31 thoughts on “Anti-GMO activists admit rationale behind labeling”

  1. Unfortunately, market penetration will depend upon affluence. The same folks pushing organic food want people to pay more for electricity and subsidize healthcare to the less fortunate through their employer provided health insurance premiums. Walmart’s effort to go “organic” were a fiasco because their cash strapped customer base could not afford it.

  2. The “lifestyle” totalitarians and the environmental hysterics learned well from the anti-tobacco movement the value of a step-wise approach to getting things they dislike banned. Labeling give a false sense of legitimacy to positions that have no scientfic backing whatsoever. One accepted , it is taken for granted and they can begin banning whatever the substance or undesired behavior may be in limited settings affecting only a few groups that have no political or media power. Then the epidemiologists move in and find severe “health” consequences associated with the substance or behavior in order to extend the restrictions or even lead to a complete ban. That is why the camel’s nose must be smashed with a sledge hammer as soon as it appears under a small corner of the tent.

  3. Organic food is healthier and GMO foods do pose legitimate health risks. It seems liberals are more pro GMOs on average, which is scary to me, being a left centrist.

  4. I am not aware of any legitimate trials or research finding that support the idea that ‘so called’ organically grown produce is healthier than conventionally grown product – IMHO it is simply an emotional statement that means very little to the health of the population and where are the facts that support the idea that GMO cultivars pose risks to the health of the population – Jacob, if you are going to make such sweeping statements which are obviously just your opinion then please support your statements with a little bit of proven fact.

  5. I think GMO foods should be so labelled as soon as “organic” produce is labelled “grown in shit”. This is a serious suggestion. Organic foods are under 10% of the food supply, but seem to be involved in about half the recalls of vegetable products. The “half” is subjective based on a few names I recognized and a few I hunted doen. Perhaps someone can provide solid data.

    Moderator: feel free to substitute manure; Congress would probably do worse.

  6. Anyone suffering from the delusion that any one type of food is “healthier” than another need only consult any standard physiology text on the processes of digestion and absorption in order to rid their mind of this fallacious concept. These are some of the most studied and best worked out processes in all of human physiology. Food is fuel to provide biological energy and biochemical building blocks for he synthesis of needed molecules. Other than the deficiency diseases (which are virtually unknown in the developed world) and possibly those who suffer massive obesity from overeating there is no way that food can cause disease. The continuing success of the diet and nutrition industries as well as the vitamin and supplement purveyors is further testament to the ignorance of the general public on these and related topics. For the average person this sort of belief is understandable. For anyone schooled in the biological sciences, it is inexcusable.

  7. Ernest,

    your post does not line up with what I was taught in my Biology, biochem or nutrition courses. It is also not in line with traditional medicine or physiology.

  8. Jacob, if you are truly interested in understanding then read the sections on digestion and absorption in any standard text. Pay close attention to the manner in which the three major groups of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) are digested and absorbed. This will tell you how the small molecules and breakdown products that are actually absorbed across the intestinal lining as well as those absorbed through the lymphatics are the same no matterwhat the source. For example, all carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed as monosaccharides; almost all fructose is converted to glucose in the intestinal cell or in the first pass through the liver. Therefore, the source of the carbohydrate ingested is completely irrelevant whether it be refined sugar, raw sugar, fruit, etc. Only a small number of small proteins are absorbed intact. The great majority are denatured in the acidic stomach (and therefore inactivated) and broken down into short peptide chains before they can be absorbed. Therefore, the source of the protein ingested is likewise largely irrelevant. Of course, many texts follow this accurate description of the digestive and resorptive processes with all kinds of recommendations for “healthy” eating that make no sense whatsoever when the actual physiologic processes are understood.

  9. Ernest,

    I understand the claims you are making. 1 year of General Biology covers all and more of what you discuss above. What you are neglecting to mention is all the research now discussed in Biology courses, Nutrition courses and of course numerous peer reviewed journals, that not all calorie sources are created equal. That the glycemic index and glycemic load do matter–if a diabetic eats too much sugar they can go into diabetic ketoacidosis, and even die. Eating a twinky is NOT as healthy as eating an apple for example, nor are quality casein/whey protein sources the same as eating McDonald’s Big Macs for protein.

    Fish like salmon is healthier than eating beef everyday, and washed organic produce contain less toxins than heavily sprayed GMOs. What makes no sense is the fact the there are people who still cling to a belief not evidenced by the principles of human digestion. and nutrition at their peril.

  10. A frantic push to label GMO foods while UN prohibits country of origin labeling for meat. Many countries have no sanitary standards for slaughter houses or handling or processing meat which is a very real threat to our health. GMO is at worst a questionable threat “observed” only in “studies”.

  11. Dave,

    I am familiar with the pesticides used in organic farming as well–not all organic farming is equal, and some can be harmful as well.

  12. Jacob, et al…….S.M. grants those of us not as highly qualified as E.N.C., O.K.M. et al a great privilege in allowing us to comment on this site.
    If you are better qualified than the above-mentioned world-class experts please notify us of this so as to avoid frustrating them and maybe causing them to stop commenting.
    Please bear in mind that this site is ‘junkscience’ not ‘junkscientists’

  13. I am highly qualified to discuss these matters and reference peer reviewed literature. I am sure those you mention have high degrees and have experience in their areas of study. I have mine as well. I have no idea if those you mention are world class experts or not–I, myself have worked in labs/research, and access to plenty of seasoned professionals as well. I am here disagreeing based on actual coursework I have completed, experience in organic farming, gardening, and the recent shift in new findings in physiology, nutrition and medicine as a whole. I am not, however, going to cave under some appeal to authority or antiquated teachings in outdated textbooks. I am not going to compare letters after our names to somehow prove legitimacy. The fact remains that in nutritional biochemistry courses, both undergraduate and graduate the effects of diet, and different sources of macro/micro-nutrients are far more important than was believed in the 1950’s-1980’s. By the 1990’s diet and nutrition studies started to mature, and more robust/novel findings began to be made–not without controversy or mistakes of course–think of the whole fat versus carbohydrate debate, just now finally getting some legitimate closure from higher quality research. If these people are as seasoned as you claim, they are mistaken, and no amount of training or education they may have, changes that. If they are truly that well trained and educated then they can do a literature review and analyze data.

  14. Those “credible” studies are incredible. They actually defend the Seralini study:

    This study has since been retracted, which is odd, because the journal it was published in is a very well known, reputable peer reviewed scientific journal. In order for a study to be published here it has to go through a rigorous review process.

    It’s also important to note that hundreds of scientists from around the world have condemned the retraction of the study. This study was done by experts, and a correlation between GMOs and these tumors can’t be denied, something happened.

    If you know the actual history behind this infamously badly done rat study, and its retraction and subsequent republishing in a sham journal (the details can be seen for instance on Retraction Watch) this defense marks the writers as dishonest.

    I was intrigued by the reference upthread to “heavily sprayed GMOs,” since generally organic foods are subjected to far more pesticides than GMO foods. In many cases, the point of the GMO changes is to allow the food to require less pesticides, and that’s been demonstrated to work well. But “organics” (also known as “food poisoning vectors”) need pesticides, as well as a much better cleaning considering how they are often grown.

    As a person who has lost his wife, and his ability to walk, due to food poisoning, I have some interest in this topic. GMOs don’t bother me at all, and the attack of “it’s only been 20 years and they might be harmful” is uncompelling considering the alternative.

    These are generally people who hate modern agricultural techniques, “corporate farms” they call them, apparently unaware that the world cannot be fed by organic techniques as unhealthy and inefficient as they are. “Natural” is not necessarily good, and essentially every foodstuff they consider “natural” is itself the work of human selective genetic modification experiments over centuries. We could not eat the wheat, corn, and tomatoes of 10,000 years ago.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  15. I feel that, if the agribusinesses refuse to honor this law and stop shipping to stores in the area, the law will get changed very quickly. It is such a small portion of their market. Let them eat home grown organic or starve for a none existing problem.

  16. Love your last paragraph Mr. DeHavelle, to which I’ll add substance; Bacillus Thurengenisis (Bt) produces a natural occurring toxin that organic farmers have used for over a century. The Bt toxin is also produced by genetic engineering and the EPA ‘s research concluded that it’s essentially the same as that used by organic farmers. However, because its man-made, environmentalists have gone nuts fear-mongering it. Green Peace’s own research found that GMO Bt was present in low quantities relative to what organic farmers were using and therefor declared GMO Bt ineffective on target bugs (although they maintained it was harmful to humans). Because natural Bt is unregulated it can be applied to food products up until the time of harvest and it persist as a viable toxin producer on that food.

    But perhaps the most significant revelation about anti-GMO fanatics is the story of Golden Rice. Golden Rice was developed to battle beta-carotene deficiencies in Asia which causes some half a million deaths a year, mostly children. Non-corporate interests took a beta-carotene gene from another food staple – corn and inserted it in white rice. Philanthropic interests were going to provide Golden Rice seed for Asian farmers to plant. But goof-balls dressed in skeleton costumes protested loud enough to have the seed prevented from being dispersed. So here you have it – no corporation, no profiting, no science to say that corn genes are toxic and the result is some 7 million people murdered by anti modern farming zealots who tell us that Monsanto is a threat!!

  17. Having had long experience with organic farming hustlers at the technical level in california, I have no doubt they are simply another interest group trying to get congress to regulate their profits into existence. The ‘peer reviewed’ nonsense cited by Jacob is yet another self serving series of studies that support none of his assertions. These people are hustlers, cigar smoking short armed fatty hustlers in disguise. GMO is about the money. Nothing else.

  18. So it turns out that Jacob is not truly interested in knowing the truth about nutrition. No surprise there. Food fetishists are notoriously blind to physiologic facts and impervious to logical argument. It is amusing to read of his steadfast refusal to”cave under some appeal to authority or antiquated teachings in outdated textbooks”. He then gives links to his “authorities” that consist largely of lists of articles detailing micromolecular changes in various products but none showing any significant effect from human consumption and including some of the worst junk science imaginable. As I previously stated, the science of digestion, absorption, and utilization of foodstuffs is one of the most studied and well worked out areas of knowledge in all of human physiology. That is why there has been so little change in what these “antiquated” texts have had to say on the subject for many years. Of course, I don’t write and rewrite these things in order to persuade the Jacobs of this world. That would be a pointless form of mental masturbation. Rather I would like to point out to those who are interested but confused because of all the nonsense that is preached about nutrition that it is really a simple subject that can be easily understood by any intelligent person–even those with very little scientific background. It is also important to expose the phoniness of the scientific patina that the nutritional hysterics attempt to apply to the subject because they are not content to merely follow their own prescriptions but seek to reduce the choices for the rest of us as well.
    So my message to those that are truly interested is to read the basic descriptions on the physiology of digestion and absorption of foods and draw your own conclusions. It is really very simple and even primitive populations have managed to feed themselves down through the centuries without the advice of professional nutritionists and dieticians. There are many things out there worth worrying over but what you eat is really not one of them.

  19. Nice one, E.N.C………………….
    Scientists of course need to remember that:
    1. There is no such thing as ‘Organic fertilizer’…Plants can only absorb their trace elements from the soil AFTER the soil bacteria have metabolized the ‘muck’ and excreted the mineral content into the soil around the plant roots……The plants are not interested in where the minerals in the soil came from…………….1.1. Practically all insecticides are ORGANIC, many with phosphorus , halogens etc. in the molecule…………..
    2. There is a ‘greenhouse effect’ but the increased plant growth from the higher temperature takes more CO2 out of the air and self-corrects that part of the greenhouse effect attributable to CO2……….

    BTW, What should we eat:
    A. Protein and put on muscle while shortening our telomeres and aging quickly or;
    B. Carbohydrate and becoming flabby and prone to CVD’s etc. or;
    C. Almost nothing to nullify A. and B. above and fade away??

  20. It appears ENC ignores research from the Harvard T.H. Chan school of Nutrition, Stanford, MIT, a host of graduate school programs, updated Nutrition textbooks, and the myriad discoveries made in cell/molecular biology, and human physiology. Oh well, but to others reading these posts do not be fooled by outdated information; yes do read physiology of digestion and nutrition.

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/best-diet-quality-counts/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC506782/

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/

    http://news.mit.edu/2004/aging

    http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2005/05/all-low-fat-diets-are-not-equal-stanford-study-shows.html

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304458604577490943279845790

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/fed-up-asks-are-all-calories-equal/?_r=0

    http://healthyenough.net/calorie-counting/

    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=7

    Rog L.

    yes AGW is a muth, man made hypothesis full of holes and no evidence, but the fact not all calories are equal is already well established across disciplines, replicated and well evidenced in different contexts.

  21. Thanks Rog. And you’re correct–everything we eat seems to be bad for us in some way or another. I wonder why our longevity statistics keep increasing in the face of all these environmental and nutritional crises. That’s the elephant in the room that the hysterics would prefer to ignore.

  22. The mortality rate among middle aged men in the U.S. has gone up actually, for a number of reasons:

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/11/13/yes-death-rates-for-middle-aged-whites-are-rising-but-why

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/health/death-rates-rising-for-middle-aged-white-americans-study-finds.html

    Maternal mortality is up:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/01/health/maternal-mortality-rate-u-s-increasing-why/

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21657819-death-childbirth-unusually-common-america-exceptionally-deadly

    Life expectancy in the U.S. is not only lower than in many other countries, but the life expectancy gap is widening:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/prudential_living_longer_project/2014/09/the_u_s_is_falling_behind_in_life_expectancy.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK62373/

    “Despite this broad similarity in patterns of increased life expectancy among high-income countries, gains in the United States over the more recent past—especially the last 25 years—have been below those achieved in many other high-income countries and significantly below those achieved in countries that have seen the greatest increases. Table 1-1 presents estimates of life expectancy at birth (e0), at age 50 (e50), and at age 80 (e80) taken from the Human Mortality Database for both men and women from ten different countries and provides a sense of the extent of the mortality differentials. In 1980, average life expectancy at age 50 for women in the United States was 30.6 years, the same as the average for the other nine countries shown in Table 1-1. By 2007, life expectancy at age 50 for women in the United States had increased 2.5 years to 33.1. But over the same time period, life expectancy at age 50 in Japan had increased 6.4 years; in Italy it had increased 5.2 years; and on average, for the other nine countries apart from the United States shown in Table 1-1, it had increased 3.9 years. (This pattern of U.S. improvement, but at a slower pace than that achieved in many other countries, is repeated throughout Table 1-1 for both men and women although the pattern is less pronounced for men than for women.) Consequently, the list of countries that has overtaken the United States with respect to life expectancy at birth has been growing, and the gap between the United States and the countries with the highest achieved life expectancies has been widening (see Figures 1-1 and 1-2). According to the United Nations’ Population Division, life expectancy at birth in the United States for both sexes combined for the period 2005–2010 ranked 28th in the world, just behind the United Kingdom, Korea, Luxembourg, and Malta but more than 2 years behind Australia, Canada, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland (United Nations, 2009).”

    Diet matters

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/03/health/mediterranean-diet-longevity/

  23. Jacob, you say that you are “highly qualified” to speak about GMOs. Norman Borloug was a genetisist who earned the title of ‘Father of the Green Revolution’ and earned a Nobel price for that. Dr. Borloug insisted that GMOs are both safe and necessary. Come back to us Jacob when YOU have earned your Nobel. BTW, associating life expectancy declines to GMOs reveals that you are not a real scientist at all- good science (and scientists) rule out ALL outside factors and certainly you are not able to do that with life expectancy. If you want to play that game, I’ll point out the graph that shows that increases in autism rates graphically align with organic food consumption.
    As someone who lives in the heart of the Corn Belt, I can positively tell you that millions of wildlife and livestock consume GMOs (that hasn’t had its DNA destroyed by processing) and they’re thriving. I’ll take that real life ‘study’ over rats in a lab any day.
    And, if you don’t like my rat comparison I’ll tell you about the GMO study activists did on two sets of pigs in the feedlot. One set was fed GMO corn and the other non-GMO. Turns out that the non-GMO pigs had one health aspect that scored better than the GMO fed group. The activists went to the media screaming that GMOs were dangerous. Investigation of the study found that the non-GMO pigs trailed the GMO fed pigs in several key health concerns which was not published. Worse yet, the activists allowed half the pigs in each group to suffer and die from pneumonia so they could complete their propaganda study.
    I’m sticking with Borloug, the National Science Acadamy, the WHO and American Health Association who all support GMOs as safe. After all, you can find anything you want on the internet.

  24. Curt it does not matter of Norman has 10 Nobel prizes. As someone who lives in OK I can tell you organic food is safer, healthier and tastier when grown correctly. There is sufficient data too in research to show safety concerns of GMOs not including any retracted studies or discredited studies. Curt you can make all the claims you want about real scientists versus fake but it does not make it so. Yes, it is important to look at spurious variables in science.

    Curt your assumptions amaze me, and your claims about GMOs in general or about me lack merit. However, this thread is truly pointless to continue where no one looks at the research both sides and sees the issues scientifically.

  25. When deaths due to murder or accident are factored out the longevity in the US is greater than any other country. Since these deaths have nothing to do with health status, they give a truer picture of the situation. The point that people like Jacob will never get (or don’t want to get) is that the past several generations are living longer than ever despite a diet laden with fast foods, processed foods, and other evils that are anathema to our self-annointed intellectual betters.
    For those who have better things to do with their time and don’t want to pursue the references given by Jacob, I can summarize by telling you that most of them refer to newspaper reports on press releases for nutritional studies and one (I swear) is a CNN report on the Nurse’s Health Study which knowledgable scientists point out was part of the death knell for the diet/health enthusiasts.

  26. Another shot fired in the war on the poor.
    Poor people will have to have their political overseers confiscate more wealth to feed them.

    Small operators will fail while large corporate providers will do just fine.

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