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Mass. Legislature Faces Deadline To Advance GMO Labeling Bill

Connecticut was the first state in the country to pass legislation requiring food containing GMOs be labeled as such. Pictured here in May, residents rally in support of the law. (CT Senate Democrats/Flickr)

Connecticut was the first state in the country to pass legislation requiring food containing GMOs be labeled as such. Pictured here in May, residents rally in support of the law. (CT Senate Democrats/Flickr)

BOSTON — Next week is a key deadline for the push to require labels on all genetically modified foods sold in Massachusetts.

Five GMO labeling bills are pending on Beacon Hill, and Wednesday is the cutoff for lawmakers to decide whether to send any of them to the full legislature for a vote this session. Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling laws last year, but they won’t take effect until several other states do the same.

WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with people on both sides of the issue: state Rep. Ellen Story of Amherst, who has previously introduced GMO food labeling bills and has one pending, and Rich Bonanno, president of the 6,000-member Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, which has lobbied against proposed GMO labeling laws in Massachusetts. First, Rep. Story:

Ellen Story: It would mandate that there would be a small sentence or a phrase on a package saying food in this product has been genetically modified or genetically engineered. It is not a large warning label. It’s the same size as the other ingredients.

Sacha Pfeiffer: You said no warning. There’s also no reference to possible health risks of GMO. And the science on whether there are health risks — it’s basically the jury is still out. Is not having that language in there an effort to make the bill more palatable to the food industry?

An example of what a GMO label might look like. (Courtesy Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs)

An example of what a GMO label might look like. (Courtesy Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs)

Yes, I think so. The jury really is still out. This is very new. It was started in the 1990s. The studies that have been done have been funded by the companies that have a fiduciary interest in having GMOs. There are over 60 countries that require labeling, just informing the consumer that there are GMO products in this food. The government has said that these are substantially the same ingredients, there’s no substantial change. But if people are taking out patents on these ingredients, it seems to me that that certainly does qualify as a material change.

Despite these unknowns about whether GMOs can affect our health, there are people who believe they could be dangerous, and they’ve been lobbying the legislature, including here in Massachusetts. We spoke with one of them, Nicole Cormier. She’s a dietitian from Buzzards Bay and she’s a member of the group Massachusetts Right to Know GMOs, and here’s how she explained her concern:

“I truly want to know exactly where my food is coming from, who grew it, and that’s just simply not possible in terms of genetically modified foods. We still don’t know exactly what we’re eating. And that, to me, is terrifying.”

But what do you say to GMO labeling opponents who say that labels could be confusing or misleading for consumers in terms of a food product’s safety? They may assume something’s wrong with it.

I think that that’s a misguided fear. If there were a skull and crossbones on the package, or if there were a huge red label saying, “untested GMOs,” that would be one thing. But this is a sentence or a phrase of a sentence. It is not a scary flashing sign.

Although there is a study that’s now more than a decade old, but that study found that if there were foods labeled as genetically modified, 57 percent of people would be less likely to buy them, and that certainly can’t make the food industry feel good.

No. I think the food industry is quite worried about this. What is interesting to me is that the food industry insists that these are absolutely safe and there is no possible harm that could come to people from eating them. And I wonder, then, why they are fighting so hard to disallow consumers the right to know.

Opponents of labeling also say that if it’s done, it should be done federally to make it uniform. What do you think about that argument?

Oh, I completely agree with that. And if the Food and Drug Administration were a functioning body, I think that would be an excellent idea. But we all know that the federal government is almost paralyzed. They can hardly do anything. So, I think, in that case what you have to do is the states have to take the bull by the horns and decide that we will start doing this on our own.

And now the perspective of Rich Bonanno, president of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation:

Rich Bonanno: We feel that this is appropriate to be dealt with at the federal level and that there’s many ways the FDA can work this out. I think that the industry has been willing to look at it on a federal basis. But, frankly, going state-by-state becomes very difficult, especially with interstate commerce laws and the idea that some people will have to do things that maybe people in an adjoining state won’t have to do. They could have competitive disadvantages, and any time you try to deal with a national issue on a state-by-state basis, it usually comes back and ends up hurting local producers.

Whether labeling might be done at a state or federal level, there’s a biotech umbrella group called the Biotechnology Industry Organization that says labeling would be unnecessary, redundant, misleading, and drive up food costs for consumers. Do you agree with those four points?

Well, generally the concept is when you label something, especially on a food label, that it serves as a warning. There’s a difference between a warning label and informational label. And I think that’s the concern. I think certainly the science behind GMOs and having everybody from not only our USDA, FDA, EPA, but also the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, all are very much on board with this technology. And they certainly don’t want to alarm the public.

How do you respond to people, including Rep. Story, who say that consumers simply have a right to know what’s in their food?

Certainly this issue is a right-to-know issue and not a need-to-know issue. And that has been the problem with the way FDA views this. People could ask for anything on a food label that they feel might be of interest to them. What was the pesticide use like? What kind of fertilizer did you use? Is it conventional or is it organic? I mean, the amount of information that we could say consumers have a right to know could just go on endlessly. But FDA doesn’t work like that. They work on a need-to-know basis. So, in other words, FDA says that if you take a corn plant and you modify it with a protein from a bacteria that protects it from insect damage, that that’s still a corn plant, and therefore there’s no need to put something on a food label.

Over the years, many consumers have gotten more savvy about food, and many people have lost confidence in the U.S. food system. So why not go for total transparency, especially if you feel that GMOs don’t pose a health risk?

Well, I don’t know that consumers have lost confidence in their food supply. I would question where you got that kind of information.

Well, when I think about people who are unwilling to eat meats that have been factory-farmed, and they’re concerned about pesticide use, and are more conscious about shopping organic. So more of a wariness or a caution.

Any group can surface and create maybe a little bit of hysteria on the part of the public. We certainly have an appreciation for the concern of the public in wanting to know about their food supply, but to me a lot of it’s based on just a lot of hype and hysteria that you can’t find in the scientific community.

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  • Varenik

    Notice the condescending language (“any group”, “hysteria”,”hype”) while blowing hot air and , basically, making light of legitimate concerns by the consumers on part of R.B…. Ever see “Food, Inc.” , Mr. Bonanno ? Was that also hysteria and hype. Just be aware, please, that more and more people are starting to see thru the industry’s vacuous denials, and the fact that most of the food industry has been feeding the public a whole lot of crap, literally and figuratively , will come back to bite those companies… And stoop referring to your paid consultants as “scientific community.

    • Viriato77

      So your killer retort is to refer to a documentary? A documentary that doesn’t even focus on GMOs. It was Big Ag and conventional farming as a system. More and more people are just swallowing misinformation. The scientific community (to which I refer to in the global sense) already has a consensus out that GMO is as safe as non-GMO for consumption. And before you post to your ready list of 200+ scientists that don’t like GMO, stop and research the word consensus (hint: it’s not unanimity). Also, just because some one doesn’t agree with your position doesn’t mean their a “shill” or are “paid for”.
      .

      • Hippy82

        Consume as much gmo as you can I say! I’ll continue to eat my organic home grown food and then in 10 years if your riddled with cancer, infertility, slower brain functions, allergies, I guess you’ll know for sure whether the FDA approved something that really was safe or not… Because after all they are 100% for human health and none whatsoever for profit just like monsanto. I guess long term they are fixing world hunger and also curing over population.. Win win eh?! But at whose cost?

        • Viriato77

          More power to you, sounds like you have the luxury of a bountiful table and property on which to grow it. Care to give me your evidence that eating GMO will riddle me with cancer, infertility, slower brain functions, allergies (I don’t know how one is riddled with infertility or slower brain function as these are descriptive states and not types). And your also insinuating a conspiracy with the FDA to control population growth. Do you have any legitimate and validated reason to be so anti-GMO other than conspiracy theory and misinformation?

          • Varenik

            FDA is practically de-fanged as a watchdog for consumers, so any reference to its practices sounds a bit too hollow…

      • Varenik

        the documentary focuses on industrial food production ant its pitfalls. gmo’s are pushed on us by the industry that stands to profit from them at our expense and by bulldozing over the valid criticism the same way tobacco companies spread disinformation, same way ddt makers had tv commercials with trucks spraying ddt over a bunch of kids eating their lunches, same way oil and gas companies deny global warming and effects of pollution inflicted upon us in air, soil, and water. You don’t even want to let us make a choice between knowing what we put in our bodies. Stop making decisions for others. Have some shame and humility.

      • Varenik

        ‘it should be noted that most of these studies have been conducted by
        biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants
        it should be noted that most of these studies have been conducted by
        biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants”
        SOME CONSENSUS, HUH ?

        • Viriato77

          Care to back that up with a figure instead of an assertion?

          • Varenik

            :-)

            http://maurin.bnk.free.fr/Domingo%20et%20al.,%202011.pdf

            quote from the last part of the abstract.
            Again, stop trying to put big corporations’ profits above people’s right to choose.

          • Viriato77

            Nice emoticon, but the last part of the abstract still makes on assertion and doesn’t provide a figure. A systemic review will also provide statistical methods, try looking up the Cochrane database as an example. Part of reading scientific literature is looking at it critically. Without being dismissive of the potential for conflict of interest (in any scientific field). No matter who got the data, Corporate or garage biologist, it has to pass peer review and then it’s out there in the public to be picked apart, reproduced (or failure thereof) by the greater scientific community. While by no means perfect science does it’s best to be self-correcting. If you (the scientist who finds fault with the published lit) disagree then you either come back with a critical analysis and/or crank out your own data.

          • Varenik

            all that to deny people the right to know and choose ?

  • mem_somerville

    I bought some “deli slices” at Stop & Shop last week. The package said it had “non-genetically engineered expeller pressed canola oil, non-genetically engineered corn starch” and more. That’s perfectly suitable for people who want to avoid the best genetics in their plants. And it does not burden those of us who actually understand the science and the data.

    This should be handled like “Kosher” as a label, where those who have some philosophical objections manage, track, and punish offenders.

  • patzagame

    just a thought on the consensus…PDF]
    A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified …
    maurin.bnk.free.fr/Domingo%20et%20al.,%202011.pdf‎
    by JL Domingo – ‎2011 – ‎Cited by 77 – ‎Related articlesFeb 5, 2011 – A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants … potential adverse effects/safety assessment of GM plants for human … Environment International 37 (2011) 734–742 … In 2006, 6 years after our initial review was …. J.L. Domingo, J. Giné Bordonaba / Environment International 37 …

    • patzagame

      that link doesn’t work,see my other post to the PDF.

  • patzagame
    • patzagame

      The right to be informed: to be protected against
      fraudulent, deceitful, or grossly misleading information, advertising,
      labeling, or other practices, and to be given the facts needed to make
      informed choices.

  • patzagame
    • RobertWager

      Try this:
      http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/a12-csaph2-bioengineeredfoods.pdf

      or this from European National Academies of Science:

      “There is no validated evidence that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding…There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.” (EASAC 2013

      • Varenik

        ‘it should be noted that most of these studies have been conducted bybiotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants
        it should be noted that most of these studies have been conducted by
        biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants” sort of like tobacco companies’ “scientists” validating their claim of “no conclusive proof”… But never mind all that, how anybody could be SO sure so soon that it is harmless – it will take several generations to figure this out, and, meanwhile you are trying to deny people the ability to make their own choices as to what they put in their bodies… On the bigger scale this is how most of american public is kept dumb and careless. sad.

      • Varenik

        this is why a lot of European countries don’t want gmo crops ? same way they don’t want our pork or beef ?

      • McNamara

        The majority of GMO “use” in Europe is for animal feed

        • CycloneFarms

          Don’t forget GM chymosin for cheese.

          Oh, and insulin, too.

          Time for you to copy and paste something from the google without reading it, right?

          • Varenik

            still shilling for the right to keep people clueless……..

    • Martin Dagoberto

      Good find, Pat! This study shows how ties to corporate biotech interest clearly impacts “scientific” findings on GMO safety. The “numerous studies” used by pro-GMO camp are largely by scientists with connections to the industry.

  • Calamity

    The one thing Monsanto and the congress have in common. They both have organics only in their cafeterias. Nuff said!

    • RobertWager

      A myth often put forward by those with little or no knowledge of issues in this area.

      • Martin Dagoberto

        Yay, something me and Robert agree on! That’s apparently a bogus myth. They’re all eating it, too! (although the ultra-rich only eat organic – sorry no citation, just celebrity friends).

        • Viriato77

          Because they have the luxury of indulging an ideological preference. They’re not making the decision based on any valid scientific evidence. Super rich or celebrity does not equal right.

          • Varenik

            they are making decisions based on which industry they are in pockets of…

    • CycloneFarms

      And guys with avatars that wear ball caps and cheap sunglasses like to take it in the butt. Nuff said!

      • detroit58

        …says the person who lives rubbing off the keys.

  • http://geneticallyengineeredfoodnews.com Ella Baker

    Mosanto just cares for money.

    • RobertWager

      They make the same amount of money as Whole Foods, so…

      • Varenik

        any proof to that ?
        Not that whole foods (the management and ceo) is such a great enterprise… they could care less about consumers. just like monsanto.

      • Martin Dagoberto

        who’s privatizing the global seed stock?…. more than 80% of the world’s seeds are owned by a handful of private interests, including Monsanto. this is our common heritage, the work of countless generations of farmers, being stolen.

        genetic engineering is a way to gain intellectual property rights over our common heritage.

        • Viriato77

          You do realize ip rights expire right?

          • Varenik

            you do realize entities like monsanto will always find a way around that, right ?

          • FrenchKissed

            Like they did when their patent on Roundup expired in 2000? Oh, I guess they didn’t find a way around that.

          • CycloneFarms

            In woo world, Monsanto saw that their patent on glyphosate was about to expire, so they rushed to develop HT tolerant corn and soybeans.

            So they could conscript the farmers. Or something like that.

          • Varenik

            the right to know. WTF do you have against that ?

          • CycloneFarms

            WTF do I have against something that you can’t demonstrate is a right?

            I dunno, maybe I object to people embarrassing themselves…

          • Varenik

            then stop commenting.
            Goodbye.

          • CycloneFarms

            Really?

            How does one work around a utility patent?

            How can I extend one?

            If I did a bioassay of your brain and found the stupidity gene and patented it, could I get an extension beyond the original 17 years?

            If I could prove you were exceptionally stupid, would that be the basis for an extension?

          • Varenik

            too funny. You are crossing into the “Nazi/ name calling” territory, the internet equivalent of slugging somebody in the face in lieu of a valid argument (which would , hopefully, explain why is it you want to keep people in the dark about what they consume) . Please refer to my past comment about shallow knowledge of history and general lack of civilty and culture.

          • CycloneFarms

            You make the same “right to know” claim over and over again, but you can’t support it.

          • Varenik

            My choice is mine to make, not yours. I cannot break it down any further. Industry with profits to maintain should not be making it for me.

        • FrenchKissed

          That’s patently false (no pun intended). The work of generations of farmers can’t be stolen. A seed company can insert traits into other plants or hybridize plants and patent the hybrid, but they can’t patent the plants they use to create their new varieties and anyone is free to use them to grow or to build on.

          Big Ag certainly doesn’t produce 80% of the world’s seed. Conceivably they could do 80% of the total sales (in dollars, not seeds- though I doubt they do) but they certainly couldn’t produce or own 8o% of the global seed stock.

          • Martin Dagoberto

            So they take the product of generations of farmers, make one tweak and call it theirs. Oh, then they allow their tweaked version to contaminate the original centers of biodiversity (as is what happened with GMO contamination of Mexican Maize). This is strait up biopiracy my friends.

          • CycloneFarms

            No.

            Try to learn something before you type. Like Henry Wallace and Pioneer Hi-Bred seed back in the 1930s.

            We don’t want to save corn seed! Because hybrids are better, and they have been for about 80 years!

            Seed saving is an anti-GMO meme that has no basis in reality.

        • McNamara

          Well said. Your comments speaks to the heart of the entire GMO debate. Why should a handful of chemical companies be entitled to control such a large sector that effects farmers, consumers, animal feed markets and feeder lines to 80% of processed foods? Its a recipe for “food supply” vulnerability.

          • CycloneFarms

            We’ve had patents on seeds since 1930 and have gotten along quite well, until people like you with no clue have started making noise.

          • McNamara

            CycloneFarms We get it. You love GM products. You just want to sing their praises 24/7 …. Go ahead eat them.

            However, respect the right of over 90% of American consumers, who when polled desire the right to know via GMO labeling

          • CycloneFarms

            You don’t have that right. Try taking a civics class.

          • McNamara

            ~64 countries worldwide label GMO’s and many others ban them completely

            The ONLY reason GMO’s are not labeled in the U.S. is directly due to the overreach of the Biotech’s into our politics and our regulatory bodies.

          • CycloneFarms

            Spoken like a true reality-dodging activist!

            Let’s see that list of “many” countries that ban GMOs.

    • CycloneFarms

      Did you get some hits to your webpage by barfing that up?

      • Varenik

        still trying to keep population in the dark ?

  • Martin Dagoberto

    There is no scientific consensus on GMO
    safety, and the government has never performed or required any safety
    testing of GMO foods. The industry funds its own research to prove
    GMOs are safe while aggressively discrediting any independent
    research challenging that belief. GMO foods have been linked to
    digestive disorders, infertility, immune problems and cancer, and
    these studies warrant further research.

    Worldwide, nearly 300 scientists and
    doctors, including the developer of the first commercialized GM crop,
    have signed on to a recent statement citing serious safety concerns
    with GMOs.

    The sooner we have mandatory GMO
    labeling, the sooner we can begin monitoring possible public health
    impacts, as suggested by the F.D.A.’s own scientists.

    • Viriato77

      300 scientists does not a consensus make. Im sure you could find 300 scientists that disagree with evolution, vaccines, or HIVES.

      • Varenik

        just like those 3 % who deny human footprint in global warming

        • Viriato77

          ??? So you wither agree with me or are a climate denier?

          • Varenik

            are you still trying to deny people their right to know and choose ?

          • Viriato77

            And your still using the same straw rhetoric when you can’t argue the facts.

          • Varenik

            there is a difference about people being informed so that THEY can make their own choices about what to eat. NO MATTER what argument YOU are using it is still being made in favor of denying people that knowledge. Reminds me of pink slime. You just don’t have the right to keep people in the dark – that does not need any arguments in any civilized setting.

          • hyperzombie

            What is it with you and the Pink Slime? What does Pink Slime have to do with crop breeding?

          • Varenik

            Industry practice to keep info from consumers. It is not that hard to draw parallels, is it ?

      • Martin Dagoberto

        I’m not saying there’s consensus. I’m saying there is not consensus. No this is not like the climate deniers. These are real scientists, again, including the developer of the first commercialized GM crop.

        • Viriato77

          Also consensus does not equal unanimity, a list of 300 “scientists” does not refute the opinion of the community. If there there is such a concern then this 300 needs to get in the lab and crank out that data.

  • Donald Sutherland

    Children Food Allergies and GMO Labeling
    By Donald Sutherland

    My wife is a Girl Scout troop leader and this is the time of year she orders cookies for her troop to sell. One Girl Scout in the troop has a soy allergy, and she along with millions of other children with food allergies have to be diligent in reading the food labels to avoid eating a food ingredient which will trigger an allergen health risk. Many brands of cookies use soy products such as soy lecithin in their manufacture.

    Soy is listed by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the FDA as one of the top 8 food allergens in the US.
    http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm079311.htm

    The rate of food allergies has more than doubled over the past decade, and there are now an estimated 5.9 million children in the United States with food allergies (along with another 2.3 million adults).
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db10.htm#howdoes

    The rise in children food allergies has become a national concern with almost every school in the US experiencing this health risk according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/data briefs/db10.htm#howdoes
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/06/16/peds.2011-0204.abstract

    Highlighting this health concern is a spike in children food allergies in the US which was revealed in a 10 year CDC study showing an 18 percent increase in children food allergies from 1997-2007.
    http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies/

    This spike of food allergies came after federal agencies approved and permitted the introduction of a new species of laboratory created genetically engineered/modified (GE/GM) soy plants and their products in 1996.

    These GM soy plants and their GM soy products have had been identified by the CDC as allergens, but the CDC admits they have never tested for their allergen effects on children.

    Since the early 1990′s the FDA, USDA, and EPA have approved the use of patented new species of corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and other plant species which have had their DNA genes spliced and proteins bioengineered in laboratories to produce a pesticide (ie. Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria) and to resist being harmed by herbicides manufactured by a few Fortune 500 companies.
    http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm352067.htm

    91 Percent of all soy grown in the US is genetically modified according to the USDA and one company (Monsanto) with its’ GM patents controls 93 percent of soy seeds sold in the US.
    http://www.monsanto.com/Pages/default.aspxhttp://www.monsanto.com/Pages/default.aspx
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/28/AR2009112802471.html

    Food companies have manufactured GM soy into multitudes of food products successfully spreading GM soy products into the majority of processed foods kids and adults eat from baked goods, breakfast cereals, baby formula, to snack bars. Product names including hydrogenated oils, lecithin, emulsifiers, tocopherol (a vitamin E supplement) and proteins.
    http://www.soyfoods.org/soy-products/soy-fact-sheets/soy-protein-isolate-fact-sheet

    The government bodies entrusted to ensure the public’s safety (CDC, FDA, EPA) admit they are solely relying on the GM safety studies conducted by the same companies which manufacture genetically modified plants and their by-products such as soy protein, corn syrup, and sugar.
    http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/biotechnology/ucm096095.htm

    Under federal law children are protected from food allergens that can bring on severe or life threatening reaction under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA)2 (Public Law 108-282) which requires the labeling of allergens on manufactured food products.
    http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/Allergens/ucm059116.htm

    In the US kids with a food allergy are alerted to danger by reading the list of CDC identified soy allergen ingredients posted on processed foods.
    http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=51&title=Soy_allergy_avoidance_list
    http://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/soy-allergy

    Unlike the US, food labels in 64 countries list all science engineered genetically modified (GM) ingredients including GM soy products. In China GM soy is banned from direct human consumption.
    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/international-labeling-laws
    http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/07/08/china-grapples-with-genetically-modified-foods/

    A shopper in Europe, Japan, and China can pick up a food item and its’ label can read, “genetically modified soy products, genetically modified corn syrup, genetically modified sugar”, etc. That’s a lot of attention to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and for most Americans they are largely unaware that they are eating GMOs with every bite of most processed foods.

    In 1992 the FDA established a policy that says genetically engineered and or modified organisms are developed in the same process as mother nature’s, and do not need to be labeled as a different food because they are “substantially equivalent” to its natural counterpart.
    http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/labelingnutrition/ucm059098.htm

    This concept of “substantial equivalence” was endorsed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996. The seal of “substantial equivalence” by government bodies permits the marketing of new GMO foods in the same process with respect to safety as conventional food or components, and thus saves the biotechnology companies and federal government the expense and time required to do additional safety studies for a new and different food.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_the_release_of_genetically_modified_organisms

    Since the rapid and controversial approval of GMO food into the American food market, scientific, environmental, and consumer safety organizations have opposed the entry of GMO foods largely on concerns that the long term consequences from bioengineered foods will have adverse health and environmental effects which have not been adequately tested.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/
    http://www.allergykids.com/defining-food-allergies/fact-sheet-what-are-genetically-engineered-foods/

    These organizations cite internationally recognized clinical data showing the harmful impact of genetically modified food in laboratory studies, but still the FDA says data hasn’t been presented to them to sway them from their current label policy to identify GMO foods.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies
    http://www.responsibletechnology.org
    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org

    Despite national polls showing the majority of the American public want GM food to be labeled, biotechnology industries and the food companies are opposed and have been lobbying Congress, government regulatory bodies, and the public to oppose any GMO food label law that would permit a girl scout troop leader, parent, or consumer to read genetically modified products in a label.

    Fanning the public’s health and environmental concerns about GM foods was a 2013 federal rider called the Farmer Assurance Provision. The measure was removed from the US budget funding legislation by Jon Tester, a farmer and Democratic Montana senator because it assured a lack of corporate liability and undermined the Department of Agriculture’s authority to ban genetically modified crops, even if court rulings found they posed risks to human and environmental health.

    Current public pressure to have GMO free products has resulted in General Mills recently announcing it will be offering GMO free Cheerios.
    http://www.greenamerica.org/about/newsroom/releases/2014-01-02-non-GMO-Cheerios.cfm
    http://www.blog.generalmills.com/2014/01/the-one-and-only-cheerios/

    In 2014 Maine joined Connecticut in passing a state GM labeling law.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/01/10/maine-becomes-second-state-to-require-gmo-labels/

    Maine and Connecticut are the only two legislatures to pass GMO labeling bills but similar legislation has been introduced in 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    This year Massachusetts state legislature will be addressing GMO labeling bills. Go to these websites, contact your legislative representative, and tell them to pass GMO food labeling laws to give consumers the right to know what they are eating.
    http://marighttoknow.com/home/about/
    http://marighttoknow.com/home/legislative-support/ma-legislation/

    ARTICLES
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-grayson/eco-etiquette-is-genetica_b_882238.html

    http://www.today.com/id/43447764/ns/today-today_health/t/peanuts-milk-shellfish-kids-may-have-food-allergies/

    http://online.sfsu.edu/rone/GEessays/FDAdocuments.html

    http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/health-risks/articles-about-risks-by-jeffrey-smith/Genetically-Engineered-Foods-May-Cause-Rising-Food-Allergies-Genetically-Engineered-Soybeans-May-2007

    China bans GMO corn
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/26/china-rejects-gmo-corn_n_4502719

    • CycloneFarms

      Nothing like a Gish Gallop to convince the world that you’re clueless about science and agriculture.

      • Varenik

        Stiil, your argument serves those that do not want people to know what is in their food…

  • McNamara

    Donald Sutherland Excellent Post!

    There has also been a 71% increase in IBD Inflammatory Disease of the Intestines in American Children since the year 2000

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625141208.htm

    This increase is also shown in countries that use the GMO associated herbicide
    glyphosate

    • CycloneFarms

      What is the difference between correlation and causation?

      Do you want to see a graph of autism vs organic food?

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/01/how-global-warming-or-jenny-mccarthy-causes-autism.php?ModPagespeed=noscript

      The correlation (r) is 0.997. And r can never be greater than 1! How do you explain that?

      • detroit58

        CF – not one of your better dodges with this ridiculous comparison..

        General consumption of GMO and a potential health link to “those that eat them” are not like your diversion flyer of two unrelated factors.

        Show me the graph of organic food consumers and their rise in autism? Probably not,eh?

        • CycloneFarms

          Looks like you don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation, either.

          • detroit58

            Mc presents a potential causation, you present a foolish correlation.

          • CycloneFarms

            She presents no such thing. Try actually reading.

            “The reason for this large increase in hospitalizations of children with IBD is not clear,” said Dr. Sferra.”

            “Also, while we’re seeing more kids being discharged with IBD, we cannot
            with certainty say that the incidence and prevalence of childhood IBD
            has increased in U.S.”

          • McNamara

            Do you really think anyone takes your posts seriously?

            Discrediting, Deflection and Condescension:
            Why would anyone do that 24/7 without a vested interest

            Every up tick “you and yours” receive is from a fellow shill and has nothing to do with substance

          • CycloneFarms

            I present verifiable information.

            I make decisions on my farm based on science. Not woo blogs. Real science from university research. Fortunately, I have a strong background in science so I can do that.

            If you think I’m discrediting you, then you have some kind of false self-importance issue. I merely point out the defects in your logic, emotion and how the links you tend to post don’t support your claims. That’s all.

            As far as your “up tick” comment, it’s not a popularity contest. It’s what is science and what can be verified.

          • detroit58

            You can be real thick. I said McNamara was presenting the potential causation.

          • CycloneFarms

            But there was nothing in her post that even remotely hinted at causation! Not even correlation.

            I showed strong correlation (r >0.97) of autism and organic food consumption, yet you dismiss that out of hand.

            Your confirmation bias is showing. Thankfully, it’s highly unlikely that you work in science.

            Do yourself a favor and learn about correlation and causation.

            And your new avatar is a major improvement, btw.

          • detroit58

            Wow – of course there was nothing about correlation and causation in Mcs post until you started it – sheesh!

            OK – last repeat.

            I am saying that McNamara is presenting the potential Causation of GMOs/RoundUp use and the increase in IBD by those that eat it.

            You present a meaningless Correlation between autism and organic food sales. Find a causation of organic food eating and autism.

            I won’t post the definitions to embarrass you.

            Do you even work?

          • CycloneFarms

            You still don’t get it.

            McNamara never posted anything that even remotely shows causation.

            Please post your definitions of “correlation” and “causation”. Go ahead. I’m comfortable with both of those things, and I’m comfortable with basic statistical analysis.

            So, please go ahead.

          • detroit58

            Worthy of greater study and research, the “potential” causation – the relation between an event (widespread GMOs/RoundUp) and a second event (rise in IBD), where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.

            A very high correlation, too, which as with your autism/organic food sales example, would mean nothing.

          • CycloneFarms

            She never even showed correlation, much less “potential causation”, however that’s defined in your world.

            You are completely void of scientific understanding. And that’s really sad. Does the sun revolve around the earth or is it the other way around? What kind of “potential causation” leads you toward your belief? Is it your expertise in using a sextant?

            At least you changed your avatar. There is “potential causation” that your avatar change could improve your social life, too. But I wouldn’t count on it.

          • detroit58

            As with your avatar, you are a complete void. Just you and your computer, rubbing off the letters, expert with his joystick.

          • McNamara

            Its amazing how many “company types” are showing up for each and every GM related article these days. It just shows the logically minded that the GMO producing “Chemical Companies” are very concerned about the potential impact of GMO labeling on their profit margins.

          • detroit58

            It is amazing to see the full-time approach some have to posting comments to articles. There are some that I follow as we may differ on GMOs but I can respect their thought process. Others are just loud-typing jerk-offs.

          • CycloneFarms

            “Company types”? What does that mean?

            What are “GMO producing “Chemical Companies”?

            I know you have a burr under your saddle for Monsanto – you’ve polluted a lot of the interwebs with your ramblings.

            Your ramblings are based on what you’ve read from woo blogs and not your personal experience. But if you’re determined to have a philosophical problem with a biotech company, why not Bayer or Syngenta? Your single-minded focus on Monsanto shows that you’re not able to rationally process the information that’s readily available. And that’s really kind of sad.

          • McNamara

            Go peddle it somewhere else.

          • CycloneFarms

            What am I peddling, and why should it be posted somewhere else?

            You really don’t understand the subjects that you so passionately post about. And it frustrates you when I present facts that derail your ramblings. Too bad.

            Maybe you could find comfort and acceptance on Mercola’s site. But if you’re going to sling a bunch of nonsense, I’ll call you out. Because I understand and use science in my world. You don’t. And that’s the difference.

          • McNamara

            “Because I understand and use science in my world. You don’t.”

            Tell me more all knowing arrogant one

            The I understand science, you don’t ploy, has been used from day one in the GMO debate by the pro GMO lobby. Its not working.

            Consumers understand just fine what they need to know about this technology which was forced on the American consumer with only 3 months of superficial rat studies by an FDA filled with ex Monsanto executives.

          • CycloneFarms

            As usual, you recycle memes. And still don’t understand science.

  • patzagame

    We have a consumers bill of rights in Ma.,which states we have the right
    to make informed choices based on labeling.Genetically engineered crops
    are significantly different in such that they are patented.If we read
    labels,which many consumers do,we can see we have hydrogenated
    oils,bromated flours,hydrolyzed proteins,autolyzed yeast,pasteurized
    milk,etc.Genetically engineered food should be labeled so we can make
    the informed choice as to what we purchase to feed our families.

    • FrenchKissed

      Most of the produce you eat is patented. Plant breeders patent new varieties and hybrids all the time. There are no GMO roses, but there are tons of patented varieties. The same applies to food.

      If you don’t see a USDA certified organic label or a GMO free label then just visualize it saying GMO on the label. If it has an ingredient that could be GMO, then it most likely has some in it.

      BTW, that would include most cheese in the US, 95% of which has contained genetically engineered rennin since the early 90s.

      You can’t make an informed choice if you don’t understand the topic at hand.

      • patzagame

        I understand the topic completely.Do you have proof that most of our produce is patented?.Do you really expect people to know what all the forms of corn used in our food products are?There are more non gmo foods,give it a rest with the buying USDA certified label,or the voluntary GMO free labeling.IWe don’t need labels on all our food.Your example of cheese is a perfect example,how many people know that?Label it!A mandatory label gives people an informed choice!Since 90% of the corn and soy in our food is genetically engineered for herbicide resistance,we have a right to know its in our food.Glyphosate is not my favorite food additive.

        • hyperzombie

          “I understand the topic completely” Really? So what exactly do you want labelled as GM? Would radiation/viral mutagenics or somaclonal variation qualify as GM or just transgenic organisms? Would some “unnatural” foods like seedless grapes/watermelons/oranges and Triticale be classified as GM? What if scientists just turn off or on one gene, would that be GM? What if you crossed a GM with a non GM, would it still be GM?

          Not only can you patent any new and novel seed variety(since 1930s), you can even trademark groups of seed like Canola (trademarked by the Western Canadian Oilseed Crushers Association).

          • Varenik

            All that just to deny people the right to know and choose ?

          • hyperzombie

            Do people have the right to know the production method of the food that they eat?

          • Varenik

            knowledge is a first step. They can choose whether they want to know more and learn and THEN choose. You, for some reason, do not want that to happen. Afraid of something ?

          • hyperzombie

            i am all for more information, but if we are going to put unscientific labels on food should we not treat them all the same? for example should we put “Most likely grown in animal feces” stickers on organic produce, “product of radiation mutagenesis” on Ruby Red grapefruits or “The animal in this package may have suffered” on Antibiotics free meats?

          • Varenik

            “GMO” and “NON-GMO” is a good start. Demagoguery is not.
            I guess French must live on a different planet. Notice any news today – they banned ALL GMO’s… I believe. Again, it should not be up to you or any companies. I thought the difference between US and Russia was that here we at least pretended to care about peons, and there they don’t even bother… That difference is eroding, with the greed controlling everything.

          • hyperzombie

            Yes Greed and misinformation is controlling the debate. The Giant Organic industry is trying to make food even more unaffordable for the poor and disadvantaged, while at the same time destroying even more of our precious environment.
            Its a very sad day for French farmers and Frances environment.

          • Varenik

            So, back to the topic – what is it you have against the right to know and choose ?

          • hyperzombie

            The right to know what? A Gm label provides no useful information and it will imply that there is a difference when non exists.

          • Varenik

            Flash back in history for a moment . Most revolutions were started by idealists, whose idealism was quickly eroded by demagogues like you. Care to guess what happened to them ? They either made it to places where their mindsets were acceptable, i.e. US – remember Ayn Rand, or … I guess here the more than shallow knowledge of history is not encouraged. Maybe not in my lifetime, but certainly in my kids’ all those slobs whose jobs were nafta’d out of the country and whose families have been fed crap, literally and figuratively, for generations will revolt .
            Just to reiterate the point – neither you nor the big business have the right to withhold the information from consumers. Past precedents are not a good enough reason. Let me decide what is going into my body.

          • hyperzombie

            No one is withholding info from you, and as part of this debate you are fully aware that GM crops exist. No one is forcing you to put anything into your body, and if you want to avoid GM just buy Organic or certified non GM foods. Simple.
            You are the one that wants to decide for no scientific reason what people put into their body , what gives you that right?

            I have no idea who Ayn Rand is or what historic revolution has to do with labeling GMOs.

          • Varenik

            Those that control information control the masses. EVERYbody should be able to know what kind of crap goes into their body. If you don’t care that is your right not to know. IT IS YOU who is trying to keep info from others, thereby denying them the ability to choose.
            If you truly have no idea who Ayn Rand was, never mind the horrible consequences of her ignorant righteousness, nor the ramifications of keeping the masses ignorant – 2 points :
            Ignorance should not be flaunted and… refer to my previous post – about shallow, if any, knowledge of history…
            On the simpler level – think pink slime, Oxycontin (the makers of which – Purdue Pharmaceuticals – just paid close to $ 1 billion in fines stemming from them lying thru their teeth about fictitious studies about how NON-addictive their product was going to be – I WAS at those presentations back in the 90′s and remember how any disagreement was met with derision and arrogance – and look at the massive misery resulting form that) , maybe even go as far as looking up “Semper Fi : always faithful” documentary – all examples of greed, arrogance, AND ignorance taking over common sense. Don’t deny others the right to know what they consume. What they do with that knowledge is up to them, but should not be up to you or anybody else.
            The final point – not knowing history prevents one from at least attempting to draw parallels and making somewhat informed choices…

          • Varenik
          • hyperzombie

            99% of all food crops are not natural, when was the last time you saw a wild corn plant or a wild watermelon.

          • Varenik

            And that proves that we should not have a right to know and choose ?

          • hyperzombie

            So we should label all human modified crops, I would agree to that.

          • Varenik

            do you have material interest in gmo crops ? empty demagoguery is just boring and stupid.

          • hyperzombie

            I have no interests in GMOs, I just don’t want policy based on superstition and an irrational fear of a technology that helps farmers and consumers.

          • Varenik

            Somehow that desire is expressed by denying the right to know and choose. A little control issue, perhaps ?

          • CycloneFarms

            Where is this supposed right to know enumerated in the Constitution or amendments thereto?

          • Varenik

            So, demagoguery as a last resort…
            If it has to be explained to you, you just haven’t evolved enough to understand it. Sorry.
            Enjoy your beliefs and food too. Hopefully your mouth stands right behind your demagoguery.
            Goodby.

          • hyperzombie

            You have never explained your particular problem with GMOs. You do realize that they are not all the same and there are many different types of GMs. Maybe we could come up with a solution if we knew what the problem is.

          • Varenik

            It’s a simple concept : the choice should be left with the consumers, most of whom can be influenced by the likes of glen beck, rush, etc. Choice is the least we can have and if the sheep get curious (good in itself) they can find out for themselves. To deny them initial choice is immoral.

          • hyperzombie

            I still don’t know what you want labeled, and why? GMOs are all different and a label will not tell the consumer anything.

            If you are concerned about herbicide resistant crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

            If you are concerned about laboratory created crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

            If you are concerned about Bt contamination in and on crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

            If you are concerned about virus resistant crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

            If you are concerned about crops that never could be produced by nature and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

            But if you are concerned about one particular modern safe plant breeding technology and want them all labeled, that is an unreasonable idea that I am NOT willing to entertain.

          • Varenik

            :-)
            just like I said before : “GMO” and “NON-GMO” will do.
            YOU don’t have to entartain anything you don’t want to.
            Just like YOU don’t have any right to prohibit the info those of us that want to know before we make a choice. Just like I really don’t care about what you eat and how you arrive at those decisions, it should not be ANY of your business to make that decision on how I plan to to shop for groceries.
            It’s as simple as that – let me know and choose.

          • CycloneFarms

            Empty flagellation on your part is stupid, because you have no clue.

          • Varenik

            http://www.themindfulword.org/2012/gmo-genetically-engineered-food/
            Maybe there are 2 of us, clueless that is. You are not even addressing the topic all this time. Just for the last time :
            NEITHER YOU NOR THE BIG CORPORATIONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DENY US THE ABILITY TO MAKE INFORMED CHOICES. SIMPLE AS THAT. Face the reality – there is no good argument for keeping people in the dark.

          • hyperzombie

            It is also a sad day for science..

            European National Academies of Science:

            “There is no validated evidence that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding…There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.”

          • Varenik
      • Varenik

        nobody will understand the topic at hand if they are not informed of the choices.

    • CycloneFarms

      Keyword is “informed”. How are you informed? From science-based sources or activist fb pages full of woo?

      Do you find pasteurized milk scary? Do you know who Louis Pasteur was, and how what he did was important?

      • patzagame

        I didn’t say anything was scary,did I?

      • Varenik

        Actually the keyword (phrase, really) is the right to know to start with. The industrial agriculture has no right to keep information from the population. Remember pink slime ?

  • Simon

    Anti-GMO activists are responsible for continued suffering and death in the developing world, and they don’t care. Scientific American covered this issue today: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2014/03/15/golden-rice-opponents-should-be-held-accountable-for-health-problems-linked-to-vitamain-a-deficiency/?WT.mc_id=send-to-friend

    Activists who oppose new GMO foods that could save lives and help poor children avoid blindness because they believe in magical standards of food purity have a lot to answer for. The Massachusetts legislature should not get into bed with these people.

    • Varenik

      all that for wanting to know what is in the food we buy ? Informed choices never made anybody suffer and die. Very facetious stance on your part, Simon.

      • hyperzombie

        I still don’t know what you want to be informed about, and why? GMOs are all different and a label will not tell the consumer anything.

        If you are concerned about herbicide resistant crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

        If you are concerned about laboratory created crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

        If you are concerned about Bt contamination in and on crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

        If you are concerned about virus resistant crops and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

        If you are concerned about crops that never could be produced by nature and want them all labeled, that is a reasonable idea that I am willing entertain.

        But if you are concerned about one particular modern safe plant breeding technology and want them all labeled, that is an unreasonable idea that I am NOT willing to entertain.

      • CycloneFarms

        You keep beating the “I need to know” drum with no scientific basis whatsoever for your drumstick.

        • Varenik

          So, really, I promise, for the last time. I don’t need a scientific basis or your approval or disapproval of my reasons for wanting to know. It is NONE of your business how I or the rest of the public makes their choces for groceries. You are really not that dense , are you ?

    • Martin Dagoberto

      Dude that is a ridiculous argument. Please keep using it. lol.

      There is more than enough food on this planet. The problem is no one can afford it. Half of the food in this country goes to waste, and GMOs have not been shown to increase yields.

      • hyperzombie

        I guess that you didn’t read the article posted above. These people are not starving to death they are dying and going blind due to a lack of vitamin A, and one solution is access to Gm tech.

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