Hawaii anti-GMO ‘corruption’ scandal? Genetic Literacy Project investigation underway

| September 3, 2013 |
file0001080248578

It’s shaping up to be an ugly week on Hawaii Island. Beginning in Hilo on Wednesday, September 4, the island Council will again debate controversial measures designed to curtail the growing of genetically modified crops on the island.

The Battle over GMOs on both Hawaii and Kauai has been rancorous, threatening to tear apart the aloha spirit that has defined the Hawaiian Islands for centuries. The ‘public discussion’ took a sharply political turn in May when Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille brought forward Bill 79, which banned GMOs but proposed to exempt the GMO Rainbow papaya crop, which is credited by scientists and independent experts for rescuing the papaya on Hawaii from extinction threatened by the ringspot virus.

Bill 79 was widely regarded as a scientific and political mess, as the independent website Biofortified.org noted in its analysis. The committee held four days of public comment sessions, with tensions running high and the debate turning personal. Wille withdrew the bill in early August after the hearings and a Council discussion made it clear that it was poorly written.

Now Wille is back with a similar measure. (The GLP publishes a response to the bill below provided by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association.) But this time, she has dubious company. South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Brenda Ford has introduced her own “book burning” measure, proposing that all papaya fields be cut down and burned—the position supported by the more radical anti-GMO activists who have come to dominate the anti side of the debate.

Funding corruption by anti-GMO campaigners?

Activist leaders opposed to crop biotechnology, such as Walter Ritte, the Molokai-based political activist, have attempted to frame this battle as David vs. Goliath, threadbare grassroots campaigners fighting Big Ag. Although they claim their opposition to the innovative technology is home grown, a Genetic Literacy Project investigation, still in its infancy, suggests that the opposition is flush with cash, getting hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from mainland anti-GMO organic organizations that have an ideological stake in blocking new farming technologies.

For nearly a decade, an impressionable anti-GMO mob mentality has been carefully cultivated on Hawaii island, but documents reviewed by the GLP suggest this increasingly ugly turn has been nurtured by slick and well financed outsiders. They also raise disturbing questions about the possible misreporting of campaign contributions by Walter Ritte, suggesting there may be violations of Hawaiian election financing and disclosure law.

The GLP’s preliminary investigation focuses in part on Hawaii Seed, which appears to be funded substantially by an activist Minnesota private foundation known as Ceres Trust, which calls itself an “organic research” organization. Ceres has in recent years pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into two major allied groups: Hawaii Seed and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).

The 2011 tax return of Ceres Trust, date-stamped in November 2012 by the IRS, shows that it gave $145,490 to Hawaii Seed and $550,000 to the Center for Food Safety in 2011. Ceres Trust gave another $650,000 to the Center for Food Safety in 2010.

Both Hawaii Seed and CFS Safety have been active in lobbying and organizing public support throughout 2012 and 2013 on behalf of GMO labeling legislation in Hawaii State—without once disclosing their direct financial links to each other and to Walter Ritte. There is also no information on Hawaii Seed’s website about its board of directors or its major donors—a complete lack of disclosure.

Did Walter Ritte violate Hawaii’s campaign spending law?

Ceres founders and other mainlanders also funneled campaign contributions directly to Walter Ritte in 2012 for his race for a vacant seat on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. A report submitted to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission by Ritte shows two Ceres Trust trustees, Kent Whealy and Judith Kern, as each giving $6,000 to his campaign. The campaign contributions report filed by Ritte shows an address for Whealy and Kern in Pahoa on the Big Island, although there is no evidence that the Ceres trustees are residents of Hawaii. (During 2012, Whealy gave $1 million to the California anti-GMO labeling campaign ballot initiative and listed Decorah, IA as his home address.

The campaign also listed $5,000 from Susan and John Scarlett (CEO of Geron, a biotechnology company based in Menlo Park, CA). The Scarletts’ address is listed on Molokai, but there is no evidence that the couple are residents of Molokai.

Hawaii’s campaign spending law, Chapter 11, Part XIII, Section 11-362 states: “Contributions limited from nonresident persons. Contributions from all persons who are not residents of the state at the time the contributions are made shall not exceed thirty percent of the total contributions received by a candidate or candidate committee for each election period.” About 80% of Ritte’s campaign money came from out-of-state contributors, an apparent violation of the spending law.

Ritte has served as a past board director of Hawaii Seed. Ritte and CFS director Andrew Kimbel appeared together at a Hawaii SEED event in January, when he accused elected officials on the island of corruption and supported “driving these criminals off this island.”

Ritte’s report to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission can be reviewed online here. The GLP has emailed Ritte the above paragraphs, requesting a response or clarification, but has not yet heard back. If we do, we will update this story accordingly.

The GLP is also tracking ‘soft money’ contributions to Hawaii Seed and other anti-GMO groups funneled through the People’s Fund in Honolulu, which, through its grant-making activity, has taken an openly anti-GMO stance. People’s Fund has disbursed grants to various activist groups throughout Hawaii without disclosing the amount of each grant award in its tax returns.

The People’s Fund lists grants to:

  • Hawaii SEED in 2009 and 2007
  • KAHEA-The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance in 2013, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2005
  • GMO-Free Maui in 2004 and 2005
  • GMO-Free Hawaii in 2005
  • Hawaii Organic Farming Association in 2002
  • Hawaii Food Policy Council in 2011
  • Seeds of Hope in 2013

However, the dollar amount of each of these grants is not reported on the People’s Fund web site. Nor is it reported in the 990-PF tax returns of the People’s Fund. Instead, the People’s Fund simply reports a total of all grants disbursed to its various causes each year. In 2011, it showed a total of $85,744 in grants to “various grantees”; in 2010, a total of $63,225; and $90,441 in 2009.

Contributions made by the Ceres Trust to Hawaii SEED and/or CFS in 2012 and 2013 will remain unknown to the public until receipt of 990-PF tax forms by the IRS and subsequent posting on Guidestar.com in 2014-2016. Thus, the financial support of mainland foundations for advocacy and lobbying activity on behalf of anti-GMO legislation in the Hawaii State Legislature and County Councils will not be disclosed until several years after such expenditures have influenced public discourse and decision-making.

Another anti-GMO group, Hawaii Genetic Engineering Action Network, shows 990 returns on Guidestar only up to the 2009 calendar year, or tax year ending June 30, 2010. That return shows income of:

  • $50,306 in 2005
  • $52,060 in 2006
  • $55,165 in 2007
  • $90,907 in 2008
  • $227 in 2009

$248,665

At last report, GEAN’s officers were Nancy Redfeather, President, and Pamela Greenway, Secretary/Treasurer. It is based in Captain Cook on the Island of Hawaii. What did GEAN do with the $248,665 received from 2005-2009? Has it received more money since then?

Are anti-GMO activists eluding public scrutiny by presenting themselves as charitable “educators”? Will Hawaii County barrel forward, pressured by what increasingly looks like ill-considered momentum to “do something”—or will elected officials proceed deliberately and consider the full political, legal and economic context of this debate, while carefully examining the mainland financial roots of the anti-GMO movement?

The GLP believes it is important that the public and elected officials in Hawaii County know how much money is being spent by advocacy groups, who is behind the activities of self-proclaimed “grassroots” activists, and which 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations have contributed to transforming what could be a civil discussion about Hawaii’s farming future into a kangaroo court-like anti-science proceeding.

The GLP investigation is still unfolding. Stay tuned.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University.

 

*          *          *

 Hawaii farmers, ranchers urge Wille to endorse safety of papaya

Brenda Ford’s bill, which would destroy Hawaii’s papaya crop and blow a huge hole in the county and state’s economy is considered extreme and unlikely to gain support by anyone except for the most dedicated fringe activists. Oddly, that positions Wille to maintain that her bill, which exempts the papaya crop from most GMO restrictions, is “moderate”. It’s anything but. The bill would stigmatize GMO crops as dangerous; it would only be a matter of time before the popular support for the Rainbow Papaya wanes and the Hawaii papaya effectively shuts down. The Hawaii Papaya Industry Association formally addressed the Wille bill in an open letter published this past Sunday:

 

Open Letter to Margaret Wille from Hawaii Papaya Industry Association

The Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) strongly opposes any legislation that specifically targets food or crops made through genetic engineering. The global scientific consensus, reaffirmed by every major science organization and regulatory oversight body in the United States, is that GMOs are as safe as conventional and organic agriculture.

Hawaii farmers produce the best tasting papaya on the planet and papaya is always ranked in the top five healthiest fruits for human consumption. Any anti-GMO legislation would sharply limit the tools that Hawaii farmers can use to produce their crops, and by association it would taint Hawaii’s worldwide reputation for the highest quality papaya. The real intent of local anti- GMO legislation is to prohibit all GMO’s and to ultimately destroy Hawaii’s papaya industry.

We respectfully request Councilwoman Wille to publicly endorse our GMO “Rainbow” papaya as having no adverse impact on the environment and that our papaya fruit is safe, wholesome and nutritious. The so-called exemption for papaya production in Bill 113 is meaningless because any anti-GMO bill would cast a negative shadow on Hawaii papaya, harm our markets and eventually destroy our industry.

Hawaii imports 85% of its food and over 70% of those imports contain genetically engineered ingredients. Yes, much of the bread, milk, meat, cereal, beer, soda, and most all of the food we buy contains GMO ingredients or comes from animals that are fed GMO feed. These anti-GMO Bills are the first step in the political process to take those foods from our shelves.

Prohibiting Hawaii County farmers from using USDA, EPA and FDA approved GMO crops will put us at a competitive disadvantage. We will be prohibited from using virus resistant GMO crops to protect Hawaii from the next papaya virus strain, banana bunchy top virus, tomato spotted wilt and other vegetable viruses, or the bacterial citrus greening disease that is destroying the Florida citrus industry and may soon come to Hawaii. Furthermore, this bill will stop development of GMO ornamental and floral crops with enhanced horticultural or disease resistant characteristics. How will Hawaii County farmers and ranchers compete when everyone but us has access to GE technology? That is why the Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawaii Cattlemen Association, and the Hawaii Floral Industry have joined with the Hawaii Papaya Industry to oppose these Bills.

Ms. Wille may have political, philosophical or religious reasons for banning GMOs on Hawaii Island, but any claim based on safety to human consumption and the environment is not supported by scientific evidence. Not one major international science body anywhere in the world questions the scientific consensus. Independent oversight and research organizations in every major country in the world, in industrialized countries and developing countries—more than 100 of them—have reviewed the evidence on the safety and health of genetically modified crops and issued reviews of the research and statements on this issue.

Here are just a few of the summary statements of the world’s leading science organizations:

American Association for the Advancement of Science

“The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.”

World Health Organization

“No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”

National Academy of Sciences

“No adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.”

American Medical Association

“There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”

European Commission

“No scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”

French Academy of Science

“All criticisms against GMOs can be largely rejected on strictly scientific criteria.”

Union of German Academics and Scientists

“In consuming food derived from GM plans approved in the EU and in the USA, the risk is in no way higher than in the consumption of food from conventionally grown plants. On the contrary, in some cases food from GM plants appears to be superior in respect to health.“

*           *           *

The HPIA agrees with the science. Genetically engineered crops grown in Hawaii and the rest of the world pose no more risk to human health than any other method of plant breeding. Therefore, we are opposed to any politically imposed restriction on GMO’s for all farmers and ranchers in Hawaii County.

Our GMO “Rainbow” papaya is safe and we challenge anyone to bring forth any scientific consensus to the contrary. Any anti-GMO legislation in Hawaii County taints our reputation for producing the world’s best papaya. Such legislation—clearly not grounded in science—would result in the destruction of Hawaii’s papaya business.

The HPIA respectfully requests that Councilwoman Wille withdraw Bill 113. Any exemption for papaya without a clear public endorsement that GMO “Rainbow” papaya is safe, wholesome and nutritious is meaningless. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Hawaii Nurserymen and women, Hawaii Cattlemen and Big Island Banana Growers Association and do not want an exemption for our industry that would restrict the innovative tools necessary for our future and our fellow Big Island Farmers and Ranchers.

Paid for by Hawaii Papaya Industry Association

P.O. Box 6959, Hilo, Hawaii 96720

  • First Officer

    Thank God we’re fighting back ! The witch hunt must end !

    • Christopher

      Paid for by Hawaii Papaya Industry Association

      • First Officer

        SAS, Shill Accusation Syndrome claims another victim !

  • SMoore

    This is such total BS. We the ordinary citizens of the State of Hawaii who don’t want our soil and water poisoned by massive doses of toxic chemicals (Kauia, Molokai, Oahu) and our organic papaya farms driven out of business by contamination from GMO papaya farms, who don’t want our supposedly ‘pasture grazed/grass fed’ cattle (Big Island) fed GMO corn, are up against some of the richest corporations on the planet that have the USDA and FDA and to an extent the EPA firmly in their pockets, and you’re questioning OUR finances??? This article is a disgusting piece of trash.

    • tesla3090

      Your “organic” papaya farms were about to go extinct due to evolution, not chemicals. You’re fighting one of the greatest scientific advances in the history of humankind, with over 50 years of research demonstrating it’s safety and efficacy.

      You realize this bill would require insulin users to register and pay a $100 fee right? Same for people who receive the flu vaccine. It disgusts me that instead of learning the science behind these technologies, anti-GMO activists would rather watch people die in order to maintain some abstract idea of “purity”.

      • First Officer

        This purity business that just a slight amount of GMO renders whole shipments, “GMO”, but the reverse doesn’t hold true reminds me of the 1924 Virginia racial integrity act. The concept is eerily similar, the, “one drop rule”.

    • First Officer

      Richest corporations on the planet? Monsanto has revenues that are less than Staples. Or is Staples also vying for World Domination through the control of office supplies ?

  • FreedomFan

    Kudos to Hawaii Papaya Industry Association for standing by their principles even when they were offered a waiver from the corrupt anti-GMO politicians.

    • doc30

      The simple fact the bill’s authors offered such a waiver is proof enough that they know how critical GMO’s are to the local economy. Organic growers can’t compete because they will never be competitive with farmers using the best agricultural sciences offer.

      • First Officer

        They are waivers or exemptions in name only, requiring such onerous stipulations such as Level 3 Biosafety containment, as to render them defacto bans.

  • Ray Songtree

    My goodness, is this author and readers unaware of who and why the GMO industry exists? Please do search for “glyphosphate disease”, do search for “Monsanto revolving door” as an image. Do search for “GMO 2-4-d”. Do search for “40 million dollars defeats GMO labeling California.” Do search for “GMO corruption Hawaii”. Do search for “GMO and IMF”. Do search for “GMO and Wikileaks”. Do search for “GMO land concentration Brazil”. Do search for ” GMO toxins pregnant women”. Do search for “GMO toxins mothers milk” The witch hunt has just begun and there will be criminal prosecutions as more and more people get sick. Don’t believe it? Do the first search. And if you have invested in any of these biotech companies that put profits above health, it is time to wake up. You could start by getting educated. The author is on wrong side of history, worrying how the 99% of people are funded. Do this search “total biotech lobbying spending”

    • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

      My goodness…do search for “I will believe anything I find in a Google search now matter how unsubstantiated”; that should answer your unsubstantiated allegations. I just take up one for illustration, your totally erroneous belief that new still unapproved 24-5 products are dangerous–what scientists call the ‘Agent Orange hysteria canard”: I suggest you do some SCIENTIFIC research
      on 2,4-5 resistant crops…it is not the same active chemical used in
      Agent Orange..you totally misunderstand the science on this–you are just
      echoing anti-GMO talking points. Agent Orange, a defoliant used in the
      Vietnam War, was made with two herbicides: 2,4-D (the one that the new
      corn tolerates), and 2,4,5-T. The 2,4,5-T was unknowingly contaminated
      with a dioxin, something that was only later recognized as a significant
      human safety issue. Yes, 2,4-D was part of Agent Orange, but it wasn’t
      what made Agent Orange a danger back in the 1960s. In fact, for decades,
      2,4-D has continued to be one of the most widely used, safest
      herbicides in the world. It is registered in 70 countries, including
      those with very comprehensive and cautious regulators (Canada, the UK,
      Germany, France, Japan…). 2,4-D is a component of most consumer products
      for the control of weeds in lawns. It is used extensively in wheat. It
      can already be used on corn up to a certain growth stage. 2,4-D is NOT
      Agent Orange.

  • gandalfsbeard

    Is this satire???

    The Biotech Industry has been pumping BILLIONS of dollars into lobbying at home and abroad. I fail to see how a few hundred thousand here or a million there can compete…

    • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

      Your facts are incorrect and your analysis is flawed. First, the biotech industry has a smaller economic/financial footprint than the organic industry. You can make hysterical/paranoid claims but there is no documentable evidence that the biotech has spent billions or even hundreds of mllions of dollars on lobbying. If you add up the financial impact of organic industry lobbying, which is multiplied by activists (perhaps like yourself) and so-called “green” groups (Greenpeace International alone for example receives and spends more than $300 million dollars a year–all of it lobbying–which alone far exceeds by well more than 1000% the combined lobbying budgets off all the biotech companies combined–and we have not talked about all the separate Greenpeace organizations in each country and the hundreds of anti-GMO organizations whose combined outlays on anti-technology campaigns yearly is in the billions of dollars–far more than any biotech company. Your naive view of the world is farcical. Now let’s focus on Hawaii, in particular, where anti-GMO groups present themselves as shoe-string and home grown organizations. Lobbying by biotech companies in Hawaii is regulated and the numbers are readily available publicly–and its’ quite minimal. On the other hand, “lobbying” by anti-biotech organizations, rather than being regulated, is disguised under 5013c protection–hence this article. Anti-GMO activists are expert at generating publicity via the web and by leveraging the media, which presents GMO controversies (eg: are gmos ‘safe’) as if they are real rather than manufactured (there is no science based evidence that Gmos are unsafe).Your view of the world is skewed by your emotions and your prejudices…but the fact is that anti-science/anti-biotech activists have far more promotional tools at their disposal to spread their propaganda viewpoints. You’ve been taken.

      • gandalfsbeard

        You can’t be serious. That all flies in the face of Logic. You’re just making crap up.

        There is NO WAY Anti-GMO activists can raise the kind of funding that Multi-Billion dollar Corporations can make. The US Biotech industry actually looks undervalued at roughly $100 Billion. And the Global industry at about $300 Billion.

        And that is not counting Corporations like Dow Chemical–which raked in $57 billion alone in 2012. Biotech is a MAJOR component of their enterprise, and they are owned and run by banking, energy, and weapons companies.

        And that is not counting research funds available to University and Government Biotech research.

        Greenpeace in comparison is worth only about $300 Million. Most of that money comes from donations of concerned individuals of modest means. And they DON’T spend all of that money on Lobbying as Forbes falsely claims. They have their own people to pay and whaling ships to run…

        Biotech also has every major Corporate Media outlet and even some Progressive media outlets at their beck and call. Which means they get a lot of free advertising when their pundits trash anti-GMO protesters with ad hominems and demonstrably false statements (Genetic Engineering is not in any way similar to traditional breeding techniques, contrary to the Industry claims).

        Biotech firms are owned by the same people that own other Mega-Corporations. Monsanto alone is run by a board of directors which includes McDonald’s, Sarah Lee, Proctor and Gamble, and Cisco Systems Execs.

        There is no way that the anti-GMO organisations can EVER hope to have such Deep Pockets.YOUR massaging of the facts is farcical sir.

        • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

          I provided facts; your provided claims. Biotech companies spend money on research and developing products. Activist organizations spend 100% of their money on lobbying. Greenpeace’s budget alone is larger than the combined lobbying budgets, many many times over, of all the biotech companies. You are left with paranoia and hysteria.

          • gandalfsbeard

            Here is the farcical claim which is the centre-piece of your entire argument. It is such an outrageous claim, it undermines your credibility.

            “Greenpeace International alone for example receives and spends more than $300 million dollars a year–all of it lobbying–which alone far exceeds by well more than 1000% the combined lobbying budgets off all the biotech companies combined.”

            1000% eh???

          • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

            Fair enough. What I meant to say is that the combined budgets of Greenpeace and other anti-GMO organizations, added to the free publicity generated by these NGOs, easily exceeds the lobbying budgets of all the biotech companies combined by well more than 1000%.

          • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

            Just to give you an idea, an anti-GMO website calculated Monsanto’s lobbying over 25 years at a total of $15 million!! That’s about $800,000/year and Monsanto is the largest of the group. In other words, you willfully misrepresent the economic clout of anti-science organizations.

          • gandalfsbeard

            Monsanto propagandists could easily change the stats on Wikipedia if they wanted to. The fact that they haven’t speaks volumes, and undercuts your dubious math…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto#Political_contributions_and_lobbying
            Monsanto lobbies the United States Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture about regulations that would affect the production and distribution of genetically engineered produce.[276] In 2011, Monsanto spent about $6.3 million.[277] In comparison, the US Chamber of Commerce spent the most in lobbying in 2011, with $66.4 million, and the 20th highest spender, Pfizer, spent $12.9 million.[278] US diplomats in Europe have worked directly for Monsanto.[279] In 2008, Monsanto spent $8.8 million for lobbying. $1.5 million was to outside lobbying firms with the remainder used by in-house lobbyists.[280] In 2011, total money spent on lobbying was about $6.3 million, more than any other agribusiness firm except the tobacco company Altria,[277] and $2 million of which was spent on matters concerning “Foreign Agriculture Biotechnology Laws, Regulations, and Trade.”

          • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

            What a powerful argument you offer. I quoted from anti-GMO website. Regardless, the money spent by agro-biotech companies on olbbying remains a tiny fraction of what anti-science NGOs spend. The key factor is that corporations disclosure their contributions while anti-science groups, which spend far more, do not. In Hawaii, groups claim they are grassroots, and that’s too simplistic, as you would acknowledge. Yes, locals feel passionately. But they are no less a “corporation” just as Greenpeace with its yearly half billion dollar budget is a big business. These “local” groups have mainland lawyers, mainland advisors who draft their strategies and briefs, mainland scientists, maniland formulated propaganda etc. I’m not claiming that ag companies or seed companies don’t lobby for their self-interest; they do. But they are not pure as snow…they are what they are…lobby groups, and for the most, paid for by organic activists with financial stacks in a certain outcome…demonizing GMOs. My concern is that they are getting from here to there by spreading misinformation. If they engaged this issue on the level of science or economics, I’d have no problem. But I’ve been to Hawaii and talked with them and read their literature…it’s dishonest in many ways–more ways than not.

          • gandalfsbeard

            No, actually you didn’t quote an Anti-GMO website. A quote implies a citation…

            John Entine ~ “Just to give you an idea, an anti-GMO website calculated Monsanto’s lobbying over 25 years at a total of $15 million!!”

            Not seeing a citation. I don’t really care that you didn’t provide a citation (I prefer to do my own research). But I do mind if someone claims that they quoted something without citing the source.

            The rest of your statement is debatable,without any clear way to resolve the argument.

            I tend not to cite obviously biased sources, including anti-GMO websites. I rely on mainstream media reports (usually foreign), Scientists and government (California Medical Association for example) and independent organised groups of scientists.

            I could just as easily claim that you are being dishonest. Especially considering the revolving door between industry lobbyists and execs, and government posts… access that goes far beyond anything attained by anti-GMO organisations.

          • http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ Jon Entine

            Here is the website: http://influenceexplorer.com/organization/monsanto-co/6da92f051f974535aa77a41ef4801e82

            And what’s the problem with experts from the most cutting edge industries in the world going to work for the government. We want top technology company researchers working for the government. We want top cancer researchers from private firms working for the government. The reality is that most non-industry research on crop compnaies is very low grade. Monsanto/BASF/Dupont Pioneer. etc.=Apple/Microsoft/Google rolled into one. You probably don’t know anything about crop biotechnology companies and research programs, but most of the innovative research into sustainable agriculture comes from companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, etc. It sounds like your anti-corporate sensibility is so deep that you don’t even do basic research about the status of ag research in the world. Reasonable people WANT a revolving door. Now, if you can find evidence that research or safety or other protocols have been violated, than go for it…but there is none that I’ve seen that’s remotely convincing.

            As for who has access, you are flat out wrong. Read my story in Slate on the GE salmon fiasco for example: http://tinyurl.com/cdjyqdf.
            I’m a supporter for the most part of the Obama Administration but anti-GMO activists have access to the White House that lobbyists could only dream about. And it goes on today. I’m preparing another article about this. Despite my Slate article embarrassing the White House to lift its ‘political hold’ on the GMO approval process, and the FDA after 17 years finally able to follow its scientific review process, the White House, pushed by anti-GMO activists, are again circumventing the law and holding up the FDA’s final approval announcement. I really believe you don’t understand how powerful activist groups on some issues (but not on others) are… especially when you can use fear as a weapon. And that’s what anti-science groups backed by the deep pockets of the organic industry do.

            You’re right…it’s not a level playing field, when you will use distortions and fear to make your argument. Whatever you think about corporations…and there are no angels there, I will agree…it’s easy to spot the lies and the disigenuousness.

          • gandalfsbeard

            No, we DON’T want a revolving door between Industry and the REGULATORY Bodies which are supposed to REGULATE said Industries. Haven’t heard of the term “Conflict of Interest”???

            But thinks for providing the link.

  • chouli

    soo…you’d rather support the GMO industry so your farmers can continue to make $$ REGARDLESS of the problems and issues with GMO foods?? Profit at any cost?? And how do the consumers get to decide if they want to buy and feed GMO crap to their families?? Oh, I guess that doesn’t matter when money is to be made. If papayas or any other crop ceases to exist naturally, then so be it. Making franken-papayas isn’t an option that should be shoved down unsuspecting consumers throats.
    Label all GMO products. Let consumers decide. Stop making law based on what’s profitable for corporations.
    Stop and think about WHY so many other countries have BANNED GMO foods…not just required labels, but banned them. That doesn’t raise any red flags here?? Really??
    What good is your money when your children are being diseased by the foods this country produces?