I love the intertubes. They reverberate with news, entertainment, science, politics-from the US to Tibet. And cute kittens and puppies. But one thing that drives me nuts are dumb pundits. While accomplished scientists slave away invisibly in laboratories repeating experiments a hundred times waiting patiently for things to snap into place on the 101st try, writing and rewriting science articles, never to be seen and heard of- the dregs of academia are plucked from mediocrity, branded Nerdy, and voila! -immediate science cred to opine on whatever she least comprehends.
And so it is with Nerdy Christie and Science Sushi at Discover magazine she co-habits with another wackotron blogger, Keith Kloor. As far as I can tell Nerdy Christy has a bachelor’s degree in something or other, and is in grad school studying the something or other. One days she’ll graduate and actually do something useful- like serving coffee at Starbucks. But hey, so long as she is branded Nerdy on the intertubes, she can be a pretend-scientist in the present and write thoughtless opinions on anything she desires, including the recent elections.
Proponents of labeling say that consumers have a “right to know.” As I’ve said before, such language is misleading and dangerous, lumping all GE crops into one, vilified group.
When someone says that an information label is dangerous ya just gotta wonder who it is dangerous for. It couldn’t be dangerous for the Chemical companies-the Monsantos, Duponts, Singentas and Dows- hiding these unwanted, unneeded, untested and unsafe products in our food. The same ones who probably wrote or paid for this silly op-ed to begin with?
Hear the explanation:
Not all GMOs are the same, and a generic GMO label won’t provide any informative details about the food inside. Adding Bt toxin to corn is different than adding Vitamin A to rice or virus-fighting proteins to papayas.
So, the gist is this. Americans can’t have labels because one day, maybe- just maybe, vitamin A enriched rice will be forced on undeveloped Asian and African nations that don’t want it either. That day could be decades from now, mind you, since vitamin A enriched rice has failed the last round of agronomic trials and hasn’t been shown to be either effective or safe in preventing or treating a single vitamin A deficient animal or human yet. But in the meantime, since some day this techno-fix might be deployed in Africa and Asia, people in Oregon and Colorado can’t have labels.
Makes perfect sense.
Christy is right – all GMOs aren’t the same. One day therapeutic dsRNA transgenic plants will be suppressing viral diseases and cancer and I will be one of the first to cheer them. But what she conveniently forgets or doesn’t have the room in her micro cranium to understand is that 99.9% of GMOs are either insecticidal or made to resist herbicides which scientists, environmentalists and public health representatives worry are putting us on a dangerous herbicide treadmill. I am not going to go into the devastating environmental impacts these mutants have had on our environment- on Monarchs and bees- you probably already know. But Kristy concluded that Oregonians and Coloradans knowing they are feeding their kids 2,4D., Round Up and Dicamba with their cornflakes is dangerous information.
In case you need a reminder, 2,4D resistant GMOs never mentioned in this op-ed, were recently approved by the USDA. Projected use of 2,4D, a more benign cousin to Agent Orange, linked to lymphoma and neurological disorders, is projected to increase 700%. Why would consumers want to know that?
After all, according to Nerdy Christie, 0.1% of GMOs on the market are papayas-a specialty niche fruit; and horror of horrors, the vitamin A enriched rice which is never going to be sold in the US and won’t be ready for prime time for years. How is that for reasoning?
And those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to GE options — high-lysine corn, reduced-nicotine tobacco, high-oleic acid soybean oil, stearidonic acid-producing soybeans, improved fatty acid-profile soybeans, oil profile-altered canola, and alpha amylase corn are among the crops that have been approved by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Overall, nearly 20 percent of the approvals for deregulation are what the USDA describes as “second-generation” GE crops — those which include “value-added output traits” like nutrient enhancement, rather than “first generation” GEs, which are those with “enhanced input traits such as herbicide tolerance, resistance to insects, and resistance to environmental stress (like drought).”
So what is on the horizon? Drought tolerant crops are not – complicated traits it turns out are easier developed through traditional breeding. It is true that since trans fats are being removed from the market chemical companies scrambled to replace them with soybeans engineered to produce “healthier” oils, but these oils haven’t been shown to be better or healthy for anyone yet. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single feeding trial on these crops to even show they are safe, never mind beneficial.
But the major GMOs in your future are stacked varieties. Stacked GMOs are crammed with multiple insecticides known as cry proteins, since bugs quickly developed resistance to just one, and even coating the seeds with bee killing neonicotinoids isn’t fixing the problem because evidently these cry proteins weren’t that effective to begin with. And of course stacked with multiple herbicide resistance traits- Round Up, 2,4D, dicamba and others. Mother Nature hates it when man abuses biocides -whether bacteria, weeds or insects- rampant overuse always, and I mean always- results in evolution of resistance. We have seen it with antibiotics, so no one should be surprised to see the same resistance develop to preemptive treatment with insecticides or herbicides. Darwin predicted it a long time ago.
Don’t ask Christy any specific questions about the crops she just copy and pasted in-she hasn’t a clue. Copy and paste is a computer trick that doesn’t actually impart knowledge or comprehension of the subject by osmosis. But she is certain of one thing- more information is dangerous, and she believes that depriving you of this knowledge is a triumph of science! Science!
Clearly the millions of dollars thrown at defeating the labeling initiatives in the costliest campaigns ever witnessed never figured into her calculus. Dark money and dirty politics of lying and deception aren’t worth mentioning–after all she and her buddy Keith Kloor seem to be willing participants in it.