Tag Archives: Lawrence Woodward

‘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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Think about GM contamination Minister Paterson

27 Jun

Megan Noble and Lawrence Woodward: “UK’s push for GM crops looks ill considered and irresponsible”.

GM wild2Does Owen Paterson – described as the biotech companies’ latest PR man – know about the recent experience of GM contamination in Oregon, Switzerland, Western Australia and other regions? The fear is that GMOs cannot be contained in the field, the food chain or even in research trials.

  • South Korea doesn’t grow genetically engineered crops but imports animal feed. It is finding GM plants growing wild in areas around major ports, factories, livestock farms and roads. The most commonly found GM species were maize (corn), cotton and rapeseed. The National Institute for Environmental Research reported that there has been a 33% increase in the level of detected GMO contamination cases in the wider environment since 2009.
  • GM canola (oilseed rape) is being spilled as it passes through the Rhine port of Basel and along Switzerlands railway system. Bernard Nicod, a member of the executive committee of the Swiss Farmers’ Association said, “It would be hard to separate the cycle of production and distribution of conventional agriculture from that of transgenic agriculture. We are not sure we can cope with the extra costs of that kind of separation.”
  • Genetically modified (GM) wheat growing in Oregon led to Japan and South Korea banning imports of US white winter wheat. The discovery was made by the University of Oregon and forwarded on to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Neither Monsanto or the USDA has explained how the contamination occurred. See the Guardian this week.
  • Currently beset by fracking-related problems, earlier this month a local paper reported tests on genetically modified wheat in North Dakota. These are being conducted by Monsanto – following the discovery of contamination in neighbouring Oregon – under a ‘cloak of secrecy’, a local farmer said Monsanto, which owns a wheat development company based in the nearby city of Bozeman, didn’t respond to a request for comment last week. In 2010, Nature reported GM canola growing wild in the region.
  • Legal proceedings are still under way after an organic farm in Kojonup Western Australia was contaminated, in 2010, with genetically modified canola contamination. The WA government revoked Steven Marsh’s organic certification.

Lesley Docksey, in Global Research, writes:

“This constant dishonest pressure on the public from people like Paterson to accept something they do not want must stop.  It is dishonest because their ‘facts’ are at the least unproven, and at worst, untrue.  Nor do they really care about feeding the world.  If they did they’d stop the waste of so much food and ensure people had equal access to what the earth can provide.  This is all about giving the biotech companies control over the world’s food”.

Noble & Woodward conclude: “Until a solution to prevent contamination is found the answer is to stop transporting these genetically engineered crops across the world; stop feeding them to animals; and even to stop growing them”.

A powerful tool which could be used for either side on the GM debate

6 Aug

The BBC’s Countryfile is currently running a poll to ask whether British GM crop trials should go ahead. This seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat and has the potential to be a powerful tool to be used heavily for those either side of this debate depending upon the result.

Please follow the link below and add your ‘No’ vote, and please pass on to other concerned citizens, we do not wish this to be a green light for further trials.

http://www.countryfile.com/poll/should-gm-crop-trials-be-allowed-go-ahead

Thank You, 

GM Education

Megan Noble and Lawrence Woodward