Battle over genetically engineered food heading to voters

A fight over genetically engineered foods has been heating up in the nation’s grocery aisles. Now it’s headed for the ballot box.

Quite a propaganda coup for organic food scammers and shameless anti-capitalist activists.

Voters will soon decide whether to make California the first state in the country to require labels on products such as sweet corn whose genes have been altered to make them resistant to pests.

Proposition 37 promises to set up a big-money battle pitting natural food businesses and activists against multinational companies including PepsiCo,Coca-Cola and Kellogg. Backers and opponents have already raised nearly $4 million combined for campaigns to sway voters, an amount that’s likely to swell into the tens of millions of dollars as the November election approaches.

So-called GMO foods — those made from genetically modified organisms — have been declared safe by U.S. regulators. But concern persists about the unforeseen consequences of this laboratory tinkering on human health and the environment.

The outcome in California could rattle the entire U.S. food chain. An estimated 70% to 80% of processed foods sold in supermarkets could be affected, industry experts said, along with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The measure qualified for the California ballot with nearly 1 million signatures; labeling in the state could set a precedent that’s followed nationwide.

“This will be a big fight,” said Shaun Bowler, a UC Riverside political scientist specializing in initiatives. “This is a popular issue because people are very afraid of the words ‘genetically engineered.’ And the people who sell this stuff are worried about losing sales.”

LA Times

13 responses to “Battle over genetically engineered food heading to voters

  1. “safety assessment of GM foods has been based on the idea of “substantial equivalence” such that “if a new food is found to be substantially equivalent in composition and nutritional characteristics to an existing food, it can be regarded as safe as the conventional food.”4 However, several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.

    There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation as defined by Hill’s Criteria in the areas of strength of association, consistency, specificity, biological gradient, and biological plausibility.5 The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.2,6,7,8,9,10,11

    Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation. 6,11 Animal studies also show altered structure and function of the liver, including altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism as well as cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging and possibly lead to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). 7,8,10 Changes in the kidney, pancreas and spleen have also been documented. 6,8,10 A recent 2008 study links GM corn with infertility, showing a significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed GM corn.8 This study also found that over 400 genes were found to be expressed differently in the mice fed GM corn. These are genes known to control protein synthesis and modification, cell signaling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin regulation. Studies also show intestinal damage in animals fed GM foods, including proliferative cell growth9 and disruption of the intestinal immune system.6

    Regarding biological gradient, one study, done by Kroghsbo, et al., has shown that rats fed transgenic Bt rice trended to a dose related response for Bt specific IgA. 11

    Also, because of the mounting data, it is biologically plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans”

    • Those “studies” have been demonstrated to contain bad data and bad protocols rendering the entire thing useless.

      First off, rats are NOT a decent analog for humans. They never were. They are just cheap experimental animals. If you get some sort of result you then have to change up to more representative animals winding up at pigs and chimps. There are legions of tossed out “studies” that just used the rat results and then when follow on tests were done the sought after result never appeared. Same thing here. It’s a great scare story, but useless.

    • Ben of Houston

      Sorry, but I’m not buying this whole “GM foods are the end of the world”. You cannot lump all of this together. Adding a gene for pesticide resistance is not the same as adding one for drought resistance, which is not the same as adding a gene to create Vitamin A. Attempting to conflate this into a “Genetic modification is bad” makes some serious, highly questionable assumptions

      • Ben, you are right that different genes produce different effects. That is a reason to do long term feeding tests before marketing, not to pretend that everything is equal to non-genetically engineered food, as the FDA ruled.

        It is not just lab rats:
        Syngenta Charged for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GM Corn
        Syngenta knew that the corn killed cows, but they marketed it anyway.

      • I followed Judy’s link about the dead cows. There was no definitive evidence – correllation is not causation.

        The worst part of that “report” is that no one did a follow up controlled test of cows and that strain of Bt corn apparently, which would have proved one way or another what was the killing factor. So to this date it is all still just speculation. I admit there is strong indication that PERHAPS that strain of Bt corn did kill the cows, but we don’t have actual repeatable testing. So then… why not? Cover up? Pay offs? … ??

        • When I first heard of genetic engineering, I thought whoopee…what a tool!

          The problem is, the tool has not been used with due care and attention. Companies were let off the hook. Safety was ASSUMED for each individual product!

          Now advocates of it want the consumer to prove harm . It is the opposite of the Global Warming Scam in which CO2 is assumed to be guilty and we have to prove it is incapable of doing what the shills say it does.
          Corrupt regulatory bodies are involved in both issues.
          Both issues are stage-managed and a great deal of money has been spent to convince us to go along with things that are not in our best interests.

    • Traced down some of the references and I found non-peer reviewed emotion driven literature that was total nonsense. It seems if some scientific illiterate makes a claim and files a law suit or self publishes an article on a web site, that becomes proof.

      For example, some farmer in Europe got paid to grow some experimental GMO corn, which he then fed to his cows and some of whom died from unknown causes. He filed suit for more money with no necropsy showing the cause of death. This has been morphed into; “During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the cause, claiming no knowledge of harm. The case was dismissed and Gloeckner remained thousands of euros in debt. ” The bottom line being the case was thrown out of court. Why didn’t the farmer have the dead cows necropsied, unless he knew what killed them wasn’t the GMO corn. The cost of getting real data is trivial relative to the cost and potential profit from a real legal case. It seems the legal strategy of the anti-GMO lobby is to destroy potential evidence then make claims in court.

      Another case in India, some sheep died with liver problems for grazing a GMO cotton field. No mention of the fact that cotton seed (if too much was left in the field) is highly toxic and contains a liver toxin. That is why cotton seed oil has be be processed before consumption.

  2. For me, I’ll be specifically looking for “GMO” on the label.

    It produces better products with better contents than ‘natural’ foods, which really aren’t in the first place. There are currently no table foods that were not modified all to heck and gone over thousands of years by our ancestors and previous generation farmers. None. So all this GMO hoopla is just more idiocy combined with rent seeking ‘health food’ sellers.

  3. So soccer moms, TV repairmen and software engineers will read the labels and make intelligent choices.

    “An estimated 70% to 80% of processed foods sold in supermarkets could be affected”

    If virtually everything is GMO, what will labels tell you?
    “This food is like all the other food around here.”

    • The entire point of this is to promote the GMO-Free products. Just like the organic label, it is meaningless to the point of being deceptive. The phrase “asbestos-free cereal” comes to mind.

  4. Just read a couple of pages of the links provided by the anti-GM group. Just a bunch of “ginned Up” press from advocacy groups that aptly should be included in the pages of JunkScience

    • While I agree that most of the pulling out of hair and running around screaming, “We’re all gonna die!” is mostly pure nonsense, I would like to see more defined protocols for the testing of the various GMO products before any “reports” are published and anything not following those rules would automatically get tossed in the rubbish bin.

      We already have protocols for testing various things that might harm humans or livestock. I’d just like to see an “official” testing protocol suite published to use as a yardstick of credibility instead of all these “reports” and “studies” many of which are pure BS from both sides.

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