Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Jan

GMOs: Safe for Consumption?

We’ve examined the arguments for and against GMOs in the past. Indeed, there are reasonable and valid points to be made on both sides of the issue. Nonetheless, we concluded that there are just too many red flags to support the industry’s direction in GM technology. Not only do GMOs drive the use of naturally occurring and regionally suited seed varieties into the ground, they lock farmers (including those in developing countries) into a legal deal with the devil – one that often comes back to haunt them. Their rampant subsidization further encourages farmers to raise the same garbage grains and other “staple” crops that undermine our public health. And then there are the nagging, unsettling questions about our physiological response to these organisms. What happens exactly when you eat plants grown from seeds that are synthesized with everything from bacteria to fish to herbicides? What happens when you eat the animals that ate these crops? How much do we really know about these GM crops? With that in mind, a good reader sent this recently published study my way. See what you think.

Researchers from the Committee of Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) and the Universities of Caen and Rouen in France collaborated on a full interpretation and assessment of Monsanto’s company research on three of its GM corn products: Mon 863, Mon 810 (both of which contain a Bacillus thuringiensis [Bt] protein for insecticide purposes) and NK 603 (which is engineered to protect the crop itself from the damage following the use of the company’s Roundup herbicide). Their conclusions, which suggest organ damage associated with hepatorenal toxicity among other negative effects, were published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences. The researchers, it’s important to note, didn’t conduct their own experiment. (More on this point later!) Instead, they fought a court battle that finally forced Monsanto to turn over the raw data from the company’s own research used to prove to government health organizations that their products were safe for human consumption.

What??? How could the same data return different results? That’s the problem with statistics. It’s all how – and how much – you break it down. You can probably guess what Monsanto found in their interpretation of the data. Yes, their products show no adverse health effects in the group of lab rats used. As for the CRIIGEN analysis, their assessment wasn’t so positive. From their own extended statistical comparisons, they concluded that the three GM corn products resulted in statistically significant damage, focused mostly in the liver and kidneys but also evident in the “heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system.” In their analysis, the CRIIGEN researchers criticize Monsanto’s research design and execution, saying they “did not apply in any case their chosen and described statistical methods.”  The CRIIGEN group also claims that the company “introduced unnecessary sources of variability” and restricted the proportion of rats fed a GM diet (80 compared to the non-GM-fed 320). Additionally, they say the Monsanto researchers frequently modified their “biological interpretation of statistically significant,” including their observation of sex specific findings. The study modifications and inconsistencies, the CRIIGEN researchers suggest, “increases noticeably the risks of false negative results.”

Monsanto, for its part, has fired back that the CRIIGEN researchers received assistance from the Greenpeace organization in their court battle for research documents and in their research assessment relied on “a variety of non-standard statistical approaches.” (PDF) The CRIIGEN group, Monsanto claims, dissected the data into so many statistical comparisons that they drastically inflated the probability of producing statistically significant findings. Monsanto also counters the CRIIGEN critique of the sex-based differences, saying the researchers found no biologically meaningful patterns. The company argues the CRIIGEN researchers made baseless assumptions about gender susceptibility, assumptions that skewed their analysis of sex-associated data.

A number of international organizations have called the CRIIGEN assessment into question. Others have used it as fodder for a continuing attack on Monsanto. In truth, I think there’s enough to criticize on both sides when it comes to this research. Monsanto blew it big and put together a real piece of crap, but CRIIGEN’s nitpicking, while suggestive of the many holes in Monsanto’s research, doesn’t – and can’t – do enough to prove anything definitively.

That brings us back to the CRIIGEN assessment of Monsanto’s study. This part, I think, is the real story. Of all the CRIIGEN group’s criticisms, the most damning centered on the research scope. (Remember, these company study results were presented – and in many countries accepted – as justification for widespread use of these crops.) Monsanto’s researchers tested the products on only one species of rat. The CRIIGEN group, in their commentary, suggested a minimum of three different mammals should have been used to presume human safety. But the duration of the study provoked the group’s biggest rebuke – and stern call for further study. Ready? Monsanto’s research into the potential health effects of these GM products lasted a mere three months.

Three months. Let that sink in for a moment….

This disclosure, I believe, is the true significance – and maybe even the real point of the CRIIGEN assessment study. Consumers, even in the U.S. are skeptical of GM products. How many of them know that all it takes for GM approval is a three month long study of a few hundred lab rats – only 80 of which are actually fed the GM food? I swear, it’s enough to make me burst a blood vessel.

As the researchers note, long term health effects have no chance of showing up during a three-month study. Even medium term impact observation is questionable in such a short duration. Although the group acknowledges that their assessment is only enough to suggest toxicity, they argue the evidence is more than enough to justify further research. With this evidence and the original data limitations in mind, they call for a two-year study on the same GM products to adequately observe potential longer term conditions like “cancer, nervous and immune system diseases, and … reproductive disorders.” Further study, they say, is also necessary to determine whether any negative health effects are the result of the herbicides/pesticides that are synthesized into the seed or whether the effects are instead/additionally “direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification.”

When it comes to GMOs, we’re dealing with bizarrely hybridized organisms that the world – and the human stomach – have never before seen. The industry likes to paint themselves as modern day Gregor Mendels. The fact is, we’re way beyond pea plants. It’s not about cultivating hearty hybrids from natural plant varieties. The vast majority of GM products (70%+) are modified with herbicide and/or pesticide components. That’s right. No way to wash off those residues.

Research not sponsored by the corporations is virtually non-existent, and there’s a very disturbing reason why. Big Agra companies invoke intellectual property law to restrict independent researcher’s use (and study) of their products. Twenty-six scientists scientists from public research institutions presented a statement to the EPA last year describing their concern with current industry limitations on outside study of GMO products:

Technology/stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically modified seed explicitly prohibit research. These agreements inhibit public scientists from pursuing their mandated role on behalf of the public good unless the research is approved by industry. As a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology, its performance, its management implications, IRM, and its interactions with insect biology. Consequently, data flowing to an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel from the public sector is unduly limited.

Different countries have different regulations for GMO products. The U.S. is one of the most permissive. This is likely of little surprise, given that GMO technology is such a huge part of agribusiness (and its political lobbying power) in this country. Many European countries accept some products and reject others. In a dramatic move, Ireland last year elected to outlaw all GMO cultivation within its borders. Another part of the country’s new policy creates a new GMO labeling model to encourage the purchase of non-GMO products.

In the U.S., GM food products aren’t required to be labeled. (This, despite the fact that the EU, Japan, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand all have label laws and despite the fact that 87% of American consumers want GM products to be labeled.) But there are steps you can take as an individual consumer to avoid GMOs. The biggest assurance? Eat Primal. The biggest GM food crops are corn, soy and canola (rapeseed). If you avoid these and the processed foods that contain the various fillers made with them, you are well ahead of the game. Eating pastured meats will allow consumers to avoid the potential negative health impacts of meat from GMO-fed livestock. Choosing organic, particularly USDA or Oregon Tilth certifications, can help you further avoid most GMO ingredients. Finally, check out the new Non-GMO Shopping Guide.

So, I’ve offered my two cents and then some. Let me know what you think – of the study and the GMO controversy as a whole. I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts.

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Monsanto is one of the most evil companies around.
    Those “Roundup Ready” seeds are pretty awful. They GM them so that they can spray the entire field with Roundup, a non-selective herbicide. It kills the roots, meaning that the Roundup is absorbed into the plant. But the Roundup Ready seeds have a protein inserted that make it so that the Roundup has no effect, but it’s still absorbed nonetheless. Which means if you eat the corn or Soy (perish the thought) grown with the Roundup Ready seeds (which is virtually all of it) then you’re ingesting Roundup.

    Dave, RN wrote on January 21st, 2010
  2. Three-month studies on health effects… the reason they do not extend that is not cost-savings, they must know these products are not safe, so they do everything they can to avoid getting caught.

    Yes, the answer is eating primal and buying organic food. Even growing some in a garden, if you have the room.

    Organic Gabe wrote on January 21st, 2010
  3. Although I’m usually not in favor of excessive or even moderate government regulation, requiring GM foods to be labeled I think would be a great benefit to consumers simply because it would create more clear choices for us. I figure the more options you have the more free you are. Ive also never been a fan of fascism, personally.

    Cavebrother wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Labels are helpful if people are rationally and consciously thinking about the information they convey.

      Counter-intuitively, they may act to stimulate cravings for a particular product (e.g. tobacco warnings and cigarette craving).

      http://fwd4.me/BKf

      Adam wrote on January 21st, 2010
  4. After watching the documentary Food Inc., I did a little research into Monsanto. I’m all for capitalism and advances in society but it’s companies like these that give them a bad name. I think we definitely need an intellectual property law overhaul. Its good to know that I’m not eating a lot of the stuff they’re messing with though. Of course… I was for years. Hm… maybe I should sneak a peak at my liver. See how he’s doing.

    Probably the best thing we can do is use that Non-GMO shopping guide and do what we can to take their business away.

    Caveman Sam wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Sam, Monsanto isn’t really what I would describe to be a capitalist corporation. They are gov’t aided and abetted, something I think Food, Inc. skimmed the surface of by pointing out how many former execs have gov’t appointments in departments who rubber stamp for them and how many of their products are gov’t subsidized through the Farm Bill.
      I enjoyed Food, Inc. immensely as it gave me more appreciation for the efforts and income I invest in local, well-treated food. I was a bit disappointed in their espousal (via Michael Pollen, iirc) that we should be supporting “good” foods. I think gov’t has no business in nutrition.

      Amelia wrote on January 21st, 2010
  5. I agree that this is one of those fuzzy areas where it’s difficult to justify being hard-line one way or the other.

    How can GMO crops be inherently bad for us when the majority of the vegetables and fruit (and meat, for that matter) have been artificially selected for thousands and thousands of years?

    Besides, hasn’t agriculture and technology provided some moderately beneficial new foods into our diet, or at least some “sensible vices?” (Wine, chocolate, and cheese come to mind.)

    When it comes down to it, I do avoid GMOs for many of the reasons you mention above, Mark. My Paleolithic forebears may not have eaten broccoli and kale as we know it, but I’m sure it’s a much closer approximation than most of the Frankenfoods you find in the grocery store today.

    Darrin wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Yes crops have been selected by humans for thousands of years (not artificially) but this is selecting the genes that naturally occur in nature, GMO is not natural it is mixing genes of bacteria and viruses into your food…how about a big plate of corn and bacillus bacteria mixed with roundup…sound healthy?

      Stephen wrote on May 5th, 2012
    • Wow. You seriously need to take a look at how the plant’s DNA is mutated and with what foreign DNA. This has nothing to do with natural selection or even traditional cross breeding.

      Sean wrote on October 10th, 2012
  6. Interesting study, thanks for pointing it out.

    Robert M. wrote on January 21st, 2010
  7. Conventional Fruit Labels – Do not begin with 9, most begin with 4.

    Organic Fruit Labels – Five digits and begin with 9.

    Genetically Modified Fruit Labels – Begin with the number 8. Is it not just grand that the only evidence is a mere number and not a visible sign indicating this food is GMO.

    All types of animals can distinguish real ones from GMO types. Whether they are elk or rats, dogs, or guinea pigs, animals will eat only the real stuff from a bowl where GMO and natural foods have been mixed in. Nature knows best. Rats that are only given GMO tomatoes, when finally starving and have no choice but to eat the tomatoes, end up dying of stomach lesions.

    Kishore wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Thanks, Kishore. Here’s some more info on “Cracking the Code”:

      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cracking-the-code/

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • If all types of animals can distinguish “real” crops from GMOs, why do we even need labels? Humans are animals, and they should be reacting in an analogous way to GMO fruits and vegetables. They don’t.

      And there’s something rich in standing on “Nature knows best” while reaping the benefits of 10,000 years of agriculture. For that long, people have been mixing varieties together that would/could never breed in that combination on their own. Buy the most organic, GMO free crop you can. It’s still going to be indistinguishable from any naturally occurring counterpart.

      The only difference is we can now go interspecies and increase specificity. These crops 99.9 repeating percent original crop, and .0 too many zeroes 1 percent genetically modified. They are chemically identical in a mass spectrometer.

      There are legitimate concerns in testing, labeling, and intellectual property rights, but those issues get sidetracked by making this a Natural vs. Unnatural battle when it isn’t. That would be hunter-gathering vs. GMOs, or hunter-gathering vs. farming.

      Irony Lolman wrote on September 29th, 2010
  8. GMOs are safe. You’re right when you write that the way they are used for intensive agriculture ain’t good, but you should be reading more about GMOs before concluding that they are dangerous for health, because this is totally wrong…

    Joel wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Could you provide some cites for that blanket assertion?

      orly wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • It’s always funny how man had tinkered with nature and gets his balls kicked every time. Scientists whose after noticing that smokers who ate foods abundant in beta carotene had less incidence of cancer, proceeded to supplement people with lab made beta carotene and guess what? The incidence of cancer went up! Nature makes food as a complete package with the right nutritional co-factors. Why tinker with it in the first place? Oh, I forgot, it’s America where $ matters more!!

        Kishore wrote on January 21st, 2010
        • “Nature makes food as a complete package with the right nutritional co-factors. Why tinker with it in the first place?”

          So what, you suggest we go back to hunting and gathering? Would you sign up to be in the majority of people who would starve to death?

          Irony Lolman wrote on September 29th, 2010
    • You can have my share.

      Grok wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Joel, it’s possible that you’re not collecting a paycheck from Monsanto, but there is a compelling argument to be made…

      The reality is that to reach a conclusion one way or the other about the safety of GMO plants is premature because there is no clear evidence one way or the other. Most interestingly, the company working the hardest to prevent actual evidence from being gathered is the same company making the most money from the sale of GMO seeds. Hmm…

      There’s enough red flags in this situation that any smart person would avoid GMO’s out of rational self interest. Until you know for sure, don’t experiment on yourself.

      Ross wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  9. I hate GMO’s as much as the next person, but there is virtually no good evidence showing they are unsafe (as you pointed out, a three month study on rats is virtually useless either way). I hope one day there is, but at the moment there is significantly more evidence showing the dangers of BPA and other chemicals that are in our food, food containers and cosmetics. As far as we know, no one has ever died or been made seriously ill from GMO foods, dispite wide usage over a number of years.

    That said, I think the question is being framed in correctly. It’s not whether they are safe for human consumption. It’s whether it is wise or ethical to grow them.

    Tracey wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Wouldn’t it be prudent to wait until they were proved *safe* (with a large, decades-long study) before we fed them in mass quantities to virtually all humans?

      Also, it’s important to look at the effect on the soil when GMO crops can be grown in a pool of pesticides.

      Jon wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Tracey, I won’t eat gmo foods so more for you.
      Enjoy

      John wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • When both of you live to be 96 you can battle it out one last time.

        Michael Walker wrote on January 21st, 2010
  10. the problem is not with supposedly unhealthy gmos and “evil corporations.”

    the problem lies with state subsidies to corporations and farmers, and state regulations allowing free rides to certain businesses over others and hinderences of certain businesses, thereby distorting the marketplace.

    couple this with a populace who demands more and more regulation, and the whole system becomes perverse.

    to all with a thoughtless sense of entitlement, let me offer this:

    no one is forcing me to eat Monsanto’s evil spawn; no one is forcing me to eat crappy SAD beef; no one is forcing me to eat junky veggies from sprayed, spent soil.

    corporations can’t force us to do anything we don’t want to do. only the state has the power to force.

    don’t like Monsanto? grow a garden. don’t want to grow a garden? then suck it up and buy organic.

    shel wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Shelly, if the state usurps your ability/income/freedom to not choose Monsanto then sucking it up is your only option, and not in a good way;)
      It becomes crony capitalism at that point.
      BTW, have you checked out the google group Richard Nolkey linked:
      http://groups.google.com/group/paleo-libertarian

      Amelia wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • ~Amelia

        capitalism and corporatism (crony capitalism) are two different things.

        Monsanto is attached to the state. Monsanto doesn’t practice capitalism. Monsanto is the beast, benefitting from, and beholnen to, the beastmaster (government).

        blame the master. the beast is simply following its nature and looking to gain lucre and power through the master.

        want to make a difference Amelia? start a campaign to stop crony capitalism by separating the economy and the state (like church and state).

        Monsanto is not practicing capitalism, but still doesn’t have the power to control you.

        boycott Monsanto, quit whining, and do something about it.

        shel wrote on January 22nd, 2010
        • i didn’t mean “you quit whining, Amelia”. i meant anyone in general.

          shel wrote on January 22nd, 2010
        • Shel,

          I do work to do something about it. This has been a recent avenue for me to pursue as I have become more informed, but the battle will be long and hard.
          I appreciate some of WAPF’s efforts, I wish the FA/RM blog and website were more active.

          I belong to my local Tea Party but DH and I spend a lot time trying to educate our own membership. And I think right now is the best time to educate disenfranchised “conservatives” about freedom and why gov’t intervention and protectionism even from “their” side is not freedom.

          People love to whine. I find this in Libertarian forums all the time -they just bitch and complain and any suggestion is poo-poo’d as ineffective or wrong or some other poor excuse for their lack of real effort.

          And to address your point no Monsanto does not control me (in the general sense) but with progressive efforts to undermine capitalism in the agricultural industry with heaps of regulation and small farm/business adverse policies I can forsee the day when Wickard v. Filburn is invoked and I’m fined or arrested for growing tomatoes in my own backyard. Then again maybe I should get this tinfoil beanie off my head ;)

          Amelia wrote on January 22nd, 2010
        • ~Amelia

          don’t take that beanie off your head quite yet. a few years back, some Roundup Ready canola seeds blew into a Saskatchewan farmer’s field from a neighbor’s field. he unwittingly saved the seeds, Monsanto found them, and he was taken to court for saving patented seeds. Monsanto won. not good, but that incident has opened the doors in Western Canada to this issue.

          incidentally, its good to see that Americans are beginning to develop a grumpy libertarian streak (in Canada, not so much).

          WAPF has done some good work regarding localism and their “up yours” attitude by developing underground illegal food connection networks, but they lose me completely when they run to the state to try and ban soy products from infant formulas.

          …you don’t rail against the devil on one hand and then run to him on the other.

          anyway, this is a light blog and i’m hijacking this thread, so i’ll sign off.

          again, good to see more libertarians.

          shel wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  11. Mark– what do you think about artificial selection and the paleo lifestyle? As I am sure you know, many agricultural crops (strawberries, and corn some years ago)have undergone intense artificial selection by farmers to make the foods bigger, sweeter, or have any other quality deemed desirable. Have you found any research regarding the safety of these foods? Unlike GMO’s which are modified in a laboratory setting, crops that are artificially selected may have drastically different genetics than their origin species. However, artificial selection is slightly more evolutionarily “natural.” Thanks for your thoughts.

    Anne Lojek wrote on January 21st, 2010
  12. We’ve been eating GM food since the dawn of agriculture. Eat just 6 wild almonds and you’ll see what I mean (i.e. you’ll be dead).

    dickgrogan wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • As the article points out, this goes way beyond Mendels’ original research on selection and hybridization of plants. That involves taking *naturally occurring* characteristics and breeding the plants to exhibit certain characteristics over others.

      That is a far cry from what it happening to GMO plants. Please re-read the article, because you must have missed the part about pesticides being grown in the plants!! These are man-made chemicals that do not appear in nature, and now we are ingesting them anytime we eat GMO. Regardless of any other argument in either direction, that is enough reason for me to completely avoid them.

      Kristin J wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • I read the article thoroughly and have a firm grasp on the biological consequences of GMO’s. In no way was I questioning the validity of the danger of GMO’s. I was calling attention to the fact that artificial selection has many adverse consequences, some of which include loss of nutritional value and loss of genetic diversity within a species. Grok would not be eating “artificially selected” organisms in the wild. What I am trying to find is conclusive research into the long term and nutritional effects of artificial selection on agriculturally grown species. If you know of any websites or articles discussing the topic, please share!

        Anne L wrote on January 21st, 2010
  13. The only issue I have when us rich folks from the US complain about GM crops is that without them, billions would starve. That’s right, without GM Crops, we couldn’t feed the world’s population. So whenever someone up on their high perch says that we should all be eating strictly organic food, I always ask, “Ok, what 2 billion people would you choose to die?”

    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/online/1601/why-organic-food-cant-feed-world

    John wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • While I see what you are saying could be true—we’ve been saying this for years. Without corn, the world will starve. Without subsidies, the world will starve. This is purely not true. The world is still starving and we’ve been fed this lie that making cheap food will save starving people. Unfortunately, the US decided that if we could make cheap food…then we should buy it instead of giving it to people that need it. So, by saying that GMO food will save the starving people…I retort by saying, no it won’t because Americans will continue to buy food cheaper and cheaper which will leave nothing for the poor starving people.

      If we want to stop people from starving—what we need to do instead of making GMO food, is teach people about family planning and sex education. When women are educated in a population, a system flourishes. Coming to save the day with food is not going to help a civilization- buy a man a fish, he is fed for a day. Teach a man to fish, he is fed for a lifetime.

      Marissa wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • I understand the poverty argument, and it was one of the reasons I was skeptical but not against GMOs for a number of years – until I read up more on agricultural systems and organic yield potential. Actually, a couple years ago a study with statistical models came out showing that the world population *could* be supported with 100% organic agriculture.
      http://www.i-sis.org.uk/organicagriculturefeedtheworld.php

      Jen wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • Now that you mention it, I did a paper at university a few years back on organic farming and found the exact same conclusion.

        Angelina wrote on January 22nd, 2010
    • This assuming that is the US’s responsibility to feed the world. It always seems to come back to the US having the fix everything… So does this mean that we’re supporting 2 billion people, and without us the world would be that much less populated? So we’re facilitating other countries populating beyond their natural capacity to support?

      Dave, RN wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • In Australia the government is trying to get its population to have more children because we have the opposite problem. We also grow our own food and export a lot of it to other countries. Unfortunately, most of the food has been modified in some way as well. I chose to buy locally grown organic foods and I leave the “cheap” food for those who cannot afford to buy anything else.

        Angelina wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • When the US tries to feed the world by sending cheap cereals to locations identified “in need”, it destroys local agricultural markets all over the world and prevents any chance of a local recovery. In the medium and long term, this apparently generous offer is incredibly destructive and perpetuates misery instead of contentment.

      The US would do less harm and more good if it trained and funded local groups to build and maintain wells, roads, schools, and energy supplies in areas that are “in need” and supported the development/recapture of local farm capacity. Sadly, this approach is directly against the interests of US and G20 foreign policy, so will never happen.

      Ross wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  14. I have made a concerted, conscionable effort to stop eating anything that could possibly have any GMO products. Make an effort because its bout Monsantos profit, not your health. Don’t eat GMO food. follow the link. They helped a lot.

    http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/Home/index.cfm

    rik wrote on January 21st, 2010
  15. IMO, selective breeding is good (or bad) enough.

    Another commenter above said the GOV isn’t forcing you to eat GMO…. True, but not everyone can grow a garden (are those seeds GMO contaminated?). The masses aren’t hell bent on diet like we are. Should they have to eat GMO just because they don’t know or had the time to study food/diet? We’re taught to trust our GOV. They look out for our best interests ;)

    When the poor are sick from eating garbage, it comes out of your working class pocket. Cheap mass produced food doesn’t have to be sh*t food.

    GMO junk foods will be touted as health foods every 5 minutes on CNN just like the current junk foods are.

    Here is a rough TV ad order:

    – HFCS laced “fiber bars”
    – Anti-depressant pharma

    * 10 minutes of programming *

    – HFCS/aspartame laced non-fat pro-biotic
    – Proton pump inhibitor

    Grok wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Totally agree. One of the reasons I am sick is because I used to be poor for many years and had to eat contaminated food because I had no other choice. I am now eating organic food and trying to recover from the damage the other food has caused my body over the years. If there are people out there who can do something to stop the poor people from being fed garbage they should go for it.

      Angelina wrote on January 21st, 2010
  16. Can you say scared straight?! If you haven’t already seen the documentary The Future of Food see it.

    It also gives you a picture of big Pharma has not only contaminating the food supply, forced farmers to destroy seeds that have been in their families for generation but has the nerve to Patent seeds to continue its assault on nature.

    Pamela wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • I agree Pamela, I watched that movie last summer,first thought was OMG! Now i eat primal/paleo

      Ivar wrote on January 29th, 2010
  17. I realize that there’s little “proof” that GMO’s are bad, and I have heard that billions would starve without them (which is a discussion for another forum). I still don’t trust them and avoid consuming GMO foods as best I can.

    I don’t like the thought of relying on a food that has been developed by crossing genes from completely unrelated organisms. Which proteins are going to show up? What allergies might be triggered?

    I like even less relying on foods that cannot reproduce themselves. Farmers who are feeing billions using GMO foods are reliant on Monsanto and others to provide seed and chemicals to grow those foods. They can’t just set aside a portion of last year’s crop, and they can’t fertilize and protect the crop using local methods.

    Now, I read that GMO testing is all of three months?! You’re kidding me? The minimum time for feeding trials of kibble for dogs is six months. That’s right – that incredibly cheap bag of really low-grade kibble is on the shelf because a six-month feeding trial didn’t kill or significantly damage more than few of the dogs in the trail. Just like GMO testing, but longer.

    Darcy wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Darcy,
      Isn’t it a good thing that GM foods can’t (yet) reproduce themselves? Do you want pest and herbicide-resistant plants invading the countryside? The scary thing is when these superplants break through their supposed non-reproduction a la “Jurassic Park.” I read recently that some bradford pears have regained the ability to reproduce and are becoming invasive.

      Ed wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • The problem is, however, they can contaminate neighboring crops. There have been numerous examples of this.

        Jen wrote on January 21st, 2010
        • Yes, and then Monsanto sues the farmer for patent infringement. Successfully.

          Dave, RN wrote on January 21st, 2010
      • Point…but it’s mixed. As you and others have mentioned, the GMO crops are not entirely successfully contained. There is cross-contamination with coventional crops.

        They are a living thing, and living things do not take well to being blocked form reproducing. They have a way of finding a way to perpetuate their genes.

        So, when the developers are successful, the farmer is wholly dependent on them for seed every year. When they are not, the farmer is probably still dependent on them to get a full crop in, but now has to also deal with upset neighbors whose crops are being invaded/contaminated.

        Darcy wrote on January 21st, 2010
  18. There’s another GMO left out of this conversation, and it’s made by Monsanto, Round up ready sugar beets. It’s grown quite bit back in Wyoming and much like high fructose corn syrup from GMO corn…well you get the idea it ends up in something we eat and thanks to our government bowing to industry you’ll never know it’s there by reading the label!!!

    Tab wrote on January 21st, 2010
  19. I wanted to post this earlier in the game, but now is a great time. This article in Forbes tries to legitimize using GMO’s and blames folks like us for trying to bring down legitimate family farms. Nice…
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/18/agriculture-farming-organic-opinions-columnists-joel-kotkin.html

    Jeff P (P stands for Primal) wrote on January 21st, 2010
  20. Ok even if GMOs are safe (funny joke), that isn’t the only reason many people are avoiding them. No one can argue how evil Monsanto is, and if you don’t mind the evil, then hell, eat your GMOs… It’s your right.

    Ahmed Serag wrote on January 21st, 2010
  21. My last comment posted a link to a Forbes GMO article, but when I submitted the comment I got a moderated waiting message. Never got that before. ???

    Jeff P wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • Articles with links get flagged as possible spam and requiring moderation. No worries, it got through.

      Ross wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  22. Here’s an idea. If the US really wanted to help with the food shortage/starvation issue in developing countries wouldn’t it make more sense to take the money they’re using to subsidise potentially health-threatening rubbish like Monsanto and redirect it toward supporting the education of farmers and sustainable farming practices in those countries?

    Let’s be clear about something: GMO is not about altruism. It’s about the perverse end of the Capitalism scale where everything is subservient to the $$.

    While I’m convinced that a large majority of scientists mean well when they try to ‘improve’ upon nature, I’m yet to be convinced that, left to its own processes, nature couldn’t manage to improve quite readily on its own – where it’s necessary.

    silverbenz wrote on January 21st, 2010
    • People breed faster than nature improves. If you can get folks to cut back on the breeding then your idea is pretty darn good.

      Until then this is quickly becoming a necessity.

      Michael Walker wrote on January 21st, 2010
  23. GMO’s aside….anyone read the TIME article about grass-fed beef? I know everyone has heard the one about global warming and cow farts…this explains it in detail. A huge carbon footprint from growing and transporting corn and soy to the feedlots where you then have concentrated farts and manure.

    Cherie wrote on January 21st, 2010
  24. Aww crap… GMO sugar beet! Now I have to find something else to feed my horse over winter other than sugar beet pulp. And I thought I was doing the right ‘grain-free’ thing. Horses do badly on grain just like people do.

    Sam wrote on January 21st, 2010
  25. The error I see is fairly simple. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is good, just because something is unnatural doesn’t mean it is bad.

    It IS possible to create genetically modified food that will provide people with nutrition and health benefits that would have otherwise been highly unlikely if not impossible.

    Now! Putting pesticides directly into the organism, absolutely insane. It has nothing but negative side effects in the short and long term for both the people eating it, the people harvesting it, and the ecosystem around it.

    Organic food is far more expensive than the alternatives and I’ve yet to see extensive data to show it is worth the extra cost.

    Monsanto themselves are bad juju. But Genetic Modification and various other sciences can and will produce wonderful changes in the future.

    Cancer is natural, poison is natural, radiation is natural. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is the best thing for you.

    Or as one of my favorite comedians used to say “Dog shit is natural, doesn’t mean you want to eat it.”

    Both sides have their positives and negatives. As far as I know you can’t feed the entire world with organic foods, likewise there ARE pesticides used on organic crops, there are pesticides used in all food growing. In some cases they are even using harsher pesticides than ‘non-organic’ foods.

    ANYWHO, just felt like getting that out there.

    Mike

    Michael Walker wrote on January 21st, 2010
  26. We should stop messing about with nature. Nature provides enough food for us and we should not have to modify it.

    Richard Shelmerdine wrote on January 22nd, 2010
    • People have been modifying nature since the beginning of time. Nature sucks. It was devoid of food for modern civilization, competed with us for food, or tried to kill us.

      The important point isn’t “don’t mess with nature”, it’s “how can we influence nature in a productive and sustainable way”. I would argue that GM is extremely dangerous due to lack of biodiversity.

      Logi wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  27. I’ve always been skeptical about the claim that we need GMO, pesticides, & chemical fertilizers to feed the world. The world was fed by organic crops ever since the beginning of agriculture, until after the World Wars. The chemical companies convinced everyone we needed fertilizers and pesticides, and it’s been downhill from there. Like formula is better than breast milk. Sure.

    Ellen wrote on January 22nd, 2010
    • I couldn’t agree more. Anytime I hear claims that it’s better than nature (i.e., taste like sugar, made from sugar, but not sugar)I want to throw-up. Also, how can anything be better than breast milk.

      I just heard or read (can’t remember which) that breast milk may be harmful to babies especially if the mother has a “bad diet or consuming harmful chemicals.”

      I still believe it is better than the chemical formulas they’ve been promoting.

      Pamela wrote on January 22nd, 2010
    • Years ago, I read an article about a family farm that was lost through the use of all those lovely “modern” improvements in farming. The increasing reliance on chemicals to fertilize and control pests contributed to financial debt _and_ land that could no longer grow crops without massive chemical intervention. It became a vicious cycle – can’t grow crops without chemicals, can’t buy chemicals without going into debt (using next crop as collateral).

      Definitely not a sustainable model.

      Darcy wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  28. My biggest concern about GM foods is lack of biodiversity.

    If modern agriculture collapses due to some kind of disease thanks to the fact that all plants of one kind of crop are the same, NO ONE will be eating the SAD or Primal diet.

    Scary stuff. Should not be allowed.

    Logi wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  29. I am personally divided on the GMO issue. I’m am highly suspect of Monsanto’s Round-up Ready products and the molecular engineering required to create them. Bacillus thuringiensis however is a naturally occurring soil bacteria that can probably be found on much organic produce and may be present in the our current diets (primal or conventional.) When it comes to expressing a Bt protein in the target crop, that I really don’t have a problem with because the only 2 things have changed: 1) the source of the expressed protein (crop vs bacteria) and 2) the abundance of the protein. It can be argued that the second concern is the critical concern, but little data is available to address this.
    As an earlier commenter noted, I don’t think the biggest concern is not the safety of GMOs (after all, Brassica have been selectively bred by humans for the last several hundred years, and no part of their genome has integrated into the human genome despite being a staple of conventional and primal diets, in fact we eat plenty of plants and animals and at a genetic level, we are certainly NOT what we eat; at the polysaccharide level, this may not be true…) but in the ethics of mono-cropping, state support of agribusiness and the ecological impact of chemical large scale chemical treatment of large swaths of land. I feel that the GMO debate is a smoke screen meant to prevent real and substantial discussion of the root issues.

    Matt B. wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  30. There was a company in the 90s that was putting spermicide in corn to help reduce the population. There is no evidence that it was ever used. The company was sold and the corn “disappeared.” It’s a little scary when you consider that there a members of the current administration that advocated putting sterilants in drinking water.

    Jenny wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  31. “My biggest concern about GM foods is lack of biodiversity.”

    Any crop that has been domesticate by man will not have biodiversity. That is the point of domesticating a crop … to control and maximize the yield.

    Why do we deny people GM crops and let them starve just because some misguided people think GM food is “Scary stuff.”

    EatHealthy wrote on January 24th, 2010
  32. I am not a big fan of GM food. I find organic food has alot more taste and flavour. But if you have to eat it, then why not. So far noone has proven any long term health risks.

    fitnessequipment wrote on January 25th, 2010
    • “Absense of evidence is not evidence of absense.”

      As this article pointed out, Monsanto is preventing us from getting data about it, a very bad sign when they’re the one selling it.

      Sofie wrote on May 27th, 2011
  33. Wondering if I can get help from the group.

    If something is grown organically, is it always non-GMO?

    Conversely, can a GMO crop be grown and certified organic?

    Thanks for any input!

    Scott J wrote on January 26th, 2010
  34. Hi Mark, this is my fist post , and my take on what help me understand about GMOs is here http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/MediaCenter/Videos/index.cfm now everything is clear in my mind .. hope this helps everyone here ! you have a great web page ! I love reading what you have to say ! thanks. Ron

    Ron wrote on January 29th, 2010
  35. I do not even understand how I finished up right here, but I assumed this post was once good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger when you aren’t already. Cheers!

    make your hair grow faster wrote on November 10th, 2011
  36. Thirty days. Unbelievable! Showing that little regard for something so personal as food is criminal. Thanks so much for this information. I’ve searched low and high to locate truly independent findings. Now I know why.

    Big Al wrote on March 4th, 2012
  37. For anybody concerned about GMO foods, I truely hope you aren’t taking any pharmaceutical compounds (drugs). I worked from research to manufacturing for a range of pharma companies, from a samll generic manufacturer looking to break into the big leagues to canada’s primary source forflu vaccines. What always struck me the most shocking (even after 15 years!) was how little is known about how any specific drug actually works (interestingly Vaccines are very well understood). And Safety? The actual manufacturing process relies nearly 100% on radiation for sterility, except for biologics (like vaccines) which the FDA is fine having 1000 times the level of contamination as any microchip in any of your devices.
    I think what I’m getting at is that, like most medication, GMOs are the most profitable solution a problem (in this case ever increasing food demand). And while Monsanto’s business practices may be “evil”, when you get down to it, so are those of most telecom companies, shoe companies, nail salons, bakery chains, coffee shops and so forth. Further, they aren’t the only company in the game, just the most public. So giving GMO’s a blanket boycott is like saying that Walmart is evil, so I won’t buy anything from any department store for the rest of my life.

    Dan wrote on March 30th, 2014

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