Hollywood celebrities embrace pseudoscience, promote anti-GMO movie “Consumed”

|

The do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do posturing of the political and cultural elite has long been a sore spot for most of us. Being lectured by prominent people is a torment we Americans silently endure, along with airport security and Maroon 5 albums. The rich and famous preach about weighty issues of the day, usually to assuage their guilt for being rich and famous, with little regard for the potential hypocrisy of their message.

Their duplicity is even more acute when they try to tackle scientific issues. Take, as an example, the annual World Economic Forum held earlier this year. Business, political and entertainment leaders from around the globe gathered in Davos, Switzerland to discuss urgent international concerns such as climate change. But rather than use commercial airlines to travel, about 1,700 private jets descended on local airports, carrying the elites, their families and their entourages. It’s hard to calculate the carbon footprint created by the convoy of luxury aircraft, but suffice it to say, the jet-setting did nothing to reverse global warming.

Many among these movers and shakers now appear to have GMOs in their crosshairs. Taking a cue from people whom I refer to as the culinary elite–celebrity chefs, food writers and organic executives – the entertainment elite, with its epicenter in Hollywood, is now poised to promote the myth of genetically modified food as modern-day monster.

In 2013, filmmaker Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth, Fed Up) was a consulting producer to the film, “GMO OMG.” The documentary style propaganda movie follows a man and his “journey in search of answers about genetically modified organisms.” The film—while critical of the deep pockets behind Big Food and biotech–was heavily sponsored by the deep pockets of the organic industry. Although it claimed to uncover the truth about GMOs, it was instead widely-regarded as a one-sided fright fest (read New Yorker review here). It was dutifully bestowed several film festival awards.

Now a pop-political thriller entitled “Consumed” has been released, premiering at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival. The Festival provided this summary of the movie:

Set in the complex world of genetically modified food, this dramatic thriller intertwines the stories of an organic farmer and a biotechnology CEO with the quest of a single mother working to uncover the cause of her son’s mysterious illness.

The movie features a mom in search of answers to the cause of her child’s illness and begins to suspect—you guessed it—GMOs. The good guy: an organic farmer. The bad guy: evil geneticists. The plot: the food industry has financed all the research being done on GMOs so all of the thousands of studies showing that genetically modified foods are as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods are not be trusted. According to the account in Variety, our heroine is “tipped to the fact that studies on more harmful effects have been suppressed.” In a radio interview about the movie, the lead character is compared to Erin Brockovich and the film’s producer quickly confirms that “[Brockovich has] seen the movie and endorsed it, which is really, really exciting.”

The revelation about allegedly tainted research makes a more compelling screenplay than reality. In fact, there have been more than 2,500 studies on genetically modified foods, and about half of them were independently funded researched. The European Union alone has spent $300 million over the past decade to research GMO safety, culminating in the summary document in “A Decade of EU Funded GMO Research”. Here is what the report concluded:

…The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.

Cinema isn’t the only medium used by Hollywood to promote anti-GMO sentiment. Many celebs lent their star power to TV ads in support of California’s failed Prop 37 in 2012 that would’ve required labeling of GMO food. Others stars—such as Michael J. Fox, brother-in-law of foodie writer and GM foe Michael Pollan—are featured in short videos on the “Just Label It” website.

But you know you’re in big trouble when geriatric rocker and professional agitator Neil Young writes songs about you. Later this month, Young will release a concept album entitled “The Monsanto Years.”  Suddenly, a man who’s admitted to abusing his body with drugs and alcohol for four decades, is afraid of being poisoned by foods grown from GM seeds.

The album features a song urging people to boycott Starbucks because the coffee giant belongs to the Grocers Manufacturing Association that is challenging Vermont’s mandatory labeling law. “A Rockstar Bucks a Coffee House” is a stream of consciousness tune: “I want a cup of coffee but I don’t want a GMO. I’d like to start my day off without helping Monsanto.” Young accuses “fascist politicians” and “chemical giants” for walking arm-in-arm. The message is as off-tune as the singer’s vocals and as humorous as the song’s garage band-feel video.

And last month, “Just Label It” released a public service announcement around Mother’s Day starring celebrity moms who support labeling GMOs. The spot features actresses who promise to protect their little ones from the lurking dangers of genetically modified food. “We pledge to keep you safe from the big things we can see and the little things too small for anyone to see” (an odd promise since this is an impossible task for any parent). One actress mentions “monsters…imagined and real.”

The message is less about labeling and more about the purported health risks of genetically modified food. Now, I know the mom card is a powerful trump card; I’ve used it a few times myself. But how seriously can you take the health admonitions of celebrities with implants and injections? At least two of the featured actresses—Molly Sims and Sharon Osbourne—have admitted to using Botox, derived from one of the most toxic and deadly bacteria known to man: botulinum toxin. According to a BBC report, “it is the most poisonous substance known to man. A couple of teaspoons would be enough to kill everyone in the UK. A couple of kilos would kill every human on earth.” The FDA warns that Botox can cause symptoms related to botulism such as double vision to trouble swallowing or breathing.

Yet around the same time the “Just Label It” spot was released, Simms was interviewed about her new book where she reveals her use of Botox every three to six months. According to the interview, she began the injections in her early 30s. There’s nothing wrong with using Botox; I’ve used it once. But the use of this lethal substance to rid beautiful women like Molly Simms of frown lines is proof of the dual purpose of science. An herbicide that might be fatal to weeds or pesticide that kills off a corn borer can have no effect on humans. The bottom line is that it’s disingenuous to issue sweeping generalizations that biotechnology is unsafe when you’re filling your face with potentially deadly toxins at the same time.

Sharon Osbourne not only relies on science to improve her looks but for her health as well. She has spent about $250,000 on plastic surgery over the last few decades, including breast implants and years of Botox use. “There’s not much I haven’t had tweaked, stretched, peeled, lasered, veneered, enhanced or removed altogether,” she admits.

Ironically, a serious health scare led her to appreciate the wonders of genetics, the very science she selectively slams in the Just Label It spot. Both she and her husband have gone through extensive genetic testing to determine their risk of deadly diseases like cancer. The tests revealed she has a genetic predisposition for colon, breast and ovarian cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Turns out her husband, Ozzy, seems to be a genetically modified specimen on his own. In a genetic exploration to determine how the hard-partying rocker has survived so long, gene variants were discovered that “we’ve never seen before,” said geneticist Nathaniel Pearson. Pearson sequenced Ozzy’s genome and discovered variants that “could impact how Osbourne’s body absorbs methamphetamines and other recreational drugs.”

Celebrities are free to use their fame to share with us whatever profound thoughts they may have. But we ordinary folks are similarly obligated to call out their hypocrisy, misinformation and fear-mongering – no matter how pretty they are.

Julie Kelly is the owner of Now You’re Cooking in Orland Park, Illinois. She is a cooking instructor and food writer, but her biggest job is being a mom. She can be reached at nowurcooking@att.net or on Twitter at @Julie_kelly2.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Hypocrisy in Hollywood is nothing new, but it seems a lot more prevalent now – or maybe just more visible because of the internet.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Nice article Julie. But the photo is a Liverpool celeb, not Hollywood.

  • Michael McCarthy

    Well, if the movie had included any GMO farmers, rather than an organic farmer as the “nice farmer” and a biotech CEO as the villain, maybe your argument would have weight. But then the GMO slant wouldn’t have been very effective.
    Strange how you always slam the “Monsanto PR” machine but make no mention of the “Organic PR” machine. One is no more evil than the other, they are both fighting for market share, one to maintain theirs, the other to increase theirs.

    • RJB

      Well so far many seemed to be swayed by disingenuous charlatans, rather than objectively reviewing credible science based information. And your use of “seems” is interesting. One need not look far to find “meanness” from anti-gmo/pro-organic posters, and typically they fire the opening salvo.

      • RJB

        I can understand that. Who is being a mean grumpy farmer?

        • RJB

          Are you able and/or willing to try to understand their point of view, their reality?

          • RJB

            I mean given what they have written about their experience, their education, their knowledge, are you able to consider all of that objectively?

          • RJB

            If you don’t mind my asking, who do you get dietary info from, specifically?

          • RJB

            Always good to get info from a wide variety of sources that use peer-reviewed science published in journals with high impact factor.

        • Farmer Sue

          Good. Trust people named “ole organic Jim” instead. Whatever. You obviously don’t respect or trust farmers; your loathing drips off you.

          That’s okay; I’ll feed you anyway. See ya at the supermarket!

      • Farmer Sue

        Rel, I am a mean grumpy farmer. And I don’t care if you like me or not. Darn right I’m grumpy; ignorant activists slamming my perfectly legal, and environmental, farming practices with nothing more than garbage from Food Boob or the flying yogi or Self-Serving Seralini. You bet I’m grumpy. Try working 16 hours a day with climate, market, and plain ole ag challenges, and then reading nothing but ignorant crappola from the people who eat our food and then slam us.

        I’m grumpy and proud of it. Oh, but I’m happy to keep on feeding you and your family, whether you’re a soccer mom or not.

        If you want to believe the organic guy is wearing the movie white hat, go right ahead. But then don’t be surprised if some mean ole grumpy farmer tells you like it is in the real world.

        • Farmer Sue

          As I said, I’m not here to “help the PR” image. I’ll leave that up to Hole Foodz. And Hollywood.

          • Farmer Sue

            Go back to your soccer game.

            Oh, a little slice of education,not that you are interested in educating yourself: Many, many farmers rotate conventional and GE crops. And some do organic as well. There. A little factoid you are having a hard time wrapping your little soccer brain around, right? Doesn’t fit in with your fairy dust image of farming.

          • Farmer Sue

            Whine wah wah wah petulance about me being “mean” when you hear the truth. If that’s “mean,” so be it. I’m proud of who I am, and I’m darn proud of the many thousands of farmers in this country.

            I don’t measure my respect on a “nice-o-meter.” I certainly don’t need your respect.

            And your little soccer mom brain has now twisted my words into saying ‘mean farmers love gmos.” Sheesh. Go to the mall or something.

        • Farmer Sue

          What is all this fascination with “PR” ? I care about truth and honesty. If you want good PR, go be an actress and hire a PR shuck and jive mouthpiece for yourself. Food Boob does it. I don’t.

          • JoeFarmer

            The guy’s a troll. He just wants attention. Ignore him and he’ll go away.

          • Farmer Sue

            Oooooh, goodie! Where do I pick up my check?

          • Farmer Sue

            Nope. Not for free. I actually pay a premium for GE seeds.

            If you don’t like the way I farm, don’t eat GE foods. Go create a PR firm and hype yourself. Find someone who is “nice” to you and stay away from the workers.

          • Just Label It, the organic industry led and funded any-GMO organization, advertises that they pay bloggers to post anti-GMO propaganda. They advertise that they hire. they spread pseudo-science and fear. I don’t know any seed or industry group that hires bloggers and they wouldn’t be spreading nonsense regardless.

          • RJB

            Rel, if you have direct evidence of GMO tech/chemical companies paying people to post, I would like to see it. Thanks.

          • RJB

            I have not seen any evidence of GMO companies doing it. I know many people in biotech and none of them report this happening. I trust them. If you have direct evidence, it would be helpful to see it.

          • RJB

            Of course they hire pr firms, I have direct knowledge of this. But not any of people being paid to post by pr firms or their clients, on behalf of biotech.

          • RJB

            If you mean that I know that they hire pr firms, I have a colleague in a biotech firm who reports that they use a pr company.

          • RJB

            If you mean that biotech firms and/or their pr firms pay people to post (as Just Label It does), none of my colleagues or contacts report that this happens. And I trust my colleagues and contacts.

          • RJB

            You are entitled to your opinion. Not a small sample size, though. I invite you to do your research for yourself.

          • RJB

            When did I say “cause I say so”? Honestly, Rel, look into this yourself, and if you find contrary evidence, we all need to know. Thanks.

          • RJB

            Actually, my evidence is that in surveying many individuals who are credible, none report the activity of being paid to post in favor of biotech.
            Do you have any contrary evidence? Thanks.

          • RJB

            Again, “Always good to get info from a wide variety of sources that use peer-reviewed science published in journals with high impact factor.” Best of luck to you.

          • RJB

            So then saying “PR companies pay people to post on all kinds of things, …GMO tech/chemical companies included.” without any evidence is not legit at all.

          • RJB

            You can talk to people too.
            Let us know what you find out.

          • Would you prefer to hear testimony about farming from Walmart clerks and gas station attendants?

          • Farmer Sue

            Or food boobs or flying yogis.

          • No evidence that they do. I wouldn’t care if anyone does it frankly if they post science based commentsbut just label it is pushing fear and misinformation. Disgraceful.

          • Prove it or lose it.

          • John Zohn

            Just out of curiosity, who are you referring to as the “organic industry”? Is it the Ewg and Organic Consumers Association whose combined annual income is less than the Monsanto and the GMA spent on GMO labelling initiative in Washington alone, or are you referring to the 90% of organic brand names that are subsidiaries of GMA associated multinational food corporations?

    • Farmer Sue

      Give me a break. The organic pr movement knows darn well that it is selling you hype when you read signs in your local “health” foodie store that “Organic foods have 40% more cancer-fighting antioxidants.” Yeah, and I have a bridge to sell you.

      “Real” and “Sincere” ?? Boy, you ARE hyped by their advertising. Open your eyes and read.

      I’m not writing here to sway any PR companies, by the way. I don’t give a D what they think. I have my farming markets, and am doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

      I’ll say to you what I say to all the wide-eyed soccer moms who have strong unsubstantiated opinions: Talk to a real farmer, fer pete’s sakes. We’re getting pretty fed up with you telling us what we are, when you haven’t a clue. Or even the basic curiosity to educate yourself.

    • Michael McCarthy

      And why do you honestly believe that people online are paid PR shills? The organic PR movement seems more real because they demonize anything that isn’t organic (or, should I say natural or earth friendly?) and that appeals to people on a base level and is hard to compete with. Yet I don’t see them out there with horse-plows in their fields, using a hand scythe to harvest grain, etc.

      • Michael McCarthy

        I’ve been commenting on several articles on NPR today, but apparently those don’t show up in my Disqus account. The NPR ones rarely seem to. So…
        And where do you think that image of GMO’s came from, exactly? Thin air? Nope, that was all the organic movement. I have been wondering if you are an attorney and if you are or aren’t is irrelevant. But if you are, you are well aware that once a negative slant has been applied to a person or a product, it is very difficult to regain a positive PR image. For people, simply being accused of a crime is often enough to turn people away. Look at the Paula Deen debacle.

      • I’m retired. I dumpster dive weekly. I attack science denying a holes on the web rather than playing crossword puzzles or senior bingo. You are a blithering idiot.
        When you cry shill you automatically lose the debate.

    • We defend the integrity of science truth, NOT companies. Your witch hunt has blinded you.

  • Farmer Sue

    Being “nicey nicey” and $7.98 won’t get you a cuppa coffee at Starbucks. Go slam another farmer if you don’t think we’re “nice” enough. And then go to tea with your “nice” soccer mom friends.

  • First Officer

    You should hear the director of GMO,OMG, Jeremy Seifert, call Farmers stupid.

    http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/director-jeremy-seifert/521bdcf502a7600dba0008af

    around minute 31.

  • Don Scott

    GMOs are a bad idea and I am thankful that celebrities are using their influence to counter the corporate BS that is being shoved down our throats. Next thing the “Genetic Literacy Project” will be telling us that Round-Up is great stuff, and that it doesn’t really end up creating superweeds.

  • Good4U

    Here’s my “nice” idea for you:
    Stop buying food. Grow your own food. All of it. Every day, every year, for your whole life. Grow the food for you and all of your loved ones. Use whatever means you can come up with to control the weeds, diseases, insects, nematodes, and all other pests that you will find in your subsistence plot. I don’t care what you do to grow your food, just do it any way you want. After about 2 or 3 decades of working, you may come up with something “nice” to say to the farmers and ranchers who have sustained you to this point. Maybe not. In any case, they don’t need you as a customer any longer. You’re fired! You’re on your own. Nice enough for ya?

    • Farmer Sue

      Good, thank you.

      I am so proud of the many thousasnds of farmers in this country, who grow an array of conventional, GE, and organic foods, who work their tails off under very challenging weather, environmental, regulatory, and market conditions to put food on the table for all of us.

      This upcoming sham movie is a real slap in the face.

  • Synchronicity_Gratitude

    I’ll pick any intelligent celebrity over Julie Kelly, as this article is a crock.

    • JoeFarmer

      Thanks for the expert analysis. I’m sure you overheated your few brain cells putting it together!

      • Michael McCarthy

        “intelligent celebrity”
        is that an oxymoron?

  • Michael McCarthy

    And I’m not arguing that there may be PR people. But the ones that voice from the heart, like FarmerSue, would certainly not be a paid PR person. There are also those giving PR on the anti-GMO side, and they always post the exact same things, regardless of the thread. So what exactly is your point?

    • Farmer Sue

      I’d love to be paid for this alleged PR that I do! That’s a scream!
      Her point seems to be: “You’re mean.” (I ain’t mean, but the mean don’t mess with me) And “You’re a PR person.” (whatevah she wants to believe doesn’t affect what I do) And “You’re maybe not a farmer.” (whatevah she wants to believe doesn’t affect what I do)

      She needs to go talk to a farmer about why farmers use GE technology. Of course, she won’t. It’s so much easier to stay i her comfort zone and eat foods that we bring to her table, and complain based on her own fixed and narcissistic opinions about PR and being “nice.”

      Screw that. I ain’t nice.

      • Michael McCarthy

        I would love to be paid for it too! All I can do is post information that someone who may or may not know facts might see and be able to use. There are those that I am nice to, and those that I am not. I have a great deal of respect for farmers, I grew up in a rural area, about 1/4 of the kids I went to school with were farm kids, so I know the amount of labor (depending on what you grow of course, some are more labor intensive) that goes into it. And I sure as heck am not interested in attempting to grow my own and be self sufficient, that’s a full time job!

    • Farmer Sue

      Woo woo paranoia, dearie. How do I know you’re not a witch? Or a gangster? Or porn peddler? Or dope addict? Or paid professional whiner?

      Your paranoia spills over the cup of coke you’re drinking (made with GE corn syrup most likely)

      If you want to learn about modern farming, go talk to a farmer.

      • Farmer Sue

        Grass?? That’s allyou think farmers do? Pretty limited perspective, dearie.

        Only advice I’ll give you: If you want to know something about modern farming, go talk to a farmer.

        Dietitians opposed gmo labeling, by the way, and helped defeat the last two ridiculous ballot initiatives.

    • Michael McCarthy

      No, he said he was not aware of it, not that it isn’t done. Why is he “my boy”? Because we both support GMO? That’s a pretty weak argument.

      • Michael McCarthy

        Making assumptions, not good form, mate.

        • Farmer Sue

          Not a shrink. But I know you are a pathological narcissist. I don’t need to be a shrink to know that. Horrible form. Bad PR. Not nice. So sue me.

          And then go talk to a farmer about your many arrogant narcissistic assumptions.

  • RJB

    Can you please elaborate on what you mean by “one very specific type of science”?

    • RJB

      What are GMOs? This is a sincere question.

      • RJB

        Thank you, I do know what they are. I want to know your definition of GMO.

        • RJB

          EU is a bit broad, can you please provide the definition you are referring to? Thanks.

          • RJB

            OK. By that definition, almost all food consumed today (including “Organic” or “Non-GMO verified”) is actually GMO, however.

          • RJB

            Please do take the suggestion I’ve given to you twice prior, and (if necessary) acquire the scientific education required to take advantage of the information you will find. Best of luck to you.

          • RJB

            I meant, find peer-reviewed scientific papers published in reputable scientific journals with high impact factor.

          • RJB

            OK, however the WHO definition is outdated FYI.

          • RJB

            Apparent non sequitur.

          • Farmer Sue

            RJB, she hasn’t got a clue. It’s just this scary thing she heard about at Hole foods.

          • agscienceliterate

            Nope.
            That definition (an outdated one, btw) would also include mutagenesis. Look it up if you don’t know what that is.

    • gmoeater

      “GMOs” isn’t a type of science.
      It’s a process of production.
      Just like mutagenesis.
      You are very confused.

  • Farmer Sue

    That’s really funny!!! I doubt she’s an attorney; her grammar and spelling are atrocious. Whatevah …

    Funny about me doing PR work! As if someone’s paying ME, rather than the other way around (I pay a premium of GE seeds)

    Do you really think Monsanto or any other seed company would pay me to spout off about my experiences? That’s rich. I’m waitin’ for the check, tho!

    My bottom line is not affected by “bad PR.” (she’s all about being “nice” and “PR” — all about what other people think about her — classic signs of a narcissist, worrying about what other people think, fakey being “nice,” whatevah.) My bottom line is affected only by crop value.

    Oh, maybe I’m not a farmer after all. I think you once said I was a politician. Actually, I’m a 75-year old airline pilot. No, wait; actually, I’m a drummer in a rock band. That fit in better with your paranoia?

  • Farmer Sue

    If I was a PR person:

    1) I’d want the person to think well of me so they’d buy my schlock. In fact, I don’t give a rat’s patootie what you think about me.

    2) I’d try to sell you my schlock. In fact, I prefer you NOT eat my foods. Stay away from GE cheese (90% of cheese), too. Eat organic.

    You find it “odd” that a farmer who uses GE seeds would, uh, defend GE seeds? What are you, nuts?? You don’t get it, do you?

    Go talk to a farmer about why they use GE technology. I’ve told you that a dozen times. Do it.

  • agscienceliterate

    Nathan, they really DO want to ban gmos, and their campaigns are full of indications that labeling is just “step one.” Their “simple right to know” is a sham. And they don’t have a “right” that impinges on labeling standard goals of revealing allergenicity and nutrition.

    • Nathan A

      Possibly, but I haven’t seen any major movement to ban GMOs just yet. You’re right, this may just be step one. However, if they ever did try to ban GMOs, they would be putting the science into the limelight. No more would they be able to throw out misleading information and falsehoods surrounding this industry.

      As a person who has done some pretty in-depth research into this, I believe the NGOs would be shooting themselves in the foot if they ever tried to ban GMOs. Their best bet for getting rid of GMOs is to convince people not to buy it based on misinformation and fear mongering.

  • Nathan A

    First thing’s first. Punctuation is never a bad thing. 😉

    Second: There are vastly more pro-organic / anti-GMO folks out there vehemently arguing their case than there are pro-GMO folks. I only got interested in GMOs / anti-GMOs about a year and a half ago… but it’s only been the past few months that I’ve seen a backlash against the anti-GMO / anti-Science folks.

    By anti-science I think it’s meant that many people who are fighting tooth and nail against GMOs have done very little (if any) research into the scientific studies that have been performed on GMOs. They regularly make false statements based on nothing more than assumption, or based on a Meme they’ve read online. These incorrect statements spread like wild fire; once out into the open where other people will believe them without doing any research themselves, it becomes impossible to convince these people that the evidence behind their anti-GMO stance is actually based in falsehoods.

    Add to this the non-GMO / organic labeling that makes it seem like some food in our grocery stores is more safe than the GMO / non-organic food in our grocery stores (and only costs 50% more!) then you can see why some of us feel that this anti-GMO movement is very misleading and is causing irreparable harm to our food industry. (While making a few companies very rich)

    I think this backlash against the scientifically illiterate anti-GMO crowd is due in large part because the more attention this debate gets, the more people there are who ARE turning this into a hobby and are actually doing research to verify the statements people are making. It goes without question that those seeking the truth are finding just a few “inconsistencies” with what the anti-GMO crowd / pro-organic crowd is saying.

    In fact, the very term, “GMO”, seems to be misunderstood by many, whereas labeling products as “GMO” makes very little sense, and gives almost no information about a product.

    I personally do not defend corporations just to be a fanboy. I usually review a statement someone made and fact check it, or once in awhile I’ll bring up a topic online that I notice is trending and try to clarify it.

    Obviously people on both sides of the argument can make statements that are not rooted in scientific research. However, it’s my opinion that the entire anti-GMO movement is based on assumptions that are not rooted in scientific research.

    If the anti-GMO / pro-organic NGOs wanted to be taken seriously, then they should stop taking a biased stance against anything that is “GMO” and let the facts speak for themselves. I can assure you, if they were actually required to use scientific facts, that can be cited through peer reviewed scientific research papers, then that would weaken their movement substantially.

    One odd thing is that the NGOs constantly use studies performed by Seralini to defend their point that GMOs are dangerous. Yet, Seralini’s studies did not hold up to peer review, and his studies have been denounced by just about every major science journal. (if not all of them) NGOs will say there’s a conspiracy to discredit Seralini. Well, people are definitely trying to discredit the man, but they’re not some behind the scenes shadow group of evil corporations. Companies like Monsanto will tell you right to your face why they believe Seralinis studies were poorly done. So will just about any other scientist that reads these studies or tries to duplicate the results.

    I’m not personally a scientist. I was interested in the new algae biofuel developments that were going on, and I invested in a corporation that used synbio to modify the algae to produce more oil. Then, of course, the NGOs went after this corporation, and that’s when I found myself diving into this topic. What was most shocking was that all of those anti-GMO / anti-monsanto posts on facebook never seemed to cite any data. The commenters made what seemed like factual statements stating what harm the GMOs could do to humans. So I would look into it, and find that the person was incorrect… then feel the need to correct them.

    That’s where this hobby began, and in seeing just how much misinformation was spreading, I guess you could say that’s why I’m adamant about defending the truth. I wouldn’t say I’m pro-GMO.. I’m just pro-facts and anti-misleading information.

    • gmoeater

      Nathan, this is a thoughtful post. I agree that the anti-science people are just shooting themselves in the foot.

      I, too, will not buy hyped food labeled “Non-GMO verified.” Was in the store an hour ago and bought the generic supermarket brand of shredded wheat (at $2.50) over the hyped Post Shredded Wheat with that stupid “non-gmo verified” label (at $3.75).

      Great comment!

  • Nathan A

    You’re right, this is a GMO industry funded website. [Correction: This site isn’t affiliated with the GMO industry per Jon Entine below] Yet, it seems to be one of the few sources of information that are giving valid responses to the questions surrounding GMOs. Are you claiming they’re lying about something, or attempting to mislead people in some way? If so, would you mind pointing out instances of this?

    I’ve read many articles here written by scientists who are either familiar with the industry or actually work in the industry regarding the actual science behind GMOs and pesticides, explaining how the GMOs are made, what they contain, how they work, etc. I’ve found links to scientific studies and analysis through this site. Sure, it’s possible, even probable that they’re biased, but the real question is whether their articles are definitely biased and misleading.

    I have this page liked on facebook, which is how I saw this article. Based on my own understandings of GMOs, the politics involved, and society’s understanding of the topic, I don’t see any glaring issues in this article, or most of the articles that this site posts.

    You have to admit, this is definitely a PR battle. One that could decide the future of our world’s food supply. Public perception is always going to be the most important thing, no matter what the science (the studies) have shown. If people think GMOs are toxic, or that they’re less nutritious, or that they harm the environment moreso than other crops, then they are going to refuse to buy it. However, if they only believe this because they’ve been misinformed, then I see no reason that the companies producing these crops *shouldn’t* at least try to inform the people of the facts, so that they can make educated choices.

    • Hate to break it to you Nathan but this site takes no money from industry. Strictly funded by foundations with zero connections to biotechnology or genetics. Do appreciate that you acknowledge that the articles are science minded. We open our doors to any contributing writer who can present a reasonable science based case on an issue regardless of what position they take. I’ve tried actively recruiting those critical of GMOs, but there are so few that are rational/science based (e.g.: don’t claim GMOs are unsafe for example or quote quacks like Jeffrey Smith or Gary Hirshberg). If you know of anyone who can’t think critically about these issues and has provocative positions, we’d be eager to post their views.

      • Nathan A

        My mistake, I mixed it up with GMO Answers.

        • agscienceliterate

          I believe you’re correct, that GMO Answers is funded by Monsanto, Dupont, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Syngenta, and other seed companies. What I also find remarkable is how open their answers are, and how consistently science-based. And how consistent the answers are to those on GLP and other science-based blogs.

          (correlation? yes. Implication that Monsanto etc. fund GLP? Absolutely none. Science is science, no matter who posts it.)

          The paranoid anti-conspiracy theorists wearing tin foil hats will, of course, slam anything that comes off the GMO Answers site, as well as calling anyone who reads GMO Answers a “shill” (yawn), but I have found them to be remarkably consistent with info I’ve gotten from other sites that are entirely independent of company funding.

    • Nathan A

      Which part is propaganda, and where is your evidence that this is the case? Approximately 90% of the United States’ corn, soy, and canola crops is GMO. This is a large chunk of our food resources.

      You also have to consider that a lot of these crops are fed to farm animals, meaning our livestock food supply is also dependent on GMOs. (I personally believe we eat far too much meat and livestock produced food; it’s extremely inefficient and a major waste of natural resources and energy) Anyways, my point is that unwarranted fear mongering is causing concern around a major piece of our total food supply.

      As to propaganda, I can definitively say that the anti-GMO movement is almost entirely based on actual propaganda. It’s heavy on the fear, and lite on the facts. To this, I can give specific examples if you’d like, but seriously, all you have to do is go onto an NGO facebook page and try to find the facts they used when they made their statements. (Those facts usually aren’t cited. ;))

      I didn’t realize there was another conversation going on here since I was just replying directly from Disqus. As to commenting on other subjects, I’m not sure if you can click on my name to see my posts, but I post on all sorts of topics. Albeit, I usually comment on facebook, so…

      • JoeFarmer

        You make a number of good points, but don’t engage rel0627. He/she/it is a troll.

  • Sorry, but you are wrong. No industry funding. If you have such strong views, and you can write a coherent article, I welcome you to register as a contributing writer and I guarantee you, if your article is science based (e.g.: you can’t cite Seralini or Seneff for example) than we will print your science based article. Whatever position you take. We even have organic farmers who would never think of growing a genetically modified crop who write for this site. So instead of posturing as a know it all about this site…and being totally ignorant and wrong…write a science based piece. Considering that you would claim that this site is industry funded when in fact it’s not and you have zero industry to suggest it is, I doubt you will take me up on my offer. Rather promote misinformation, I would guess. But surprise me. Create a dialogue–about science.

    • JoeFarmer

      So what you’re saying is that you can’t participate in a science-based conversation, so you’ll just generate dozens of trolling posts.

      Yeah, we already know that. You’ve crapped all over this thread.

      • If you actually believe the nonsense that this a pro-GMO site rather than what it is–a site dedicated to the science of genetics and biotechnology focusing on both humans and agriculture/food–then by all means write an article and/or become a regular writer/columnist presenting a different scientific perspective. Send note through the GLP, and I will set it up so you can write science grounded articles from whatever perspective you have.

        • JoeFarmer

          Maybe you could write an article about trolling. Seems that’s your strong suit.

        • gmoeater

          Jon, you’d need to pay an editor to correct her many grammatical and spelling errors. Sheesh. She can’t even use punctuation correctly.

          Still, I would LOVE to see a science-grounded article from this troll! It would make my day! I’ll contribute to the editor fees for making sense of her confused ungrammatical writing.

      • JoeFarmer

        So why are you trolling?

        • JoeFarmer

          So what’s keeping you from leaving?

          • JoeFarmer

            And you’re a troll. If I ran this site, I’d ban your stupid ass.

          • Farmer Sue

            Poor whiney baby. It’s all about you, isn’t it? You pout and make false allegations about science, about motive, about whether we’re really who we are, about far-based garbage, and when a farmer responds with info about — uh, farming — you have a snit fit and say “mean farmer.” Oooooo, too bad. I don’t try to be “nice” to word-twisting ignoramuses. Don’t come here expecting “nice.”

            You said in response to JoeFarmer when he asked you why you keep coming back here, that he keeps responding. What, you have no self-control at all?? Someone responds and you feel compelled to come back with garbage about being sprayed with chemicals? That all ya got? Oh, ha. ha.

            If you don’t like this site or its info, and all you can do is slam farming, farmers, science, and biotech, and all you can offer is pathetic narcissistic whining drivel, then you must have a LOT of time on your hands. You need a trip to the mall for a mani-pedi and then go watch Oprah or something.

            You’re on the wrong site if you think you’re adding any cogent or intelligent information to these discussions and articles; you ain’t changing any minds, you show your vast ignorance with every post, and you’re wasting your own time. If you want “nice,” find another site.

            Oh, but I’m happy to keep feeding you, by the way. Even tho you’re a paranoid and narcissistic ingrate with an entitlement complex.

        • Well, then leave it or contribute something meaningful. This site hardly defends multinational corporations. Tell me what multinational corporation is involved with research on de-exitinction of animals? Which one on the American chestnut? Which one on golden rice? Which one on the Hawaiian papaya or the Florida oranges. Yes, corporations have developed many GM products, just like they develop organic seeds and organic pesticides. Again, if you have something meaningful to contribute, we welcome your articles or blogs. Otherwise, you sound like a crank and very foolish in your narrow minded view of this site and the world.

        • gmoeater

          As Yoda said, “There is no Try. There is only Do.”
          If you’re “trying” to stay off this site, then Just Do It. No one’s forcing you to stay here contributing your drivel and “poor me” comments, just as no one is forcing you to eat GMO foods.

          It’s like those people who say, for years, that they’re “trying” to stop smoking. Get a grip.
          Bye!

    • Farmer Sue

      I don’t need to prove anything to you.

      If you have something cogent and intelligent to say, rather than whining about people misrepresenting themselves (as you have ironically done yourself by misrepresenting this site, btw), then say it.

      As I said before, maybe I’m a rock band drummer. Or a 70-year old airline pilot. Or a pole dancer. What’s it to you? What you think of me is none of my business.

  • Farmer Sue

    rel0627 is a professional troll. She has nearly 30,000 posts on the following subjects (and this is only from a 1-minute partial search):

    Obamacare
    Confederate Flag
    sports issues in North Carolina (she must be from NC)
    same sex marriage
    Billy Graham
    the Charlston shootings

    She doesn’t have a life other than throwing garbage-bombs. Maybe we can just ignore her rants and she will go away, to one of her many, many other websites and spew shoot-from-the-hip stuff there.

    I do feel sorry for her … she has no other life … no other affirmations of self-importance other than getting people to respond to her many off-base jabs. Oh, well – the internet has room for everybody, I guess.

    I appreciate this site and its many intelligent perspectives on science, farming, and technology. So this is a general shout-out hooray to Jon. Thanks, Jon!

    • JoeFarmer

      Yep, ignore this turd rel0627 and it will go away.

    • Headcase doc in SF

      There is indeed a growing phenomenon of
      narcissists trolling blog sites. They do so solely for the purpose of eliciting responses — positive or negative — from people they envy, or who they
      perceive are in a position of power; that makes them feel important themselves.

      These responses serve as “narcissistic supply” for their need to have adoration and admiration. Even if responses are negative, they still serve as what
      is termed “narcissistic supply” (feeding the narcissist’s exaggerated and unrealistic view of him/herself) because the narcissist believes he/she is powerful enough to elicit even a negative
      supply.

      Here’s an excellent article on cybertrolling
      and narcissism:

      http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/2014/01/21-signs-of-online-destructive.html

  • Nathan A

    Which specific criticisms of GMOs are you looking for? As far as I’m aware, there haven’t been any peer reviewed studies confirming that GMOs on the market are in any way toxic to humans, so if you’re searching for an article that states “GMOs are proven to be toxic”, then of course you’re going to come up short.

    The question is then, “Why do we rarely find issues with GMOs”? Well, GMOs go through rigorous testing before they ever hit the market, both by the corporations developing them, and also by independent organizations.

    Do you know how devastating it would be to a company if they managed to release a GMO seed that caused serious harm to humans? Lets just say… they likely wouldn’t be in business anymore. You may think it’s in corporations’ best interest to simply get a product on the shelves no matter what the consequences… but in fact it’s much more beneficial for a company to get a *safe* product on the shelves. If there is definite negligence by a company’s staff to hide proven toxicity reports, then we’re not just talking about company fines… we would be talking jail time.

    Here’s a strictly non-opinion based article about France’s recent ban of glyphosate in the home market:

    https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/06/16/france-bans-glyphosate-sales-at-garden-centers/

    Here’s an article posted yesterday about the potential benefits and pitfalls of the CRISPR gene editing technique that can be used to create GMOs… posted yesterday…

    https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/06/25/ethical-and-regulatory-reflections-on-crispr-gene-editing-revolution/

    I fail to see the bias of this site that you seem to be inferring exists. What topics are you looking for, and maybe I can help you figure out what to search the site for to find topics relating to it.

    With that said, you don’t really seem to be saying very much. I’m giving you very long well thought responses, and you’re giving me vague allusions back. If you have a specific topic you think this site should have covered, please specify it. If you have a specific example of definite bias on this site, or factually incorrect information, then please give an example. Otherwise, I’m not completely clear on what you’re trying to accomplish here.

    I think I should repeat (since I feel like I may be coming off a bit fanboy-ish) I’m in no way affiliated with this site or any other GMO organization, with the exception of being a shareholder in the algae stock I mentioned initially.

    • Nathan A

      Yeah, I write pretty formally. Are you saying you want simple two sentence responses on a topic as advanced and complicated as this one? Serious discussions take more than 8 words.

      • Nathan A

        lol, what am I trying to sell you exactly, other than the truth?

        You asked why there’s a lack in anti-GMO articles. I gave you a well thought out and detailed response, including two links I found within 2 minutes, by doing a search on the website. The first article detailed the ban on glyphosate in France (definitely not a pro-GMO article), and a second article that showed potential pitfalls in a GM technique. (Aka, I showed you an article that showed both sides of the story, not just one like activist organizations would show)

        You made an argument, that this site was *only* pro-GMO, so I showed you two articles that contradicted your point.

        • JoeFarmer

          Have you figured out that rel0627 is just trolling you?

        • Nathan A

          Yeah, well when questions are a bit vague, and since I have limited time to post sometimes, I tend to try and cover all the bases in my responses, rather than going back and forth with two sentence responses as if we were sitting next to each other talking.

          Aren’t the discussion boards decisions really the point of this entire topic? People ARE using discussion boards as a basis for their understandings, and to push their agendas and preconceived notions surrounding GMOs, rather than using discussion as a means to discuss the facts. This is becoming a PR nightmare for facts.

          Research takes a long time. For as much time as I’ve spent on it, I’m still not even close to being considered an expert. I like to think I know more than most, especially on the most broad of topics, such as safety. However, most people do not even take 5 minutes to do research, much less hours upon hours. Most people are not scientists and don’t even know where to start their research.. hence why they’re most likely to accept ideas they heard on message boards or facebook Meme’s.

          This is exactly why I take issue with your post saying this website is one sided. I personally think the site is more research / analytical / scientific / factual based. If factual information doesn’t meet your preconceived notions regarding GMOs… then I really don’t know what to tell you. Facts are facts. They may agree or disagree with your own ideas. However, if more often than not, they disagree with your ideas… then that doesn’t mean facts have a biased slant. It means your conclusions were wrong, and you are the one that actually has the biased slant.

          “You” meaning the general you, not you personally. I’m not really clear on what your views are… soo….

          • Nathan A

            In other words, people want to hear both sides of the story. However, why listen to a story at all when the facts are right there in front of them? Even if you hear both sides of the story, does it mean both sides are right, or is it possible one side is telling the truth and the other side is lying as means of self-validation?

            If a person attacks another, and an assault charge is brought, a judge will insist on hearing both sides of the story. However, does the judge need both sides of the story if a camera caught the entire interaction? In that case, he doesn’t need stories, he can simply look at the facts.

            We have facts regarding GMOs, yet people don’t seem to want to put in the effort to review these facts. They instead choose to listen to the stories that the PR campaigns / activists are telling. If a person is serious about this topic, and is seriously interested/worried about GMOs, then I say they should stop listening to the stories that each side is telling, and start looking at the facts. Then they can come to an *informed* conclusion.

            Lets also be clear, both sides are capable of telling stories. Even this site is capable… which is why it’s important to distinguish when something is just a story, and when something is a fact. I tend to think this site speaks more in terms of facts, than in terms of stories.

          • agscienceliterate

            That’s my observation as well, Nathan.

        • agscienceliterate

          Nathan, I see you being reasonable and rational; that approach is useless with a narcissistic troll.

          There’s a posting on here about narcissism and cybertrolling (stab / jab / flee) done by people who get off on snarking other people. I think it’s on the first page of coomments here.

          The rest of us appreciate your thoughtful comments, but responding to rel0627 just jacks her up and she gets off on it, and comes back with another snark. She digs it. She lives on snark, and Farmer Sue posted that she has tens of thousands of snark comments on multiple web blogs, in addition to this one. (it’s pathetic, really, but blogs attract all types!)

          It’s amusing when we realize that others just cannot wrap their brains around the fact that some of us here rely on science and technology, and appreciate reason and logic. And that those of us here support all types of approved farming.

          I look forward to your future equally-thoughtful comments.