In response to Grist’s Johnson, Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott argues GMOs lead ag down wrong path

| | January 23, 2014

Tom Phillpot, Mother Jones environmental reporter who previously wrote for Grist, takes issue with Nathaneal Johnson’s series on GMOs, and in particular Johnson’s claim in his summary article that “None of it matters”–that the consequences of the debate are less than meets the eye.

Before I respond to Nathanael Johnson’s assertion that the “stakes are so low” in the debate over GMOs, I want to address a smaller point. “The debate isn’t about actual genetically modified organisms — if it was we’d be debating the individual plants, not GMOs as a whole,” Johnson writes.

That’s a good place to start: actually existing GMOs. What traits are on the market today, in use by farmers? First, I’ll note that there’s no shortage of land devoted to GMOs. Since the novel seeds hit the market in 1996, global GM crop acreage has expanded dramatically, reaching 420 million acres by 2012, reports the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications. That’s a combined landmass more than four times larger than California. The pro-GMO ISAAA hails this expansion as “fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”

Yet, for all of that land devoted to GMOs, there are just two traits in wide use: herbicide resistance and pest resistance (Bt). Note, in the below ISAAA chart, the “<1″ at the bottom. That represents the percentage of all global GMO acres planted in crops that aren’t either herbicide- or pesticide-tolerant: that is to say, less than 1 percent.

Read the full, original article: Crop flops: GMOs lead ag down the wrong path

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

1 thought on “In response to Grist’s Johnson, Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott argues GMOs lead ag down wrong path”

  1. I was discussing on another site that Gm crops are safe and in fact organic food has killed – well that oversimplifies things doesn’t it.

    No Gm crops have been shown to harm people enough to hospitalize them. Plenty of scare stories but not really any evidence of harm. Could Gm organism harm people – yes – but just like just about anything else could. There was a GM bacteria many years ago produced by an Asia company that was not thoroughly tested and produced a metabolite very close to its planned product that was toxic and harmed people but there was no systematic tested conducted unlike the many tests ion Gm crops.

    Could organic food harm – yes it could and it has – mainly due to bacterial contamination from animals feces used as fertilizer. Its use is part of the organic process and if not correctly processed can cause and has caused harm. Organic food is not routinely tested before being launched.

    Can conventional food harm – yes it can and it does. Kiwi fruit is one of the most allergenic foods but its is labeled as such …no.

    Can aflatoxin in corn cause harm to cattle and humans – yes – does it – rarely because it is tested for. can conventional fertilizers harm people if misused – yes — remember Oklahoma City bombing -and that Canadian train explosion. _ fertilizers.

    Nothing is with out risk. Ignorance is not the answer. Dihydrogen oxide is foci to people – it kills thousands a year but we don’t ban it. In fact it is essential for life. What is this amazing chemical ?- water

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