What if a corporation isn’t evil incarnate? A progressive’s dilemma.

confusedguyIt all used to be so easy. There were the good guys, us, and there were the bad guys, them. Then I meandered into the issue of GMOs. That’s when everything became complicated. I support the use of transgenics for our food supply, simply because I trust the science behind it and because all my research has led me in that direction. What bothers me is the idea that at least tacitly, I find myself in agreement with and sometimes defending corporations.

I hate corporations. They’re greedy, treat their workers like shit and have too much influence in our political system. All in all, aren’t very good citizens. Yet I find myself at times sort of defending corporations like Monsanto. I hate that.

And it gets worse. I agree with opinion pieces written by conservatives and folks from conservative and libertarian think tanks and op-eds by industry trade group representatives. It pains me to agree with a guy like Henry Miller who was a pimp for the tobacco companies, but on this issue he is right.

It all makes me uneasy and I can’t very well forward these articles to friends. They would immediately dismiss them as industry propaganda.

But here’s the thing. The fact that they may be conservative, libertarian and running dog lackeys of the oppressive bourgeoisie, they are actually correct on the issue of GMOs. And I can understand why many people don’t trust them.  If I didn’t know what I know, I wouldn’t trust them either.

These guys may have motives that are less than altruistic, but they are, in a rare instance, using facts and evidence to bolster their case. What are the odds?

I think it’s because the science is the science. It’s solid, it’s known. They don’t have to buy off scientists. They don’t have to spin it. It’s a gift to industry pimps since they don’t have to lie. Of course they don’t lie, but overstate. They overplay their hand as corporations and their apologists do.  New and Improved! This will save the world! It’s called advertising.

But, it still makes me feel queasy.

Yeah, Monsanto has a checkered past. They have since reinvented themselves. As far as evil corporations go, there are worse and more successful with more clout. I mean hell, how bad can they be if they were voted the number one place for LGBT people to work by the Human Rights Campaign? Apparently, it’s a great place to work.

In a blog post over the Real Food blog, Marc Brazeau correctly points out the absurdity of the anti claims about the power of Monsanto.

Let’s put aside the fact that this line of thinking would mean that while fossil fuel behemoths Exxon Mobil (market cap:$394.83B), Chevron (market cap:$215.45B) and BP (market cap:$150.07B) (total: $760.35B) have been completely stymied in their efforts to buy the scientific consensus they desire on climate change, but a medium large company like Monsanto (market cap: $57.43B) has been able to manipulate tens of thousands of scientists performing thousands of studies for three decades with no whistleblowers resulting in a scientific consensus that has been bent completely to their will. 

And that was written by a guy who lives in Portland.

Moving on…

Then there are industry claims labeling will increase costs of food. I’ll admit, I was wary of their claims, my natural reaction to industry claims. Anti-gmo activists claim it’s a minimal cost since it’s just a label. But I have read some non-industry explanations that detail all that is involved for what antis call a simple label. One of the best explanations was this one, a blog written by Jennie Schmidt, a farmer and registered dietician who laid it out in detail on her blog, The Foodie Farmer. It bears out the food industry claims.

Again, it doesn’t seem they are lying.

Can you say cognitive dissidence?

Now, none of this means I’ve fallen in love with corporations. Most are still exploitive and greedy. But sometimes corporations aren’t the epitome of evil. Monsanto seems to be one of those. I’m sure they’ve used what clout they have that isn’t affordable to the average citizen. Do they have lobbyists? Sure, but so does the Organic Industry. But that doesn’t make them completely evil.

A few years back Monsanto was implicated in a bribery scandal in Indonesia. According to the company, take it for what it’s worth, it was the company that brought the bribery to the attention of the feds. The bribery was uncovered in an internal audit. The people involved were fired and Monsanto willingly paid the fine from the SEC.

That doesn’t mean Monsanto is all unicorns and puppies shitting rainbows. But most companies would fight the allegations and try and cover it up.

And this nonsense about wanting to control the seed market. Maybe they do. But what is the organic industry doing by denigrating the conventional and farmers who use gmo crops? They’re trying to gain market share. They want to be the dominant food system. When have you seen companies like Monsanto, et al., denigrate organic farming?

The burning question for us all then becomes how – and how quickly – can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2% market niche, to the dominant force in American food and farming? The first step is to change our labeling laws. –Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association

In an age when we are trying to get corporations to become better corporate citizens it seems attacking one that is at least making an attempt to not be completely evil is counterproductive.

Bad behavior is not exclusive to faceless corporations. I wrote about a survey done a few years back by Urban Habitat that found

 in a 2011 survey of 500 organic growers in California found, “only 7.5 percent were in favor of labor standards. Forty-seven percent felt strongly that organic standards should not include labor standards and over 50 percent felt that organic certification should not require growers to provide workers with health insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation, or the right to unionize.”

Where is the outrage from the anti crowd? Oh, groups like the Organic Consumers Association, one of the leading Monsanto demonizers, pay lip service to improving farm workers’ lives, but where does most of their money go? Certainly not to this issue.

Treatment of farm workers is a real world issue with real victims. The anti-gmo fight is an imaginary one based on imaginary fears built around an imaginary boogeyman. Back in 1951, writer and social commentator Eric Hoffer wrote in True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movement

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. Like an ideal deity, an ideal devil is omnipotent and omnipresent.

So, maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, or maybe not. I still have an innate distrust of corporations but less knee jerk. The left rightly made fun of Reagan when he made the Freudian slip, “Facts are stupid things,” and correctly recoiled when Karl Rove was quoted as saying  “We create our own reality.” I see the anti-gmo crowd as embracing those very ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

84 Thoughts on “What if a corporation isn’t evil incarnate? A progressive’s dilemma.

  1. Great post and one I could write for myself if I wrote as well as you do.

    I hate that I have to defend a company but the BS about them actually make me feel sorry for a corporation. What is amazing to me is they still really have not fought back with a PR campaign and its people like you that don’t like corporations that have done more to clear their name then they have.

    I also have to say I love how they are the all powerful company that runs the whole food supply chain. Never mind that Whole Foods and Chipolata have a combined market cap that is 55 percent of Monsantos. Whole Foods alone has revenue that is about equal to Monsanto. Whole Foods a company that fought against the ACA, is anti union, sells natural cure for cancer and sells homeopathy is the good guy company.

    • Mollace on May 22, 2014 at 10:21 am said:

      My homeopath is the only doctor who has been able, over the past twenty years, to solve my hemorrhaging problems, my chronic bronchitis, allergies to foods, mold, mildew, pollen, cats and horses, and adrenal exhaustion, and is the one doctor I’ve had who actually addresses building your immune system back up when you have to take antibiotics for something like strep throat, which he prescribed when I caught it the first week on a new job, after which, he took steps to restore the good bacteria in my system. I don’t get recurrences and I very seldom get sick at all anymore. Keep talking out of your rear end about homeopathy. Oh, and I don’t shop at Whole Paycheck.

  2. Yesterday some moron tried to use Monsanto’s stock price last week as evidence of something. It was the stupidest claim I saw all weekend. And I hang around the internet a lot.

    I really don’t care about Monsanto. I don’t care at all about their stock. And I don’t care because if they went away tomorrow nothing would really change. There are plenty of other seed providers. We know from the publications and patents what we need to know about the technology.

    And this drama about patents–please, stop clutching your pearls over this team anti-GMO. Monsanto is not the largest holder of patents on “life”. In fact, they are way behind numerous other companies–and also behind the US government and the University of California system. And you know what else–patents are designed to expire! See me again after the soybean patent comes off and let’s all have a blast at Farmer Bowman’s place. Yeah–let’s all watch him spray the Roundup he loves and then have some snacks. Any takers?

    But yes, nothing unites like a common enemy. I’ve actually joked in the past that if I worked for Pioneer, I’d support Monsanto just so they take the fire while everyone else gets on with their work.

  3. I spent my 20′s working as a union organizer in the South for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, SEIU and the Teamsters. I may never forgive the Food Movement for forcing me to defend Monsanto on a regular basis. The problem is that I hate BS and the Food Movement can’t reform the real food system if it is spending all it’s energy trying to reform an imaginary cartoon version of the food system.

    Here’s my standard Monsanto challenge. Find me something reprehensible that they’ve done in the last 20 years that stands up to a five minute fact check.

    In 2003 they sued a small Vermont dairy and won over rBGH labeling. Mean, but understandable.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/12/business/monsanto-sues-dairy-in-maine-over-label-s-remarks-on-hormones.html

    They’ve played hardball with smaller seed companies.
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-12-14-monsanto-practices_N.htm

    I also know there were stories of ‘secret documents’ regarding side effects of Posilac, but I have never found them reported by reputable journalists. It was also just outside the 20 year window I believe.

    That’s all anyone has offered to the challenge that has survived a fact check.

    • Bernie Mooney on April 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm said:

      Hey buddy, take a shave. ;-)

    • Eric Kuykendall on June 10, 2014 at 6:44 pm said:

      It’s great because the food we are eating is bad, it’s really time to clean up the mess of what’s been fed to us before we all here in America die from GMO foods that “MONSANTOS” Inc. is growing, death! To add to this problem the person Mr. Obama put in place to over see the healthiness in our food is MICHAEL TAYLOR, yes the same guy that ran MONSANTOS, all this is going on for money not to feed the hungry, they tried to send ship loads, tons of GMO food to some third world country’s but they turned it away, they would rather keep starving then eat any of it. ( you tube video; SEEDS OF DEATH) take a look at what’s going on!

  4. Good for you. The thing I like about science is that truth is truth, no matter who says it. Transgenetics can do good things. And bad things. Probably it will do both, like most technology does. Making herbicide-resistant corn isn’t great, but how about if they made perennial corn with 6 foot deep roots impervious to drought?

    About corporations though. I’ve worked for some. They embody the best and the worst of what humans do when a large number of them work together. You can end up with a man on the moon, or Nazis. Right now the laws are such that “short term profit” is being rewarded, but a few tweaks to the system could reward long-term planning and some eco-consciousness. The book “23 things they never taught you about Capitalism” is rather eye-opening.

  5. First Officer on April 29, 2014 at 2:22 am said:

    Marc, The suit in Vermont over rBGH was a Vermont law forcing the labeling for rBST. Vewrmont, the state, not a dairy (your link is to one in Maine) was sued and lost. It was a case of mandatory labeling, compelled speech, with no reasonable cause (milk was the same, no safety or product differences). First Amendment.

    For what it’s worth, similiar laws where a dairy advertises not to use rBST and was forced to print a disclaimer, et al, were also struck down. Same First Amendment.

  6. The issue is brutally simple; there are very few “bad guys”. There are, and always have been, lots of people acting in their own self-interest. The ones you want to watch like a hawk are the ones who claim to be acting for The greater Good. There are such people, but saints are few and far between. Mostly they are out for something they decline to specify.

    Commercial entities are in the business of making money. That makes their motives fairly easy to suss. Political activists are in the business of making a fuss. I speak as somebody who would be one if my wife’s health were better. THEY tend to have ulterior motives out the wazoo. Politicians are in the business of gathering and using power – of telling people what to do. They should be viewed at all times with advanced suspicion, regardless of party affiliation or declared principles.

    The tobacco companies, to pick a notorious example, are in the business of selling tobacco to people who want it. Not very nice, but I happen to think that heroin should be legal, so you can imagine how I feel about the folks who attack the tobacco companies. The anti-smokers, on the other hand, are all about telling other people what to do …. or they wouldn’t be trying to ban e-digs. Guess which group I would prefer to have move in next door.

  7. Kevin Folta on May 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm said:

    I think this fits well with the polarization within a typical liberal faction with respect to the GMO issue:

    “Some people just hate corporations more than they love people”
    – Hank Campbell Science 2.0

  8. Scott P on May 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm said:

    You are comparing a moral belief in worker rights versus an issue people’s health. The anti GMO camp typically convenes around the idea that genetically modified foods could be (at least a part) contributor to many serious health issues including Crones Disease, IBS, and Cancer to name a few. That is a different discussion than workers hours, pay and benefits.

    I do agree however with some of the comments above including that business incentives are skewed right now for short term profits, senior executive pay, and BOD compensation all to the sacrifice of the employees and mass shareholders.

    • Bernie Mooney on May 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm said:

      No, I’m comparing real world issues with real victims versus imaginary health issues based on unscientific beliefs. There are no health issues with GMOS. None, zilch, nada.

      • Eric Kuykendall on June 10, 2014 at 6:46 pm said:

        It’s great because the food we are eating is bad, it’s really time to clean up the mess of what’s been fed to us before we all here in America die from GMO foods that “MONSANTOS” Inc. is growing, death! To add to this problem the person Mr. Obama put in place to over see the healthiness in our food is MICHAEL TAYLOR, yes the same guy that ran MONSANTOS, all this is going on for money not to feed the hungry, they tried to send ship loads, tons of GMO food to some third world country’s but they turned it away, they would rather keep starving then eat any of it. ( you tube video; SEEDS OF DEATH) take a look at what’s going on!

  9. Jim N on May 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm said:

    “The fact that they may be conservative, libertarian and running dog lackeys of the oppressive bourgeoisie, they are actually correct on the issue of GMOs. ”

    That’s not an English sentence.

    The long Brazeau quote isn’t a sentence either.

    Why would anyone want to say “cognitive dissidence”? Is it supposed to mean something?

    Points are usually more convincing if they’re written coherently.

  10. IowaFalcon on May 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm said:

    This was a good and thoughtful post. I especially liked the reply by C. S. P. Schofield, who points out that there are not a lot of bad guys. I find that to be true. There certainly are a lot of perspectives, and the point of being open minded and inclusive is to consider them all.

    I wonder what would happen if you looked just as long at other industries with the same open mind. Would you find a similar reality of companies, run by real people, with real concern for the interests of their stakeholders, even if for nothing but business reasons? Would you find similar attacks by people who have agendas of their own, but have the same kind of skeletons in their own closets as they point out in others?

    The fact that organic growers want to pay market wages does not bother me much. Would their workers be better off if they automated, or did not offer a job in the first place?

  11. Gabrielle on May 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm said:

    Perhaps if I hadn’t had migraines, digestive disorders, and other unmentionable physical ailments for six years, which all went away when I stopped eating genetically modified wheat, I would consider your viewpoint. I counted six magazines at the book store that cater to people who can’t eat wheat the last time I shopped. How long have those magazines been in business e and who buys them? There must be a demand for them or they wouldn’t exist. Finally, why are other countries banning Monsanto’s roundup and G M O farming? Could they acknowledge something that the U S doesn’t? Do some more homework before defending Monsanto in the future.

    • Bernie Mooney on May 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm said:

      There is no GM wheat on the market. Perhaps you have a gluten sensitivity?

      • Eric Kuykendall on June 10, 2014 at 6:50 pm said:

        It’s great because the food we are eating is bad, it’s really time to clean up the mess of what’s been fed to us before we all here in America die from GMO foods that “MONSANTOS” Inc. is growing, death! To add to this problem the person Mr. Obama put in place to over see the healthiness in our food is MICHAEL TAYLOR, yes the same guy that ran MONSANTOS, all this is going on for money not to feed the hungry, they tried to send ship loads, tons of GMO food to some third world country’s but they turned it away, they would rather keep starving then eat any of it. ( you tube video; SEEDS OF DEATH) take a look at what’s going on! Bernie the wheat was the first to go GMO a long time ago.

      • Melvin Williams on June 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm said:

        It may not be GM wheat, but many wheat farmers are now spraying Roundup on their wheat fields late in the growing season to hasten ripening in order to expedite the harvesting. What does the Roundup do? It kills the wheat plant; does any of the Roundup get onto the grain itself? Certainly.

        • Jeff_V on June 26, 2014 at 5:41 am said:

          “TEPA conducted a dietary risk assessment for glyphosate based on a
          worst-case risk scenario, that is, assuming that 100 percent of all possible
          commodities/acreage were treated, and assuming that tolerance-level residues
          remained in/on all treated commodities. The Agency concluded that the
          chronic dietary risk posed by glyphosate food uses is minimal.

          A reference dose (RfD), or estimate of daily exposure that would not
          cause adverse effects throughout a lifetime, of 2 mg/kg/day has been proposed
          for glyphosate, based on the developmental toxicity studies described above..” Wikipedia, and the citation:

          http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/0178fact.pdf

          No intervention is without risks, but all the science shows that the glysophate, the active ingredient in roundup, has very minimal risks to human health.

        • If you look at the populations that eat “wheat” often over the last 4000 years … they all have the same set of specific issues. Starting in Egypt and Mesopotamia. I blame the wheat gene.

          Roundup may or may not add to that set of issues. One thing that gets rarely mentioned though, is the addition of a heavy metal to most wheat products after WW2. Namely iron. Iron is inflammatory all on it’s own, and likely to trigger immune reactions.

          • Jeff_V on June 26, 2014 at 7:33 am said:

            What’s a wheat gene? There are thousands of genes that make up the wheat plant. And what do you mean about the “addition of heavy metal to most wheat products”? I don’t get it. How is this heavy metal added? Are you referring to pesticides? Fertilizers? Changing genome?

            Also, iron is an essential mineral in the human diet, you get anemia if you don’t have enough. I could understand that too much would cause problems, but I have never heard that wheat has too much iron.

          • OK, wheat “genes” would be more correct. The heavy metal is iron, and YES it is necessary. But it is also easy to overdose on. When iron levels go high, a person is prone to cancer and diabetes. This is a known issue, and it happens a lot when people get a lot of transfusions or people ingest it from, say, iron pans. Problem is, people in the US have a lot of stored iron, because it’s been added to most foods, since WW2.

            For iron and diabetes, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12145144
            For iron and cancer: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/502752_4

            Wheat on it’s own doesn’t have a lot of iron, and whole wheat actually BLOCKS iron absorption. But your average white bread or breakfast cereal is wheat based and loaded with iron. One breakfast cereal I looked at had 50% of an adult RDA in a small serving. Wheat has the ability to make the gut temporarily permeable too, which I think might make the iron more absorbable than usual. Anyway, many of the health problems that skyrocketed in the US, did so after iron-fortification of starchy foods was implemented.

            I suspect it’s a problem in the other starchy foods too, like corn and rice. Corn and wheat make up the bulk of the standard American diet at this point. Beef may be a problem too, because the heme iron in red meat makes the other kinds of iron more absorbable.

          • Jeff_V on June 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm said:

            That’s not something I’ve heard of before. Thanks for the links – although the first one requires an account.

    • As Bernie Mooney said there is no GM wheat on the market. There are plenty of fad diet books and magazines that are around. More countries have banned homosexuality so your point here is? And what country has banned Round Up?

  12. Jane on May 22, 2014 at 12:38 am said:

    Monsanto’s genetic modifications to corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, etc. so it will be resistant to Roundup weed killer is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been opened. Their purpose is, of course, to sell more Roundup–to the tune of nearly two hundred million pounds per year applied to our food. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).

    We now have super weeds that have developed a resistance to Roundup. We have cross-pollination and contamination of non-GMO crops. And, according to many studies, we have health problems from increased exposure to Roundup.

    It’s even found in mothers’ breast milk. See: http://sustainablepulse.com/2014/04/06/worlds-number-1-herbicide-discovered-u-s-mothers-breast-milk/#.U32EAHJdVCh

    See also http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/is-roundup-weed-killer-glyphosate-affecting-your-health/

    Farmers who plant “Roundup Ready” crops are required to sign an agreement with Monsanto stipulating that they will buy new seeds from Monsanto, rather than the time-honored tradition of saving their own seeds from the previous year’s harvest.

    There are at least twenty-six countries with total or partial bans on GMOs, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries. Does Monsanto have too much political clout in the United States for there to be any restrictions?

    It’s a no-brainer that crops grow better when they don’t have to compete with weeds, but there has to be a better way than dousing our food with a herbicide that can’t be proven safe and whose long-term risks and consequences are unknown. I don’t care to be a guinea pig in Monsanto’s Roundup experiment just so Monsanto can make big profits. In my opinion, big profits are the ONLY thing Monsanto cares about.

  13. Meremortal on May 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm said:

    A corporation is a group of people who operate a business using rules drawn up by the government.

    There is no intrinsic evil in that.

    Some people are evil, whether they operate as a corporation or not. Many evil people operate as foundations, for example.

    It’s the business of totalitarians to call anything that makes a profit evil.

    But foundations, which make no “profits” while paying huge salaries to higher-ups and distributing peanuts to beneficiaries, they are just fine! That’s why leftists run so many of them, they are a haven for grifters who get rich while pretending to have pure motives.

  14. Dave on May 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm said:

    A few years ago I remember Iowa State did a study on BT Corn a Monsanto genetically modified corn seed. It found that the corn from that seed had much weaker root systems that regular corn seed and smaller corn ears. Corn certainly has not gone DOWN in price. 3 for a $1 is the price I normally see and that is not cheap. LGBT has nothing to do with GMO so leave it out of stories please . Tired of hearing it. Monsanto gets a huge bailout from each Farm Bill but the little organic farmer trying to scrape by does not so don’t forget that.

    • Bernie Mooney on May 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm said:

      I’ve never heard of such a study. Could point me to it? Also, why would the corn be so popular among farmers if it was smaller in size and the root system weaker? And where do you get the info they get a bailout from the farm bills?

      • Eric Kuykendall on June 10, 2014 at 6:54 pm said:

        Monsanto’s genetic modifications to corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, etc. so it will be resistant to Roundup weed killer is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been opened. Their purpose is, of course, to sell more Roundup–to the tune of nearly two hundred million pounds per year applied to our food. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).

        We now have super weeds that have developed a resistance to Roundup. We have cross-pollination and contamination of non-GMO crops. And, according to many studies, we have health problems from increased exposure to Roundup.

        It’s even found in mothers’ breast milk. See: http://sustainablepulse.com/2014/04/06/worlds-number-1-herbicide-discovered-u-s-mothers-breast-milk/#.U32EAHJdVCh

        See also http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/is-roundup-weed-killer-glyphosate-affecting-your-health/

        Farmers who plant “Roundup Ready” crops are required to sign an agreement with Monsanto stipulating that they will buy new seeds from Monsanto, rather than the time-honored tradition of saving their own seeds from the previous year’s harvest.

        There are at least twenty-six countries with total or partial bans on GMOs, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries. Does Monsanto have too much political clout in the United States for there to be any restrictions?

        It’s a no-brainer that crops grow better when they don’t have to compete with weeds, but there has to be a better way than dousing our food with a herbicide that can’t be proven safe and whose long-term risks and consequences are unknown. I don’t care to be a guinea pig in Monsanto’s Roundup experiment just so Monsanto can make big profits. In my opinion, big profits are the ONLY thing Monsanto cares about.

        • Jeff_V on June 12, 2014 at 12:17 pm said:

          1. Roundup has been off patent in the US since 2000, so farmers can buy their glyphosate-based herbicides from numerous manufacturers. “Their purpose is, of course, to sell more Roundup…” Do you have a problem with Apple’s proprietary software and hardware? Do you March On Apple because you have to buy their plug to charge their iPad?

          2.The increase in use of Roundup has been at the expense of more toxic herbicides like atrizine. Glyphosate has an LD50 level less than that of caffeine. Plus it breaks down quickly in the soil.

          3. Roundup Ready corn is subject to intellectual property laws like other patented products. Are you against that? Then are you against the US Protection Act of 1930, that has protected intellectual property of seed developers for 80+ years.

          4. Farmers for the most part do not save their seeds. With regular hybrid varieties the next generation does not provide enough yield to make the effort of collecting, cleaning and storing seeds worth it. If you had actually spoken to a farmer you would know that.

          5. Your claim that those countries have total or partial bans GMOs is exaggerated – some of them have not been approved, which is not the same as banning. But even if was true it’s not evidence GMOs are unsafe, otherwise the fact that other governments allow GMOs would be evidence that they are.

          Also I don’t need to mention to mention that in 81 countries it is against the law to live as a gay person. Does this make it wrong to be gay? By your logic it would.

          6. “…herbicide that can’t be proven safe and whose long-term risks and consequences are unknown.” Its level of toxicity is known precisely. A 200lb man would have to eat 4 lbs of Roundup to have a 50-50 chance of dying from poisoning. He would die from the surfactant in Roundup before the glyphosate got him.

          7. Quoting from woo websites with the words “sustainable” and “holisitic” doesn’t help your case. The reality is the scientific consensus on the safety of the currently grown GMO is almost 100%.

          It’s as though you didn’t read the original post, or any of the links.

    • What does the price of sweet corn have to do with Dent corn? They are 2 different products with different market structures. Sweet corn is much more local of a product and is grown more in warm weather states.

      Little Organic farmers? Its 2 percent of organic farm land that produces nearly half the organic yield. And why should farmers using inefficient methods based on woo in order to gain a higher price for their crop be rewarded?

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  16. Ken digness on May 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm said:

    I live in southern Oregon ,Jackson county. Monsanto, Syngntra which is a Swiss based Gmo Company which does not allow Gmo crops in their own country and Bayer chemical Co lost a public election banning Gmo crops in Jackson County May 20 2014 They lost 66% to 34%. Now they are using their monies to take this to the higher courts. Democracy in this country is payed for the lobbyists who befriend congress and the rest takes shape on Wall Street. I could care less about the hype with organic but it is a no brain er to want to eat food that does not have chemicals on it , which taint our soils and water sheds and our bodies. I don’t know if you live in a agriculture area or not there obvious signs that created species are disappearing butterflies, the lack of milk weed, bee colonies are down 40% the evidence pretty much points to the use of pesticides. these little guys are our pollinators. There is a study out of U.C. Berkley on the use of chemical fertilizers and the effect they have on wildlife, water and soil. Take a good look around and listen we have introduced so many products we have no idea the long term effects. We seem to not want to believe that we are not part of the problem.

    • The problem here is conflating “GMO” with “chemicals”. I’d tend to agree I don’t want Roundup in my food. Maybe we should be testing foods for traces of herbicide. But GMO, properly used, can save the food supply. For starters, having perennials with 5 foot roots would be drought-tolerant, prevent the need for plowing, filter the water that does run through the fields, and help create topsoils. So if GMO is used for creating more planet-friendly plants … is GMO still evil? The process of gene-swapping mediated by viruses has been going on for millions of years, and the gene-swapping itself isn’t much different when it’s done on purpose.

      Monsanto, meanwhile, is developing some amazing organic-targeted vegies, without using that particular technique, to avoid the “anti GMO” crowd:

      http://www.wired.com/2014/01/new-monsanto-vegetables/

      “So it’s not particularly surprising that the company is introducing novel strains of familiar food crops, invented at Monsanto and endowed by their creators with powers and abilities far beyond what you usually see in the produce section. The lettuce is sweeter and crunchier than romaine and has the stay-fresh quality of iceberg. The peppers come in miniature, single-serving sizes to reduce leftovers. The broccoli has three times the usual amount of glucoraphanin, a compound that helps boost antioxidant levels. Stark’s department, the global trade division, came up with all of them.”

      If they make awesome vegies, are they still evil?

      • Eric Kuykendall on June 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm said:

        Monsanto’s genetic modifications to corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, etc. so it will be resistant to Roundup weed killer is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been opened. Their purpose is, of course, to sell more Roundup–to the tune of nearly two hundred million pounds per year applied to our food. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).

        We now have super weeds that have developed a resistance to Roundup. We have cross-pollination and contamination of non-GMO crops. And, according to many studies, we have health problems from increased exposure to Roundup.

        It’s even found in mothers’ breast milk. See: http://sustainablepulse.com/2014/04/06/worlds-number-1-herbicide-discovered-u-s-mothers-breast-milk/#.U32EAHJdVCh

        See also http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/is-roundup-weed-killer-glyphosate-affecting-your-health/

        Farmers who plant “Roundup Ready” crops are required to sign an agreement with Monsanto stipulating that they will buy new seeds from Monsanto, rather than the time-honored tradition of saving their own seeds from the previous year’s harvest.

        There are at least twenty-six countries with total or partial bans on GMOs, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries. Does Monsanto have too much political clout in the United States for there to be any restrictions?

        It’s a no-brainer that crops grow better when they don’t have to compete with weeds, but there has to be a better way than dousing our food with a herbicide that can’t be proven safe and whose long-term risks and consequences are unknown. I don’t care to be a guinea pig in Monsanto’s Roundup experiment just so Monsanto can make big profits. In my opinion, big profits are the ONLY thing Monsanto cares about.

  17. Saying “I hate corporations” is similar to saying “I hate clubs.” After all, clubs aren’t even real people! Clubs are these evil *things*, not human beings! You know what’s a club? Hell’s Angels! And they’ve murdered people! It’s us real people vs the clubs!

    How is the above any *less* stupid than saying “I hate corporations”??

  18. Forget the debate about whether or no GMO food is hazardous to the human body. What is JUST as important is the effect “DNA” of GMOs infect nature, the environment. Which is why GMO WHEAT is STICTLY prohibited across the GLOBE. Why is there no heirloom corn left? Because it has been infected with GMO genes, forever altering the heirloom genetics AND their NATURAL resistance to disease and pest. So Monsanto created a GMO corn resistant to corn worm, OK. Some heirloom, open pollinated have a NATURAL resistance to corn worm. Not anymore, because heirloom genes are now altered with GMO genes. So when that Corn Worm becomes a super bug and builds resistance to the GMO corn (much like flu viruses adapt to vaccines and become immune to them) that super bug can wipe out the global supply of corn. The health concerns of eating GMO food is only ONE PART of peoples concerns with GMOs.

  19. Larry Warshauer on May 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm said:

    The author has no knowledge of what he speaks. The FDA administration works for Monsanto, meaning FDA board of directors and former board of directors routinely go in and out of being the head of FDA COMING FROM MONSANTO. The FDA accepts the studies of the corporations doing the “safety testing” without independent studies. This is the wolf watching the hen house and the farmer trusting the wolf. Genetically modified foods are PATENTED so you can’t grow your own seed and use it without risk of being sued by Monsanto. You have to BUY YOUR SEED from Monsanto. Monsanto IGNORES OVER 200 STUDIES IN EUROPE SHOWING THAT GMO FOODS contribute to auto immune diseases as the human body does not recognize the “modified” food. Monsanto (the FDA) sues farmers
    who are growing organic produce “claiming that some of the crops on the organic farm” have Monsanto seed, whereas farmers have proof that Monsanto at night is going into organic farms and planting the seed illegally. The author should get education. Check out the Organic Consumers Association for more information.

    • For someone claiming the author does not know what they speak of you sure have a ton wrong.

      There are hundreds of studies with independent funding including from the EU itself that show no harm from GMOs.

      OH NO GMO seeds are PATENTED. Oh wait so are other non GMO varieties of seeds. You can grow your own seed you just cant use a patented trait unless you have a license to use it.

      Being forced to buy seed from Monsanto would come as a surprise to the 70 percent of US farmers that buy their seeds from seed companies not owned by Monsanto. It really would be a shock to the biggest seed seller Pioneer.

      There is not 200 studies in Europe showing GMO foods contribute to auto immune disease. This is just a straight up lie.

      Monsanto has sued less then 140 farmers in the last 18 years or less then 10 farmers a year. They have never once sued a Organic Farmer. In fact Organic Farmers tried to sue Monsanto but every level the case hit the court sided with Monsanto because the Organic famers could not show a single piece of evidence that Monsanto has sued a single organic farmer for accident drift.

      So yeah the author really should go check a trade group for a 60 billion dollar business to get the facts straight about their competitors.

  20. Larry Warshauer on May 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm said:

    Okay, obviously you are not interested in learning “facts” from any corporation other than Monsanto. Monsanto simply can’t be relied on for facts. So read about real facts, if you care
    to get out of your fog

    1. GMOs are unhealthy.
    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

    Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

    The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.

    2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
    GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
    Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.

    Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

    4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

    5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
    Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.

    6. The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.
    Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.

    7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
    Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.

    8. GMOs harm the environment.
    GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
    On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.

    10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
    Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.

    The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make avoiding GMOs much easier.

    MORE ABOUT THE REAL DANGERS OF GMO FOOD

    1. There have been numerous cases where animals have died or became serious ill and were put down in order to avoid mass contamination or to calm down the panic that would have caused even more damage to the food industry. In Hesse, Germany many cows died suddenly when they were fed with Syngenta’s genetically engineered maize cow food and as a result of this incident the authorities in Germany decided to slaughter the rest of the cows to avoid having the mysterious disease to get out and contaminate other cattle houses. Syngenta did admit that the protein used for the cow food maize is also used for human genetically engineered foods. Oh dear, why has Syngenta now withdrawn this protein from human genetically engineered foods? Let’s ask FDA.
    - Syngenta Charged for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GM Corn

    - Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food
    2. Why should you be concerned that cows eating GMO foods died and/or got contaminated with a mysterious disease? Because, if you eat meat or chicken that is contaminated as a result of a GMO with re-engineered DNA that is contaminated with a pathogen, then the DNA genes contaminate your cells and are also harmful to you. These DNA genes can be INSERTED into your own genes.

    3. Roundup Ready Soy was given to mother rats as food during a study and it was discovered that 53% of the babies born died within a couple of weeks, about 10 times worse than normal. The biochemical form and structure of rats are very similar to human which is why they are used so often for studies to protect humans against various diseases. So the study should be of a major concern to FDA and other authorities that are concerned with health impediments of GMO’s. What should be even more concerning to FDA is that the GMO soy beans given to these rats caused serious disturbances to the liver by changing the cellular function of the liver and the cell nucleus, which may cause serious changes to the way our body operates at the biological level. Who knows how far this may go – may be in a few years of nucleus changes, men will even get pregnant since some already are growing breasts due to consumption of hormones.

    5. In United States gastrointestinal diseases (chronic and acute) have increased dramatically since mid 90s and this has been linked to GMO foods given to sheep. In Sweden, where no GMO foods are allowed for humans or cattle, there has been no change whatsoever. Scientists are still researching the inflammation causes to the intestine and the study will take another 2 years to complete, while GMO foods are still being given to sheep in US.
    - Liver Damage Caused by GM Food

    6. In UK, GMO soy was put through a thorough test on a group of students at Sheffield University, half on GMO soy and the other on non-GMO soy and the research was conducted with all other parameters being equal, e.g. water consumption, diet size, environmental factors, etc. By the end of the research the GMO soy fed subjects were experiencing some allergies with 50% of them experiencing long term allergies – compared to no GMO soy fed subjects.

    7. In laboratory tests, again and again, animals avoided GMO foods compared to non-GMO equivalent. Should we trust the instincts of animals that live based on their instincts?

    8. Argentina has been one of the first countries to convert half of their arable land to GMO food production and are now the country with a major serious agricultural nightmare which has resulted in more than 20,000 farmers losing their land and livelihoods to superweeds that have destroyed the soil and is now a major agricultural crises in the world.
    In India every 30 minutes, one farmer commits suicide because of devastating side effects of genetically modified organisms.

    9. Scientists and Genetic Engineers themselves (if not coerced nor threatened with unemployment – or worse) tell us that GMO as used in crop development is not precise or predictable and has not been shown to be safe. The technique can result in the unexpected production of toxins or allergens in food that are unlikely to be spotted in current regulatory checks.

    GMO-food-and-seeds

    10. The scariest of them all – the authorities (FDA and others) as well as food corporations protest profusely to any kind of labeling of GMO foods. I don’t know about you, but that certainly concerns me that they would be so adamantly against labeling and so vehemently fighting against it – as if they have nothing better to do. Why are they so much against it? What is wrong with labeling or essentially saying, “… some foods are GMO and we (FDA) as well as our partners (Food Companies) don’t think there is anything wrong with them, but for the informed consumers’ choice and for fairness, we decided to include it in the labeling”. The fact that they assume that they know best and that they are the informed, logical, and trustworthy entity and us the people, who want labeling, are ignorant, fearful, and paranoid – tells me that they are hiding something. Why not be open and truthful and let people decide if they want GMO in their food or not? In a free country, should we not have the choice to eat GMO-free foods if we want?

    Sources:

    - Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize

    - Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers

    - Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

    - Concerns Expressed by Government Scientists about GMOs

    obviously you are just spewing the Monsanto line. How much did they pay you?

    • Great you are throwing all the shit you have at the wall and expecting people to play wack a mole. I love your sources too which are just more nonsense statements. Everything you said is a lie. Stop it and your anti science ways. And stop it because its people like you that are going to kill millions of children.

    • Jeff_V on May 31, 2014 at 11:57 am said:

      Not one thing you said is true. Not one. It’s all rubbish from start to finish.

      Honestly, this kind of thing is like arguing with creationists.

  21. Larry Warshauer on May 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm said:

    By the way Monsanto has sued 410 family farmers. And they continue to sue famlly farmers.
    Wake up and yearn to healthy clean air, food and water. Monsanto and factory farming are on he wrong side of the health line

    • STOP WITH THE LIES. They have not sued 410 farmers but who cares if they did that still works out to 20 a year in a country with 2 million farmers.

  22. Jane on May 31, 2014 at 9:08 am said:

    Does Jim work for Monsanto?

  23. You think that a Genetic Modification made to “terminate seed” reproduction and allow MORE use of chemicals only they can produce that have huge social costs is good ? You expect the general public to “trust” anyone who does something purely to make money ….. with your food ? …. that the Lord himself did not do ? Instead of living in harmony with what god created we try, for profit ( substitue greed if you want to ) to alter or convert it in to cash. Do you really want to eat meat that was grown in a test tube ? So you think Chemicals( agricultural included ) dont have anything to do with the explosion in global cancer rates ? What scientists are you friends with …. Frankensteins ?

    • The Terminater seed never made it to field testing let alone to market. And don’t get the big deal about this from the anti GMO side either I thought you where all worried about Drift?

      GMO use less “chemicals”.

      Yeah I am sick of there social cost like less pesticide use and conservation tilling taking over.

      Man has made basically all the food we produced. Have you seen the wild versions of most of what is on your plate? There is a reason not even high end chiefs use these ingredients.

      Without Chemicals I would not even exist.

      • Bernie Mooney on June 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm said:

        “Without Chemicals I would not even exist.” Well, then. There’s an anti-chemical argument if I ever heard one. :-)

      • more evolved on June 24, 2014 at 11:58 am said:

        You are wrong…

        Not sure why you attack like a sophmoric child with rabbies.

        Larry posted sources and real science and facts, you have not said one thing that was not an opinion.

        Your arguments are baseless, thousand of scientists around the world have condemned gmos.

        Europe has required the labeling of gmos since they were introduced…

        Even China recently turned away and banned several container ships of american gmo contaminated corn.

        And as for terminator seeds…

        Not a single one of Monsanto’s seeds is allowed by law to be replanted for next year’s harvest…

        They sue the farmers who try to…

        That means every seed is only used once and is genetically altered to not be able to reproduce on its own…

        The only way you can pollinate and create more seeds from Monsanto gmo seeds is by cross pollinating them with non gmos…

        The worst part of all of this is that you claim to be anti Corp and yet here you are blindingly giving the best head to one of the worst companies to ever exist…

        Monsanto said DDT and agent Orange and tobacco was safe and actually beneficial, just like they are with gmos.

        How could you believe a single word they say?

        If you are not being paid by them you are being used by them for free marketing…

        No one just randomly says “hey I want to take some time out of my day to come to the defense of one of the most immoral companies to have ever existed” just because I feel like people give them a hard time…

        You sir are a manipulative liar that is nothing more than a paid peon for the very same company you claim to be defending…

        I hope you feel ashamed of what you do for a lvinig. You are akin to a propaganda minister for the holocaust camps.

        Rest assured, gmos will kill more people (via all if the disorders they are associated with, ie, cancer, tumors, failing organs , etc) than all of the camps combined.

        • Jeff_V on June 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm said:

          Just about every single thing you said in your response is factually wrong. It’s unbelievable how wrong it is. I honestly believe that some people think if they just keep repeating lies they somehow become magically true.

          “I hope you feel ashamed of what you do for a lvinig. You are akin to a propaganda minister for the holocaust camps.”

          This is definitely not a sophomoric rant at all. But I will just leave this here as an indication of the author’s level of understanding about the kindergarten level basics of reproduction:

          “Not a single one of Monsanto’s seeds is allowed by law to be replanted for next year’s harvest…”

          That’s the only true thing he’s said, although it’s not so much the law, but more the basics of biology that prevents a seed from being reused once it’s grown into a plant.

        • “Larry posted sources and real science and facts, you have not said one thing that was not an opinion.

          Just because you put a dash at the end of a document does not make it a source. He put sentences without any attributing which is almost the opposite of a source.

          What is your point about Europe and China? I never said they didn’t require labeling.

          “Not a single one of Monsanto’s seeds is allowed by law to be replanted for next year’s harvest…”

          This is just wrong. There is no law at all that says you cant replant a Monsanto seed. There are contractual agreements that farmers agree to in order to plant Monsanto seeds which prevent them from replanting. If a farmers does not want to agree to it they can choice a seed company that allows them to replant.

          Never mind that there is less then 150 farmers that have an issue with this.

          “They sue the farmers who try to…

          That means every seed is only used once and is genetically altered to not be able to reproduce on its own…

          They have sued less then a 150 farmers in the last 20 years.

          That means over 99.99 farmers in N America have either agreed to this contract or not purchased Monsanto seeds.

          There is no terminator gene. Never has been a terminator gene in commercial production. And no one plans on introducing a terminator gene in commercial production.

          “Monsanto said DDT and agent Orange and tobacco was safe and actually beneficial, just like they are with gmos.”

          Huh on tobacco? They never claimed Agent Orange is safe in fact they told the Military that Dixons where a big problem 10 years before it was used in Vietnam. They where contractors for the Militaries recipe. And though they agreed to make it, it would not have mattered because they would have been forced to anyways like happened to another chemical company.

          I am coming to a defense against the liars like you. It just happens in this instance its a big ebil company. But, they are on the side of good here not on the side of genocide like you people are. You say we are the holocaust please. You guys are disgusting excuses for human beings. How can you even look in the mirror when you cheer and damage products that can prevent death and blindness and malnutrition and hunger to millions of mostly children living in adjunct poverty. Disgusting.

          You want millions to starve so you can shop at whole foods and be smug. You are holocaust deniers that ignores the evidence from every corner of science on this issue. But, but someone published a piece saying the GMO cause canceraids in giveus900topublish journal.

        • @more evolved: Oddly enough, you don’t cite sources either, just more “shill gambit” (I do love that term). There is a good writup this month in the July Popular Science (“GMO Food won’t kill you”). Also a great article in the New York Times, about Hawaii banning GMO. It brings up the point that the papaya crop was basically saved by using a GMO papaya, and the farmers were afraid that the GMO papaya would be banned.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/us/on-hawaii-a-lonely-quest-for-facts-about-gmos.html?_r=0

          One politician tried to look into the science of the matter and found it very difficult, because mostly what he found was hype and few facts on the anti-GMO side. There have been a lot of people looking for REAL evidence against “GMO” and it simply isn’t there.

          Meanwhile “thousands of scientists” support GMO:

          http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6152/1320.full

          “New technologies often evoke rumors of hazard. These generally fade with time when, as in this case, no real hazards emerge. But the anti-GMO fever still burns brightly, fanned by electronic gossip and well-organized fear-mongering that profits some individuals and organizations. We, and the thousands of other scientists who have signed the statement of protest, stand together in staunch opposition to the violent destruction of required tests on valuable advances such as Golden Rice that have the potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death.”

          As for labelling … why bother? The big producers are already labelling their foods “GMO Free” whenever they can, just because it gives them another selling point. I loved Jeff_V’s link on the costs of labelling.

    • Jeff_V on June 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm said:

      There are no “terminator seeds” on the market. Unless you mean conventionally bread hybrids which do not produce good yields in the second generation, thereby “forcing” farmers to buy hybrid seeds again next year.

      Jesus, 5 minutes on the internet would school you on this this. The same debunked nonsense over and over again.

  24. Edwin Rowe on June 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm said:

    This is a paid advertisement by Monsanto posing as a cool article, or so it appears.

    Let’s use some common sense. Pro or con, no one knows the long-term effects on humans of consuming GMO foods. I don’t want to be part of this experiment and I don’t want other people to be either.

    Once we’ve established this basic fact, that we are experimenting with the foods we consume, the further troubling fact is that GMO pollen gets onto the non-GMO crops. This is violating our choice to consume non-GMO foods, and that’s wrong.

    The article’s complaint that organic food advocates are not supporting labor laws adequately sounds very much to me like a red herring. Organic organizations have a lot to do fighting huge corporate interests and they need to allocate their resources in a focused way. I’m sure Monsanto would love to bog them down on labor issues.

    • Start out calling the author a shill check.

      Then demand tests (which already occur including long term tests) but then say no human should be subject to these tests.

      After using “common sense” we can start to ignore how farming actually works. We can segregate different wheat varieties and diffident corn varieties but somehow GMO will drift to all? This is not a real world issue. If it goes wild it will not last long because the traits added really only help in curated fields hence it will not out compete “natural” varieties.

      Now lets pretend Organic groups are some small mom and pop outfits instead of other very large companies that do anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions in revenue themselves. This despite not using best practices and having horrible land management which at the end of the day means the Rain Forrest have to be clear cut so some white westerner can have their organic apple.

    • IowaFalcon on June 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm said:

      It is fair to suggest that we do not know all of the long term consequences of GMO technology. We do know the short term consequences of not using it, which is starvation for a whole lot of people.

      We can actually grow enough grain to feed everyone, and starvation is now a matter of politics and not our ability to produce food. That is good, no matter how you twist it.

      As far as being part of the experiment, it is something that you will have to live with. As long as there have been farmers, there has been a quest to find ways to grow more given the same resources. Hybrids, cross-pollination, and animal husbandry have been used for a long time. Mutation and natural selection have also played a role. GMO is just the latest technology used to push yields and control the nutritional content of our farming effort. Who knows what the next will be? Could we have not made the same argument about hybrids in the 19th century that you are making about GMOs today? Certainly, we did not know the long term consequences of Mendel’s work, but would you really want the world where it was reject purely on that argument?

      To put it simply, nobody wants either the yields or crop failures of the near past. While there are always going to be questions about the long run, there is certainly not too many questions about the short run.

      • Jeff_V on June 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm said:

        I agree with you except on one thing: while I don’t doubt politics has a lot to do with it, it’s a myth that we can grow all the food the whole world needs. It may even be true, but one of the biggest to food production is distribution. It’s not all being grown where it is cost effective to get it to the people who need it.

        • Thing is, before the “food revolution” we seriously COULD NOT grow enough to feed everyone. The scientists in the early 1900′s were rather certain we were facing major famines, because most land would not grow enough to feed the current population (which was quite a bit smaller than today!).

          Farms now are way, way more productive. The animals are more productive too. If you raise some Cornish Cross chickens, they produce a full-size chicken in just a few weeks, while before it took months to get to the same weight and took way more food. But the Cornish Cross chicken is as close to a Frankenbird as it gets … they will pretty much just sit and eat all day until they can’t stand up any more. Super bad genetics, and totally unnatural. But productive and tasty. And predates GMO by decades. The Cornish Cross is why everyone can afford to have chicken daily rather than once every Sunday.

          The food revolution though wasn’t all just about genetics. A lot of it was just about science, being smart enough to rotate crops and keeping topsoil from being washed away. Recently, the SRI method is making crops in India super-productive without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

          In the future though, success may well depend on GMO. If we are faced with major droughts, and need deep-rooted plants quickly, GMO may well save many lives.

          • David on June 25, 2014 at 4:05 pm said:

            Get rid of oil based fertilizer, pesticides (oil) and unfathomable energy (oil) consuming irrigation projects and see how much food is produced by your “food revolution”. I suppose since “Green” has been so successfully attacked by the right the use of the term is going out of fashion. But it was not a “food revolution” that brought about the increase in crop yields but THEE “Green Revolution” that brought huge gains in productivity. Yea. We can barely feed 7.5 billion people now. So let’s pump all the oil we can, dam every river and genetically engineer so we can grow enough food so 4 or 5 billion more people can live like starving rats on a sinking ship.

          • I would say “science” is what made the productivity. If you look at farming in the 1800′s … it was just plain ignorant by our standards, and that led to a lot of starvation. The “Green revolution” had many aspects, and it’s still going on. We’re getting smarter and smarter about growing plants, learning how to space them, how to feed them, how to control water, how to control diseases, crop rotation, and more. A lot of the science is going on in universities. But also in backyards. And in seed companies. The big corporations can afford the best labs, and they often produce great stuff too. Though the first real “gene tinkerer” was a monk, who came up with the whole idea of genetics.

            But oddly, a lot of the “growing science” is happening on YouTube, as gardeners compare notes and growing techniques that anyone can afford. And esp. techniques that work in, say, a refugee camp or near-desert in Africa. Bag gardens and keyhole gardens are amazing, and one person can grow a good chunk of their own food in minimal space.

            Part of it was oil, for sure, But a lot of it was just plain good science. Learning how to rotate crops, for instance. Breeding plants for more productivity was another. The science of plant breeding is just amazing these days (even the non-”GMO” breeding).

            This is probably the 2nd or 3rd wave in the green revolution. The first one was discovering the concept of “fertilizer”. Oddly enough we probably never needed petroleum fertilizer, since it’s easy enough to produce it from manure and sewage. The big tractors could use electric power and I’m guessing someday they will (a field is a great place for solar panels).

            As for us “barely feeding” people … get real! We are mostly overweight, and we only consume about 1/4 of the food we grow. The rest goes into the trash. Climate change could change that, in which case knowing how to create drought-tolerant plants quickly could become life-saving. We don’t need nearly as much land as we use though, with the newer techniques for growing.

            As for trying to grow food without a bunch of petroleum products … I do, in fact. The chickens provide way more fertilizer than I can ever use, as well as disposing of our garbage and providing enough protein for my family (and then some). If I added a milk goat I could have a gallon of milk a day too, just off our weeds (I have two goats, but they aren’t milkers). I have more than enough greens and potatoes, from a garden that would fit in most front yards. But I can only do that because of good science. If I tried to farm the way my great-granddad did, I’d starve. My first 10 years of gardening I had zero harvest. Now I can supply our table for most of the year.

            GMO is a part of the new growing science, and I am looking forward to a new wave of awesome vegies and fruits! Monsanto’s unsung projects use a different technique (because people are freaked out by “GMO”) to create plants that have more nutrients, taste better, and keep longer. Of course, the complaint USED to be that the plants were bred for less nutrition. Now they complain because there is too much nutrition.

            “The benefits of SRI have been demonstrated in over 50 countries (see map). They include: 20%-100% or more increased yields, up to a 90% reduction in required seed, and up to 50% water savings SRI principles and practices have been adapted for rainfed rice as well as for other crops (such as wheat, sugarcane and teff, among others), with yield increases and associated economic benefits.”

            http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu/

  25. Insightful writing and discussion! I appreciate your refreshingly intelligent introspection. Required labeling for GM grown food seems like a benign request but so to was the benign request requiring a star label on the arms of certain German-Jew citizens in the mid-1930s. As soon labeling is instituted there will be hundreds of thousands of lawsuits against the FDA administered school lunch program that “MY KID” can not be forced to eat GM lunches at school.
    Conspiracy theorists are ruining democracy with their well-intentioned ignorance. More than 300 cases of measles first five months of 2014. Polio is making a unpopular comeback in countries where it once was eliminated including the United States thanks to the antiscience anti-vaccine populists rumor and fear mongering. Connie Chung infamous “silicone breast controversy” drive-by journalism created rumor and fear drivin behavior that cost the US economy between $5 and $10 billion. Thousands of wealthy women from countries around the world who would’ve purchased US Healthcare Services and spent the whole time week recovery vacations in the states… These very profitable medical procedures and the profits from them would have funded amazing advances in medical research that never happened thanks to Connie Chung’s “well intentioned” ignorance!
    Agricultural products, medical equipment and technology, computer technology, sporting events, music, and Hollywood movie entertainment products are the only products that the United States currently exports. The greenback US dollar is the world reserve currency since after World War II and Marshall plan Marshall plan to reconstruct Europe, Germany and Japan. Capitalism, while imperfect, has allowed the United States to help move many nations toward democracy and greater human rights through economic incentives or disincentives based on their governments treatment of their own citizens. Economic pressure to isolate South Africa hastened the demise of apartheid for instance. My argument in favor of capitalism states that profit is not inherently evil, in fact profit is the only way to maintain leadership in a world where China and other countries without great human rights or environmental records would begin to annex the world and subordinate democratic values…(and enslave your children.)
    The concept of profit motivates and enhances farmers and grocers to create and maintain a sustainable food production/distribution system.
    Genetic improvement of food crops to enhance yields, reduce inputs such as insecticide and herbicide use, minimize: leaf rust, stem rot, vulnerability to insect pestscreate drought tolerance or enhanced protein and vitamin capacity all are motivated by the credo of capitalism. Fewer inputs and greater production efficiency equals more product for less cost. If the conspiracy theorist antis would just stop the demonization of science and agree on what they will really would like to have the future of agriculture to look like in say 10,15, or 20 years maybe Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer could actually assist in finding profitable ways in making those goals in becoming reality sooner. Developing various mixes of soil enhancing cover crops, adding a greater mix (broad variety) of profitable cash flowing commodity crops ie. less mono cropping, adding more diversity to agriculture are just a few of the positive contributions the “evil” Monsanto and other competiting companies could quickly facilitate production of if they weren’t so busy fighting for their right to grow agricultural products and employ agricultural workers…

    • Great post. “Developing various mixes of soil enhancing cover crops” this though deserves a special mention. With the amazing move to conservation tilling and especially no till cover crops are only going to become more a more important part of agriculture. Right now its a lot of experimentation for farmers to find what works best because there is not the 70 years of best practices and experience in this area. Its not cheap either so if we can get the big boys into these areas and funding not only their own research but the ag schools this can only help use less N2 from other sources. It would be awesome if you can take say oats and have these companies either engineer them in a way they can be a cash crop or to increase their N2 processing ability that makes this a non decision to use for farmers.

    • Well thought out, and I’d agree mostly. But one of the things that has been happening in the last 20 years or so is the misuse of capitalism and what we are seeing, I think, is the blowback. An economist did a great job of giving the details in “23 things they never told you about capitalism”. He is very much in favor of capitalism for all the reasons you cite, but also shows how capitalism needs well-structured rules for it to work. It’s like a football game … competition works as long as the players follow the rules. But without an umpire, the game is likely to be rigged or the players escalate the violence. In the last 20 years or so, we fired the umpire.

      I’d say the same about medicine. More and more recently, it’s hard for me to get ANY decent medical care, and usually I get the impression that what is being recommended is simply what makes the most profit for the medical group. The last 4 major issues I had I cured … by doing Internet searches to find what works. I’m pretty scientifically-minded so this worked. But I understand why people do Internet searches and come up with the idea vaccines or mercury fillings or whatever caused the problem. I long for the day that a person can go to the doctor and get a real CURE. Not a prescription for the latest drug du jour.

  26. Jude Viner on June 17, 2014 at 6:58 am said:

    How much was this author paid? What is his connection to Monsanto? Would he feed this food to his family?

    Monsanto manufactures pesticides that have been banned the world over.

    • What country bans Glyphosate?

    • Jeff_V on June 17, 2014 at 9:17 am said:

      Ah! The “Shill Gambit (™)” . Can’t actually refute anything the author says, though, can you, so you make claims without evidence.

      Name a country that bans Monsanto pesticies. Just one. I might also add, Evil Roundup has been off patent in the US at least for over 10 years, so plenty of other companies make glyphosate-based herbicide.

      Also, as has been pointed out, banning something, even if it was banned, is of itself no indication of its wrongness.

      • Bernie Mooney on June 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm said:

        I thought of not approving that comment, then I thought, “Eh, what the hell?” The shill gambit is a giveaway and says, “I got nothin.”

  27. John Patt on June 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm said:

    I recently walked into a supermarket to find that there were four varieties of orange juice, each with their own label, each requiring their own markings, storage, product segregation, etc. So I don’t see why this is so difficult for GMO products.
    The bottom line is that it is my decision what my family will consume, and without accurate labeling, that freedom is taken away from me.

  28. Melvin Williams on June 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm said:

    Stephanie Seneff of MIT agrees that humans don’t have the same metabolic pathway found in plants (Monsanto’s main argument), so the poison that kills plants doesn’t kill us–directly. However, our gut bacteria do have the same metabolic pathway, and this results in leaky gut syndrome, IBD, colitis, and other gastrointestinal diseases which have spiked since the onset of Roundup. What you think may be caused by gluten may actually be caused by glyphosates found in Roundup.

    • You got to be kidding me with Seneff. She is a computer science professor with no back ground in biology. Yet she has had a Annus Mirabilis on the subject of GMOs. Well of course instead of a respected journal in the actual field of study, Seneff did this in a pay to play journal that has nothing to do with biology but somehow she was able to publish 9 different articles in a single issue. Hell her own webpage she all but says that this journal is for conspiracy theory.

    • Jeff_V on June 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm said:

      Our gut bacteria -which are prokaryotes – have the same metabolic pathway as plants, which are eukaryotes and completely different kinds of organisms? Have fun proving that one.

    • In my case, I highly doubt Roundup has anything to do with it. First, my problems started in, say, 1960, way before Roundup was invented. Second, my father and grandmother had similar issues. There is a well-documented genetic reaction to wheat and the genes in question have been identified.

      There IS an issue where if you ingest an inflammatory substance along with a potential allergen, a super-immune response can be established. That’s the basis for vaccines, for instance. I kind of think iron is a better candidate though as an inflammatory, because iron was added to infant formula about the time infants started getting all kinds of allergies. Iron is super inflammatory, and infants are more susceptible to developing immune responses. That’s just a guess though.

      The other problem is that the same set of issues is found in ancient Egyptians and Romans. I’m fairly sure they didn’t have Roundup OR GMO. What did happen is that the genes in question got rarer and rarer … because the immune response shortens your life. This was shown most clearly in the study of WW2 pilots … the ones with celiac were never diagnosed, because they SEEMED healthy. But they died earlier, of other diseases. The IgA wheat reaction just creates a more unhealthy person in general.

      Anyway, even if Roundup does turn out to be the worse thing EVER, the Roundup issue is totally apart from the “GMO” issue. Roundup is used (and misused) on all kinds of crops, GMO and otherwise. Ditto for BT, which is often used by organic farmers. So how about the Rainbow Papaya, which allows the Hawaiian farmers to grow papaya without getting a virus? Is there any evidence that Rainbow Papaya causes papaya allergies? How about the American Chestnut variety that is being tested, which can actually survive in America without being killed by blight? Will it cause chestnut allergies? Will drought-resistant perennial rice cause rice allergies? Personally I REALLY doubt it. But no amount of science kills cooties.

  29. There’s no justification what so ever. No matter how it’s cut, their work is more destructive than any good U or they or anyone can ‘try’ & claim. Why not just we STOP screwing up the planets natural systems (of which much of Monsanto’s work involves) & we won’t need to modify ANYTHING – as it’s already naturally ‘PRISTINE’… & then we won’t have to also approach this from a ‘non-sensical’ perspective -

    • Hahahahahaa. So you only eat wild berries and game? There is nothing natural and pristine about agriculture. Outside of wild berries and game there is pretty much nothing you eat that is close to its wild ancestor. You like grapes and apples they are unnatural clones grafted on a different plants.

    • Jeff_V on July 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm said:

      I notice you said nothing that rebutted any of the points made in the original article. But people like you just keep mouthing the same nonsense with no evidence to support it. Just a bunch of talk about “natural” stuff. Nothing you eat is natural. It’s all been bread for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years to be totally different to the original wild variety.

      Here’s a picture of where corn came from. Have fun making a tortilla from that:

      http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/files/2009/03/maize-and-wild-ancestor-comparison.jpg

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