By Bruce A. Smith
In next month’s election, Washington voters will decide on a state wide initiative that if food products contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) then the producers will be required to indicate that on the labels.
On a political level, this is the latest battle in the cultural war that pits liberal forces seeking a greater good for society against those desiring less government intrusion in their lives.
The progressives claim that a hands-off policy simply allows agricultural giants like Monsanto to impose unhealthy foods into the American diet in an effort to enhance profits. The conservatives counter that the government should not increase its monitoring or control of food production.
The GMO initiative is known as I-522 and a “Yes” vote will mean that you support labeling foods that contain GMOs, and a “No” vote will mean that you seek to maintain the status quo.
Claudia Branham is a frequent contributor and commentator at the Mountain News and she has offered her opinions on I-522. I offer a counter position. Ms. Branham says she plans to vote “No” on I-522 and I will be voting “Yes.”
Here is the email exchange between Claudia and myself this week on the issue:
Claudia’s commentary on GMOs:
While I would like to see simple GMO labeling on food products, after reading the entire voter’s pamphlet, I have come to the conclusion that I-522 is a badly written measure. For example the measure provides that its requirements are to be implemented and enforced by the state Department of Health instead of the state Department of Agriculture, and would authorize the Department of Health to assess a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars per day for each violation.
Anything to do with our food supply should stay with the Department of Agriculture, not add employees and cost to the Department of Health to police this, which it would have to do.
It also states that separately, after giving 60 days notice, any private person could bring an action in Superior Court to enjoin a person violating the measure, and potentially recover coasts and attorney fees for the action.
All we need is a blatant excuse for unscrupulous individuals to find an unscrupulous attorney to bring actions and collect mega bucks for both the individual and the attorney.
So I have decided to vote no on I-522 If anyone has another take on it with something that I don’t know from reading the pamphlet, please let me know and I will send it on.
I have collected a number of pro and cons before the pamphlet came out, however, I lost a bunch of my emails by hitting the wrong link, yuk, I have done that before and could only retrieve and save a portion of them.
Your thoughts, Claudia, have triggered some of my own on I-522. To begin, at its most fundamental level, 522 is about shaping what kinds of foods our neighbors will eat – not what we will individually. Regardless of the vote, folks like me and you who are exceptionally health conscious will still decide what is best for us to eat.
In essence, I-522 will not effect my shopping and cooking habits one iota, except when I eat out in the world at a restaurant or cafeteria.
At home, I eat a plant-based diet with lots of leafy greens, rice and beans. I already avoid GMO foods like the plague that they are, as I believe the data that states GMO corn, with its Bt bacteria already imbedded in its kernels, will rupture my gut; and GMO soy isn’t much better as “Round-up Ready” foods are crippled by their inability to uptake helpful minerals from the soils they grow in.
As a result, I shop increasingly at food co-ops and buy only organic foods that are GMO-free.
As a Nikken health product vendor, I suspect that you do as well.
Since 522 will decide what other people eat, it will really determine what kinds of health issues their diets will trigger. Hence, the issue of GMO labeling becomes primarily one of public health.
On a personal level, I see no real difference between monitoring food labels by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Health. I am sure the infrastructures will be similar and vary mostly on the dedication of the individuals doing the work.
However, the 522 initiative raises another important question; perhaps even a critical one – why doesn’t Monsanto want to advertise its products? Isn’t Monsanto proud of its GMO technology? Why doesn’t it become a marketing advantage to tout GMO foods? Why do they need to obfuscate the chemical structure of their food products, unless they really are less nutritious?
PS: Thanks for your views on the GMO bill, Claudia. May I reprint it on the Mountain News?
Certainly you may print it on the Mountain News. I am still looking at both sides and hope I make the right choice on my ballot.
Addendum, October 18, 2013, 7:30 pm
Scientific Analysis of GMO products, Bruce A. Smith
Here’s what I understand to be the problems with GMO food, or at least with two specific examples: corn and soy, which are almost all GMO–grown these days in the United States.
GMO corn is usually genetically modified to host new bacteria in its kernels, bacteria that are known as Bt, a short-hand version of its scientific name of Bacillus thuringiensis.
Bt occurs naturally in nature, but not in corn. In nature, Bt is a natural bug repellent and destroyes insects that feed on it by releasing toxins in the gut of the insect that eat away at the lining of the critter’s intestines, making them burst. The insect then dies from malnutrition and dehydration.
Bt corn is a GMO product that has Bt bacteria inserted into the corn and it grows there as the corn develops. This gives the corn a “natural” immunity to predatory insects that may want to feed on the corn. Since there is less insect predation, the farmers can increase their corn yeild.
Bt corn is now widespread in American food, and virtually all corn products are made with Bt corn, such as corn flakes, corn chips, corn syrup, and corn fructose. The later products are ubiquitous in American foods as they are used as “natural’ sweeteners.
As a result, lots of folks are eating lots of Bt corn. Additionally, they are introducing copious amounts of Bt into their own intestines. It is believed that the Bt will act on the linings of human digestive organs the same way they do on insects. Thus, the Bt corn will cause leisions and ruptures in the human G-I system, leading to G-I disorders, such as colitis, Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis and Krone’s disease – illnesses that are all on the rise in the United States.
As for soy, it is a different but similar story. GMO soy, which dominates the soy fields of America, is bred with a tolerance for Round-Up herbicide. The GMO soy becomes chemically able to repeal the effects of the Round-Up that is sprayed on its fields. Thus the weeds die and the soy grows.
However, the chemical alterrations in the soy also make it less able to absorb nutrients from the soil. As a result, the soy is not as nutritiously robust as it should be. This is primarliy a problem with animals like hogs and cows that usually eat soy. The animals then become nutrient-deficient and grow sick, sterile or deformed. Increasing numbers of farmers are reportedly switching back to non-GMO soy to save their herds.
The same process is believed to unfold inside humans who consume GMO soy.
For those folks who would like to avoid these bio-chem travesties, I understand that any food product labeled “Organic” must be free of GMO crops. To achieve this, I shop almost exclusively in Trader’s Joe, food co-ops, and in the “Organic” section of Fred Meyer, which has a stellar array of organic products at a fair price.
I acknowledge that this addendum is free of any scientific corroboration, references and the like. I will correct those deficiences in the near future.
Addendum II, Oct. 20. 5 pm. BAS.
The following information comes from Victoria Harper, of Yelm:
Bruce: Perhaps this except from ballotpedia.org gives the most concise
explanation for voters re: I-522. — V
Scientific consensus has consistently ruled that genetically modified
foods are safe for human consumption. Some countries, however, have banned their sales citing a lack of research done by independent institutions, rather than the companies themselves.
GMO labeling is mandated in 64 countries, including the European Union nations, Australia, China, Japan, Brazil and India.
Proponents of GMO labeling in the United States are focusing their campaigns not on the safety of GMOs, but on transparency in the food system. In the United States a large proportion of commodity crops are genetically engineered: 97% of the nation’s sugar beets, 93% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton and 90% of the feed corn, according to the 2013 figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 
March Against Monsanto (MAM) organized protests in fifty-two countries and in over four-hundred cities to happen on October 12, 2013. MAM describes their goal as “informing the public, calling into question long-term health risks of genetically modified foods and demanding the GMO products be labeled so that consumers can make informed decisions.”
Over 2,000 people participated in a similar march in Seattle on May 25, 2013. MAM and news sources estimate the upcoming march in Seattle to be larger due to Initiative 522.
Addendum III, October 21, 1 pm, BAS
A little humor:
Label GMO Disco (parody of Village People “YMCA”) – YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho2H7b1tUgQ&feature=youtu.be
Good article Bruce.
I am voting YES on I-522 as well. Mega Corporations like Monsanto have been spending millions and have sent lobbying groups to WA to try to prevent this initiative from passing. They succeeded in defeating GMO labeling in CA, and are now trying to do the same here in WA. The bottom line here is letting these big Agri-business Corps. get away with passing off genetically modified products that other nations have banned. They are selling their junk here in the U.S. while being met with roadblocks around the world. It’s all about multi-national corporations profit.
Evidence is starting to come in finally, that GMO grains are in fact deleterious to ones health. From affecting DNA to inhibiting the immune system to causing extreme allergic reactions–these GMO products are poison….and the big corporations know it! That’s why they don’t want their stuff labeled. Once people find out–they won’t buy it! Then what? Down goes their profits. They don’t care about our health; they only care about their own profits. So–fight for labeling of GMO products. Vote YES on I-522!
What about all the food that comes in from other countries???? Or out of state??? Why was that not included? I am more confused, may not vote at all, but hoping I come up with the right answers before then.
Good questions, Claudia.
Hi Bruce, Great blog here you did on the GMO!
I am happy that someone sent me this link. And since I see Pamm Larry and Florence Vincent in the comments below I want to let everybody to know that we just did a interview with both of those ladies last Friday. It’s a very important hour on the GMO labeling issues and what goes on behind the scenes with millions of dollars spent to mislead voters and defeat I-522. This is a great program for those who are still undecided yes or no.
To listen just go here: http://www.beyondtheordinary.net/pammlarry_florencevincent.shtml
October 11th, 2013
“Yes on I-522 GMO Labeling – The Right to Know”
This Program is FREE Listening, No Membership Required!
I am still undecided re I-522 but will come to a decision before I send my ballot in. I have a question, though. How many millions were spend persuading voters to vote yes??? Money spent on an election isn’t really the issue, just look at national elections and where it comes from.
Most of the money spent in favour of I-522 comes from the “organic” food lobby, which makes their money by persuading people that their product is better and so can be sold at a higher price. They stand to make big money if I-522 is passed.
Good article! In my mind, we win either way. We are winning right now with this article. The more that the public reads articles like this the more informed they become and will be purchasing non-gmo foods whether they are labeled or not. If labeling comes from food producers who care enough to voluntarily their products, then they will win the lion’s share of the market anyway! To me, voluntarily labeled food is healthier than label requirement that are shoved down their throats. I think the emphasis should next be to stop the present administration/cartel from slamming down a law that stops GMO labeling! I will be voting YES!
-Just some of my thoughts! – Wally Brown, Rainier
Bruce, thanks for tackling this issue. Claudia’s arguments are the typical arguments put forth by the opponents of this bill. They cloud the issue by creating confusion and by bringing in other aspects that take away from the orginal issue, GMO labeling. Most other countries already label their food products. And many small farmers are prevented from marketing their products in other countries because of this. That is an aside also. Lets get this bill passed and then deal with side effects. Don’t let big agri-business side track this. Marian Clements
Great article and I understand your confusion after listening to all the no misrepresentations that are designed to confuse, which along with “legalease” makes for not knowing what to do/think.
As a foundation to my response, I want to introduce myself. I am the grandmother from Chico, CA that started the movement that resulted in Prop 37 last year, which has, in turn, sparked the nation. I was in your lovely state the last part of September/early October to support the ground troops and I saw many of the same tactics that the no side used to mislead voters to protect their bottom line. Are you aware that the no side hired the same consulting and media team that narrowly beat 37 in CA? They are using the same materials, the same messaging even though, for instance, your law says nothing about pet food. They saw that it worked in CA so they are using it here. I once approached a no speaker as human to human to tell him that he simply didn’t have the facts. He told me “I don’t care what the truth is”. Verbatim.
I’ll respond to a few points in the thoughtful discussion above.
I have a different perspective on your opening supposition, Bruce: “On a political level, this is the latest battle in the cultural war that pits liberal forces seeking a greater good for society against those desiring less government intrusion in their lives.”
This is NOT a political issue. Tea Partiers and Republicans support 522. Joseph Mercola is a Libertarian who has donated to both 37 and 522. His CEO (also a staunch Libertarian) that conservatives don’t get that the government has already intruded in the GMO issue, but is in the hands of corporations. Because there is no transparency, there is no truly free market going on here, which is why they are on board.
We ALL eat. We ALL want food sovereignty now and for our grandchildrens’ grandchildren. It’s time for us to embrace each other from both sides of the political aisle on food, air and water issues. Have you heard of the Green Tea Party? Google it.
Labeling is a huge step in the food sovereignty direction. Is the last step? No, but it’s a vital start.
“It also states that separately, after giving 60 days notice, any private person could bring an action in Superior Court to enjoin a person violating the measure, and potentially recover coasts and attorney fees for the action.
All we need is a blatant excuse for unscrupulous individuals to find an unscrupulous attorney to bring actions and collect mega bucks for both the individual and the attorney.”
The law clearly states that they can only recover costs and attorney fees. No one can collect damages, which is what attorneys go for. This provision is in here to empower people to have the ability to monitor the foods….like the initiative system is built for us to have power to enact laws. It would take exceedingly committed people to test, work for free and then find a lawyer who would be willing to take this on without the promise of a big pay out at the end all for a chance at getting their costs recouped.
Regarding the food from outside WA…it is my understanding from lawyers that all foods are covered in this law, no matter where they come from so all will have the same barometer.
Please remember that who wrote that pamphlet. Your Attorney General has sued the GMA for not playing fairly. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/10/17/ags-complaint-details-negligent-andor-intentional-effort-to-conceal-the-source-of-no-on-i-522-contributions
In California they sent out false mailers
So I will ask you…if they are willing to do this, what in their mailers can you believe?
I hope that you see beyond the lies and twists and choose to Vote Yes on I-522. Our food future depends on it!
I am voting NO on Initiative 522 and hope that every person who believes in science over superstition will do the same. As a trained Biologis , i have examined the actual research studies done on GMO foods and have found no scintific evidence that GMO foods are in any way harmeful to the person who consumes them. Iwould ask Paula and others who think there is actaul scientific evidence to cite the original paper. So that I could rerview it. The last such study I read, widey touted by the anti-GMO fanatics, purported t show a slingt inccrease in stomanch abnormalities in mice fed with GMO producs. When I read the full study, I saw that the author’s own data showed a DECREASE in heart and liver abnormalities with GMO foods. But that fact did not appear in the headlines. So I can conclude that if I eat nothing but GMO soy and crn, I will have to use the Rolaids more often, but will lower my chance of heart and liver disease.
I repeat there is ZERO evidence that GMO products cause any damage to human beinbgs, or other animals. In the study that I cited above, it found that 93% of the mice fed non-GMO grain had stomach irritation upon autopsy. In the GMO-fed mice, the percentage was 93% , but the irritation was less serious. In neither case did the level of irritation have any discernable effect on the overall health of the mice. What the study demonstrated was that mice fed that particualr diet, whether the food was GMO or non-GMO had a high incidemnce of stomach irritation.
If you want to ban or require special labeling on a product, the burden should be on those who claim the product dangerous to prove their case. Wild claims by peole with no sciuenftfic education tat something is “poison” are not evidence. Show me the evidence, not a bunch of peasants with pitchforks and torches. If you cannot cite a peer-reviewed study in a respectable journal, then I can only conclude that your “evidence” is based on ignorance and superstition.
. I have also seen a study that identified 49 possibly carcinogenic chemicals in organic broccoli. Does this mean we should ban the sale of broccoli? or require specuil labels that say “May cause cancer” on every head of broccoli in the store? I think not. I like broccoli and, in fact ate some last night.
Those who wish to avoid GMO products can do so by purchasing their food from certified organic stores and farms and looking for the voluntary GMO-Free label. Don’t raise the food prices on the rest of usto feed your superstition.
Note that the pro-522 ads are narrated by a professional actress and none of the people are scientists,nor people claiming any scientific knowledge or expertise. .
Bruce and Paula: How many hours of college-level study in biology, chemistry or Genetics do you have? I have over 75 semester hours in these subjects and was a biological/Chemical warfare specialist in the Armyt for 20+ years. I know the difference between science and superstition.
rthurs666, You can study many semester hours of biology, chemistry, or genetics and still know very little about nutrition in the human body. Science is a very big field. Medical doctors don’t study nutrition in medical school except for one optional semester of nutrition, a bare over-view. With all this ignorance running rampant, I prefer more information than less on all food labels. I do study nutrition specifically, and the synergy of what is needed for robust health is complex. If foods are already compromised with GMO’s, I want to know about it, and I think all people have a right to know.
You sound like someone I know who works for Monsanto and is paid to blog for Monsanto. Yes? Perhaps.
I have no connection to Monsanto or any other food producing organization or group. During my college days I did work in a research facility owned by United Fruit company, but I was working on diseases of the banana plant, not on food production. And that was over 50 yars ago.
I have spent almost all my adult life working for the government, almost all of it in areas of protecting the public from Chemical , Biological and Nuclear hazards I am haevily biased on the consumer side of safety in regards to foods. .But I am most concerned with stuff like salmonella, listeria, E. coli, PCB’s, pesticides, methyl mercury, lead and other ACTUAL food hazards. than of some crackpot theory that Monsanto or DuPont of some othe mega-corporation is trying to poinson us.,
Example: I would ban the grinding of hamburger or other ground meat products within 10 kilometers of the place whaere an animal was slaughtered. This would reduce outbrealks of meat-related bacterial infectins by 90%.
I would also require nuclear irradiation of packaged foods vulnerable to bacterial/virus after packaging and prior to the sale to the public.. This would greatly reduce the spread of disease.
Does this sound like the agenda of a Corporate stooge? These two itemns alone would add billions to the price of food, but I want to increase food safety.
Are you aware that some GMO modifications caan REDUCE the use of pesticides on food crops? We Know pesticides can be harmful. We don’;t know any potential hazards in GMO foods.
You say you have studied nutrition. Fine. Most of the people who lable themselves “nutritionists” turn out to be salesmen for vitamins, quack medicines or organic foods, and have no real training in nutrition. Do you have an actual degree in human nitrition? And have you actually studied GMO foods in double-blind trials of GMO foods in animals or humans. Can you cite some of the peer-reviewed papers you have authored or assisted in producing? Can you describe a mechanism whereby a particular GMO food product produces any of the damage you claim to have observed?
Real scientists produce peer-reviewed papers, detailing their experiments and listing all the data. Please send me a citation.
Very little research is available for GMO foods in this country. The GMO industry has tightly controlled the research and forbidden any independent research on their crops. It is well known now that independent scientists who have attempted to study the effects of GMO foods have lost their funding and even been fired from the institutions they have worked for. A little digging around will provide you with names and institutions involved if you want to know who or where. One must go to other countries, such as France, where the scientific community is less corrupted by big business, to see some more reliable research results.
As a physician, I will throw in my two cents as well. GMO foods are toxic. They are the cause of many health problems in this country. The first step to eliminating GMO foods from our food supply is to label them. Once labeled, the ignorant populace now eating them will slowly see that many of their health maladies can be attributed to GMO foods. If they stop eating them, their symptoms will slowly improve. Over the years, all foods tainted with GMO ingredients will remain unpurchased on the shelves of our nation’s supermarkets and left for special sales until one day, the vendors will tell the suppliers. Not interested in your product anymore.
I sure hope the state of Washington doesn’t fall prey to the propaganda Monsanto and the other companies are putting out, in the way of fliers etc., to spread dysinformation as a means to defeat the initiative.
As a physician, you should understand that health or toxicity claims need to be tested by double-blind peer-reviewed science. I have only seen once such study. The narrative stated that mice fed with GMO foods had more serious stomach irritation than mice fed non-GMO foods. That was confirmed by the datea. But the date the same scientist ublished showed that mice fed GMO foods had a LOWER rate of heart and liver abnormalities. Now, as a physician, I ask you, which is easier to cure, stomach irritation or liver disease?
You say that GMO foods are toxic – on what basis? What is the etiology of the disease process? What is the toxic agent? Where are the studies? Which heath problems are caused by which GMO products? Does Bt corn cause the same problems as gylphosate-rssiistant soybeans? What about fish genes in tomatoes? The genes in each are quite different. Your approach is like saying that mosquitos spread malaria so we should wipe out the bumblebees too.
Show me the science, not the superstition and don’t tell me about your maiden aunt who drank GMO soy milk and got bone cancer.
Note to the biological/Chemical Warefare Experts who have studied this BioChemical Warefare of GMO’s. We have evidence that this GMO problem is not healthy. Please look a little deeper into the subject.
You say you have evidence. Show it to me or give me a citiation where I can find it. Nobody will give me a citiation that I can check. You make a claim, prove it.
Fair enough. Will do.
A note regarding the mention of agri-businesses. In this time and day, most people don’t have the luxury of living a rural area where there are small farms and personal vedg. gardens. For example, Seattle, New York, Chicago and many, many other large metropolitan cities in our nation. And, with the demise of local farmers, orange groves, etc etc, large agri businesses developed. Highway 167 and I-5 took the some of the most fertile agricultural land to put the freeways in all the way to the Canadian border and throughout the Fife Valley. All used to be farms. If it wasn’t for the huge agri-businesses, American would have inadequate food supply and what we did have would cost and arm and a leg. Even now, too much of our food comes from other countries. People eat Tilipia fish which is raised in filthy, ponds in 3rd world countries. We get produce and fruit from So America which doesn’t have the same inspection rules as we do and they use chemicals that are against the law here. So, we should be thankful for the large farmers, beginning in Eastern WA and throughout the mid West and South West. Boeing is a huge business, as is Microsoft and our hospitals/medical clinics.
Right on, Claudia. If it wasn’t for agri-business we would be grinding our own wheat, slaughtering cows and chickens in the back yard and people in Washington stste would never see a banana, orange, artichoke or a jar of olive oil. And people in Missouri would never taste salmon, crab, oysters or tuna. I have spent over 50 years growing some of my own food in my back yard. I have a big back yard and years of gardening expereince. Most people don;’t have that.
So all you Anti-GMO freaks, lay off the anti-corporate propaganda. It’s not helping your cause at all.
Claudia, It does seem that we need the big, industrial approach to supply food to urban populations. However, after living in New York City, I am very happy to read about backyard chickens and home gardens in Seattle and other cities as well as suburban areas. We are healthier when we know our food and how it was grown. For me, the problem with the agri-businesses is the use of petroleum fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers from petroleum do not replenish the micro-organisms and nutrients needed to make healthy, live soil. Without healthy soil, you do not have healthy plants, nor food. Healthy soil is alive with micro-organisms and grows plants so healthy that the insects do not attack. No need for Round-up genes, eh?
To make healthy food, plant diversity is needed, animals are needed, so that soil is alive. Monocropping (the same plant growing for miles as far as the eyes can see) does not keep land healthy, and when commercially fertilized (petroleum) the soil is dead, no micro-organisms. The topsoil has been destroyed by agri-corporations to the extent that if irrigation ever stopped, the land would be a desert, no topsoil, nothing to hold the soil, just one big dust bowl.
The large farmers in Western Washington need to pay heed to this, too.
When I said No Connection, I meant NO CONNECTION . Are you calling me a liar? I am a retired Army Officer and also retired form the US civil service, My sole income comes from government pernsions except for a small stipend from Pierc Countty as a member of the County Planning Commission. My name is Richard D. Thurston, my home address is 20514 42nd Avenue East, Spanaway WA 98387. I have known Briuce Smith for several years and he can vouch for my bona fides.
The raeson that byou have herad comments smilar to mine on various blogs is that i am telling the truth and any scientist who knows anything about science will recognize the validity of my arguments. I ask you for proof since you are the person who wantss to change the law, the burdern of proof is on you. All you have done so far is to male libelous statements about me – somboduy yhpou have nebvver met and know nothing about. Now stop the invective and give me FACTS. For all I know about you, you could be getting your infoirmation from the back of an organic cereal box. My degree is from Cornell University – you may have heard of it. Where is your degree from and how much actual rrsearch have you done.?
You are the one who wants to chage the rules – show me evidence or admit that you have none,.
Bruce, I have recently been fortunate enough to video the presentation of an Iowa farmer at the Gordon’s Grange Hall here in Yelm a few weeks ago. This farmer was touring the country presenting his findings relating to his experiences with GMO crops and his live-stock. Being a new journalist and video camera man, I spent most of my time during the presentation paying attention to the cameras because the Grange hall is difficult for capturing video and sound. I spent about a week trying to download these Mini DV tapes to my computer and then finally someone helped me and they made a movie out of it and I think they put it up on YouTube. During all this time, I spent many hours reviewing these tapes and was rather impressed at the accuracy and detail this “farmer” presented to us. Showing things like pig stomachs. He showed pigs in very scientific control groups and what the different stomachs looked like when dissected. Then he showed the offspring from the various control groups on GMO feed – what a mess! Things like that. Also he showed the fields of grains and grasses – control groups of these and how these fields produced for him. It left me with a determination to get these GMO’s out of my life. I am not a scientist of any sort, but I have had a successful life of dreaming up businesses, operating them and selling them off and I have a bit of a “vision” about things and this GMO thing is not something we want on this planet. I have heard various doctors speak about their experiences with patients regarding GMO’s. I could add you to my email list, but I have moved pretty much past that GMO matter as I have more important and urgent fish to fry, and don’t care to exasperate people with what I am working on now…unless they might possibly be interested…
But if you want to see what I am working on now, please email me privately on that, where I can respond to you privately.
More anecdotes, no evidence. Opinions of unnamed and untraceable people.
This is a great conversation. I am not aware of any human health studies. I understand that all studies are 90 days animal studies and that any scientist that wishes to do research has to get permission from the chemical company that owns the seeds, and that they must submit their research for approval before it can be published. Also any scientists that do research in other countries are immediately vilified, even fired, if their research doesn’t fall in line with the manufacturers.
And talking about bi-partisanship. Michael Taylor was an attorney for Monsanto and was brought into the GHW Bush administration as part of the FDA to get GMO labeling passed into law. He’s been back and forth ever since and is at present the Food czar at the FDA under Obama.
While I don’t consider anti-GMO freaks, some of my best friends are on opposing opinions, I do thank rthurs for her support and encouragement in her latest post. It is nice to have an ally in all kinds of different view points. Sometimes, it does seem as courtesy is lacking in some rebuttles, but we need the give and take and compromising opinions to come up with the correct opinion.
Talking about agri-business. I come from the UK and its wonderful to shop in Europe. Those huge corporations like Kellogg’s supply their food to that 500 million person European Union market without any GMOs because they want to make money. So you don’t have to eat GMOs either and you don’t have to do without huge agri-business. Just vote Yes on 522 to get the ball rolling!
To rthurs666 says:
October 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm
“I have no connection to Monsanto or any other food producing organization or group”.
rthurs666, maybe you have no connection to Monsanto or any other food producing organization or group, but you might be paid by a Public Relations firm contracted by same or by a subsidiary company that owns a PR firm, to battle on the blogs to try to take down what you call “anti-GMO freaks” and demand sourced material for “evidence”, “proof”.
Everything you are saying, word for word, I have heard on another blog. You are either the same person or trained in the same programs to attack and make people who want labeling of GMO’s appear to be misinformed, crazy, or extremists. You attack, you are not offering any information.
The purpose of I-522 is the public request for information. I want the information, so I can make an informed decision about my food. ANYONE who votes NO is saying the people don’t have any right to information. If degrees and hours of study are so important to you, then why would you want to deny information and knowledge to the public? You, who values science, do not want the public to have information about our food?
Ahem, this is the editor here, referree-ing a bit.
First, I know Richard Thurston to be a stand-up guy and honest.
However, Dick can get a little cranky at times; although it’s usually with understandable provocation.
Secondly, Dick, calm down. I have a BA in Biology, an MS in a health field, and have extensive post-grad studies in quantum physics and neurobiology. How else do you think I can hold my own in a conversation with you? ( smile).
As for the information I shared about the mechanism for Bt bacteria to repeal bugs on corn, I first saw it in a video at a March on Monsanto day of education. I’ll dig up the exact source so you can check it out.
In the meantime, I’ll post an Addendum describing the science of Bt, as far as I know it.
Thanks, Bruce. My diplomatic skiils are not of the highest order , so I tend to get a bit irate when somebody calls me a liar like L.Hay (whoever he/she is) did.
Here is a reference to the Bt (Bacillus thurningis) toxin is and its use in GMO to reduce insect damage to crops. Note that thye net effect of GMO crops with the Bt gene is to REDUCE the amount of insecticide needed to prevent insect damage to crops. It is widey used by organic farm ers who want to reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment. The is exactly the OPPOSITE of what the anti-GMO people are talking about, which is why I call them “:freaks.” There is, for example, a GMO strain of tomatoes which resists freezing a few degrees, which makes it possible to grow tomatoes in colder areas than would otherwise be possible and extends the growing season so farmers can get more tomatoes per acre. This helps reduce the cost of tomatoes, catsup and other tomato products. Before GMO a tomato plant would die if the temperature dipped down to 31 Degrees F. Now plants with the GMO gene can survive brief periods at 27-28 degrees F. It may not sound like much but a farmer will recogniize the tremedous value of such a tomato. It can make a difference beteen makinga good profit and losing a third or more of your crop.
So when you talk about GMO you need to specify which GMO items you are talking about and aht their effects are on people. A “GMO” tomato is very different from a GMO soybean, GMO corn or any one of a hundred different GMO crops. And a type of plant may have one or more combinations of genes added through GMO so “GMO corn variety A” may be very different from “GMO corn Variety B”, etc.
When I thing of the anti-GMO movement I am reminded of the hysteria about childhood immunizaations causing autism, which has prevented thousands of people from getteing their chldren immuniuzed against various diseases. All of this was based on forged research by one British scientist who has been proven a fraud. But the anti-immunizations witch hunters are sltill broadcsting this lie and children are dying all ove the country as a result.
Answering some older questions. The Department of Health is in charge of labeling in Washington State
No damages are awarded so no “mega bucks”
In the end The FlavorSavr tomato wasn’t brought to market.
And while it is true that at first GMO crops use less pesticide and have better yields, they have found that after two years results aren’t as good. Research done by the Rodale Institute where they found organic farms do just as well without GMOs or pesticides.
Odd, I checked the Rodale Institutes website and It doesn’t say anything about a study nvolving GMO crops. Has it been withdrawn?
By the way, I forgot to attach the reference for my previous comment:
Here is what the University of California at San Diego has to say about Bt safety:
Bt products are found to be safe for use in the environment and with mammals. The EPA (environmental protection agency) has not found any human health hazards related to using Bt. In fact the EPA has found Bt safe enough that it has exempted Bt from food residue tolerances, groundwater restrictions, endangered species labeling and special review requirements. Bt is often used near lakes, rivers and dwellings, and has no known effect on wildlife such as mammals, birds, and fish.
Does anybody have a citation for an actual scientific report?
Rodale Study http://rodaleinstitute.org/our-work/farming-systems-trial/farming-systems-trial-30-year-report/
IAASTD Study http://www.unep.org/dewa/agassessment/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Global%20Report%20(English).pdf
Failure to Yield http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html
The second link (IAASTD Study) did not work for me. The other three were based on econimics of GMO crops, not on human safety and are, therefore, irrelevent in a discussion about I-522.
As consumers, we appreciate the many non-GMO labels that have begun to appear on product/packages. Makes our shopping easier. We read ingredients, We inform ourselves and we decide, with our dollars. Isn’t the fundamental question about choice? Our family is voting yes for passage of I-522, simply because information is everything as we spend our dollars. We will continue to support companies that stand behind the quality of their product with truth in labeling.
It is OUR choice to eat genetically modified food OR NOT. We WILL vote, and continue to vote with our dollars as consumers on the issue of genetically modified foods.
I have no problem with food processors voluntarily labeling their foods as “non-GMO:. It’s their choice. If they think labeleing will increase their sales, fine. It is a way to justify charging more for the same products as is currently the case with “organic” foods. By objection is for food processors to be REQUIRED to label GMO content when there is no scientific evidence that it is any better or worse than non-GMO items of the same product. There has ben widespread misuse of labels ike “organic”, “natural”, “free range”, etc. The same will happen with “GMO” labels. I still have seen no scientific study showing that GMO foods are harmful, just unsubstaiated allegations..
Okay, on another track re: immunizations and Autism. Autism is rampant, 1 in 70 now reported. It used to be 1 in thousands. A couple generations ago, children got fewer vaccinations at a later age and one booster when they entered school. I never knew or heard of one child dying from mumps or chicken pox but each shot still has mercury in it. This was recently reported in an article I read in the news. And, don’t ask me what the source as I read and delete or I would have a mountain of files lying around with good info. But, I know, personally medical providers whose children were diagnosed with Autism, usually after the 2nd MMR shot and now are totally against the multiple vaccinations beginning in the delivery room. Ever hear of a baby getting Hepatitis before this began??? A doctor friend with children, told me that a baby has an immune system for the first year, especially nursing babies and didn’t need vaciinations before then. She began them sparingly after age one, not 4 all at once as is the practice. So, from a non medical person, but one who reads extensivly, this is my opinion. My nurse daughter agrees with me, by the way.
I concur with your perspective, Claudia. So do many people despite the claims made by Big Pharma that the immunizations are safe.
Thanks Bruce, that makes two of us at least. My granddaugter had twins 11 years ago, precious children, they weighed 4 1/2 pounds each (give or take a couple ounces) I begged my granddaughter to delay any vaccinations and refuse the ones given at birth. Her doctor scoffed so these little tiny babies got the first series at 2 months, then 4 months and the rest of the schedule. Did all that stuff going into their little bodies result in the little boy still not being able to speak so that one can understand him even with all the therapy beginning at age 2??? We will never know but I have a feeling they should have been a bigger weight, at least, before beginning the shots.
What we need is a double blind study that compares autism rates in vaccinated vs unvaccinated children. The only one I know of was the one in England that was proven to be fraudlent. Somebody should be able to get a grant o study this from a reputable institution. If there is a relationship, I would bet big money that it is not the mercury involved, but some other aspect of the vaccination. More likely it is then vaccine itself provoking some kind of immune reaction – if a connection exists at all.
The Amish are the only group of people in the US where one won’t find Autism. They don’t vaccinate their children.
My sister works in the Developmenta Disabilities Clinc at mdigan. I have a friend who is a reasearcher at the UW Autism Clinic. I have several friends with autistic children, including one I do research with on the fluoride issue. We are looking at something called the “cytokine storm.” This is what they found killed many healthy youth during the Spanish flu epidemic in the early 1900’s. It was actually their immune system over triggered and turning on itself. Yes, it could be caused by having too many vaccinations at once, but not really by the vaccination itself… make any sense? Still looking into this, obviously.
That is quite possible. It may be wiser to defer vaccinnanations until the child is 3-4 years old. But we need good reasearch on this, not “old wives tales.” Overstimulation of the immune system in very young children is quite possible. But the influence of the anti-gvaccine peole often extends to refusal to give immunizations to school age children, which is very wrong.
Autism was not diagnosed as a separate syndrome until the 1960s. s and not really commonly diagnosed until the 1980’s. Prior to that, childrwen with problems were diagnosed as schiphrenic, developmentally disabled, brain damage or just as “problem kids.” the major reason for the increase of autism diagnoses in the period 1990-2010 was the generalized aplication of the term to any children exhibiting learning or social adjustment problems. Mostly it was because people could get more money for treating “autism”: than for dealing with other childhood disorders. If you offer money for treating a specific problem, more doctors will diagnose that problem.
And thee is no reliable scintific evidence that autism is related to mercury in vaccines. In fact a child eating one tuna sandwich a month will get more mercury than from all vaccinations combined.
Well, we can agree to disagree. Too many medical doctors have issued warnings including Dr. Mercola for whom I have great respect for. Cheers!!
Not stated in Victoria or Bruce’s adneda is the fact that most of the money for the “yes on 522” groups comes from growers, makers and distributers of “organic” food products. This is NOT an unbiased group and has the same motivbation as Monsanto, Coca Cola and the other sponsors of the “no on 522” groups. They are expecting to increase their profits if the unfounded fear of harm from GMO’s contributes to a decline in sales of the normal products. Neither side is disintetested, both sides then to profit if their side wins.
I am not beholden to any group. I grew my own food for years using 90% organic growing techniques but I have no financial interest whatever in organic or traditional food production operations.
Follow the money. The Grocery Manufacturers Association wants you to buy their products. The Organic foods groups want you to buy their products. Neither side is free of bias.
Here is a link to Howard Vlieger, the farmer from Iowa that i mentioned. Video part 1:
Video part 2:
Love these ongoing conversations. Claudia I would suggest you check out Dr. Mercola who has done the research and donated to the Yes on 522.
As far as who is funding Yes on 522, the biggest donor at $1.8 million is Dr. Bronner who makes soaps. Soaps aren’t included in I-522 so it won’t improve their sales in the slightest! Other big donors are the Organic Consumers Association,(who is funded by members, not companies), Center for Food Safety and Dr. Mercola. They have over 12,000 small donations from people like me who gave an average of $25. The health food companies that have donated have given small amounts in comparison to the money given to the No campaign. GMA $7.222 million, Monsanto $4.8 million, DuPont $3.2 million, Bayer, Dow & BASF $500,000 each. There is no comparison!
GMA includes companies like Kellogg’s who quite happily provide non-GMO products in Europe but don’t want to do it here.
I have read what Dr. Mercola thinks, I admire him, however, I admire some on the other side of the equation as well. However, I will vote correctly.
Having not heard of Dr Mercola, I looked up his own website and soem articles about his by both friend and foe. To the best of my knowledge, he has never condicted scientific reaasearch, either on a laboaratory of clinical level. His expertise seems to be solely in the promotion of non-traditional medicine and, for the most part selling his own brands of vitamins, food supplements and other oddball products. Hiamalayan Crystal Salt? Organic tampons? Homeopathic cures for autism ? Neurotixins in flue shots? Gve me a break!!
His website and his articles sound just like the typical 19th century snake oil salesman. If it looks like a quack, sounds like a quacjk and associates with quacks, then, it probabaly is a quack.
I am still waiting for somebody to give me a peer-reviewed double blind study that demonstrates any significant adverse effects of GMO on human and/or animal health.
Editor’s Note: Karelina R. sent me the following email that has an important link to the Washington State Nurses Association and their overview of the GMO issue:
So you have them, this website gives the rebuttals to the misinformation in the I-522 ads.
Click to access I522+Summary+&+Rebuttal+Arguments.pdf
The GMO issue is complex and one cannot make generalizations as each GMO’d species is uniquely affected by its specific modification. It may be true that Bt in corn modification results in the need for less pesticide use, but in soybeans we are talking about herbicides–not pesticides (things that kill bugs, fungus, etc.). Before GMO soybeans there were no herbicides that could control weeds in soybean fields as the herbicide also killed the soybeans. Now, Roundup is heavily used on soybean crops because it does not kill the plants that are GMO’d. I grew up in the Midwest on a grain farm and remember as a youth seeing all the weeds growing in the bean fields. Us farm kids spent days in the fields chopping and pulling out the weeds. Soybeans generate more income than corn for the farmer, so now there are more soybeans planted than ever and more and more herbicides used than ever. Herbicides have always been used on corn as the corn is not killed by the chemical herbicides. It’s the pesticides that were occasionally used on the corn that we are talking about here with regard to the Bt issue.
As a side note, almost all lakes and rivers in the Midwest now have restrictions of the amount of fish you can eat due to toxic chemical buildup in these waters. These are largely due to agricultural chemicals. Something has to change the direction we are going, and I see the GMO labeling law as integral to increasing the momentum for that change.
So, 522 is not about the growing use of chemicals, but hopefully it will add momentum to that discussion.
It is important to vote yes on 522.