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Genetic Modification is a contentious topic these days. Many consumers demand their right to know and right to choose whether or not to purchase GMOs. Read on for some of the science behind GM tech, and reasons this mom thinks labeling is a bad idea at best. This article originally appeared on Grounded Parents, a parenting sister site to Skepchick.

As a parent, there are a few things I want my children to know. Of these, one is that vehement opinions can’t logically be had without at least basic understanding of an issue. Another is that it’s okay and righteous to change one’s mind when a convincing argument is presented. This is why I’ve recently had a change of heart when it comes to GMO labeling. I used to be very pro-GM technology, but felt that labeling would help appease consumer fears. I’m still very pro-GM technology, but now I also believe labeling will prove harmful, and should not be pursued. Please, hear me out before you start throwing labels like “Monsanto shill!”

As I’ve said, if you don’t understand transcription, translation, and protein synthesis and function at a high level at minimum, you don’t have sufficient understanding to justify an inherently anti-GM stance. While I won’t get deep enough to explain the minutiae of molecular biology, here is a briefing to start a layperson on genetic literacy:  Essentially, proteins are the most basic functional components of living things. Proteins serve all purposes from structure, immunity, metabolic, nutritive, enzymatic functions, and more. They are macromolecules comprised of amino acid chains (polypeptides.) The sequence of amino acids in any protein determines its 3D structure. This sequence of amino acids is determined by codons, each codon coded for by 3 adjacent nucleotides. The DNA in a gene of any organism can be transcribed (into RNA), and translated (into proteins) in many varied permutations by alternative splicing of introns, allowing the functions of life to be carried out. This is a very abridged explanation, but there are some nice primers here and here.

A simplified diagram
Image credit

How do GMOs work?

A GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) is technically defined as any plant, animal, or microbe whose genetic material has been intentionally manipulated by a scientist in vitro using recombinant DNA technology. However, selective breeding practiced since the beginning of agriculture is also intentional manipulation of organisms’ genomes, using a less precise and very lengthy process taking generations to achieve. Arguably, all organisms since the beginning of life could be deemed genetically modified. The difference centers in the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology – or DNA makes RNA makes protein (and not the other way around.) With our knowledge of protein structure, and how genes code for proteins, scientists can alter plants and animals in a precise, targeted manner by adjusting the nucleic acid sequence, or inserting sequences known to code for desirable traits.

How is Genetic Engineering of food beneficial?

Some Genetically Modified Organisms as they presently exist are beneficial, while others are arguably not as beneficial. Without getting into the particulars of the myriad GMO crops in existence, I must emphasize that GM is a toolbox; a set of techniques and not a product. Drought resistance, disease resistance, and increased vitamin content are just the tip of an iceberg of possibilities. Like any field of science and technology, there is fear of the unknown. Still, rather than falling for fear mongering, how about promoting and pursuing genetic literacy? Furthermore, rather than painting this toolbox with one brush, why not handle GM organisms on a more individualized basis?

When much of the public thinks GMOs, they think Frankenfood

There are horror stories being whispered around town that The Man has been releasing scary plants into the agricultural system with animal genes inserted! Pretty soon, they’ll have our lettuce and tomatoes walking around of their own accord! Okay, all kidding aside, there are two types of GM: cisgenic and transgenic. Cisgenic GMOs have been modified using sexually compatible organisms, making them quite comparable to traditionally bred organisms (think one root vegetable trait being introduced into another root vegetable.) A transgenic GMO, on the other hand, uses genetic material from a non-sexually compatible organism to introduce a desirable trait. Current US GMO regulations treat both cisgenic and transgenic organisms equally, although they are very different. While this is a topic for another day, it’ll suffice to say that applying the current stringent USDA regulations to cisgenic organisms will greatly encumber the research. Arguably, plants bred by cisgenesis should have laxer regulations. (Not to say that transgenic organisms don’t have their place and benefit.)

Likewise, when people think GMO, they think Evil Corporation Monsanto. In fact, Monsanto has largely and erroneously become synonymous with GMO. While I won’t get into the debate on reasons people believe Monsanto is evil (I don't believe the company is evil), I will say it stems from the company being a large, multinational corporation. And that, my friends, gets me to my main point:

Why shouldn’t GMOs be labeled?

 1.   Labeling regulations will hinder competition and growth among organizations like research institutions, universities, and private sector small and medium sized businesses, effectively clearing a nice, clean, path for large corporations like Monsanto. Contrary to popular belief, Monsanto is not the only player in the GMO game. Here is an incomplete list of organizations participating in R&D in the field. This list only includes institutions who actively work on GMO crops themselves. Other participants include sequencing laboratories (that help determine organisms’ genetic code or expressed genetic codes), experts in proteomics (study of protein structure and function), companies and individuals specializing in bioinformatics (analysis of large biological data), and more. Red tape is always easier for the rich to cut through and navigate. Anti-Monsanto types would be well-advised to reconsider their labeling stance.

 2.  Mandatory GMO labeling could hinder environmental protection efforts. Labeling will increase stigma associated with a technology that people don’t understand, thus arbitrarily increasing demand for non-GMO foods. GM technology has great potential to reduce water and energy required for production. While the increased yield from GM crops is tangible but still marginal, stigma could arguably obstruct progress analogous to the relatively recent roadblocks to stem cell research.

3.   Labels simply stating generally that a product contains or is a GMO do not make sense; they don’t actually inform the consumer. What type of labels do anti-GMO proponents want? If a label is to be meaningful, it would have to provide detailed information, including the genetic change, and the ultimate protein change achieved. Would the average consumer understand this? IMO, the answer is a resounding NO.

4.    Mandatory labeling is expensive. The end product of labeling, the label itself, would pose but a minute fraction of the cost. A lengthy and involved process would entail separating GMO and non-GMO foods, among other specifics. And who is going to pay for this? You guessed it–consumers of both GMO and non-GMO foods will pay for labeling in the form of higher food prices all around.

If a consumer wants a non-GM food, buy non-GM food! Good news for the concerned shopper! We already have labels that specify whether something has been modified using GM technology. Look for the Non-GMO Project or organic seal. As per strict USDA guidelines, foods labeled organic in the USA cannot be GMOs. We tend to label food for purity as per consumer perception. We don’t label food “non-Kosher.” We don’t label food “non-organic.” Both “Kosher” and “organic” are labels of purity. Therefore, it is illogical to label food as containing GMOs. Rather, if consumers want pure, non-GMO products, they should buy food labeled as such.

Bottom line:  People fear what they don’t understand. You may say, “Let the consumer decide.” Consumers have been deciding about vaccines for a few years now to the detriment of herd immunity! But, I digress. Please, have the wisdom to trust a consensus of truly educated professionals across nearly all internationally accepted organizations with the authority and expertise to take a stance. Not only are GMOs generally considered safe, but GM technology is a powerful tool. Tools can be used to build beautiful and beneficial advancements for humanity, or they can be used as weapons. Please, don’t demonize tools unless they are being used as weapons. We are only in the infancy of the biotechnology age. With such a powerful tool in hand, let’s promote responsible use to benefit society.

Stay tuned or read the next in Kavin Senapathy's series on GMOs at Grounded Parents

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Comment Preferences

  •  Solid diary and mainly factual without much spin. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Margd, houyhnhnm, Sylv

    However the way Monsanto has acted and continues to act around the world with its GMO crops, which are created only to support its various chemical solutions, means they deserve to be called evil and rapacious and  scum of the earth.

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:10:06 AM PDT

  •  If You Know Any of the Scores of Millions of Peopl (12+ / 0-)

    with gluten intolerance you know you don't need to know any biology at all to know that ordinary species breeding can create dietary tolerance and allergy problems on a wide scale, including problems that take years to uncover.

    Label the damned foods. All your arguments apply equally well to not labeling anything.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:17:26 AM PDT

  •  This diarist is a Monsanto Fluffer (9+ / 1-)

    That whole site is nothing but industry spin.

    Pro-GMO, Pro-Standardized Testing and a bunch of called-out pseudo-science on home birthing/midwifery.

    Here's an interesting 1st-person account from someone that was interested to write for the new site and then GTFO when they saw what it was.

    Next there was the English professor who claimed in Against Marriage that "The solution to poverty is to encourage all our children to avoid marriage until they are at least twenty-five." Because after all, people under twenty-five's forebrains are too underdeveloped to make adult decisions about getting married and being parents, nobody with a high school diploma has a complete education, and anyone can earn a living wage if they just wait long enough to have kids. I ended up being so pissed about this ignorant piece of crap post that I felt compelled to write Harming Young Mothers With Stereotypes in response, just to balance out the blogosphere.
    This shit is crap using DKOS to peddle to get more eyeballs on their crap.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:22:46 AM PDT

    •  Apparently you didn't look at the page at all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, houyhnhnm

      Industry spin? Groundedparents.com is a secular parenting site.

      •  Look at this page (4+ / 0-)

        gmofreeusa.org is a site too. It even has a kid on the banner. The kid is holding a sign that says, "I am not a science experiment."

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:38:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Industry is very secular (8+ / 0-)

        and your science is horrific.

        You also glibly gloss-over the fact that the vast use of GMO is solely to boost  the use of pesticides.

        If you wanted to cover the science of this debate and not slather on the maudlin appeals to "kind-hearted parents" and "Mother's Day" you'd list the NUMEROUS studies that show empirical evidence against GMO and the Fluff-claims that its supporters try to make.

        Talk about the cascading effect of GMO techniques has in developing virus resistance in transgenic plants.

        Be honest about the testing done on effects of consuming Bt Corn (the number one GMO on the planet) specifically what it is found to do to the liver or to testicles due to its xenoestrogenic properties or the Ovaries for the same reason.

        Open a debate on the impacts of mass-spraying glyphosate, the GMO required pesticide, on Agricultural areas and the people that work in them.

        Admit the potential for massive wild-crop displacement and destruction as we're seeing in Ethiopia's sorghum fields or the traditional agricultural communities across Latin America

        Show some concern that animals industrially fed GMO feed are passing on transgenetic DNA into consumable products like milk, as shown in this study in Italy. or this one in Kuwait.

        Point out the repercussions we're seeing in native wildlife causing wild tilapia die-offs in the Nile, catfish in African Rivers, Atlantic Salmon and Bumblebee colnies around the world.

        Also, your frankenfood genes can cross species and have been conclusively shown to now be in Wild Goosegrass and fast and far-spreading weed common throughout the country or the jump we've now shown them to make between engineered Rapeseed used to make Canola and wild radishes.

        See what I'm doing here?  See those orange letters?  Those are links.  Links to SCIENTIFIC PAPERS where SCIENTISTS conduct RESEARCH and present FACTS without resorting to sentimental claims about what they might want for Mother's Day.

        Spare me, hell spare us all, the one-sided "please just hear me out" slant wrapped in baseless emotional pleas about what we shouldn't worry our pretty little layperson heads about without a single shred of scientific integrity.

        SHILL ELSEWHERE

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:57:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, Wisper, for these links. (3+ / 0-)

          From one of your links....

          Subspecies verticilliflorum and drummondii (the two major subspecies of wild S. bicolor) were observed in diverse habitats throughout northern and central Ethiopia. In some areas, weedy types showed domestication traits including the absence of awns and reduced seed shattering. The existence of morphologically intermediate forms indicates that gene flow between cultivated and wild forms has likely occurred. Deployment of transgenic crop sorghum, therefore, would pose a distinct risk for transgene movement into wild Ethiopian populations.
          Until there is honest labeling, do not bother us with this corporate PR crap..

          Ditto. Shill Elsewhere.

          'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

          by flowerfarmer on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:38:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  to be fair (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ksenapathy, Yoshimi
          You also glibly gloss-over the fact that the vast use of GMO is solely to boost  the use of pesticides.
          that is not entirely true--though it is true in the case of Monsanto.

          If you go to the list of all approved GMO products worldwide, here:

          http://www.isaaa.org/...

          you will find that 88 of the 168 listings in the USA, in 12 of the 27 crops which have GMOs, are for herbicide resistance. (And 37 of those are from Monsanto.)

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:41:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  From yesterdays diary, from NPR... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cville townie, sturunner, blueoasis

               T

               The result seemed like great news. But the environmental group Greenpeace immediately called it a scandal .

                "People are angry, really furious about these tests, using Chinese children as guinea pigs," says Wang Jing, a campaigner for Greenpeace in China.

                The Chinese government reacted quickly. It punished three Chinese co-authors of the study, removing them from their jobs.

                In a report on the case, Chinese authorities say that the researchers didn't get all the approvals they needed before carrying out the study. Also, the researchers told the children, and their parents, that this was a special kind of rice high in beta-carotene, but they didn't always say it was genetically modified.

                "They actually hid the fact that golden rice is a genetically modified crop," says Wang.

                For some people, this makes all the difference in the world.

                This is where golden rice gets caught up in the bigger argument over genetically engineered crops — specifically, the argument over who benefits from them.

                Don't misunderstand me, Daño says: Golden rice is not purely public relations. It is, indeed, supposed to help malnourished people — although she doesn't think it's a very good way to help. She thinks it will be more expensive and less effective than traditional nutrition programs.

                This rice is mainly going to help the image of biotechnology, she says.

            NPR

            'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

            by flowerfarmer on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:25:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Do you know what fluffer means? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emelyn

      And the 9 people who recd that comment? Just curious.

  •  I have no gripe with labels (5+ / 0-)

    They don't cost anything except some ink. And I suspect people will pay about as much attention to them as they do to all the other labels on packaging.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:24:20 AM PDT

  •  Much better (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksenapathy

    I wanted to rec the tip jar in the other diary, but I couldn't.  

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:30:33 AM PDT

  •  Fluffy (9+ / 0-)

    No mention of RoundUp (glypohosate) or Bt toxin ingestion. Just a bunch of PR about how (unmarketed) GMO food is so wonderful.

    Fact is, I don't want to eat herbicide and I don't want to eat insecticide. GMO corn, soy, canola, sugar beet and alfalfa offer no benefit to the consumer. I want them labeled now.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 09:34:15 AM PDT

    •  Looks like we're going to get a sales pitch a day (9+ / 0-)

      from this outlet.

      Good to see back in this one after yesterday's pablum about what "kind hearted parents" want.

      I plan on being in every one of these Monsanto commercials.  I have about 400-600 links and studies on this poisonous shit so I won't need to repeat myself and get accused of spamming but I will be GOD DAMNED if this one-sided horseshit show is going to start blogging here unopposed.

      Maybe she'll switch gears and tell us about how loving mothers deeply appreciate coal-powered electricity because asthma helps prepare young children for the adversities of life.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:07:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  hmmm . . . . (5+ / 0-)
        I have about 400-600 links and studies on this poisonous shit
        Can you link to a few in peer-reviewed journals that demonstrate a harmful effect from any GMO gene (other than the ones which have already been withdrawn as bullshit)?

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:43:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doubtful! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          houyhnhnm
        •  Yes. Many. Feel free to "use the google". (5+ / 0-)

          Start with the effects of sprayed glyphosate.  Those are always a pick-me-up.

          Look for the studies on liver and pancreatic effects observed in labs.  Read any number of studies on glyphosate's xenoestrogenic effects, the link to Breast Cancer is still getting a lot of attention. (the study I read was in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal..which I think is the journal that retracted the Maize study presumably behind your "bullshit" comment)

          "But that's a pesticide, not the GMO food!" you'll disingenuously say.

          Okay, read about the allergen rates (New England Journal of Medicine) and the fact that the US requires ZERO pre-market testing of bio engineered products.  (but does "recommend" that some be done, which is nice I guess...)  The AMA has called for mandatory pre-market testing as a result of the soy allergy issues that have been seen, but Monsanto Congress has refused to act.

          Try the journal of Reproductive Toxicity for the Canadian research that found Monsanto's Bt Toxin in Maternal and Fetal blood.

          Search out the Journal of Organic Systems for an Australian/American long term study of feeding pigs GMO feed resulting in enlarged uteri and severe stomach inflammation.  Aw hell... I'll link you that one

          Conclusion
          Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet. Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern.

          The results indicate that it would be prudent for GM crops that are destined for human food and animal feed, including stacked GM crops, to undergo long-term animal feeding studies preferably before commercial planting, particularly for toxicological and reproductive effects. Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are widely consumed by people, particularly in the USA, so it would be be prudent to determine if the findings of this study are applicable to humans

          And in general (though I don't get the sense you want to speak in general terms here) the National Center for Biotechnical Information has a nice study talking about these claims of "generally safe" are misleading as the testing process for GMO consumption has not been systematic and is over-extrapolating findings from tests and processes that were NEVER designed to take food safety into account.

          I'm not your internet researcher.  If you are so interested, do the research and learn.

          And again, like the diarist, focusing on the "prove that eating this causes a specific health problem" very lazily ignores the growing body of evidence of the ecological impact the introdocution of GMOs has had in the wild.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:12:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  hang on there, young jedi . . . . (6+ / 0-)

            The effects of glyphosate are the same on non-GMO plants as they are on GMO. The presence or absence of the gene makes no difference at all.

            Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet. Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern.
            Of, geez, not the "pig study" again . . .  you'd have been better off going with Seralini's rats instead, or maybe Huber's magic microbes . . . .

            When you actually look at the raw data from the pig study, you will find something surprising----the pigs that DID NOT EAT ANY GMO AT ALL also got stomach inflammation. Why? Because the pigs were being kept in unsanitary conditions, so they ALL got sick. The GMO didn't have diddley to do with it.

            The study is here (pdf file):
            http://www.organic-systems.org/...

            Please by all means feel free to explain to us, if you think the GMOs made the pigs sick, how the pigs who did not eat any GMO at all, managed to get sick from it anyway, at the same rate as the ones who did.  Was it osmosis?

            (sigh)

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:29:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Non GMO's are not designed (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              occupystephanie, Piren, sturunner

              specifically to be bathed in Glyphosate.

              As for the pigs, the data does not show an equivalence, unless you are conflating ulcerations with inflammation.

              In this study, a diet of GM feed had no effect on stomach erosions or ulceration but had a significant effect on inflammation. Pigs fed the mixed GM soy and GM corn diet showed 2.6 times the rate of severe stomach inflammation compared to non-GM fed pigs. This biologically significant finding was statistically significant (p=0.004). GM-fed male pigs showed severe stomach inflammation at a rate of 4.0 times that of the non GM fed male pigs (p=0.041); and female pigs showed a rate of severe stomach inflammation that was 2.2 the rate of the non-GM fed female pigs (p=0.034).
              And it wasn't Seralini's rats I was looking to for the estrogen disruptor effect on hormone-dependent breast cancer:
              Glyphosate is an active ingredient of the most widely used herbicide and it is believed to be less toxic than other pesticides. However, several recent studies showed its potential adverse health effects to humans as it may be an endocrine disruptor. This study focuses on the effects of pure glyphosate on estrogen receptors (ERs) mediated transcriptional activity and their expressions. Glyphosate exerted proliferative effects only in human hormone-dependent breast cancer, T47D cells, but not in hormone-independent breast cancer, MDA-MB231 cells, at 10⁻¹² to 10⁻⁶M in estrogen withdrawal condition. The proliferative concentrations of glyphosate that induced the activation of estrogen response element (ERE) transcription activity were 5-13 fold of control in T47D-KBluc cells and this activation was inhibited by an estrogen antagonist, ICI 182780, indicating that the estrogenic activity of glyphosate was mediated via ERs. Furthermore, glyphosate also altered both ERα and β expression. These results indicated that low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used for soybean cultivation, and our results also found that there was an additive estrogenic effect between glyphosate and genistein, a phytoestrogen in soybeans. However, these additive effects of glyphosate contamination in soybeans need further animal study.
              And if you recycle your quote about the problem being the spray and not the yummy food product just like we don't blame fertlizer run-off on the grass, I'm going to accuse you of being deliberately dishonest.  If it were not for GMO technology glyphosate wouldn't be the number one herbicide in the world with over 18 millions pounds of it being sprayed every year to the point where it is ubiquititously showing up in urine and breast milk.

              ...and we haven't even talked about allergies which even the pro-GMO spinners are tacitly admitting by countering the fear with the idea of prevention through simple tests rather then their past attempts to dispute the science outright.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:18:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  thanks for the arm-waving (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Yoshimi, rduran

                The pigs were not bathed in glyphosate.

                They did not eat any GMOs. None. At all. Zip. Zero. Zilch., Nada.

                And they still got just as sick as the ones that did.

                Pigs fed the mixed GM soy and GM corn diet showed 2.6 times the rate of severe stomach inflammation compared to non-GM fed pigs
                Now show us the data for the "moderately inflamed" and "mildly inflamed" . . . .  Ohhhhhh, is there some reason you don't want to show us that?

                Maybe it's because the pigs that had NOT been fed any GMO actually got inflamed stomachs at a HIGER rate than the ones who DID eat the GMO.

                Explain to me please how the GMO food caused stomach troubles in the pigs who did not eat any of the GMO foods.

                (opens popcorn) This should be fun . . . .

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:32:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Mild stomach inflammation is common symptom (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  occupystephanie, Piren, sturunner

                  of industrially raised pigs so one would expect to see a commonality across all subjects.

                  Were you absent the day they taught statistics?  Do you know the standard threshold for a p-value is 0.05 and anything above that equates to a null hypothesis?

                  Are you following me here or did you doze off in your popcorn?

                  The p-value for the Mild Inflammation probability was 0.19.  Anyone that tries to use this to support a positive hypothesis wouldn't have their paper peer-reviewed, other people would just use it to wipe their ass.  Anything over 0.1 is a statistical equivalent of "NOTHING".

                  Did you see the p-values on the severe inflammation? 0.005.  Lemme rephrase this:  ZERO POINT ZERO ZERO FIVE.  Anything less then 0.01 is considered "VERY STRONG" evidence against the null hypothesis.   And this was half that.

                  And the p-value on the probability that GMO feed led to enlarged uteri... 0.025.  Which is why the paper claimed to find a biologically significant difference in uterine size between GMO and non GMO pigs.  GMO pigs had larger hearts too, but the p-value was 0.2 so you know what the paper claimed about GMO impacts on Heart size?  NOTHING.   Because that how numbers work.

                  I have no idea what you are basing your conviction that GMO and Non-GMO are the same.

                  This is an openly published research study with all their data, methodology and even what software they used to calculate their stats.  At least try to treat its findings fairly or just be honest that you don't know how to read them.

                  Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                  by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:57:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  this just keeps getting funnier and funnier . . . (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    houyhnhnm, rduran

                    So we should expect all the pigs to be sick. But they got sick because of the GMOs. Except that the pigs that didn't eat any GMO got sick too at a higher rate--which shows that the GMOs did it.

                    I don't don't know if it's sad or funny that ideologues swallow stuff like this as long as it tells them what they want to hear . . . . .

                    PS--since you're all mathy and stuff, how about you explain to everyone what a "single low-sample study" means, in terms of statistically significant results . . . . . . .

                    (sigh)

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:03:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Low sample is calculated out by deviation (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Piren, sturunner

                      So now you are just questioning sample size?  168 wasnt good enough for you even though that qualifies as a significant sample, especially given the controls they had in place?

                      Whatever man.. now you are just arguing against math.   Hundreds of years of standard statistical methodology on sampling and probability and you want to just shake your head and point to a value with a probability value that BY DEFINITION means NOTHING.  Do you even understand that?  I'm not trying to be Nate Fucking Silver here, but a p-value of 0.19 means you are obligated, as a scientist, to draw a conclusion that this proves NOTHING.  The technical terminology is "Lack of presumption against null hypothesis".  And yet...  ....you are trying to draw an affirmative conclusion.

                      If a researcher used that approach to try and draw conclusions against GMOs they would be laughed out of their fucking field.

                      This is absurd.

                      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                      by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:23:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  It's so cute that you call others shills (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ksenapathy, charlatan, OrganicChemist

                    and use an example of research funded by the organic industry as your evidence.

                    Hypocrisy much?

                    What will happen the next time the mob comes?--Neil deGrasse Tyson

                    by mem from somerville on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:55:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  this, btw, is simply wrong (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Yoshimi, mem from somerville, rduran
                 If it were not for GMO technology glyphosate wouldn't be the number one herbicide in the world
                Roundup has been for sale since the 1970's, 20 years before any GMO cropps were ever offered for sale, and was Monsanto's best-seller for most of that time. Indeed, that's why Monsanto made its gene resistant to Roundup.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:35:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But it wasn't number one in the 70's (4+ / 0-)

                  Glyphosate became the number one after round-up ready corn and soy hit the market in 1998.  

                  Before that it was a hell of a lot of atrazine.

                  The same government that told us Atrazine is "generally safe" is now telling us glyphosate is "generally safe".  Just like they used to tell us that DDT was safe....until it wasn't.  Did the nature of chemistry change in 1972 where this went from "generally recognized as safe" to poisonous?  Did the American people evolve a new susceptibility to Calcium ATPase inhibitors?

                  And just like before, its the other countries in the world that are out front banning this swill before the US can shout down the lobbyists to get out of our food.

                  Atrazine has been illegal in the EU for 10 years yet we are still serving up residue laced produce to American children.

                  Glyphosate bans are already starting to pop up.  What year would you like to guess that this staunchly-lobbied defended wonderspray will be converted from safe-to-eat agricultural staple to poison?

                  Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                  by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:13:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm a little puzzled why you seem to expect (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rduran

                    me to defend either pesticides, Monsanto, or the chemical industry. I was fighting them with Greenpeace back when most of the people posting here were still pooping their diapers, and I'd love nothing better than to see hordes of people with pitchforks and torches surround all of their corporate offices.

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:19:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  some of the pesticides that have been banned in (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rduran, OrganicChemist

                    just the past ten years:

                    Amitraz
                    Alachlor
                    Aldrin
                    Atrazine
                    Captafol
                    Chlordane
                    Dieldrin
                    EPN
                    Fenthion
                    Heptachlor
                    Mirex
                    OMPA

                    Know why they were banned? Because scientists presented peer-reviewed data showing they were dangerous.

                    Know why Glyphosate hasn't been banned? Because no scientists have presented peer-reviewed data showing it to be dangerous.

                    Want to get Glyphosate banned? Then go get some peer-reviewed data showing that it is dangerous.

                    And try to do better than Seralini's rats and the pig study.

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:26:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That data is coming in constantly (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Piren, sturunner, flowerfarmer

                      The slow pace is because Monsanto is leveraging its patent to block any unauthorized laboratory testing as an infringement to their intellectual property.

                      This has been well documented on many occasions.  Look at the Austrian Government study.  University entomologists in the US even protested to the EPA that approvals are being handed out while independent research is blocked by threat of litigation.

                      Other countries have a better framework to pierce Monsanto's political power and the information is coming.

                      So are the bans.

                      Nothing showing its dangerous huh?  Why is it illegal for residential use in Canada?  Why are the Netherlands banning it universally?  Why is the Public Prosecutor of Brazil calling for an immediate ban?

                      And you think Atrazine is banned here?  As recently as LAST YEAR it was the 2nd most used herbicide in the US after glyphosate.  Banned in EU, still being sprayed on US.  

                      You need better information on this friend.  

                      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                      by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:35:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Glyphosate has been off patent (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        rduran, OrganicChemist

                        For over a decade.

                        What will happen the next time the mob comes?--Neil deGrasse Tyson

                        by mem from somerville on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:56:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  But the seends haven't (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Piren, sturunner, flowerfarmer

                          The studies on simple Glyphosate exposure have been piling up which is why other governments are starting to act while ours continues to be lobbied.

                          It is these recent re-affirming papers that are finally prompting action. Every time one paper pops up, industry reps rush to knock it down as some activist based hit piece, but all the non-Monsanto funded studies keep finding the same things.

                          The US will be the last to act as we have the most money to lose.  El Salvador banned it last year.  The Dutch banned it commercially and are moving ahead with a complete ban.   Oddly Canada did it in reverse, banning personal use first.

                          And yet, what happened in Canada?

                          The development of glyphosate-resistant weeds is relatively new to Canada. The first documented case was giant ragweed in Ontario in 2009 followed by Canada fleabane in 2011, also in Ontario.

                          Kochia seed collected in Alberta in 2011 was confirmed to be glyphosate resistant in 2012. Later in the year it was confirmed in Saskatchewan.

                          The 401 Alberta farmers surveyed said they had 126,000 acres infected with glyphosate-resistant kochia.

                          The 821 farmers surveyed in Saskatchewan said 502,000 acres are infested.

                          In both Ontario cases, the infestations were believed to have been small. Nevertheless, the 407 Ontario farmers surveyed said they believed they had glyphosate-resistant weeds on 270,000 acres of land — most of them (180,000 acres) infested with Canada fleabane.

                          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                          by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 02:14:06 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  to be fair . . . (6+ / 0-)
    4.    Mandatory labeling is expensive. The end product of labeling, the label itself, would pose but a minute fraction of the cost. A lengthy and involved process would entail separating GMO and non-GMO foods, among other specifics. And who is going to pay for this? You guessed it–consumers of both GMO and non-GMO foods will pay for labeling in the form of higher food prices all around.
    Companies that export to the EU and others already have to separate their GMO from their non-GMO.

    So the added cost for this here would be zero.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:10:30 AM PDT

  •  I wish I were a shill (4+ / 0-)

    That would require that I get paid. I'm loving the commentary here though, and on my previous diary. Perhaps my next diary will be on another topic. I do, in fact, write about other things.

  •  If I wish to avoid bad GMO crops / products (4+ / 0-)

    and buy good GMO crops / products , I wish to be informed by the labels on the packaging if and what type of GMOs are inside .
    Don't keep me in the dark , don't force me to find the info elsewhere .

    “May contain traces of nuts, or May contain milk”
    Produced in a facility that also processes nuts gmo .

    The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) requires by law that manufacturers clearly identify on their food labels any ingredients or ingredients that contain proteins derived from any of the eight major allergenic foods or food groups: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans.

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:22:57 AM PDT

  •  "I aimed at the public's heart (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksenapathy, Yoshimi, FG

    and by accident hit its stomach." ~ Upton Sinclair

    The debate over GMOs always makes me think of that quote.

    I think there are real concerns over possible unforeseen ecological consequences of genetic manipulation.

    The people who are the most passionately anti-GMO, however, don't seem to be worried about that aspect.

    The consumer aspect of anti-GMO hysteria just doesn't make sense to me.  With the millions of different proteins that already exist in foodstuffs, what are the odds that one more is going to make you sick.  That's a really delicate condition. I can't help suspecting that the most fanatical adherents probably drink bottled water and purchase products that are all natural and chemical free.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:56:11 AM PDT

    •  Some people have an urgent need (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie, Piren

      to live this way.

      I can't help suspecting that the most fanatical adherents probably drink bottled water and purchase products that are all natural and chemical free.
      Some people actually have life threatening allergies and the need to know the contents of food is essential to, at times, life and death.

      Are they wrong to need information?

      'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

      by flowerfarmer on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:20:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But how will 'Non-GMO' label help with that? (6+ / 0-)

        Gluten-free or peanut-free would be a lot more useful. Unless there are known cases of GMO-specific allergies.

      •  If I had a dangerous allergy, I'd be rooting (5+ / 0-)

        on a GMO that doesn't trigger that allergy.

        Think of a peanut that doesn't harm someone with an allergy to it? Pretty cool.

        •  that's actually an interesting idea--it would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rduran

          only require some alteration to just a couple proteins.

          I can only assume there aren't enough people in the US with a dangerous allergy to peanuts to make it commercially viable.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:58:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The issue is that peanuts are being banned from (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ksenapathy, Piren, rduran

            schools and other public places. My guess is that the peanut industry is really taking a hit on this new scare and I would guess that they are working on an allergy free peanut.

            •  thats been in the works for a while in Georgia (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Yoshimi, Piren, rduran

              While two proteins are the primary culprits, there are a hell of a lot of allergen components in peanuts.

              The scientist that is typically the go-to source for this effort is Dr. Ozias-Akins.  She's been working on this for a LONG time and publishes her work in the Journal of Food Chemistry.

              From her:

              Still, getting rid of every allergy-causing substance in peanuts would not be easy, Ozias-Akins said. “Given the number of allergenic proteins in peanuts, I doubt that developing an allergen-free peanut is realistic.” Although it may be impossible to make a perfectly safe peanut, clipping the right genes out could make food accidents far less common.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:26:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'm loving this... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rduran, Yoshimi

              ...conversation about how GM could help those with allergies!

              •  one thing it really WILL help is in Africa (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ksenapathy, rduran, Yoshimi

                In the area of central Africa around Lake Victoria, about 70% of all daily calories come from cookable bananas ("plantains") which are now being threatened by two fungal diseases (Sigatoka and Panama Disease) which have already wiped out 90% of the entire banana crop in some areas. Some wild banana strains have resistance, but because bananas are sterile and cannot reproduce, it takes a very long time to selectively crossbreed them--it will be too late to save them from the fungi. So the government of Uganda is funding a massive effort to use GMO technology to take the genes for fungal resistance out of the wild banana and put them into the cultivated variety. If they fail, the results will be devastating--if the bananas die, lots of Africans die too. It's their primary food source, in an areas where potatoes, wheat, and corn won't grow, and where meat is an unaffordable luxury.

                How anyone would object to taking a natural gene out of one banana variety and putting it into another (they are the same species of banana), is beyond me, but the fringers manage to do it. Fortunately, Uganda is just ignoring them. Unfortunately, it may not happen in time.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:42:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I'm allergic to peanuts (0+ / 0-)

          and I've been watching the progress of this for a long time. And I'd be willing to test it.

          I miss Reese's peanut butter cups.

          Genetically Modified Peanuts Could Save Lives

          What will happen the next time the mob comes?--Neil deGrasse Tyson

          by mem from somerville on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:27:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  what are the odds (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Piren

      that eating herbicide will make you sick? How about your little friends in your gut?

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:48:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, with glyphosate, the odds are pretty near (3+ / 0-)

        zero. Glyphosate works by disabling a particular plant protein that is involved with cell division, thereby killing the plant by preventing it from growing. If you (or the little friends in your gut) don't have the particular plant protein that is affected (and you/they don't, since you/they are not a plant), glyphosate does nothing to you.

        The real environmental effects from glyphosate (aside from the fact that it is not weed-specific and kills ANY plant with that protein), comes from the additives put into the mixture to help disperse it and make it cling to the plants. Some of those are known to be toxic to some aquatic organisms, and every container of glyphosate carries a warning not to use it near any sources of open water. That could be fixed simply by using different chemicals, but that costs a few nickels, so nobody wants to pay for it.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:02:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yah, sure . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Piren

          The use of glyphosate modifies the environment which stresses the living microorganisms. The aim of the present study was to determine the real impact of glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro.

          The presented results evidence that the highly pathogenic bacteria as Salmonella Entritidis, Salmonella Gallinarum, Salmonella Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum are highly resistant to glyphosate.

          However, most of beneficial bacteria as Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus badius, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Lactobacillus spp. were found to be moderate to highly susceptible.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...

          "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

          by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:07:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Small business exception? (0+ / 0-)

    Kraft, Conagra and Coca Cola can hire rooms full of people to redesign labels, manage suppliers, test products, etc.

    Well, they would probably outsouce most of these functions.  But someone would be doing them.

    An entrepreneur with one mixing drum and one bottling line might not be able to make payroll if he has to double the amount he spends on packaging.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:43:24 AM PDT

    •  Labeling cost is a red herring (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie, flowerfarmer

      Labels are all on disk files and new plates for printing are often made. The real reason corps don't want labeling is because their products are worth less on an open and free market.

      If you see a bag of Doritos on the shelf and one says GMO free and costs the same as the one that doesn't, then you'll likely buy the non-GMO bag. THe GMO Doritos will then have to be out on sale for less money in order to get sold. Simple supply and demand. Since there is no consumer benefit to eating GMOs, they are worth less than the clean stuff.

      In the EU where GMOs are labeled, nobody will buy them in the supermarket, so they are only used for animal feed and fetch animal-feed prices.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:53:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doritos are made by Frito Lay (0+ / 0-)

        Frito Lay can hire some nice guy in Bangalore to run a spreadsheet that keeps track of labels, raw materials, etc.

        A guy and his brother-in-law who are already working 18 hours a day should just give up and shut down.

        "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

        by Utahrd on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:57:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A guy and his brother in law (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flowerfarmer

          are making a big mistake using GMOs in their product because the big ag corps will clean them out on price and distribution alone. THey need to specialize if they want to make any headway.

          That includes making the kind of clean food products the big guys can't touch. Dontcha think?

          "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

          by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:50:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  See, these happy people here have GMO labeling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisper, flowerfarmer, Piren

    and they're still buying GMOs.

    I think you industry cheerleaders really have nothing to worry about.

    You should support GMO labeling because this is America and you stand tall and it is patriotic to be proud of your fabulous free-enterprise products. And stuff like that.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:04:30 PM PDT

  •  Just label it. Geez. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer, Piren, Crider

    The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

    by cany on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 12:19:33 PM PDT

  •  The label is actually really simple (4+ / 0-)

    "May contain GMO or GMO-derived ingredients"

    Said label is no cost and requires no tracking.

    Then, if you want to label yourself as GMO-free, you can.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 01:15:42 PM PDT

  •  Really? Really? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksenapathy

    You spanked a smart woman by making her change her profile, while she was called sexual slurs by others and who falsely accused her? And there were zero consequences for calling her a cock sucker?

    Unfuckingbelievable.

    What will happen the next time the mob comes?--Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by mem from somerville on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 06:15:58 PM PDT

  •  Don't really get why folks are queasy about GMFs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksenapathy, Prinny Squad

    After all, we eat stuff that sprouts out of a billion tons of shit every year.

  •  We don’t label food “non-Kosher.” (0+ / 0-)
    We don’t label food “non-Kosher.” We don’t label food “non-organic.”
    Then we sure as shit shouldn't have to look for a "non-GMO" label to avoid the GMO crap.

    What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

    by Walt starr on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 02:51:18 PM PDT

    •  You're not getting it, are you? (0+ / 0-)

      Kosher is a label of purity (non-contaminated as per Kosher rules)

      Organic is a label of purity (non-conventional as per organic rules)

      Non-GMO is a label of purity (non-GMO as per Non-GMO project rules.)

      If "GMO crap" as you say were labeled, you'd find that you would have to buy organic to avoid it anyway for the most part

      •  I get it. (0+ / 0-)

        You are in the industry, thus you benefit financially when people simply accept GMO and roll over.

        What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

        by Walt starr on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 06:24:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  BTW, GMO would beb a label of purity (0+ / 0-)

        Two can play your nonsense game.

        What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

        by Walt starr on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 06:25:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  BTW, there's one last thing I "get" (0+ / 0-)

        I'll be watching for future astroturf pro-GMO diaries from you.

        Subscribed.

        What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

        by Walt starr on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 06:29:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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