Girls Scouts reject attempts by anti-GMO parents to use their kids in fear campaign

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It’s Girl Scout cookie selling fund-raising season, which means the annual campaign to vilify young girls for selling cookies made with ingredients from genetic modified foods is in full swing. But as in recent years, the Girl Scouts are holding firm in their support of science.

The Girl Scouts have faced relentless criticism from anti-GMO activists for years because of its unwillingness to embrace activist criticism that its cookies are in any way different from cookies without GM ingredients. The campaign turned into a cause célèbre two years ago when an Orange County, Country California mother used her then 6-year old Girl Scout daughter as a propaganda prop, setting up a Facebook page that urged fellow scout parents to boycott the annual sales event to force the organization to go GMO free. Tens of thousands of people signed her Change.org petition. Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 9.52.59 AM

Helped by heavy promotion by fringe anti-science activist sites like GMOInside and NaturalNews.com, the campaign went viral. The mother and activist articles claim that sugar derived from GM sugar beets used in making the cookies are “health-destroying.” In fact, sugar made from GM and non GM sources is identical. Nearly all of the sugar beets planted in the U.S. are now engineered to resist the glyphosate herbicide–dramatically cutting down in the use of more toxic pesticides. Proteins containing traces of the trait are removed in processing. From a genetic and health perspective, all sugar–from conventional, organic and GM sources–are 100% the same.

Many moms have embraced the campaign, often spreading the worst kind of misinformation about crop biotechnology. “I believe that to participate in this year’s Girl Scout Cookie sale would be a cover-gsfundamental violation of the Girl Scout Promise, and the Girl Scout Law,” wrote one upstate New York mother last year in a rambling post that linked to the website of Jeffrey Smith, a cult-following former “flying yogic instructor” with no science background who has become a guru to many in the anti-GMO movement but is seen as a quack by mainstream scientists.

Despite such pressure, the Girl Scouts have doggedly stood firmly with the scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs and remained steadfast in its pro-science position. With such a large segment of consumers concerned about GMOs, it’s no surprise that people wonder if their precious annual Thin Mints or Samoas contain genetically modified ingredients. Laudably, GSA walks the walk, and talks the pro-science talk on its extensive FAQ section.

Del Girl scouts

Kudos to the Girl Scouts for disseminating accurate, science-based information about GMOs and not bowing to undue pressure. Indeed, even with unscientific and arbitrarily emotional parents forbidding their daughters to sell Girl Scout cookies due to baseless anti-GMO rage, the message hasn’t changed. In a day and age of American school districts promoting misinformation about GMOs and removing genetically modified ingredients from school lunches, the Girl Scouts’ stance is refreshing.

This is one more feather in the Girl Scouts’ cap. The organization has shown its science savvy in Girl Scouts in a labmore ways than one. It supports STEM education for girls in its annual legislative agenda. Each rank of Girl Scouts explores various areas of science, and the organization offers merit badges in ‘Science and Technology’ as well as in ‘Innovation.’ In addition, the the Girl Scouts published an original research report exploring girls’ relationship to STEM fields.

The organization is wise to recognize and validate its customers’ concerns. As University of Florida plant geneticist Kevin Folta states, “soft is persuasive” for those on the fence about the safety and benefits of GM foods. Without being harsh or seeming uncaring, the FAQ answer not only affirms the widely-accepted scientific knowledge that genetically modified ingredients are safe, but goes further to assert the Girl Scouts’ opinion that these technologies have the potential to nourish the world’s growing population.

The consequences would have been grim if the Girl Scouts had succumbed to activist pressure and switched to GMO-free cookies. Campaigners questioning GMO safety would have had fodder for their fears, using the rejection of GM ingredients to reinforce unscientific propaganda. It’s up to the parents and role models of impressionable children to promote science-based information–and not exploit innocent children as propaganda props. For one of America’s most beloved treats to contain GMOs is benign and economically sound. For one of America’s most beloved organizations to take a science-based stance on GMOs is inspiring.

Jon Entine is executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project.

Kavin Senapathy is a mother of two and a freelance writer who works for a genomics and bioinformatics R&D in Madison, WI. Opinions expressed are her own and do not reflect her employer. Follow Kavin on her science advocacy Facebook page, and Twitter @ksenapathy

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  • Judy Nonarchi

    I’ve rejected supporting Boy Scouts for their anti-gay stance. I’m proud of the Girl Scouts for standing up for science.
    Girls rock!

  • ForGMOEducation

    Way to go Girl Scouts! Kids shouldn’t be used as political tools when they are too young to understand the science behind a controversial issue. I’m glad someone has stood up for this, and I’m tired of arguing with anti-GMO parents while their child stands around in a bee costume listening to the whole thing.

  • I’m having a hard time understanding why the Girls Scouts would take such a stance on GMO. All I’m coming up with s that they must have integrity. People still do that? Neat!

  • rick

    Thank you Girl Scouts! I fear the consequences of our society succumbing to fear and ignorance far more than I fear any hypothetical, speculative association of harm from the use of a modern plant improvement methodology. I could understand if you gave into the pressure, but I for one appreciate you being courageous and sensible enough to be guided by the light of evidence and reason. I will buy a couple extra boxes this year.

    • rick

      Ran into girl scouts at our local grocery store and bought double what I normally do. Also, the daughter of a neighbor came by- I bought another 3 boxes. 11 boxes altogether. A small but delicious act of definance!

  • Mark

    I wasn’t buying many girl scout cookies because of all the calories, but I think I will be buying some this year! They deserve to be supported for their intelligent and informed decision.

  • Jon Frejlich

    So sad to see this, I guess the girl scouts are really no better than the boy scouts after all.

    • Larkin Curtis Hannah

      Why do you say this?

    • Judy Nonarchi

      Why, Jon? Are the Girl Scouts anti-gay?

    • Good4U

      Both organizations are on the right side of most issues. They teach correct values to the world’s children. People who would tear them down on any account are wrong headed.

  • Colleen Faler

    It’s once a freakin’ year, folks. One time a year to have something with a SMALL AMOUNT of GMO product is NOT GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!

    • Judy Nonarchi

      “small amount” — of sugar? No protein in sugar. No genetic engineered protein in sugar.
      Now, LOTS of sugar will kill you, but not because of any genetic engineering.

    • rick

      The amount of ingredients, flour, sugar or whatever, derived from cropswith ge varieties is irrelllivent.

  • Judy Nonarchi

    If anyone represents farming / ranching (or is a farmer, or knows one) or represents an organization that supports biotechnology, I suggest calling the Girl Scout office in NYC (on their website) and let them know you appreciate their science-based rationality re: gmos in their cookies.

  • Nicole Jones

    Great article! I wish we did more with science in our troop!

    • Kavin Senapathy

      Nicole – I’m one of the authors of this piece and I’m happy to speak with your troop via video chat if they have any questions!

      • jason is right…

        how much are you paid as a lobbyist for gmo foods?

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Jason is wrong, the shill[paid as a lobbyist] accusation is lazy, worn out and counterproductive. Please come up with something that is at least entertaining.

          • Judy Nonarchi

            They shriek “Shill !” when they have nothing more to offer. Like schoolground bully name-calling. It really IS borrring.

        • JoeFarmer

          How much are you paid as a lobbyist for organic foods, “Jason”?

    • aloha1010

      Aloha! I will be happy to chat with you too. If you want to check out science please check out the newly reinstated Seralini study.THis is you love independent science of course. http://www.gmoseralini.org/en/ When it comes to GMO,Spraying a pesticide repeatedly selects for weeds which also resist the chemical. Ever more resistant weeds are then bred, able to withstand increasing amounts – and often different forms – of herbicide.ood & Water Watch found that the “total volume of glyphosate applied to the three biggest GE crops — corn, cotton and soybeans — increased 10-fold from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million pounds in 2012.” Overall pesticide use decreased only in the first few years GE crops were used (42 percent between 1998 and 2001) and has since then risen by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.

      • GMO seralini is not a science site. It’s a fringe anti-GMO ideological site. The Retracted Seralini study was not peer reviewed. seralini bought it’s way into a pay for okay journal as no credible science journal would publish it. glyphosate use has gone up as would be expected because it’s use was tied to herbicide resistant GMOs, which went from zero to 90 plus percent if some crops. Glyphosate, formulated as a water softener and less toxic than table salt, replaced much more toxic chemicals. As organic activist Charles Benbrook has documented, while glyphosate use has gone up, overall toxicity of chemicals used per acre has dropped significantly. insecticide use has gone down 10-fold since GMO crips were introduced in US.

  • First Officer

    Remember folks. There are no girl scouts in girl scout cookies!

  • Kevin Folta

    A few years ago I got a nastygram from Alicia Serratos’ mom because I criticized her daughter for taking a non-scientific stance when we’re trying to recruit more women into science. I offered to come talk at he daughter’s school at my expense and even help them understand the science. I’m still waiting for an invite!

    • Kavin Senapathy

      What a generous offer! I hope they’ll eventually extend the invite. I also hope that this mother is among a minority of Girl Scout moms.

      • aloha1010

        ALoha Kavin. I am very disappointed as my comment was erased. I don’t feel that you want dialog but that you are just having a monologue. In any case, it was about how in fact the use of pesticides ( as herbicides are also considered a pesticide ) have increased dramatically and therefore what you are saying in your article is not true. Spraying a pesticide repeatedly selects for weeds which also resist the chemical. Ever more resistant weeds are then bred, able to withstand increasing amounts – and often different forms – of herbicide.ood & Water Watch found that the “total volume of glyphosate applied to the three biggest GE crops — corn, cotton and soybeans — increased 10-fold from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million pounds in 2012.” Overall pesticide use decreased only in the first few years GE crops were used (42 percent between 1998 and 2001) and has since then risen by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.

        • Kavin Senapathy

          Hi aloha1010 – I don’t moderate the comments here.

        • Jackson

          Your previous comment is showing up just fine on my screen, I don’t think it was deleted.

    • Judy Nonarchi

      Thank you, as usual, Kevin!

    • aloha1010

      How very generous you ,Kevin. Well, I am sure that she has already been educated with some independent science such as the studies in the reinstated Serralini study .I prefer that kind of science rather than the propaganda that calls itself science that tries to tells us that poison is ok just as big tobacco hired doctors to tell us that smoking and even smoking cigarettes with asbestos was ok. http://www.gmoseralini.org/en/ Remember this? I guess it never gets old.

      • RJB

        aloha1010, I notice you posted the same comment twice, and it is identical to the comment that “Guest” (above you) posted. That is rather interesting. Did you post under two different screen names?

        • aloha1010

          hi,yes, first it looked like it did not post. Thank you. I will try to erase the one as a guest.

          • RJB

            Thank you for the clarification.
            Unfortunately the comments, sources and links you are using are strictly activist and do not reflect science or reality. Can you and your like-minded colleagues be honest and transparent about who is really funding the anti-GMO and anti-pesticide movement in Hawaii?
            Also can you provide a detailed, fact-based model (including economic analysis) of how agriculture should operate? The analysis should use credible peer-reviewed science and economics to describe how the worlds’s population can receive adequate calories and protein. Because if you want to change how things are done, it would serve you well to provide a sound, well thought out alternative for everyone to review. Then you might actually be willing to persuade others using rational, reasonable & civil discourse.

      • Kevin Folta

        Aloha, Aloha! That sure is an easy one to use, unfortunately you find that the scientific literature was critical of the dangers of smoking going back into the 1800’s. Was there corruption? Sure thing. How much are you paid to spread such things?

        See the folks that work against science, whether it is smoking or GMO, are the ones that are most suspect. When evidence and consensus support one’s assertions, there’s not much of a reason for suspicion. My discussion of the topic always mirrors the scholarly literature, interpreted within my training, citing the strengths and limitations. That’s not propaganda, that’s science that does not fit your worldview.

        And if she’s educated by Seralini’s study that’s great. I’m glad she won’t be competing with kids I teach for school, jobs and other opportunities. Thanks.

        • aloha1010

          Aloha Kevin. You came to Hawaii invited by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association AKA the PR arm of the chemical companies testing pesticides in the Aloha State. You were here along Mr. Entine and others. If you were paid to come to Hawaii to fight the efforts to stop pesticide testing from taking place next to schools,hospitals and residents homes .Do you see how it is very difficult to belief that you are an independent and how concerning is to think that there are children being taught that genetically manipulated substances drenched in deadly poison are OK? I feel very sad for the kids being exposed to your propaganda . I also hope that they are able to get access to learn about how the children in Hawaii are being exposed to the banned Lorzban which is an IQ destroyer.As you of course know, we passed the Bill to protect our children but your employers are suing us and refusing to do the right thing, and still testing their poisons in our islands.I pray that you have a change of heart and do the right thing.http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/#!pesticides-in-waimea/cqh1 The only studies saying that GMO are OK are the ones sponsored by the Chem cartel.It doesn’t take a genius to understand that using the most toxic chemicals in the World next to human population and causing out of control pollution is a very bad idea. It only takes a little bit of common sense, and compassion for your fellow human beings.It is easy to do what you do all the way from Florida ,but in Hawaii,this are real families being exposed to the poisons that make profits for those who pay you:((((

          • Kevin Folta

            Let’s get a few things straight. I was never “paid” for anything. Nobody pays me. I received absolutely no compensation for my time, and if you consider the time lost and my expenses not reimbursed, I lost quite a few bucks in the venture. That’s okay.

            I spoke to folks in red shirts and blue shirts, and if you want to cover my expenses I’ll be glad to come and spend time talking about science with you or anyone you choose. I’d be happy to do that.

            My expertise is in helping the public understand traited seeds, the stuff you know as GMO. There is nothing inherently dangerous about these plants or their products. That’s not some “chem cartel”, that is the scientific consensus, and I’m glad to help you understand how they work.

            I thought the folks in Hawaii were wonderful on all sides of the issue, with some exceptions of course. I was treated well in general by the folks on both sides of 2491, again, with some exceptions.

            Just for the record, nobody “pays” me. I don’t personally ever get an honorarium or any compensation. My job as a public scientist is important and I take that seriously. I’m glad to come over for you as well, I just don’t have travel funds to do that. Take up a collection and I’ll be glad to come and talk science with you.

          • aloha1010

            So may I ask who payed for your travel expenses to Hawaii? Did you do it out of the goodness of your heart? Let’s talk poison,Kevin. Do you agree with the chemical cartel testing poisons next to Hawaii schools and hospitals? Poisons like the neuro toxin Lorsban and the banned in Europe Atrazine? “Cartel
            historical
            a coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest.”
            For all sorts of purposes when Monsanto, Dow,Dupont Pioneer,BASF.and Syngenta got together using the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association,their PR arm, to fight measures as 2491 and when they sue Kauai,Maui and the Big Island for passing regulations to protect their citizens from their chemical and poison pollution they are a de facto cartel.http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/#!know-the-facts/c23ab

          • Jackson

            children being taught that genetically manipulated substances drenched in deadly poison are OK?

            What specifically are you referring to here? Do you have a threshold for what constitutes “drenching”, and a measurement for “deadly”?

            I ask because if I were to guess, I would assume you are thinking of glyphosate, which is used in relatively small quantities and is relatively harmless to people.

    • aloha1010

      How very generous you ,Kevin. Well, I am sure that she has already been educated with some independent science such as the pier reviewed reinstated Serralini study .I prefer that kind of science rather than the propaganda that calls itself science that tries to tell us that poisons are just ok ,just as when big tobacco hired doctors to tell us that smoking and even smoking cigarettes with asbestos was ok.http://www.gmoseralini.org/en/ Remember this? I guess it never gets old.Same propaganda ,same arguments used for such a long amount of time.

    • Guest

      How very generous of you ,Kevin. Well, I am sure that she has already been educated with some independent science such as the studies in the reinstated Serralini study .I prefer that kind of science rather than the propaganda that calls itself science that tries to tell us that poison are just ok ,just as big tobacco hired scientists and doctors to tell us that smoking and even smoking cigarettes with asbestos was ok. http://www.gmoseralini.org/en/ Remember this? I guess it never gets old.

  • erinna1112

    If you have eaten wheat or corn – or, to be honest, most plant-based food – you’ve eaten GMOs. Every single grain crop grown today is wildly different from its original form.

    • Brian Fredericksen

      Sorry there is no GMO wheat currently grown for sale in the world.

      • Judy Nonarchi

        That is correct.

      • Good4U

        I’m sorry too. There should be. The sooner we can come up with wheat that would be resistant or immune to attack by Fusarium graminearum (the cause of head blight) the better off we would be from a toxicological standpoint. Most likely the fastest way to get there would be via transgenics. Bring it on! I’m a ready customer.

  • chienblanc4csi

    Congratulations to the Girl Scouts for standing up for science and integrity. This is the Girl Scouts of my youth, teaching girls to think for themselves, to ask questions, examine values, search for truth, to be true leaders. There is still an issue in the leadership, the parent troop leaders. I admit that I had taken my Girl Scout adventures in learning and thinking for granted, until I read this article a bit over two years ago: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/girl-scouts-demand-protection-puppies/story?id=16774222 Similar issues with troop leaders and propaganda.

  • shojobakunyu

    It’s disturbing that after DECADES of legitimate research and THOUSANDS of independent studies, the Cult of Anti-GMO is still going strong. The blood of millions of dead men, women, and children in countries that rejected GM Corn and Golden Rice are on the hands of these 1st world, anti-science loons. They’re as bad as the Anti-Vaxxers.

    • smc618

      It’s DISTURBING that you’re so IGNORANT that you don’t even know that there has not been ONE HUMAN GMO STUDY. NOT ONE. And ALL the independent studies conducted on animals have PROVEN they cause cancer, sterility, infertility and other disease/anomalies as well as attach themselves to your own DNA. Anyone who seriously thinks it’s “safe” to ingest foods that have been heavily doused in deadly chemicals and altered with genes, bacteria and viruses w/ UNKNOWN CONSEQUENCES is a FOOL.

      • Ripshed

        Do we do studies on humans every time we create a novel hybrid trait? No, we do not. So why should we do the same for any other form of breeding? Please explain.

        Please name the independent studies that show what you claim. Please note that retracted studies will not be taken seriously.

        Please name the “deadly” chemicals that are used on GMOs. Please also explain to us how the chemicals used by organic farmers are not toxic or deadly by the same standards you use for the chemicals used outside of organic agriculture.

        • Judy Nonarchi

          Ripshed, exactly!! I have asked dozens and dozens of times for one of these guys to explain why they turn a blind eye to any issues that may be caused by mutagenesis for organic seeds; chemical-blasting and irradiation. And why they don’t rant and rave about Big Org conspiracy theories (60 Billion$$ industry) that keeps mutagenesis procedures from being studied. NONE of them has ever responded.

      • Rodrigo Barbosa

        BY INDEPENDENT you mean without following scientific methodology, getting peer reviewed and publishing on a reputable journal, right? Because when you write “independent study” it sounds a lot like “alternative medicine”.
        I’m really sorry you are so scientifically illiterate. If you payed for your education, you should call your school and ask for your money back.
        (Yes, I’m mocking the poster because what was written is so scientifically ignorant, that there isn’t even enough “wrong” to be criticized. “Attach themselves to your own DNA?!?!?!” That is a new record low.)

        • NoToGMOs

          “If you payed for your education, you should call your school and ask for your money back.”

          Oh, the irony!

          • Rodrigo Barbosa

            Thank you. I fixed it.
            Since English is not my first language, I’m always happy to have people correct me. Specially with a sense of humor 🙂

          • NoToGMOs

            Specially with a sense of humor 🙂

            It’s ‘especially’, not ‘specially’. But hey, who’s counting? I assume your science classes were conducted in a non-English medium since you seem to equate non-understanding of science technicalities with lack of education but don’t do the same with mistakes in English language grammar and usage?

          • Rodrigo Barbosa

            Righttttt. How many languages do you speak again?
            And how many different kinds of “science” there are? I mean, besides real science and pseudo-science.
            I definitively equate non-understanding of basic science with lack of SCIENTIFIC education. I don’t care if the OP is able to knit a sweater with a single hand, or can recite poetry.

          • NoToGMOs

            There is a difference between ‘education’ and ‘science education’. The first is a well-rounded study of all sorts of subjects including the language in which you are getting educated in. The second is more narrowly focused just on science, but one requires the first to be proficient at the second. Did they not require a certain level of proficiency in English when you took your science classes? There is a reason you need good grades in English even if your ultimate goal is to be a scientist.

            Your initial post/rant/insult at the OP asked them to get refunded for their ‘education’, not their ‘science’ education.

            Oh, and I can comfortably speak 3 languages and reasonably understand 2 more.

            Remember one more thing…..no one likes condescension, especially coming from someone claiming to ‘know’ science.

          • Rodrigo Barbosa

            “Your initial post/rant/insult at the OP asked them to get refunded for their ‘education’, not their ‘science’ education.”

            Granted. Let me clarify it:

            The op should ask for a refund on what he paid for education, since his science education is so lacking and, as you stated, one needs a well-rounded education. Including science and, since he is spreading lies and misinformation about science, he doesn’t know science or even the basics of education, otherwise he would not be making wild claims based on pseudo-science.

            And now that you demonstrated that I don’t have a perfect grasp of the English language, which I grant, and also that my original statement wasn’t clear enough, which I also grant, none of this makes the OP less ignorant about science and GMO, which he is. I’m not trying to demonstrate my superior knowledge of English, which he is trying to demonstrate (and failing badly) a knowledge of science.

            On that note, thank you for your willingness to help me with my English skills, and I hope one day your knowledge of science will also improve, so you don’t use such an ignorant alias as “NoToGMOs”.

            Feel free to reply, comment or attack me, as you see fit, but I’m jumping out of this discussion, since it is obvious there is nothing else to be gained here, which I should have figured on your first post by your alias alone.

            Cheers.

          • madcapfeline

            I love you, Rodrigo, broken English and all. Cheers to you, sir.

          • NoToGMOs

            “and I hope one day your knowledge of science will also improve…”

            I am pretty sure I could run circles around you as far as scientific knowledge/education is concerned, especially with regard to the human/animal health effects of GMO consumption.

            “don’t use such an ignorant alias as “NoToGMOs” “

            Ignorant to you, enlightened to others…..who’s to say who is right?

            Cheers to you too.

          • JoeFarmer

            “I am pretty sure I could run circles around you as far as scientific knowledge/education is concerned…”

            No, you can’t.

          • Judy Nonarchi

            No, you can’t run around Jon, No. Not if you care about logic, rationality, and science, and 20 years of history, and many Billions of animals studied for any “gmo damage” (none).

          • Rodrigo Barbosa

            “who’s to say who is right?”

            And that is anti-gmo “science” for you, boys and girls…

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Rodrigo, your use of English may have some minor glitches. However your basic grasp is good enough to have done a fine job of pointing out the deficiencies of the anti g.e. point of view exhibited by notogmo. Well done.

          • madcapfeline

            Jesus Tapdancing Christ, pedantic much? See, science is one of those things that’s universal. It doesn’t matter in which language you learn the science; it always stays the same. Also, I especially loved the condescending lesson on condescension. That’s a level of douchebaggery I’d not yet seen. Kudos for that, I guess.

          • NoToGMOs

            Try getting into a college level science course in any English speaking country with failing grades in English. Just tell the admissions committee that ‘science is science’…I’m sure they’ll grant you admission on the spot. /sarcasm.

          • madcapfeline

            And I’d bet you a shiny nickel he didn’t fail English. As a current college student in a school of science at an American institution, I can attest that there are a considerable number of transfer students from non-English speaking backgrounds, many of whom are not as English proficient as our friend Rodrigo is. So, there’s that. #MyAnecdoteIsBetterThanYourAnecdote #SarcasmIsForBitches.

          • NoToGMOs

            I have no problem with people who come from a non-English speaking background. In fact, I fall in that category as well. I’m saying that someone whose ‘education’ lacks in one aspect (English, in this case) should not insult/throw stones at another person whose ‘education’ lacks in another aspect (Science, in this case).

          • madcapfeline

            If we had been talking about English class and proper grammar, I’d grant you that. But we aren’t, we’re talking about science. I don’t know a single person that is exceptional in every subject. Just because someone’s English is less that perfect, does not mean that their scientific knowledge can be immediately discounted. English speakers do not hold the monopoly on scientific knowledge, regardless of whether they are fluent or still learning. If a not quite English fluent scientist knows more than I do about any given scientific topic, I welcome his or her thrown stones at my incorrect hypothesis, questionable experiments, and obvious biases. That’s the difference between a scientist and a activist. Scientists want to get the science right, even if it means having to admit being wrong and having to change their stance once the evidence comes in. Activists have to be right, regardless of what the evidence says, and will fight to the death to protect their ideals from that ugly cognitive dissonance..

          • Judy Nonarchi

            No, eveen if yoo cant spell too gud, yoo kin stell larn abaht science an coosation an korrelation an alldem kands o thangs.

          • NoToGMOs

            Why don’t you try writing a Master’s or Ph.d science thesis in that ‘language’ and get back to us about how it goes?

          • Alexander Pierre-Fällman

            How can you say that, because a person doesn’t speak perfect English, they can’t say what they want about absolutely anything else? What they say may be great, stupid or neither, but having such a long conversation about his needs to improve English has NOTHING to do with the points he makes, which are actually related to this article.
            Do you also think people shouldn’t talk about science (or any education aspect) in their own languages?
            Do you think people should be removed from any conversation until they learn a language perfectly?

          • madcapfeline

            I’m thinking you meant this as a reply to our Anti-GMO friend, since this is pretty much the point I was making the whole time.

          • Alexander Pierre-Fällman

            oh excuse me, yes, indiddlideed

          • HumphryQuintley

            That has a lot more to do with the “for profit education system” than it does about
            legitimate education. Granted, we should expect modern scientists to be able to
            perform above average at basic communication. But the assumption that said
            scientist needs good GRADES in Religious Studies, Art History or Advanced English
            language courses is thanks entirely to our education system wanting dollars and
            not student performance. Kind of like asking our sports entertainment stars to
            hold Masters degrees in Business Management or Physical Anthropology.

          • JoeFarmer

            You have no useful education when it comes to agriculture. STFU!

          • NoToGMOs

            Ooh, insults! I’ve missed you too!

          • JoeFarmer

            Another spelling lesson from the person that has zero subject knowledge.

            Good for you!

        • smc618

          Independent means just that… INDEPENDENT of the industry.

          • Rodrigo Barbosa

            You mean like the people who are making tons of money out of fearmongering and unless (and sometimes dangerous) alternative products? Yeah, they are completely reliable.

      • HumphryQuintley

        “not been ONE HUMAN GMO STUDY. NOT ONE.”

        Entirely false; stop lying.
        There have been at least 2 scientific
        studies on HUMAN subjects related to the GM crop Golden Rice. I have taken the
        time to do your research for you smc618.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682994/

        http://www.goldenrice.org/PDFs/GR_bioavailability_AJCN2012.pdf

        Now if the anti GMO crowd would shut
        their entitled, ignorant yap for more than 15 minutes and allow more of research, maybe the proof will change people’s mind (note that is a neutral statement, maybe GMO will be proven horribly unsafe, but maybe it won’t)

        • smc618

          BULLSHIT dumbass. A full human study would require 60 yrs. …ie THREE FULL GENERATIONS. Now pull your head out of your ass.

    • NoToGMOs

      Can you say hyperbole?

    • Judy Nonarchi

      Some of the anti-gmo fearmongers I know personally ARE anti-vaxxers. Minds snapped shut. Sad.

  • The_Hiking_Guy

    Maybe the Anti-GMO crowd should listen to the man who started the movement: http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardlevick/2013/01/17/i-was-wrong-how-one-activists-apology-changes-the-gmo-debate/

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    In spite of what the Dr. said today. I will be purchasing some of the chocolate mint ones. And explaining why to the girl and/or parent. Now in anticipation of this I have 20 pounds to get rid of.

    • NoToGMOs

      I will not be purchasing any. And I will be explaining to the girl and/or the parent why.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        To have you as an enemy makes me proud. Thank you for choosing me to respond to. So, I will be explaining why I am glad they stand up for truth and you must explain why you want them to help you lie. They just sold some of the ones with the chocolate and coconut and another with the chocolate/mint.

      • Good4U

        I’m a continuing customer. If they had caved in to the anti-GMO screamers, I would have abandoned them. Next time the girls show up at our door, we will order double our usual supply. We will also convey our appreciation for their pro-factual approach to decision making, as contrasted with an ill informed, irrational, fear driven mode.

    • Judy Nonarchi

      Me too! I guess we gotta start running more hills! I called the G. Scout NYC office and complemented them on not falling for hype and fearmongering. I said they probably got few calls from us, and waaaaay too many calls from hysterical moms. They said that was true.
      Bring on the gmo cookies!

  • SL907

    Now if only they wouldn’t have fallen for the anti-gluten fad, which is equally unsupported by science.

  • Retail Hacker

    Kudos? The whole reason for GMO’s is so farmers can spray pesticides that don’t kill the crops. Then we eat those pesticides. Who cares who says it’s safe? We don’t want it!!

    • Ripshed

      News flash – pesticides are sprayed on non-GMO and organic crops too.

      • Retail Hacker

        Thanks. Why would you think you would possess that information and no one else would? Then of course you must know the pesticides in organics are derived from natural sources not synthetic. Which begs the question of, why would you say anything in the first place?

        • Ripshed

          Since when does natural automatically equate to safe? Arsenic is natural. Many of the common organic pesticides are as toxic or more toxic than synthetics. Rotenone and Copper Sulfate come to mind.

          • Retail Hacker

            There are certain levels that are allowed and not to be exceeded. Some are more biodegradable than others. Its not about a healthy pesticide. Its more of the lesser of two evils. Who wants a crop to have its genetic makeup modified so it can be doused with roundup?

          • Ripshed

            And you don’t think that the government doesn’t regulate safe levels of synthetic pesticides either?

            Do you have data to support your claims? No, you don’t.

            Let’s take a look at just how bad many organic pesticides really are: http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/xerces-organic-approved-pesticides-factsheet.pdf

          • Retail Hacker

            Im not sure what your point is. It sounds like you’d rather just eat GMO because its easier to not have to do research on whats good or bad. There are bad pesticides on that list and there are better pesticides. Why are you only mentioning the most toxic? Where is the list of good synthetic pesticides? And pesticides aside, why would you want to eat any food where they alter the DNA? What about that little thingy?

          • Ripshed

            I *have* done my research; that’s the whole point. You make claims but don’t back them up with evidence, and when scrutinized, they fall apart. THAT is my point.

          • Retail Hacker

            You only do the research that suits you. You mention the most toxic pesticide but no mention of the least toxic. No mention of how they change the DNA of our food. I don’t need any evidence to say that is safe. I want no part of that. Im not a science experiment.

            Im not in a court of law with all of my documents sitting next to me. Im working, talking to someone that would rather have DNA altered food. Excuse me if I don’t provide the scientific evidence to refute your claims and just rely on common sense.

          • Kavin Senapathy

            @Retail Hacker – I see a theme repeated in your comments, that “DNA altered food” is inherently a problem. Could you explain why you feel this way?

          • Judy Nonarchi

            Uh, ALL contemporary crops are DNA altered, aren’t they?

          • Kavin Senapathy

            Yes. I’m wondering why Retail Hacker keeps bringing it up. Just want him/her to expand on this train of thought so I can understand it.

          • Judy Nonarchi

            Kevin F. wrote a very funny spoof article about some folks wanting to put a warning on food that it contains …. O NO! DNA!! And I guess that there was some study that people wanted food with DNA in it to be labeled!

            “Warning: This food contains molecules.” Is this the next label?

            I’d be interested if Retail Hacker knows that all food has DNA in it … pretty funny!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            OK I’ll mention 3 of the less toxic pesticides, vinegar, salt, and coffee grounds. 2 of which are less toxic than glyphosate.

          • JoeFarmer

            You’re an agricultural creationist, just admit it.

            I’m pretty sure Jesus tended to his fields on the back of a dinosaur, right?

          • Judy Nonarchi

            Jesus didn’t know about dinosaurs…. poor Noah; he didn’t know to take them aboard the ark. But if he did, he wouldn’t have limited his food to dinosaur poop, right? lol!

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Me

          • Judy Nonarchi

            It’s not “doused.” Talk to a gmo farmer. They use micro amounts.

          • Judy Nonarchi

            And “natural” compost on organic is often insufficiently composted manure, leading to surprisingly high rates of e.coli contamination in organic. Natural does not mean safer, any more than sex implies love.

        • Rodrigo Barbosa

          The pesticides in organic cultures, like copper sulfate, are MUST more toxic and leave a lot more toxic resides on food than the artificial ones.

          • Actually, Rodrigo that’s not entirely true. There are many organic pesticides that are not particularly toxic, which is one reason why organic farmers spray more than do conventional farmers–they are less effective. They are also often less targeted, meaning they sometimes kill beneficial insects. Copper sulfate, while indeed used and very toxic, is in fact rarely used. Story is more nuanced.

          • hyperzombie

            is in fact rarely used.

            Well in row crops it is rarely used, but for many orchard and veggie crops it is used quite often. Grapes are a classic example.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Bourdeaux mix?

          • hyperzombie

            Yep.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            I am not sure how much is used by others in my area. However, our sand [soils?] have copper deficiency. So, I use sometimes as I do not have to worry about excess in the soil. Boron, the active ingredient in roachproof, is also deficient. So, one man’s poison to be avoided is a necessity for another. Correct use and understanding is necessary. Especially when eating cookies.

          • hyperzombie

            So are you saying that Glyphosate is adding nutrition to the soils, it is mostly N and P.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Hi hyper, No, I was using too many pronouns while referring to the copper sulfate.

          • hyperzombie

            Mmmmm cookies.

          • JoeFarmer

            Speaking of nuance, how about looking at weed control in organic farming?

            Since there are basically zero “organic herbicides”, taking a critical look at weed management in organic systems would be useful.

            Flame weeding? Lots of fossil fuel use. Useful for broadleaf weed control, not very useful for controlling grassy weeds.

            Cultivation and tillage? Well, that’s what we did in the 1920s, ever heard of the Great Dustbowl?

            There’s also application of thousands of feet of black plastic (polyethylene) to suppress weeds, but last I heard, polyethylene was made from fossil fuels…

            Organic production is basically a sham that caters to people with more money than sense. Or, true believers, like the Rodale acolytes.

          • hyperzombie

            Some are and some are not, here is a list of some of them and their effects on bees.

            http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/xerces-organic-approved-pesticides-factsheet.pdf

    • FosterBoondoggle

      RH, you have it backward in many cases. Bt GM varieties were created so that farmers *don’t* have to use pesticides. The plant makes a toxin (one allowed in organic ag, incidentally) that kills a particular group of moth-like bugs when they eat it. It’s a protein which our bodies treat like any other protein (i.e., it’s nutritious to us). So those plants don’t get sprayed with nasty synthetic pesticides, and we and the farmers are better off. You’re free to eat what you want, but sometimes “common sense” is just wrong.

      • Retail Hacker

        Its actually not backwards. Some were designed to produce their own insecticide, others to withstand it. Why would you want anyone messing with DNA of the food you eat? You’re writing it as if GMO’s are more nutritious which is disturbing. No independent study is going to say that. Only Monsanto cronies. And thanks very much for the quotation marks surrounding common sense.

        • hyperzombie

          Why would you want anyone messing with DNA of the food you eat?

          It is called plant breeding. If we didn’t mess the the genome we would not have any crops. There is no wild corn, wheat, seedless watermelons in nature. Man created these crops.

          • Retail Hacker

            Who are these people? We’re growing crops since BC. GMO is 80’s-90’s. ???

          • hyperzombie

            Really? How many years have people been eating seedless watermelon? Did ancient people eat Brocoflower and cherry tomatoes? Did they have peaches and cream corn and pink lady apples?

          • Judy Nonarchi

            Do any of the anti-gmo fearmongers eat cheese? Unless “organic” cheese, 90% of cheese is made with genetic modification, using chymosin.

          • hyperzombie

            Even Organic cheese is most likely made with GMO chymosin.

          • Judy Nonarchi

            That I wasn’t aware of … in that case, anti-gmo folks have to stop eating all cheese.

          • Technically speaking, GMOs have been around for about 25,000 years (since the dawn of agriculture). The food in your local supermarket or Whole Foods, is in no way, shape, or form, like it was way back then.

          • Judy Nonarchi

            And we plant breed organic seeds ALL the time. With patents. And using mutagenisis (chemical blasting and/or irradiation) to create those seeds. No prob.

          • hyperzombie

            so what is the problem with GMOs??far less genetic change?

          • Judy Nonarchi

            Exactly! With mutagenesis, there are thousands of genes with unpredictable consequences, but no gub’mint oversight, no hysterical fearmongering. It’s ironic that GE, with far less genetic change, has the super-regulation that it has, and still has all the fearmongering. Makes no sense at all!

        • Rodrigo Barbosa

          Actually, most of the insecticide variants are created through hybridization, not genetic manipulation.
          The fact that study is independent doesn’t mean it is credible. Actually, mostly aren’t.
          Where do you get your information, by the way? (Among other places, I get mine from a close relative that is an agricultural researcher and does study this things for a living, including a doctorate degree)

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          So, only Monsanto cronies will speak up for golden rice, cassava, rose pineapple and vitamin enhanced bananas??? Why? Are you contending that Monsanto employees are better folks from a moral standpoint than Dow, Syngenta, and BASf?

          • Retail Hacker

            I feel like Im taking crazy pills. Why would I contend that Monsanto employees are better folks? Th emost evil corp on the planet

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            My reply was to yours about “only Monsanto cronies” would claim g.e. foods are more nutritious. That’s why the list of nutritionally enhanced g.e. crops. I do not know why it did not appear where it should have.

        • JoeFarmer

          You win the “poster with the least knowledge” award.

          Congrats.

          • Retail Hacker

            Enjoy your gmo Joe idiot.

          • JoeFarmer

            You already won the “poster with the least knowledge” award.

            Unless you stick a lightbulb up your butt, you’ve already done all you can for one day.

          • Retail Hacker

            Saying GMO’s were created to resist pesticides is pretty much dead on unless Im in bizarro joe farmer world. I think we can all agree there. Then the question is, is it more harmful? Well of course it f’ing is. You need a scientific study to show you that a genetically modified crop doused in roundup is not any worse for you?

          • JoeFarmer

            No one douses anything in “Roundup” dumbass.

            Thanks for proving you have no clue.

  • PatriotVet

    Absolute lies. GMO foods are killing us. They cannot site any studies that show GMO’s are healthy. The fact is that these substances cause many more problems than they fix. Do your own research and stop believing the Monsanto backed mouth pieces. Even the farmers are beginning to reject GMO seeds.

    • hyperzombie

      Even the farmers are beginning to reject GMO seeds.

      LOL, yeah right. 93% of corn, 96% of soy, 99% of sugar beets, 95% of Canola and 90+% of cotton, I guess sales cant get any higher….

    • Rodrigo Barbosa

      Can you “site” where you went to school? I would like to tell a few people to avoid that place, since they obviously are not teaching science there.
      Do your own research? I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to go back to college, get a degree in biochemistry and do lab work. Is that what you did when you imply you did your own research? If you did, please give me address of your lab, since I would like to request a copy of the paper being published with the results of said research.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        Rodrigo, I hereby grant you a disgusting pun award and officially admit you to the Legion of English Punsters. That was almost as bad as some of mine.

    • Mary M.

      No…no they are not. As a farmer of GMO grain for over twenty years… We choose biotech over nonGMO seeds because of the benefits and the reduction of pesticide use. You are going to find farmers this year looking at alternatives because the price of corn and soybeans has dropped dramatically. It’s all about economics…not about whether GMOs are safe or not. Farmers know that GMOs are both as safe and nutritious as food grown by any other method.

    • rick

      “absolute lies”. Pretty strong language if you are attempting to engage in civil discourse. What an intellectually lazy post.

    • Judy Nonarchi

      Farmers are buying more gmo seeds than ever; look at corn and soybeans. And they eagerly await more types of gmo seeds.

  • Brian Daugherty

    Girl Scouts you tricky little minx you. Now I’m going to buy even more cookies because you gave the woo fighters the finger. CURSE YOU AND YOUR DELICIOUS AND SCIENTIFICALLY SOUND COOKIES!

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Right you expect folks to believe you photographed your daughter’s poop in anticipation of her dying because you fed her g.e. foods. That would make you a murderess as well as a disgustingly crass individual. Jon can you delete this “crap” And you folks can thank Rodrigo for the pun.

  • Ren

    The problem is often people do not learn about both sides and do not turn to accredited sites to get there information. Being an Animal Science major I have seen the argument for both sides. I still do not see the problem with GMOs. Look up golden rice, it’s a GMO, they took the protein that coded for Vitamin A in corn and, for the lack of a better term, shot it into the nucleus of the rice. Rice happens to be food crop for a large number of counties and before Golden rice, often these people suffered from poor eye site which eventually leads to blindness, also damaged gastrointestinal and respiratory tracks, just to name a few. Plus GMOs are highly regulated. There is a reason you cannot find wheat GMO out in the market.

  • Kavin Senapathy

    Annie, yes, I’m Indian-American. Please enlighten me, why is this relevant?

  • madcapfeline

    That is the most outstanding expression I believe I’ve ever heard, and my dad was a Marine, so that’s really saying something.

    • NoToGMOs

      Says a lot about you if that is the most outstanding expression you’ve ever heard!

  • Judy Nonarchi

    Love this farmer comment! haha!

    • NoToGMOs

      Of course you would……you two are made for each other.

  • NoToGMOs

    Oh, you’re back! What happened? Took a hiatus from shilling?

  • AuNaturelMel

    Honestly, this is going to be a tough nut to crack as the cookies are the GS’ big seller, and using non-GMO ingredients will probably make them more expensive than they already are. It’s kind of sad, though.

    Mel at mothersheeporganics.com

  • Real Name

    Are they made with real girl scouts?

  • Steve Ransom

    Congratulations Girl Scouts on your logical stance, and for standing up to the unreasonable and just plain silly demands of the ideological kooks. Girl Scouts and science make a formidable team!

  • morelambchops

    We’ll done, Girl Scouts! Looks like I’ll be buying more cookies with their pro-science approach. Smart company, smart girls! I was a Girl Scout for 10 years, nice to see they’re still an organization built on integrity. One step closer to earning that science badge. 🙂

  • aloha1010

    Aloha Jon! Soooo, how come that you are saying that GMO are causing the use of pesticides to decrease when indeed the whole reason of manipulating the crops is so they can withstand massive amounts of herbicides (as you well know also considered a pesticide) and therefore increasing and not decreasing the use of pesticides as you are claiming.Food & Water Watch found that the “total volume of glyphosate applied to the three biggest GE crops — corn, cotton and soybeans — increased 10-fold from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million pounds in 2012.” Overall pesticide use decreased only in the first few years GE crops were used (42 percent between 1998 and 2001) and has since then risen by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.

    Yesterday is was V Day, a World Wide event with celebrations to end Violence against Women. I encourage you to embrace the End of Violence against Mother Earth. Go to your heart and do what is right.

  • Jennifer Ehrenfried

    The petition very politely asks Girl Scouts to make cookies without GMOs. This article says “From a genetic and health perspective, all sugar….are 100% the same” You can argue the health perspective but from a genetic perspective they are MODIFIED; not 100% the same. Try violating Monsanto’s patents & you’ll find out very quickly how “novel” they are.

    • Jackson

      Hi Jennifer, I’m confused by your comment. Are you saying sucrose refined from GMOs is chemically different than sucrose refined from non-GMOs? And are you saying that Monsanto has a patent on sucrose?

      • Jennifer Ehrenfried

        I’m saying genetically modified sugar beets are not genetically the same as non-genetically modified sugar beets (or any other sugar source). I am saying Monsanto has a patent on GMO sugar beets- Genuity Round Up Ready Sugar Beets and to obtain a patent you have to show your product is novel- new & different than anything currently on the market.

        • Jackson

          OK, I think the confusion was when you said that from a genetic perspective the sugar was modified. And I don’t understand why Monsanto having a patent on the sugar beets they developed is a bad thing.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            I’m not saying Monsanto having a patent is a bad thing. I’m saying they can’t have it both ways. They get patent protection based on the product being new and fundamentally different but get to market it as exactly the same without so much as an asterisk?

          • Jennifer, could you clarify what you are saying? All seed manufacturers have been getting patents since the 1930s. 70% of organic seed is patented. No one would ever buy non hybrid organic or conventional patented corn seeds or GMO corn seeds because of genetic introgression…saving corn seeds leads to lower and lower quality corn, similar to cousin marriages in humans. All seed companies, including those that sell only organic hybrids, sell patented seeds. What’s your concern? It’s just not clear.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            You are going to win this one because we are getting into semantics. My understanding of the term organic is that it does not apply to a seed; it applies to the processes used in growing. But for someone to sell me food called “organic” they have to go through a paid certification process. I object to being told bt corn is simply corn. It is corn + bt. Why don’t they have to list bt? I have never heard of someone being sued for saving seeds except in regards to GMOs. I am open to learning more. Can you give me examples of someone being sued for saving organic seeds or for cross contamination of organic crops?

          • Jennifer, it’s a lot more than semantics. EVERY seed and plant has natural pesticides in them. Broccoli has more than 30. None is listed. It’s not an ‘ingredient’; it’s not in the corn itself. GMO sugar doesn’t have any DNA!! There is not ONE case of a farmer suing successfully over casual GMO “contamination”–not one. In every case, the farmer deliberately violated patent law. Not one example of Monsanto or any seed company UNFAIRLY going after a naive farmer. In every case litigated, farmer has been shown to have deliberately violated 85 year old patent rights. Here is an NPR article about that lie/myth: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/18/163034053/top-five-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted There have been hundreds of cases of farmers being sued for violating hybrid seed patent rights. Non-GMO hybrid seed patent rights are protected in every country in the world. Without them, no company would spend the tens of millions of dollars developing expensive hybrid seeds. Article 28 of theAgreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement), “planting, harvesting, saving, re-planting, and exchanging seeds of patented plants, or of plants containing patented cells and genes, constitutes use” and is prohibited by the intellectual property laws of signatory states.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            It’s fairly easy to find out which traditional foods I need to avoid if I have a condition sensitive to certain chemicals. It is extremely difficult to find out which foods I need to avoid if I simply have a bt allergy. I would have to avoid every single thing made with or fed any corn byproduct. I don’t understand your declaration “GMO sugar doesn’t have any DNA!!” The blog link doesn’t work. There have been many cases of Monsanto filing suit against farmers that are then settled- maybe because the farmer’s were knowingly violating patent law (although I’m guessing not only 85 year old patents since the GMOs on the market are relatively new), maybe because Monsanto was able to bully or bribe them- we’ll never know since Monsanto settlements always seem to involve non-disclosure clauses. My point was there is nothing wrong with consumers asking a vendor to make a product without GMOs & your gloating article implying that this vendor’s considerate, honest & transparent response somehow discredits any movement to have these products labeled. I don’t actually have to a full understanding of biochemistry to express my opinion that I have a right to know what I’m eating and I’m sorry you and the industry find that so threatening.

          • Jackson

            It is extremely difficult to find out which foods I need to avoid if I simply have a bt allergy.

            This is one of the reasons the labeling issue is so muddled. A label on a package saying “May contain GMO” won’t tell you if there is any Bt in it, and Bt is sprayed on organic non-GMO crops, so you’re effed there too.

            I don’t actually have to a full understanding of biochemistry to express my opinion that I have a right to know what I’m eating and I’m sorry you and the industry find that so threatening.

            Sugar is sugar. There is no Bt in the sugar, just sugar. It is chemically the same as sugar from non-GMO sources, you’ll be fine.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            I’ll be fine. Jackson said so. lol Be that as it may, as a consumer I want it labeled & will continue saying so until I don’t feel that way anymore. I agree that ideally the modifyer should be called out- it’s the only way to have a chance at medical traceability. But I’m a realist & a may contain GMO label is a start and better than nothing. Since biotech has so graciously encouraged me to try and educate myself about these products, I have learned enough to know that I don’t have to avoid Arctic Apples to avoid bt if that’s my goal but I would still have to forego all the made with or fed with corn byproducts because there is no way for me to distinguish between bt corn and Round Up Ready corn without testing. Biotech does itself a huge disservice fighting labeling. Furthermore, the people who want to avoid all gmos should be given that option. Industry says a call for labeling or any questions about the safety of any GMO is only a fear response. But then turn around and say they are afraid the market will reject their products if properly labeled. So it’s not ok for an individual to be afraid a for-profit company might release a poorly tested or dangerous product (and in the case of Monsanto, a company with a long history of acting in bad faith to say the least) but it’s ok for an industry to use deceptive marketing because they fear their product won’t actually suceed without so doing?

          • Jennifer, it’s not “industry” that’s against labeling. We have non-GMO labels and organic. So we have labeling. The opposition to labeling in the US comes from the science establishment, not industry: the AMA, AAAS, NAAS, and every major liberal publication from Scientific American to the NY Times, Wash Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Oregonian, etc. Most people don’t care (studies show less than 5% want labels changed). It’s activists who are trying to demonize GM foods that care. So, push for voluntary labeling if that’s what you want. You also somehow believe there has been “no testing.” That’s silly. It takes on average 9 years and $160 million to get a new trait approved, and that’s because of necessary testing. There are no poorly tested or dangerous GM products. None. You are really embracing lots of propaganda. Try reading from documents from the National Academy of Sciences or the European Food Safety Authority or the German Academy of Sciences or a reputable group…not anti-GMO anti-science hysteria site.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            You are correct that by labeling, I mean mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. I disagree about who constitutes the opposition to labeling. There is a huge difference between saying “there is not sufficient evidence of harm, yet” than saying they are opposed to labeling. Most of the opposition has come from the GMO manufacturers, the GMA and other “industry” groups. I have not tried to demonize GMOs in any way during this conversation- I have pointed out an example of why this might be pertinent information and addressed my problems with the opposition to labeling and the tone of articles such as yours. I also NEVER said I believe there has been “no testing”. Where did you get that? Once again, I support mandatory labeling of GMO food products. I am still not clear on why you vehemently oppose such labeling.

          • First Officer

            Think of the GMO patent for sugar beets like a patent for new kind of screw to hold engine parts together. The car company will have the patent on this screw and use it on their cars. But the cars themselves will still work and drive the same. Hence, those cars don’t need some sort of screw label for those new screws.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Since it’s food and not hardware, I’d rather think of it like a peanut. I have never had any negative reaction from a peanut or peanut byproduct. Not only do I need to be told if what I’m eating contains peanuts, I have to be told if whatever I’m eating has even been processed in the same building with a peanut. I have no objection to this and I don’t understand why anyone who doesn’t have a financial interest in hiding the fact that something may contain GMOs would object to their being labeled.

          • Jackson

            I think the difference there is peanuts are labeled because people can die from eating peanuts. Has anyone died from eating a GMO, or even been shown to be allergic to a specific GMO?

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            We were able to discern people were allergic to peanuts because people had knowledge of consuming peanuts and so they and their doctors were able to establish correlation. How would such correlation be made in regard to any GMO?

          • First Officer

            The same way you find out which products had salmonella in them. Nobody labels for salmonella content.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Are you equating bt with salmonella? You aren’t allowed to knowingly sell me food with salmonella in it. If you were, I would move to have it labeled.

          • First Officer

            YOur supposition is we couldn’t trace a problem without labeling. Salmonella, an unlabeled problem is proof we can and do !

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            My supposition actually is that without labels it will be much harder to correlate. Again, since salmonella is not knowingly included as an ingredient, how could it be labeled in advance? If I am producing BT corn, not only do I know it, I have had to sign liscencing agreements to do so. Saying that there are always going to unknowns doesn’t give anyone the right to withhold information that is known.

          • First Officer

            Nope, not really harder. Investigators take down what was eaten and call the companies. They have records of where and what, etc. As far as withholding info, sorry, but there is no right to know simply for the desire to know. If you don’t want GM food, there are already options for you in place. And Bt is known not to be a toxin for humans, licensing or not.

            Note: labeling is most useless for any medium or long term effects. Nobody saves the labels of what they’ve eaten over time.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Investigators take down what was eaten. Most people know if they’ve eaten chicken today or not. Most people don’t know if they’ve eaten any much less which GMOs today unless they grow their own or are able to source all certified organic and/ or Non-GMO certified. There are options for all of us in place. Why does the farmer using traditional seeds and practices have to pay for certification and the companies using newer processes and benefitting from our patent and trademark systems not only not have to pay a premium but don’t even have to acknowledge that any of that applies to a given product? It isn’t about saving labels- it’s about knowing what you are eating. I don’t need to save the packaging to be able to tell my doctor that I regularly eat products made or processed with peanuts even though you would never if it by the end product but i know because I saw it on the labels when I bought the product.

          • Jennifer, I understand your attempt to come up with an analogy, but this one doesn’t work. One’s reaction to peanuts is based on an allergy to a protein. But there is no such thing as a “GMO”. It’s impossible to be have a reaction to something called a GMO. Genetic engineering is a PROCESS, not a thing like a protein in peanut butter. Now, one might have a reaction to a protein in a specific GM food–but one could have a reaction to ANY protein in ANY food. The process that yielded that food is inconsequential. So, labeling something GMO would provide no real knowledge. It won’t “protect” you. It provides no knowledge other than catering to those who are scared of modern food science. The FDA does not regulate based on unfounded fears. If we did, many people would want all organic food to have a skull and crossbones that read: This organic product was grown in fecal material that if ingested could cause illness and death. Now that would be an informative label. So you would endorse that of course???

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Jon, “there is no such thing as a GMO” is another false statement. There are several things called GMO. I think we have well established that I am referring to an allergy to a specific modifier (or it’s components), not that someone would be allergic to the process. You make the case for labeling when you say one could have a reaction to any protein in any food. I agree! So how come food made with this technology doesn’t give individuals and the medical community a simple tool to establish some traceability? Should I really have to avoid every single food that contains a corn byproduct if I think I have a bt allergy? Perhaps you can explain to people what kind of testing is involved in determining bt corn from any other corn and who is allowed to do such testing and who is allowed to make those results public.. Labeling something GMO does give you additional information. I might have to still other GMO corns because I can’t distinguish between bt corn or Round Up Ready corn but I can now go back to eating anything made with non-GMO corn. Medical traceability is for me personally the main reason to label GMOs but there are other reasons. Some people have religious objections which I don’t share but I live in a country that typically respects that choice. You aren’t allowed to sneak bacon into my kosher meals right? Why are we denying people that choice when it comes to GMOs? As far as your skull and crossbones reference, again, thank you for making my point. I am no asking for a warning label. I am asking for more information on existing information labels. If I thought I knew these products were harmful, I would be asking for a recall; not a label. I have no problem with your adding information to an organic label as long as you do the same with everything else- tell people about the insect pieces & rat droppings, etc. that end up in the bulk of our processed foods.

          • Jackson

            You aren’t allowed to sneak bacon into my kosher meals right? Why are we denying people that choice when it comes to GMOs?

            This is something the “pro-GMO” side has been advocating. Use a labeling system like is used for kosher labeling.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Sort of. Kosher labeling doesn’t stop at labeling foods kosher. You have to tell me if there is pork in what I’m eating even though it is not claiming to be kosher. A lot of people have asked for GMOs to be labeled. I still haven’t heard any good reason to deny them this information.

          • First Officer

            Pork yes, but not pork from strain X or Y hog.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            I’m not asking for strains- I am asking for what the developers have named “GMO” which I understand is a really crappy term but we have to able to communicate, unless the goal is to make communicating about this issue so incredibly hard that people will give up, go away, and eat whatever is put in front of them. People want to know if there is pork in their beans, so we tell them. People want to know if there is bt in their corn- why won’t we tell them? Bt is not some strain of corn; it is an entirely separate species.

          • Bt corn is not a “separate species”. It’s just a different breed of corn. We do not forcibly label different breeds of corn. When you go into the store, you can buy yellow or white corn, for example. There are dozens of different kinds of each. Nothing is labeled because there is no measurable nutritional or other difference.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Bt and corn (regardless of strain, color, location) are two separate, unrelated species.

          • Bt and corn are different species but engineered into the corn plant, Bt does not change the corn into a different species. Therefore, Bt corn and other varieties of corn are not different species. There is nothing to label. NOTHING from the Bt ends up in the corn. The Bt is in the non edible plant, and is a harmless natural pesticide (99% of ALL pesticides, including some of the most harmful toxins, are “natural.”) To label Bt corn would be meaningless and deceptive, and would break EPA rules on labeling. US does not label PROCESSES, only final products.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Bt is a separate species from corn; therefore Bt Corn is corn + Bt and I think that is something to label. Clealy you disagree. I do appreciate you pointing out that unlike most foods which are regulated by the FDA and/ or USDA, Bt Corn is also regulated by the EPA because BT Corn unlike all other types of corn is classified as a pesticide. Not that there are naturally occurring pesticides within it, not just the parts humans don’t eat, not just the parts fed to other food sources but the entire plant is classified as a pesticide. I wasn’t going to jump on this when you said it before because I’m not into semantics or trying to make you look bad but since you brought it up again- genetic engineering is a process. Genetically modified organisms are things like any other organism. But the US does also label processes- like organically produced foods, like irradiated foods, like processed in a plant with peanuts.

          • Jennifer, you really need to take a high school genetics course. There is zero Bt in GE corn. There is zero difference in what humans eat. The US does not label food unless the good itself is measurably; here it’s not. radiating food on the other scrambles the genes in a way that nature never would. There are many fruits that are the product if grafting, including if different species, in which genes are exchanged but they are not considered GE. Please…take a class in genetics and horticulture. Learn about horizontal gene transfers. Learn about basic breeding.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            There is zero BT in BT corn? Maybe I need to take an English class too? Genetic engineering inserts BT DNA in corn in a way that nature never would which is actually fine with me if it’s so labeled. There are many fruits that are result of grafting- fruit to fruit, not fruit to pesticide, etc. But also, if someone wants to sell me a tangelo; they can’t tell me it’s just an orange.

          • Jackson

            Changing one gene in corn doesn’t make it not corn anymore. Adding one gene from a bacteria doesn’t mean it has that bacteria in it.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            I didn’t say they can’t refer to it as a type of corn. I’m saying they should do what so many people are asking for and distinguish it from other corn the same way they do from the lab all through marketing to the growers and the processors right up until you get to the retailer when suddenly it’s just corn.

          • Thankfully, the U.S. does not label just because you or even a majority may want a label. Science is not a popular vote. It needs to be based on data and evidence of meaningful differences. Unlike Europe, the regulatory system can often resist anti-science hysteria.?that’s why every major science organization and prominent liberal newspaper rejects it. If ideologues want an emotion based voluntary label they are free to development one–and they have–non-GMO. U are beating a Luddite horse.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true. What every major science and health organization has said is something to the effect of GMOs currently on the market are probably safe but there are alot of unknowns and they should be labeled. But no one has to take either of our words for it- they can look into that aspect for themselves relatively easily. How come every one who argues against labeling never really makes a case against labeling so much as a case against proponents of labeling?

          • JoeFarmer

            “What every major science and health organization has said is something
            to the effect of GMOs currently on the market are probably safe but
            there are alot of unknowns and they should be labeled.”

            Citation, please.

            “How come every one who argues against labeling never really makes a case
            against labeling so much as a case against proponents of labeling?”

            Here is the FDA’s position on labeling:

            “The way FDA has for many years interpreted the law and it has been supported by the courts is that mandatory labeling is appropriate and required when there is a fault claim or misbranding. The fact that a food contains GE ingredients does not constitute a material change in the product.”
            http://www.politico.com/morningagriculture/0314/morningagriculture13440.html

            That position is based upon science and law.

            Science is not a popularity contest, neither is the law.

            Your curiosity as a consumer does not confer a right to know. See IDFA v. Amestoy, it’s one of a number of pertinent cases relative to the concept of compelled speech.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            I understand the FDAs position- if it were different, there would be labeling. The FDA is a regulatory agency; not a science or health organization. They don’t do their own testing and it’s not like they have never had o recall products they have approved. However, you are right I can’t find the quote I referenced. I hope your readers will look for themselves- lots of fun info there. I started with the AMA who seem to be saying labels aren’t required but further premarket testing is which seems a little convoluted to me. If the AMA thinks they haven’t been sufficiently tested, I want them labeled but maybe that’s just me. Then I recommend the World Health Organization FAQs page. No one thinks this is a popularity contest- if I wanted to be popular, I wouldn’t be commenting on this particular site. But I have the great fortune of living in a representative democracy which comes with certain responsibilities including speaking up when I think my regulatory agencies aren’t doing their job. PS: JoeFarmer- awesomely Orwellian user id.

          • JoeFarmer

            But where do you stop labeling?

            Different corn hybrids have varying levels of resistance to diseases. And those resistance differences have to do with levels of different proteins (among other things). You’ve probably never heard of Goss’ Wilt, Southern Leaf Blight, Northern Leaf Blight or any of the other diseases that corn breeders try to optimize resistance for.

            Functionally, Bt corn is identical to non-Bt corn. When you consume Bt, you are consuming a protein, and just like the other hundreds or thousands of proteins you consume each day, those proteins are denatured (broken down) in your digestive system.

            I appreciate your concern, but I think your concern over Bt is misplaced.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            GMO labeling would stop with products defined as GMOs. My concern over Bt may well be misplaced. I didn’t have to justify my concerns over any of the products that are labeled but they are still labeled and I think that’s a good thing not because I think it’s comprehensive or perfect but because it gives me a bunch of potentially pertinent information at a glance, not as a warning but as a tool to apply (or not) depending on my needs/ beliefs/ choices.

          • JoeFarmer
          • hyperzombie

            my needs/ beliefs/ choices.

            mandatory labels don’t take into account Beliefs and choices. Labels should be based on science not Dogma.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Except we have already given examples that do take those things into account but again, if I’m wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

          • First Officer

            For the same reason we don’t label for every possible strain of corn in cornbread, every strain of wheat in bread, every strain of oats in oatmeal, etc, etc, etc. Genomes deliberately changed have no more chance of becoming allergic than those that randomly change, which happens all the time. And, because, GMO’s are the only ones systematically checked for any new or known allergens, they have less chance of impacting the market with an allergen.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Systematically checked how? And when? By whom?

          • First Officer

            By the developers, during the development cycle. They test the to see what proteins are produced and check against known allergens and against what makes allergens, allergens.

            A case in point was a GMO made with siome genes from Brazil nuts. They found that it did make the particular allergen that occurs naturally in Brazil nuts and canceled that particular GMO.

            If you want technical details, please refer to biofortified.org

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Exactly. Only by the developers who are not exactly objective (which is common practice in this country, not just with GMOs but that doesn’t mean it’s not a consideration) and only during development; nothing after it comes to market. People generally develop allergies- they aren’t necessarily born with them. You can take penicillin many times before having a reaction for example. And allergies aren’t the only consideration. Exactly how much bt is it safe for me to consume and over what period of time? I don’t believe anyone can answer that and so I should be allowed to avoid it if I want to. Are there other unknowns in the universe? Of course. But this is information many people have asked for. It is readily available except that the manufacturers are withholding it and I still haven’t seen any valid reason for them deny them access to that information other than that they are afraid the market will reject their products if provided this information.

          • Jennifer, you do not understand food. All food has proteins and can create allergies. Conventional breeding introduces new proteins in food–but they are not tested. Any new genetically engineered product, which introduces only 1 or 2 genes (versus thousands of untested genes in conventional and tens of thousands of untested genes in mutagenesis, which can be used to create organic foods), is systematically tested. In other words, foods with GE ingredients are actually far safer than other conventional or organic foods. No one is denying anyone information of anything. Just because people ask for meaningless information does not mean the government should comply. The burden of those who want scientifically meaningless information (such as religious-based information–Kosher or okay for Muslims, for example) should be on those who want it. That’s the science based system. Those who demand to know if the process of genetic engineering was used (which tells us nothing about its nutrition or safety) should have a voluntary system…and we do. It’s the organic and non-GMO labels. The vast majority of Americans who couldn’t care less (94% of Americans say they do not believe food labels need any more information) about the faux concerns of GMOs should not bear the costs of those who do not understand science, just because the issue of labeling is trendy.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            I do understand that all food contains protein and can create allergies. This in no way makes me feel like I have the right to deceive people into consuming GMOs. What you refer to is not a science based system; it’s a socio-economic based system that on good days applies science. If we were interested in a science based system re GMOs there would be a control group and each individual type would be traced for any long term effects. You keep comparing GMOs to other desirable marketing terms. To label something kosher or organic you are subject to certification processes. If the manufacturers thought the term GMO was a desirable marketing term, they would slap it all over them (at no additional cost to consumers) and I would be asking for them to go through a certification process too. It’s funny that you claim 94% of Americans say they do not believe food labels need any more information. What you mean is 94% of people responding to a single poll (and I imagine an old one but you don’t actually cite it so I don’t know) but then refer to labeling as trendy. By trendy I can assume you are referring to the many polls that show Americans routinely poll at between 80-96% in favor of GMO labeling. But if it really is only a small minority, you have nothing to worry about. I’m one person, one vote. No one is going to label anything just because I think they should. If other people support labeling they should let their legislators know. They don’t have to subject themselves to the intimidation tactics used in public forums.

          • First Officer

            Exactly. Those developers would be on the hook for massive lawsuits if they did let an avoidable allergen into the food supply. So yes it’s not entirely objective but they are all the more careful for it.

            And, so people do develop allergies. But you indict GMO’s as if they add more allergens per strain released than other breeding methods and, from even random mutations in the field. They don’t for the simple fact that, for the first time in human history, we control what exactly is changed.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            They would only be on the hook if there was traceability, which they are conveniently spending millions of dollars to avoid. If the problem is a lack of understanding on the part of the public maybe they should invest in education rather than fighting labeling. I am in no way indicting GMOs. For all I know BT corn may end up providing some unforeseen health benefit. I am saying they should labeled giving people a choice. We control what is changed is not exactly true. We control what we decide to mofify and how; after that we have no more control over these organisms than we do over any others; just because something is GMO doesn’t mean they are protected from random mutations in the field. And do you really want to talk about how little we know about stacked traits? But information about the part we do control- the known part of the equation- is being withheld. Why?

          • First Officer

            Again, such problems would be found as we do with e-coli and salmonella outbreaks. Both the science and the first amendment are against you on this. We know this is not about choice. The anti-gmo movement leaders have said as much. It’s to be a tool for defacto banning.

            On the non-gmo side, we don’t control completely the initial changes and then subsequent changes. on the GMO side, we DO control completely the initial changes but, just like the non-gmo, we don’t control subsequent changes, which would happen anyway with the non-gmo version. Hence the GMO is overall less risky.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            This country doesn’t included deceptive marketing in one’s right to free speech. The only way labeling will lead to a ban is if labeling allows traceability that then shows one of these products is seriously harmful and then it would only apply to the one that was determined to be the cause; not to every GMO. It would also come in the form of a recall; still wouldn’t be a ban. This country is loathe to ban anything no matter how dangerous, assault weapons for example. I still don’t understand how you correlate purposefully beginning a process you then have no control over to being less risky than naturally occurring changes. I’m not saying it makes them more dangerous, I’m saying I don’t understand how it makes them less dangerous.

          • Jackson

            I still don’t understand how you correlate purposefully beginning a process you then have no control over to being less risky than naturally occurring changes.

            GMO: Generally one to three genes are added or removed. Which genes are added or removed are known.

            Mutagenesis: Potentially thousands of genes are changed all at once, which ones are changed are unknown.

            Hybridization: Potentially thousands of genes are changed all at once, which ones are changed are unknown.

          • First Officer

            I said defacto bans, through boycotts and smear campaigns, such have already occurred in the EU.

            GM Labeling is not traceability. It is merely a snapshot on that package today. Nobody saves the labels of what they’ve eaten. Lot#’s, serial numbers, datecodes are tracing tools which lead back to compnay and farmer records. Statements such as contains sugar or GMO’s do not.

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            If by de facto ban you mean that making a product that not enough people want to buy unless you are allowed to deceive them may hurt sales I guess you’re right but I think we call that supply-side economics.

          • Jackson

            I’ll be fine. Jackson said so.

            Don’t take my word for it, take it from every reputable scientific organization on the planet.

            as a consumer I want it labeled & will continue saying so until I don’t feel that way anymore.

            I’m not sure this is the best way to determine regulatory rules.

            Biotech does itself a huge disservice fighting labeling.

            There are currently no laws on the books preventing the labeling of GMO-free food. Why doesn’t Big Organic label their products, what are they trying to hide?

          • Jennifer Ehrenfried

            Now Jackson, that’s just irresponsible. You have no way of knowing the long term consequences of my eating GMO sugar beets- no one does, they haven’t been around long enough. And unleashing various types, some with multiple modifiers on the public with no control group and no chance of traceability will make it hard to reach solid conclusions hard to come by which is convenient for the manufacturers. This doesn’t mean all or any GMOs are bad. It means there are some questions which is what every single reputable scientific organization on the planet has said. It generally goes something like this “the products on the market are probably safe but there are a lot of unknowns so they should be labeled so consumers can choose”. The best way to determine regulatory rules is certainly not to base them on one non-expert consumers opinion. Nor is it to let the people in a position to profit off the lack regulation deter you from enacting regulations that the public and science keep asking for. I don’t understand your last statement at all. Products are labeled certified non-GMO and organic after going through certification. If you want to get rid of that system and mandate all organic and non-GMO foods be so labeled, I’m fine with that.

          • Jackson

            You have no way of knowing the long term consequences of my eating GMO sugar beets- no one does, they haven’t been around long enough

            Why is this the case for GMOs, but not for seeds developed through chemical mutagenesis, or hybridization, or grafting, or any other breeding method? The fact is that there is consensus among knowledgeable scientists that modifying a plant via inserting a transgene is as safe as conventional breeding.

            I don’t understand your last statement at all

            It was meant to illustrate that GMO-free foods are currently labeled, so if someone wants to eat GMO free, they can with the available labeling structure.

          • Larkin Curtis Hannah

            The patent is on a plant with a different property, resistance to a herbicide. The patent has nothing with the produced sugar, sucrose. The produced sucrose from these plants is identical to the sucrose produced by any plant. Does this resolve the confusion?

  • Proverbs 25:2

    Way to go Girl Scouts. Don’t you dare keep let others stereotype our girls with the emotional conspiracy lunes. Our girls can think for themselves and are going to going to transform STEM. I’m going out to find some GS cookies to buy.

  • Mike

    What about trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) in several of the cookie varieties?

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