Why liberals are embracing GMOs and rejecting mandatory labeling

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Europeans and and those in many other countries that consider themselves “liberal minded” scratch their heads over why there is such a big controversy in the United States over the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Sixty-four nations around the world have enacted mandatory labeling laws.

“GM foods are not proven safe. Why not just label them and let the consumer decide?” is a common thread on food blogs. “They must be kowtowing to the GMO lobby.”

That’s what has been characterized as the liberal position: the consumer’s right to know. Many activist groups lobbying for labeling cite a New York Times polthat 93 percent of Americans support it.

So why do the leading independent science organizations in the U.S. and the country’s top liberal news publications oppose mandatory labeling?

The federal government has resisted calls to label GM foods on the grounds that there is no substantial difference between them and conventional or organic food. That’s the correct scientific position. Genetic modification is a process. There is no detectable difference between, say, sugar made from GM or organic sugar beets. The seeds of the GM variety are engineered to tolerate glyphosate, a much less toxic chemical than ones previously used on beets, and less toxic than some organic herbicides.

The pressure for labeling is coming from legislatures in liberal states such as New York, California, Oregon and Massachusetts, where anti-GMO factions are lobbying relentlessly. Earlier this year, Vermont became the first state to require any genetically modified foods to carry a label, although it is being challenged in court. It likely won’t be the last state. Oregon and Colorado voters will decide on a similar measure in November and about 25 other states have proposed mandatory labeling legislation this year.

But a curious thing is happening. The most enlightened liberal thinkers and the progressive publications in key states are joining with the science establishment to oppose mandatory labeling.

The pro-labeling arguments, they say, boil down to two deceptive talking points: GMOs may be unsafe and are untested—the Frankenfood argument; and GMOs are part of a corporate plot to monopolize the food system—the Argumentum Monsantoaccording to science writer Brian Dunning.

Neither is supported by the evidence. [A] labeling requirement would only serve to confuse consumers,” editorialized the Boston Globe, on July 30, becoming the latest progressive publication, to oppose a statewide measure. “Advocates say it would alert those who may object to genetically modified foods to choose other options. But the mere fact of a label would contribute to the stigmatization of food that is actually perfectly healthy. Besides, there’s already an easy solution for the GMO-wary buyer: Labels that tout foods that are not genetically modified.”

The most strident opposition to labeling is on science grounds. As the Washington Post wrote in June, “There is no mainstream scientific evidence showing that foods containing GMOs are any more or less harmful for people to consume than anything else in the supermarket, despite decades of development and use.”

[T]here is no reliable evidence that genetically modified foods now on the market pose any risk to consumers,” The New York Times has noted.

Even the uber-liberal Nation has softened its tone. In an article released just last week,  embraced the argument, rejected by anti-GMO activists, that agricultural biotechnology can play a critical role in addressing global food security, and in a sustainable way.

The U.S. Congress has so far rebuffed attempts at mandatory national labeling in part because every major science organization in the world, citing hundreds of independent studies, from the World Health Organization to the German Academy of Sciences, with many overseen by the European Union, have issued statements reassuring the public about the safety of GM foods and the independence of the global food supply.

While conventional breeding swaps giant chunks of DNA between one plant and another, genetic engineering is far more precise, is less likely to produce an unexpected result, and is pre-tested and monitored after release. Many of the very same organizations that have publicly stated the dangers of global warming have noted that GM foods are as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods.

They are also more sustainable in many cases because they require lower “inputs”—some GM crops are engineered to use natural bacteria to repel pests, all but eliminating the use of toxic insecticides—and result in higher yields. About-to-be-introduced vitamin enhanced or toxicity reduced GM foods such as cassava, rice and potatoes will offer consumers clear nutritional benefits.

Scientific American, long regarded as one of the most independent science sources in the world, in its editorial “Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea,” made the case that labeling will spread scientifically inaccurate information that could harm human health and slow the development of agricultural biotechnology—which while not a silver bullet could play a key role in increasing the global food supply as population pressures escalate in coming decades.

“Antagonism toward GMO foods also strengthens the stigma against a technology that has delivered enormous benefits to people in developing countries and promises far more.” SA wrote. “Ultimately, we are deciding whether we will continue to develop an immensely beneficial technology or shun it based on unfounded fears.”

None of these arguments is apt to sway committed opponents of biotechnology. Just do it, they say; it’s as simple as printing a label, and it has worked in Europe.

But has it?

Scientists, and increasingly independent liberal thinkers, are opposed to mandatory labels precisely because scientists don’t want to replicate what’s happened in Europe: a lack of choice of foods, consistently higher food prices, and an increase in the use of more toxic pesticides, all because GMO foods are shunned.

The stigma encouraged by opponents of agricultural biotechnology comes at a high price, say some independent researchers. A recent joint study by epidemiologists and economists examining the costs of not deploying this technology in a country like India estimated that it’s cost billions of dollars and 1.4 million life years over the past decade in that country alone.

The most prominent labeling supporters in the U.S. — all backed by the large and growing organic food lobby, who know that the driver of consumer sales is the unsupported belief that organic foods are safer and more nutritious—have made it quite clear that the consumer choice is not top of their consumer rights wish list.

“If we have it labeled, then we can organize people not to buy it,” notes Andrew Kimbrell, head of the Center for Food Safety. “GM foods must be banned entirely, but labeling is the most efficient way to achieve this,” says Joseph Mercola, a wildly popular web based natural products entrepreneur whose income depends on selling alternative health products.

What about that poll that shows that more than nine in 10 consumers want labeling? It’s less than meets the idea. When American consumers are asked a less loaded question — whether there is any additional information that would like on their labels that’s not there now — only 4 percent said they support labeling.

The leaders of the labeling movement play the ‘right to know card’ as a subterfuge to scare people about the safety of the conventional food system and to divert attention from the sustainability benefits of GMOs. They want to kill crop biotechnology. “With labeling, [GMO’s] will be zero,” says Vandana Shiva, the Indian activist best known for promoting the false belief that GMOs have resulted in mass genocide in her home country.

Are there tradeoffs in adopting crop biotechnology or large-scale agriculture? Of course, and there is room for healthy dialogue. But make no mistake: Food safety and transparency are not on the pro-label groups agenda in the United States.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University. You can follow @JonEntine on Twitter.

 

  • First Officer

    We should be reminded that 132 nations around the world have not enacted GMO labeling or restrictions.

  • AE

    What the heck kind of drivel is this: “all backed by the large and growing organic food lobby, who know that the driver of consumer sales is the unsupported belief that organic foods are safer and more nutritious …” A sampling of headlines:
    Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants or Pesticides Linked to Endometriosis Risk or Bees’ Decline Linked to Pesticides, Studies Find

    • crush davis

      Real convincing, there, “AE.” You’re validating why “your side” is unconvincing to the law-givers, and increasingly disreputable to rational, thinking people. Keep it up. I will be glad to see the demise of your vile knee-jerk activism that spawns more government interference in the private sector, and more costs to consumers & businesses.

    • William Powell

      To answer your question, please read this article: http://www.soshiok.com/content/organic-food-really-free-pesticides . This article states that organic crop growers can use some pretty unhealthy “organic” pesticides such as rotenone (associated with Parkinson’s disease) and pyrethins (poisonous to nerve cells). These are much more dangerous than any GMO and yet they are not labeled on organic foods.

      • Loren Eaton

        But, but Bill….they’re like, natural…as God intended! Kumbaya!

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Yeah Loren, Well some sarcastic people such as yourself are so ignorant . That they have no idea where all the flowers have gone….long time ago.

      • Jonah

        Good point: to say that GMO are unsafe (which sill is NOT the point of having them labeled or not….here some food for thought…) means not that organic is …really organic and safe.

    • First Officer

      One teensy-weensy little problem with that study. they only tested for conventional pesticides, conveniently leaving out Organic favorites such as Rotenone and copper sulfate, both much more toxic than glyphosate.

    • Eric Johnson

      On a per acre basis, organic farming uses more pesticides, pound for pound, than modern agriculture. Organic food is not grown without the use of pesticides. Can’t be done.

    • Olga Grobut

      A sampling of headlines in ideologically biased propaganda sheets.

      Fixed that for you.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      AE, It is truthful and accurate drivel.

  • Only a few foods are G M O and some of those like corn are not in food we buy. G M O corn is field corn. We need to modify food if we are going to make feeding the planet a major goal. Regular food contains large amounts of chemical pesticides. Organ sometimes contain artificial pesticides. G M O food is not only comparable but often contains less harmful substances.

    • Eric Johnson

      And GMO crops, depending on the genetics used, require less pesticide input and what is used is less dangerous. Plus, food GMOs often have genes from other plants we alread eat so there is no exposure to anything new.

      • Randall H.

        The pesticide residue on food is minuscule and not dangerous to the consumer—the real benefit is to me–the farmer/applicator.

        You can look up residues here:
        http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/PDP

        By usig GMO’s the consumer gets a better, more consistent crop with less insect damage and at a better price.

        GMO’s offer huge benefits for agriculture.

      • lucke01

        Same reasoning for soy glyphosate?

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Please explain the difference between soy glyphosate and any other source for glyphosate used in herbicide preparations.

          • lucke01

            After soy plants are sprayed with glyphosate, some will get into the seeds. Glyphosate GMO plants can be sprayed a lot, then. Any food made with this flour will get glyphosate. So simple.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            It is my understanding that most spraying of glyphosate is done before the plants bloom and set seeds. I am curious. How do the plants store the glyphosate while the seeds are developing?

          • lucke01

            The limit for glyphosate in soy flour is 50 ppm now in many countries. Before the GMOs was less then 10 ppm. Check tables. I will go to a dinner, sorry.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            You may have misunderstood my question. Your answer indicates residue levels. My question is about the process by which the glyphosate gets into the seeds. There must be a storage mechanism/process. As the glyphosate is sprayed before the plants produce seeds the glyphosate must be somewhere in the plant in the meantime. Can you please explain this?

          • lucke01

            You can go to the books and find out for yourself. The limits was necessarily established because they do occur, even at a higher levels. They only comes from spraying.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Have you ever heard the word clueless?

          • ThatGuy

            Deflections, deflections, deflections.

          • Good4U

            lucke01: You have made some serious errors in your response above. The tolerance (maximum legal limit) for glyphosate in soybean seed (from which soybean meal is generated) is 20 ppm in the U.S., which is the principal country of origin in international trade. As a point of information, tolerances are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (not the USDA). The tolerances pertaining to glyphosate are found here:

            http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=99a2d6b50c56858d601be26ec36f1bbf&node=se40.24.180_1364&rgn=div8

            You should probably bookmark this site for future reference. In any case, these are the maximum legal limits, not actual residue levels. The residue monitoring programs, which are conducted by the USDA, have found much lower levels of glyphosate than the tolerances permit.

      • Jonah

        Mr Johnson, you are theoretically quite right. But unfortunately these were the correct premises some 30 years ago. It is true, people have forgotten that the genetic engineering in food and agriculture industries came into play for freeing us from the plethora of chemicals used then. Unfortunately (but with hindsight not much surprisingly) things have not evolved that way: GMO strategies have developed strongly to allow chemicals that were not tolerated by plants before. On the other side, about known genes, I am afraid to disappoint you: many are engineered new genes (different promoters, different regulatory sequences etc), so they are new genes. But most generally, a gene out of its wild type context is not the same gene anymore (cancer, for instance, is pretty much often caused by genes gone astray under a different regulatory context). I would have been happy to see GMO research aimed at freeing us from the ugly chemistry of once. It simply has not happened and is not even slightly appearing to be in the agenda, if not in some well paid writings and in those (including me, only a few years ago!!!) that still believe it all. Believe me Mr Jonhson, GMO is not evil per se, but its overgrowing presence is harming all first world agriculture and food industry. Sorry, I redress: it’s harming its consumers, industry grows happily fat on that.

  • Jeremy Rawley

    Almost every country on Earth has banned weed. Does that mean weed is evil? Hell no! There are countries where homosexuality is banned; does that make gays and lesbians evil? NO! Just because some politician bans something doesn’t mean they know what the hell they’re talking about.

    • Olga Grobut

      Hey stoner: can you hear my eyeballs rolling, or has dope smoking damaged your ears as well as your brain?

      • Jeremy Rawley

        “dope smoking damaged your ears as well as your brain?”

        Go say that to Carl Sagan. He smoked pot and he was an astrophysicist.

        Just because some dumbass politician bans something doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Well, at least they’re getting better. Still gonna stay an Independent though. Just too many anti-science people in general in both parties.

    I don’t keep up with it, but are conservative publications getting better at calling out climate change deniers for their anti-science stance?

  • I believe in the Precautionary Principle when it comes to GMOs.

    “…if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.”

    Since there is no scientific consensus that banning GMOs is safe, we must not take action, we must not ban them. Once there are long term studies proving that banning GMOs is safe, then we can discuss banning them.

    • Nemo_of_Erehwon

      I see what you did there…

    • Alonzo Fyfe

      No . . . it depends on the reasonableness of the suspicion. If people wanted a label to show the astrological sign of the owner of the farm, or the feng shui of the packaging facility because they think that has any relevance to safety, that would still be absurd. The “suspected risk of causing harm” still has to be at least a little bit rational.

    • The precautionary principle is balderdash. You can find a scientist who’ll be happy to suspect a problem with anything, if not for pay, then for notoriety. And consensus is also balderdash; scientists are human beings, not computers. They’re just as likely to go along with the crowd as teenyboppers running after Elvis. Scientists who break ranks are usually hounded and persecuted, even today, before their new paradigm smashes the old one. Demonstrate in a lab that genetically modified food (which includes ALL food of every description, including the marketing ploy ‘organic’) is more dangerous than non-existent ‘pure’ food (i.e. nothing in the known universe) then consensus will follow the demonstration. Assertion of risk is not a demonstration of risk. And since we allow for acceptable risks every day (driven lately?), even the existence of risk doesn’t make a substance peculiarly dangerous. There is no such thing as safety, and the endless quest to force it into existence is the impetus behind a good proportion of the evils of the world.

    • Olga Grobut

      I endorse this line of reasoning :)

    • Larkin Curtis Hannah

      There is a scientific consensus that GMOs are safe. Period

  • I’ve yet to hear or read a scientific argument against GMOs. Most arguments I see are written with the capslock on and contain no real scientific facts whatsoever. If GMO were a real controversy, not in the public but among scientists in relevant fields, then I would buy the labeling argument. Until then, it’s just public paranoia about something they don’t understand and labels will only serve to make it worse.

    • Jonah

      You haven’t searched it at all, obviously. Go for some BT searches, you’ll find enough to question where is the real “science”…..

      • Olga Grobut

        Like the Seralini paper, which is so defective that it can be debunked by an ordinarily bright teenager? I urge everyone to go read it, understand how bad it is, and make up his own mind.

        • Jonah

          Well I’d urge you to search beyond “seralini” in Google. As a couple of hundreds of patent applications if you can get your eyes on them of course (no blame on anyone if they can’t of course). But for the fun of it, you might lead us through the fails of the paper here?

    • guest

      That’s because nobody makes money by NOT producing GMOs. Still, it’s fairly easy to find arguments by people such as the union of concerned scientists, I think you ought to look more.

  • ForIAmBill

    If they make GMO labeling a requirement, they should then go ahead and make pesticide labeling a requirement. See how many people stick to organics then.

  • NRGuest

    When I was in Sedona the other day I found some stone that was supposed to help “decondition your DNA and bring it into the new age”.

    Maybe we can just convince the anti-GMO crowd that rubbing those on the food will fix it?

  • Eric Liskey

    Let’s turn the tables. Let’s require labeling of foods that are grown organically with the following:
    “This food was grown organically, and may have been fertilized with animal waste.”
    Why not? Don’t people have a right to know something like this? Shouldn’t their choice of which foods to consume be informed choices? I mean, it’s not like we’re saying anything bad, right?

    • Jonah

      It would be great. I guess that only some idiotically auxotrophic nerd might feel disgusted by animal waste as fertilizer (from which civilization comes from by the way). But for “normal” people? say no more! we’d go for it any time.

    • Olga Grobut

      The reality is worse than this, even. Given the ubiquity of rodents in grain elevators, ALL cereal products contain measurable quantities of mouse poop. People don’t like to think about mouse poop in their food, and we have regulations to keep it at a level known to be safe, but do we really want labels yelling KNOWN TO CONTAIN LESS THAN 5% MOUSE POOP on our breads and breakfast cereals? I should think not.

  • Anshuman

    Before labeling GMO and Non GMO we should develop a system to measure the toxicity level in the vegetables and food products due to pesticide use.

    • First Officer

      Why not due to any cause at all? I don’t think you’re any less dead if a natural toxin kills you.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        I researched this sir. and have concluded that snake venom, ebola, plague and other “naturally occurring’ toxins can indeed render one extremely motionless. Plus I have read that naturally occurring bacteria can cause tooth decay even more rapidly than glyphosate, unless the tendency for sugar containing foods to grow the bacteria is labeled. This should be required by the fda and csa. Am still waiting for serralini and carman to weigh in on this. Hopefully this post will help you to continue stayin alive.

        • Jonah

          Right !! Please label all food for its content in Ebola virus, Snake venoms, plague (….??) and…. Ricin, Strontium 90, Plutonium isotopes, Botulinum toxin ! For a start! (please use smaller characters as the labels will tend to have longer lists in time….)

    • Randall H.

      It is already there, and already published. Lookup the Pesticide Data Program.

      http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/PDP

      You can also look up each chemical and its potential damage.

      http://npic.orst.edu/

      Or you can even send some product to a food lab. I did for my own product–because I wanted to.

      http://www.columbiafoodlab.com/

      I’m confident we have a safe food supply, and the danger is virtually zero from pesticides on their food.

      I’m personally a LOT more worried about someone using the bathroom, not washing their hands, then handling the produce on display…..THAT is the real reason I’ll rinse my produce.

      Look at the amounts and the toxicity for yourself, you don’t have to take my word for it, or the word of anyone else.

  • lucke01

    Why the food industry (and GMO industry) is so scary about labeling GMO on foods? There are so many labels nowadays, like for wheat, sugar, salt, etc… That doesn’t sound good to me.

    • FrenchKissed

      Because it’s dumb. You have food that is labeled GMO free and USDA certified organic to choose from if you want to avoid GMO. Have you ever seen food labeled “non-organic?” of course not. So why the need to put “may contain bio-engineered ingredients” on everything else? If it’s GMO free, it will say so. Everything else is normal food.

      • lucke01

        Well, I respectfully disagree with you that it is “dumb”. One problem, for instance, is the highly used GMO that confers glyphosate tolerance in soybeans. I read sometime back that the amount of the herbicide present in these seeds were much higher than non tolerant soys, as a consequence of higher use of the herbicide in the tolerant crops. Do you have any information in this regard? I understand that if the industry doesn’t like labeling, the reverse (non-gmo) will ended up appearing. However, the other explanation they use to give in the past was that they were scared people may reject the labeled products as “non-normal” for other reasons them the ones of the industry.

        • FrenchKissed

          There are no herbicides present in any seed. What could possibly be the point in that? Putting herbicide in your seed will do nothing to kill weeds. Some seed is herbicide tolerant which allows farmers to spray glyphosate -an herbicide that breaks down rapidly- on their crops. This is done early on in the crop cycle when the plants are still small and weed competition is still a problem. Once the crop canopy is established (and the part you eat starts to appear- there is no loner a need (or a way) to spray the crops.

          That’s why they don’t want to have to label GMOs. For starters, many GMOs aren’t herbicide tolerant. And for another, most people don’t understand what GMOs are or what they do. I’m sure you’re very knowledgeable about a lot of things, but you don’t understand GMOs enough to know what to make of the labels.

          • Jonah

            You, as many here, obviously miss a big chunk of information here, on what OMG technology really puts on your table. You all speak by ideological sympathy with an idea of OMG. Good luck….

          • FrenchKissed

            And you speak like a rebellious 17 year old boy morphing into an old hippie woman.

          • Jonah

            I beg you pardon?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Remarks such as this one for example. Are accurate, yet humorous.

      • Jonah

        Industries and corporations are not scared by anything “dumb”, you know that.

        • FrenchKissed

          Of course they are. Most consumer fly-by-night fads are either a threat or a money making opportunity to consumer goods companies. Shoppers are motivated by their feelings about products and plenty of shoppers are, well… dumb.

          There is an entire industry dedicated to figuring out what shoppers think. Every dumb shopper perception- whether it’s the belief that asparatame causes health problems or that a body spray can get a guy laid -is of importance to the companies that make or sell those products. The ruckus over MSG is another good example of dumb health hysteria run amok. http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/foodadditivesingredients/ucm328728.htm

          • Jonah

            I disagree, or at least in part: nothing “scares” corporations really, in these terms. But this is not the point, the point is that they do not only try and figure out what consumers think (and possibly buy) to market on those tastes. Sure they do, but they don’t just follow. They also actually create and drive consumers needs, by paying the “truth makers” (and oh they pay well! ask the guys in this site…) in the media and by any kind of hype. As for instance feeding in the media the dumb belief that …. formaldehyde is not toxic and perfectly safe over a life or long term chronic assumption. Dumb innit, huh? …

          • FrenchKissed

            No one has ever said formaldehyde is perfectly safe over a long term chronic consumption, unless you mean in trace amounts. Our bodies produce formaldehyde naturally as part of the digestive process. It is needed to break proteins down into amino acids and without it we would die.

            The formaldehyde releasing preservative in J&J’s baby shampoo, quaternium-15, prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that can do far worse damage than formaldehyde. A baby will be exposed to greater concentrations of formaldehyde on his mommy’s breath than from a head to toe bath in No More Tears. I guarantee you that every parent who works for Johnson & Johnson uses it on their own kids when they’re young.

            The same thing goes for trace amounts used in vaccines. It would be far more dangerous without it, and no harm comes from it. Formaldehyde was listed a carcinogen by the state of California based on data showing a small but statistically significant increase in lung, nose and throat cancer in people whose jobs exposed them to formaldehyde fumes on a regular basis (morticians, certain laboratory workers and surgeons). The amount in products will never result in that level of exposure.

          • Jonah

            Again I agree only in part. It is not the safety of formaldehyde per se that is or should be of concern. True, formaldehyde is produced by digestive processes, singularly high by alcohol intoxication, so we get an idea how does it feel…But it is trend to ubiquity in a way that the single consumer can hardly control, and by this I don’t mean what you spread on your skin by beauty products. Rather its presence in the average (US and North European) diet is simply beyond the control of people, same as for a whole bunch of additives. Aspartame is praised in a number of papers for being absolutely sage and sentence as “the weight of evidence does not support the claim that A. is carcinogenic, neurotoxic etc” simply are self referent statements with no supporting data, while…. well, aspartame leads to formaldehyde in our body, which, as we both know is toxic. Now, I’d like to get my liver and kidneys work on formaldehyde after a GT too much, rather than on a daily basis simply because industries like to get their food “industrially sound”. The claim that you get formaldehyde also from banana or tomato juice is nonsense: again, what juice, freshly pressed or a supermarket-grade? Much word is spent to “prove” aspartame’s safety, and singularly even FDA seems to take the issue so much at heart to even start its own study (starting a study with a thesis does not sound as an independent standpoint to me, but anyway….). Look at this surely honest but biased review: http://whatdoesthesciencesay.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/aspartame-and-formaldehyde/ In it, when it comes to “stigmatic reviews”, well… the donkey falls. There is no systematic review worth the name, mentioned there. But again, it is not the objective safety of aspartame and formaldehyde, its the chronic over exposure to it and several other synthetic sweeteners, natural and evolutionarily fitting as a a gurgle lavage of benzine and polystyrene in the morning. Occam’s razor says to me only one thing: there is no reason to use a synthesis product over a natural one, as long as the synthetic variant is not proven safe (and aspartame is not, whatever the paid “thruth-makers” may concoct by rhetoric gambits), as long as I have no control on how much do I ingurgitate and as long as its only raison d’être is industrial business. Sure, aspartame is safe… vaccines are safe of course, even the around 50 shots that a US child gets by the age of 10, corn fructose syrup is safe, even in meat, why not. All of this is safe. The fact that well after any change in the accuracy of diagnoses has ever happened, i.e. in the last 30 years, cancer has more than doubled its frequency and so have heart diseases and neurodegeneative disorders, which have also skyrocketed, well it must all be an unfortunate totally casual, unrelated happenstance…… Our fantastic CEOs and governing controlling authorities and administrations can sleep well.

          • FrenchKissed

            Again, the body produces formaldehyde to assist in the metabolism of amino acids, so of course eating aspartame leads to the synthesis of formaldehyde in the body and yes, eating a banana or tomato would do the same. If it didn’t, we would lose our ability to form proteins from essential amino acids and we would die.

            Here’s what the EFSA has to say on aspartame http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/corporate/doc/factsheetaspartame.pdf

            Here’s what the FDA has to say on aspartame http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.804

            Here’s what FSANZ says about aspartame http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/additives/aspartame/Pages/default.aspx

            Here’s what ANSES says about aspartame https://www.anses.fr/fr/node/94158

            Since aspartame is always labeled, I don’ t know why we are having this discussion.

            Cancer rates have not doubled in the past 30 years. Cancer incidence has gone up, along with the population, but cancer rates have stayed fairly constant. The fact that you’re lumping all cancers together instead of recognizing that they are different diseases with different causes shows that you don’t understand it.

          • Jonah

            Since you hardly seem to consider the conflicts of interest afflicting the boards you cite and their reports (of which you probably can just grab some quick&dirty google search) tells a lot about your education. The mumbling about cancer you made (not me) adds to the fun of it. You probably might provide us some further fun if you now make a nice summary of the different causes for all those different diseases called by me oh so unprofessionally as cancer, will you? (you never read WHO, for easiest instance, reports on cancer incidence etc. do you?)

          • FrenchKissed

            So you have a problem with every regulatory agency but love WHO? I hate to burst your bubble but a lot of people worked industry jobs before going to work for the WHO. Plenty of big pharma jobs are filled by former WHO employees.

            Go ahead and show me where WHO data supports your claim that the cancer rate has doubled in 30 years where it isn’t attributed to an increased lifespan or improved record keeping. Cancer incidence is meaningless. The global population has doubled in the past 30 years and life expectancy has improved greatly.

            Your ignorance is astounding, and yet somehow you have belittled everyone who’s bothered to engage with you on this thread. I’m not going to waste my time explaining cancer to you, having just wasted so much time on formaldehyde. You can start here http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/ Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body.

            I don’t consume aspartame and I don’t shop at Walmart. I don’t like drinking soda and San Francisco has essentially banned Walmart, so that’s a non-issue. If you think you live a healthier lifestyle than I do, think again.

          • Jonah

            Ha ha ha…. FrenchKissed (long ago?) I love you !!!!
            I do have a healthier lifestyle than you on a number of items issues ways situations etc etc. that is fairly obvious to anyone now.
            For the WHO, you’re right they’ve got conflicts of interest as well, yet…, nope, I won’t waste more time with this: you’ll find it out (one day, I am sure) I have not belittled anyone here, they did it themselves, maybe… why embark in a discussion with someone working in the field, I mean…. The cancer bit is a dialectic gambit you made to yourself along the discussion, hiillllarious !!!

            Ah, whatever ! I love you !! ah ah ah …. Shiiiit is this forum fun mate !!!!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            “Waste my time explaining” While it often seems a complete waste to attempt a foul mouthed intentional ignoramus such as Jonah. please remember that there are often many who read but do not comment in these forums. These are the unquantifiable ones you may actually reach. Plus I know an old guy that has enjoyed reading your comments.

  • How about we label all foods with the GMO label because all foods are genetically modified? There is nothing that we eat that was not at some point genetically modified, but of course, doing it by trial-and-error over a generation or two is ok, but in a laboratory under controlled conditions with rigorous testing, well, that’s going beyond the pale.

    • Jonah

      Ok, RN, define for us the “wild type” of a common Potato or of a soya sprout (the next level, if you get there, is to define a wild type of “Prosciutto di S. Daniele”, “Pesto alla Genovese” and “Müller Thurgau”). Then please illustrate the “controlled conditions” and the “rigorous testing”, I’d appreciate immensely.

      • They’re lost in the mists of time, of course, which you already know but prefer sophistry. Recently modified foods have some paper trail, but the others were handed to humanity by Queztalcoatl or Enlil or Re, and how they were domesticated remains completely unknown. How was grass turned to grain? It was genetically modified, but we don’t know how. Everything from Apples to Zucchini was cultivated from small to large, from hard to soft, from nasty to tasty, and those methods are well-known, but how they were developed is unknown, other than trial and error and accumulation of knowledge. How our forebears figured out each step is a mystery, even to them, which is why they credited the gods.

        And for a modern example: goldenrice.org

        Open your mind. Really. Try it! Life is better with an open mind.

        • Jonah

          This is called messing about. Now it is clear that you have no idea of what a GMO is and as it seems, it is rather you avoid answering by sophism: crossing and breeding is genetic modification, sure. But the same same as you are a genetic modification of your mom and dad, aren’t you? To put it the way you do is clearly not wanting to look at the problem: tell me, did your mom put a CMV promoter upstreams some of your caspase gene, somehow? It is not a mystery nor a godly matter, how our forebears figured out each step that led to grain and zucchini. It is called cultural evolution, and no, Prosciutto di Parma “wild type” etc, are not lost in the mist of time, for those who have a moderate sense of history at least (I am afraid here I this page that company is rarefied). And about the varieties I called you to define wild type, well that tells you how open can be a mind, when even experience is missing: it can be as open as you want, but as long as you don’t feed anything into it, it’s to little avail…

          To the link: are you seriously putting a link of a commercial as independent evidence? That must be open minded, indeed. By the way, I am not saying that GMO, all GMO is unsafe, I am saying that I want (yes, Sir) it to be labelled. For a bunch of good reasons, safety being just one of them, same as my olive oil not being anymore labelled “Produce of EU” (What EU, damn ?! …Sweden??).

          I want as a consumer being able to decide, even if some other consumer might find my reason stupid, it’s my reason. Or should we all say that vegan labeling is stupid therefore we should stop it? You inform me, I decide. That’s liberal (for the arse that I give about that term, mind you…)

          • FrenchKissed

            You are a product of natural selection, not selective breeding. While I find eugenics to be morally reprehensible, you are making a strong case for it.

          • Jonah

            I fucking love you !

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            If Jonah s a product of natural selection. That would be proof that this process sometimes results in regression of the species???

          • FrenchKissed

            We’ll keep our fingers crossed that he’s just a random mutation with no evolutionary advantage.

          • Jonah

            Only to those who knew what pro- or re-gression mean. I.e., not you in the least. And, by the way, dear nerdy drop-offs, sorry for interrupting your love cross talk about me, with this prosaic yet effective nonetheless “go get fucked”. Sincerely…

          • Exactly right. I am a genetic modification of my mother and father, descended from an endless series of genetic modifications. As are all other things on earth. Some of them ‘accidental,’ as in my parents had no idea they came from the same clan in Scotland divided by 550 years, and some intentional, as in ‘Golden Delicious’ apples. The process of domestication is not known, which is why it’s legendary. It can be duplicated now, but it’s an entirely different thing to start at the conclusion and work back, and start without any way of knowing what the end result will be. Did they cultivate grass to feed their animals and accidentally hit upon grain? Seems likely enough, but we don’t know because that’s what’s called prehistory. Nothing written down. All we have are a few guesses, which you can believe if you like, and obviously you do. Such faith in expertise! So long as it’s not, you know, hard science.

            Labeling something ‘GMO’ is a waste of time. If you’d like to have a label breaking down the mods, then I wouldn’t object. Might make for a big label, but it would work just as well to have a link to a website with the lineage.

            Obviously you’re not familiar with the history of golden rice. Sorry, I assumed you would be, and just added the link as a reminder. I won’t bother to explain, you can research it if you like. People in the third world are so much better off blind than eating GMO food!

          • Jonah

            I am sorry to see that your nickname anticipating your dialectic waste-about is an insult for that period of history. You have no freaking idea what a genetic modification is, in its pure and simplest form. You mess about concepts hypotheses hear-say and empirical unrelated statements just to avoid hard logic. Here you have not illustrated one single reason on why labeling OMG is wrong. I am afraid I am done with you. You have enough nerdy company in this “independent” site (independent my arse, it goes without saying).

  • montana83

    Look folks, just about everything you have always eaten is genetically modified, not by Monsanto or Syngenta but by farmers using hybrids. Teosinte became corn after Central Americans monkeyed with it for centuries finally ending up with maize.
    So all those corn kernels not from Monsanto are just as modified as anything Monsanto does. Get over it.
    Besides all you anti-science Luddites with goofy food fears believe in evolution right? That is all GMO foods are. Celebrate and eat them. Otherwise get out of the way of progress and go back to your caves.

    • Jonah

      You have evidently, blatantly, obviously, no freacking idea of: any things genetic, evolution, Monsanto, not necessarily in that order.Oh, I forgot: science is also not on your brain menu.

    • Brian Cummings

      I worry less about what will kill me than how much it’ll cost us, the more Monsanto, et L, patents a gmo food, they can and will sue anyone, so farmers can’t just take some of what they grow to set aside seed for next year. It’s a razor/blades setup that only benefits Monsanto.

      • Larkin Curtis Hannah

        Actually, the seed sells, not because Monsanto and other companies dictate it, but because the farmers want it. My family has a large farming operation and we make money from GE seed.

  • Jonah

    Of course the writer knows nothing about the BT legacy…… But safety and transparency are not on the no-label libellists, in the US as in the whole industrialized world (where food is nothing but an industry for those who decide, i.e. not those who are voted nor for those who vote). Fact is: GMO is an established industry and it fights for its own survival. No food economy needs the GMO hogwash the way it has developed itself. Only diversity and quality make the difference, all the opposite of a highly technologically standardized process-based production. P.S. I note once again how the word “Science” is here misused as a self-contained authority, of “ipse dixit” fame…..

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      “bt legacy” You must mean the way organic growers have overused bt over the years leading to resistance build up, right? “Needs” to be needed is not a moral necessity for a business to exist. If you are contending that please start with the make up, fashion and pop music industries first. So, that sorry attempt at an argument is worthless. The g.e. companies are adding “diversity” quite regularly now in the form o vitamin precursors. And that adds quality. When, of course criminals don’t delay things by vandalizing test plots. Finally to libel is to publish defamatory and false claims. So, if there are no labels How could they be libeling?

      • Jonah

        No I don’t mean that. I mean a couple of applications on bt genes inserted in plants and a couple of other little nice things, regularly sought for patent, ending in your beloved industrial chips and other thrash food that feed the consumer mass. The rest is hysteric nerdy logorrhea, worthless, right well said. “Diversity added by companies” urges a laugh, “and that adds quality” brings the laughter to a high pitched cry of pain for my crunched belly, leaving me too out of breath to utter a “Please !” …The libel-label verbal gambit is worthy of a slogan or some line in a nursery rhyme… Jeez, is this page fun !!

  • Jonah

    Strange, this goes under a “literacy Project” ! My honest guess, just a guess, is that the payroll isn’t the one of any literacy promoting entity. As to about whether GMO food labeling has really worked in Europe, I find the point too laughable for being worth of an answer. I only wish you all guys here, “Bon appetit !” Don’t worry, I’ll never invite you to my table, moderately but safely free of GMO as my possibilities allow….. Salute!

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      So, perhaps as I pointed out above you should not be criticizing other peoples literacy level. I will be having some g.e. chips to dip in my guacamole this evening. And the only significant risk factor will be from the salt

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        But wait,…. How did I know that the chips might be g.e. without labels? I must ponder this while I enjoy the wonderful, spicy flavors.

        • Jonah

          Look, you pointed out nothing at all, regardless as you tried (did ya?), first. Second,the level of literacy of “some” people is self commenting. But let me, out of any irony or sarcasm, wish you my hearted Bon appetit (how do you say that in English…..?), please enjoy your industrial chips and your synthetic guacamole with a touch of sodium or ammonium glutamate for the connoisseur, gurgle it all down with a coke light or coke zero, for which you won’t miss the bouquet of aspartame right from the sparkling notes of its perlage as it bubbles titillating your nose. Me ? Oh, well…. I am now for some Lard of Colonnata (DOP) Olives from Arma di Taggia (the famous Taggiasche), Prosciutto toscano, chicken hips in a butter sage and lemon sauce (obviously free range chicken, clarified butter, “burro cola'” from the Italian Western Alps, oh sorry, it’s from non pasteurized milk of gras fed cows… eating some couple of hundreds different herbs in each 10 square meters of grass…. ) some Chianti DOCG Tenuta Frescobaldi 2010 to make sure the table is happy enough. Sorry for boring you, I got side tracked with my expectations for lunch…. And uh oh, you go for uhmmm …Pringles and Coke, ok.. and guacamole, of course ! Buen Provecho !!! (…dang, I still don’t know how do they say this sentence in English…)

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            My guacamole was made from locally grown lime juice, tomatoes, avocadoes and imported cilantro. nothing synthetic, Had ice tea to go with it. You do not get to assume anything from others posts other. than what they say, You also need to think about what many of these posters have said to you. They are correct. You are not. Drop the anti business bias. I have started a very small pineapple breeding operation. If I [very unlikely] develop a superior variety I will patent it. If you are caught illegally propagating I will sue your sorry fanny. Your comments read like articles from sustainable pulse. That is an insult. Just to be sure you understand. And the “Bt legacy” is one of progress. get used to it there will be more progress.

          • Jonah

            Good luck you nerd.Suite me? good luck, have fun. Progress? no, that ain’t any. Sustainable pulse ? (???) Feel insulted by it? Right, you should. Superior variety of pineapple to be patented? That qualifies you as a hard to die ignorant totally impermeable to any bit of reason. Get your teeny weeny fanny screwed somewhere else, hopefully with a GM cucumber, do you mind. (make it thicker by rolling a paper print of all progress you ever meant… and shove it up yours).

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I am awed by your intellectual prowess and shall forever accept your word as truth. My deepest apologies for goading you into this brilliant response.

          • Jonah

            You’re welcome, Mister. Matching the language with the level of an interlocutor is a rarely cultivated pastime nowadays, a pity in its own right, alas….

  • vicki

    We should all have the right to know what is in our foods and decide for ourselves if we want to eat it or not.

  • Karen K

    I guess being BANNED in Maui means they’ll skip the labeling part…hahahahaaa!!! BANNED.

  • JenellYB

    The idea that public opinion, all the worse, uninformed public opinion, should dictate, or even play the major role that we presently give it in determining policy is not only absurd, it is dangerous. Uninformed public opinion is subject to whatever propaganda, marketing strategy, demagoguery, political spin, ideology, and any number of other means of deceptive manipulation the public is being subjected to.

    Even the most sensible concerned members of the public presently have no reliable source of the actual facts pertaining to issues of concern, and how any policies pertaining to issues may actually affect them. No wonder many are suspicious, and susceptible to any sort of conspiracy theories, scare campaigns, and irrational emotionalism is choosing positions on issues.

    We, the people that are “the public,” are not all just stupid idiots with a problem with science, when it is considered how regularly we have been lied to, experienced the reality of how often policies and laws are passed that are not what we were told, often being sold to us with names/titles that lead us to think they are something other than, even opposite, what they really are. “Patriot Act?” “Freedom Act?”

    I am a science and reason minded person. And I am probably to an extent OCD about research, trying to dig into and find the facts about anything I don’t know enough about to understand. With education in biology, I do have a pretty good grasp of what GMO’s are. What the term means. And it does bother me that even supposed “science based” explanations in so many sources of supposed valid information are, to put it politely, downright lies. At the least, intentionally misleading.

    Are GMO’s “safe?” A generalized answer of “yes” for any and all GNO’s is a lie. Every GMO is different, and any determination of “safety” in any sense would required consideration of each GMO individually.

    Are GMO’s “safe?” Any generalized answer of “yes” based on only one area of safety, such as is it safe for humans to eat, is also a lie, at the least, misleading and evasive. Questions about the effects on the environment it is introduced into when grown matter. Safety in the environment, in how it may affect development of herbicide resistant weeds, and cross pollination into local native plants, resulting of a next generation of modified plants.

    Then the matter of cross pollination contamination into non-GMO varieties grown near GMO varieties. And patented ownership of GMOs that can have financially devastating affects if a farmer unknowingly buys seed contaminated with a patented GMO.

    None is as simple as it seems.