog with a straight face, though.

    The pot calls the kettle black. go on http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ ... then have a good laugh about how both sides of the issue here are using logical fallacy over and over again. Irresponsible drivel from both sides is just that... showing that someone else is logically fallacious doesn't make them right or wrong. Obviously corporations direct their money towards their financial interests: that is their job, their solemn duty and responsibility to their shareholders. This is why you can't trust them to act in the public interest. That's supposedly the Governments job.
    The truth is, California shouldn't have to have a prop 37, because if the FDA, or the Supreme court were doing their damn job in the first place, GMO's wouldn't have been approved without labeling, nor would patenting life forms be considered legal, and we wouldn't be in this mess. Yet here we are. Those decisions were obviously and expensively bought by corporate interests. Defending such practices as science makes YOU and anti-science corporate shill, paid or not. What a Crock your site is.

    Hank
    You're just a goofball.  Under your shadetree amateur knowledge of logic and law and science, like 
    GMO's wouldn't have been approved without labeling
    nothing would get approved without warning labels.  Not water, not ice cream, not mattresses, because nothing can ever be proven safe.

    You are an anti-science crank, I am cool with that. Totalitarian shills who want to micromanage the world to match their kooky beliefs are what makes writing about science fun; so ban everything, I don't care.  Buy your magic soap and your homeopathy water.  But don't pretend it is reality-based or rational. That's the only part I care about.   Pushing forward with this law gives me years and years of writing about how anti-science and goofy social authoritarian progressives are.  Were it to fail, I  have nothing to write about November 7th.  So get your fringe conspiracy friends to the polls and let's get this thing passed.
    UvaE
    19 Studies Link GMOs to Organ Disruption —
    http://www­.responsib­letechnolo­gy.org
    The web site looks like they're more interested in selling a DVD than in presenting a balanced look of the issue.

    Doctors Warn - Avoid Genetically Modified Food
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/25/doctors-wa...
    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) is not exactly the American Medical Association! They also oppose fluoridation of municipal water, and it's partly thanks to them that a large section of the public has chemical paranoia and cannot distinguish between genuine threats and dangers that are in all likelihood imagined.
    You've got to be kidding or bought and paid for by Monsanto!

    Look at the rise of chronic disease and obesity in US since GMO introduction. In Europe, where GMOs are widely banned, has not seen the same spikes in these problems.

    You want to see harm done by GMOs? Then go do some reading at—
    http://www­.responsib­letechnolo­gy.org

    And answer me this...if GMOs are so safe, why did the biotech industry ram through a law during the Bush years, protecting it from any liability for harm done?

    Do you have an 1 and 20 minutes?
    Why not take a look at the new film, Genetic Roulette.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odCSWY05u4Q

    My friend, Jeff Smith, produced it. He happens to be America's leading expert on GMOs.

    If that doesn't cause you to rethink your position, then just enjoy your GMOs.
    They'll soon be nicely labeled for you.

    Hank
    I was kind enough to delete the duplicate comment where you also call me a shill for Monsanto. Why? There is no formal name for it yet but the general rule is that whenever someone calls someone else Hitler or a shill for Monsanto, the conversation is over.  And I don't think it is over just because an anti-science partisan wants get ban happy about yet another thing and resorts to nonsense and conspiratorial junk thinking when he has no real point.

    I never heard of Jeff Smith, this supposed leading expert in America. And it turns out there is a reason I never heard of him. He knows nothing about biology.  Maharishi University of Management does not provide degrees in biology, to my knowledge. Instead, his "expertise" was working as a salesman for a 'GMO detection' company, whatever that is.  He has no knowledge at all about biology and also claims to be an expert in yogic flying - so, yes, I agree that his (and your) anti-GMO beliefs are as much science as transcendental meditation. 
    "My friend, Jeff Smith, produced it."

    Sometimes I wish there was a god, so I could say with conviction, "Oh, God help us!"

    Ah, maybe you just didn't look carefully.
    MUM's Department of Physiology and Health offers a B.A. and also a pre-med program leading to a B.A. degree. http://www.mum.edu/physiology/welcome.html

    Jeff Smith's degree is not in biology though he's studied biology as part of his BA.
    But you know, you don't have to be a biologist to know when something is wrong, when people are getting sick, when animals, plants, insects are dying. when soil and water is being polluted. No you just need a brain and eyes and a lack of corporate agenda.

    By the way, there are there are over 700 studies now showing the benefits of TM and zero studies showing the benefits of GMOs.

    Hank
    By the way, there are there are over 700 studies now showing the benefits of TM and zero studies showing the benefits of GMOs
    This is so nonsensical I can't do anything more than express my appreciation to you for outlining the mentality of the anti-science community so clearly.
    Most in actual academics consider the Maharishi school less of a college and more of a cult.

    Totally untrue.
    The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

    The Higher Learning Commission is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

    The University’s business programs (B.A., MBA, and Ph.D.) are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

    MUM is also listed as a "College of Distinction" in Iowa.
    http://collegesofdistinction.com/college-profiles/IA-iowa/224-maharishi-...

    MUM also was the first to offer degrees in Sustainability.

    MUM graduates are hired by Fortune 500 companies than any other school of its size. Better do some reading before opening your mouth.

    Hank
    So you can fly in the ethereal plane just like Smith?   That is what they teach?  I totally want to go to that school.  Do they have online classes?
    no no. Yogic flying is taught too. It's literal flying. But nobody has ever actually demonstrated full floating. They typically bunny hop with their legs crossed and claim it's magic. There's a picture of Mr. Smith doing it on the academicsreview website.

    The place is and has long been a joke.

    Gerhard Adam
    They are saying natural food needs labels too.
    This is the industry's own fault.  The FDA discourages the use of the term "natural" since there are no standards nor legal guidelines that define it.  As a result, anyone could label anything they wanted to as being "natural" which is precisely what they did.  Specifically they also included many things that most people clearly would not consider "natural".

    I have no sympathy, for an industry that has simply been too clever for their own good.

    I fully agree that Prop 37 is a bad law and won't achieve what it is supposed to.  The exemption for organic foods is clearly a bad thing.  Yet, in many ways, I have to concede that this is simply a backlash at an industry that has played fast and loose with definitions and terminology for too long. 
    http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/06p0094/06p-0094-cp00001-05-Tab-04-Food-Marketing-Institute-vol1.pdf
    Mundus vult decipi
    You make a couple misrepresentations that are not "scientific"

    Prop 37 calls for labeling genetically engineered food, a subsection notes for processed (genetically engineered) food that this food cannot be labeled "natural." so your claim that:

    "Olive oil that is just olives, for example, is completely natural. But because olives are pressed to make oil, it cannot be labeled 'natural' under the law."

    is absurd. Only if the olives were genetically engineered would they be barred from using the adjective "natural." Currently in the US there are no GE olives or wheat.

    Organic food is a product of a process that excludes genetically engineered products, sewage sludge, irradiation, and synthetic chemicals. That is why organic food is exempted from GE labeling.

    There is no bounty in Prop 37 as there is in Prop 65. I don't know of any lawyer who would sue for the price of a pack of Twinkies and expenses. This enforcement was chosen because it is the least expensive for the state to administer. For a more objective review of the economics, see:
    http://www.anh-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/GE-Food-Act-Costs-Asse...

    You are spouting the no on 37 talking points without critical examination, that shows a bias for GE crops or companies, vs objective seeker for truth.

    Hank
    is absurd. Only if the olives were genetically engineered would they be barred from using the adjective "natural." Currently in the US there are no GE olives or wheat.
    You are wrong on every single point.  If you read the actual law, you would see that your beliefs on the 'intent' don't hold up under scrutiny by any lawyer - that is why the huckster who wrote it phrased it that way. It is junk law, plain and simple.  Anti-science crackpots would recognize that if it were out to label organic food along with GM foods.  Again, if this were about truth in labeling or truth in food, it would not be written so shockingly stupid.  Instead, it is simply written badly on purpose by a smart lawyer, so that he can get rich and his customers can scare people into buying organic and magical soap nonsense with no benefit to anyone.

    That's objective truth. You'd recognize that if you did not have an agenda. It is obvious I don't and it is obvious from your URL you do.
    BugFarmer:

    "Organic food is a product of a process that excludes...synthetic chemicals."

    No it isn't.

    http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5068682

    Hank
    I'm always baffled at the claim there is no synthetic chemicals because someone pays a fee and slaps on an organic sticker.  'There is no organic equivalent' is all the excuse they need and they can use anything.  And do.  I never learned that hydrogen peroxide was found in nature but it's allowed in organic food.
    this is a farce. most producers are already segregating and labeling for export to the European market. Be careful, Californians! The biotech bullies have amassed tens of millions of dollars and will be unleashing ads on TV, the radio and through newspapers trying to convince the public that PROP 37 is 1) expensive, 2) arbitrary, 3) unfair to the "poor" farmer caught in the middle of all this, and 4) anti-science. All of these points have been thoroughly dispelled. Polls state the vast majority of Californians want GMOs to be labelled and they are trying their best to throw a wrench in democracy with a campaign of creating confusion and ambiguity. We know GMOs are a radically new way of modifying the genetic structure of life. We know that those who compare it in a single breath to traditional plant breeding are disingenuous and silver-tongued. We know that DNA is very complicated and geneticists are basically fiddling around in a vast network that they don't understand. We WILL PASS PROP 37 for our children and our future on this beautiful planet. Greed will not reign this time.

    MikeCrow
    I would just call you an idiot, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and ask you to find and take a cellphone picture of 3 labels of prepackaged grocery store items that are have labels for european markets indicating the product has GMO content(or that they don't, either will be fine).
    Extra points if it's not from the imported food isles.

    Segregating supply chain and processing equipment to eliminate cross contamination is hugely expensive, and will no doubt be passed on to the consumer in higher prices.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam





    Does this work for you?
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Sort of :)
    You got the labels, but they're all from the Imported foods isle.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, in the absence of a requirement to label, there's no basis for presuming that they would or would not be present.  However, to the larger point about how prohibitive the practice is, I think we can consider that it is being done.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    That would depend on a cost comparison of mfr list price, as well as if they just label as a convenience (ie no traceability of GM content or cross contamination prevention).
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Of course it's primarily a convenience, since there isn't any scientific merit to the labels as they currently stand.  The point being that the law isn't intended to establish scientific rigor, but simply to satisfy consumer demand.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Segregating supply chain and processing equipment to eliminate cross contamination is hugely expensive, and will no doubt be passed on to the consumer in higher prices.
    I've said this before and you're missing the point.  This argument is only relevant to those companies that wish to distance themselves from GMO foods.  There's no law or prohibition against labeling something as containing GM foods if it doesn't.  Therefore if it has the possibility and the producers know it, then there's no problem in providing one label that simply indicates that it may possibly contain such ingredients.

    Only those making a substantive claim to NOT be GMO or making claims that their product is "natural" have any cost issues associated with this.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    No, you're missing the point, those labels as you describe would provide zero scientific value. And as such would be free, and I have no complaint with them.

    Labels that would provide value, would require separate supply chains, and would add additional cost to food products, those I have issue with.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, since no one seems interesting in doing human follow-up studies anyway, then this is strictly a political issue.  The labels will be just as "valuable" as all the other information that's on them, so it's a moot point.

    It is highly unlikely that the forecast "doom and gloom" will ever manifest. 

    On the other hand, if your objection is simply that we need better labeling for scientific accuracy, you won't get any argument from me, but that also isn't the issue on the table.

    In my view, this is a "tempest in a teacup" and those that stand the highest risk of litigation are those that are claiming to be GM free.  In short, it is my belief that this will backfire on the "organic" and "natural" food producers.  They will be the ones under the microscope [unless, of course, the other food producers continue to behave like imbeciles].
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    In my view, this is a "tempest in a teacup" and those that stand the highest risk of litigation are those that are claiming to be GM free.  In short, it is my belief that this will backfire on the "organic" and "natural" food producers.  They will be the ones under the microscope [unless, of course, the other food producers continue to behave like imbeciles].
    I agree with you Gerhard, I can't understand why the anti GMO labelling people are making such a big fuss about this storm in a teacup. In Australia and New Zealand we have had mandatory GM food labeling for years, without any obvious repercussions to any food manufacturers on either side of the coin. It just means that we consumers can make much more informed choices, even though probably not many people even bother to look at these labels.

    I have always spent hours scrutinizing food labels in supermarkets, while my sons have often run riot with the trolley up and down aisles, the trolley probably should have had an L plate and a health warning, it was very irresponsible of me to let them and worse still to even on occasion pretend that they weren't with me but I had to check those labels!

    This Australian government article explains how GM labelling is done over here :-

    Labelling of GM Foods

    Do GM foods have to be labelled?

    Yes, GM foods, ingredients, additives, or processing aids which contain novel DNA or protein that has come from an approved GM food must be labelled with the words ‘genetically modified’. See Standard 1.5.2  in the Food Standards Code

    Labelling is also required when genetic modification has resulted in an altered characteristic in the GM food, such as a change in the nutritional components in the food, compared with the non-GM form. For example, high oleic acid soy beans.

    GM foods are labelled to help consumers make an informed choice about the food they buy. They are not labelled for safety reasons, as only those GM foods assessed by FSANZ as safe are approved for sale.

    Where will I find GM on the label?

    You will find the statement ‘genetically modified’ on the label either next to the name of the food, for example Genetically modified soy beans, or in association with the specific ingredient in the ingredient list, for example:flour, soy (genetically modified). If the food is unpackaged, then the information must be displayed on or in connection with the display of the food at the point of sale, for example Genetically modified soy beans on the container of loose dried soy beans.

    Are some foods excluded from GM labelling?

    There are some exemptions to the GM food labelling requirements. Foods that do not need to be labelled as genetically modified include highly refined foods, such as sugars and oils, where the process has removed DNA and protein from the food , including novel DNA and novel protein.

    In addition, labelling is not required where there is no more than 1% (per ingredient) of an approved GM food unintentionally present in a non-GM food. This means labelling is not required where a manufacturer genuinely orders non-GM ingredients but finds that   up to 1% of an approved GM ingredient is accidentally mixed in non-GM ingredient. There is zero tolerance however for the presence of an unapproved GM food in the food supply, even if it is unintentional.

    What about food I buy in restaurants?

    Food intended for immediate consumption that is prepared and sold from food premises and vending vehicles (e.g. restaurants, takeaway food outlets, caterers ) is also exempt from GM food labelling requirements. In these cases the food business must supply consumers with information about the product which is not misleading or untruthful.

    What about ‘GM free’ and ‘non-GM’ claims?

    GM free and non-GM claims are made voluntarily by food manufacturers and are subject to relevant fair trading laws in Australia and New Zealand which prohibit representations about food that are, or likely to be, false, misleading or deceptive. More information on fair trade legislation is available from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission   and New Zealand Commerce Commission websites.

    How do these Australian and New Zealand genetically modified food labeling laws differ from what is being proposed in Prop 37? I have to agree with Hank that organic food should definitely not be exempt, if that is also what is being proposed here? How can this possibly be justified?

    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    If the objective is to stem the tide of anti-scientific sentiment, then it makes absolutely no sense to hide the science.  The only way scientific ideas will ever be advanced and accepted is if everyone fully understands the role that science plays and the benefits that it produces.  Anything less is subterfuge.

    More importantly, those that have the biggest risk of litigation are the organic and "natural" food producers, since they are the most likely to have capitalized on their certifications and use GMO foods without consumer knowledge.  If over 80% of our food is already genetically modified in some form, then everyone already knows [or suspects] that much of what they eat is GMO.  So I fail to see what the problem is here, because it will only state that which is already expected [except in those cases where actual deception has occurred].

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/kashi-gmo-use-controversy_n_1456748.html
    Mundus vult decipi
    I'd say you nailed this one, Gerhard.

    Hiding the science is what corporations are good at. While there are some legit reasons for proprietary processes to be excluded in public presentations, I think that many times the entity just wants to eliminate, or reduce, competition.

    Hank
    Right. Except the law is a shield for anything with a GMO sticker. It is exempt.  There is no testing of organic food, since it is just a process, and occasioning spot testing by the FDA only checks for chemicals, not genetic makeup. 

    So the reduction in competition is being done by the anti-science groups, not Monsanto.  It isn't like Monsanto lobbied for warning labels on organic food, even though the verified instances where it has made people sick or even room temperature are numerous and the instances where GM food has done that is zero.
    Gerhard Adam
    There is no testing of organic food, since it is just a process, and occasioning spot testing by the FDA only checks for chemicals, not genetic makeup.
    Sorry, but that's where you're wrong, since without a label, they are claiming no GMO content.   While this may not force FDA checks, it will make them the only targets for lawsuits, which redners their opposition to the bill a bit of a miscalculation.  They become the one's that can be litigated against, not those with the label.  That's why I said, that it is the organic and "natural" producers that are at risk.  This is precisely why Kashi "all natural" cereals got itself in trouble.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    Twice as many lawsuits over a stupidly written law is not better than no lawsuits and no stupidly written law.  It's simply better not to vote for a stupidly written law and wait until someone who is not a crackpot writes a good one.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, first, I don't believe it will actually result in any lawsuits.  There's really not much point.  However, I'm certainly willing to revisit that point in a year [if the law passes] and see whether any such litigation has emerged.

    As I said before, this is simply a mess of the food producers own making, so I have little sympathy.  The anti-scientific sentiment emerged because there was little or no science being presented to the public, so that gap was filled by propaganda.  Instead of touting the benefits of the science, these companies and producers felt it was better to keep quiet about it.  Even so, we are now finding additional information that shows just how much companies have simply lied to consumers by labeling products as "natural" when they contain all manner of processing and even GMO elements, all the while representing themselves as an "alternative".

    In my view, the only lawsuits that will ever occur from this proposal will be food producers suing each other.  A pox on all their houses.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    BTW ... while not related to GMO foods, here's another example of how food producers think nothing of lying to consumers.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/orange-juice-moms-secret-ingredient-worries/story?id=15154617#.UGYZoFHkeso

    Also, lest we lose focus that this entire enterprise is about a great deal more than Bt corn, the following article is a good read.
    http://www.scu.edu/cas/biology/staffandfaculty/upload/Marvier%20&%20VanAcker%20low%20res.pdf
    Mundus vult decipi
    That last link is an eye opener. Didn't know the USDA was on top of this to the extent that they seem to be.

    Loved this: ". . .taken together they reveal a worrisome
    pattern; smart, highly trained, and conscientious people
    make mistakes, and those mistakes may be repeated and
    go unnoticed for years."

    So I clicked on the link and this is what I found:

    "Can crop transgenes be kept on a leash?"

    Nothing like wearing your tendentiousness on your sleeve. Nothing like poisoning the well from the very title of the article.

    With so many hundreds, thousands of articles about this subject, you think someone should waste his time with this crap?

    Gerhard Adam
    Spare me the rhetoric.  If you have links that suggest otherwise then post them [especially with hundreds and thousands of articles].  Otherwise you're the one that is wasting time.

    It's pretty obvious at this point that you only want to hear the good news.  Anything that disturbs your view of the world is obviously the work of crackpots.  However, I'm more of the mind that unless you actually have evidence that contradicts these papers, studies, or articles, then you're just voicing an opinion that is worth even less than the articles you criticize.

    Like it or not, questioning science is what science is about.  It isn't about calling names or claiming that everyone is corrupt.  If you have evidence then that's what you should be arguing about ... when you begin by complaining about the title of an article, it suggests you don't actually have anything to say.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Spare me the rhetoric. "

    Now THAT is hilarious, given the tendentious title of that article.

    Gerhard Adam
    Then refute it.  Demonstrate that this is something more than just your agenda.  It's a legitimate question that I don't believe there are good answers for.  So, show that I'm wrong.

    I'm especially interested in hearing how you're going to demonstrate that human error can't possibly cause any problems.

    Well, here's another of the "hundreds and thousands" of studies available.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240687/pdf/ehp0110-000005.pdf
    But it is not scientific to call a small, confined, field population, isolated from potential competitors, a ‘test or release’ and then conclude that because ‘nothing happened’ the GEO will be safe when commercialized, or indeed that all GEOs will be safe.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-294X.1994.tb00036.x/abstract
    https://research.cip.cgiar.org/confluence/download/attachments/3521/D21.pdf

    http://www.apsnet.org/publications/phytopathology/backissues/Documents/1991Articles/phyto81n06_585.PDF


    http://www.pnas.org/content/96/24/13853.full.pdf+html
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    how food producers think nothing of lying to consumers.

    I don't think I'd call that lying to the consumers. From what I read, the flavor packs are all from Oranges. Yes they do things I didn't realize, but I saw a "How it's made" and at least the storage part is done for Apple Juice as well. If it was a big secret, would they let tv cameras in to show the entire process?
    Never is a long time.
    Hank
    Right. I mean, it isn't like Go-gurt is lying to us.  Unless it is part of some vast conspiracy:

    Gerhard Adam
    Oh yeah ... so when they say "Straight from the grove", we are all supposed to understand that that claim isn't true, so that doesn't make it a lie.

    In any other context people would be all over this as a bald-faced lie.  Yet somehow in advertising it's acceptable to make statements and claims that aren't remotely true.  Of course, it's lying to consumers because it's trying to present their product in a way that they can't actually fulfill, so they fabricate this tale of freshness.

    What would you call it? 
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Is pasteurization part of the trip from the grove?
    Do you want unpasteurized Orange Juice? Is that healthy for her kid?

    For example does simply orange juice lie about anything they say they do, vs what they actually do?
    You might have reason to complain that what they let you believe isn't true, but they don't lie about anything they say.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Is pasteurization part of the trip from the grove?
    Do you want unpasteurized Orange Juice? Is that healthy for her kid?
    Why are you conflating two different arguments?  Who ever said that pasteurization was bad?  Moreover, whoever argued that pasteurization shouldn't be put on the label?  I have no quarrel with that.  I'm simply saying, then don't lie to me that it came straight from the tree to my kitchen.  It's bullshit.  You know it, I know it, so companies need to stop pretending that these lies are an acceptable way to communicate with their customers.

    In their commercial for "Secret Recipe" you think that when they say that they "start with oranges and add nothing", that's a perfectly truthful statement?  Are you saying I should just ignore the bit about "ingredients not found in regular orange juice"?
    You might have reason to complain that what they let you believe isn't true, but they don't lie about anything they say.
    Sorry ... I'm not up on such political subtleties.

    So, when their "Plant tour" commercial plays, you don't have a problem with them claiming that they don't use "freezing, flavoring, or concentrate". 

    I would just like to know how flexible you are in your definition of lying.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Well since you picked the calcium/Vit D fortified, the label includes calcium and Vit D.


    It says not from concentrate, 100% Pure squeezed pasteurized Orange Juice.
    Basically the flavoring are distilled flavors that boil off during pasteurizing, and are added back to restore the flavor that's lost during pasteurizing.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Choose what you like, the commercial said that they add "nothing".  There's no ambiguity in that statement, and I'm not arguing whether are additions are good or bad.  My quarrel is that their statement isn't true.  They know it isn't true, therefore it is a lie.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    And if what they add came from the juice they add it to?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Is the word "nothing" that ambiguous?
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Nothing that wasn't already part of the Orange.
    If instead of flavor packs, if they built a distillation rig, that captured the flavors that boil off during pasteurization, and add it right back in as it's flowing out of the pasteurizer, does that count as adding something to the juice?
    If smuckers captures the flavors that boil off as they make jam, if they add it back prior to packaging, does that just make the product taste better or are they adding something new?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    As I said, is the word "nothing" that ambiguous.  I'm not saying that their processing is unnecessary or that it is negative.  I'm simply saying that their claim is a lie since they are clearly attempting to portray their product as having no processing done, which is not true, and they know it isn't true.

    Similarly your example of Smucker's is irrelevant.  I don't care how they process it.  I'm not judging their processes as being good or bad.  I'm simply saying that if you know you're processing the product to make it commercially viable, then don't lie to me and behave as if you do nothing to it and it comes directly from the plant.  It doesn't.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    They do tell you it's pasteurized. They don't use concentrate.
    And they don't give you anything other than what comes out of the juice that you get.
    They do what they tell you they do.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    The label I provided says otherwise.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    No, the label says it has calcium, and on the ingredients it lists calcium (and vit D, because you don't absorb calcium without Vit D).
    You need to include the bottle in your picture, and you'll see it's the one that list Calcium on it.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Since oranges are not typically a good source of calcium or Vitamin D, then they have been fortified [i.e. added] to the final product.

    Look, this isn't about whether Vitamin D is good or whether calcium is necessary, or whether this is a good alternative for people that are lactose intolerant.  It's very simple.  The company adds something to their final product while claiming that they do not.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    So, you're saying they lie, when you buy calcium fortified orange juice, because they add calcium to it, even though they mark the container as calcium fortified, and it's on the product label.

    Usually your logic is impeccable, until the subject of corporations comes up, and then you go off the rails.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    It's quite simple.  Regardless of what they say on their packaging, it doesn't match what they say in their commercial.  There's a deliberate attempt to "spin" the information to create an impression that simply isn't true.

    It's certainly not the most grievous one that's ever existed, but it all plays into the "natural" movement and mindset by representing something in a manner that they can't actually deliver on.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    So then they're lying when they sell Pineapple/Orange or Mango/Orange juice, because it's not 100% Orange juice?

    And yet, if you want your Orange Juice 100% without Pineapple or Mange, or Calcium, they'll sell that to you as well.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't have a problem with their product.  I have a problem with their commercial.  This doesn't make their products bad or dangerous. 

    Don't tell me that you don't do anything to it, and that it is unprocessed, and comes straight from the tree, when a child can see that that isn't true.  The point is that they're trying to make a claim to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but by not being honest they are trying to appear to be doing something different than their competitors.
    http://www.bevnet.com/news/2012/lawsuit-calls-simply-orange-misleading
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Let me try a different approach with you.  What would you say to someone that came to you and said that oranges are high in Vitamin D and Calcium because they saw it in a commercial?
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    I would probably laugh at them,
    Even if I only did it on the inside :)

    But I don't hold the commercial as the problem, but the watcher.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Yes, you would laugh at them, for believing something they were told in a commercial.  Why?  Because you know it's not true.  That makes it a lie.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Are you really going to make me go watch orange juice commercials to prove you're wrong?

    I'm going to find, they don't talk about calcium fortified (which in itself, doesn't that mean they're adding calcium?), they don't add anything artificial(they don't), nothing that doesn't come from an orange(they don't if it's for orange juice, and if it's the pineapple/mango they'll say they blend the other juices in), it tastes like fresh squeezed(since they add the flavors that boil out it probably does) or 100% natural (it is).

    Now, if you don't actually pay attention you might not understand what you're getting.

    But going back to the link, it was the flavor packets that had them up in arms, and if it all comes from oranges, they are not lying to you.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Mike

    I'm moving this down to the bottom.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat

    And the orange juice fiasco gets sillier too :)
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    John Hasenkam
    Then let Mercola sue me.  He makes tens of millions of dollars per year exploiting gullible people with his quackery - $1.1 million supporting this quackery alone - and he should give more of it to lawyers so it can be shown in court he is a fraud.

    ---


    Contrariwise everybody should be taking Mercola to court for promoting so much rubbish. He consistently distorts research findings, pushes his crappy products onto the ill informed, and should be dragged kicking and screaming into the bowels of the earth. 


    I seriously doubt Mercola is that stupid to sue someone who attacks him. Mercola would then be confronted with the prospect of his claims being subject to much wider and critical scrutiny. Hmmm, I take that back, he is that stupid. 


    Hiding the science is what corporations are good at.


    They can be. There is a big problem with Big Pharma choosing to mis-represent its own findings. 


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/21/drugs-industry-scandal-ben-goldacre

    Well since you picked the calcium/Vit D fortified, the label includes calcium and Vit D.


    Yeah, seems like a good idea but it isn't. In the absence of vitamin K's high calcium and vitamin D loading is an invitation to tissue calcification. (PS: that is one thing Mercola does get right- broken clock). 
    Gerhard Adam
    Mi Cro
    If you haven't actually watched the commercials, then you don't even know what you're defending.  The point is that if the same statements were made by an officer of the company in a court of law it would be consider perjury.

    It's all on the original website you posted [go to "In the News" and select current commercials].  Watch the one called "Secret Recipe".  That's really all you'll need.


    I especially love the phrase "gently pasteurized".  I suppose that opposed to the violent pasteurization that other companies use.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I have to agree with you Gerhard, I have just watched several of the Simply Orange commercials under the 'In the News' link and they are definitely misleading! What's amazing is how they claim to be soooo honest, what a joke :)
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    MikeCrow
    They show the pulp free, and say they start with Oranges, and add nothing. Which they do.

    Now, if you want to call them liars (in the John Lovitz pathological liar sort of way), watch the "Plant Tour".

    But I don't think it would hold up in court, and in fact It's in court.
    Here are the key words (IMO):

    Most of the practices used by Tropicana are consistent with the standards of every other commercial juicer in Florida, Gunter said.

    "They're picking on the wrong industry," she said. "We're one of the most highly standardized industries in the U.S. and that's because we went to Washington and said we wanted definitions for pasteurized, concentrated and freshly squeezed juice so one couldn't paint itself off as another."

    The orange juice under legal attack was labelled as pasteurized, a clear warning it was not straight from the grove.

    The discrepancy lies with the wording "all natural," which carries no formal definition by either the Federal Trade Commission or Food and Drug Administration.

    As long as the product is free of added color, flavor and synthetic substances, it's OK.

    The Tropicana lawsuit argues orange juice flavor packs fail in all three cases.


    Lastly, I'm going to presume neither of us is going to change the mind of the other, so feel free to address this, but I'll probably leave it at that (unless I just can't help myself :) )
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    You're right, but I hope I never have to hear you chastise Bill Clinton and the definition of "is", because you're using that tactic beautifully.

    I assume that you're not surprised by the trust issues our society currently faces, since we're increasingly becoming a culture of where any communication is presumed to be a lie or spin or fabrication.  Advertising was the first major problem, and now the news is pretty well presumed to be lies, or bias.

    I wonder what's left?  Oh yeah ... science ...

    I guess we'll see how well that goes.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Well IMO Climate Science already suffers from selection of facts to highlight, and base ones position on.

    And maybe deep down, I'm jaded and already keep a BS filter on.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I fully agree with the BS filter, which is precisely why I'm being so adamant about assessing what words mean.  I'm really getting tired of everyone [i.e. media/advertising, etc.] assuming that they can say whatever they like without the slightest regard for accuracy or truth and that somehow anyone that actually believes what they say is a fool.

    That's entirely the wrong way to build a future.  This is precisely why people don't trust those in power.  If no one can be trusted to not spin information to their own ends, then don't expect people to suddenly open their arms and embrace new technologies because someone says they're safe. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    While I understand this, don't you think most people already give the facts the "best lighting" they can give them?
    If you want to get a raise from your boss, do you tell him about all your goof ups, or your successes?

    To be topical, the whole Benghazi thing, was the blaming it on a youtube video their best guess at the time or a coverup? And doesn't it happening on 9/11 stretch the credibility of blaming a video?

    IMO it was a colossal screw up, even if they didn't know, worse still if they did.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    If you want to get a raise from your boss, do you tell him about all your goof ups, or your successes?
    What??  I would never work for someone that didn't already know or couldn't tell the difference.

    As I said, I don't have a problem with providing the "best lighting", but when you cross that line into untruth, and lying, then it's no longer acceptable.  Especially when the objective is specifically to deceive.

    I don't care how much you think you deserve a raise, it would be wrong and dishonest to portray your actual successes in a light that creates a false impression of what you actually accomplished [especially since often such claims involve throwing others 'under the bus'].
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    When you're asked to outline your accomplishments, Do you included your mistakes as well as your successes? Or would you list your successes, and leave it to your bosses memory to remember your failures?
    There should be a special place in hell for those climbers who get to the top by trampling on their co-workers.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Do you included your mistakes as well as your successes?
    Not if that's not what's being asked.  However, that isn't spin nor lying.  It would be if you didn't acknowledge your mistakes if your boss brought them up.  Again, there's nothing wrong with pointing out what you did well since that isn't making a claim that isn't true.

    It would also depend on how big or serious those mistakes were as to how much attention they would warrant in such a discussion.

    For example, if you recounted your successes then there's nothing wrong, however if you claimed that you NEVER made mistakes and that everything you ever did was a success, then it would be a lie.  For example, I've seen managers try to spin complete failures as successes because it was "such a useful learning experience" or that it provided "important information on which to build success".  I believe the technical term for that is bullshit, but it is also simply a lie.

    Going back to the original point in the advertising.  If they had said that they do everything to preserve the natural essence of the fruit, so that whatever they take out during processing, they replace in the final product.  That everything they use is derived from the original fruit, then no one would complain that they were spinning things to look favorably on their methods.  Instead by simply claiming that it is unadulterated and "nothing" is done to it, they perpetrate the lie.
    Mundus vult decipi