Ecocentric

Prop 37: Why California’s Ballot Initiative on GM Food Is About Politics More than Science

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Stephen Lam / Reuters

A demonstrator holds a sign during a rally in support of Proposition 37 in San Francisco on Oct. 6, 2012

Californians will go to the polls today knowing that their votes for the presidential election will be virtually worthless. President Obama has a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney in this bluest of states, and by the time polls close in California, the presidential race may very well have been decided.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other issues at stake in the Golden State. As they often do, Californians will also be voting on a number of ballot initiatives. And none are more important — or have gathered more attention and campaign money — than the one known as California Proposition 37. If approved, Prop 37 would mandate labels on “raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.” It would also prohibit any food with genetically modified (GM) ingredients from being labeled as “natural.”

Given that some 85% of the corn crop — which in turn is found in much of the food available at the average supermarket — is genetically modified, passage of Prop 37 would likely mean big changes for labeling and potentially for the American food system as well. In an article for the New York Times Magazine, the writer Michael Pollan argued that passage of Prop 37 would “change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too,” proving that the foodies could exert real political as well as economic power. Meanwhile, Big Ag companies like Monsanto are proving just how important stopping Prop 37 is to them by pouring tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to defeat the initiative.

Right now it looks like Big Ag has the edge — recent polls indicate that a narrow majority of Californians are poised to reject Prop 37. That’s a shift from earlier in the year, when polls showed that Prop 37 had strong support in the state. The vast fundraising edge belonging to the anti-initiative forces — which also includes companies like DuPont and PepsiCo — is almost certainly the driving factor behind that change, a fact that only confirms suspicions among many progressives that Big Ag wants to keep consumers in the dark over the GM ingredients in their food. They do — ag and biotech companies know there’s a deep suspicion among many consumers toward GM crops, a suspicion that supporters of Prop 37 have just as eagerly exploited. But the battle over Prop 37 and GM food was never really about science or health. It’s about politics — and who should control the U.S. food system.

(MORE: Vital Farms: Raising the Ultra-Organic Egg)

Food is the most personal of environmental issues — after all, we vote on it three times a day — which is why GM food is so controversial. Head over to the home page of the Right to Know campaign backing Prop 37, and you’ll see item after item about the potential dangers of GM food. It’s “Frankenfood,” the potentially dangerous product of loosely regulated genetic engineering. A widely publicized French study that was published earlier this fall crystallized those fears — the scientists reported that they found that rats fed a lifetime diet of GM corn developed tumors and suffered organ damage compared with rats fed a non-GM diet.

But here’s the thing: mainstream scientists say there is little evidence that there are any harmful health effects associated with consuming GM crops. The National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Academy, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and many other major scientific bodies have said publicly that GM food is not dangerous. Americans have been eating food made from GM crops for years and no one has yet been able to demonstrate a single case of someone actually getting sick from it. (See Keith Kloor’s piece on Slate on the scientific view of GM crops.) The board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a letter last month recommending against the special labeling of GM food and quoted from a recent E.U. report on GM crops:

The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding.

Skeptics of GM food can and do argue that those studies may be flawed, that the biotech and ag industries keep tight control over GM research and that there are scientists who dissent from the mainstream view that GM crops aren’t dangerous. Some of that may be true — academic scientists have often expressed frustration that corporate patent rights over GM seeds limit researchers ability to freely study them. And there are definitely scientists who are much more skeptical toward GM food than many of their colleagues; molecular biologist Patricia Hunt and 20 other researchers signed a letter recently challenging that AAAS statement on Prop 37, arguing that the group’s position “tramples the rights of consumers to make informed choices.”

(MORE: A Dark Cloud and a Silver Lining for the World’s Fisheries)

But there’s no getting around the fact that the majority of the science done so far indicates that GM food poses no known threat to consumers. That puts those warning about the threat of GM food in a very similar position to global-warming skeptics — defying the mainstream scientific consensus, calling into question the quality of the studies that form that consensus and seeking out dissenters who share their doubts. Environmentalism is supposed to be science-based, but the anti-GM-food forces have too often been antiscience.

Does that mean Californians should vote against Prop 37? Not necessarily. For one thing, the anti-initiative forces have also played fast and loose with the facts on some misleading advertisements. The argument made by opponents that Prop 37’s passage would cost consumers an extra $400 a year in grocery bills seems to assume that foodmakers would need to replace much of their stock rather than simply relabeling it. And even if the bulk of the science indicates that GM food poses no health threat, why shouldn’t it be easier for consumers who want to avoid GM ingredients to do so? The labels may not even make a huge difference — that’s the argument put forward by David Roepik, a risk expert, who wonders whether the labels might actually help speed the acceptance of GM foods by making them seem more normal.

(PHOTOS: America Votes: Election 2012)

Ultimately, though, Prop 37 isn’t really a battle over science — it’s a battle over the politics of food, as Michael Specter of the New Yorker writes:

Here’s what the hysteria is really about: corporate control of seeds. There is a feeling, expressed often and with great emotion, that this kind of commodity should not be hawked like software — with annual upgrades you have to buy. Normally, farmers save seeds for the coming season; but G.E. seeds usually only last for one planting. That scares farmers, understandably so — but it is not an issue that will be addressed by this labelling initiative. Monsanto doesn’t own the science — nor is science the only thing that matters. If people are unhappy with patent laws they can change them. If they have problems with the morality of an international conglomerate controlling the food we eat, then let’s elect people who want to make that more difficult. There are many people working on genetically engineered products that will help sustain people and the environment.

As Specter notes, the labeling initiative on Prop 37 won’t do much to change corporate control over the food system. In fact, if the initiative passes, it’s likely to be fought in the courts and may simply lead to more confusion. (That’s why the liberal political blogger Kevin Drum at Mother Jones wrote recently that he was opposed to Prop 37.) But even though I’m not really worried about GM crops (I think both the proponents and opponents of genetically engineered crops tend to overstate their cases), I can see why a Californian who wants to change how food is made in the U.S. would support Prop 37. “I’m on record saying that this shouldn’t be solved on the state level,” says Gary Hirshberg, founder of the ultra-organic Stonyfield Farm yogurt company and chairman of the Just Label It group, which supports greater federal regulation of GM crops. “But I still think there’s a clear choice to support Prop 37.”

Foodies get to exercise their franchise three times a day when it comes to buying and preparing more sustainable meals, but they rarely get a chance to vote on their convictions. Californians are doing so today — and we’ll see just how powerful the “dinner party” really is.

MORE: Can GM Crops Bust the Drought?

160 comments
FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

ROTFL.  Over 90% of GMO is ROUNDUP READY or Bt Pesticide... 70% of the food American's consume daily are GMO. Since when is putting a label have anything to do with politics? It's about giving the American consumer the same consideration 61 countries already give their people --a right to know they are consuming food, that NO long-term studies been done on, and that many doctors say harmful. I am so glad I left the US in 2004 to live in Japan where the people are held in higher regard than billion dollar corporations that for 20 years have been poisoning American's, killing 80% of beneficial insects and poisoning the environment to make a few stakeholder money... sad.  

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

Established business _despise_ the free market. They don't want to encourage competition and lower profits. Monsanto knows there are only two ways to sell genetically-modified food. One way is to lie about it (hide essential facts). The other way is to advertise the specifics AND PASS ALONG SOME OF THE PROFIT TO CONSUMERS AS SAVINGS. They don't want to do that so they will lobby instead for a non-free market. What is baffling is that Republicans, supposedly the scion of free markets, go along with this.

dbmoran
dbmoran

California passed a proposition to require notification of suspected carcinogens. Now, when you enter any commercial building, you pass by a warning sign that the building contains such, but you get no details on what carcinogens are present or where they are in the building. I have yet to encounter one of these warnings that provided any usable information. Nor are they known to have reduced the presence of carcinogens. They are simply one of the irritants and unnecessary costs of doing business in California.

As the article notes, the vast majority of corn in this country is GM, as is the beet sugar, as is ... Consequently, virtually all prepared food would likely have to be labeled GM and once again there would be no useful information for the consumer and no pressure on the producers. Another piece of lunacy from feel-gooder who refuse to consider the obvious negative consequences of their actions.

maestro
maestro

RE Bryan Walsh: "there's no getting around the fact that the majority of the science done so far indicates GM food poses no known threat to consumers"

 It was politics and not science that put out such a fallacy to begin with. And getting around that is just documentation of policy to demonstrate an intentional sequence to confiscate public right to choice of food quality and content. Partisan-ism aside and industrial interests to the fore -- all along treading on the unknowing American public -- administrations on both sides from production of the first GM plant in 1982 and the first field trials in 1986 both under Reagan, to the first GM crop approved for sale under Clinton in 1994 have each and all fully supported bio-tech and GE programs. The most significant federal GMO policy -- known as the ‘Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology’ – was begun under Reagan and finalized under George H. W. Bush. This summer our Senate voted against the right to label GE foods (on S Amdt 2310 to S 3240 Agricultural Reform Food and Jobs Act 2012), with Republicans voting close to consensus in opposition (the single exception: Murkowski of AK) and Democrats primarily in favor of labels. The 2011 USDA deregulation of GM alfalfa signed into law under Obama means further corruption of organic feed (by cross pollination and erosion transfer from GE crops to natural) and casts an ominous shadow on the total future of all organics. The current administration’s legacy of deregulated GE alfalfa is poised to forever erase the distinction between GE and organic, the last piece in the puzzle needed to fully contaminate all aspects of organic feed (corn, soy and canola already firmly in place) for all livestock: any distinction for organic meat, dairy, poultry and eggs is now on the “hit list” for extinction.

Alfalfa – the 4th most significant economic crop in the US – already had its GE version recalled in 2007 because the USDA had failed to issue a prior EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) before deregulation, in violation of federal law. Their final submission in Dec 2010 disclosed risk of contamination of non-GE crops, lack of information on long-term allergenicity and toxicity impacts on both humans andanimals, admission that it increases use of the herbicide glyphosate, and that plants exposed to glyphosate “might experience impaired germination or growth characteristics” --all of which our president found to be of no consequence to public safety. Meanwhile, documentation recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that USDA regulators are moreover actively working with the biggest bio-tech firms to train them to conduct their own reviews of transgenic products as part of the upcoming stage of “hands off” governmental deregulation of GMOs.

The EPA accordingly washed its hands of the deranged affair claiming it has nothing to base decisions on -- because authentic objective studies have been forcibly prevented, testified to by dozens of accounts from sincere but thwarted scientists. GE products have gained a proprietary status protected by patent law from independent research, thus making it illegal to evaluate products for food safety at this time! Scientists are also prohibited from working on such projects even if and when private funding was or could be obtained. Dr Huber has traced the full path of the cover-up and clamp-down and explains that farmers are obligated to sign tech agreements prohibiting them from even comparing year-to-year yields or cross-yields from growing seasons, or using any alternative products other than contracted – whether seeds, fertilizers, soil supplements, herbicides, or pesticides.

It must be recognized that the true GE agenda is war on natural food and its procurement. Far beyond the current squabble over labeling is the very real threat of patent sovereignty. Eisenhower’s Assistant Sec of Agriculture, John H Davis, left in 1955 for Harvard Univ’s Graduate School of Business and publicized a strategy in 1956 claiming that the only way to solve the farm problem with its cumbersome government programs was to shift from agriculture to agribusiness. Command of the food chain by corporate multinationals instead of traditional human families got Henry Kissinger to wax in 1970 -- “Control food and you control people” -- as a mantra to help drive the non-thinking agri-business brutality of dominion that has waged on ever since. The goal of corporate commerce in respect to food is total control of seed. Nature, by law, is not patentable, but laboratory alteration is. Gene-splicing or genetic manipulation at a sub-cellular level gives the doer full legal patent rights and ownership of the created organism. Large-scale monoculture and input-intensive farming techniques have already long endeavored to bury the benefits of subsistence-farming without remorse; destruction of wilderness and watershed areas and decimation of biodiversity (while some 7,000 plant species have been traceably used for food throughout history, 95% of global food requirements are provided by only about 30 currently cultivated species, and well more than half of total calories from 4 species) has instituted fossil-fuel dependence and choked the world with machine and processing plant fumes and inorganic fertilizer and pesticide residues.

 In addition there’s now corporate seed-greed. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault or ‘doomsday’ seed gathering bank in Norway that has achieved full biotech control of the future of every world seed stored in this veritable ‘Noah’s Ark’ of generative material is advertised as a “refuge” or duplicate file in case of global disaster owned by Norway. The truth is that, while Norway may own the vault, the operating costs and content care fall under The Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) funded by DuPont, Syngenta, the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, and its affiliate Monsanto. Companies with no record of altruistic concern for seed diversity (in less than a century 95% of historic American food plants and 75% of all traditional world food plants are gone) -- and that have in fact been destroying it through GE and patent terrorism – have suddenly stepped up to pay operating costs of a giant refrigerator buried in permafrost 600 miles from theNorth Pole (?). Author Wm Engdahl has explained how agribusiness giants have used “stealth, the system, and a well-supported campaign of lies and distortion” to creep up on Kissinger’s ultimate target of controlling people via food.  The world’s largest and most comprehensiveseed gene bank is the most perfect bio-prospecting niche: the biopiracy that an result from extracting information and acquiring patent rights for full commercial exploitation without compensating indigenous populations is probably lose to the motive. “Give a man a gun, it’s said, and he could rob a bank; give him a “bank” and he can rob the world.” A very clear-minded expose on the seed bank scandal and legal implications is given by the Center for Food Safety: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/campaign/save-our-seeds/seed-saving-and-seed-banks/

The bottom line, maintains industry, is that every single bioengineered product has undergone more testing and government scrutiny than almost any other product in history – granting as clear a record as practical for unquestioned approval. Remember, that’s 4 tests on humans -- all negative (see my previous posts for the actual studies)

ginatbryant1
ginatbryant1

It's more simple than that. GMO or not- LABEL OUR FOOD! The MAJORITY HAS SPOKEN. 

qutcheck
qutcheck

Walsh ....You just keep eating  'Agent Orange' genetically added to your food  ....corn, soybeans and more ......Monsanto people will not eat it ,,,They mandate organic in their cafeteria ......

maestro
maestro

To finish, the official story insists that we can make better rice, for instance, through GE tech – yet it’s not science at all, but browbeating. The argument for GM Golden Rice to prevent deficiencies in vitamin A and iron is misleading at best and an outright scam at an honest analytical level. The corporate tale is that in regions where rice is eaten almost exclusively, vision problems and blindness occur as a result, and the GM cultivar containing beta-carotene would solve this. Ingo Potrykus, inventor of Golden Rice, even goes so far as to say GM opponents should stand trial in an international court for opposing the genetic technology that would prevent a million children from going blind each year. His estimate claims the altered rice would provide the recommended daily intake of 200 grams of vitamin A per day.In developing countries -- where rice is such a staple food that it’s often eaten to exclusion -- about 135 million children incur vitamin A deficiency since rice indeed does not naturally supply it. 

 But, neither does rice contain any vitamins C or D – and vitamin C is a directly responsible for optimal vitamin A uptake. Most foods that contain good sources of vitamin C -- namely spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, kale, parsley, peppers, tomatoes, basil, sweet potato, cantaloupe, apricots, and carrots (greens and yellow-orange plant foods) -- also happen to be the premium sources of vitamin A.While rice is a good source of many B vitamins and some minerals, it actually contains tragically low levels of calcium: less half than the supposedly “deficient” level of iron so important to the official sales pitch (1 cup rice yields but 19.5mg calcium, or 1.95%  the recommended intake, while containing 0.82mg or 4.56%DV for iron!). Rice carries mere trace amounts of palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids -- or almost none of the fats also concomitantly required for vitamin A absorption and protection against oxidation during body processes. And refining or polishing of rice completely further removes all essential fatty acids and fiber, half of most minerals – but 60% of that iron-- and 60-80% those B vitamins it’s the poster-child for. In the end, rice needs to be accompanied by a whole lot more than a genetically implanted carotenoid; so the issue distills to fraudulent representation of a product, not supplying correct and simple nutritional information – before finally becoming a function of social oppression.

 The Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) finds corporate rants on malnutrition to be pure GE promotionalism, an extension of feudal limitation and subjugation, and very, very bad science. ISIS exposes that the main cause of hunger in the Third World is the industrial monoculture of the Green Revolution; obliteration of biodiversity and soil fertility resulted in the mineral and micronutrient deficiencies observable in conventional foods (organic foods consistently test much higher and more diverse in nutrient profiles) -- then there’s the impoverishment and even suicides of family farmers forced to buy unproductive GM seed. Even more revealing is the ISIS report signed by over 30 senior scientists and academics and sent to the USDA attesting the clinical trials on children from 2005-2009 using experimental and unapproved GM rice with potential to cause birth defects and developmental abnormalities was in breach of the Nuremberg Code of Ethicsand morally inexcusable. World Food Prize winner Hans Herren declares it’s well known among scientific circles today that mostof the problems attempted to be addressed via Golden Rice and other GMOs can be resolved in matter of days with the right political will.

Vitamin A deficiency -- like all hunger and malnutrition from scarcity -- is fully a condition of poverty, ownership and land-use struggles, poor food distribution, and the turning of political backs on the issues of the disenfranchised. All plant (and animal) foods have particular nutrient deficiencies that are simply remedied by crop diversity and dietary intake variety. Why does the logic seem to elude us that, if the will and resources are quite available to overcome biochemical hurdles as in the case of Golden Rice, are they then so suddenly unavailable inlight of cheaper -- and better --  alternative sources of vitamins and minerals already abundant? Sweet potato, yam, carrot, squashes, melon, spinach, cabbage, beets, etc in the case of vitamin A. The Office of Medical and Science Justice reports that the UN Food and Agricultural Organization project dealing with vitamin A deficiency discovered that its absorption and that of its natural carotenoid precursors depends on overall nutritional status which, in turn, centers on the diversity of the food consumed. 

We’re supposed to be a “commonwealth”, founded on decisions made for the common good, and in which supreme power resides in our hands through the major entitlement of free elections to choose governing representatives responsible to us in exercising agreements andprocurements for public wellbeing. The kind of government which is a “public matter” -- and in which the public matters -- is called a Republic (as from Latin, res publica); by definition it’s neither the concern nor the private property of officials -- who are to act only asextension of our needs and will. But in practice both we and they forget who funds their paychecks – we abandon our employer status andrights while they violate the trust constitutionally established.The GE industry has taken full advantage of the disconnect and is makingany and every choice it wants to forcibly control all life processes and militantly curtail any public objection or interference. You did knowthat contraceptive corn genetically modified to produce spermicidal antibodies with research funds from the US Department of Agriculture was developed over a decade ago, didn’t you? (the 2001 joint venture agreement for Epicyte included Dow and Novartis/Syngenta; after 2002 field trial results were supplied to the US Dept of Defense any further media coverage of the event vanished).

Please, America, do a little research! 

We are fortunate to have the right to make personal choices. But we don’t have the right to make those decisions for others. One person’s discretionary politics cannot supplant another person’s needful science.

stantonXXX
stantonXXX

A little bit of common sense says GENETICALLY ALTERING FOOD IS NOT A GOOD IDEA!  Hello!!  When are human beings going to figure out that nature rules us.  We do not rule nature.  We are destroying our planet and our species because of this inexplicable mindset.  There is no need for GMO's other than for Big Ag to corner the market and become extremely wealthy.  The world does not have a food supply problem.  It has a systems problem.  That system is the monetary system.  America throws away enough food (because we can't sell it, or just don't eat) to feed the hungry.  Wake up please!  Is it a coincidence that Obama's director of the FDA is an ex-Monsanto employee.  HELLO HELLO HELLO!  

maestro
maestro

If labeling makes no sense now, why was it the center of a prime ad by Monsanto in the UK in 1998? MercuryNews.com unveiled the text:“Food Labeling. It Has Monsanto’s Full Backing. Before you buy a potato, or any other food, you may want to know whether it's the product of food biotechnology…Recently you may have noticed a label appearing on some of the food in your supermarket. This is to inform you about the use of biotechnology in food. Monsanto fully supports UK food manufacturers and retailers in their introduction of these labels. We believe you should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase."Monsanto has refused comment on why it would runsuch an ad but now shift its position to prevent labeling in the US. 

GE foods have never been proven safe for human consumption. There are 0 (zero) studies that prove its safety. -- and 130 published peer-reviewed studies to the contrary.

What most of us don’t know is that only 4 studies have ever been conducted on human subjects and every one was unfavorable.Subsequent testing on GM food consumption has not been permitted since 2005. And the oft-heard argument that no-one has gotten sick or died from a GE product is a bald-faced lie: over 1500 Americans were permanently disabled and 37 killed (from eosinophilia myalgia syndrome) in 1989 from a GM L-tryptophan supplement (amino acid precursor to serotonin, melatonin and niacin) imported without regulation from Japanese petrochemical giant Showa Denko. It was ‘substantially equivalent’ with a 99.6% purity  – but that 0.4% non-equivalent impurity contained 30-40 different contaminants from the gene-spliced bacteria used to culture the amino acid – a miniscule dose with a wallop of misery. http://www.aquarianonline.com/Eco/UnnaturalHarvest.html

In India, GM crops kill an estimated one every 30 minutes – a horrific stream of agricultural suicide in part facilitated by farmers drinking the very pesticides they had been cajoled into believing wouldn’t be necessary with GM crops. Wives, taking over farms from their deadhusbands, soon kill themselves as well from the punitive debt load of GM seed costing 10 to 1,000 times as much as traditional, requiring twice as much water, and up to 20 times more applications of pesticides. Whole populations of children are resultantly orphaned from this revolting refutation of “equivalence”.

Which is why the pro-GMO argument is waged in political forums using blustery emotive blasts rather than scientific salvos: because authentic science does not support its safety as food. The results of those 4 studies on humans? Nordlee et al 1996 and Yum et al 2005 both showed specific allergenic response to GE foods. A population tracking study (ingestion studies were disallowed by this time) by Aris and LeBlanc in 2011 found insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) from GM crops rampant in the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses; and while genetic engineers have argued that the Bt toxin (derived from the bacterium bacillus thuringiensis) gene-spliced into ~65% of US GMO corn is destroyed by stomach acid – the Canadian research found its metabolite in 93% of maternal blood samples, 80% of fetal blood samples, and in 67% of the blood sampled from non-pregnant women.

The most frightening was the discovery by Netherwood et al 2004 that irrefutably showed GE soy implanted into human intestinal cells and survived. This means that, breaking longstanding taxonomic barriers held to be unbridgeable, GMOs can, without lab manipulation, cross the scientific classification of kingdoms by inserting plant genetics into animal tissue. And this has been known for 8 years without public warning. This is a form of horizontal gene transfer so outlandish and unnatural it was predicted by no one in the scientific establishment. 

But in regard to GMOs, developments that even outstrip science fiction don’t stop there.  As early as 1998 Gebhart and Smalla did foretell that natural interspecies horizontal gene transfer and recombination could create totally new pathogens. A decade later, a new pathogen has indeed now been created by GM Round-Up Ready crops by Monsanto. The novel micro-organism is responsible for reproductive failure in animals across a broad species line including cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and poultry. Dairy farms are currently exhibiting up to 70% abortion rates (on top of the 10-15% infertility already occurring from GE feed). Straightforward science fact finds it’s an unknown phenotype – not a fungus, bacteria, virus or mycoplasma – and requires magnification ~ 36,000 times to see it. 

ISIS reveals that horizontal gene transfer and recombination create new viral and bacterial pathogens and spread drug and antibiotic resistance among the pathogens. Species barriers that once limited and deactivated any foreign genetic material have now been broken down – with some of the most dangerous originating from waste disposal from pathology labs containing transgenic organisms like cancer, viral, and bacteriological materials. GMOs promise an event horizon unequalled in human history because foods and goods will be shaped from the inside by emotionally and morally deficient agencies that don’t actually comprehend either the nature of genetics or scientific evolution. DNA is not a fixed entity in the form of the “ladder” that most people -- including most execs – picture, to be passed on formally like a baton in a runner’s relay race through generations. DNA is mutable even over a single human lifespan when altered by environment, exerciseand food (recognized by the new biological discipline called epigenetics). GE contamination both purposed and accidental lead to the singular result of acquisition; much more than product dispersal corrupting a new horizon like GE seed drift bankrupting an organic farmer, horizontal genetic transfer raises the inevitable question of when industrial ownership of humans will surface.

Logic dictates that one day GMO ingestion will be interpreted as unlawful procurement – all the more legally defensible if labeling is not in place! At present spilled GE seed is cause for appropriation of another’s land; seed ingested is thereby, by any reasonable extension, fit cause for petition to ownership of such ‘terroir’ – in this case human flesh. Lack of labeling presents a very clear path of non-avoidance since it negates informative markers; in this condition, while our chance of consumption of GMOs is near certain it can yet be legally construed as incidental – absolving manufacturers of accountability. And “adoption” of GE genetic material by unconscious metabolic process constructed as thievery of patent-protected products. In any case, I predict some company will someday act as the claimant to the ‘title’ of human life (it’s a simple and non-fantastical logical progression from already existing legislation on possession of GMO plants, crops and land; the human body is the next class of “terroir” or territory to be occupied). GMOs may even serve as track-able bio-markers (akin to geo-locators on cell-phones) that, since they represent patent infringement, could be used as a compulsive taxation device. Your tax load may someday reflect a surcharge for consuming food containing bio-variants you legally have no right to be in possession of.

sdsavage
sdsavage

The hysteria is not about control of seeds.  Farmers have been buying seeds of hybrid crops since the 1930s and every crop that can practically be hybrid is because they produce so much better.  Before RR soybeans maybe 40% of US soybeans were "saved seed" and some thought farmers wouldn't agree to buy every year.  The adoption of the technology was far faster than anyone imagined and soybeans farmers have no concern about buying seed each year.   When a crop shifts to purchased seed it brings in a huge level of private investment in breeding including conventional breeding.  The wheat industry in the US is mostly saved seed and they wish they had not given into European and Japanese pressure not to go GMO back around 2000.  I've interviewed dozens of them and they say they would be happy to buy seed each year if it meant getting traits that help them.  Now they have agreed with the Australians and Canadians that they will someday all go GMO at the same time so they can't be blackmailed again.

Farmers are not the ones concerned about GMO crops.  In every country where they have been allowed to plant GMO options they do in large proportions including millions of small farmers growing cotton in India and China.

They hysteria is about people who won't accept the science, just like what goes on for climate change and vaccines and evolution.

JoeJacovino
JoeJacovino

what a bunch of lies, you are citing reports done by the industry itself, and it is all lies by omission, distortions, and half-truths. and again, the real issue is this, if it's safe, then why not label it. in europe, japan, france and most other non 3rd world countries, gmo's are banned. do you know why? i do. so, quit lying ,or if you are actually this much in the dark, do some actual scholarly research, not just rehashing industry reports. check out what the fda scientists had to say about gmo's in the early nineties. this technology is from the same people who brought you agent orange

jshaw8808
jshaw8808

We've got a few pro-GM people posting here, claiming that GMOs are perfectly safe and are a boon to humanity.   When I ask them why not capitalize on that and label everything as to its GM status, and let the market reward the producers of these self-evidently magnificent foods, they don't like that idea.  They claim that there is too much hysteria that has been whipped up regarding GMOs, and it will devastate the industry.  But really, if GMOs are so safe, won't there be an obvious lack of association between eating these foods and health problems?  Won't there be millions of people saying that they've been eating the stuff for a year, two years or however long, with no issues?  Won't GM foods, if they truly increase yields, enjoy a price advantage?  Won't GMOs capture the bulk of market share, with so much going for them?

Isn't capitalism about transparency and letting the market decide issues like this?  Why is the GM industry so under-confident about their products and so afraid of giving consumers a choice?

AnnStorey
AnnStorey

When does the genetic modifying of the earth's species stop? What is going to be modified next? Why were these chemical companies allowed to do this without the public's knowledge. What is the benefit for the consumer? What happens when modified crops contaminate all organic and conventional crops. Do we really want private companies to patent all of our food?

Ask yourself these questions if you think nothing is wrong with GMOs

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@dbmoran so why do 61 countries have the requirement? With your argument why even have labels... I mean over 50% of American are obese... what the point... labels are pointless... your comment is possibly one of the dumbest I have ever read. When doctors are tell people to avoid them... I think knowing your food has them is important... no? Here are 600 citations of doctors warning about GMOs... I guess they must all be quacks... http://j.mp/GMOmyths

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@maestro really appreciate this very insightful, eye widening , mind expanding comment! Thanks. I am an avid seed collector in Japan.  

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@maestro I find your comments miles above an more enlightening than anything Walsh has ever tried to pen! Thanks a lot! Your  comments and insights are gems!

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@maestro wow... this should be cover article not some comment. Thanks for taking the time to present the facts. 

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@sdsavage you need to read the post above... Why did Monsanto change face and spend $7m in opposition to labeling? Because UK was a brutal lesson... people shied away from the poison and not flock to it as it was anticipated. People want to eat food the way nature designed it and not how greed mongers who care less about ones well-being and only about meaningless money.

maestro
maestro

@sdsavage  

 Instead of your vague inferences, want some actual science that GE-ag has had a rotten record for at least 22 years (and at least 6 years before FDA legalization) ?

> Destruction of soil microbes, soil composition and soil bio-chemistry had been recorded by Whipps 1990, Skot et al 1994, Tapp and Stotzky 1998, Ho et al 1999, Donegan et al 1999, Saxena et al 1999, Griffiths et al 2000, Cowgill et al 2002, Dinel et al 2003, Ferreira et al 2003, Wu et al 2004, Liu et al 2004, Milling et al 2004, Turrini et al 2004, Flores et al 2005, Larson et al 2006, Means and Kremer 2007, Dunfield et al 2009, and Sarkar et al 2009 – for starters.

> Crop malformations, stunting, stem-splitting, lowered yield, premature leaf death and other agricultural aberrations were found by Fray et al 1995, Blechl et al 1996, Gertz et al 1999, Bohmert et al 2000, Horvath et al 2001, Atkinson et al 2002, Shu et al 2002, Zhang et al 2002, Anand et al 2003, Bernal et al 2003, Le Gall et al 2003, Ramesh et al 2004, Ma et al 2005, Wang et al 2005, Muller et al 2006, Yabor et al 2006, and Eskelin et al 2009, among others.

> Detrimental effects to non-target insects were observed by Felke et al 2002, and Men et al 2004; Dively et al 2004, and Andersen et al 2005, saw specific damage to the Monarch butterfly; Morandin and Winston 2005, and van Engelsdorp et al 2010 found reduction in bee visitation to GE crops which foreshadows disaster for pollination.

> Allergenic mammalian proteins have been found in GE crops by Nordlee et al 1996, Zolla et al 2008, and Rosati et al 2008. Immune alterants have been identified by Rachmilewitz et al 2004, Prescott et al 2005, and Finamore et al 2008.

> Organ dysfunction, lesions, cancer and increase in mortality from GE feed were noticed by Nagui et al 1998, Lappe et al 1999, Stanley et al 1999, Pusztai et al 2003, Malatesta et al 2003, Vecchio et al 2004, Rang et al 2005, Cisterna et al 2006, Ermakova 2006, Li et al 2006, Tudisco et al 2006, Seralini et al 2007, Velimirov et al 2008, and deVendomois 2009. Paez et al 2009, stated that large-scale introduction of GM foods in the US had nearly doubled the incidence of three or more chronic diseases.

> GE maize (corn) pollens have been observed to pollinate not only non-GMO corn (Loos et al 2003), but rape or canola (Scheffler et al 1993), and beets (Alibert et al 2005); GM rice crossed with various grasses (Chen et al 2004, Watrud et al 2004) as well as red rices (Zhang et al 2003, Basir et al 2004, Messegeuer et al 2004).

Bryngelsson et al 1988, Schluter et al 1995, Nielsen et al 1998, Kay et al 2002, and Bae et al 2008, found plant genetics transferred to soil bacteria; and Blum et al 1997, Gebhard and Smalla 1999, deVries et al 2001, Smalla et al 2001, Hay, et al 2002, Ceccherini et al 2003, Loos 2003, and Meier and Wackernagel 2003, all discovered that the GE material persisted in the soil for years, prone for re-uptake.

Doerfler and Schubert uncovered as early as 1998 that GE DNA could pass through the intestinal wall to blood, liver, spleen, and into a developing fetus. Paul et al 1989, and Duggan et al 2000, found that animal saliva, rumen and silage effluent infected with GMO’s trickled down to contaminate aquatic environments.

Researchers at the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (as published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, 2008) summarize that GM nutrient enhancement can have unpredictable and lethal consequences from synthetic nutrient poisoning and because both the altered plants and the human body ingesting them will synthesize toxins in response to the alien antagonist molecules of manufacture. They demand a necessity to labeling so metabolic aberrations can be traced after consumption, stressing “the ubiquitous argument that since there is no evidence that GM products make people sick, they are safe… is both illogical and false. There are, again, simply no data or even valid assays to support this contention” (gmfreecymru.org). The GE industry is rife with concealment fraud and criminal negligence.

As published in the Dec 2010 African Journal of Biotechnology, V.T. Sundaramurthy’s meta-analysis also lists another 14 studies on ecological displacement of common pests and diseases that lead to new foes with acquired resistance to pesticides and herbicides http://www.academicjournals.org/ajb/PDF/pdf2010/29Dec%20Special%20Review/Sundaraurthy.pdf

The GE mess been called “genetic roulette” by Jeffrey Smith (author of a book by that title, as well as Seeds of Deception) who -- as leading consumer advocate of non-GMO choices, leading world expert in health issues from GM foods (per US National Institutes of Health scientist Candace Pert’s testimony), and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology – has identified 65 distinct dangers to human health by GE products.http://responsibletechnology.org/

 

maestro
maestro

@sdsavage  

Uhhh...while seed manipulation, of course, has arguably been going on since time immemorial when preferred strains of grain were selected by early farmers at harvest for next year’s planting. But traditional agriculture supported cultural seed populations (in the case of wheat, called landraces) and the diverse ancient varieties were once maintained by the farmers themselves. Natural hybridization evolved later in the 19th century as a form of selective pollination.

  Even so, most modern wheat has been bred for ease of industrial processing and not for nutrition, digestion or assimilation -- which is why so many have wheat allergies. Manipulated strains have a different protein balance that increase inflammatory proteins that make breads rise high to serve appearances, and decrease more assimilable ones that made early breads flatten out. Older surviving iconoclastic strains such as spelt and emmer are usually tolerated – much to the surprise of many trained to think they need to avoid “wheat”. Heirloom plant varieties and use of seasonal products create a primacy of taste and tradition that formed core cultural identities – protecting not only unique regional flora and fauna, but the very communities that had fostered them.

GE’s   arrogantly manipulative self-defense of gene-splicing as equitable to simple hybridization or genetic crossbreeding (as dog or horse breeds are conventionally produced) is ludicrous at best, and extremely disturbing at the level of honest science.Hybridization is sexual maneuvering. “Parents" of related species are crossbred to gain or accelerate desirable traits by reproduction. Hybrid red rice, for example, already exists that outdistances the vitamin A levels achieved in GM Golden Rice. But since hybrid seeds can't be patented as GM seeds can, agro-tech industries have no interest in investing in them. Genetic modification usually involves genes from totally different species that could never crossbreed – like virus proteins in a GE banana, scorpion toxin in cabbage, fluorescent virus protein in cats to make them glow in the dark, spider genetics into goats, and human genes into chickens (all are verifiable experiments already conducted). The “gene gun” – no joke but it's a modified Crosman air pistol with a grainy tungsten load shotgunning a genetic trait into a petri dish of selected matter -- or the other supposed "splicing" method via tumor culture by bacterial infection force insertion. That's far from science -- it's gambling. In either case the spurious and inanely inaccurate methodology can and often does damage or severely mutate the parent DNA -- that after consumption (food or meds) or application (vaccines or cosmetics) can activate silenced genetic traits and trigger allergic and auto-immune responses, increase or even manufacture biological toxins, or become carcinogens. 

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@sdsavage oh come on ! (1) I am not hysterical, I am just not convinced I want to accept the "science" of industry as fact. (2) I believe in climate change and see the value of vaccine what does that have to do with this conversation? (3) We have no long term data on the safety of gmos, do we really want to irreversibly change the face of plant life for the benefit of multinational companies? On that note, is it really fair that these companies that don't reside in California should be able to spend money to oppose a prop in that state? Seems a bit shady to me.....

stantonXXX
stantonXXX

@sdsavage hybrid seeds and GMO's are not the same thing.  Think before you speak.  

KevinFolta
KevinFolta

@jshaw8808   I can explain why.  Just about everyone agrees that the more information on a label the better.  However, there is a massive anti-scientific interest out there that spreads lies, misinformation and distortions that would use a label as a target.  Prop37 is lousy legislation.  None of the justifications in Section 1 exclusive to GMOs are true.  Not one.  It is founded on a bogus platform. 

If we could have a scientific conversation and label consistent with the science, you'd see me and other scientists jumping on board.  Unfortunately the anti-GMO folks have become the anti-climate change kooks of the left, denying science, degrading scientists and fighting the scientific method. 

Plus, transgenic or non-transgenic is no issue except to those that fear it.  Don't let fear influence your decisions.  Let's make better decisions based on environmental impacts, utility to farmers, profitability to workers, and value to consumers. GMOs are part of that discussion.  

RobertWager1
RobertWager1

@AnnStorey The definition of agriculture is the changing of the DNA (or modification if you like) of plants and animals to suit our needs.  we started changing the DNA of plants and animals 10,000 years ago.  did you not wonder why there are no wild beef or dairy cows?

maestro
maestro

@FOUNDUPS® @maestro  

...much appreciated -- thank you. I am a seeker of truth who believes that the most powerful substance on earth is knowledge: what I have learned I wish to share because it has strengthened me as an individual and granted me pathways to enact authentic change in the world -- albeit tiny. As a nutritional counselor, for example, I have been able to help people overcome disabling and life-threatening illnesses with natural dietary cures (obesity, Lyme, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, cancers, intestinal necrosis, and Dupuytren's contracture -- for which modern medicine insist no cure but amputation). Real Knowledge engenders practical power -- the power not over people but unfortunate circumstances.

 The parameters of individualism expounded by 17th cent Enlightenment philosopher John Locke -- that government can’t be delegated with the power to do anything which would be unlawful for citizens to do themselves – and 19th cent political economist John Stuart Mill that individual sovereignty is limited to that of one’s mind and body expose how far we’ve strayed from authentic understanding of this issue. Leaders that ban individuals from what they permit, condone and even grant to favored mobs (including policing bodies and private military contractors, banks, businesses, and other buddies…) have abjectly abandoned the behavioral ethics (both the psychological aspect of personal autonomy and the political one of supremacy of individual rights) of civilized society that would uphold the dignity of all.

 Intrusion (mandated healthcare or vaccinations, search and seizure, etc), inurement (illegal use of charity or nonprofit assets or resources for personal benefit), insider trading and other types of anti-public control fraud (seizure or use of public assets for private gain, traffic of stolen property, bribery, rigged bids and price-fixing, overpricing replacement parts, accounting fraud and liars’ loans, predatory marketing scams, market restriction and divisionism, monopolistic cartels, unnecessary medications and compounded prescriptions, misinformation,  product quality exploitation and ingredient safety violations including non-labeling of toxic goods or ingredients like the Prop 37 GMO controversy) wage war on human prosperity by disguising these deceits as “victimless crimes” justified under a rude capitalistic misconception of “survival of the fittest” mentality – which really meanspersecution, expropriation, repression, and subordination to corporate blackjacking.

 This is more than unacceptable -- it is an outrage to life and the grossest violation of the wonder (awe) of existence.It is a pathetic commentary on the conditioning of the American public that the GMO issue regarding food (for there may yet be viable medical applications) is even entertained as valid, never-mind approved by Vote! Anyone is full possession of the scope of historical analysis of this issue (from corporate railroading that implanted the initiative in the 90's, to militant farm takeover, to the severe and unalloyed indictment against GMO safety for animals and humans both from lab studies and empirical observation trials  -- such as the American Cattleman''s Assn who testified before Congress in 2002 about premature aging and a 40-50% reproductive failure at that time with all other known causes already ruled out by veterinary investigation such as viruses, mycotoxins, etc due to GMO feed) and their mental faculties would never give a moment's consideration to such a monstrosity as GE ag.....

KevinFolta
KevinFolta

@stantonXXX @sdsavage  Hybrids are much more of a freaky black box!  Tens of thousands of gene variants, transposons, whole chunks of genomes... all mixed with no idea of results.  GMO...  one gene that we know exactly what it does.  GM offers levels of control, predictability, and safety that conventional breeding can never match.

jshaw8808
jshaw8808

@KevinFolta @jshaw8808 Ridiculous.  So, I'm to believe that an incredibly deep-pocketed industry can't defend itself, it's just helpless against the food activists?  Yeah, right.  And I'm to believe that the climate science situation - in which almost all the scientists are employed by gov'ts and there are virtually no commercial applications - is analogous to the genetic engineering situation - in which the vast majority of scientists are employed in the private sector.  Sure.

maestro
maestro

@KevinFolta @jshaw8808  

   GM-supporters love to slur those advocating GE labeling as “emotional anti-science ranters”, “ignorant activists” and “neo-luddites”.  But rational science – despite pro-GMO claims of prerogative and sole possession – has never sided with you except in some aberrant, imaginal realm. Emotional appeals just can't  gained you scientific verification either. All real-world facts considered, that “Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don't know what it is”, as Colonel Sam Flagg of M*A*S*H shrugged, seems to most closely correlate to the mentality behind GMO defense.

‘Green-Revolution’ (one of industries many glossy misnomers warping public connotation) yields have been stagnant on major grain crops for at least 15 years – with some fixed since 1966– and wherever farmers adopted ‘green-revolution’ technology early on, average yields have currently plummeted to 20% below climate-adjusted yield potential. Part of the cause is the ever-diminishing efficiency of inorganic ammonia-based fertilizers (application of which have increased 20-fold in the last 50 years) that already peak upon first application and are thus calculated to be only 30-50% effective in today’s world. The rest of it – or the bulk of that fertilizer—actually become ‘non-point’ nutrient losses that go on to pollute off-site ecosystems, ruin water quality, create compositional changes in the atmosphere and conditions for disease. Detrimental environmental impacts of failing petro-ag practices are costs ignored and largely unmeasured, and are kept from influencing policy for, or influence on, the choices of farmers and society about the future of production methods. Such costs directly question sustainability of current practices and demand that accounting for ethics and actual systemic efficiency must become the basis of farm policy and action. South Africa, for example, literally ate air (empty husks) when 200,000 acres of Monsanto Bt corn failed to produce seed-heads in 2009 – which the company dismissed as ‘yield drag’ caused by “insufficient fertilizer”. Marian Mayet, director of the Africa Centre for Biosecurity in Johannesburg would stand for no lame excuses and called for an immediate ban on GM crops: “You cannot make a 'mistake' with three different varieties of corn" she raged while citing up to 80% failure on some farms (digitaljournal.com).

Meanwhile, Rodale’s thirty-year comparison of organic to conventional farming techniques found organic yields match conventional yields…except in times of drought. Then, they outperform conventional farming. Organic agri-methods build rather than deplete living soil matter for unmatched sustainability, uses 45% less energy and produce 40% less greenhouse gases. And the bottom line is, yes, it is more profitable than any other industrial effort through time because of its effectiveness at nutrient delivery, resource conservation, animal vitality, environmental safety and revitalization, non-detriment to worker health and transfer of increased nutrition to the consumer. Family farms employ more people per acre than industrial farms; and diversified farming – indigenous farming knowledge protected by a shared network or millions of family farmers as guardians of biodiversity -- is infinitely more ecologically and economically resilient than monoculture.

Anyone who eats whole organic foods will testify a person needs to consume much less of the product than conventional foods because of vastly increased nutrient density and broader nutrient profiles. The win is in every direction and every dimension – as even perceived increase of cost for organics then translates to reduced healthcare expenses…

  Much of the gain ascribed to GM crops is simply the result of following the accompanying regimen of increased irrigation. GE-ag has actually has proven to be a tragic, tragic deception.Pure economics demonstrate GM crops have not met their advertised targets in yield or pest resistance (NY Times Oct 2010).Reuters’ currently reported that US farmers have had to increase herbicide use on GE crops from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to close to 90 million pounds in 2011 or a measured 25% increase per year sparking the rise of "superweeds". Chinese cotton growers, among the first to plant GM bollworm-resistant cotton experience outbreaks of secondary pests (such as mirids) that demand up to 20 additional pesticide applications – far outpacing farmers using conventional seed. GM seed, far from its promise of economic efficiency, is proving ridiculously more costly on all fronts – and is also central to reprehensible criminal acts against humanity from illegal land acquisition, forced bankruptcies, starvation, and irremovable internal metabolic and structural alteration.

  A 2011 investigation published in Reproductive Toxicology proving penetration of Bt toxins into the bloodstream of an extraordinary percentage of people studied blew holes in industry’s safety claims that our digestive systems would deconstruct and nullify it (naturally-sprayed Bt degrades in sunlight, but GE Bt becomes an integral part of any organism it gets implanted into). Bt toxicity from GE plants has been so widely observed in livestock it needs no reference, but death to human cells (necrotic and apoptotic cytotoxicity) from both GE Bt proteins and Roundup’s glyphosate far below agricultural dilutions was discovered by Mesnage et al 2012. Published in the Applied Journal of Toxicology, researchers also contended that Bt metabolites “can present combined side-effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants”.

 

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@KevinFolta @jshaw8808 

Kevin, industry and the FDA could have done the right thing, label gmos, in the early 1990, but they did not. Once you lie and withhold info it is hard to go back and gain trust. I am sure you would think twice about trusting a spouse if they lied to you, right. And we don't know the long term health effects. The rest of the world labels, so you think they are denying science too? Get real. People have the right to know. You all are going to lose in the long run one way or another. You will regret this, kevin and I look forward to that day.

rodGibbo
rodGibbo

@RobertWager1 @AnnStorey For all I know, mother nature made plants and animals in one way. The most developed species of them all (humans, of course) have evolved in different ways, able to adapt themselves to different environments, and adapt food sources to suit their geographical, economical, environmental, social, and even political "needs". One of the most basic rights of all people is the right to know. With knowledge we can make informed decisions on many things. Unfortunately, the economical needs of certain people (read corporations) are depriving the common citizen of one of their most basic rights, little by little, in stealth mode, behind the scenes. They will also, very soon, and if there is no heavy opposition, own all of the seeds and food on this planet, and then that will wreak havoc. Acting like and empire, the emperors of food, as many empires and emperors in history, they will fall too. If nothing wrong has been done, then why hide it? I ask you Mr Wager, do you feed yourself and your family with mainly genetically modified foods?

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@RobertWager1

oh please, you cannot compare classical plant breeding to genetic engineering!!!

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@RobertWager1  And countries banning GMO Crops?... Peru just put a 10 yr ban on them, Japan has always maintained a ban, Russia just announced one, Netherlands...and soon most of Europe... IMHO, A simple health and infant mortality comparison of non GMO diet Japan and Netherlands and GMO junkie USA provides you all the answers. Remember how Big Tobacco dodged the cancer bullet for decades? Monsanto and the other agro-chemical Frankenstein's are doing the same with The GMO Pandora's box. How anyone in their right mind can argue that consuming Bt Pesticide and food soaked in the highly toxic, non bio-degradable Roundup is not impacting consumers health, the healh of fetuses and embryos is beyond me. They are... but we DON'T need to do studies on them because Monsanto FDA cronies tells us "Don't worry... they are safe we don't need to long term impact studies on unborn babies..." How anyone can say consuming neurotoxin systemic pesticides, that permeate our entire food system and according to the EPA is contaminating 90% of all water tested (even rain water), is not impacting child development and public health are simply fools... How can people be so naive to think labels are merely for "non tarrif trade barriers" The simple fact is there are countries, such as Netherlands and Japan where I reside, that don't have a revolving door between government and corporations, such as Monsanto, that seeks to manipulate Gov in-order to peddle its toxic poison. The state of affairs in DC is really no different to the Enron before it collapsed. The insider trading of American's health and well-being is simply despicable.

maestro
maestro

...is this addressed to "maestro"? At the risk of jumping in on a query toward another, I'm offer a quick response: the initiative is NOT withing the AMA but addressed to the AMA. It's a Food Democracy Now assignment to shift AMA position riffing off of a June 2012 Consumer Union call to action since the AMA merely skirted the issue and lamely called for more testing. see: testing.http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/no-need-for-labeling-just-test-gmos-first-says-ama/

 Indiana and Illinois state boards  had both adopted resolutions in favor of labels, but it staled on a national level and ruled "not necessary". Do you know any AMA history? 

 The American Medical Assn has been convicted of Sherman Act violations in 1943 (AMA v United States) for trying to destroy an autonomous doctors’ group in Washington DC that had applied cost-cutting health delivery and insurance, and illegal "conspiracy to restrain competition" in 1987 (Wilk v AMA).  Judge Susan Getzendanner additionally ruled that the AMA’s “long history of illegal behavior" made a permanent injunction "necessary in this case. There are lingering effects of this conspiracy; the AMA has never acknowledged the lawlessness of its past conduct”. Appeals before the 7th Circuit Court in 1990 only reinforced the previous judgment that the AMA had engaged in a "lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott" specifically designed to interfere with theprofession of chiropractic in order to eliminate it (the AMA must now allow allopathic medical doctors to refer patients to chiropractic therapy when needed).

 Conspiracy and restraint of trade action is traceable to the AMA’s earliest days when, in 1899, their lobbyists pushed through a ruling in NY against the "indiscriminate medical charity” of churches and other centers that gave free medical care to the poor because it cut into the income of certified doctors. Fines and imprisonment followed for any unauthorized person giving treatment, and total control of any decision for charitable care went to the AMA’s State Board of Charities. Maintaining it was unethical for the consumer to have any say over the price of treatment, common prices morphed intoprofessional fees. Independent doctors who advertised lower fees were interpreted by the fledgling AMA as among the worst violations of medical ethics (!) and used their monopoly on price-fixing to“rectify” the situation. Despite the fact that the AMA is stated to be a nonprofit association -- “and an essential force for progress in improving the nation's health” (ama-assn.org) -- its history really focuses on money, ultimatum, and control....

Charles Lyman Loffler MD indicted, “Since the regimentation of Medicine by quacks and medical gangsters in control of the American Medical Association, this organization has become one of the most vicious rackets in the country”. The AMA asserts that figurehead founder “Dr. Davis and his colleagues set very high goals for this new association to advance the science of medicine, to improve the standards for medical education, to develop a program of medical ethics, and to improve the health of the public. The founders reached those goals and set standards that have been upheld by the AMA ever since” (ama-assn.org). Really?

The AMA was begun in 1845 as a sort of New York gentleman's club for “physicians” (remember, antiseptic surgery had not yet been invented; the standards for medical care were based on the 4 humors of blood, bile, and yellow or black phlegm which called for mercury to “stimulate the vigor” of the body, and blistering and bloodletting to “calm” it – recall from Part 4 that president Washington was murdered by his team of 4 “physicians” in 1799 who “relieved” him of nearly a gallon of blood in 10 hours causing profound preterminal anemia, hypovolemia (plasma depletion) and hypotensive shock), and was privatized as a national organization in 1847 by Dr. Nathan Smith Davis (who became its president in 1864 and first editor of its Journal of the American Medical Association publication from 1883 to 1888) to create a uniform standard for a medical degree to be adopted by all US medical schools. Again, handwashing for surgeons – though mentioned by head of Harvard med, Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr, in 1843 – was decades away from being allowable; and as late as 1910 physicians petitioned against Dr Sara Josephine Baker MD’s (Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary) Bureau of Child Hygiene because "it was ruining medical practice by its results in keeping babies well" (http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/baker.html).

  Etc, etc (I went to school to become a surgeon, so had a first-hand glimpse of the "educational" requirements. Not to say there aren't tremendously gifted and principled physicians  across the US -- I am condemning an agency not the practice...)

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@KevinFolta @stantonXXX @sdsavage You are not even your word, kevin, I thought you were giving up talking about this? You can eat it in Florida but stay out of Calif

FOUNDUPS®
FOUNDUPS®

@RobertWager1 @light -- Read ALL the citations  listed above by @maestro He wrote: GE foods have never been proven safe for human consumption. There are 0 (zero) studies that prove its safety. -- and 130 published peer-reviewed studies to the contrary.What most of us don’t know is that only 4 studies have ever been conducted on human subjects and every one was unfavorable.Subsequent testing on GM food consumption has not been permitted since 2005. And the oft-heard argument that no-one has gotten sick or died from a GE product is a bald-faced lie: over 1500 Americans were permanently disabled and 37 killed (from eosinophilia myalgia syndrome) in 1989 from a GM L-tryptophan supplement (amino acid precursor to serotonin, melatonin and niacin) imported without regulation from Japanese petrochemical giant Showa Denko. It was ‘substantially equivalent’ with a 99.6% purity – but that 0.4% non-equivalent impurity contained 30-40 different contaminants from the gene-spliced bacteria used to culture the amino acid – a miniscule dose with a wallop of misery. http://www.aquarianonline.com/Eco/UnnaturalHarvest.htmlRead more: http://science.time.com/2012/11/06/prop-37-why-californias-ballot-initiative-on-gm-food-is-about-politics-more-than-science/#ixzz2BeBI6eSC

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@KevinFolta @light @RobertWager1 

Read the chapter on safety which says how to measure the levels of gmos in foods and what is the public perception of gmos. That does not prove they are safe. Show me a long term study in humans, kevin, cuz I don't see it. 

KevinFolta
KevinFolta

@light @RobertWager1  Light, I don't know what you read, but this report is monumental.  Chapter 2 is all about safety assessment in vivo.  Chapter 1 environmental assessment.  Industry propaganda?  From the EU?  

I guess it is good science if you agree with it, bad science if it is not consistent with your worldview. 

The report features this section:  "The projects under the Research Framework Programmes have significantly contributed developing a robust framework for the food safety assessment of GM foods/feed. These activities provide at least equal assurance of the safety of these foods compared to conventional counterparts, provided these GM products have been approved by the EU and the national food safety evaluationprocedures.

The report is compelling and consistent with hundreds of other independent research reports. 

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@RobertWager1

I have already read this Robert. This is the article that reads like industry propaganda.  And the chapter on safety is not really safety studies but rather things like how to measure the levels of gmos in foods and what is the public perception of gmos. Believe me, I do my homework. This article is rubbish. Please read it if you don't believe me.

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I'm waiting for those references? Peer reviewed, and not paid for by Monsanto.

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@RobertWager1 @light  

are you sure these article were published in peer reviewed journal robert? Please do share

RobertWager1
RobertWager1

@light @RobertWager1 So 25 years of researh by over 500 independent researchers is advertising by your opinion.  Interesting.  May i ask you how much research would make you feel comfortable with the safety of GM crops and food?

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@RobertWager1

Then you need to review the process Robert cuz last I heard, nature in not using a gene gun or bacteria to act as a vector to break into the DNA of a plant. Come on, you know you are wrong on this one. And the lame EU research sounds like an advertisement for industry. 

RobertWager1
RobertWager1

@light @RobertWager1 That is exactly what the National Academies of Science has and continues to do.  there is no unique risks from GM crops.  The same opinion of the European Commission as well in their report on 25 years of research.