Emails show anti-GMO organic activists driving food and farming policy at Consumer Reports

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On their website, Consumers Union [publisher of Consumer Reports; Read Genetic Literacy Project’s Profile of Consumer Reports] claims to be impartial and unbiased. So why are they actively collaborating with anti-biotechnology groups and the organic industry behind the scenes?

Recently obtained emails from Washington State University via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show Senior Staff Scientist Michael Hansen [NOTE: Read Genetic Literacy Project’s Profile of Michael Hansen] using his Consumers Union email to actively participate in the gmolist—the ‘Independent’ anti-biotech scientists and activists Google Group for secret coordination and planned attacks.

Michael Hansen

Michael Hansen

In one email he describes environmentalist Mark Lynas and ex-Greenpeace turned Golden Rice promoter Patrick Moore as “puppets for industry”. He recommends using Belinda Martineau as a counter to them, being a qualified scientist critical of the technology.

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If Hansen had used a private email address, one could allow for him as a private individual to communicate with people sharing his views as he chooses. But here he is seen acting in official capacity for Consumers Union.

Members of the gmolist with industry connections include:

  • Sarah Compson of the Soil Association in the UK
  • Janet Cotter of Logos Environmental, whose business offers “advice” to NGOs about biotechnology.
  • John Fagan [Read Genetic Literacy Project’s Profile of John Fagan], the original founder of Genetic ID used by the Non-GMO Project [Read Genetic Literacy Project’s Profile of Non-GMO Project] to test food.
    Jim Diamond of the Sierra Club
  • Ken Roseboro of the industry funded trade magazine, The Organic and Non-GMO Report
    Charles Benbrook [Read Genetic Literacy Project’s Profile of Charles Benbrook], organic industry consultant

This last name on the list, Charles Benbrook, is perhaps the most controversial of them all. Consumers Union has used him in many reports to promote the organic food industry and instill fear into families about eating fruits and vegetables. Most recently in 2015 he consulted with their staff scientists scientists on an article with many false and misleading claims. The report mentions that “natural” pesticides used in organic farming are generally safer than “synthetic” pesticides used in conventional farming practices, an untrue statement.

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Consumers Union failed to disclose the funding Benbrook has received from industry for his consulting services as well as his research during his time at Washington State University. This is information that Consumers Union should have been aware of with Michael Hansen and Benbrook collaborating together in the gmolist.

Former United States Surgeon General Koop once described Michael Hansen’s fearmongering campaign as “baseless, manipulative and completely irresponsible.” Considering that Consumers Union has always taken a pro-vaccination stance, Hansen is also a danger to public health. Steven Druker, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan on the gmolist are all part of the Maharishi Transcendental Meditation cult which was responsible for a measles outbreak in Iowa (Claire Robinson is the manager of the gmolist).

Consumers Union claims to empower “consumers with the knowledge they need to make better and more informed choices” and claim to be free of “commercial influences”. This may be true on matters such as interest rates and warning about the dangers of cigarettes. When it comes to our food supply their senior staff scientist appears to be deeply influenced by corporations with the goal to spread fear rather than knowledge.

This article originally appeared on We Love GMOs and Vaccines here and was reposted with permission of the author.

Stephan Neidenbach is a middle school teacher in living in Annapolis, MD. He holds a BS in business administration from Salisbury University and a MS in Instructional Technology from University of Maryland University College. He started and runs the Facebook group We Love GMOs and Vaccines, follow him on twitter @welovegv.

  • morphd

    Stephan, thanks for posting this information.

    From the email:
    “… it would be good to have a list of questioning scientists. The only problem with that, at least in the US, is that they have to be retired or not really in academia since the industry will go after them in a strong way.”

    Is there any evidence for industry ‘going after [anti-GMO scientists] in a strong way’? The other possibility is that most scientists, particularly biologists, understand that GMO technology isn’t inherently risky so it’s hard to find any that oppose it (and recall that Charles Benbrook isn’t a biologist; his PhD is in agricultural economics).

    From your text:
    ”Steven Druker, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan on the gmolist are all part of the Maharishi Transcendental Meditation cult…”

    So… these folks are soulmates of Jeffry Smith?! That explains a ton.
    Their opposition to GMOs is based on their religion. Like religious fundamentalists of all stripes, they will distort or ignore science as necessary to support their beliefs. We can’t expect to change their minds with scientific reasoning.

    Here’s an example of that religion: http://www.truthabouttm.org/raja/Home/RajaCommentaryandArticles/MaharishiVedicOrganicAgriculture/index.cfm

    ”Today’s agricultural technologies have burdened the environment and threatened our lives with harmful chemical fertilizers, non-degradable pesticides and herbicides, and genetically modified organisms. The former have destroyed the life of the soil, causing wide spread erosion and sterility, while the latter have upset thousands of years of perfect evolution in accord with all the laws of nature…

    As a result of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, the soil, the seed, the crop, even the weather conditions will all be in favor of the farmer. Timely winds, rains, and sunshine will be at the disposal of the farmer to support every step of his profession, season after season.

    The crops themselves will respond to the farmer and his intentions to enliven Natural Law. Research has shown that plants are sensitive, living entities, which are very aware of their environment. The effect of human thoughts and feelings, and the expressions of loving care can cause plants to favorably react to the person who is caring for them.

    It will be the joy of the farmer to see the health and vitality of his crops growing through the nourishing technologies of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture. The fortunes of the Vedic Farmer will blossom in affluence. The farmer’s life will flower in its parental role for the whole
    nation. The gift of the Vedic Farmer and Vedic Farming will be a new dawn of health and happiness.”

    And apparently if ‘Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture’ doesn’t get you enough ‘blossom in affluence’, fear-mongering consumers away from conventional agriculture to increase demand for your over-priced products should do the trick.

    • Stephan Neidenbach

      I think the comment about retired professors really shows their paranoia. They really think this. Now, I am sure if you make a research study on par with Seralini your university bosses are going to have some words with you. I am assuming that is what they are referring to.

    • SageThinker

      Evidence about Tyrone Hayes in regard to atrazine is pretty serious.

      • Farmer with a Dell

        What has Tyrone Hayes to do with the evident bias of CR activities, Tinkler? Why do you persist in dropping around to drive comment threads off-topic? That’s the definition of troll activity, BTW Tinkler, you do know that much, do you not?

        Oh well, for readers who may be unfamiliar and whose curiosity you’ve distracted, Tinkler, here’s a PG or R rated explanation of the outrageous Berkeley phenomenon that is Tyrone Hayes and his hateful ranting email correspondence…

        http://agsense.org/articles/why-profane-emails-from-atrazine-scientist-tyrone-hayes-are-important/

      • morphd

        Evidence about Tyrone Hayes in regard to atrazine is pretty serious

        ST, I’d heard of Hayes but haven’t researched the issue. I know it can be a ‘questionable’ resource, but for convenience I’ve taken an excerpt from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrone_Hayes

        The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its independent Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) examined all available studies on this topic and concluded that “atrazine does not adversely affect amphibian gonadal development based on a review of laboratory and field studies.”. The EPA and its SAP made recommendations concerning proper study design needed for further investigation into this issue. As required by the EPA, Syngenta conducted two experiments under Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and inspection by the EPA and German regulatory authorities. The paper concluded “These studies demonstrate that long-term exposure of larval X. laevis to atrazine at concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 100 microg/l does not affect growth, larval development, or sexual differentiation.”[11] A report written in Environmental Science and Technology (May 15, 2008) cites the independent work of researchers in Japan, who were unable to replicate Hayes’ work. “The scientists found no hermaphrodite frogs; no increase in aromatase as measured by aromatase mRNA induction; and no increase in vitellogenin, another marker of feminization.”[12]

        In 2010, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) responded to Hayes’ 2010 published paper,[13] by stating that his findings “do not provide sufficient evidence to justify a reconsideration of current regulations which are based on a very extensive dataset.”.[14]

        While Hayes doesn’t appear to be a ‘serial performer’ like Séralini, how does one reconcile his advocacy with the multiple lines of contradictory evidence?

        Has anything relevant come out of the Agricultural Health Study https://aghealth.nih.gov/ ? It seems like pesticide applicators, who typically experience exposure levels to pesticides well above the general population would be good indicators of adverse health issues.

        • Aguirre15

          Thank you (and wiki) for the well written and lucid explication. It’s a very important subject which is not always easy to communicate.

          • morphd

            I also looked at The New Yorker write-up on Prof. Hayes http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/02/10/a-valuable-reputation

            Based on that information I have to respect his academic achievements before the Syngenta issue and can’t help but feel some sadness for his situation in the aftermath – which seems to suggest possible mental illness? I’d imagine there are different sides to the story.

          • hyperzombie

            I agree about the mental illness. I wonder what what he is doing today. Hopefully he has gotten the help that he obviously needs.

        • SageThinker

          Yes, Wikipedia is absolutely not a reliable source on a topic like this, for it is highly gamed in a remarkable way by people who are aligned with the industry. A better source is this article in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/02/10/a-valuable-reputation

          • Farmer with a Dell

            The New Yorker article, written by a professional storyteller, documents the rather stunning demise of a novice researcher who, early on in his career, failed at the rigors of science — his singular research results could not be replicated — and who rather quickly fell back on paranoia, conspiracy theories and, finally, resorting to playing the race card to excuse away scientific scrutiny of his activities. The moral of the story seems to be that Affirmative Action has not been a universal success.

          • hyperzombie

            The moral of the story seems to be that Affirmative Action has not been a universal success.

            Well that is a bit harsh. Nothing to do with race.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Well, the article gets over a lot of dubious ground, including the racist angle couched in politically correct paranoia. I was inclined at first to carefully overlook it, too, ’cause it made me a little uncomfortable , but I suppose I was a little harsh, as you correctly point out. Thanks for the attitude adjustment, HZ.

          • hyperzombie

            including the racist angle couched in politically correct paranoia
            Yep, I hate that crap. Call a clover a clover. (you cant use spade ,cause he is black)

            Tyrone Hayes, has obvious Mental health issues.

          • hyperzombie

            Well what we should point out is that environmental groups used a man suffering from Mental health issues to promote their issues.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Yeah, that’s a good point and they relish the opportunity — they did the same with Don Huber.

          • Mike Bendzela

            Dell, I’ve followed your comments a long time here, and that crack about Affirmative Action is just disgusting. I’m so disappointed.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Yeah, ethnicity is a touchy subject, the third rail. ‘Course Hayes and his apologists brought it up in this instance. And a lot of us have lived with it for a lifetime. It cuts in all directions and distorts discussion more often then we dare to acknowledge. Simple fact is, affirmative action picked winners and losers, now we have reaped the results. I am licensed to point that out, not as someone who benefited from affirmative action, but as someone (a WASP male) who has often enough been discriminated against by it. So, OK, I’ve taken my lumps, buckled down and continue to overcome it. I recently heard someone (a black man, no less) apologetically remark that “diversity” means everyone except mature white males…and that was as accurate as it was daring — he was dutifully scowled at and marginalized by the politically correct minions in the room, of course.

            It disappoints me when I see anyone who was favored directly or indirectly by affirmative action misuse the advantage or fail to make a contribution to society, essentially taunting and crapping all over the sacrifices I and many, many others have been forced to accept. I am not bitter about it, but I’ve not forgotten and I refuse to be perfectly compliant with a frightened political correctness mired in the 1960s. Affirmative action and its legacy is a force to be acknowledged and a mistake to be learned from, just like any other…so I call’s ’em as I see’s ’em. Always do.

            I have a lot of respect for you Mike. You’ve apparently explored some dark corners, yourself, experimenting with the cult of organic woo and breaking through to the light of reason, once again. The whole anti-GMO thing is even darker and more divisive, it appears. But ethnicity and gender are the darkest of all, so dark and foreboding it cannot be discussed, must not be mentioned or even be contemplated…except by a choice few who predictably throw it up in our faces to excuse away their own shortcomings and force their own bigoted agendas.

            Out here in the real world, Mike, we wade through a lot of shit to get from one modest success to the next. It is an indelicate process, too jolting for the faint of heart. Sorry if I touched a nerve, Mike, but that’s what feeling alive is all about, eh? This is one of those times each of us comes away disappointed with the other. Fuck it, so what? Life goes on.

            Cheers.

          • morphd

            I did read it (see reply to Aguirre15 yesterday), though I’m not sure why The New Yorker article would be a better ‘source’ versus a better ‘confirmation’ of ones biases. It did describe Hayes’ rather bizarre behavior.

            At any rate, according to a NPR story I heard this morning about the chytrid fungus http://www.npr.org/2016/09/10/493296149/in-the-battle-to-save-frogs-scientists-fight-fungus-with-fungus frogs have more problems than atrazine to worry about. Another one of Mother Nature’s random epidemics – apparently moving through the Sierra Nevadas (as far as I know there’s no GMO Ag in those mountains to blame this on).

          • SageThinker

            Another thing being bad for frogs doesn’t make atrazine not bad for frogs. Basic logic.

            Hayes’ “rather bizarre behavior” turned out to be confirmed because Syngenta truly was stalking and harassing him and doing character assassination — so he turned out to be totally right. And he’s got backbone so he would not give up a fight when the King told him to… in the name of what’s real and true.

            It was a program of harassment to rival COINTELPRO.

          • SageThinker

            Wikipedia is explicitly not a good source because there are bully editors there who force their own point of view into articles and get others banned who have other points of view. It’s a long-term game for some people who seem to be there 24/7 to force their versions of content.

          • Twan

            With due respect Sage but giving your outspoken opinions I don’t think you qualify as a replacement editor for Wikipedia.

          • SageThinker

            There is no respect evident in your comment and you do not have a place to judge this. I’m a very good editor of Wikipedia and understand fully the requirements of reliable sourcing and neutral point of view. The problem is when a group of editors determines to control Wikipedia and flout the policies to enforce their agenda into the content, and then also blacklist those who call out their agenda and oppose their railroading.

          • gmoeater

            You have never been “neutral” in your life. You think your own agenda against GMOs is balanced and neutral? You’re very good at one thing, and one thing only, and that is blowing your own tiny little squeaky horn.

          • SageThinker

            Ha! Go ahead, keep on spouting stuff about a person you do not know. I understand what neutral means in regard to representing the universe of available reliable sources on a topic more than most people. Go ahead….

          • Twan

            Don’t misunderstand, I may hardly ever agree with your Point of view but they chalenge my opinions and every now and then you do hit a nerve. Still, you are far from neutral, or? As for Wikipedia being notperfect, yep, but I use it as an introduction, check the references at the bottom, and as far as my language skills alow, read other Wikipedia on the same topic.

          • SageThinker

            No *person* is “neutral” but one can work toward content with a neutral point of view by representing what is said in reliable sources. Everyone has a point of view and if you play within the rules of policy, then the various points of view actually work together to make richer content. But if one faction gets greedy and flouts the rules, acts badly and bullies, then they can manage to get their point of view privileged, and that’s harmful. Even if you use Wikipedia as a reference, and this is good, it’s still biased on many subjects, simply in terms of the sampling of references you may find, and the representations of the sources that you may find, if the topic has been “owned” by a group with an agenda.

          • morphd

            I did a quick search and found a Time article that concurs with your remarks http://techland.time.com/2013/10/25/wikipedias-editor-problem-explained/

            I’ve really cherished Wikipedia over the years and it sounds like the problem lies with a relatively small number of users/abusers, not the Wikipedia organization. At least the Time article indicates the organization is trying to address the problem.

            This is so often the case – and society ‘pays’ for the activities of the few who want to extend their influence/profit beyond what most might consider fair. Unfortunately the majority of people being manipulated have little idea that it is happening.

            You probably won’t agree with me, but the ‘few manipulating the many’ is how I see much of the anti GMO movement. That said, even though I worked for one for many years alongside many bright & highly ethical colleagues, I wouldn’t put it past at least some corporations to do the same thing.

          • SageThinker

            Thank you for researching it. Yes, i’ve seen it happen nonstop in Wikipedia. It’s not pretty.

            As for “few manipulating the many” i agree that there is a fair bit of misrepresentation and “fear mongering” by many who are opposed to GMOs and don’t fully understand them, but on the other hand, there are many who do understand what they’re talking about and who speak those things clearly. There is also manipulation by industry, which to me is more insidious than any number of errant over-reacting individuals. We have seen corporations lying in the past, even with big questions — the chemical industry has, with PCBs and PFOA for instance, the sugar industry has (as we recently see in the news) and of course the fossil fuels industry has (with revelation about active denial funding).

          • Aguirre15

            You mean the noted agricultural journal ” The New Yorker”?

          • SageThinker

            I mean the magazine with very good journalism.

  • Dan Manske

    That does it. I’m cancelling my subscription to Consumer Reports. I once wrote a thoughtful letter to the editor about their slandering of GMO crops and was disappointed that they did not publish it or acknowledge it. They did publish some less thoughtful, worse written LTTEs that approved of their article. I’m not sure I really trust their product reviews any longer. I think I can do with the reviews on Amazon and the like.

    • agscienceliterate

      Dan, I have dumped CR too, for that very reason. After years of membership. They lost credibility and lost my respect.

    • Warren Lauzon

      I cancelled about 3 years ago, after having been a 15+ year subscriber. Not only have their product reviews gotten worse and less reliable, but their jumping onto the anti-science bandwagon was the final straw. One thing I noticed over the past 4 years or so is that many of the reviews on major retail sites for many products differ markedly – in one case a washer they rated a Best Buy got 2-2.5 star reviews on Amazon and Home Depot sites.

    • Aguirre15

      Not only that but to see a “senior scientist” with the venerable Consumers Union trafficking in the usual fear mongering buzzwords is doubly shameful. The scientific community did not “proclaim” GMO’s to be safe, they determined them to be so based on a regulatory framework articulated by the UN, FAO and WHO 25 years ago and accepted by all of the developed worlds regulatory agencies.

  • Warren Lauzon

    I think is has been common knowledge for a while that CU has gone to the “darkwoo side”, this just gives us some info about those actually involved in this anti-science train.

  • Mike Bendzela

    When I saw CR’s report on pesticides last year, I knew something was up: it read like it was plagiarized from the egregious “Dirty Dozen” list promulgated by the Environmental Working Group.

    This is a fabulous expose, and you deserve our gratitude.

  • SageThinker

    Doesn’t really show what you claim it to show. Moreso shows that the industry is known to use intimidation and pressure against anyone who would dare criticize them. Read the non-highlighted parts of the email and think about them with your own mind. It’s a game of point-of-view neutralization but the answer is revealed when you look at it from bird’s eye view.

    • Farmer with a Dell

      If, from where you are lurking Daft Tinkler, you cannot see the obvious anti-agriculture bias and the evident influence of the $60 million organic industry in Consumer Reports’ activities, well then, you desperately need to have your eyes checked. ‘Course, you’ve always peered askance at the world through your peculiar feces-colored coke bottle bottom prismatic lenses, Tinkler. When it comes to ‘point of view’ yours can always be counted upon to be tainted and reeking. For that much we can rely upon you…nothing else but, still, there’s that, anyway.

      • $60 billion

        • Farmer with a Dell

          That’s correct Tom. Good catch!

    • Michael McCarthy

      “Moreso shows that the industry is known to use intimidation and pressure against anyone who would dare criticize them”
      Hmm, kind of like USRTK attacking Kevin Folta. Wait, you supported that.

      • SageThinker

        Yeah, USRTK is not “attacking” Kevin Folta, but seeking transparency, to see what the connections are, and to figure out the extent of the industry disinformation machine, which is remarkably huge.

        • Michael McCarthy

          And you don’t think Consumer Reports isn’t engaging in disinformation because it suits your agenda. Your cognitive dissonance is showing, please cover up.

          • agscienceliterate

            It’s truly amazing the lengths he will go to ignore the irony of his own hypocrisy.

          • hyperzombie

            I think hypocrisy fuels these people. If only we could tap it as a fuel source….

          • Michael McCarthy

            He’s a case study in logical fallacies.

          • agscienceliterate

            Yup. And I select the richest of the depths of his logical fallacies, as examples for my critical thinking class. My students absolutely love him!

          • Michael McCarthy

            Do you actually identify him in class or is it anonymous? (BTW, have you ever watched the youtube video featuring him?)

          • agscienceliterate

            Of course. He willingly posts on this public site, so anybody’s free to see it. Sometimes I actually goad him just a tiny little bit, I have to admit, when I’m looking for class material, and then he really comes up with something rich. On YouTube video? What’s it under? Since that’s also public, I may show that in my class. How would I find it?

          • Michael McCarthy

            here. Skip the first 30/35 seconds.

          • agscienceliterate

            The only mildly amusing take away from this thing about his tiny little 120-foot house, his tiny little plot of kale, and his one tiny little beehive, is that he says “I like to live with magic in my life.” Actually, that does explain a lot. But none of this is worth showing in my class, so I won’t be subjecting my students to it.

          • Michael McCarthy

            Oh, I just thought it might be nice for them to put a face with the name. (and who in the world knows they are being interviewed and can’t be bothered to clean or shower?)

          • agscienceliterate

            Hah!
            How did you find this video, and know it was him? I mean, it fits…

          • Michael McCarthy

            someone pointed me to it ages ago, he used to post under Sage Rad (as in Radachowsky). He has his own youtube channel as well (and of course FB). He was also one of those occupy Boston goons.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            I can easily believe he was prominent in Occupy Boston — the guy musta jumped at the chance to squat on Dewey Square under a blue tarp — it woulda seemed like a stay at the Ritz-Carlton compared to the squalor he otherwise calls home sweet home.

          • agscienceliterate

            Figures.
            I wonder if he pays his fair share of property taxes in Boston? Should be easy enough to track down. Or is he sucking off the system that he complains so vociferously about?

          • Michael McCarthy

            Property taxes? Negatory. After his gypsy cart got ticketed a bunch of times, he found someone that would let him pay rent to park it on their property.

          • agscienceliterate

            Well, I saw on his posts elsewhere (his Discus discussions) that he thinks that Monsanto exposed his “unborn baby” to chemicals that he thinks will cause his kid to be autistic.
            Uh, this baby and its mother sure as heck don’t live in that squalid little one-person shoebox. Hope he is up to paying child support.

          • Michael McCarthy

            Unborn baby? I just threw up. And he’ll blame Monsanto for anything.

          • agscienceliterate

            Including if his hornets die (and don’t produce honey), his kale wilts, and his shelves fall down.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Holy crap! This is the “Sage Thinker”?!?! The guy pays $400/mo to live in that depressing little shitbox and crap in the woods? He’s claimed before he’s a “carpenter” but I didn’t believe him — and I was right! It took him “months” to sheath over a crappy little camping trailer with plywood, set in one obsolete little double hung window and hang a couple of shelves made out of pallet slats? And the guy is bragging about this? Any beginning wood butcher would casually toenail that ridiculous junkpile together in a few days…and blind drunk the whole time.

            Best of all, our ag genius is building “beehives” (in name only) with dreams of capturing a swarm — then he shows us an empty hornet’s nest. I hope his next video is of him smokin’ those “bees”/hornets and groping around amid a cloud of whizzing stinging yellowjackets muttering “where the hell is the honey, man, where is it?”. I suppose he will conclude the whole debacle is a conspiracy..

            An overload of irony in all this, ’cause “Sage” is the same sort of people who whine about how migrant farm workers and SubSaharan Africans are living, but no self-respecting illegal alien day worker would live in squalor like he willingly does. Heh, calls it a “fairy tale” existence. Well, it’s unbelievable, certainly. All he needs are some magic beans.

          • agscienceliterate

            Hey, FWAD, he IS a “farmer,” too … why, I think I saw a little plot of kale about 10×20 feet. I wonder if he gets an ag designation (much, much lower) for his assessed valuation for his property taxes, if he pays property taxes to the state of MA. Should be easy enough to look up.
            And if his bees (hornets?) sting him and don’t produce, he will blame it on neonics sprayed 10 miles down the road.
            Michael, thanx for posting his video. A public service, of sorts.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            /s

            Yeah, I was VERY impressed with his cloddy weedy kale patch. Obviously I need to take him and people like him more seriously when being lectured on how to farm !

            /sarcasm off

            Yep, “scientist”, “farmer”, “carpenter”, “beekeeper” — is there no trade or profession this amazing young genius has not mastered? I mean, his handiwork speaks for itself. Oh, and “guitar maker”…why do I suspect he’s spent most of his time clumsily prying apart and scraping the finish off broken instruments, claiming those are works in progress?

            He’s given musical credits at the end of the video — and he definitely ain’t no Carlos Santana…Jimi Hendrix…Chet Atkins…Roy Clark…

            Amazing, simply amazing.

          • Michael McCarthy

            Yeah, that’s ol Sage. Now you know.

    • So why dont they ask scientists living outside of the US? Scientists in the EU are discouraged from performing biotech research yet they still agree with “bought” scientists in the US. How is that possible?

      • SageThinker

        “Scientists in the EU” — no, *they* really don’t. There is not a monolothic “scientists” who agrees. You will also find statements signed by hundreds of scientists against GMOs and related agrochemicals. There is not such a consensus among “scientists” as you claim. There is the bought science and there is other science. The industry has been grooming the EU via EFSA and BfR.

        • there is quite clear consensus among scientists. period.

          • SageThinker

            There is not. Period.

            Consensus on which question? Question of whether in principle GMOs can be safe? Question of whether one particular trait is safe? Question of whether associated agrochemicals are totally safe?

            There are many questions related to GMOs and biotech. Which are you referring to?

            Construction of false consensus is a thing. Industry influence is a thing. Chemical industry disinformation is a thing. See “styrene science” — see what happened with the sugar industry — see what the oil industry did in regard to denying climate change until it was no longer possible. Industry influence to protect profits is real.

            Evidence is rather copious about gaming of science and media by the chemical industry, since the time of PCBs made by Monsanto and sold long after they knew the grave dangers that people and wildlife were being exposed to. And then DuPont with PFOA… same thing. And to this day, much we do not know yet that will be apparent in 50 years.

          • Jason

            Sage…. don’t play dumb. You know what “question” there is a consensus on. The question is whether they pose any unique risks and the consensus is that they do not.

            Stop denying that consensus exist. That’s totally dishonest and you know it.

          • agscienceliterate

            He’s not “playing” dumb. He’s the real deal. WYSIWYG.

  • Robert Howd

    Consumer Reports has taken many dubious positions on toxicity issues over the years. My first letter to them complaining about their lack of scientific thinking about pesticides was probably more than 15 years ago. They were promoting organic foods without any rational analysis of the potential hazards versus costs – which continues to this day. Their current stance against GMO agriculture merely carries on this sad, non-scientific tradition. Yes, I still maintain my subscription…..

  • Kevin

    The reality is that there are several groups whose “studies” are supported by Monsanto. These groups are so named in order to confuse the readers of their studies into believing that they are objective. This is done as an attempt to make Monsanto look good.

    These studies are not good sources of information.

    The deception from Monsanto over the years, including their new financial fraud, are sound reason to believe they will continue this behavior until they are gone.

    As the market evaluates its stock it is now eyeing this company in a questioning way. Zack’s equity research says sell. I could go on. The information is out there.

    In order to find objective scientific studies just consider the source and don’t be fooled by their objective sounding names. Carefully follow the money and find the sources of their funding. If one study or group pays another to do research you will need to follow the chain of sources to get any real objective information.

    Also watch out for Ketchum Public Relations. These people help create the mis-information that is being spewed about.

    • Aguirre15

      You clearly know about as much about the capital markets as you know about biotechnology, which is zip. Why would a stock rating company rate Monsanto a sell at 106 when there is an even chance that it will be acquired by Bayer at 130 in the next few weeks?

    • Farmer with a Dell

      There are deceptive “groups” conducting scientific research? I guess you will have to name them, Boynton, ’cause last I heard universities and industry had laboratories busy conducting scientific research.

      The “groups” occupy themselves with spinning the results of research…front groups with deceptively cordial and reassuring names like Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, Concerned Scientists in the Public Interest, Union of Concerned Scientists…you know, the really skanky inbred front groups for the $60 billion organic industry and other interested anti-agriculture anti-technology anti-industry cultists.

      You are the one that’s been fooled by anti-GMO rhetoric and now you’re being taken by your stock advisor. P.T. Barnum said it and you are here to prove it. Carry on, Boynton, carry on.

      • Kevin

        I guess you just don’t know which way to turn. You appear to only want to keep people in the dark. Stay on the same path if it works for you. It doesn’t work for capable objective individuals like me maybe because we are not inbred. I am beginning to suspect that you…
        Universities and industry groups know where their money comes from and most play on their sponsors team. If you claim these guys aren’t for real and objective you need to look deeper.

        For everyone else this is the article I refer to: Monsanto & 4 Poorly Ranked Toxic Materials Stocks to Avoid
        Nasdaq – ‎Aug 31, 2016‎

        Last I saw you wren’t a broker. In your mind you are a better broker than the pros. In your dreams you are a farmer.

        I see you don’t write insults on Saturday or Sunday. I thought you would if you were legit.

        Why would you even care what people buy and consume?

        Again thanks for the light you help me shine on the reality.

        • Farmer with a Dell

          Heh, the ups and downs of Monsanto stock have nothing to do with my agricultural enterprises, but I thought you were going to list for us those “deceptive groups doing research”. Where’s the list, Boynton? Why are you ducking and dodging this simple documentation of your assertions? Were you merely making up crap as you went along, and now you’re caught in a lie? Hmmm…could be.Wouldn’t be the first time, would it?

      • Kevin

        For you readers out there.
        http://www.nasdaq.com/article/monsanto-4-poorly-ranked-toxic-materials-stocks-to-avoid-cm672954

        It appears that you (Farmer with a dell) have the grand illusion of someone that believes he knows more than the professionals, as well as a real farmer.

        Regardless, as always you make my day.

        Regards

        • Aguirre15

          You incredible nincompoop! Thats an analyst blog posting and is based completely on the fact that the ag business is in the midst of a very low cycle. Such blog posts are a dime a dozen. Read Seeking Alpha sometimes. They are up and down like a whores drawers on specific stocks. The use of the word toxic in the headlines simply shows a childish bias on the part of the youthful authors. Zacks rating on Monsanto stock is now a HOLD which probably accurately reflects the mix of market conditions and upside potential.

  • Loren Eaton

    Two things: First, if you look at Belinda Martineau’s C.V., you’ll see that she has spent very little (if any) time in the lab for the past 20 years. YES, that matters. Just like it does for Thierry Vrain and David Suzuki. When people like Hansen praise the scientific expertise of someone, its useful to ask the question, “When was the last time they DID any actual science?”
    Second, I personally know two of the other scientists who are co-authors on several of the papers that came out of Calgene in the early 90’s. Trust me, they’re just as well educated as she is and they come to a completely different conclusion on the safety of GM products.

  • Kevin

    To claim that Consumer Reports is biased is ridiculous. Monsanto just can’t take the heat. Ketchum Public Relations cant take the fact that it is being rendered useless because it is just a Monsanto mercenary. Three cheers for Consumer Reports.

    • Aguirre15

      GMO’s are highly regulated worldwide under the framework first articulated by the WHO and FAO. GMO grains and oilseeds have been ubiquitous in the food chain for 20 years without the report of as much as a sneeze. What does this pompous jerk Hansen and you want? You flail around like a barking seal with conspiracy theories and misinformation, but you never say anything!

      • Kevin

        Gee, I must have hit a nerve. Monsanto is not regulated because they purchase our upper level politicians and control them and you. You and I know that.
        It sure looks like the nonGMO and organic supporters are now taking control. It sure looks to me that Monsanto & Ketchum are losing by a landslide. This will continue.
        It looks like you are the one with nothing to say now.
        Regards,

        • Aguirre15

          You didn’t hit anything other than to prove my point that you never say anything.

          BTW, Back in 2009 the Obama administration led personally and very publicly by AG Holder went after Monsanto with everything they had on an anti trust beef. After a THREE year investigation they skulked way because they couldn’t find a damn thing. “Purchased” my ass!

          • agscienceliterate

            Everything is a “conspiracy” to ole Kevin. Even wearing tinfoil on his head doesn’t help. He still hears their voices. Sad.

          • Kevin

            A tranquilizer may help for that. This isn’t only about antitrust. It is about good food versus GMOs, glyphosate, hormone, drug, and pesticide laden food. Since when has Holder been truthful?
            By the way you referred to 2009 and not now. We know more now and are spreading the truth. The nerve, ouch…
            Regards