GMO Tests Showing Bad Effects

I have been no fan of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) products for quite a while. Basically, from when I first learned about the way they were made. You couldn’t make a worse set of choices if you set out to do it wrong, IMHO. That opinion was based on what I knew of genetics ( I started at University as a biosciences major and took classes up to upper division genetics before changing direction) and what I knew of farming and food production ( growing up in a farm town and working ‘in the industry’ for many years).

Now we’re starting to get a track record, and it isn’t particularly good.

First off, realize that Monsanto is THE big dog in the GMO pack. Monsanto has a very long record of making products that do harm, and then ignoring the damage. ( Things like PCBs and other toxic chemicals ). So many of the studies submitted to the FDA (and others) were directly produced by Monsanto and / or funded by them. Large doses of salt need to be applied to much of the “evidence” that claims to show they are substantially the same as natural plants.

I won’t go into the theoretical part much in this posting, but just mention a couple of ‘bullet items’.

GMO plants are “tagged” for easy identification in the field by inserting a gene that makes an easy to detect compound. That compound is an antibiotic. So put some GMO plant material on a petri dish with susceptible bacteria, and when the clear dead zone forms, you have your test result… Fine and all. Except. Do you REALLY want to be eating loads of antibiotics with every spoonful? (Personally, I think they ought to have tagged them with a puke orange gene so folks could spot it easily…)

Studies have already confirmed that glyphosate alters and destroys beneficial gut flora in animals, as evidenced by the increasing instances of lethal botulism in cattle.

I’ve written extensively about the importance of your gut flora on your health. You NEED beneficial bacteria in your gut, or health problems are virtually guaranteed. Optimizing your gut flora may be one of the single most important things you can do to maintain good physical and mental health, so the fact that GE foods may be adversely impacting your intestinal balance is of extreme importance and needs to be understood.

That article is very well written and covers several other points as well, so please give it a full read.

So Roundup (glyphosate) is being dumped by the millions of pounds all over the nation. It does NOT rapidly degrade, and is in fact soaked into the plants themselves. Some (much?) of it ends up in the ground water, so even avoiding the plants that were sprayed does not avoid all the exposure. ( A German test found 100% of people tested has levels in their urine that were surprisingly high). English Version

Glyphosate is the main active substance used in most commercial herbicides. It poisons not only plants, but also animals and humans. When testing for glyphosate contamination in an urban population, a German university found significant contamination in all urine samples with levels 5 to 20 times above the legal limit for drinking water.

So you get a dose of antibiotics AND glyphosate with dinner. (If you have an Bt corn on the plate, you get a pesticide built in to every cell in every bite too…)

Is glyphosate benign to human cells? Well, it’s not just glyphosate that is sprayed, it is a mix of chemicals:

Roundup formulations are lethal cocktails

The four Roundup formulations are mixtures of glyphosate with various adjuvants. (An adjuvant is ‘helper’ substance added to aid the effect of the active ingredient.) The Roundup formulations are currently the top non-selective herbicides worldwide and increasing, as more than 75 percent of genetically modified (GM) crops are Roundup tolerant. Glyphosate and its major metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) are main contaminants in rivers. The adjuvants, not often measured in the environment, are usually considered ‘inert’ and protected as trade secret in manufacturing. Among them, the predominant one is polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA) . POEA is used as a surfactant in Roundup formulations to improve solubility and penetration into plants.

Three human cell lines were tested: primary cell line HUVEC from umbilical cord vein epithelium, embryonic cell line 293 derived from kidney, and placenta cell line JEG3. All cells died within 24 hours of exposure to the Roundup formulations.

The Roundup formulations (Rs) contain different amounts of the active ingredient glyphosate: Roundup Express, 7.2 g/L (R7.2) ; Roundup Bioforce, 360 g/L (R360) ; Roundup Grand Travaux, 400 g/L (R400); and Roundup Grand Travaux Plus, 450 g/L (R450). They were compared with glyphosate (G), AMPA, and POEA . All Roundup formulations in the study, along with individual chemical ingredients, were tested at concentrations from10 ppm (parts per million) to 2 percent (the recommended agricultural usage level), which means that the Roundup formulations were diluted up to 100 000 times or more.

The researchers found that the presence of the other chemical ingredients in Roundup formulations, such as POEA, actually amplified glyphosate’s toxic effects. The toxicities of the Roundup formulations were not proportional to the amount of glyphosate they contained, and are most likely due to POEA and other as yet undisclosed ingredient(s) present in all the formulations. POEA by itself is much more toxic than the Roundup formulations, while AMPA is more toxic than glyphosate.

So what was the effect on cell lines? Cellular damage at levels as low as 1 ppm.

Multiple targets in toxicity

The researchers tested Rs, G, AMPA, and POEA for effects on three targets that could kill the cell: damage to the cell membrane, poisoning of the mitochrondria (site of energy metabolism), and programmed cell death that results in fragmentation of the DNA in the cell nucleus. They measured specific enzyme markers at different concentrations for each damage at 24 h of exposure, and also obtained images of the cell cultures under the microscope.

All Rs, as well as G, caused cells to die; the results are the same for all human cell types, but at different concentrations. Thus, R400, the most toxic formulation, killed all cells at 20 ppm, which is equivalent to 8ppm in G. However, 4-10 ppm G alone is non-toxic, its toxicity begins around 1 percent (10 000 ppm), and is not connected with the cell membrane. The R formulations damage the cell membrane, and also poison the mitochondria. In contrast, G poisons the mitochondria without damaging the cell membrane

Unexpectedly, R400 is more toxic than R450, the latter in turn more harmful than R360, R7.2 and G. However, the toxicities are not proportional to the concentration of G present. The cell killing power of R7.2 was almost the same as that of R360, and these results are consistent across all cell lines. This suggests other unknown substances are involved in the toxic effects.

Thus AMPA and POEA also kill cells by poisoning the mitochrondia and damaging the cell membrane. POEA is so potent that it begins to damage the cell membrane in HUVEC and poison the mitochondria in 2 93 and JEG3 at 1 ppm. Roundup formulations are more toxic than either G or AMPA. AMPA itself destroys the cell membrane, however, which G does not do, though it is 3-8 times more toxic for the mitochondria than AMPA. But as cell membrane damage is more serious for the cell, AMPA is more toxic than G, while POEA is the most toxic of all.

What happens when these ingredients are combined? The researchers found that for HUVEC and 293 cells, combinations of G and POEA, G and AMPA, AMPA and POEA were all more toxic than the same concentration of the single ingredients

For programmed cell death, the action is quicker. The marker enzymes are activated from 6 h of exposure, with a maximum at 12 h in all cases. HUVEC was 60-160 times more sensitive than the other cell lines; G and R360 were effective at exactly the same concentration, from 50 ppm. The adjuvants do not seem necessary. G alone is 30 percent more potent here than Rs; it acted rapidly at concentrations 500 –1 000 times lower than agricultural use

So, back to that German article:

Several disconcerting health related effects of glyphosate are well known to the plant protection agency in Germany (see: Anfrage der Grünen im Bundestag and the NABU-Study). However, little is known about the spread of glyphosate contamination through fodder and food and the subsequent health risks.

Detection of glyphosate is relatively difficult and can as of yet only be carried out in a few specialized laboratories. Glyphosate in soil is strongly absorbed and bound by soil particles. It inhibits useful bacteria and kills off algae, resulting in an increasing prevalence of phytopathogenic fungi. In addition, glyphosate can cause micronutrients, especially manganese, to become unavailable and thus lead to deficiency diseases. A similar process is suspected to take place in the digestive tract of humans and animals. In certain circumstances, glypohosate can affect the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. The first studies dealing with this topic fear that the gradual negative impact on the intestinal microflora is most likely the cause of long-term health consequences. However, more research is needed to determine if and to what extent the inhibition of bacteria and reduction of micronutrients has an influence on human health .

Glyphosate is becoming increasingly implicated in infertility and embryonic development of humans and animals. Adverse affects on fertility in cattle has been observed. Moreover, glyphosate is suspected to enhance cancers of the lymphatic system and promote the development of skin tumors in humans. By entering the digestive tracts of humans and animals, glyphosate becomes a time bomb that can be ignited by stress or an unbalanced or bad diet.
In early 2009, Prof. Gilles Seralini and his team of the University of Caen were able to prove (see here), that even small amounts of Roundup lead to the death of human cell cultures. Seralini concluded that the typical glyphosate presence in desiccated crops, as found in animal and human foods, causes cell damage.

So, we have a micro-nutrient chelator that reduces nutritional value in the plants and then helps prevent absorption from the gut, that kills off some of the beneficial gut bacteria (that along can cause all sorts of illness, discomfort, and even affect mental status via toxic organism overgrowth) and may screw up your mitochondrial energy cells and / or kill of various cells directly. Anything else?

From that article:

GE Foods Brings Brand New Threat

Earlier this year, Dr. Huber wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, informing him of the issues discussed above, as well as another groundbreaking new finding that could spell absolute disaster for our entire food supply. It’s a brand new micro-fungal organism associated with something called Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soy. It’s also found in a large variety of livestock given GE feed who experience both spontaneous abortions and infertility.

Dr. Huber urged the USDA to investigate the matter and suspend approval of GE alfalfa until proper studies have been completed. His warnings have so far been largely ignored, and GE alfalfa was deregulated earlier this year…

“When you look at the tremendous increase in human diseases that can have a potential tie directly back to either the chemical or the engineering process, it’s critical for that research to be done as quickly as possible. We need resources to do it. The private funds, again, aren’t going to do everything because there’s just too much to be done.”

The organism was initially identified by veterinarians around 1998 – about two years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans, which is one of the staple feeds. The vets were puzzled by sudden high reproductive failure in animals. While sporadic at first, the phenomenon has continued to increase in severity.

“We [recently] received a call from a county extension educator, indicating that he has a dairy that has a 70 percent abortion rate. You put that on top of 10 to 15 percent of infertility to start with, and you’re not going to have a dairy very long. In fact, a lot of our veterinarians are now becoming very concerned about the prospects for being able to have replacement animals,” Dr. Huber says.

The cause-effect relationship between high reproductive failure and this new microbial entity has been established, but the research has not yet been published. The reason for the delay is because they really do not know what the organism is…

“It’s not a fungus. It’s not bacteria. It’s not a mycoplasma or a virus – it’s about the same size of a small virus; you have to magnify it from 38 to 40,000 times. They have pictures of it… You can see the interactions with it. They can now culture it. It’s self-replicating and cultured. It doesn’t grow very well by itself.

Like most of our very fastidious organisms, it tends to die out after three or four sub-culturing, but grows very well with other organisms. If you have yeast, bacteria, or a fungus in the culture, this entity grows very well.

We’re waiting on getting enough material, pure material, for DNA analysis, but also looking at some other possibilities… Until you can put a name on it, all it does is create a great deal of speculations.”

What is known is that it’s an entirely new entity, previously unknown to science, and it’s definitely found in genetically engineered corn and soybeans. It’s also been established that it causes infertility and miscarriage in cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and poultry.

“We can anticipate with that broad spectrum of animal species, which is extremely unusual, that it will also be with humans,” Dr. Huber says. “We’ve seen an increasing frequency of miscarriage and a dramatic increase in infertility in human populations in just the last eight to 10 years.”

Realize that bacteria are particularly “untidy” about how they manage their genomes. If there is a chunk of DNA or RNA in the environment, they will ‘eat’ it and sometimes it just gets incorporated into their gene pool. This matters. A lot.

The GMO genes are sent into the GMO plant with a “Locked On” control sequence. What good is a gene for Roundup Ready if it doesn’t get turned on? But what happens when that gene gets implanted? It gets SMACKED! right into the middle of whatever chunk of DNA it randomly hits. That not only can break the preexisting genes ( perhaps producing God Only Knows what instead… what does 1/2 of an insulin gene make?) but can also “lock on” whatever it got imbedded into. Bacteria can them absorb some of those genes and go merrily on their way doing who knows what.

The Bt toxin (pesticide) gene was originally from a bacteria, so easily incorporated into other bacteria. Along with who knows what else. There was one article that claimed some folks gut bacteria continued making Bt toxin for years after they stopped eating GMO foods ( but since I didn’t find the source study, I’ve not put a link here).

Oh, and HOW does that gene get stuck into the DNA? A set of virus material is used to ensure it gets incorporated…. So it comes pre-packaged with the “move it around easily” strings of DNA…

Nice stew, eh what? Virus parts, toxin genes, Locked On control switches, random insertion, migration to gut bacteria (death of beneficial gut flora) and overgrowth of things that make you sick. Oh, and a nice drenching in herbicide that can kill your cells or damage your energy production machinery….

A glyphosate-based herbicide induces necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels.
Clair E, Mesnage R, Travert C, Séralini GÉ.

Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, EA2608, Institute of Biology, Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen Cedex, France.

The major herbicide used worldwide, Roundup, is a glyphosate-based pesticide with adjuvants. Glyphosate, its active ingredient in plants and its main metabolite (AMPA) are among the first contaminants of surface waters. Roundup is being used increasingly in particular on genetically modified plants grown for food and feed that contain its residues. Here we tested glyphosate and its formulation on mature rat fresh testicular cells from 1 to 10000ppm, thus from the range in some human urine and in environment to agricultural levels. We show that from 1 to 48h of Roundup exposure Leydig cells are damaged. Within 24-48h this formulation is also toxic on the other cells, mainly by necrosis, by contrast to glyphosate alone which is essentially toxic on Sertoli cells. Later, it also induces apoptosis at higher doses in germ cells and in Sertoli/germ cells co-cultures. At lower non toxic concentrations of Roundup and glyphosate (1ppm), the main endocrine disruption is a testosterone decrease by 35%. The pesticide has thus an endocrine impact at very low environmental doses, but only a high contamination appears to provoke an acute rat testicular toxicity. This does not anticipate the chronic toxicity which is insufficiently tested, and only with glyphosate in regulatory tests.

No wonder there are all those ads on TV for things to increase testosterone levels…

So it is also an endocrine disruptor to some extent. So lets see, IF I spray a quart of Roundup in the yard, how much is 1 ppm …

And remember that this stuff binds to things inside the plant. Some migrates into the soil. Some is floating in the air. Some goes into the ground water and surface waters. It can take a couple of years to fully degrade in nature, though this paper gives half-life times of 30 ish to 120 days depending on water vs soil , soil type, and anaerobic vs aerobic.

In Conclusion

I won’t be going off the deep end on food paranoia, so I’ll still have a generic Fast Food stop when driving places. However, I am going to be buying more “Organic” foods. Especially grain products and beans. As Monsanto started with corn and soybeans and I didn’t eat much of them, I didn’t care too much. Now that they have moved into all sorts of added plants, I need to find ways to avoid their products.

As “Organic” does not allow the use of pesticides or herbicides, they ought to be non-GMO. (We are forbidden to label food as non-GMO due to a bought off regulatory apparatus, IMHO, so need to find other ways of sorting good from GMO.)

I’m not too worried about secondary contamination via animal products from animals being fed GMO feed; but will likely stick with the Whole Foods house brand for dairy goods anyway. Meat gets burned a while, so I doubt much comes through the process alive or unaltered chemically … (Wonder if there are any studies on glyphosate breakdown in cooking? ;-)

If feeling a bit low on energy, or having generic unexplained digestive issues; I’d certainly give it a try to “go organic” and then try a round of yogurt with full beneficial bacteria content. It might be needed to do a course of antibiotics to kill off the old bacteria if they have “picked up some genes” prior to installing the new ones; but usually a decent diet and large yogurt influx does a decent replacement. (After various other exposures, from antibiotics to too much drink, I’ve sporadically had the gut flora go “out of balance” and application of beneficials has helped greatly. In one case a couple of decades back, I had high sulfur gas production and strong headaches, so some yogurt was applied “to each end” with resolution in 1 day…)

So, in short, we’re now getting so much of our food supply drenched in glyphosate and with ‘mystery genes’ along for the ride and it is having effects on bacteria and larger animals, along with not being very nice to your cells. I’d rather not play guinea pig in that pen.

On mention of a side bar issue:

In Mexico, the GMO corn genes have hopped over into native varieties. They get inserted at random spots and often cause crazy results. Corn that makes roots from each node. Multiple ears of corn trying to grow from one leaf node. Distorted forms. It all depends on what gets “locked on” wherever the gene cluster jumps. Genes do not always stay nicely in one place. They jump around. There are several methods for this with fancy names, but the short form is that clusters of genes are always changing where they are in a plant or animal. Sometimes it is an advantage, sometimes the plant dies. It looks like the GMO genes cause that process to be even more rapid, chaotic, or produce more bizarre forms (at least in corn). We’ve also not got some dozens of varieties of “super weeds” that picked up the herbicide resistance genes. As “plants share”, it will become ever harder to use herbicides to effect.

The basic error in all of this is thinking that genes are static things, that the species barrier is anything more than a ‘strong suggestion’ and the hubris of thinking fooling around with it would be manageable..

I don’t have a link to the Mexican corn examples, but did see film of them on a TV show. Unfortunately, finding a link has run into too many OTHER topics about GMO corn in Mexico… I need to work on my ‘web-foo’ magic words a bit more ;-)

Update 5 July 2012

Found an interesting article on the development of Glyphosate resistant weeds. Looks like this problem is in the process of “self correcting” as at present rates, nature will make Roundup useless in a couple of more decades, max…

From a very pro-Glyphosate very photo heavy page here:

Glyphosate Resistance Rates

Glyphosate Resistance Rates

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Food, Plants - Seeds - Gardening, Tech Bits and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to GMO Tests Showing Bad Effects

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like the Huff-Po has an article on R.R. Alfalfa causing “problems”…

  2. A note of caution in the note of caution:

    * One scientist who had been producing a series of papers showing the neurological damage caused by traces of pesticide turns out to have been faking his data, and his papers are being retracted (although they’ve already been cited in dozens of other papers):

    * As nearly as I can tell, all of the fatal outbreaks of food poisoning in the US was traced back to organic foods — the “organic” label is sought by farmers that cannot qualify for strict health inspections, and makes them exempt according to farmer friends in California.

    Just as an aside, the description of the tiny organism seems to have been written by someone with little knowledge of biology:

    “It’s not a fungus. It’s not bacteria. It’s not a mycoplasma or a virus – it’s about the same size of a small virus; you have to magnify it from 38 to 40,000 times. They have pictures of it… You can see the interactions with it. They can now culture it. It’s self-replicating and cultured. It doesn’t grow very well by itself.

    Something the “size of a small virus” is going to have a protein coat and a DNA or RNA load, and little or nothing else — such a particle is not going to “grow very well” or at all without being able to hijack a cell or bacteria’s machinery, and will not grow “by itself.” Presumably the writer can be forgiven for other statements — and that “pictures” are referring to SEM images and the like.

    I’m sensitive to the damaging possibilities, but the science really needs to be good and . There is a lot of motivation for alarmist science here, and the bad data and practices (on both sides) are not as easy to spot.

    Happy Independence Day, by the way! I put up a bit of poetry, and a nudge at Google’s odd habits of American commemoration.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  3. tckev says:

    Reference your Mexican/GMO corn contamination it was at but that site fails now(Service Unavailable – DNS failure). I know ‘cos I read it just recently. I cannot find it anywhere else.

  4. tckev says:

    Sorry I forgot the other link.

  5. omanuel says:

    Thank you, tckev, for the video.

    1. Can you send the link to me at

    2. Animals are parasites on plants. Monsanto displays great arrogance and ignorance in promoting genetically modified plants for step d.) of the energy stream that sustains our lives.

    3. Pulsar in Sun’s core => emits neutrons + 10-22 MeV
    _ a.) Neutrons => decay to hydrogen + 0.783 MeV
    _ b.) Hydrogen => fuses to helium + 7 MeV
    _ c.) Energy from above => visible light (E = hv) in photosphere
    _ d.) Visible light (E = hv) + plant chlorophyll => vegetation
    _ e.) Vegetation is food for humans or for animals humans consume

    “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012)

    Oliver K. Manuel

  6. BobN says:

    This was a great post on a very important subject.
    What amazes me is the governments hands off policy in regards to the Monsanto type companies. There is growing evidence of problems, but to my thinking the government is just looking the other way. This is amazing to me, the government will throw its weight behind protecting a bird or a lizard, but when it comes to protecting the food supply it shows no cautionary controls. Is this because of lobbying money or just stupidity.

    India is suing Monsanto and has an on going battle with the company. Monsanto has introduced seeds not approved for use. India has had large Rice crop failures that the locals believe to be because of Monsanto seeds. There are a lot of stories out of India on these issues. Here is just one.

    I have read stories about experimental crops in Kansas having been detected in North Dakota. It spreads as any plant and proper precautions do not seem to be in place. What I worry about is crops that do not replace themselves, you need to buy seeds from Monsanto to plant. We may get to a point where we can’t grow anything without the likes of Monsanto.

    I know I may sound like a nut, but you have to wonder if this isn’t part of agenda 21 and the new Sustainability issues being pushed. I think Global warming is being debunked and they realize that will no longer sell and will soon be gone as an issue. Is this their new agenda? I find it hard to believe, but one has to ask as the government stance is most troubling.

    Things like this link are occurring at increased frequency.

    Extreme caution is needed in this area.

  7. E.M.Smith says:



  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    The Fox News account is on “Grass tetanus” not an actual disease but a catch all for livestock killed or sicken on drought stressed grasses. Nothing new to real stockmen. Heavy fertilization is the usual culprit. Prussic acid overload is often seen in hot weather on pastures with Sudan Grass or other very heavy growing grasses. pg

  9. kuhnkat says:

    Ya got me again EM.

    Dioxin at high levels is definitely an issue. The problem is that MOST people never get close to those exposure levels, yet, it is still demonized. As most servicemen coming back from Vietnam were never directly sprayed it is questionable if the number claiming problems due to Agent Orange exposure have the correct culprit. My cousin worked in the Naval Hospital in San Diego during Vietnam. They had a ward with men who had contracted “things” there. Most of them died and they may never know what it was that killed them. There are just too many issues with tropical “things”, including the probability that the Russians experimented on us, to blame Agent Orange for widespread problems among our own troops.

    The RR chemicals with direct exposure to cells cause problems no question. They are known to be broken down under UV and were not expected to reach the cells. The question we need answered is how much of these compounds are making it through the digestive system where they can do harm. I have seen NOTHING on this, have you?? Where are the reports of how much is in the blood stream of people who regularly eat the products?? I would also point out that RR means they do much less spraying so the accompanying chemicals are not present.

    The German report went to great lengths in arm waving and provided NO dose levels or whether what they were seeing in the urine was approaching dangerous dose levels. It was a typical alarmist tract of vague warmings of impending doom. After 50 years I have a hard time forcing myself to read garbage like that.

    “The detection of glyphosate is not easy and can now be carried out only in a few specialized laboratories. Glyphosate in soil is strongly adsorbed to soil particles. It affects good bacteria and kills algae. This can be enhanced multiply phytopathogenic fungi, and it can be used for determination of micronutrients, especially manganese, and thus lead to deficiency diseases. A similar effect is suspected in the digestive tract of animals and humans. Whether and to what extent this results in health effects is so far not been fully elucidated. Glyphosate can sometimes affect the microflora in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. The gradual negative changes in the intestinal microflora most likely to have long term health consequences, such as initial studies have feared.

    Glyphosate is increasingly suspected to impair fertility and embryonic development of humans and animals. For example, fertility problems have been observed in cattle. Glyphosate is also suspected of encouraging people with certain cancers of the lymphatic system and to promote the development of skin tumors. Enters the digestive tracts of animals and humans with glyphosate, a time bomb caused by other disorders, such as poor or unbalanced diet and stress, can be brought to ignition (see summary of scientific studies on health risks from glyphosate , see also the ARD report “Monsanto poison in the field” ). ”

    You also seem to be using a broad brush with glyphosates. Different versions affect different animals and bugs differently. The helpers will also be tailored to target the bug and not the human or animal. This is a similar issue to nerve gasses. Some types are extremely lethal to humans in minimal amounts such as VX. Others are used for pest control and take much higher doses to kill or damage humans.

    Thank you for pointing out the issues with the antibiotic and gut flora. What I had casually run across was that similar to the glyphosphates different types affect different bacteria and humans were alledged not to be sensitive to it while cows are more sensitive. Apparently something I should probably look into at a more detailed level.

    EM, how would GMing a plant cause an organism??? Sounds like something not previously noticed like the mite infection killing Bee hives.

    Finally, from Dr. Huber:

    “Many still don’t realize just how much of our food supply has been genetically engineered (GE). As of this year, 93 percent of soybeansgrown in the US are genetically engineered, as are:
    •86 percent of all corn
    •93 percent of canola
    •93 percent of cottonseed oil

    Between 2008 and 2009, a full 95 percent of all sugarbeets planted were also Roundup Ready.”

    Can’t believe that the problems wouldn’t be more obvious with this much of our food supply GM. A lot of people LIVE on Canola oil and canola and cottonseed is in a great number of shelf products. With Soybean included the health nuts should be getting hit especially hard with both soy and canola contributing!!

    Oh and this: “No wonder there are all those ads on TV for things to increase testosterone levels… ” would do credit to Al Gore and his Climate message!!! Where are all the clinical studies showing that testosterone levels of the average American are 35% lower than 30 years ago?? I’ll tell you where. They don’t exist!!


    The grass mentioned in your link is a HYBRID that has been around for over a decade. Growing hybrids has been going on for centuries. As this appears to be the first instance of a problem eith this grass it remains to be seen what the actual issue is.

    And from your link:

    “Warner said drought conditions likely helped pre-dispose the field to this event. The grass in question was heavily fertilized with nitrogen but was not balanced with other needed compounds, which could have contributed to the development of the toxic grass, he said.

    Because the Tifton 85 is planted broadly across Texas, agricultural officials around the state are scrambling to investigate the causes and what can be done to avoid more deaths. Other fields have reportedly tested positive for the poison, but no other cattle have died.”

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @Keith DeHavelle:

    Yes, it is quite difficult to sort out the “puff” on both sides. I’ve relied more than usual on my own understanding of things ( i.e. not as much ‘find the source paper’) to ‘vet’ the probable truth.

    Dr. Huber makes an extraordinary claim, at it will require extraordinary proof to confirm it. Yet he does not impress me as the kind of person who would be easily mislead nor prone to extreme behaviour.

    Huber is emeritus soil scientist of Purdue University, and a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served as an intelligence analyst, for 41 years, active and reserves. In Nebraska, he stood ramrod straight for three hours with no notes and spoke with an astonishing depth and range of knowledge on crucial, controversial matters of soil science, genetic engineering, and the profound impact of the widely used herbicide glyphosate upon soil and plants, and ultimately upon the health of animals and human beings.

    That’s a pretty good set of credentials and resume contents.

    FWIW, we just went through a very similar bit of ‘incredulity at claims’ over prions. A load of folks insisted there was no way a protein could be infective. There is a lot we still don’t know about life and the limits of living things.

    I’d guess that the infective agent is semi-dependent on other living cells for some aspects of its life. Perhaps a fungus with a stripped down structure.

    Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, and their cryptic lifestyles in soil, on dead matter, and as symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi.

    So take something already small, have it shrink some bits and maybe even lose some others. Pretty soon it’s smaller than bacteria and not much different from a “protein coat and DNA” with only a little more stuff inside.

    Like a spore. But one that in some circumstances takes over a host cell, in others “gets by” with minimal cellular machinery when it must make it. It would give some of the characteristics described ( including the increasing difficulty keeping cultures going over time, perhaps as ‘recycled’ structures wear out and there is no host cell form which to collect a replacement…)

    So I could see it being as described. (But still needs a few confirmations).

    You will also note that the bulk of my points were about the other, much less spectacular and much better proven “issues”.


    Nice links. Especially the video. Lets you see the man himself and get a sense of what kind of person he is. Straight talker used to farmers and soldiers… able to hold his own with PhDs. Like an old Farm Vet…

    Time will tell if he is right.

    Until then, I’m being more careful about what kind of food I buy…


    Especially considering Monsanto’s history of less than stellar morality…

    Looking arround for some statistics, it does look like there is increasing infertility of unknown origin in some farm animals:

    Continued genetic development of pigs and poultry has been the foundation of profitable production within a competitive market. However, the challenges of these production increases have undoubtedly taken their toll on reproductive function in all breeding livestock, with the incidence of infertility increasing at an alarming rate. For example, it has recently been estimated that over 40% of sows are culled due to fertility problems, compared to just 2% with feet and leg issues.

    Research from 1999 notes fertility has declined in U.S. herds about 0.45 percent per year since the 1980s. For years cows have been bred for milk production and dairy character, two traits that work antagonistically to fertility.

    As shown in Figure 1*, milk yield has increased exponentially since the 1950s, while daughter pregnancy rate (DPR) has declined drastically. Rather than accepting low fertility, producers are identifying avenues that can help boost fertility and fundamentally improve herd reproduction.

    Has the Canadian dairy industry breeding reduced fertility?

    “It’s becoming more and more difficult to get cows bred back.”

    “Poor fertility is becoming an increasingly big problem with dairy cattle.”

    These are common statements these days. But is there really a trend to poorer reproductive performance in our dairy population? In Ontario, as well as the rest of Canada, it’s difficult to get accurate data on any measures of dairy cow fertility. This makes it hard to estimate the population’s reproductive success, let alone compare year- over-year figures to watch for trends.

    We do know estimated pregnancy rates in the U .S. have fallen 0.5 per cent per year. The Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) Data Processing Center in Provo, Utah, reports that herd days open have increased to nearly 150 days in 1998 from 128 days in 1989. During that time, days in milk to first breeding rose to 84.8 from 80.8 days, while services per conception increased to an average of 2.24 in 1998 from 2.04 in 1989. The Dairy Records Processing Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, reports similar downward trends. In the U.K, pregnancy rates to first service dropped an average one per cent per year from 1975 to 1998.

    So these folks are headed out to “round up the usual suspects” of inbreeding and selection for single traits. But what if there is a broad environmental factor as well?

    I happen to know that human sperm counts have been dropping for about 20 years as well. Also some other animals in the wild are having reproductive stress of unknown cause. While I suspect a lot of that is the generalized flooding of the environment with endocrine disruptors, like plasticizers; we’ve also got an endocrine disruptor in all those tons of Roundup and we’ve got who knows what being done to gut bacteria (and the materials they produce) along with changes of soil ecology.

    It’s all “just wrong”…

    Genetically Modified foods, according to researchers, are becoming a real problem when it comes to fertility, causing an influx in worldwide infertility rates. Since the 1970’s alone, sperm counts among the world’s male population have declined as much as 40-50%, according to some studies. GMO foods may be just one of the reasons, warn those studying the phenomenon.

    We had all sorts of inbread lines and small population herds and ‘selecting for type’ for thousands of years. So now all of a sudden a drop starts? I think there’s more to it than that. Some simple checks would be to compare fertility rates in the same breeds on organic farms vs GMO-fed farms. But nobody is doing the looking near as I can tell. They’ve polarized and not cooperated.

    From that same link ( Not had time to find the original study… I keep getting loads of stories about the studies instead…)

    The Austrian Health Ministers reported in 2008, that their own research indicated that fertility rates have suffered dramatically due to GMO exposure, as have the health of the human immune system. Those who regularly ingest GMO foods are more likely to be sick, age faster and have a harder time getting (and staying) pregnant.
    One of the few long-terms studies (there are not many long-term studies done on GMO foods) showed that mice fed GMO corn over a period of 20 weeks had greatly impaired fertility compared to the mice fed non-GMO corn. In addition the offspring of the GMO mice also suffered from lower fertility rates.

    In the U.S., pig farmers in the Midwest reported that more than 1,000 pigs on their farms became sterile after being fed a regular diet of GMO feed over several months.

    So it looks to me like there is a load of evidence that something is wrong, and yet the FDA does nothing of benefit…

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    Oh, and I probably ought to mention that I first made my freezer seed-bank back when GMO was just getting started. For exactly the reason you point out. Genes don’t stay put, they spread.

    As a person prone to allergies who needs to avoid a couple of species because of particular proteins, all it would take is someone getting the bright idea to put, say, a corn protein in all the wheat, rice, etc. to “improve protein quality” and I’d be unable to eat any of it.

    Or worse, if I develop an allergy to Bt, and it’s in just about everything, well, “that’s a problem”.

    So I put a load of commercial seed packets in jars in the freezer some time ago. My own personal seed ark… Just in case.


    I specifically left out the “grass story” as it does not involve a GMO and as prussic poisoning is a normal event under some ‘odd’ sets of conditions (as P.G. pointed out).

    I also didn’t Say “Agent Orange” for the same reasons you listed. I did mention PCBs as Monsanto was basically dumping them into canals and landfills (and causing a load of health problems in the town nearby).

    So I don’t mind being criticized for what I do say (when it is in error), but please don’t pick things I didn’t say and criticize me for them…

    I’ve also had transformers blow up and spread a load of PCBs around and I’ve had the stuff in a puddle on my workbench. THEN found out it “had issues”. (I can only hope my ‘clean technique’ was good enough that my actual exposure was low. So far, no problems…)

    So look at total PCB production by Monsanto. Then look at the global distribution of it, and the medical damage it does. Very much not good.

    Then notice that Monsanto basically does the “Problem? What problem?” about any problems they have caused.

    Not the kind of corporate citizen I want owning my food supply…

    In the German report, it does give amounts in broad terms. IIRC it was in ng in the urine, so below the level of significant concern. But realize this was a 100% positive sample. That implies folks with large exposure will exist. (Normal distribution effect).

    The “Health Nuts” buy organic, so will have little exposure. It’s the “health nut wannabees” who would buy normal tofu at the discount grocer…

    Per oils in particular, since most of them are heat expressed and then filtered and sometimes bleached; I’m not too worried about “stuff” in the oil. (Be it strange bugs or ‘contaminants’). It’s a possible, but a very small one. (Protein in the oil is a ‘fault’ and it’s usually cooked a bit anyway). I’d be cautious about it (as some fat soluble ‘odd stuff’ could end up in it) but I’d expect most of the “strangeness” to end up in the protein portion.

    Glyphosate soaks INTO THE PLANTS and then BINDS to various things and minerals. It doesn’t just sit on the surface and wash off… It ends up in the soil, and the water too. You can’t get away from it, really. Again, I’m not paranoid about it ( I have a jug for doing in spurge – it’s a long story, but involves a visit to the emergency room for eyes feeling on fire from spurge juice…) I just don’t want all my food soaked in it.

    I’m also not too worried about sugar. It gets dramatically purified in the processing including a crystallization step (crystallization purification can turn farm grade copper sulfate into technical grade…) Again, I’m much more interested in the consumption of whole grains and flours.

    Per Testosterone: Will “Endocrine Today” do?

    Generational decline in testosterone levels observed

    Trend does not seem to be attributable to health and lifestyle changes.

    Endocrine Today, February 2007

    During the past two decades, testosterone levels in American men have rapidly declined.

    This information comes from a long-term prospective study that evaluated changes in serum testosterone on a population-wide basis.

    The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    “The interesting thing we discovered was that, on average, when we measured the testosterone in the blood of a 60-year-old in 1989 it was higher than that in a different 60-year-old measured in 1995,” said Thomas Travison, PhD, of the New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Mass. “We observed the same phenomenon over a wide range of ages.”
    Age-independent decline

    At baseline, the median serum testosterone level was 501 ng/d; at the first follow-up it was 435 ng/dL and at the second follow-up it was 391 ng/dL.

    The estimated cross-sectional decline in total testosterone level was 0.4% per year of age (95% CI, –0.6% to –0.2%). The longitudinal within-person decline was about 1.6% per year (95% CI, –1.8% to –1.4%). The age-matched time trend was 1.2% lower per year (95% CI, –1.4% to –1.0%).

    The decline was age-independent. “It is a little troubling,” Travison said. “The average differences are not very large, but they are big enough and occurring over a short enough time period to be the cause of some concern.”

    These demonstrated population-level declines are greater than the cross-sectional declines typically associated with age, according to the researchers.
    “This population-level decline in testosterone concentrations in men is not explained fully by the usual suspects: increasing BMI and prevalence of obesity, certain other co-morbid conditions or decreasing incidence of smoking. Although the analysis by Travison et al did reveal significant age-related increases in adiposity and medication use and a welcome decline in smoking, the age-matched decline in testosterone concentrations persisted even after adjusting for these variables,” Shalender Bhasin, MD, of the section of endocrinology, diabetes, and nutrition, Boston University School of Medicine, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
    For more information:

    Travison TG, Araujo AB, O’Donnell AB, et al. A population-level decline in serum testosterone levels in American men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92:196-202.
    Bhasin S. Secular decline in male reproductive function: is manliness threatened? J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92:44-45.

    So, about that AlGore comparison….

    (Do I REALLY need to put in the ABOUT box that comparing the host to AlGore is grounds for being put in time-out?…)

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Oh,. I ought to mention I was involved with a fertility clinic for a couple of decades including as an officer. Got to watch the decline of sperm counts and testosterone levels in the population… but personal testimony isn’t as ‘credible’ as a reference… so you got the reference above.

    Per GM being able to “cause a new organism”:

    While I could think of ways that would happen, the actual claim was NOT that the new organism was created. Watch the video. It explains it pretty well. The soil ecology is shifted with a load of normal bacteria and other denizens killed off. This lets others ‘overgrow’. The assertion is that this is a normal and natural life form (just one we didn’t notice before) that has run rampant when some other bugs (that presumably kept it in check) were eradicated.

    As we’re still finding all sorts of unexpected kinds of life in places like hot springs, deep rocks, and caves (one of which eats sulphur and pees out sulfuric acid…) I’m not at all surprised that there are kinds of life we have not yet cataloged. ( Though I do think it needs better documentation of existence that I’ve seen so far. Claims of seeing it on a SEM are not the same as the electron microscope pictures themselves…)

    So far, most of the GMO products have ended up in animal feed, or things I don’t eat (corn) or as highly refined things unlikely to have “issues”. But since Monsanto has now started “doing” potatoes and other common human foods, It’s time to start being more careful.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and looking around, I can only find ONE “glyphosate”.

    There are several herbicide mixes that use it, but it has a IUPAC name N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine and that’s pretty much a “one thing” …

    So yes, I’m using a “broad brush” to describe the effects of glyphosate as it is covers entirely the N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine space…. and not much more. I’ll also use “glyphosate herbicide” or similar phrases when wanting to drag in all the other mix in the can. In one of the quotes, they break out some of what they found, and it wasn’t all that good… in the other ingredients.

    In other words: My usage looks fine to me and a review of your ‘complaint’ doesn’t find much…

  14. boballab says:

    Also keep in mind that the scientists doing these tests might not mean to, but actually fool themselves into being wrong on both sides. Then things get blown out of proportion when the “Nannies” get involved. A classic example of this was the Alar scare in the 70’s and 80’s.

    Science vs. public relations
    Scientists and regulators recognize that at every stage calculations are intended to err on the side of safety. As a result, a substance such as Alar (or UDMH) that produces no increased cancer incidence in animals even at doses tens of thousands times higher than humans ingest
    can still be deemed unsafe. Unfortunately, the average consumer is unaware that the figures reported are worst-case scenarios, not actual risk. And in the Alar episode, thanks to a well-orchestrated media campaign by NRDC and a credulous press, many consumers knew only of the worst of the worst cases. NRDC hired Fenton Communications (a public-relations firm) to publicize its report; Fenton offered the television program 60 Mimtes an exclusive opportunity
    to break the story, and 60 Minutes produced an NRDC-guided story that is a classic case of slipshod journalism.

    Click to access Rosen_Alar.pdf

    Oh btw notice our good buddies from Fenton Communications (The operators of Real Climate) are involved.

    Also just because something carries the “Organic” label does NOT mean that chemicals were not used. These are some of the chemicals USDA allows in “Organic” farming:
    Chlorine dioxide
    Sodium hypochlorite
    Copper sulfate
    Peracetic acid
    Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate

    Improper use of those chemicals or even buildup can lead to health risks to humans including digestive problems (see Copper sulfate)

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, the hyperparanoia on some things makes it hard to sort the truth from the hype.

    Per organic and chemicals:

    As everything is a chemical (even life is biochemicals) of course there will be chemicals used in organic farming. Even dihydrogen monoxide… Sodium hypochlorite is your basic bleach. Even organic farmers need to be able to kill pathogens. Nature can be a hostile thing… But I’m not real worried I’m going to get “bleach poisoning” from eating too many organic vegetables…

    The question is about levels of risk. You put a load of copper sulphate on fruit to keep down mold. Some washes into the soil and becomes plant food. Copper is a needed trace mineral and sulphate is used by plants too. It doesn’t have long persistence and pernicious effects. It gets used up by life and growing ( i.e. dilution removes the toxicity. “The poison is in the dose”. And it isn’t toxic down in the ppb range like some of the horrific chlorinated hydrocarbons…)

    “Organic” is, IMHO, your basic “Paranoia Approved” flag. When there is cause to act like a paranoid, it’s your choice. At present, with GMOs, the theoretical risks are stupendous, and the realized actual risks look to be shaping up as pretty bad too. That’s the time to start being a bit more paranoid… (Not off the deep end… just a bit more cautious. Let the other two divisions go “over the top” first ;-)

    So while I’m not going to be a compulsive “Organic Food Nut”, I am going to be looking to assure I have no GMO potatoes or wheat going onto the plate. As anything the cow eats can end up in milk, the ‘dairy’ products are going to be Whole Foods brands ( likely don’t need the whole organic cert on milk…)

    Given that my family is prone to allergies and food sensitivities (and food related problems); it is prudent to be extra careful. Frankly, the thing I’m worried about most with GMOs isn’t all the direct toxicity, nor even the endocrine effects. It is just the risk of it causing a food allergy. I already have 3 of them (and some other family members have other things they can’t eat) so it is already a challenge making meals everyone can eat. Toss in a random allergen that is NOT tied to any given species and that just becomes hell.

    That justifies a higher level of caution / paranoia about folks fooling around with the chemical composition of food and inserting the same somewhat alien proteins in all sorts of foods. In particular, Bt Toxin is shown to be an allergen for some folks.

    Basically, that’s a whole different level of risks and problems than knowing how to handle a jug of bleach and wash the copper sulphate off some peaches…

  16. EM – I also think that this is a growing problem. In the normal course of things, we have been running human trials on foods that have been running for many thousands of years, so we know what causes problems. Populations that ate the wrong foods died off. In the normal course of events, genetic changes to our foods happened relatively slowly, so any toxicity (over lifetimes) became visible. The problem with GMOs is that we simply don’t know the long-term effects of the modifications, and won’t know for a few lifetimes – by which time it is a bit too late.

    Pollen spreads very widely – in some climatic conditions it can circle the globe. There is thus no way that any release of new genetic material can be confined to the test alone – without serious containment measures it can and will spread everywhere. There is by now probably NO non-GMO corn anywhere in the world, and the question is only to what extent the genes have been modified/diluted in the mix.

    The gut flora is pretty essential to life and correct digestion. Eating things that kill off bacteria can give rise to a lot of things such as IBS, and not too long ago I read of a new medical procedure of using a shit transplant to people with IBS (killing off all gut bacteria, then putting back some shit from a person without IBS to repopulate the gut) that seemed to be successful. Sorry, I didn’t bookmark the link at the time.

    This might be solved (a bit) by removing the IP protection from genetic modifications, so that Monsanto can’t over-profit from their research. At the moment, they tend to prosecute anyone whose corn has “their” genetic markers, even when the farmer has used non-Monsanto seed and has saved his seed to grow next year – it gets polluted. Of course the farmer should be able to prosecute Monsanto for polluting his seed, but he’ll never have enough money to do that.

    I think that the main problem here is the law of unintended consequences. The genetic mix of the world is so vast a process that we can only see little bits of it at a time, and can’t predict what will happen when there’s a slight change. A bit like the butterfly effect, except in this case it’s an armada of butterflies. Expect an Armada storm to be brewing.

  17. Les Johnson says:

    Organic? Just remember, that nearly as many people died from organic bean sprouts last year, in Germany alone, as were killed in Chernobyl, Fukushima and the BP Oil disasters.

  18. Les – as I recall that was a problem with unintended growth of bacteria inside the sprouts, that thus couldn’t be washed out. It may be connected with the GMO problem and the over-use of antibiotics, since it’s not a frequent occurrence. Considering how long people have been eating bean-sprouts, it seems strange that we suddenly got a problem.

  19. tckev says:

    Sorry I couldn’t get back to you as the neighborhood had a power outage but I see E.M. got you the info – Thanks E.M. :)
    I have another link that I was trying to get to you. It’s a Mexican site thro’ there’s a lot of English spoken on the first video (brush-up your Spanglish ;-)) First video is quite raw with some rough edits in it.

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    We should promote the maintenance of areas of the world free of GMO’s. Perhaps Many of you do not know That the Incas of Peru developed the MAJORITY of crops used as food in the world: From Many Varieties of Corn-purple corn to white giant corn-, tomato, potato, sweet potatos,etc.etc.
    GMO are forbidden up to now in Peru, but the SILLY GUYS FROM THE NORTH keep on lobbying to change this. Go to Peru, eat while you learn about this.

    The next step of these idiots will be a GMO human being, as what they pretend is to establish their “Novus Ordo Seclorum”, or what is known, by all Kool-Aid drinkers, as the “Brave New World” (Please read this novel by Aldous Huxley: Everything is there).
    If such a monstrous stupidity succeeds the human history will end with it .

  21. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW Thoughts –
    That EM says what he says means the problem is bigger than I thought, to me, now. (For anyone else here coming out with what he said on the T page, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t give as much weight. EM’s definitely got some built up credibility, even if it’s about Little Green Men from Mars taking over Sacramento;-)

    It occurred to me to make an AGW analogy:
    Someone credible says the Earth is warming because of x,y,z,etc. We put the matter on our radar screen and check it’s status every now and then. We naturally take them seriously until other facts, evidence, says it doesn’t appear as serious as it was originally thought to be because of ‘whatever’ a,b,c,etc., or take it more seriously if more credible people and evidence say it is. You all know what I mean. Now enter the straphangers, the anarchists, the idiots, the malcontents, and a bunch of nitwit college students who just want to please Prof Lay Z. Idiot to pass his/her course, and naturally the omnipresent ‘religious’ fanatics who’ll believe anything their Gurus say. NOW.. as with AGW, the twits get a hold of this and try to “STOP EVERYTHING” because the Sky is Falling, again. IMAGINE what is going to follow. They’ve already captured AGW and made it their own, now they no doubt have GMO in their sights. I’m thinking that there’s just nothing safe from these whackos. Maybe it has something to do with college professors or the teacher’s unions?

    We jump to fast at anything NEW. We’re like moths and light bulbs.

    Politics corrupts and diminishes everything and everyone. Or, maybe it’s all about human nature. There’s good guys and bad guys and the old movies were pretty accurate. Then I thought, everyone has a price, right? And then I thought, you need money to live, and people will fight and do pretty much anything to live, and get money to live, and pay the bills, and feed the kids, and… Maybe what we need before we go after Monsanto is a whole new system and set of ethics.

    People are really dangerous; or, put another way, people are the root of all evil, and not.

    One last thought, I predict, before the next glacial cycle kicks in the human population on this rock will be drastically diminished by way of suicide, and God will get the blame. Any takers? Can you put a bet, and make arrangements to collect on it, in a will that will probably need to span a few centuries?

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    Maybe there is need for a Class Action suit. Monsanto has damaged the worlds food supply in their quest for profit. As well as their attempt to acquire control of all the seed stocks and seed patents. Crimes against humanity. pg

  23. Jason Calley says:

    Are we sure that various diseases and maladies are a bad thing? Or rather, they may be bad things for you and me, but are they bad for the people whose actions promoted them? After all, disease is just another consumer desire that creates a new market.

    From the same site, a quick look which includes genetic modification of wheat:

  24. adolfogiurfa says:

    @All: All these niceties, from “ecology” to GMO and counterfeiting currency, have the SAME origin: The greed of a few for money and power. It is not WE, dear Pascvaks, we could not even imagine those things, we just care for our families and try to survive with the scarcest of means.

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    Yes, WE are (for them), the fools, useful only to profit out from them.

  26. adolfogiurfa says:

    Those “fools” who think, like P.G., in building a flying saucer to defy gravity, or like E.M. decoding a tricky code, concocted by them to cheat us. Yes, we the commoners, who have such a rare and strange characteristic of our psyche called “common sense”, those who having “principles” prefer to die before doing harm to others.
    They, of course, do not have such restrictions….

  27. tckev says:

    IMO Western human population is stuck on the same basic grain staples. Often having a very limited range of available nutrients, and only small genetic variation for each grain type. This, I would contend, is not good future food security policy, and certainly GMing these grains is not the magic fix it’s all cracked up to be.
    Some of the older staples are easier to digest, and many people suffer less allergic reactions to them. (Info originally from Wikipedia and others)-
    Teff, popular ancient grain is a staple in Ethiopia. It is high in both fiber, protein, iron and very high calcium content, low in gluten and well tolerated by those with celiac disease. Teff flour and whole grain products can sometimes be found in natural foods stores. It has an unusual nutty chocolate flavor. Experimental plots have been trialed in Kansas.

    Wild rices, some of which are grown in small amounts in North America. But there are so many wild rices from most continents – African, Asian, Middle Eastern, North and South American.

    Amaranth, ancient pseudocereal, formerly a staple crop of the Aztec Empire but only now widely grown in Africa, and limited amounts in Mexico, where it is used to make a candy. Amaranth is gluten free and is relatively high calcium and magnesium.

    Kañiwa, Andean grain close relative of quinoa. It has a high protein content, and high antioxidant capacity. Is not fully domesticated.

    Other domesticated wheat species, some early in the history of agriculture:

    Spelt, a close relative of wheat, although it is not identical to modern wheat. Some people who are allergic to wheat may be able to tolerate spelt.
    Einkorn, a wheat species with a single grain. In contrast with more modern forms of wheat, evidence suggests the gliadin protein of einkorn may be less toxic to sufferers of coeliac disease.
    Khorasan or Kamut grain wheat, an ancient relative of durum with an unknown history. Even though this wheat variety contains gluten, it is said to be more easily digestible by people who may have slight allergic tendencies.

    The other key to the Monsanto (and others seed suppliers) methods for agriculture is to sell GM seed that can be patented, protected by law, etc. Seed supplier the world over (with government acknowledgment in the EU) want to control the seed market and reduce your access to natural (or as they say rogue wild) seeds. They wish you only to have access to a limited gene-pool of seeds that they control. EU rule have only been partially rescinded.

  28. Pascvaks says:

    Yes! Sheep are lazy, docile, and often, seem rather stupid, but if one ever bites you it takes forever to heal. If you ever want to do something really stupid, corner a flock of sheep so that the only way they can escape is over your dead body. Really!;-)

    PS: There’s something strange about people, it’s like they’re half sheep and half mad dog. They usually act like sheep, but they can turn on a dime into their alter ego for an old, dirty, moldy piece of bread. For an old, dirty, moldy piece of bread! How do you explain that? Very strange! Very strange indeed! I wouldn’t trust a person any further than I could throw one.

  29. sz says:

    32 years ago, I became a farmer’s wife. Israel specializes in high yields on small plots, so farms are small, very close to each other, and anything your neighbor does is going to be noticed immediately. We all sprayed roundup. So even if you’re not spraying and your neighbor is, your’e as good as sprayed too. Roundup, though, well ….It was considered a miracle! It reduced labor intensive weeding, and let the farmer tackle larger areas of land and more complex crops. Among what we grew were citrus varieties, and wine grapes. The latter…. well, in addition to being fed growth hormone, liquid fertiliser and pest resistor concoctions via the drip irrigator system, the fields needed thorough “roundupping” every week – because the weeds, too, enjoyed the drip irrigator’s output! Roundup went into a drum on the back of a tractor, and applied thru high pressure spray nozzles set at 3 different angles for max coverage. It was sprayed at night when the wind was down to ensure max coverage, but had to be done before the dew began to thicken or it wd wash away. My husband [and others with vineyards] went out covered head to toe in thick protective gear and a mask, compliant with Roundup’s own recommendations! Nonetheless, some years down the line, he would come in stinking of its typically sharp peppery smell, shower, and complain he was short of breath. Then we started to come across studies on the effect of roundup on underground aquifers. We are a desert area for the most. You ruin the aquifers, there is no water to drink. Simple equation. We got concerned. Loads of people suddenly stopped using the chemicals, and organics started to build up. For some twenty+ years, I didnt eat grapes, all kinds of ground hugging melon, stone fruit, and even citrus unless I picked it myself from areas reverted back to wild growth as the younger generation preferred hi-tech to hard physical work of farming. It IS possible to clean out the body to a great degree: now when the family eats all kinds of things not made at home, we all react. And no one is ever sick in any serious way. But when we stopped farming, there was big pressure on us to keep going. As noted above, all of this is big money for Monsanto and their various reps worldwide.

  30. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: When will sheep begin biting the hands of those who are after them?

  31. E.M.Smith says:


    The “issues” with R.R.Alfalfa is exactly that the pollen are spread by bees. Inside 5 years, per Huber, of GMO release, there would be no GMO free alfalfa. As it is the largest forage crop, that’s a big deal.

    Yes, Monsanto ought to be sued for “Genetic pollution”, but they bought other laws…

    @Les Johnson:

    And even more died in car crashes. So? You have an “Apples to frogs” comparison going there.

    There are fairly strict requirements to be given the Organic label (at least here in California). It is, unfortunately, the only clear marker for “Non-GMO” due to the way our government has prevented effective communication of the GMO status of various foods.

    In general, it is no better and no worse than “conventional” on most measures (IMHO) but does have a slightly higher risk of exposure to SOME pathogenic organisms (those in manure) but lower risk of exposure to others (those which over grow in chemical heavy soils).

    Personally, I’d take “Non-GMO Conventional” if it was legal to advertize it. But I don’t get that choice. So the closest I can get is the “Organic” certification.

    BTW, if you are worried about bacteria making you sick or killing you: NEVER eat chicken or turkey again. Organic or not. Personally, I’m not concerned. Yes, it’s about 100% salmonella contaminated. Yes, it ought to be treated like “toxic waste” until cooked. Then again, with a “raw side / cooked side” and liberal application of hot soapy water I’ve had 1/2 century+ of no problems… But Organic chickens will have much lower loads of toxic chemicals inside the meat and the pathogens on it will be less likely to come pre-selected for antibiotic resistance. ( I’d prefer them, and their flavor is much better, but the cost is still higher than I like, so I buy the cheap chickens at $1 / pound then cook it a lot ;-)


    A lot of ‘traditional’ food preparation methods can “go wrong” if a novel bacteria get in the mix. Minor changes of environment and / or inoculant can have dramatic effects. Look at all the variations on cheese from minor changes. This kills a few folks every year in one way or another as “some bug” gets where it ought not be and enjoys the growing conditions. Organic sprouts or not, “stuff grows”. I’ve made my own sprouts, and if your attention wanders “strange things” can grow… ( I was using ‘non-organic beans’). And don’t even get me started on what Nordic folks do with fish buried in the back yard or what goes into making Kimchi and pemmican… The simple fact is that people get sick and die, some more than others, and expecting to depend on lack of bacteria in food is a poor way to plan. (Present FDA rule making is attempting to take over large swathes of the food production system based on preventing ANY bacterial contamination. An impossible task, so granting perpetual power growth.)

    @Tckev: Mucho gusto por esto!


    The Peruvian Inca developed: Wheat, soybeans, millet, rice, fava beans, palm oil, cocoanut, true yams (as opposed to the sweet potato) carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, turnips (and all the “oriental” greens from the turnip family such as bok choy), rutabaga (aka Swede), spinach, lettuce, cabbages (and all their relatives – kale, mustard, canoloa, rape seed, etc.), radishes, oats, barley, rye, spelt, ….

    Who knew? ;-)

    I think you may have a biased POV on where food was developed. Foods plants were developed everywhere and moved in all directions. Yes, the world got some very important food crops from The Americas (where Corn, BTW, has the largest number and oldest “Land Races” in Mexico, not Peru) including important crops like common beans, corn, squash, and cassava. But Asia contributed a bunch of greens and rice along with soybeans while Europe contributed all the cabbages and kales, fava beans and more, Egypt the lettuces, Africa the true yam (as opposed to sweet potato) and somewhere around there (probably near Turkey and north) originated wheat, barley, oats, spelt… And don’t get me started on fruit origins…

    But yes, the ‘proper’ way would have been to set “off limits” to GMOs a couple of continents. I’d have picked South America, Australia, and Eurasia as “off limits” for the first couple of decades. Oh, and all the islands… Africa has dust that reaches America, so might be a bad idea as an early introduction point; but really needs any added food it can get. So I’d likely have gone for a “USA, go ahead and play Mad Scientist with yourself, you invented this stuff” and maybe a little bit of Sub-Sahara Africa where many of these plants are not native anyway (so an ‘eradicate and replant’ on an “oopsy” would be workable. But nobody asked me…


    Most people choose to believe what make them happy rather than where the data and evidence lead. ( Science briefly saved us from that fault, but with the advent of massive nearly compulsory education, a load of folks not naturally disposed to the discipline flooded in and it is now just Sociology With Credentials in many cases)

    Loads of others can’t resist greed. Monsanto is stellar in that category. (All this is in my opinion…) They buy positions of influence in government agencies and buy a load of politicians ( another group that is undereducated in tech, lacking a sound moral compass, and easily influenced by money and power lust…) So our governmental “controls” end up sold to the highest bidder. (In formal Economics this is the regulatory agency capture problem… well known and unsolved…)

    BTW, I’d not take the other side of your bet…


    I’d be all for it; but suspect they have bought enough protection via regulatory approval to dodge the consequences of their actions in court. Maybe the UN can take them on ;-)


    I’ve seen those wheat genetics claims before, but not had time to vet them for more than anecdotal evidence. I don’t eat a lot of wheat anyway (occasional toast with breakfast or the odd sandwich. Some noodles, though they are made from different wheat than breads.) It is on the “someday” list of things to investigate. There are heirloom wheat seeds available ( such as spelt) but my stock of spelt is rather old. I probably ought to get a refresh of them ;-)

    But yes, modern wheat (especially in North America) is significantly different from the wheat of 1950 – 1970.


    I have made “millet bread” as a substitute for corn bread. It’s pretty good. Made a teff variation on it. Interesting (pleasant) metabolic effect. Interesting if slightly odd flavor. Not sure yet how much I’m enamored of it. May be an “acquired taste”. (Not unpleasant, just unexpected).

    Haven’t got into wild rice ( takes lots of water ;-) but I have Hope Red Amaranth naturalizing in my back yard. VERY easy to grow. Tastes nice and easy to eat too. Only problem is the tweety birds love it and I’m not willing to chase them off as I enjoy having a flock of birds in my yard…. (In a true emergency / collapse, well, “Sparrow Stew” might not have a lot of meat in it, but would have a nice flavor ;-)

    Quinoa was fairly easy to grow and the birds didn’t like the bitter sapponens on the seeds. Neither did I ;-) Supposedly they wash off, but I still taste a bit of it. Due to the “bird issue” it is my “emergency grain of choice” in the seed bank. Both amaranth and quinoa have edible leaves (if a bit rough texture when older) but also have some oxalate, so not good for folks with kidney stone issues. ( So I’ll eat those greens and the spouse gets something else – like chard / beet greens…)

    Oh, you reminded me I have some Kamut stored too…

    BTW, Triticale is a rye / wheat hybrid and has less gluten than wheat. As it was created prior to a lot of the wheat fiddling, it might well be less ‘genetically afflicted’. I’ve got an older line of triticale in the box somewhere too….

    A bit surprised you didn’t mention sorghum and millet. The mother in law had some ‘issues’ with other grains, but could eat millet just fine. A small bit of ‘bitter’ in millet bread that isn’t in corn bread, but a nice substitute all the same. Millet porridge is fairly neutral in flavor.

    Millet has great drought performance. The plant will just “take a break” when drought hits and “pick it up later” when water returns. Sorghum does something similar, though not as well. Both can be perennial. I’ve not been able to grow much of either (due to the Bird Sympathy Problem…) but have a small bit of sorghum that keeps trying to make seeds…

    For what it is worth, Celosia are not just decorative, but edible as well.
    From the amaranth family, but with head shapes that may be more bird resistant…

    So you can have a very pretty flower garden that just happens to be an emergency food supply…

    Found a copy of the letter from Huber to the Ag secretary. The tone of it (including the intent to maintain discretion and mostly asking for access to data, then the quite valid point about a pause while the truth is determined in R.R.A. rather than just vilification of it) all point to someone doing a reasonable thing in the light of surprising new data. It also alludes to other folks who have seen the same SEM pictures and the same trends in crops and animals ( i.e. not just one guy on a Jihad…)

    I find it interesting that he suspects the same thing I latched onto above. A micro-sized fungus.

    So here’s the letter:

    Dear Secretary Vilsack:

    A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn-suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!

    This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies. On the other hand, this new organism may already be responsible for significant harm (see below). My colleagues and I are therefore moving our investigation forward with speed and discretion, and seek assistance from the USDA and other entities to identify the pathogen’s source, prevalence, implications, and remedies.

    We are informing the USDA of our findings at this early stage, specifically due to your pending decision regarding approval of RR alfalfa. Naturally, if either the RR gene or Roundup itself is a promoter or co-factor of this pathogen, then such approval could be a calamity. Based on the current evidence, the only reasonable action at this time would be to delay deregulation at least until sufficient data has exonerated the RR system, if it does.

    For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.

    A diverse set of researchers working on this problem have contributed various pieces of the puzzle, which together presents the following disturbing scenario:

    Unique Physical Properties

    This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.

    Pathogen Location and Concentration

    It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal, fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas.

    Linked with Outbreaks of Plant Disease

    The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income-sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn. The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).

    Implicated in Animal Reproductive Failure

    Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.

    The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%.

    For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions. Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlege, which likely had been under weed management using glyphosate.


    In summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.

    It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.

    I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.


    COL (Ret.) Don M. Huber
    Emeritus Professor, Purdue University
    APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS)

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    It comes from our evolutionary history. We started as prey animals, small and hiding in trees. Or basic state is “sheep” herbivore prey. Then we moved out into the grassy plains as scavengers, eventually moving to become predators ( chimps hunt monkeys in packs). We are in transition to becoming “Pack Animal Predators”. So we have gradually developed more “wild pack of dogs and hyenas” behaviours.

    Depending on how a given person feels at any given time, you either get the older brain structures of “small herbivore prey” or the newer brain structures of “Top Predator Pack Animal”.

    Predicting that transition in many folks is, er, challenging…


    Right after the pen become too uncomfortable, the feed is not up to snuff, and the farmer is being less protector and more ‘threat’… just like normal sheep flocks.

  33. Chuckles says:

    Not entirely on topic, but an interesting column from Matt Ridley here –

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added a screen capture and link to an article about the growth of Roundup Resistant Weeds. The article is all “yes we can control them and Roundup is still great” but that sure looks like an exponential growth curve to me…

    Just a matter of time, then…

  35. Jason Calley says:

    “A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn-suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!”

    Ok, wild stab in the dark here, and feel free to place your bets now! Anyone suspicious that this new unknown organism may be linked to Morgellons Disease?

  36. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Boballab: Also just because something carries the “Organic” label does NOT mean that chemicals were not used
    Could you please show me just ONE THING which is not a “chemical” in the universe?

  37. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Jason: interesting article on Morgellons. I knew a guy with that skin problem but he had no knowledge of the “disease”. Just was tormented by something that was working through his skin. Had sores all over that he was always picking at. I would suspect nerve damage from some cause. pg

  38. Judy F. says:


    There is a group of organic farmers who have a lawsuit against Monsanto. I don’t understand how a company can “pollute”, even though in this case it is with GMO’s, and the court rules it is okay. And then the company sues the farmers who have had the bad fortune to have the pollution migrate to their fields. It makes no sense to me.

    On the upside, Wood Prairie Farm raises awesome seed potatoes, and I have ordered from them for a number of years.

  39. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Judy F.: thanks for the link. I read some of the posts and I will examine their catalog next. My small farm needs seeds soon as I have used up some of the needed varieties. Back in the late 60s we grew certified seed potatoes in northeast California. Many hundred tons, got real tired of working with them. ;-) pg

  40. Judy F. says:


    Sign up for their newsletter as it has all kinds of interesting things in it. And I highly recommend the Prairie Blush and Caribe potatoes.

  41. boballab says:

    @Boballab: Also just because something carries the “Organic” label does NOT mean that chemicals were not used
    Could you please show me just ONE THING which is not a “chemical” in the universe?

    Since you asked: Neutrinos are not chemicals.

    Now do you want to have a discussion on the differences between Chemical Substances and Chemical Compounds and what the lay public thinks what “Chemical” means?

    Now to get back to what “Organic” means on a label in the US since it is a legal definition:

    In the United States, federal legislation defines three levels of organic foods. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled “100% organic,” while only products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled “organic.” Both of these categories may also display the USDA Organic seal. A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled “made with organic ingredients,” but may not display the USDA Organic seal.

    To be certified “Organic” in the US, you can use 5% “Non Organic” ie: regularly farmed ingredients. Also in there is a law that tells the USDA to set up a list of “Synthetic” substances allowed in organic farming:

    In the U.S., the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 “requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances which identifies synthetic substances that may be used, and the nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used, in organic production and handling operations.”

    So you see some “Synthetic Substances” are evil and can’t be used, while others are good and maybe used in your “Organic” food.

    Also if the producer is a small time operation (less then $5,000 a year in sales) they can call themselves “Organic” but do not have to apply to the government for certification. This means they can use whatever the hell they want and still call themselves “Organic”. As long as they don’t get a USDA audit they are good to go.

    Also in the U.S., the National Organic Program (NOP) was enacted as federal legislation in October 2002. It restricts the use of the term “organic” to certified organic producers (excepting growers selling under $5,000 a year, who must still comply and submit to a records audit if requested, but do not have to formally apply).

    The “Organic” food movement in the US is for the most part just another form of Green Washing and a scam. When I ran a Food Department in a Walmart Store every time someone bought a can of “Organic” Green Beans for $2 and passed up the $.79 can of Great Value Green Beans we would laugh our asses off because there is virtually no difference between the two. This has been going on for years and if you buy “Certified Organic” products 90% of the time you are fulfilling the old saying attributed to P.T. Barnum about fools and money. Here is some excerpts from a WAPO article on this:
    Three years ago, U.S. Department of Agriculture employees determined that synthetic additives in organic baby formula violated federal standards and should be banned from a product carrying the federal organic label. Today the same additives, purported to boost brainpower and vision, can be found in 90 percent of organic baby formula.

    The government’s turnaround, from prohibition to permission, came after a USDA program manager was lobbied by the formula makers and overruled her staff. That decision and others by a handful of USDA employees, along with an advisory board’s approval of a growing list of non-organic ingredients, have helped numerous companies win a coveted green-and-white “USDA Organic” seal on an array of products.


    The original law’s mandate for annual pesticide testing was also never implemented — the agency left that optional.

    From the beginning, farmers and consumer advocates were concerned about safeguarding the organic label. In 2003, Arthur Harvey, who grows organic blueberries in Maine, successfully sued the USDA, arguing that the fledgling National Organic Program had violated federal law by allowing synthetic additives.


    His victory was short-lived. The Organic Trade Association, which represents corporations such as Kraft, Dole and Dean Foods, lobbied for and received language in a 2006 appropriations bill allowing certain synthetic food substances in the preparation, processing and packaging of organic foods, creating conditions for a flood of processed organic foods.


    The agency has not acted, for example, on a 2002 board recommendation that would answer a critical question for organic dairy farmers: how to interpret the law requiring that their cows have “access to pasture,” rather than be crowded onto feedlots. The result has been that some dairy farms have been selling milk as organic from cows that spend little if any time grazing in open spaces.

  42. E.M.Smith says:


    The only thing I care about is that the only way to find Non-GMO is via the “Organic” label.

    But yes, there are some shady operators in any field. OTOH, I’ve visited a very nice all organic share farm where I’d eat anything from the field with not much more than a plain water rinse. The food is superior to “conventional” (largely due to the very high level of labor applied) and some specialized equipment ( like hand burners for taking down weeds instead of chemical herbicides).

    BTW, as I remember the “organic” requirements, those “exception” amounts are NOT for things like pesticides and herbicides. (Though I could be remembering the California variation… for some odd reason we always have our own variant…) It is so that if you are making, say, “organic” cake mix and have all certified organic plant ingredients, but there is no spec for “organic” leavening, you can still have organic cake mix. There are many times where there is no certified organic choice in a category of ingredients.

    For things like wheat, flour, whole plants; you don’t have that problem. It is a much more strict set of limits on what can be done (including some fairly large number of years of no use of pesticides / herbicides on the land… so use one, once, you lose “organic” certification for several years.

    Oh, and there is often a very significant difference between the Great Value brands of things, the general commercial brands, and the “organic” brands. I buy some of all of them, and compare. GV can often be quite good, but sometimes it is 2nd class. It varies by product. The Organic stuff is often better quality (but not so much as to be worth the double or triple price, IMHO. At least prior to now where dodging GMO has just become “worth it” near as I can tell.)

    (GV package mac and cheese, for example, doesn’t come close to Kraft – the standard. While the organic brands also don’t come close (!). I think for the same reason. Both look to be lower fat per the ingredients lists… It is quite clear that Kraft just does something others can’t match. GV jams are just fine; about like general commercial stuff, though the organic ones have more fruit character. Organic celery can be as good as any, sometimes has more flavor, and sometimes is dismal. Not as many seasonal sources… )

    No, “organic” is not a perfect shield against crap in the food. Yes, it gets a heck of a lot of it out of your diet. Since most toxins are dose related, I’m fine with that. Having watched sprayers drench fields in chemical stuff (the label of which made ME queezy, and handling without special gloves gave a load of interesting symptoms) and then watching all the stuff that died from it: I’m perfectly happy to have a choice that lets folks say “No Thanks” (even if I usually don’t pick it).

    I also, as noted above, have family with a bunch of food sensitivities. It is a simple fact that they have less “issues” when the food is certified Organic. Don’t know if it is that they can more easily avoid a trace irritant, or that the ingredients lists are usually a lot shorter… (My wife’s mother was made physically ill by many food dyes. Simply by buying “organic”, she avoided them without the need to laboriously read labels.

    So please don’t assert it is all just a scam and only stupid people do it. That is simply wrong. And demonstrably so. I’m not stupid, and I buy some organic stuff. My family has direct physical benefit that was directly observed (even if I thought them silly when I was first told).

    @Judy F:

    Always had me wondering, too. It is clearly and undeniably “gene pollution”. (Some times I even think they are deliberately doing it to drive the natural sources out of business.)

    Oh Boy! A new seed potato source ;-)

    I have some purple (yes, Organic, bought at Whole Foods) potatoes and some pink ones too that are semi-naturalized in my garden. I’ve been trying to find which ones are most durable and take the least tending.

    One square got some kind of small white bug in the soil. Don’t know what it is, but it seems to love the potatoes… yet the potatoes don’t seem to mind. I’m torn between despair (no durable potatoes?), a ‘just ignore them and wash well’, and “take some to an expert for an answer” and “oh, heck, just put a drench on the soil…” It looks like I mostly need to just rotate them and not do a ‘naturalization run’ for long in any one plot… ( The conflict between known good farming practice, and the desire to see “what goes wrong before the disaster strikes”…)


    FWIW, if we are going into a grand minimum cold period, potatoes do much better than grains then. (At least, they did in Europe last time…)


    What a strange disease…. Never heard of it, but now I’m wondering…

    Odd that the name only started recently…

    Wonder if there is a systemic fungicide they could try.

  43. Glen Raphael says:

    Sperm counts aren’t actually declining, according to follow up studies.

  44. boballab says:

    You missed stated what I said, compare:

    What I said:

    The “Organic” food movement in the US is for the most part just another form of Green Washing and a scam.

    What you said, I said:

    So please don’t assert it is all just a scam

    What I said:

    if you buy “Certified Organic” products 90% of the time you are fulfilling the old saying attributed to P.T. Barnum about fools and money

    What you said I said:

    and only stupid people do it

    No where did I state it was all a scam and everyone is stupid, you miss characterized what I stated. I worked in the industry and I know who made what was put onto our shelves. Most of the labeled “Organic” merchandise is made by the big agri-businesses and they have stretched the allowed substances to include pesticides and fertilizers. If you had read the article I linked you would have seen this:

    But the USDA program’s shortcomings mean that consumers, who at times must pay twice as much for organic products, are not always getting what they expect: foods without pesticides and other chemicals, produced in a way that is gentle to the environment.

    Without specific standards, the wide discretion given to certifiers has invited producers and farmers to shop around for the certifiers most likely to approve their product, consumer groups say.

    Sam Welsch, president of the Nebraska-based OneCert, said his company this year has lost as many as a dozen fruit and vegetable farmers seeking other certifiers that allow the use of certain liquid fertilizers, which most organics experts believe are prohibited by organics laws because they are unnaturally spiked with high levels of nitrogen.

    In 2004, Robinson issued a directive allowing farmers and certifiers to use pesticides on organic crops if “after a reasonable effort” they could not determine whether the pesticide contained chemicals prohibited by the organics law.

    This second one was later overturned but there is nothing stopping USDA from reversing themselves again. However as I showed in my original quotes from the article the USDA doesn’t even test if the “Organic” food has pesticides or not, they didn’t implement it like they were suppose to.

    Now here is the attitude of the largest certifier:

    “People are really hung up on regulations,” said Smillie, who is also vice president of the certifying firm Quality Assurance International, which is involved in certifying 65 percent of organic products found on supermarket shelves. “I say, ‘Let’s find a way to bend that one, because it’s not important.’ . . . What are we selling? Are we selling health food? No. Consumers, they expect organic food to be growing in a greenhouse on Pluto. Hello? We live in a polluted world. It isn’t pure. We are doing the best we can.”

    The list of approved synthetics has risen from 77 substances in 2002 to 245 in 2009 when the whole idea was for the list to get smaller over time. The more the big agri-businesses get into “Organics” the less “Organic” it will be.

    Now to go to your example, you used a small local business that you can verify their methods and would fall in that 10% I did state would not be fulfilling the P.T. Barnum statement. However if you walked into you local supermarket and grab a can of “organic” green beans made by one of the big boys…

    As to GM and Organic there is a court case going on in Australia that should be interesting. It seems some GM crops spread next door to a Organic Farm and was caught in testing and the Organic farmer lost his license. That brings up an interesting thought: What if one of the Big Boys plants some GM next to some Organic, the GM spreads to it and it doesn’t get caught.

    If someone wants to pay extra to buy Organic I say more power to you. I also believe they should get what they are paying for and right now when you go to a supermarket and buy “Certified Organic” your not most of the time.

  45. E.M.Smith says:

    Change my shorthand “all” to your 90%, everything else stays the same. It is a very important food option to many folks, now including me. Dissing it is rude at best.

    Folks contaminating orgainc farms with GMOs is a present area of contention and litigation. IMHO, Monsanto ought to pay all the damages caused.

    Frankly, that you know “most of what made it to your selves was not” is just more encouragment to shop at Whole Foods who actually try to keep things Kosher, as it were…

  46. boballab says:


    That’s part of the problem I’m trying to point out: Even Whole Foods does it. Most of the brands that started out by small companies and built their reputation as being Organic are being bought out by the Big boys such as Kellogs, Pepsi Co, Coke and Kraft and no longer are what they used to be.

    I don’t know how plainer to state it then this: I’m not dissing the desire or want to get an organic product, I’m trying to point out what you are actually getting in supermarkets is not an Organic product even though it is labeled so. The USDA “Certified Organic” program is a joke as it stands right now.

    Let me put it this way: Would you think it is ok to label something as Certified Non GM if it contained 5% GM in it? or how about labeling engine oil Certified Non Synthetic and have 5% synthetic in it? That is the same logic that stands behind Certified Organic when 5% of the product is Non Organic.

    Here is an example of what I mean. You used your Mother in-law as an example of avoiding food dyes by buying “Organic” and she doesn’t have to read the label anymore. That is false, the USDA allows artificial food dyes in “Certified Organic” foods:

    That is why the USDA allows flexibility in the area of food coloring. If a company can provide documentation that it has tried three sources for an organic color but still can’t find a suitable one, it can turn to an approved non-organic alternative, Williams says. Thus, for example, in Torie & Howard’s pomegranate-and-nectarine candies, two out of the five coloring agents are non-organic: red cabbage and purple carrots, alongside the organic black carrots, black currants and apples.

    And that is in a candy that is USDA certified as “Organic”. If your Mother in law bought that candy she would be thinking there is no artificial colorings in it and be wrong. One of those artificial colorings maybe one she has a reaction to and with her belief that “Certified Organic” = 100% Organic with on non organic dyes in it she would have a reaction because she didn’t read the label. That would be a case of not getting what you thought you were buying. If the product doesn’t carry 100% Organic label then it isn’t Organic and you are wasting your money buying it. Remember that the USDA Organic seal can be used for products that are only 95% Organic (That is like being only 95% pregnant).

  47. Pascvaks says:

    Apples and Oranges. But, if 95% NOT pregnant is as good as you can get, what the hay! Sure beats the 95% pregnant stuff (that is, if you don’t want to be pregnant).

    Back to the issue of GMO. I have a feeling, the way the world is today, that we’re only going to dust off the script to “The Black Death” and the only thing different will be the cast of characters (and scale). Hope I’m wrong, but people are just not as smart or as fast as they need to be when there’s billions of them wandering around munching everything (and one day ‘everyone’) in sight and there’s just so much nice, pretty money waiting to be made.

    This goes to the bigger problem I believe: Whether a problem is imagined or real (the difference depends on you) you will get a vast number who will believe and a vast number who won’t, and I suspect, that unless you get a majority willing to do something (or not) all you end up with is an argument that keeps getting more extreme. People barely get by handling the little problems in life, when the big ones come along they often go bonkers and get decimated (well, that’s the Hollywood solution;-).

    Soooo.. short term, watch what you eat and protect your own –just like always, back to the cave days. Long term, expect the worst –just like always. Perhaps the next species of humans will be more enlightened.

  48. omanuel says:

    @EM Thanks for the link.

    That is one of two links given here and elsewhere that illustrate the concurrent rise (~1543) and fall (~1945) of the scientific revolution and constitutional government.

    1. Feudalism before the rise of the scientific revolution [Nicolaus Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543); Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica: On the Fabric of the Human body(1543)

    2. Feudalism after the fall of constitutional government [236th Celebration of the Declaration of Independence (1776-2012)

  49. adolfogiurfa says:

    Summarizing: Such a game of playing being God, by Monsanto or any other it is clearly that of a grown up child´s game and of a very dangerous kind, and it should be forbidden by law.
    Morality has changed too much during historic times and it is a sign of how much evil has been caused by such one sided development of the so called “occidental civilization”, where the emotional dimension has been discarded turning human beings into machines, unconcious and irresponsable of the consequences of their actions: We are not here to violate the NATURAL ORDER or the NATURAL LAWS, but to act within its limits.
    This is but the consequence, again, of the malign invention of the Novo Ordo Seclorum, the new secular order, where it is contended that there is neither natural laws nor a natural order, but CHAOS. As such, it is either a product of the EVIL itself or the product of a bunch of idiots who replaced grown up and matured men who ruled the world before “they” managed to replace the NON SECULAR order, the right and only order, by their nanny will for power and profit, a childish wish for playing with as many toys as possible, without any responsability whatsoever.
    Clearly it is a pathological condition which must be reversed as soon as possible.

  50. adolfogiurfa says:

    What would you choose to govern upon you body, the common and usual cells or, instead CANCER cells?

  51. Tim Clark says:

    Just a few salient points.

    “GMO plants are “tagged” for easy identification in the field by inserting a gene that makes an easy to detect compound. That compound is an antibiotic.”

    Actually, it is not, it is a gene that produces a molecule (GUS) that can be detected using a precise staining procedure:
    transit peptide was used because it had shown previously an ability to deliver bacterial EPSPS to the chloroplasts of other plants. The plasmid used to move the gene into soybeans was PV-GMGTO4. It contained three bacterial genes, two CP4 EPSPS genes, and a gene encoding beta-glucuronidase (GUS) from Escherichia coli as a marker. The DNA was injected into the soybeans using the particle acceleration method or gene gun. Soybean cultivar A54O3 was used for the transformation. The expression of the GUS gene was used as the initial evidence of transformation. GUS expression was detected by a staining method in which the GUS enzyme converts a substrate into a blue precipitate. Those plants that showed GUS expression were then taken and sprayed with glyphosate and their tolerance was tested over many generations.

    Re; plant tolerance:
    Resistance evolves after a weed population has been subjected to intense selection pressure in the form of repeated use of a single herbicide.

    Many plants have the ability to resist roundup residing in their genome, just not at sufficient levels to impart tolerance. By repeated spraying with roundup, and not occasionally changing to another chemical, the farmers have selectively developed plants that over a period of time have become resistant.
    It is not by the transfer of genetic material into the target plants.

    Bacillis thueringensis (BT) is present in almost all grains as a consequence of nature. After all, it is a naturally occurring material.

    That being said, without going into detail, I see problems with eating non-cooked food that has been treated with roundup. And, I do not like the amassed power of large agribusiness over our food supply.

  52. omanuel says:

    @ adolfogiurfa, I agree completely!

    Mankind has a natural tendency to “play God” and domesticate, manipulate, control and use other humans selfishly.

    That was the case before the scientific revolution started in 1543. That is the case after the scientific revolution ended in 1945.

    See this timeline for the 1543 Rise of Reason; The 1945 Return to Feudalism

    After the scientific revolution began in 1543, the highest level of human reasoning:

    a.) Produced the US Declaration of Independence in 1776

    b.) Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in 1905, E = mc^2, and

    c.) Atomic bombs that vaporized Japanese cities in 1945

    d.) Scared world leaders into secret totalitarian control again

    e.) That surfaced in 2009 as Climategate documents

    f.) And genetically modified foods without public permission

    Oiver K. Manuel

  53. Pascvaks says:

    @Adolfo & Oliver –
    I don’t see the basis for your pessimism (if you were optimistic, I wouldn’t see the basis for that either;-). People are people. They always have been, and likely always will be, until some cosmic ray hits a sperm or egg and edits the formula, or whatever. Given that people are people, expect that great problems will not be handled well, if at all. That great problems, like plague or ergot poisoning or climate calamities or earthquakes or tsunami’s or drought or etc., happen; if we live through them we’re lucky. Some problems are caused by people, like dictators and kings and psycho’s or idiots playing with firecrackers when there’s a forest of dry kindling all around them. Can determined, knowledgeable people do something about Monsanto and stupidity in the White House and Congress. Sure they can! Will they? Probably not given a glance at history. Are people, in general, smarter than they ever have been? No! Are they dumber than ever? No! But there does seem to be something cyclic about luck. (As John Lennon sings, imagine Dirty Harry asking the people of the World from the podium of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters: “Do you feel lucky punk?”)

  54. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tim Clark:

    It’s been a long day fighting software and I just don’t have the “zip” right now to argue, or to find a nice academic citation. I did find a .edu (amid dozens of others) but it is not a paper, more like class notes. Then I found these links. But I also remember being shown researchers describing the use of the antibiotic resistance gene technique many years back.

    Click to access Bennett-RisksAntibioticResistGenes-2004-dkh087v1.pdf

    An assessment of the risks associated with the use of antibiotic
    resistance genes in genetically modified plants: report of the Working
    Party of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

    Development of genetically modified (GM) plants is contentious, in part because bacterial antibiotic resistance
    (AR) genes are used in their construction and often become part of the plant genome.

    They go on to say they can’t figure out how the genes would move out of the GM plant (yet we know that bacteria can just absorb gene segments from the sludge they eat).

    Main title:

    Use of Antibiotic Resistance
    Marker Genes in
    Genetically Modified Organisms

    But I was a little sloppy. The consuming bacteria don’t have to independently develop resistance to an antibiotic, the gene is in fact the resistance gene itself. All they need to do is soak it up:

    Click to access gm_antres_EurFedBiotech.pdf

    Bacterial strains producing a given antibiotic
    therefore have to carry resistance to inactivate
    the corresponding antibiotic and thus prevent
    its own self-destruction. In the evolutionary
    race between microbes the production of new
    antibiotics is usually countered through the
    development of resistance mechanisms both by
    producing- and target-organism. There is in
    nature a wide range of antibiotic and
    corresponding antibiotic genes. However,
    rather than developing their own resistance
    mechanisms, targeted bacteria will in general
    acquire antibiotic resistance genes which are
    already present in the bacterial pool
    surrounding them.

    This isn’t a benign thing. And it isn’t just a nice inactive marker gene.

    As to weedkiller resistance being from “natural selection” of natural resistance or gene transfer, that depends entirely on the weed. Some are selection for native traits. Others are transfers between related varieties.

    We now have “triple stack” rape weeds that have resistance genes to the three major herbicides (each thanks to a different vendor making a GMO for their herbicide). The combination happened in ‘escapees’ and is NOT a ‘selection’ artifact but a crossing artifact.

    As many weeds are closely related to food crops, the horizontal transfer over the “species barrier” is only a matter of time. ( See “Triangle of Wu” or “Triangle of U” for example crossings and horizontal transfers between species).

    There is a difference between a trace contaminant from a BT bacteria that can be washed off, and every single cell of the volume of the product having Bt toxin on the surface that can not be removed. “The poison is in the dose.” “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

    I can have a single fork full of beef and “no problem”. Eat it every day for a week I have arthritis. I can have a couple of pollen grains in the air from acacia, no problem. During peak flowering, I’m having loads of allergies. It is NOT dismissible as it is an occasional contaminant. ( Bt is not found growing in the wild everywhere…)


    I’m a bit too fried from spending the day wrangling Linux and Virtual Machines to hit the links tonight, but in a day or two… Looks like interesting history.


    I said didn’t have to read long labels. We still read the labels.

    Look, it isn’t PERFECT. Nothing is PERFECT. SO WHAT!

    It’s the best we’ve got. The idea that ‘a very small risk still exists’ ought to have you toss it is just crazy. (Yes, crazy.) It is reasoning of the form: Since you still have some risk in cars, then rip out the seat belts, airbags, and don’t buy new tires. Drive drunk while you’re at it.

    I’ve got several family member that would be ill, miserable, or dead were it not for Whole Foods and food labeling activists. (Mostly food allergies, but also chemical sensitivities).

    I REALLY don’t want to keep screwing this pooch with you, but you insist. OK.

    The “chemicals” approved for use in organic foods that are not “organic” tend to be things that are demonstrably safe anyway. Things like “bleach” as a decontamination wash on harvested foods that are then rinsed. The benefit of killing bacteria exceeds the avoidance value (if any). Or things like “salt”. (What the hell would an “organic” salt be?). Yes, they are “non-organic”, but they also are not Franken-Chemicals with IUPAC names even I can’t read. Or you might get a natural dye (like beet extract) that is just not available from an “organic” source. Still, the purification process means nearly (or completely) no agri-chemical goo will be in the refined food dye.

    I’m absolutely happy with that. Sane and reasonable people making VERY careful exceptions. YES, there is an element of trust in this. (That is why shoppers tend to be critical of just WHO makes the food, not just the word “organic” and they still look at the labels).

    So “Amy’s” brand: I’d buy it any day and not worry. I know the brand. I’ve read the label a dozen times. The word “organic” assures me that the GMO content is most likely zero or at most a nearly unmeasurable level of contamination and as “the poison is in the dose” I’m FINE WITH THAT.

    General Foods wants to slap “Organic” on some Bran Flakes? I’m giving it a pass… Might be OK, but I doubt they are really trying hard.

    At the same time, if I’m in a hurry and on the road, I’d likely accept the (minor) risk that the G.F. product wasn’t quite up to snuff. It is still more likely to be better than the alternative.


    The “pregnant” model is broken. Poison is NOT a binary event. “The poison is in the dose”.

    Would you rather have: 500% of the lethal dose of methanol, or 0.1% of that dose?

    A “partial but large” solution, is VERY acceptable.

    I’ve been very careful to only take the level of care likely to be needed for the level of evidence available.

    Initially I just stuck some seeds in the freezer “in case” genetic contamination turned out to be a problem. Didn’t change any eating habits.

    Over time, various family members have become more restricted in what they eat. Oddly, often just after that particular species got GMOs. I can’t do corn. Another can’t do soybeans (with onset just after they went dominantly GMO). She is starting to have some issues with other plants as well. Roughly in keeping with the penetration of GMO production. Another developed a wheat allergy (just about 10 years after the major change in their genetics to have more of the allergy triggering materials…) I start to see a pattern.

    So we’re shifting to “Organic” to test and measure the effect of GMO removal from the diet in full. (Or as close to full as we can get). (“Grandma” is now gone, so we don’t have to worry about her set of ‘issues’; but shopping “organic” for her meant a much shorter list of ingredients to check AND a much lower probability of any issues. Not hypothetical, btw… observed.)

    As the evidence (some of it above) shows, there are increasing issues in animal feeding, often involving fertility issues and / or ‘failure to thrive’; and largely “dose dependent” on degree of GMO feed. There are also a bunch of studies I didn’t link (including feeding rats and other animals) with all sorts of strange effects. (Dark and over sized livers and kidneys, testicles that are blue in color, various other odd and troubling things). At the point you have lab results like that, the only prudent thing to do is cut exposure as low as reasonably attainable.

    As I’ve said a couple of times: The only way to do that is look for “organic” on the label in the USA. If only our stupid regulators would require GMO labels, I’d be happy with “Non-GMO, conventional fertilizers.”

    So, on the “Plague” comparison: As “the poison is in the dose”, folks who directly eat a lot of GMO grains will be most at risk of the same results seen in farm animals. That’s mostly 3rd world folks and some vegetarians. (GMO rice “escaping” was the cause of the “rice shortage” a couple of years ago. As of now, Rice also has to be put on the GMO “issues’ list…) Once can HOPE that cooking reduces the issues but “Hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”.

    No, I’ll not be avoiding things like “Sushi and rice” dinner out at a non-Organic restaurant. This isn’t like catching plague in that a minor exposure can grow in you. It is, near as I can tell, a dose dependent issue where less than 20% or so isn’t causing problems in farm animals. ( My tendency to develop allergies probably makes my limits lower, especially for Bt crops, but that is an issue most folks are unlikely to have. Even there, I tend to have an allergy threshold well above ‘trace’.)

    If the evidence gets even stronger, will I do more? Yes.

    There is a very nice all organic farm I’ve visited. If need be, I can simply abandon the entire commercial food chain. I just don’t see that as warranted yet. (The farm sells ‘shares’ and grows a very wide variety of vegetables and grains. No traditional ag chemicals or fertilizers used. Lots of hand weeding and a propane powered weed burner. Folks can visit the farm and inspect operations and they have a party a few times a year on site.)

    So yes, I have “contingencies”. But for now, it looks like “prudence” is just to avoid the major GMO sources. Soybeans, corn, rice, and now potatoes in growing numbers. If I start getting rashes from cotton goods, then the Bt toxin on the surface of the cotton fibers “is an issue” and I’ll get to swap to plastics or hemp clothes ;-) ( I already have to make my own bathrobe due to the flame retardant mandate on them. It makes me sneeze and stuff up and on the verge of wheezing…)

    So buying a ‘farm share’ and making a few shirts is not a big burden, if it comes to that.

    For now, just buying “organic” potatoes and getting my rice at Whole Foods in the “organic” bin is pretty easy. As GMO moves into other row crops, I’ll drop them from the ‘regular’ store list and head to the organic isle for them, too. Other folks can be the guinea pigs…

  55. Petrossa says:

    I don’t mind being a guinea pig. I’m way to old to care and way to stingy to pay for organic food. Anyway i don’t eat vegetables, i’m not a goat.

  56. David says:

    @P.G.Sharrow:(concerning lawsuits)
    I’d be all for it; but suspect they have bought enough protection via regulatory approval to dodge the consequences of their actions in court. Maybe the UN can take them on ;-)
    Yet, if the UN is full of those that want massive de-population of this planet, maybe they are all for decreasing fertility, and for pure conspiracy theory, maybe they are behind it. Is there not a concern with plastics causing similar fertility issues, and what utopian statist is against pacifying the male population into reduced hormonal aquiessence?

  57. tckev says:

    I can’t find the page but I’m sure that you have made reference to ‘having a nicotine break’ in the past. I hope that you were using organic products.

  58. Pascvaks says:

    Nicotine Break? Did someone say “Nicotine Break”? Back in a FLASH!

    Oh! FWIW, sound familiar?, d’ja’view? –
    NEW YORK | Fri Jul 6, 2012 3:35pm EDT
    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women who are infected with a common parasite may be more likely to hurt themselves or attempt suicide, a new study of over 45,000 new moms in Denmark suggests.
    “The infection, known as toxoplasmosis, is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Humans can become chronically infected by eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables or by handling cat litter, as the parasite is known to multiply in the gut of infected cats…”

  59. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pasvacks: Scare anyone?, if Al-Qaida does not work anymore perhaps Toxoplasmosis will do it.
    F**them all!
    Buddies: Don´t forget human ingenuity, which becomes very very ugly, everytime you make our patience to end….

  60. ozspeaksup says:

    (Wonder if there are any studies on glyphosate breakdown in cooking? ;-)

    not sure if any exist,
    a chinese or japanese chap took GM soybeans and cooked them for around 40 mins (2+ times the normal)and the gm dna wasnt destroyed as Monmongrels said their “pretend” stomach acid test had proved.
    they upped the strenghth of the hydrochloric acid and time frame to say all dna was destriyed before it got To the gut.
    I think? there was abrief youtube clip dont know if its still around?
    sorry it was some years back.

  61. Pascvaks says:

    Human Ingenuity is indeed phenominal. We can create or destroy anything we can imagine, and a hell of a lot of things we can’t imagine too; real things take a little longer, sometimes a lot longer, why I can even imagine that there are some things we can’t do, or imagine. Regarding the bit about patience, soooooo true; haven’t met many humans who have a lot of patience, not alive.

  62. Tim Clark says:

    “The combination happened in ‘escapees’ and is NOT a ‘selection’ artifact but a crossing artifact.”

    It is both, but we’ll have to disagree amicably. The point I was trying to make is I thought your wording indicated that the resistant plants received genes from the GE plants which imparted resistance. I find that difficult to believe.There is no data supporting the transmission of marked genes into kosha, pigweed, j-grass, etc. I understand that cross pollination of susceptible weeds within species will and has led to resistance, in response to selection pressure.

    I did some research into half life (of the main degradation product). The longest data I can find is 141 days in denmark or norway. It is less in warmer environments. Haven’t found any on heat destruction of amino……..phosphonate.

    EM, last fall following the latest recurrence of the C word in my wife, we went to the MDA Anderson Center in Texas. After sight-seeing a bit (Johnson Center, etc) we went into the library they have. They must have paid fees to most of the research journals because you could get everything that should be behind paywalls. So for the most of two and a half months we both spent every day except for the 1.5 hr radiation treatments reading everything available (or so it seemed). I have an old saying from grad school, “research by MDS gives PHDS a bad image.” The research points in all directions because
    1. Variables in medical research cannot control or even account all the variables,
    2. The trials and research are so specialized and no-one tries to see the symmetry between studies.

    But we both (she’s educated also – product development + food processing) came away with the same conclusion from the myriad of studies, overconsumption of carbohydrates increases the odds of developing any type of cancer both in people with a familial cancer history and without. Greatly.

    We are very, very knowledgeable regarding what we eat. I eat like a pig but have lost 20 lbs cutting out the carbs. Small meat portions, fish once or more/ week (which the smell of any species makes me gag, i hide it with creole blackened spice, she steams hers), 28 different vegetables-fruits/wk is the goal, chocolate and wine (one addiction apiece) and yogurt.

    My point you have already alluded to, take research with a grain of salt and be very critical. In vitro studies on animal cells have shown all sorts of crap that points every which way in cancer research.
    Same with the data on Roundup. But you are wise to follow a path to avoid possible foodstuffs you believe are harmful. It can only help.

  63. Tim Clark says:

    Is there not a concern with plastics causing similar fertility issues,


  64. Mark Miller says:

    @E.M. Smith:

    It seems to me that your family’s reactions to foods should be all the evidence you need for your food choices, regardless of what anyone else says. I get a sense, though, from your post that you feel the need to either justify your decision, or warn others about the dangers that you see, but that you get into unrelated matters.

    I’ve had some contact with the GMO issue, since our county commissioners had been looking at the issue of growing GMO foods on open space lands for 3 years. They brought in people with credentials to talk about GMOs and organics, and they ultimately decided to “split the baby.” They are currently allowing the growing of some GMO crops. They’ve been allowing GMO corn since 2002, but more recently approved sugar beets. They wanted monitoring, and some separation of GMO and non-GMO fields to lessen contamination effects. This has been a big issue of late, just in time for a county commission election coming up. There’s one seat open, and both candidates for it say they’re going to push for an outright ban on GMOs on open space.

    “Along the way” I happened upon someone who was a GMO advocate who has worked in the industry. I was initially against the idea. I just had a bad feeling about the whole business. I watched, “The World According To Monsanto,” a documentary I happened to catch on PBS, and found validation for my repulsion to it. (That’s probably where you saw the weird ears of corn. That’s where I saw them.) I’ve known this guy for a while, and we’ve discussed a variety of topics from AGW (which he sees no evidence to believe in) to economics (very much into free market stuff). After talking with him for a while on GMOs, and looking at the mounds of online documentation he sent my way, many of which pointed to scientific reports done by corporate-sponsored and independent labs, and articles written by biochemists explaining various aspects of how genes operate in the natural world, and in GMO crops, I came away feeling quite a bit different about the issue, that a lot of my initial impressions of GMOs were not in line with the evidence, and so I’ve changed my mind about them, to a more moderate stance. I’m still kinda wary of them, but I’m not treating them like “frankenfood.” It’s not an issue that I’m real into, in terms of my scientific mind, so I didn’t keep a lot of the material I studied. A couple of the disturbing indicators you talk about here sound familiar, and as I recall, I read articles about them explaining in scientific terms that they were the result of different processes, and were either of unknown origin, or were not attributable to GMOs. The case of the rat testicles comes to mind as one of them. The other was the weird ears of corn.

    The GMO advocate I talked to considered it an advance on the traditional method of hybridization. I guess that goes without saying (except for the “advanced” part), but what he explained was that the method of creating GMOs is actually much more precise than the method of creating hybrids, which he described as much more messy genetically, since hybrid seed producers don’t just cross-pollinate plants. They take the seeds and run them through a chemical process that forces new genetic material into them, and causes the existing genetic material to mutate, but the process is not monitored in a fine-grained way. The only way to know what you’ve produced is to grow the seeds into plants. You’re much more likely to get some cock-eyed, unexpected genetic expression with hybridization, he explained, than you will with GMOs. This goes for conventional and organic growing methods, which usually use hybridized seeds.

    Re. Monsanto’s lawsuits against farmers, he indicated that farmers harvesting GMO seeds for replanting was quite a problem, and that this was the source of the “contamination lawsuit” stories. One documented case he could point to was of a farmer in Canada whose crop was 94% GMO, and who claimed to have intended to plant a non-GMO crop. He said that kind of distribution was impossible just with cross-contamination. The only logical conclusion was that the farmer had harvested the seeds and replanted, and was making up a cover story to win sympathy. I have a vague memory he said that the contract that GMO seed producers have with farmers generally is for one season only, and needs to be renewed season to season, buying new seeds from the producer, and that there can be health reasons for that. Genetic mutations that take place from generation to generation through seed harvesting can have negative health effects, and so it’s better with GMOs to just buy the new seed. There are exceptions, like with Golden Rice.

    A blog site that I found very helpful in terms of trying to understand the science behind the engineering was GMO Pundit, written by David Tribe. I saw you say that unfortunately “science” today has less to do with science than “Sociology with credentials,” but the scientific reports I looked at were not like the AGW crap I had seen before it. The information was of higher quality. They talked about tests on real live test subjects, describing their methods, and giving their outcomes. It’s something that can at least be criticized with specificity, and compared with other tests. I was disappointed looking at your links that none of your sources appeared to have this quality of information. All they had were narratives of the kind I’ve seen in CAGW literature all the time (or science shows on TV, which, ironically, are scientifically worthless). I understand your skepticism about the practice of science today, but as long as you have test subjects, described methods, and data to chew on, even if it was done badly, it’s possible to ascertain that it was bad through scientists criticizing it, or evaluating it yourself, if you have enough knowledge of the subject. Just reading a scientists account of “I’ve seen this,” with none of this other stuff doesn’t move my needle. The whole time I’m reading it I’m thinking, “Okay, where’s the data? Where’s the methodology?” There’s no means to evaluate/criticize what your sources say on this stuff.

    I’m not trying to heap expectations on you. I’m just suggesting maybe be more circumspect about how you’re looking at this issue on a global scale. I found that if I approached it with an open mind that I wasn’t as scared of it. As for your family, I’m sure you have them in good hands, and I wouldn’t change a thing. :)

    During the time when I was looking into the GMO growing issue locally, I happened upon a controversy that had erupted among organic activists around Whole Foods, last year. I don’t remember all the details, but there was something where WF had been lobbying the USDA to not approve GM alfalfa, and they ended up compromising. I don’t remember what the compromise was. I’m sure you can look it up. All I remember is organic activists blew their top over it.

    As a separate issue, WF admitted that their “natural” and “365” (non-organic) labeled products contained about 4% GMO ingredients. They said that at the volume they were selling their products, there was no way at the time to totally keep GMO ingredients out of them, but they were “working on it.” This was not welcome news of course to the organics activists. There was some talk that “Trader Joe’s is better,” about this sort of thing.

    My understanding is this was not the case with “organic” labeled products. People had their suspicions about them that with the cross-contamination there was probably nothing that was totally GMO-free, but with something that’s “organic” labeled, my understanding was that the food producers were stricter about that sort of thing. As I believe bollabab said earlier, it looks like that’s not necessarily the case, either. Anyway, while I was researching this I came upon an announcement from WF saying that they were working hard to make their “365” (natural) labeled foods GMO-free by the beginning of this year. Sure enough in January I saw that they had put up signs saying, “365 now means GMO-free.” So that may be an option to look at as you make your food choices. The other products they sell (not private label) marked “natural” may still contain some GMO. You’d have to ask them.

  65. adolfogiurfa says:

    Today I was told by a farmer that the use of GM corn are spoiling other original corn varieties, a kind of teratogenic effects.

  66. BobN says:

    @Mark Miller – Please do not take comfort in having county commissioners looking into something. I have a new found distrust of our government bodies. There are a half dozen reasons they don’t do the right thing, greed being the top of the list. Here is a link of a typical example of what I mean.

    As the controversy grows, our people representatives step in and do the right thing.

    Looks like Syngenta is also on the hot seat.

  67. Mark Miller says:


    I got kind of a chuckle out of this part:

    The ‘farmers assurance provision” is a thinly disguised attempt by the biotech industry to undermine these protections. Worse yet, it’s an affront to everyone who believes the US judicial system exists to protect US citizens and public health.

    After the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, I don’t expect the court system to protect me, much less my health… The one thing you’d think the SC should know how to do it’s to protect the rights of citizens in this country, but I’m doubting that. I don’t expect them to know how to protect my health. They’re not scientists, nor are they physicians. We should keep in mind that it was the SC which allowed the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 as a pollutant!

    I understand the concern about allowing the normal judicial process of environmental impact to move forward. I don’t have an objection to that in the case of GMOs. It’s just that I don’t know if this review process really has the desired result. Too often environmental impact studies that I’ve heard of are just used as an extortionary bargaining chip by certain interests that want to play hardball with a developer or industry. If they play ball, “Well…we’ll forget about that ‘environmental’ stuff…” Was there an environmental threat to begin with? Will the environment be protected? We won’t know, because nobody who matters cares. It’s all about somebody “getting theirs.” It was never about the environment for whomever brought up the concern.

    As conservatives have often pointed out, the only real way to protect the environment is to get people in touch with the benefits of it. For example, the best way to protect wildlife is to allow people to hunt and eat it. This creates a political dynamic where the hunters become ardent, knowledgeable environmentalists who want to protect wildlife in specific ways that promote its existence, because they have a direct interest in it persisting.

  68. Mark Miller says:


    Meant to add, do not take my mention of the county commissioners to mean that I had any faith in their ability to understand the issue. I just said it to communicate the circumstances that got me interested in the subject.

  69. BobN says:

    @ Mark Miller – you captured my sentiments pretty closely on your comments. I spent my youth in a farm area in South Dakota and after a long time in Engineering, I retired to a Farm in Eastern Oregon. Wow, how things have changed on the farm. The farmers really struggle to do whats best, but the government seems to tie them in knots at every opportunity. The stupid rules and intrusions are unbelievable. I have herds of deer running through my land, if we didn’t harvest them it would be totally out of control. Good hunting practices only better the land and animal environment.
    No, didn’t mean to imply you thought the commissioners were knowledgeable and would protect you. I think we both understand those limitations. ;-)

  70. Pascvaks says:

    Recent remarks (and many others beside) remind me of the phrase “the fox is in the hen house”. Anyone else getting the impression that there aren’t many chickens in the old hen house, that there’s no room with all the damn foxes? Want to solve most of the problems we have? Think maybe a good place to start might be the hen house, I mean the foxeral gruberment? Maybe some Kaliforniastan-style Federal Ballot Initatives every two years? Think that might clip their tails and ears and noses and nails and tongues and file their teeth and..? …. Nahhhh, guess not!

  71. Mark – my main problem with genetic modifications is that currently we don’t know enough about the exact processes by which genes really work. It seems that most of the time a gene is only active in conjunction with several others, and we can’t say that the gene X codes for Y traits and Z chemicals produced by the organism. Since hormone-type chemicals can be active in microgram amounts (look at the effects of 25ug too much or too little of Thyroxin, for example) and some effects may take decades to show a problem, we won’t know the effects of, say, 30 years exposure to a particular chemical concentration until it’s been eaten for 30 years. With shorter-lived cattle, you can see the effects of a lifetime’s exposure somewhat earlier, of course, but look at the problem with BSE and CJD (spongiform ecephalitis in cattle and passed to humans) for a long-term problem that wasn’t recognised since it takes maybe 10 years to appear, maybe up to 30 years. If it’s a low-level problem it may not be noticed or the cause found for a long time. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is something that seems to have appeared fairly suddenly, and we don’t know the cause. It may be something that was not previously diagnosed as such, or it may be a reaction to some “safe” level of pesticide contamination – we don’t know and don’t have a cure.

    Although the scientists dealing with such things as GMOs are good, they can’t know enough about the long-term effects of eating low-level toxins (or other low-level chemicals that might be a side-product), and it is a rather large experiment modifying the food of both the people and the animals they eat for whole nations in a relatively short space of time. In these circumstances, it makes sense to reduce your dosage of the unknown as much as you feel reasonable, especially if allergies or intolerances are noticed. Even if this is the placebo effect in operation, that has been shown to be powerful itself.

    By not allowing the foodstuffs to be proudly labelled as GMOs, it takes away the information needed to make a decision, leaving anyone concerned with such things the option of either eating food that they can’t be certain is not GMO, or of avoiding any foodstuff that has had such magic worked on it (or at least avoiding it as far as feasible). If you can’t be sure that a GMO crop will grow true after the first generation (new seed from Monsanto), then given that the pollen will travel around the world in the right weather conditions (most of Europe has occasional dustings of Sahara sand, and occasional frogs from who-knows-where), you can’t be certain that anything of that genus will subsequently be safe to eat. This is a Pandora’s box, that it would have been better not to have opened.

    This is one of those situations where I really would rather not be right, but I do try to persuade family and friends to be more aware that there are probably problems.

    On a related subject, I expect that sweeteners like Aspartame will sometime be shown to be causing cancers. When I was learning chemistry at school I was told that anything with a benzene ring in was a carcinogen, and that means phenyl and aniline too. Aspartame – a source of phenylaniline. I try to keep people I know off sweeteners, too, apart from natural ones.

  72. Jason Calley says:

    Here is a report which says: “A so-called “Monsanto rider,” quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require – the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.”

    This may bear watching to see how it turns out.

  73. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Jason; I spent over 20 years growing alfalfa commercially, as much as 1500 tons a year. There is no need of Roundup Ready alfalfa. There are many cultural practices that work well and a few weeds are no problem. Animals actually like some weeds as a change of taste. If you have to use something like Roundup to produce alfalfa, you have other worse problems. pg

  74. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve not “taken a nicotine break” but I have said I grow some tobacco in the back yard. It is for “trade goods” if society every collapses and I’m planning to make a nicotine tea as insecticide “someday”. For now it mostly acts as a leaf miner trap. They are NOT organic as I use chemical fertilizers.

    (How many times to have to say: I use the “Organic” tag as a way to fine “Not- GMO” and don’t care at all about what kind of fertilizer is used. )

    I don’t think the bugs care if the nicotine is “organic” or not, they die anyway…


    It is not practical to remove the GMO DNA from food. Nor the Bt toxin. Nor…

    @Tim Clark:

    No, we do not need to agree to disagree. The plant I talked about is a Rape Plant (not the other species you mentioned). The genes in it ARE the GMO genes. It is the direct result of the crossing, in the wild, of rape plants from the different manufactures each with ONE proprietary resistance gene (to that makers proprietary herbicide).

    This was the first link to pop up. We are now up to 3 genes…

    Repeated monitoring for escaped transgenic crop plants is sometimes necessary, especially in cases when the crop has not been approved for release into the environment. Transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) was detected along roadsides in central Japan in a previous study. The goal of the current study was to monitor the distribution of transgenic oilseed rape and occurrence of hybridization of transgenic B. napus with feral populations of its closely related species (B. rapa and B. juncea) in the west of Japan in 2005. The progenies of 50 B. napus, 82 B. rapa and 283 B. juncea maternal plants from 95 sampling sites in seven port areas were screened for herbicide-resistance. Transgenic herbicide-resistant seeds were detected from 12 B. napus maternal plants growing at seven sampling sites in two port areas. A portion of the progeny from two transgenic B. napus plants had both glyphosate-resistance and glufosinate-resistance transgenes. Therefore, two types of transgenic B. napus plants are likely to have outcrossed with each other, since the double-herbicide-resistant transgenic strain of oilseed rape has not been developed intentionally for commercial purposes.

    The genes do NOT stay put.
    The genes do NOT stay out of other varieties.
    The genes eventually do move into closely related species.
    The genes move by regular genetic outcrossing.
    The genes originate in the GMO plants.

    Repeats the “double stack” story but in Canada and the USA. Then adds about wild relatives:

    Equally, there’s a risk that genes for weedkiller resistance will spread to wild relatives. In 2002, two separate teams showed in controlled studies that wild sunflower and sugar beet could swap genes with genetically modified relatives and become fitter in the process. The latest findings in canola confirm that this is happening. The question that remains is whether the new resistance will help weeds in any way.

    Authorized field trials of GR bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) in Oregon led to extensive gene flow to naturalized or feral bentgrass (Zapiola, Campbell, Butler, & Mallory-Smith, 2008). Three years after the field trials terminated, as much as 62% of the wild bentgrass population in the vicinity possessed the GR trait, indicating that once gene flow occurs, it may be very difficult or impossible to eliminate from wild populations.
    A GR transgene has apparently introgressed from GR canola to the weed bird rape (feral Brassica rapa L.; Warwick, Legere, Simard, & James, 2008),

    GMO genes, once released, can, do and HAVE crossed out to “relatives” and even to the extent that some weeds can get multiple resistance traits.

    So no, no need to disagree. Just look at what is documented.

    Yes, this is in addition to those weeds that already have a resistance gene being selected for greater resistance. But it is still there.

    Statements of the form “but it isn’t a problem yet” are not comforting.

    That plasticizers have a load of “issues” too is not comforting… but yes, they are evil too.

    @Mark Miller:

    Boy have you been sold a bill of goods…

    Conventional plant breeding is done by letting two varieties have sex. Not a lot of exotica there.

    Sometimes it is enhanced via enforcing who gets to cross with whom.

    In some more exotic kinds of plant breeding, colchicine is used to mess with the cell division. This can give chromosome duplicate number plants ( a common technique that usually results in larger and more productive plants). Sometime very high dose colchicine can cause mutations. This is more rarely done (as many seeds are not viable). Extreme doses are lethal ( especially to animals).

    Rather like what happens in nature, only sped up.

    In GMO making, a gene with a “locked on” control sequence is fired into a nucleus (doing great damage to most, so they die) and for a few, inserting the gene sequence randomly inside existing genes which causes unknown and potentially very damaging results. (Natural plant breeding tends to take whole genetic units and move them into “the usual place” on the chromosomes.)

    Unlike regular breeding where the genes are assorted, but NOT subject to “lock on” always have to be active regulator genes, nor breaking other genes: The GMO genes can break a DNA sequence at any point. As genes are “fractal”, this can disrupt many proteins or control sequences. ( Again: Most die from the damage).

    For the few that survive, they are grown out and become breeding stock. One can only hope that nothing of importance was broken, nor that the breaks produce any new and novel fragments of protein with unexpected functions…

    It is NOT precise and it is NOT less disruptive than conventional plant breeding.

    Frankly, it is based on the theory of “One gene, one protein” that has been shown to be false. One gene often codes for multiple proteins. So stick in a fragment of something else randomly in the middle and what happens? We don’t know. But we do not that lots of the time it is lethal to the cell so implanted.

    Please remember, I’m not coming to this is a Noob. I had upper division genetics at University. I went to an Ag School that was doing the research and paid attention.

    It is precisely because of what I know of genetics that I’m concerned.

    It is precisely because of what I know about how the process is done that I’m concerned.

    (Firing gold pellets into the nucleus of cells and growing the survivors? Talk about “shotgunning it”…)

    See the bent grass example above for very high levels of GMO contamination in a wild strain. Now think about a canola farmer down wind of a GMO farmer saving seed for a few years. Frankly, I’d find it hard to accept if it wasn’t 90% at the end of that time.

    Again, on he contamination issue: “The poison is in the dose”. From the animal feeding problems, it looks like less than about 20% doesn’t cause sterility or death. At 100% it looks like a major issue. (Yes, getting nice academic links is hard as there is SO much non-academic that pops up on the searches. If you don’t like it, you can put in the several hours it takes…) So with a few percent contamination issue, I’m not going to be too worried. (I am not rabid about this, just prudent).

    Yes, contamination IS a big issue. GMO ought to be banned just because of that alone. Pollen is moved by wind, bees, wasps, other animals. It is just not possible to have BOTH GMO and non-GMO plants. In the long run, it is basically putting genetic crap everywhere. But unlike the problems with other chemicals, it does not go away over time if you just stop making it…

    I have done “seed saving” for about 20 years now. Every plant has different limits, but for some, like corn, it can take miles of separation to keep a variety pure. The notion that GMO can be kept proprietary and NOT hold the producer of it liable for genetic pollution is just absurd. Yet that is the law.

    Oh, and the choice of Bt toxin is particularly pernicious. But just ask yourself: Do you REALLY want pounds of Bt toxin on ever cell of your food and be unable to remove it? What happens WHEN someone (perhaps you) develop an allergy to this BACTERIAL toxin that can not be killed nor washed off (like the bacteria could be)?


    Because corn is wind pollinated, and because the GMO genes cause “strange results” in corn on outcrossing; it threatens the “Founders stock” of seed producing areas AND the “Land Races” of corn. It is about as bad for corn genetics as the introduction of smallpox was to the native Americans ( IMHO). Once here, it will never go away, and a large number of native varieties will be lost or damaged because of it.

    We are also losing the Monarch Butterfly. Corn pollen drifts on to milkweed and then the Bt toxin kills the butterfly. Spraying the continent nearly coast to coast with Roundup kills off a huge quantity of the food plants (those milkweed weeds) they need to survive.

    It is possible that the Bt toxin pollen is contributing to the general toxic load on bees and helping to make them more vulnerable to a parasitic mite in Colony Collapse. (At least on German researcher has found it to be a cofactor).

    It’s just a mess.


    From that second link; this is the kind of thing I expect (given what I know of digestion and immune response) and what I’m trying to avoid in my family:

    There is still no explanation provided by the authorities as to the cause of death of Gloeckner’s cows. The biotech industry claims that Bt toxins are quickly digested in the stomach and are only effective in insect target species. However, a recent study has found the toxin in the blood of over 80 % of women and their unborn children tested in Canada [5]. Because naturally existing Bt toxins from the soil bacterium have been used for a long time, long-term toxicology and health risk assessments on Bt proteins in GM crops were not done. However, there are important differences between the naturally produced toxins that can be washed off the crops, as opposed to genetically modified toxins that are part and parcel of the GM crop. Independent studies have shown that basing health assessments on flawed scientific assumptions is not only arrogant, but foolish.

    Scientific studies dating from the 1990s have identified Bt toxins as potent immunogens, with Cry1Ac inducing immune responses in mice similar to the cholera toxin [6]. Farm workers dealing with Bt cotton have consistently reported allergic responses requiring hospitalisation in some cases (see [7] More Illnesses Linked to Bt Crops, SiS 30). Binding of Cry1Ac to the intestine of mice has been shown, with concomitant diarrhoea symptoms [8]. A meta-analysis of 3 month feeding studies in laboratory animals found that Bt maize led to changes in blood protein levels indicative of abnormal liver metabolism (see [9] GM Feed Toxic, Meta-Analysis Confirms, SiS 52). A recent study finds Cry1Ab toxic to human kidney cells, causing cell death at low doses (see [10] Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells, SiS 52).



    BTW, Aspartame, for me, causes a shift of my sweet taste ability for several hours. It seems to bind to the sensors such that regular sugars no longer are effective. Only Aspartame will be sweet until it has worn off… several hours later.

    Just avoid it.

  75. Pascvaks says:

    Anyone know if Monsanto believes in AGW? If they’re in Al Gore’s Camp of New World Order Post Modern Anarchists we’re toast, I mean genetic toast. They won’t need to strip us and march us into the ‘showers’ this time, will they? (or is it ‘did they?’)

    Another thought, remember thalidomide? It was used to treat morning sickness and as a sleep aid from 1957-1961. Now used in some highly controlled leprosy and cancer treatments. (SarcOn)After a ‘little problem’ at the start of general usage they made some changes to a law or two and some FDA rules and everything now is just peachy and those bad bad birth deformities just can’t happen again anymore ever with any kind of drug now. Aren’t you just as happy and confident as I am?.(SarcOff)

  76. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M: What is some bugs develope nicotine adiction as some of us bigger bugs, and perhaps, if they pass the word among them, they all will go to your land to take a bit of it :-)

  77. Pascvaks – thalidomide is just one example of a drug (or other chemical) having different effects than originally intended, and now being used for a different purpose than it was first designed for. Biochemical systems (which includes humans) are really very complex – although I can see an amoeba following a light, I can’t figure out how the processing-power to drive that and various other amoeba responses comes to exist in such a small single-celled creature. Once we can explain such things, then maybe we’ll almost know enough to mess with the system software (genetic code) with a bit more certainty. Until that point, there’s a risk that any biochemical or genetic fiddling may result in serious unintended consequences. Not only do we not have the source-code, but we also don’t know the processor architecture (analogy for old hackers). I expect these to be worked out in time, but maybe not in my lifetime.

  78. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Simon: Not only do we not have the source-code, but we also don’t know the processor architecture (analogy for old hackers).
    That confirms what anyone with common sense would say: Grown up kids changing the INI files.
    It is sad to say that this is the consequence of a FAILED MATURITY process, caused by excess comfort, which impedes the correct and armonic development of different areas of the psyche: Intellectual, Emotional, Instictive. What it used to be NORMAL, back in ancient times, it is not anymore: Hardships in kids are discouraged and even forbidden, just remember how many kids sue their parents or the stupidity of UN´s promoted “human rights”, kids´rights, gay rights, pedophiles rights, minority rights, animal rights, etc. and all the mad “principles” established by the demoniacal “New World Order”.

  79. Mark Miller says:

    @Simon Derricutt:

    I direct you back to what I said earlier re. the genetics of hybridized seed production vs. GMO seed production. It isn’t a definitive counter-argument, but it’s at least an idea to consider. You pointed to several ailments and more or less admitted “We don’t know what’s causing them.” So pin it on GMOs?? That doesn’t strike me as a rational strategy. I understand the discomfort with this new technology. I feel that myself, but looking beyond the emotions of it, I don’t see the reason to say, “You’re the new kid on the block. We’ll assume it’s you.”

    One of the things the GMO advocate I spoke of said was that while safety tests have been conducted on GMOs (though on animals for the most part), no such tests have ever been conducted on organics. When I combine this thought with what he said earlier re. hybridization, I wonder if we’re not looking in the right place, considering your argument that perhaps screwy genetics are to blame. Perhaps it has to do with the pesticides used in conventional crops, or the kind of feed farmers give livestock. We don’t know. Like I was saying to E.M. earlier, I’d trust what he saw with his own family, with regard to their health, more than what anyone else says. I agree. There is so little that we know about what affects us, but saying that we should not delve into new technologies because of that I think is the wrong approach. Without the desire to explore we will know LESS, not more!

    When you bring up spongiform encephalitis it makes me think that the real problem re. this issue is that we know so little about how human digestion works, and how what is digested is used by our bodies, but this is re. ANY foods we eat.

    With regard to cancerous substances, the fact of the matter is our bodies are bombarded by toxins, many of them cancerous, all the time, from natural sources. About half the foods you can get at a natural foods store (organics are not excluded at all in this) contain known carcinogens that the plants themselves generate as defenses against their predators (that includes us). They became known because these chemicals were isolated in rat studies. Whether they’re cancerous in humans is another matter. Often positive results in rat studies are sufficient to scare some people. What E.M. says is correct. With regard to toxins, it’s the dose that kills you, not the mere presence of the toxin. As for aspartame, I stay away from it because I now know it literally gives me the jitters and it makes me have a short emotional fuse. Not something I want. To heck with cancer. I don’t like the way it makes me feel!

    I think if we’re going to blame GMOs for our health problems we need some positive results from studies of them, not speculation about what they might be doing. We don’t know the half of what’s affecting us that we just take for granted! One reason is we just accept the consequences as, “That’s the way life goes.”

  80. Mark – I also used to work in Failure Analysis. If your process has been working well with a certain failure rate, and the rate rises, then the first place to look is at what has changed in the input to the process. Most of the time this approach finds the root cause quickly so it can be fixed. In the case of human illnesses, there are a massive number of changes, and GMOs are just one of them. As such, I can’t point to that and say “there’s the problem” but what I am saying is that it’s possible that it’s a cause. Introducing toxins and other trace chemicals into a foodstuff that weren’t there before does seem somewhat risky to me, given the state of our knowledge about the entire way human biochemistry works.

    I don’t think we’re really disagreeing on this. I’m agreeing that the dose level must be important, but we don’t know the safe level for lifetime dosage and can’t know it for at least a few more lifetimes even if work was being done on such things. In the same vein, personal anecdotes are pretty well all we have to go on, and EM’s experiences with seeing what happens in his own family are valuable data since he’s pretty observant. Long-term effects are much harder to spot, though, especially if the effect is small and progressive. A health problem can have multiple causes, and sorting out major and minor ones is a lot of work.

    I’m not blaming GMOs for the health problems, but pointing out that problems should probably be expected if you alter the well-tried foods that have been human-tested for many lifetimes. Taking reasonable precautions to reduce the risk is a good idea, but worrying too much about it is also probably counter-indicated – stress also appears to be a major risk to health and wellbeing!

    Experimenting with GMOs is fine, and in any case that cat is out of the bag. What I am against is the widespread dissemination of the seeds (and the pollen) before adequate testing is done and the consequences known. If you don’t know what the results of the second-generation growth of the seeds will produce, then you also can’t know the results of cross-pollinations further down the line and in the wild. Getting back to an earlier (safe to eat) genetic version is close to impossible, as this would entail destroying all the current (for example) corn in the world, having a year or two of no corn being grown, then restarting with saved seed – it’s not going to be done unless there is a very obvious need for it. Earlier I likened this to Pandora’s box, and this still stands.

    Sorbitol is another sweetener that has strange effects on me – it seems to be an antihistamine as well as causing severe diarrhoea if I have more than around 10g, so I avoid it. Although I used to occasionally have chewing-gum, I haven’t found any that is not proudly “sugar-free” so I no longer buy it. No great loss, but I’d miss potatoes much more.

  81. Pascvaks says:

    You’ve all heard a variation of this before in other areas EM has thrown on the table, goes something like – ‘Government is best when it applies reason and wisdom to free market madness, checks and balances, etc.’. I doubt many will disagree that, as is true in so many areas, government is not performaning it’s text book role and has become the biggest part of the problem. If Monsanto et al are running around without restraints of any kind doing what they damn well please and paying the dogs to let them, we need to wake up and get some new dogs in Congress and the White House; mean, growy, bitey, junk yard dogs.

    PS: I know, I haven’t seen one lately, much less the number we need. Think maybe they were the first to get GMO’ed? Weren’t they the first to get bottled water?

  82. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: Think maybe they were the first to get GMO’ed? Weren’t they the first to get bottled water?
    They are just “initiated”, which means that through that singular procedure they are enabled/allowed to receive their masters´left overs. They are conditioned like Pavlov´s dogs. This procedure applies everywhere in the world. If someone disagrees or asks for more left overs, then something suspicious is discovered in his/her life and in a short time disappear from the political scene.
    Noble men having developed an individual soul and consequently what is called “common sense”, are impossible to condition, even to be hypnotized, that is why they do not participate in such unbecoming of man activities.

  83. adolfogiurfa says:

    About “bottled water”: It is usually formulated with Lithium Carbonate:
    Lithium pharmacology refers to use of the lithium ion, Li+, as a drug. A number of chemical salts of lithium are used medically as mood-stabilizing drugs…
    This procedure goes along with WHO sales prohibition of androgenic steroids, while soap operas, “sports” like football, soccer, show business, media, etc, play a role in “pacifying” the world so as to not allow too exited people to interfere with money/power grabbing by the ruling elite.

  84. greg copeland says:

    I really do feel sorry for all you people. You run around scared of everything, even your own shadow. You think that all pesticides are bad and we should ban them all. Let me tell you something. If, there were no pesticides, there would be no food supply. Also without gm plants we will never feed the ever increasing population of the world. I have been farming for about 50 years.
    You people just have no clue.

    [ Reply: See the posting here: for why this comment is just wrong on so many fronts. -E.M.Smith]

  85. TIM CLARK says:

    “The genes eventually do move into closely related species.”

    We agree. I must have misinterpreted.

  86. p.g.sharrow says:

    Adding BT toxins to every cell in a plant that is to be consumed is as stupid as adding botulism toxin to every cell. Spraying it onto the surface to kill targeted plant eating insects works well enough. This stuff can KILL anything that eats enough of it, JUST READ THE LABEL. I would rather not have to eat BT engineered plants. At least when I eat sprayed plants I can wash it off. pg

  87. Jason Calley says:

    Odd effects from unexpected gene transfer and mixing is happening in Australia.

  88. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, nicotine is a bug poison (“pesticide”) so not a lot of taste for it in the bug world… Only a few specialists can take it. ( Like the tobacco horn worm).


    One of the foundation ideas of GMO production is the “One Gene, one Protein” mantra. Yet, it isn’t true. We just recently found out that genes act more like holograms. “One gene, several proteins from various parts of it”. So at the very foundation of GMO production is a fundamental lack of understanding…

    Then, just a bit over a decade back, we figured out that some of the “Junk DNA” isn’t junk at all… it codes for “microDNA” that controls the quantities of proteins produced. So one bit has the “what” and another bit has the “how much”…

    And so we stick a crowbar into it with “locked on” sequences that make pesticides and think we have a clue what the effect will be. ONE surprise was that GMO corn is more “woody”. They don’t know why, but don’t care… And what else (perhaps less obvious) is also different? Nobody knows as we’re not looking….


    See the various citations to literature showing damage in the “Carping Comment” thread…

    This isn’t just a “random pin on the new kid”. It is a “Theory says increased immune stimulation and response with toxin mediated effects” and then observing “increased immune problems with toxic like symptoms” and connecting the dots. There is now (in the other link comments) a study of mice ilium cells showing such changes. It’s not just the anecdotal “Indian goats fed on GM cotton stubble and died”…

    Hybridized seed production is just rearranging the existing genes. It does not pick up genes from alien species. GMOs do things like stick bacterial genes into plants and put toxin molecules on the cell surfaces. Toxins that are known to be, well, toxic. Huge difference. ( Bacterial DNA can directly illicit immune response as it has a different methylation that the immune system uses as a clue to attack). Even colchicine treatment of seeds can’t do that. (BTW, colchicine is used as a medicine to treat gout… )

    The notion that hybrid seed development by conventional means is more risky than GMO is just flat out wrong.

    It is possible to make toxic plants that way, but even then, the nature of the toxicity is limited and narrow. For example, potatoes have a few toxins in them to ward off bugs. A conventional potato was developed with more of them. That was shown to make some folks sick. But that is a matter of degree, not of kind. More of a known “issue”, not whole new unknown issues…

    Furthermore, point mutations (even introduced by things like radiation) are, well, point mutations. They don’t shuffle whole chunks of the genetic deck like cross species transplants of genes. Most of them do nothing ( the coding is rather redundant). Many of the rest do “nothing much of interest” in either direction. A bunch of them make the plant less fit (breaks something important). Only a very few make something of interest. Even then it tends to be small changes, like a color shift or a change of flower size.

    It is simply a falsehood to state that GMO techniques are in any way “safer” than conventional plant breeding.

    It is flat out a lie to say that conventional plant breeding is more risky than GMO techniques.

    I’d have no problem with ‘exploring’ GMO’s if two criteria were met:

    1) We had studies that involved feeding in high doses for a lifetime or two of test animals and at least a decade total elapsed time (preferably 2, as some cancers are slow…)

    2) It was ‘rolled out’ one continent at a time over about 100 years. Once these genetic genies are out of the bottle there is no putting them back…

    With the “global and all at once” that we’re doing, by the time we realize we have a significant problem, we’re going to be in a global scale catastrophe. We’re already getting ‘super bugs’ and ‘super weeds’ and inside a generation Roundup will be useless. Just like with antibiotics, over use is going to destroy usability.

    Now lets just ask one little question: What happens if Bt toxin causes reduced fertility (as indications are) and a tendency to dramatic enhancement of inflammation and food allergies (as has been observed in some cases) and we roll it out to most of the world population all at once? Say it has a ‘couple of years’ to onset (as many such immune mediated illnesses do).

    What happens is that a few years into it, we suddenly have a very sick and non-reproductive population and a seed stock unsuited to food production. Pretty big risk. What’s the reward? A small reduction in farm costs and a transitory increase in production of very small amount (in some cases the GMO plants have produced LESS, not more…). Little reward. Gigantic risk.


    Hey, lay off the lithium! ( I like Lithia Water… In the fountains in the park in Ashland Oregon… kind of bitter, but then you feel better ;-)

    If I could find bottled water with Lithium in it, I’d buy it… Got a brand?

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    It’s getting harder to avoid them. Corn, Soybeans, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Eggplant, alfalfa (and any animal that eats them, as we’ve seen Bt can get into the blood), rice, and I’m sure a whole lot more…


    What a lot of folks ‘get wrong’ is they thing that genes stay where you put them. Yet all of evolution is bout “things changing and moving” all on their own… What we are doing is speeding up evolution by orders of magnitude and sending it flying off cliffs…

  89. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “One of the foundation ideas of GMO production is the “One Gene, one Protein” mantra. Yet, it isn’t true. We just recently found out that genes act more like holograms.”

    YES! And that “hologram” analogy is better than anything I have been able to think of so far. We humans simplify things conceptually, and unfortunately, the simplified version of genetics is that the genes are some sort of “blueprint” or “code.” This implies that genes have a logical or modular structure — and that is just flat out wrong. I ran across a Creationist site where the site host offered a “proof” of Creationism. His proof (complete with references to multiple textbook examples) was that DNA is “a blueprint” or “a code” and every code must have a code maker. QED — at least to him! Of course what he really proved is that textbooks are simplified to the point of error. Cellular machinery and genetics is a Rube Goldberg machine of boggling complexity and so void of logical structure that we have no idea of the chaotic (and I use that term in the mathematical sense) interactions between its parts.

    There is a reason why human genetic manipulation is more unpredictable (and hence more dangerous) that traditional breeding. Consider this: evolution is a giant advantage to any organism. Any organism which cannot adapt (genetically, through variation and natural culling) is endangered by any changes in environment. The logical outcome of this is not only that successful organism evolve, but also that the ability to evolve will itself evolve. The fact that organisms developed sexual reproduction is an example of a upgraded ability to evolve. (Side note: Why two sexes? Wouldn’t three be better mixing and better opportunity to shuffle the gene pool? Yes, but then you have a decreased chance of finding partners. There is a trade off, and for most species the result was two sexes. There are, however, fungi which have three sexes, so differing solutions are still possible.) Anyway, sexual crossings and evolution in general has evolved to be more successful than random point mutations. For any organism (and that would be most) that takes part in symbiotic relationships, that means that natural crosses or selections will tend to be less toxic to other species in the symbiotic group. Why? Because long term, organisms will get better and better at NOT killing the other species with which they are symbiotic. Note that I am not saying that organisms evolve to be nice to ALL other organisms, but rather to those with which they have maintained a supportive relationship. Indeed, plants evolve poisons (poison ivy) to fight enemies, but human food crops are not founded on those plants which have specialized in poisoning mammals.

    Last thing; junk DNA. It is not junk; it is spare parts, gene sequences that may be useful under certain conditions. Again, the ability to evolve has evolved. What would be a better evolutionary tool than a hidden truck of spare gene sequences, already assembled and tested, ready to be swapped into or out of action? I would bet that if we could test, we would find that (for example) the bits of “junk DNA” which might confer better survival in a high pH environment are more likely to be activated by mutations which happen to the organism when it is thrust into a high pH environment. Likewise, the junk DNA which confers better survival in a toxic heavy metal environment would likely be activated by the mutations which might happen from heavy metal poisoning.

  90. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “What happens is that a few years into it, we suddenly have a very sick and non-reproductive population and a seed stock unsuited to food production. Pretty big risk. What’s the reward? A small reduction in farm costs and a transitory increase in production of very small amount (in some cases the GMO plants have produced LESS, not more…). Little reward. Gigantic risk.”

    Very true — but then again, you have ethics and compassion. Suppose that you are the sociopathic CEO of a giant agri-corporation named Monsonta (or something similar). Suddenly the equation of profit and loss changes. You make a HUGE amount of money, and suffer no losses — none at all, not even a few sleepless nights. In the worse case, the Monsonta corporation (not you) pays out some money, but by then, you have retired to your island in the Caribbean. Wow! What a country!

    They used to quarantine people with dangerous diseases. Why can’t we quarantine sociopaths?

  91. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    There is a fascinating experiment that was done with birds. A bit of ‘gum’ tissue was picked up and moved to another part of the body (out of the context of the head). There, the tissue did not develop a beak structure, it grew teeth… Reptilian style teeth.

    Birds retain the “tooth genes” in their “junk” DNA… just in case they ever need teeth again…

    There is some other, unidentified, signal process that keeps those teeth genes shut off in the context of “build a beak here” cells…

    So most likely we humans have genes for things like tails and fur and large fermenting ruminant colons (as we had them in the past); and who knows what else. Every so often a “fault” happens and we get folks like the ones with fur all over their bodies to remind us… One of my sisters has an unfused coccyx. Yes, her “tail bone” still makes individual tail bones. Just add in the “and longer” gene for each vertebra and the old primate tail would be back…

    But what was interesting about that article on micro-DNA was that it isn’t JUST a tool chest of spare parts. It is an active control mechanism on the “how much” part of the production process.

    BTW, IIRC it was in Discover Magazine that I read the article on DNA as hologram data storage. Depending on which ‘view’ you take of a DNA sequence, you get different proteins and different control actions. They had one example in detail where a given sequence gave three different proteins. Just from looking at different parts of the sequence.

    Per “quarantine”: Perhaps because we have built a system without a moral compass and that promotes “controlled aggression” and through that, have put the sociopaths in charge of the asylums….

  92. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Now back to reblogging again!
    I am not clever enough to write something like this, but I am clever enough to know how good a post it is.

Comments are closed.