Tag Archives: Bt crops

‘Mandatory labels for GM foods are a bad idea’

30 Sep

As public pressure for labelling America’s GM foods increases, pro-industry propaganda is going full swing with considerable assistance from the Scientific American’s un-named editors: ‘Mandatory labels for genetically modified foods are a bad idea’.

ferris jabrJournalist Ferris Jabr cites this article, explaining that people who oppose GMOs in California, Maine, Connecticut and other states have demanded mandatory labels on foods containing ingredients from genetically engineered crops because, they say, they want to know what they are eating. He declares that such labels will not help people understand the advantages and risks of GMOs or help them make smarter dietary choices or even explain what a GMO is.

The point is that many want the labelling so as to avoid the products, not to learn from text on the labels.

The latest example favouring the GM industry comes from the pen of Ferris Jabr who is ‘focusing on neuroscience and psychology’.and has an MA in science, health and environmental reporting and a BSc in psychology and English literature.

He reviews Jeremy Seifert’s new documentary film “GMO OMG” which starts showing on September 13th, authoritatively endorsing the advantages of genetically modified crops despite having no relevant qualifications.

A ‘hatchet job’ on Seifert

  • a series of maudlin pastoral scenes
  • using his children like marionettes for ludicrous theatrics
  • his naivete is a charade – not a genuine search for knowledge by for affirmation of preconceived concerns.
  • he is content to parrot numerous misconceptions spread by people who fiercely oppose genetic modification.
  • he acts as though all of Big Ag is unwilling to interact with journalists because Monsanto denies his feeble and unprofessional requests for an interview and turns him away when he drops by unannounced.
  • His conclusion that the “science is still out” on genetically modified organisms is completely misleading.

Mitigating comments

 As the (un-named) editors wrote in the September issue of Scientific American: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested all the GMOs on the market to determine whether they are toxic or allergenic. They are not.”

He admits there are legitimate concerns about how GM crops inadvertently imbalance insect ecosystems and accelerate weeds’ resistance to herbicides.

Recent studies indicate that in a few rare cases they may inadvertently kill butterflies, ladybugs and other harmless or helpful insects, although so far there is no solid evidence that they poison bees.

Even more concerning, agricultural pests can, will and have become resistant to Bt crops, just as they inevitably develop immunity to any form of pest control.

If biotech companies prematurely release new Bt varieties without proper testing or farmers do not take adequate precautions when growing them, Bt crops ultimately fail and, ironically, encourage the use of chemical pesticides they were meant to replace.

Jabr’s conclusion

Honestly, if you really want to understand GMOs, I think it’s best to stay away from Seifert’s new documentary altogether. There are many books and articles on the subject much more deserving of your time and attention.


STOP PRESS: GM Education (produced by Lawrence Woodward and Megan Noble) tell us that recently Monsanto donated $4.6 million to the campaign for a ‘No’ vote, followed closely by DuPont Pioneer; which stumped up another $3.2 million

Sources

 
http://ferrisjabr.com/About_.html
 
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/brainwaves/2013/09/09/film-review-omg-gmo-srsly-an-epicfail-in-exercising-our-right-to-know-about-genetically-modified-food/
 
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3575226/ – Jeremy Seifert
 
http://www.gmofilm.com/
 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=labels-for-gmo-foods-are-a-bad-idea
 
http://www.gmeducation.org/latest-news/p213727-the-money-rolls-in-the-washington-gm-food-fight.html
 
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