Fake Banner
With The Science Settled That Neonicotinoids Don't Cause Honeybee Problems, Why Does Europe Need To Ban Them?

Everyone agrees the health of bees is a concern but there is confusion about why different governments...

Bumble Bee Studies Show How Science Can Be Massaged

Two recent studies on the health of bumblebees and links to neonicotinoids were published simultaneously...

Getting Risk Right: Geoffrey Kabat's Guide To Resisting Health Scares

Type “BPA” and “toxic” into Google and you get more than 500,000 results, many detailing...

Ideology Of Climate Change: How Activist Journalism At Columbia Led To A Partisan Lawsuit

The court case over whether ExxonMobil may have deliberately downplayed the potential dangers of...

User picture.
Jon EntineRSS Feed of this column.

Jon Entine is the founding director of the independent foundation funded Genetic Literacy Project. He is a senior fellow at the World Food Center Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at the... Read More »

Blogroll

Reports that honey bees are dying in unusually high numbers has concerned many scientists, farmers and beekeepers, and  gripped the public. There have been thousands of stories ricocheting across the web, citing one study or another as the definitive explanation for a mystery that most mainstream experts say is complex and not easily reducible to the kind of simplistic narrative that appeals to advocacy groups.

This is part one of a two-part series that will examine this phenomenon: how complex science is reduced to ideology, how scientists and journalists often facilitate that--and its problematic impact on public policy, the environment and in this case the wondrous honey bee.


What will McDonald’s do?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday cleared a genetically engineered potato with two innovations that help both consumers and producers: The Simplot Innate potato resists bruising, which makes it more appealing to consumers (even though bruising generally does not impact the quality of the starchy vegetable); and it’s been modified to produce less of the chemical acrylamide when fried.

Acrylamide has been linked to cancer in rats although there is no clear evidence that it poses harm to humans.


In 2013, when PLoS One published a research paper, Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood, anti-GMO activists claimed they had proof that GMOs can “transfer” into our bodies, and threaten human health.

Now it turns out the hysteria they tried to generate was based on a study that its researchers believe went awry.


If one believes the backers of mandatory labeling initiatives in Colorado and Oregon, Tuesday’s vote is simple common sense: It’s about the “right to know” what’s in our food.

This is the beguiling message pushed by a myriad of activists linked to such organizations as Right to Know GMO, Label GMOs and Just Label It. It’s powerful and superficially persuasive.

As happened in both California and Washington state referendums in recent years, what seemed like an easy path to victory for supporters of a mandatory GMO labeling law in Oregon has turned into a dog fight as the voting nears, while voters in Colorado appear poised to soundly reject the measure.


During the 1920s, the cartoonist Rube Goldberg became immensely popular churning out cartoons that depicted devices that performed simple tasks in impossibly indirect and convoluted ways.

In 1931, the Merriam-Webster dictionary even adopted the word “Rube Goldberg” as an adjective describing making something that should be simple incredibly complicated.

Welcome to Vermont’s fumbled efforts at drafting the rules for its mandatory GMO labeling law.