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Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law: What it Really Means for Consumers

Opinion

By substantial majorities, the Vermont legislature recently passed a bill to require labels on “genetically modified” foods. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed it into law on Thursday. Everyone paying attention expects a lawsuit (which VT is certain to lose).

What is this all about? Spoiler alert: It’s not about safety, it’s not about choice, and it’s not about transparency. It’s about special interests abusing the power of the state to promote their ideology at the expense of safe food, more sustainable agriculture and lower prices.

It should first be noted that all food, produced by whatever method, is genetically modified by any definition that respects the facts of nature. Genetic modification is the essential and unavoidable foundation of life, and all the techniques biotechnologists use are derived directly from what we find happening everywhere in nature. Given this, the overbroad definition of “genetic modification” enshrined in the bill will make enforcement difficult, to say the least, and is even less scientifically sound than those laws decreeing pi to be 3.00 to secure the compelling state interest in making geometry calculations more convenient.

Second, there is an overwhelming global scientific consensus on the safety of biotech improved crops and foods. This consensus is reflected in numerous examples, including the fact that the European Union has spent more than 300 million Euros over 25 years on 131 studies involving more than 400 research groups, leading them to conclude “the use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make [GM foods] even safer than conventional plants and foods.”

Despite this, some continue to claim this or that scientific study has found a specific safety issue with GMOs, or even go so far to argue that anti-GMO findings have been censored. But these advocates fail to recognize that numerous studies, both pro- and con-GMO, have been rigorously reviewed by the scientific community, with nearly all claiming a safety issue being rejected or ignored because of multiple failures in experimental design and analysis. Indeed, the most widely cited such paper was actually retracted by the publisher, after being repudiated by every competent scientific and regulatory body around the world.

Failed by the science, GMO labeling proponents have turned to the claim that labels are required to secure a “right to choose.” But freedom to choose is already secured through multiple paths. The USDA Organic label prohibits the use of biotechnology in organic production, and the NonGMO Project provides similar assurances. There is even a smartphone app that allows consumers to scan a product bar code in the grocery store aisle to learn if it includes GM ingredients or not. So an additional label mandated by the state would add little to consumer choice and provide no additional information to the public that is not already available from a variety of sources.

In the end, every other argument having failed, the claim becomes one of “a right to know.” Because who could possibly object to giving consumers information? But, despite claims to the contrary, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has had that covered for years. Government regulations already require that if a food produced through “genetic modification” (or any other production method) has been changed in any way relevant to health, safety, or nutrition, that it must be indicated on the label. But the FDA goes a step further than Vermont by requiring that food labels be “accurate, informative, and not misleading.” Furthermore, FDA has found that since genetic modification in and of itself does not impact the safety or nutrition of a food, labels specifically designed to denote genetic modification are unnecessary.

And herein lies an important point. Biotech opponents have failed to ban GMOs outright and failed to get national labels through FDA, so now they are turning to state campaigns to attack GM foods. The Vermont legislation is not a locally grown product. It’s part of a nationwide campaign to push similar legislation in states across the nation. Leaders of this effort have been very clear about their true objectives. Andrew Kimbrell of the marvelously misnamed Center for Food Safety has said, “We are going to force them to label this food. If we have it labeled, then we can organize people not to buy it.” Jeffrey Smith, of the equally misleading Institute for Responsible Technology, has stated, “By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.” And the Organic Consumers Association’s Ronnie Cummins says,“The burning question for all of us then becomes how – and how quickly – can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2 percent market niche to the dominant force in American food and farming? The first step is to change our labeling laws.”

These ideologues also believe that labeling will make it easier to bully food manufacturing companies into avoiding GM ingredients. And the sponsors of the VT legislation have openly embraced this cynical approach.

In other words, the Vermont legislation is nothing but an extension of the fear-based marketing campaign that has driven the growth of organic foods. It is not a reasoned policy effort to improve consumer knowledge or safety. It’s easy for these folks to be for organic foods but also easy for them to forget that organic foods are largely a luxury item that upper-income Americans might consume but most working Americans do not, for the simple reason that organic foods cost between 20 and 100 percent more than non-organics. It is why upscale stores like Whole Foods are almost all located in the wealthiest of neighborhoods.

To protect the environmental benefits, food abundance and lower prices that have been delivered by seeds and crops improved through biotechnology, policymakers need to reject this special-interest rent-seeking and roll back the attempts to pass Vermont-style bills in additional states, as both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have urged, and FDA’s commissioner has recently reaffirmed. This will be the best way to truly protect food safety and actual consumer choice.

© Food Safety News
  • Ken Kailing

    I’m ashamed that Food Safety News would even publish this; so narrow in it’s view and completely missing relevant ecological aptitude in agricultural (again, the complete elimination of relevant history in the discussion; the force of a mission of money over morals) as to be professionally laughable. It reads like a Monsanto Promotion and speaks to the lack of professionalism on both sides of the issue.

    • Dan

      The “Monsanto Shill” argument? Seriously? This article doesn’t even mention Monsanto. Oh, and BTW Syngenta does just as much business as Monsanto.

      • grifty

        Yes, but its much harder to make up something like Monsatan for BASF or Sygenta.

      • Guest

        Monsanto happens to own >90% of Genetically modified products and as corresponding their patents. You certainly seem to not know the situation.

    • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

      It’s a contributed opinion. FSN typically provides a relatively open forum for different viewpoints. Think of it as a “Letters to the editor” type of thing.

    • Karen G Lyke

      Ken you pegged it spot on. Thank you.

    • Cassandra

      Could you make specific points about what’s wrong in the article?

  • fuenfer

    What a joke of an article. Seriously.

    • Dan

      How so?

      • grifty

        It doesn’t support his ideology?

        • First Officer

          I’ve actually been threatened with, “re-education”, for daring to not agree Monsanto is taking over the world.

  • Ben

    Val, I posted my comment below already twice today. As your article looks like a summary of a Monsanto advertising brochure, you may don’t like to read the facts everybody can find in the internet. I noticed before some article they do not agree with the writers opinion, don’t get posted or next day, when people don’t read old articles anymore.
    10:16 Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Food Safety News.
    There are a lot of evidences around the world how unhealthy and dangerous GMO products are. Even US farmers switching back to conventional seed as they yield of GMO crops goes down by the year besides other problems. Countries with experience in growing GMO crops have outlawed them and are suing Monsanto. A lot of European countries, which are not afraid of the threatening by the GMO companies, have outlawed GMO too, as well as South American countries. If everything with GMO is so healthy and fine, why is the industry so against the labeling part? Wouldn’t they assume to sell more products like organic if they put a label on: the product contains GMO? Usually the industry is the driver for healthy labeling claims if it’s true or not! Why are hiding at this time? Something is fishy. Or is it they are afraid doctors can find in human stomachs what they are already finding in pig stomachs and are afraid of lawsuits all over? http://www.naturalnews.com/040727_gmo_feed_severe_inflammation_pig_stomachs.html
    About the mentioned studies in Europe under influence by the bio tech companies, the Russians weren’t as stupid to believe the outcomes and made their own studies. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on April 15, 2014 that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food. If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” – Medvedev.
    It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ” – Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety
    It looks like the Country of Russia is more concerned about the health of their people as the Americans are.

  • Linda Adsit

    “and all the techniques biotechnologists use are derived directly from what we find happening everywhere in nature”

    Last time I checked, there weren’t any tomatoes mating with fish.

    • Dan

      Your comment shows a serious lack of knowledge of how genetics work.

    • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

      The visual image this invoked was quite rich.

      And you have a good point.

    • grifty

      Last I checked there weren’t any tomatoe/fish GMOs on the market.

      Also, fish are total perverts. They’d TOTALLY mate with a tomato if they could catch them.

    • Clifford Ageloff

      Last I checked, there are no GMO tomatoes available commercially anywhere in the US. NONE. You should check your facts so you don’t come off a regurgitating BS propaganda.

    • Oginikwe

      Watch the documentary “Life Running Out of Control,” and you can see what happened when scientists inserted genes for human growth hormone into pigs and cows.

      Mengele came to mind.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    Then you would be losing a valuable resource. And if you want one-sided information, I suggest Fox News.

    This is a contributed opinion piece. FSN doesn’t typically agree or disagree with opinion pieces. Consider it equivalent to a Letters to the Editor.

    • Phil

      I understand this is an opinion piece and am aware of Fox News’ one-sided reporting.

      I merely think it is a shame that FSN was unable to provide an opinion piece that doesn’t rely on name calling and misinformation about the political process the bill experienced in VT.

      • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

        I can agree with you in this regard.

    • First Officer

      And NaturalNews, Friends of the Earth, Mercola.com, Institute of Responsible technology (or lack thereof), EarthOpenSource, Rodale Institute, Organic Consumers Association, Greenpeace, Moms Across America, Babes Against Biotech, GmoWatch, Just Label It,…

    • First Officer

      And NaturalNews, Friends of the Earth, Mercola, Inc, Institute of Responsible technology (or lack thereof), EarthOpenSource, Rodale Institute, Organic Consumers Association, Greenpeace, Moms Across America, Babes Against Biotech, GmoWatch, Just Label It,…

  • Your Ignorance Is Showing

    Your lack of knowledge on the subject is all the more obvious when you quote naturalnews.com…

  • Badger Fan

    My God I did not realize that Food Safety News was on Monsanto’s payroll! This article is total bs! Mosanto and other gm producers have fought tooth and nail to eliminate any non-GMO sourced foods, and they have fought tooth and nail to intimidate the news media from broadcasting any negative stories on the potential effects of GMO’s. Monsanto and the US government are carrying out the most massive human experiment ever undertaken on human beings. I am unsubscribing to Food Safety News today because of this misleading article! Shame on you.

    • First Officer

      Wow, that didn’t take long for SAS, Shill Accusation Syndrome, to rear its ugly head.

      • Badger Fan

        So First Officer, how long have you been one of the 75 black ops investigators who work full-time for Monsanto corp and go around the country looking for farmers they can persecute and prosecute? I suppose you have never seen the documentary Food Inc. or Deconstructing Supper have you or maybe you have since you work for Monsanto.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    I do enjoy a vigorous debate with those I disagree with, but you leave no room for debate. You’ve dismissed those who you disagree with, categorizing us as special interest groups with an agenda.

    Perhaps Food Safety News will received a more thoughtful, reasoned piece arguing against the merits of GMO labeling, and those of us who want to do more than rant, will be more welcome.

  • LouWho

    I liked your piece. And i’m not even a seed or chemical company employee!

  • grifty

    Additionally, if you read FSN with any regularity, you’ll realize that the real danger in food safety comes from introduced pathogens.

  • Karen G Lyke

    So if there’s overwhelming global consensus on the safety of GM foods, where are the studies, and why won’t the producers of GMOs let others do their own studies, silence those who do (Arpad Pustai), and try to forbid labelling? GMOs did not evolve at the same time as other organisms, so the intricate interdependence and relationship of timing and just right nourishment for ALL the creatures involved — insects, migrating birds, and more — is disrupted at its core. This is NOT about food safety, safely feeding the world, etc. Labeling GMOs is simply about integrity, honesty and transparency, all of which opponents of labeling seem to be fighting in every way. If GMO producers have such a great product, why aren’t they willing to celebrate it and announce it to the world?

    • First Officer

      They do let others do studies and a great many have been done. I got news for you. Evolution is not some grand design to provide just the right nourshment for all creatures. In many cases it’s the opposite as prey creatures evolve defenses against their predators. And why don’t producers want to label GMO’s as such? Please read the article again.

      • Ben

        I agree with Karen G Lyke’s comment. First Officer, provide all links to the many studies have been done from independent sources over a period of time longer then 3 months! It looks like you know them all!
        GMO started about 25 years ago. This is the time cancer rates are increasing year by year and also obesity around the world is increasing. Even now in developing countries. The reason could be the food we send them is full of GMO products. As we know 95% of the world cotton is GMO. A good part of the cotton seed goes to the food industry. I would like to know if my ice cream contains linters (processed cotton seed). Maybe all the slim food stuff contains GMO products that why people don’t loose weight by spending all the money.
        I’m wondering if all the pigs are dying from PEDv is because they are fed with all the GMO corn and can’t fight off the virus. With an inflamed digestion tract it’s hard to do and keep an intact immune system. Just a thought.

        • First Officer

          Please, also refer to the American Cancer Society’s Facts and Statistics 2013. You’ll see an overall decrease in cancer rates per age group.

          • Ben

            First Officer, you really like to misinform people.
            The DEATH rates are declining, not as you say cancer is declining!
            “However, it’s worth noting that these declining mortality rates are not due to decreases in incidence. More people are getting cancer, but they’re staying alive longer. And as Brenda Edwards, study author and senior adviser at the NCI told Bloomberg “These trends show we haven’t eliminated cancer, but we have managed to be able to diagnose it and treat it.”
            http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/26/cancer-death-rate-declines.aspx
            Where are your links to the many studies I was asking for? You have no proof of what you are saying.

        • First Officer

          Also, please see Rob’s posts below.

      • Ken Kailing

        Obviously, this kind of thinking is the danger of reporters who haven’t got the muster to pass Biology 101 and toot off the top of ignorance. Simply, we are of nature; we mess with it in our ignorance and we screw ourselves just as we are doing. It’s monkey brain. There is a course for a better society and a better world but it centers around truth and respect of natural processes. We are fouling our own nest and have been for some time. The natural world is not only more complex than we think; it is more complex than we are ever likely to know. Therefor, it is ludicrous to think we can control it with such primitive tools operating from such limited brains — and there aren’t any more limited brains in the US than those associated with the manipulation of money.

        • First Officer

          The ol’ you can’t know everything so don’t try nothin’ philosophy. Nature knows best, et al. Sorry this is just the Naturalistic Fallacy.

      • FearlessMo

        Studies prove nothing. Independent research on genetically engineered seeds would prove them not safe and the probable cause of the many new gut-based diseases. But the giant gene corporations (Monsanto) have patent protected their seeds from independent research.

  • Clifford Ageloff

    Your are badly misinformed. GMOs contribute to a healthy food supply including all the cheeses made by Cabot Creamery, none of which actually contain GMOs but depend on GMOs for their production from grains in all the dairy farm feedlots (GMO corn, soy, alfalfa) to the GMO-derived chymosin used for fermentation. Oh and the Vermont Dairy Council made sure they don’t have to label their products, all made with the assistance of good GMOs.

  • Burning Skies

    …And right on queue the AntiGMO mafia steps in with fear mongering and false claims, confusing corporate politics with science, and ignoring the complete lack of any evidence of their claims after 30 years of worldwide GMO use. Let’s not forget threats. One opinion piece that doesn’t agree with their narrow worldview is just enough to make them run from Food Safety News like a house on fire. A brilliant illustration of questionable anti-GMO tactics in the microcosm of this comments section.

    • Ben

      Yes, India has the longest experience of using GMO. The Indian government placed a last-minute ban on GM eggplant just before it was scheduled to begin being planted in 2010. However, farmers were widely encouraged to plant Monsanto’s GM cotton and it has led to devastating results. The UK’s Daily Mail reports that an estimated 125,000 farmers have committed suicide because of crop failure and massive debt since planting GM seeds.
      These are facts you are ignoring!

  • Your Ignorance Is Showing

    Val is a dude…

  • Randy

    Ben,
    that is a standard disclaimer for presenters of all stripes nowadays. We must disclaim what associations we have that may have an influence on the subject we are about to present. Keeps everyone honest.

  • First Officer

    The Vermont governor is an organic farmer who stands to be directly enriched by this labeling law.

    • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

      Now, this is a deliberate lie, and as such, should be and will be flagged.

      • Val Giddings
      • FoodSci

        Well, at least his state makes a pretty penny off of organics.
        “Vermont leads the nation for value of organic sales as a percentage of farm sales.”
        http://governor.vermont.gov/about-the-governor
        One would surmise Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana governors wouldn’t be so quick to sign something similar.

        And I for one would be interested in what his dairy farm produces. http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/how-gov-peter-shumlin-built-a-5-million-real-estate-empire/Content?oid=2243801
        Except isn’t dairy exempt anyway? All I could find was a mention of the former owner (same farm? different farm? the owner’s son?) selling organic hay in 2009. Regardless the whole state ag economy seems to revolve around organics, specialty proodcts and small family farms so that’s what he’d be interested in.

        • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

          I’d say it shows that Vermont is more committed to sustainable agricultural practices.

          Of course Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana wouldn’t pass something like this. States that pass ag-gag laws, or try to, have already demonstrated their allegiance to large corporate agricultural interests.

          The Vermont Governor is in real estate, not agriculture. I would suggest you stop trying to imply otherwise.

          The whole state economy does not revolve around organics–but what if it did? This GMO labeling law would actually lessen the importance of the organics label, which is the only way people have now to know their food doesn’t contain GMOs. If people were only interested in avoiding GMOs, but don’t care if the food is conventionally grown, the GMO label provides another purchasing option for them.

          And agriculture only accounts for about 2% of the state’s GDP.

    • First Officer

      I’ve reviewed the articles i’ve seen and i seem to have mixed up the Governor with David Zuckerman, the Vt state senator supporting this law. Zuckerman is the organic farmer.

  • First Officer

    Then why is it that it is the farmers in France who continually oppose the anti-gmo laws?

  • First Officer

    A lot of comments here are calling this opinion piece, unfounded, one sided, a tool of the industry, etc, etc. Yet, all his points are backed up and/or easily discovered with simple searches. So, for instance, how is this push for GMO labeling laws not part of a grander scheme for outright and de facto bans, to discuss one point.

    • FearlessMo

      And what would be the grander scheme? Where is the money? The money is in the spread of genetic engineered seed monopoly and crop acreage. The money is in the sale of mandatory pesticides necessary for crop cultivation, and Mandating the purchase of new seed each Spring.
      Ask yourself why all genetic engineered seed is patent protected against independent research. It is because that without the ability to tie the food one eats to the illness one experiences, the giant gene corporations are home free.

  • First Officer

    Study after study keep finding GMO’s are safe. Your statement is like calling people who say gravity attracts, parrots of Big Physics.

    • FearlessMo

      Studies prove nothing. They simply repeat what others have written. What we all are looking for is independent RESEARCH proving that genetically engineered crops are safe. Since genetically engineered seeds are patent protected, no independent research can be carried out, and Monsanto’s research cannot be duplicated by independent research. Thus Monsanto’s research is not valid.

  • Ben

    I’m sure you will scream when you feel the side effects of GMO food. If you want to call the Russian, the European scientist as well as scientist from other Continents idiots, it’s up to you. Of course the GMO Companies have their people at work to run every science down. When I read some of the comments on this page it looks like the Americans using GMO are the only smart ones and the rest of the world are dummies. A study by researchers at the University of Caen found that rats fed on Monsanto’s NK603 GM maize or exposed to the company’s top-selling Roundup weed killer were at higher risk of suffering tumors, multiple organ damage and premature death.
    The Caen researchers argued that their lifetime testing of rats were more pertinent than the 90-day feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.
    Twenty-Six Countries Ban GMOs—Why Won’t the US? | The Nation
    http://www.thenation.com/…/twenty-six-countries-ban-gmos-why-wont-us
    Oct 29, 2013 …
    Most of the scientists in the “free” Countries are working at Universities with financial support from the GMO companies. Ray Webb posted a link on this page that was really interesting reading.

  • oldcowvet

    Hmm, any of you actually use any of this tech?? I have, it is a useful tool. Is it a new golden age of prosperity, no. It has allowed our operation to adopt reduced tillage, especially rd tech. To say that it does not work, or yields are decreasing as blanket statement is just bunk. Do farmers love Monsanto, no. To suggest that farmers are too stupid and are tricked by Monsanto is foolish, these are sharp biz folks. If this stuff is so toxic, would not hogs who eat nothing but go corn and beans their whole lifetime show it?? Never seen it in the tens of thousands of monikers or cows I doctor. Oh well I suppose I am just another ignorant shill for big ag

    • Ben

      Oldcowvet, good for your cows, everywhere else they are dying, having up to 70% abortion rate. German farmers lost there cows after feeding them with GMO corn. “The lawsuit asserts that Swiss biotech Syngenta committed a grave criminal offense by deliberately withholding the results of a feeding trial in which four cows died in two days. The deaths prompted the company to halt the test.”
      Syngenta and half a dozen other transnational biotechnology companies lobbied the Brazilian government to approve commercialization of GM [genetically modified] corn, without conducting health and environmental tests.“Germany is not alone in this problem. Thousands of cows have died in India after consuming GMO cotton. The stuff has been known to have killed people in the Phillipines and other health problems after consuming GMO products. There are a myriad of health problems linked to GMO products, but Monsanto President Barack Obama continues to champion GMO products in the USA” More to read http://johnhively.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/gmo-corn-killing-the-cows-whose-milk-we-drink/

      • First Officer

        I’ve read about only one German farmer while all his farmer neighbors use the same feeds weren’t having such problems.

        • Ben

          He raised his own GMO feed and used it for his livestock. He is also probably one of a few farmers that can afford a lawsuit against a giant. In Germany are small farmers, they are not rich. Most had big losses with mad cow disease. As you don’t know how to use Google to find articles from farmers, reporting about the problems with GMO here is a story from USA:
          A growing number of farmers are reporting health problems with farm animals fed genetically modified feed and saying that animal health improves when feed is switched to non-GMO.
          http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/may2014/farmers-report-better-animal-health-non-gmo-feed.php
          Arpad Pusztai and other scientists were shocked at their results of animals fed GM foods. Other independent studies showed stunted growth, impaired immune systems, bleeding stomachs, abnormal and potentially precancerous cell growth in the intestines, impaired blood cell development, misshaped cell structures in the liver, pancreas and testicles, altered gene expression and cell metabolism, liver and kidney lesions, partially atrophied livers, inflamed kidneys, less developed organs, reduced digestive enzymes, higher blood sugar, inflamed lung tissue, increased death rates and higher offspring mortality as well.
          http://www.rense.com/general80/haz.htm
          This is what you can get by eating GMO products:
          http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/65-health-risks/1notes
          I wish you the best, as you don’t care about your health you can eat what you want. But we care about our and our loved once health and we want to know what we eat and feed to our livestock and pets!
          BTW You still haven’t provided a single link to the lot of studies I’ve ask for and other reader would interested too. There is no study made by the GMO industry for a longer time then 3 months.

  • Ken Kailing

    I agree. Obviously Bill as a city boy thinks our big ag of the future is going to be more safe; how wrong he is. But in the model of money, the tune follows the dollar.

  • Ken Kailing

    You narrow the research to the outcome you want; the outcome that pays the freight of the propaganda. Simply by careful structuring and a biased selection of coefficients, you can arrive at any results you want. Still, to deny the public information about whats in their food or how it is fabricated is a greater sin regardless of what you think about the safety of GMOs. And if the technology really served the “public” it would be carefully controlled by government and not managed by amoral corporations functioning purely to make money. We’ve suffered seriously for failing to regulate that banks; were going to do even worse letting corporations control our food. Any creditable scientist can see the said GMO research has been directed by short-sight, power driven engineers rather than sensitive, humble ecologists. I’m enough of a natural scientist (Botany/ Ecology — Systems Design) to know most of these agruements supporting GMO safety don’t hold up. Also, your putting the responsibility for proof of safety on the wrong side; one shouldn’t play with GMOs as toys. The right course is to use them carefully and then only in places of proven need (as in saving lives in medicine) and monitor over long time spans — not as a quick fix to corner markets in agriculture or fix a broken system run to ground by the “Green Revolution”, that is, the false prophecy of a “better living through chemistry.” Excuse me but the reckless use of GMOs by profit seeking corporations like Monsanto — the same people pushed DDT with the same enthusiasm as the cigarette companies — in food and agriculture is leading us to ruin. You perhaps are too young to see this as a whole generation no longer interested in history and willing to believe almost anything they think can serve them. It’s really sad opinion ranks over wisdom these days.

    • Tom

      Ken I don’t get your logic.

      You say “if the technology really served the “public” it would be carefully controlled by government and not managed by amoral corporations functioning purely to make money”

      Since when did governments create the products we consume? All the food we eat is created by private industry, like it or not. Likewise all the medicines we take. All vaccines are produced by corporations trying to make money, so are you anti-vaccine because it’s all a conspiracy? What else are you opposed to – electricity? Bread? Bicycles?

      You might not like it – I don’t especially – but this is the capitalist society we inhabit. So to single out GM, just one avenue of scientific research because you don’t like the power of private companies, makes no sense. ‘Letting corporations control our food’ – they already do. Have done for decades. Fight that fight if you want, I would support you. But don’t heap all the blame on GM, or you let the real villains get away with murder.

      You hop and skip glibly between the green revolution, DDT, cigarettes and Monsanto without any attempt to find a cogent thread – it’s just rambling, like reading out the index of the conspiracy theorists’ handbook.

      Also you show your true colours when you compare power-hungry short sighted engineers with your ‘humble sensitive ecologists’ – !! That’s not wisdom Ken, it’s prejudice.

      • Ken Kailing

        Again Tom, I’ll say you are taking everything out of its rightful historical context and distorting the facts; do you really think you can make up the world view that fits simply out of your own arrogance, hand picking what fits your argument? I’m 72 at the end of a long career, starting in organic farming and ending in high end natural resource planning and management (with 3 degrees and over 35 years of front line experience). Obviously, both your academic and work experiences are limited and you couldn’t talk the way you do if your were mature professionally. I think I’ll end this as humbly yours; I surely don’t have all the answers but I’m educated to know all the platforms you speak from are self-serving and I know that from sitting in too many board rooms and on too many committees. We are in big trouble now with climate change — it is going to take big, mature minds to find a way through. And we are all going to suffer regardless.

  • whatistruth

    Clearly a shill for biotech…reiterating the talking points for Monsanto et.al., GMO’s are poorly understood and minimally researched by the biotech industry…for a reason…a true approval process that would prove safety would prove the opposite about GMO’s…..the effect of GMO’s on the ecosystems where they are gown and the biological processes of the animals that consume them (including people) have been demonstrated time and time again in independent research that GMO’s are unsafe and toxic.
    GMO’s do not stand up to rigorous scientific scrutiny….that is why the biotech industry did an end run by having GMO’s deemed “substantially equivalent” by the FDA without rigorous testing….Given the lack of scientific evidence supporting GMO’s safety and the massive amount of data related to the destruction wrought by the forced implementation of GMO technology without appropriate safety studies… it makes complete sense that labeling GMO’s should be the standard so that consumers can choose…to argue against labeling is not only ridiculous but completely un-American…

    • FrenchKissed

      Tsk, tsk. You are clearly a shill for flying yogis.

      Substantial equivalence means equal in substance, not largely equal. Substantial equivalence is not an end run. It means it has the exact same physical composition as the non modified version.

      GM foods have been rigorously tested. Even researchers who set out to show that foods produced through biotechnology are harmful (Seralini, Carman, etc.) have been unable to do so. If you still don’t trust GM foods, you have the option of only eating food labeled organic or GMO free.

  • FrenchKissed

    They didn’t say the air at ground zero was safe to breathe in the aftermath of 9/11. That’s why they passed out respirators to the respondents at the scene. Unfortunately many chose not to wear them because they are difficult to breathe in. They were more concerned about finding possible survivors buried in the rubble than they were their own health.

    • GingahBeahd

      EPA Report Report No. 2003-P-00012. They claimed the air was safe without sufficient data, despite the amount of asbestos floating around.

  • Katyi

    I love how so many anti-GM activities are getting butt hurt because they read an article that doesn’t agree with their point of view for once! I’m sure you don’t mind reading Mercola, GMOFREEUSA, etc. etc, which are all incredibly biased and based on conspiracy theory themselves. If you REALLY disagree with this article, write why you do and provide factual scientific evidence instead of crying that you will never read Food Safety News again because they didn’t agree with you.

  • FearlessMo

    This link reads somewhat favorably toward GM seed reports and writings. However, I saw no reportage of the negative results of actual research by Seralini in 2007 and 2012, and negative findings of others referenced.