And the Mercury Decides: Say No to GMO Labeling, Even If It Feels Terrible

Comments

1
I heard a lot of worry about price hikes for Oregon-only relabeled products. Did you find anything on that in your research?

And thanks for this. I have mixed feelings too, but I really resented the implication from the Yes on 92 petitioners I talked to that their friends at, say, Ben & Jerry's (/Unilever) didn't have anything to gain from forcing their competitors to relabel their products. GMOs may seem shadowy, but they're a lhell of a lot more transparent than most corporations.
2
I'm sure the comments on this endorsement will remain nice and calm.
3
The problem with saying that GMOs are safe is that we then have to believe that the FDA and Monsanto will actually do their jobs and provide us with safe foods. Too bad that's a completely bullshit position that isn't backed up by evidence.

http://grist.org/food-safety/2011-06-08-fd…

If the FDA can't keep arsenic out of chicken, how can we trust them to keep crazy (10 years down the line) hormone affecting side-effects out of our food? Or remember that time that the FDA allowed BPA in consumer food products for 60 years? That was great too.

I personally think most GMOs are safe and see no problem with them, but you're asking us to trust the competence of an organization that has been seen to be actively incompetent.
4
Yeah, we looked at the cost issue and it came up in our endorsement interview. I'm sure there might be some kind of increase, but I wasn't swayed that it would be huge. I can safely say that cost *wasn't* one of the factors that kept us from swinging toward a yes.
5
We should probably remove nutrition facts too, because if people know how much fat is in their food they may choose to buy something with less fat. War on fatty foods!

It's ridiculous that someone would ever choose to be less informed about something. Give us the labeling, give us the information.
6
i agree that we already have this information, in some respect (though, granted, not fully, and perhaps far from). all the same, the non-gmo project and organic route is a very blossoming and promising start, and there are so many of these products available, even at fred meyer, that one can easily buy complete, healthy meals while sticking to either / both of these routes. let's vote by purchasing / promoting the non-gmo and organic products, not by coming in the back door and throwing warning labels on everything else. or, just shop at whole foods and new seasons, the former of which has shown a rapid trend toward greater affordability [http://goo.gl/RwPldK] ~ hello, competition and more supply of non-gmos and organics! ~ and a commitment to 'full GMO transparency' by 2018 [http://goo.gl/9OYWaJ].
7
Merc recommends a no vote? Well gee, there's a shocker. In totally unrelated news, biotech lobbyist and all-around GMO sweetheart Tom Vilsack, head of the USDA, just signed off on Dow Chemical’s Enlist corn and soybeans, genetically engineered to withstand repeated spraying of the toxic herbicide, and former Agent Orange component 2,4-D. Researchers at Penn State recently put out a paper that shows in soybeans alone, planting of crops resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of the herbicide sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year, four times the current level. Delicious.
8
This just doesn't feel like a strong argument for No on 92. Why wouldn't we want to know what processes went into creating our food? The people who want to avoid GMOs (whatever their personal reasons) will be able to. And everyone who doesn't care at all will just keep eating everything they already chow down on.

Monsanto is a bullshit company, poisoning our bees and laughing all the way to the bank. If they're bank rolling THIS hard against Yes on 92, don't you think there are probably even more reasons we're not privy to? Their practices in safety and pesticides have been half-assed and poorly researched.
9
Just like labeling Organic products made everyone abandon non organic right? That didn't happen... but isn't that how a free market works? Don't we get to decide what we're buying.. limiting someone's knowledge of the product they are purchasing because it may hurt their sales is a very corp-controlled business approach.

It's very simple - label the products so we can decide for ourselves and let the free market do it's job.
10
Did you ask the "Yes" proponents if they considered attempts to change agricultural regulation? The label changes may not result directly in sweeping reforms to agricultural regulation, which it sounds like the Mercury is in favor of. However, I'm guessing it is more realistic to pass the labeling guidelines than to change production regulations in the current political climate. I see Measure 92 as a good (albeit not ideal) step towards that ultimate goal.
11
Ugh. Wrong, Mercury, wrong! We are not friends anymore. You should feel terrible, because you are terribly wrong.
12
Wow. What a disappointment the Mercury has become...
13
Well John, it sounds like the companies that want to specify that their products are GMO-free are well within their rights and ability to do so. If you want GMO-free products, buy products are advertised as organic (which in Oregon are required to be GMO-Free) or GMO-free.

The problem with the labeling is that it implies genetic modification in and of itself is bad, which is factually untrue. Labeling GMO doesn't tell you what or how much pesticide or herbicide is used on a product, or even if any at all is. It doesn't tell you what modifications were made or what the potential health risks are.
14
Indeed, the endorsement of no seems more like a ploy to sell ads on this website as people come here to complain. Would a YES have generated as many web hits? Probably not. Will we ever have a reputable and consistently journalistic source for local news? I'm starting to think we may need to create it.
15
Booooooooooo!!!!!
16
That's kind of ridiculous reasoning... and what exactly are these "more straightforward ways of trying to change America’s problematic farming trends"? Apparently you think doing nothing is a more straightforward way.
17
There's also the very salient point that new GMO products could be made to make agriculture better, to decrease monocultures throughout the industry, and to reduce the need for fertilizers and all kinds of pesticides. However, none of that will happen if the false idea that GMOs are bad is reinforced with a mandatory labeling initiative. Government mandated labeling should be reserved for safety and nutrition facts only, and the use of genetic engineering does not confer any more risk or difference in nutrition. Organic, non-GMO, gluten free, halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, and many more voluntary labels let consumers buy what they want with confidence. Let's apply the same reasoning to GMOs and refrain from hypocrisy.
18
Setting aside this specific issue, is there any particular reason you folks make endorsements well after ballots have arrived and, in my case, returned? It seems like the Mercury is always a week late with this stuff.
19
"If you can’t stomach the thought of agreeing with Monsanto, or abetting Coca-Cola, we understand completely."

Thanks, I appreciate it. Voting YES.
20
Fair question by Sok. My ballot went in the mail this morning -- I just thought you weren't doing an endorsement guide this year. Maybe it can get published online earlier than it's put in the paper next time?
21
We've actually come out on ballot day, or a day or two after, for the past couple of years. I think starting with the primary election in 2012. Not this fall, though.

However, we're not alone! You'll note *both* alt-weeklies in Portland are coming out this Wednesday.

Which doesn't personally trouble me, in that I always wait until as long as possible to fill out my ballot. But I can see how other people might want to be super prompt.
22
Oh no, the Portland Mercury supports the scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs, as supported by every major scientific organization in the world, from the American Medical Association to the French National Academy of Science to the European Commission to the Royal Society of London to the German Institutes of Science.

Would there even be a point in debunking the comments up above that push ridiculous claims that anyone who has ever actually read a scientific paper or a chemical fact sheet would be able to tell are wrong?
23
If you were living in the Deep South(TM), and there was a proposal to make businesses publicly disclose which of them employ blacks so that the public could decide whether or not to support those businesses, most of you wouldn't be talking about the public's right to know. You'd be saying, "no, you DON'T need to know that."

The public dialogue on GMO food is loaded to the gills with hidden agendas, crackpot science alarmism, and deliberate lies. Most people are basically superstitious peasants who barely understand what GMO foods are, let alone what they're good for or whether or not they're harmful. This measure is nothing more than an attempt to use legal muscle to further a witch hunt against those companies that don't comply with the dictates of a minority of agricultural conspiracy theorists - and in the process, provide an undue boost to those companies ready to bilk the public with higher-priced food packaged in empty claims of safety and quality.

The Mercury got this one exactly right. Hating or distrusting Monsanto is one thing, but this is the wrong way to fight back.
24
Is there any expansion of government the Mercury hasn't enthusiastically endorsed in the last few years? Only now, with the prospect of GMO labeling does the Merc become libertarians, interesting.
25
Great choice, Mercury. My only issue is with the statement that industrial agriculture is bad and GMOs increase pesticides. It's more nuanced that that. GMOs engineered with the Bt toxin (which is an organic pesticide BTW) have eliminated the application of hundreds of millions of kgs of the most toxic insecticides. GMOs engineered with resitance to Roundup have resulted in more Roundup use, but Roundup is not very toxic at all (40x less than caffeine.) These GMOs have facilitated the rapid expansion of no-till agriculture which prevents soil erosion. So GMOs are good-- they are cleaning up industrial agriculture. And industrial agriculture is what gives us and emerging economies food security (see the Green Revolution). Most of the resistance is either totally misguided like anti-fluoride activism or simply doesn't understand that with GMOs farmers can be just as productive, with LESS expensive and environmentally damaging inputs. Thanks.
26
Denis: "You'll note *both* alt-weeklies in Portland are coming out this Wednesday."

I question the wisdom of ever waiting for ballot day, much less after ballot day, to make endorsements if you want those endorsements to mean something, even if (especially if?) all the cool kids are doing it.
27
To back up what Jon just said about pesticide reduction, here's a published study that looks at just that, including how GM crops have significantly reduced the amount of greenhouse gases released from agriculture.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24637726
28
I still feel that labeling is a fine choice for the intelligent, but I see your point about lemmings getting bent out of shape. Still, yes vote for me.
29
Mercury is a toxic element. Avoid it at all cost. ;->
30
The label in question is just a black band that notes GMOs are present. It's a warning label, pure and simple. There is no convincing evidence to support that warning, so such labels are a bad idea, regardless of what corporate behemoths/practices benefit from that.

And thank you for calling out the "all information is useful information" nonsense - the proposed label doesn't really add anything useful, it just adds a barely-relevant, scary-sounding fact.

It's like demanding a black label on strawberries that says, "THIS FRUIT LIKELY PICKED BY AT LEAST SOME UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS." That would be an additional fact, and one some people might be grateful for, and choose to act on.

However, because the fact contains no real safety or nutritional value, it makes sense to not force strawberry manufacturers to include it.
31
@Colin: I like to compare it to Creationists that want to add a "Evolution is just a theory" label to textbooks. It may be technically accurate, but the only reason they are pushing for it is to misinform people. The way information is presented is very important.
32
We didn't do it that way because they did that way. But I still see your larger point. We wait out of a fear that publishing too soon will get us lost in the noise, etc. And that we'll be around and available when people are ready to engage.

But that may be a remnant of the old ways, before things like endorsements got to live on, immediately accessible, on the internet. A long time ago, a printed endorsement issue might literally get lost. I like the encouragement for us to have an intentional discussion around timing before the next election.
33
Gee, I wonder where Monsanto is spending it's 2.5 million dollars?
34
I love that in your lil' nutball universe you think Monsanto is writing the Mercury a check for this.
35
Yeah, no on your no.
36
this is bullshit. Do you not care at all about the environmental devastation GMOs can loose on our agriculture? ever hear of GMO spread, or terminator genes? I agree they don't impact individual human health but that's not at all the end of the argument...
37
@Tori: Terminator genes were never used, ever. Not to mention that by their very nature, they wouldn't spread in the environment. What part of terminator gene do you not get?

And all the evidence shows that GMOs are no more dangerous for the environment than any other aspect of farming. They're beneficial, in fact, see the study I linked above. We have other breeds that were made using artificial selection that have pesticide resistance as well and yet no one goes on about them potentially escaping into the environment.
38
You can't use the cost issue as an argument when the opponents are spending staggering amounts to fight it.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.s…
39
GMO often means biological insecticide inside the plant, endotoxin production for one thing. Would you eat insecticide?
40
I applaud, and am surprised by the Merc's position on this.
The science of this issue clearly shows no harm in these products. And though, as a rule, I am for all info available to be given the consumer - a position supported by Consumer Reports recently - a magizine I dearly love and have had a subscription to for 20 years, I will have to disagree with them on this issue because I see this merely as a attempt by the so-called "organic" community to grab more cash sales from the public.
Those farmers trying to sell their perfectly fine GMO modified crops will see a more difficult time in the marketplace, whilst "organic" crops will see a boon.... at least in the short term until the public gets educated on the safety of these products.
For most consumers, I imagine, seeing a GMO label on the product will be about the same as seeing a cancer warning on a pack of cigarettes.
I defer to Neil deGrasse Tysons views on GMO's in the meantime : get over your science fear.
(hippies!)
41
If you want to bring up sponsors of the measure keep in mind one of the biggest contributors to the "Yes" campaign is Mercola, one of the worse quacks ever. He's shadier than Monsanto or Coca-Cola.
42
Wow, Mercury. Your faith in informed consumers making informed decisions based on real information is stunning. We better keep concealing the truth from people so they make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones, right? I am so fucking glad I do not date you.
43
So, you urge 'no' because you wanted the 'yes' campaign to tell you they wanted to take down industrial agriculture? Then you say 'there are more straightforward ways' to change American agriculture for the better (which you don't list or otherwise ever write about in your navel-gazing ivory tower publication, btw) which means if they had said that, you still would have gone 'no.' Seriously? Under your logic, there's no way they could have won your endorsement. Maybe rather than fixating on whether or not this was a measure to change agriculture, you could have focused on the question at hand, which is: whether its a good idea for consumers to have more information on items in the grocery store regarding whether they are genetically engineered or not. Existing Country of Origin labeling is a direct parallel to GMO labeling in this regard. Its just a small piece of information that consumers may or may not use to make purchasing decisions.

It sounds like you believed the 'no' campaign's snake oil. You even parroted one of the 'no' campaign's talking points, suggesting people just go buy more expensive and less-available 'non-GMO project verified' food, even though they verify foods, like oatmeal, for which there is no possibility it would have been genetically engineered in the first place, only confusing people more. Your obvious ignorance of this issue means I'll take your endorsement with a grain of gluten-free salt (even though salt doesn't have gluten). FYI, the Non-GMO Project group actually supports Measure 92, because they view voluntary labeling as a stop-gap in the fight to get mandatory labeling on the books.

If Oregon passes this measure, its will not only increase transparency about food in Oregon, it will aid the effort to get a national mandatory label on GE foods, which is contained in a bill sponsored by Oregon's Peter DeFazio. Congress hasn't even had a hearing on this bill, and in the last Farm Bill, handed out more subsidies to the same companies opposing Measure 92. What 'straightforward' ways to change agriculture for the better were you talking about again? Like the 'no' campaign, you offer no tangible solutions.

Right now, the mult-billion dollar companies who you've decided to cast your lot with in your head-scratching stance on this measure oppose mandatory labeling at all levels of government, and only support, at most, a voluntary federal label that would block states from having stronger standards, while allowing big loopholes, like ok'ing food labeled 'natural' to actually be genetically engineered. Meanwhile, they've blocked FDA from even publishing a uniform national voluntary standard since 2001.

Thanks Mercury! You are a bunch of idiots and tools!
44
GMOs *decrease* pesticide use. Come on, do you even science bro?! This is all from just the first age of a google scholar search:

"... the technology reduces application rates of toxic chemicals by 50 per cent, while significantly increasing yields."

Source: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displ…

"On a global basis GM technology has reduced pesticide use, with the size of the reduction varying between crops and the introduced trait. It is estimated that the use of GM soybean, oil seed rape, cotton and maize varieties modified for herbicide tolerance and insect protected GM varieties of cotton reduced pesticide use by a total of 22.3 million kg of formulated product in the year 2000."

Source: http://www.ask-force.org/web/Benefits/Phip…

"Based on surveys of hundreds of farmers in the Yellow River cotton-growing region in northern China in 1999, 2000 and 2001, over 4 million smallholders have been able to increase yield per hectare, and reduce pesticide costs, time spent spraying dangerous pesticides, and illnesses due to pesticide poisoning."

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046…

"Our data suggest that Bt cotton not only controls H. armigera on transgenic cotton designed to resist this pest but also may reduce its presence on other host crops and may decrease the need for insecticide sprays in general."

Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/321/5896…

That's just from the first page of a Google Scholar search. I trust that you can find others if you are interested in "journalism".

But good show in standing against the deceptive labeling measure.
45
@shocked: it is awesome that you un-ironically denounce snake oil.
46
How much does it cost to buy a Mercury endorsement?

We know how much it costs to try and defeat an initiative that would have otherwise passed easily. And the Mercury is helping to instill doubt in the policy rather than working against the massive corporations bankrolling the opposition campaign. Bravo! We will remember this.

http://oregonrighttoknow.org/no-on-92-coal…
47
Thiebes: besides the fact that there are dozens of scientific articles that show that in many cases GMO organisms cause an INCREASE in pesticides (nevermind that the pesticides now reside in the very DNA of the crops), organic crops require NO unnatural pesticides. The pesticides being used alongside genetically modified crops are extremely dangerous to our ecosystems and GMOs *guarantee* that we will continue to use these pesticides when compared with organically grown crops. Besides the fact that it should be illegal to use unnatural pesticides at all (particularly neonicotinoids), GMOs wreak havoc on ecosystems by creating crops that outcompete and invade, that kill insects and starve predators. There is no world in which science is on the side of GMOs, unless you're reading narrow scientific papers that don't take into account the full range of disastrous results from GMO crops.
48
What are the consumer benefits to these GMOs that are in our food? The long term health risks? The effects of the rapid decrease in butterflies on our environment? The health effects of the stronger 2,4-D pesticides that the EPA just approved to kill the new super weeds? We don't know (thanks in no small part to 3rd party studies being blocked due to patents). And until we do, I'd like to see a free-market and bit of transparency in my food system.
49
Adam Brunelle: "organic crops require NO unnatural pesticides"

Bt is not an unnatural pesticide. In fact it is very popular with organic farmers. But GMO farmers use less of it.

PS why don't you cite some of those papers you claim exist.
50
There are many consumer benefits to GMO's -- bigger yield of crops can help delay price increases, for example, or even help feed many more folks starving around the world.

The World Health Organization and FDA have found no problems with GMO foods.
Let's stop this paranoia, please.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ecT2CaL7NA…
51
Emily Reed:

"What are the consumer benefits to these GMOs that are in our food?"

Innumerable. Starting with the fact that you can still afford to buy food. But also, they are more environmentally sustainable than organic.

"The long term health risks?"

Exactly the same as with non-GMO food.

"The effects of the rapid decrease in butterflies on our environment?"

Not caused by GMOs.

"The health effects of the stronger 2,4-D pesticides that the EPA just approved to kill the new super weeds?"

2,4-D is an herbicide, not a pesticide. It has been studied rather extensively and you can find out all about it if you do some reading. Bottom line:it's less toxic than the popular "organic" herbicide copper sulfate.

"That's right, we don't know. And until we do, I'd like to see a free-market and bit of transparency in my food system."

The GMO label obfuscates what is in your food, rather than making it transparent. By the way, "we" do know the answers to all your questions and the only way you will find out is if you do some research rather than trusting some BS label.
52
What an odd way to come to a decision. You elucidate all the reasons for voting 'yes' and then turn around and promote a 'no' vote because you don't trust the motives of the folks behind the measure.

It seems an extraordinarily disingenuous way of arguing a point. I assume it is to stir controversy.

Personally you convinced me with your first three paragraphs. For those counting they're the paragraphs with actual facts rather than the ad-hominem opinion.
53
There are no good gmo's. We eat organic or grow our own, it's hard work and very expensive. People have a right to know what's in their food. If you're ok with gmo's it will help you to buy them on purpose. What's the problem?
54
I ask that the Mercury reconsider their endorsement on Measure 92, switching to "Yes."

The biggest problem is that the advocates of "No" do not understand this fundamental fact: we have to consume less. Not even getting into the disturbing fact of climate change, we are depleting soils at an unbelievable rate. Estimates say we have about 60 years of topsoil left. I did not just mistype "600" or "6000"--sixty years. That's in many of our lifetimes. There are people already hungry today, so imagine a world with a growing population and declining sources of food and tell me that's not worrisome.

Industrialized monoculture agriculture is responsible for this rapid depletion of soil. While it may get greater yields per year, it does not get good yields over a sustained amount of time. To adapt to less fertile soil, we employ the use of fertilizers. And what happens when those fertilizers seep into the water table and run off into rivers? They damage the surrounding water and the life it supports--a potential source of food, as well. There is a dead zone the size of New Jersey along the Mississippi where virtually nothing can live and it's a product of the same method of agriculture. I could go on about the condition of our drinking water from these sources (and climate change), but let's stay on topic.

So what do you do when you run out of soil? The very obvious answer is that you starve or you fight to survive, make others starve. It takes anywhere from 500 to many thousands of years to develop 1 inch of topsoil, depending on the climate. Yes, it may be true that industrial agriculture with GMOs can increase the yield enough to keep prices down, but at what cost? There are billions to be made in growing monoculture GMOs for government subsidies like ethanol, and billions more as food. At the same time, we're increasing our consumption of other goods, including fossil fuels that cause climate change. We are laying waste to entire ecosystems in the name of extracting the carbon that is used to power our economy, including our agriculture.

And that's where 92 comes in (you were waiting for it, I know). When you examine the severity of the problem, it is clear and convincing that we need to do something about it. Looking at businesses, few are more vilified than Monstanto--and for good reason. We need to do what we can to limit their ability to exploit our soils and our ecosystems in an unsustainable way. We *can* feed the world if we use more sustainable farming practices, reduce our consumption of unnecessary goods, and put the time into rebuilding our soils. GMO labeling is a critical movement piece, a stepping stone to raise awareness of one of the many ways that Monsanto manipulates and destroys nature. Their pesticides threaten the very existence of bees, an absolutely vital component in food production.

Even if the initiative is weak and inadequate to the problem, it is still clearly something that Monsanto is willing to spend millions to defeat. Why? It must hurt their ability to do what they want to do and extract as much from our planet and our people as they can. Perhaps the worst part is that it's barely any money at all to them. Consumers deserve to know that their foods are genetically modified, because we need a shift in the public consciousness when it comes to food. We have to engage with these issues more and a label will force recognition. We have much bigger strides to take and it's harmful when the Mercury claims to care about our agricultural system by taking momentum out of building a larger movement to save it.

If GMOs are so harmless, why can't people know that? Why would the Mercury make that decision for a person, rather than have them make it themselves?

And how, Mercury, do you suggest we go about taking on corporate interests that threaten the stability of our world?

60 years of topsoil left:
http://world.time.com/2012/12/14/what-if-t…

fertilizer runoff
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/…

donors for the NO on 92 campaign:
http://oregonrighttoknow.org/no-on-92-coal…
55
thiebes:

There is no cost savings associated with GMOs at the consumer level. In fact, since commercial introduction in 1996, two of the three major GMO crops planted have nearly doubled in price:

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/08/why-is-monsanto-the-most-hated-company-in-the-worl.aspx

I'm happy you have such confidence in a 17 year old science but I'm going to wait until there is actual (any) long term science if you don't mind. But we'll have to wait a bit since there simply hasn't been enough time yet. I may also wait until the studies come from our own government or an independent 3rd party since those have both been blocked so far due to patents.

Butterflies are also still a question mark.

You're right that 2, 4D is a herbicide - and the studies that look at the long term effects on public health with estimated increase in the use of this show what?

And the next level of super weeds?

Not sure how information = obfuscation. So there you go, more questions.

Ps Here is another fact for you that may not have come up in your first page of Googling: Pesticides have increased since in the introduction of GMOs – as found in this 2012 research by Washington State University, published in peer-reviewed Environmental Sciences Europe:

http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24/abstract
56
"GMO often means biological insecticide inside the plant, endotoxin production for one thing. Would you eat insecticide?"

Actually, all plants produce pesticides to protect themselves. So we all eat insecticides every day, even those who eat certified organic. And many of us have a nice cup of insecticide to start off the day - yes, caffeine is an insecticide.

Dietary Pesticides (99.99% all natural)
(Ames et al. 1990) Proc. Natl. Acad.Sci.
The toxicological significance of exposures to synthetic chemicals is examined in the context of exposures to naturally occurring chemicals. We calculate that 99.99% (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves. Only 52 natural pesticides have been tested in high-dose animal cancer tests, and about half (27) are rodent carcinogens; these 27 are shown to be present in many common foods. We conclude that natural and synthetic chemical are equally likely to be positive in animal cancer tests. We also conclude that at the low doses of most human exposures the comparative hazards of synthetic pesticide residues are insignificant.

http://www.pnas.org/content/87/19/7777.full.pdf
57
"Industrialized monoculture agriculture is responsible for this rapid depletion of soil."

GMO crops have led to increases in the adoption of no-till agriculture, which reduces soil erosion and soil organic carbon losses.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
National Academy of Sciences (2010)
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS BENEFIT MANY FARMERS,
BUT THE TECHNOLOGY NEEDS PROPER MANAGEMENT TO REMAIN EFFECTIVE

Many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered (GE) crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits -- such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields -- compared with conventional crops, says a new report from the National Research Council.

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12804
58
"There are no good gmo's."

So you think virus resistant papaya is a bad thing? You would rather spray insecticides to control the spread of this virus? And what about the disease resistant cassava the Gates Foundation is developing? Vitamin A enriched rice and bananas? Drought tolerant maize?
--------------------------------------
"We eat organic or grow our own, it's hard work and very expensive."

Organic food doesn't contain GMOs and neither does your garden I would guess, so labeling will have no impact on you. What is the problem?
59
Everything Brunelle said. I work in the field of soil conservation, and he is bringing up a cold, hard point that is true here in the Pacific Northwest, and across the world. Even -if- GMO techniques did improve yield (which they most often don't), they are perpetuating a completely unworkable model that ignores a very finite resource. One that has been destroyed by short-sighted industrial agriculture practices. I am not against humans experimenting with food, but nothing agribusiness companies have done have benefited anything except their patent deals and their bottom line. There is no good reason not to label food, and give customers the ability to make their own decisions on this.

You have to wonder -why- these companies spend so much money fighting these initiatives, have the gall to sue Vermont, and have used borderline illegal tactics and laundering (CA, WA) in their 'no on labeling' campaigns, while having to resort to stuffing so much misinformation about costs and safety in their campaign blitzes. Is it because they're on the right side? Is that also why scientists like Pusztai (and many many others, just do a search on 'monsanto discredits researcher' and see what turns up) have been subjected to massive discrediting campaigns, been suspended, subjected to gag orders and harassed?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81rp%C3%…

Listen, Portland Mercury - you don't need to be bought out to come up with a crappy argument. It's to be expected of you. Since your money comes from advertisements for alcohol, "organic" tobacco and unhealthy food and really bad taste in general, I don't think you need to bother anybody with your opinion on any health-related matters. You do a decent job on your perennial twin subjects, Portland police and the homeless; you ought to just stick with those.
60
Emily Reed:

"There is no cost savings associated with GMOs at the consumer level. In fact, since commercial introduction in 1996, two of the three major GMO crops planted have nearly doubled in price."

While I agree that food prices have increased generally since 1996, correlation is not causation. Population has also increased, as has the cost of fuel, both of which naturally have major impacts on consumer price. I mean, gasoline was just over a dollar a gallon. Gasoline -- the fuel which is used to distribute food all over the country. Given the tremendous increases in yield since 1996, I shudder to think what food prices would be like if annual yield had remained flat.

"I'm happy you have such confidence in a 17 year old science but I'm going to wait until there is actual (any) long term science if you don't mind. But we'll have to wait a bit since there simply hasn't been enough time yet."

You seem to be misinformed about the history of the science. The first GMOs were developed in 1973, and the first commercialization of GMOs happened in 1982. 30-40 years is quite a bit longer than 17 years. Granted you probably still don't think there has been enough time, but how much time is enough for you?

"I may also wait until the studies come from our own government or an independent 3rd party since those have both been blocked so far due to patents."

First of all there have been literally thousands of independent 3rd party studies. But let's look at what government agencies and various other scientific institutions have to say about it:

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/wp/w…

"Butterflies are also still a question mark."

Read all about the Monarch butterfly issue here: http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013…

"You're right that 2, 4D is a herbicide - and the studies that look at the long term effects on public health with estimated increase in the use of this show what?"

That it's one of the safest herbicides we have, that it's less toxic than the popular organic herbicide copper sulfate, and that use of 2,4-D in combination with glyphosate will help substantially to prevent herbicide resistance in weeds. Now that -- weed resistance -- THAT would result in a LOT more herbicide used. The new formulation with 2,4-D and glyphosate will help prevent that.

"And the next level of super weeds?"

Oh, we were just talking about this above! Using 2,4-D with glyphosate will help prevent that.

"Not sure how information = obfuscation. So there you go, more questions."

I really must suggest that you use your imagination a little more here. Surely you can think of other situations where factual information served to obfuscate other issues which were arguably more important factors in the issue?

Have a look at the examples listed in this wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-truth

When you have a label that says a product contains GMOs, you aren't telling the whole story, and the part of the story you are telling tends to mislead people to think that GMOs are a problem. Kind of like you think GMOs are a problem based on various bits of misinformation you've been fed by Big Organic.

That's probably why so many supporters of this measure (including some of its most generous donors) are often quite open about the fact that they hope labeling will be the first step to destroying the biotech industry.

"Ps Here is another fact for you that may not have come up in your first page of Googling: Pesticides have increased since in the introduction of GMOs – as found in this 2012 research by Washington State University, published in peer-reviewed Environmental Sciences Europe"

Oh of course I have read this study. It's been widely discredited as bad science because Benbrook relies very heavily on extrapolation of data. That is to say, it's based on data that doesn't exist, and was instead made up by Benbrook. He acknowledges this in the paper, and it wouldn't be so bad if he used normal linear regression models to do it, like any undergraduate researcher would. But instead, using a linear regression model results in trends going exactly the opposite direction that he speculates in the paper.

I know it is frustrating when bad science makes it through the review process and gets published anyway, but that is why we have lots of different studies and evaluate things based on a preponderance of evidence, rather than picking out the one study that agrees with our opinions.

There is also the fact that the whole reason farmers like Bt corn is that they don't have to buy as much pesticide. If they had to buy more, they would go back to the non-GMO variety.
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"... the science we possess on GMOs indicates they’re almost certainly safe to eat."

Almost certainly??? Not certainly, just almost? That's what you refer to as "science"?

You folks must be looking for publicity in this decision. After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity and seeing as how I've never heard of you before, you need all the publicity you can get.
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Wow, now we know the Mercury is owned by Monsanto. Yuck.
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So, the Oregon public isn't learning anything from CA or WA? The "no" side is Monsanto, Syngenta, and all those who use GMOs in their products. They could care less if you die from eating GMOs as long as they make a buck.
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"I work in the field of soil conservation, and he is bringing up a cold, hard point that is true here in the Pacific Northwest, and across the world. "

You work in the field of soil conservation but don't know that herbicide resistant crops make no-till possible?
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"Almost certainly??? Not certainly, just almost? That's what you refer to as "science"?

Here is the science:

European Academies Science Advisory Council
Planting the future: opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture | 27.06.13
EASAC policy report 21, June 2013

“The specific physiological changes to plant function introduced by genetic modification are easier to characterise and assess than the less specific changes produced in other ways. When used appropriately and properly integrated within well-managed agronomic systems, GM crops can be economically, environmentally and socially beneficial. There is no validated evidence that GM has greater adverse impact on health and the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding. EU GM legislation was formulated when there was not yet sufficient data to substantiate these conclusions, but now there is. Given the experience gained, the legislation, data requirements and level of scrutiny need to be revisited and recalibrated.”

http://www.easac.eu/home/reports-and-statements/detail-view/article/planting-the.html
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And more science:

A decade of EU-funded GMO research
European Commission (2010)

"The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies. (p. 16)"

http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf
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And yet more science:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
Statement by the AAAS Board of Directors On Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods (20 October 2012)

“There are several current efforts to require labeling of foods containing products derived from genetically modified crop plants, commonly known as GM crops or GMOs. These efforts are not driven by evidence that GM foods are actually dangerous. Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe. Rather, these initiatives are driven by a variety of factors, ranging from the persistent perception that such foods are somehow “unnatural” and potentially dangerous to the desire to gain competitive advantage by legislating attachment of a label meant to alarm. Another misconception used as a rationale for labeling is that GM crops are untested…

The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.”

http://www.aaas.org/news/statement-aaas-board-directors-labeling-genetically-modified-foods
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Both the Mercury and many of the GMO biotech yay-sayers on this page posit that labeling food to state the presence of GM ingredients “does not tell the whole story” or worse “misleads.” However, reporting GMO contents alone does not tell a story, it communicates a fact. Nothing more, nothing less. This standardized statement of reality is not a leading statement. Your paranoid reading of a black rectangle does not insinuate “Warning,” “Caution,” or “Danger,” nor does the label contain these words. After an honest disclosure, each individual has the right to tell their own story. You, Monsanto, or the FDA should not have the right to control our stories. Here’s yours – in a nutshell: Oregon consumers, you can’t handle the truth!
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GMO's/Monsanto has destroyed small farms across this nation as the Food Giants swallow them up. No vote will just further destroy small farms. Its really very simple - if you kill the Bees, we will die and Monsanto products kill Bees. Yes vote will give power back to the local farms and we will get better quality food in the process. And you have to wonder why Monsanto is banned in 62 other countries ??? They own Washington DC and any media outlet they can buy.
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Thiebes:

This is fun.

re rise in prices - the article had to do with the cost of GMO seeds which has doubled. Again, there is no link to between food prices and GMOs.

17 years is how long it's been in our food - about the same age as a high school senior or younger than Justin Beiber. 39 years is how long it's been since we were first able to map the genome. Brand spankin' new science in the scheme of things. Especially compared to the 10,000 years we've been doing agriculture.

re 3rd party science: Are you not aware they have been been blocking independent studies? (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/business/20crop.html?_r=1&)


"Read all about the Monarch butterfly issue here: http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013…"
Link doesn't work but source is a site set up to promote genetic engineering. Topic is still open - which is understandable since it's still early days when it comes to the effects of this new science.

"That it's one of the safest herbicides we have, that it's less toxic than the popular organic herbicide copper sulfate, and that use of 2,4-D in combination with glyphosate will help substantially to prevent herbicide resistance in weeds. Now that -- weed resistance -- THAT would result in a LOT more herbicide used. The new formulation with 2,4-D and glyphosate will help prevent that"

For now. What's the next solution to the next super weed? And it still hasn't answered the question of how it will effect our health long term.


"Not sure how information = obfuscation. So there you go, more questions."

"I really must suggest that you use your imagination a little more here. Surely you can think of other situations where factual information served to obfuscate other issues which were arguably more important factors in the issue?"

Yep: http://votenoon92.com/

"When you have a label that says a product contains GMOs, you aren't telling the whole story, and the part of the story you are telling tends to mislead people to think that GMOs are a problem."

Contains GMOs is a fact. There are a number of legitimate reasons people have to want to know that very fact including economic, environmental, and religious. 90% of people in survey after survey want to know. Do you feel comfortable keeping that information from grown adults? Or is this argument solely based on the idea that 'we don't actually understand what we're asking for?' That's a very presumptuous stance.

"Kind of like you think GMOs are a problem based on various bits of misinformation you've been fed by Big Organic."

Organic is 3% of the market. There is no such thing as Big Organic.

"That's probably why so many supporters of this measure (including some of its most generous donors) are often quite open about the fact that they hope labeling will be the first step to destroying the biotech industry."

Do you really think the free flow of information will destroy the biotech industry? It may take some of their market share but that's up to the free market system.

"I know it is frustrating when bad science makes it through the review process and gets published anyway, but that is why we have lots of different studies and evaluate things based on a preponderance of evidence, rather than picking out the one study that agrees with our opinions"

Please see link above re blocking of research due patents - and here is another:
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/13/opinion/la-oe-guriansherman-seeds-20110213

"There is also the fact that the whole reason farmers like Bt corn is that they don't have to buy as much pesticide. If they had to buy more, they would go back to the non-GMO variety."

I'm all for farmers being able to choose to use GMO or not. Just as I am all for consumers to be able to choose to eat it or not. That whole choice thing is what I'm looking for here.
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Ok. I have to say your writeup comes off as reasonable. And thoughtful. But the reasoning itself strikes me as incredibly weak.

You will vote against measure because the sponsors aren't sharing their deeper mission openly? Who CARES!? You understand that GMOs in our bodies aren't the main problem, its the poisoning of the good green Earth by Monsanto, et al.. and yet you would still vote against a measure that would try to put some pressure on such mega-corps to think more deeply about what GMO crops the do/don't put forth?

Your rationale to vote no doesn't really add up to me. Voting YES, if for no other reason, simply to flip the bird to Monsanto, is a GREAT reason. Seriously. This "just on the side of no" endorsement is so weak willed and milquetoast, its almost as if you did this to get more hits on your site. Or to be less "predictable". But, well... it just comes off as smarmy and lame. "Oh, we get WHY you are down on GMOs, but we can't vote for your measure because you aren't telling us all your motives". Whatever.
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I was reading this, feeling disappointed that so many Merc readers seem to buy into corporate bullshit. But some comments here may not be from regular Merc readers. Googling shows that DaveBrown35 has the fun interesting hobby (or maybe he is paid for it?) of commenting on any little blog or news site that publishes a hint that GMOs might not be all they're cracked up to be. He trots out the same old Monsanto cheerleading where ever he goes!
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Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen: The 12 Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto
BY FRACTURED PARADIGM
– APRIL 15, 2013POSTED IN: FEATURED, GMOS, PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES, POPULATION CONTROL
When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market. See if you can spot the pattern…

#1 – Saccharin
Did you know Monsanto got started because of an artificial sweetener? John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri with the goal of producing saccharin[1] for Coca-Cola. In stark contrast to its sweet beginnings, studies performed during the early 1970s[2],* including a study by the National Cancer Institute in 1980[3], showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats[4] and mice.
After mounting pressure from consumers, the Calorie Control Council[5], and manufacturers of artificial sweeteners and diet sodas, along with additional studies[6] (several conducted by the sugar and sweetener industry) that reported flaws in the 1970s studies, saccharin was delisted from the NIH’s Carcinogen List. A variety of letters from scientists advised against delisting[7]; the official document includes the following wording[8] to this day: “although it is impossible to absolutely conclude that it poses no threat to human health, sodium saccharin is not reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen under conditions of general usage as an artificial sweetener.” (*Read the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s History of Saccharin[9] here.)
#2 – PCBs
During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. Fifty years later, toxicity tests[10] began reporting serious health effects[11] from PCBs in laboratory rats exposed to the chemical.
After another decade of studies, the truth could no longer be contained: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report[12] citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans. Additional peer-reviewed health studies showed a causal link between exposure to PCBs and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a frequently fatal form of cancer.
In 1979, the United States Congress recognized PCBs as a significant environmental toxin and persistent organic pollutant, and banned its production in the U.S. By then Monsanto already had manufacturing plants abroad, so they weren’t entirely stopped until the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants banned PCBs globally in 2001.
And that’s when Monsanto’s duplicity was uncovered: internal company memos[13] from 1956 surfaced, proving that Monsanto had known about dangers of PCBs from early on.
In 2003, Monsanto paid out over $600 million to residents of Anniston, Alabama, who experienced severe health problems including liver disease, neurological disorders and cancer[14] after being exposed to PCBs — more than double the payoff that was awarded in the case against Pacific Gas & Electric made famous by the movie “Erin Brockovich.”
And yet the damage persists: nearly 30 years after PCBs have been banned from the U.S., they are still showing up in the blood of pregnant women, as reported in a 2011 study[15] by the University of California San Francisco.
#3 – Polystyrene
In 1941, Monsanto began focusing on plastics and synthetic polystyrene, which is still widely used in food packaging and ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals[16] whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.
#4 – Atom bomb and nuclear weapons
Shortly after acquiring Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto turned this division into their Central Research Department[17]. Between 1943 to 1945, this department coordinated key production efforts of the Manhattan Project[18]—including plutonium purification and production and, as part of theManhattan Project’s Dayton Project[19], techniques to refine chemicals used as triggers for atomic weapons (an era of U.S. history that sadly included the deadliest industrial accident[20]).
#5 – DDT
In 1944, Monsanto became one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Despite decades of Monsanto propaganda insisting that DDT was safe, the true effects of DDT’s toxicity were at last confirmed through outside research and in 1972, DDT was banned throughout the U.S.
#6 – Dioxin
In 1945, Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (one of the precursors to Agent Orange), containing dioxin. Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that since become known as one of the “Dirty Dozen[21]” — persistent environmental pollutants that accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. In the decades since it was first developed, Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.
#7 – Agent Orange
During the early 1960s, Monsanto was one of the two primary manufacturers of Agent Orange, an herbicide / defoliant used for chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Except Monsanto’s formula had dioxin levels many times higher than the Agent Orange produced by Dow Chemicals, the othermanufacturer (which is why Monsanto was the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States).
(Pictured at left, Anh and Trang Nhan, with their father, when they first arrived at the Hoi An Orphanage; below are the same brothers shortly before Trang’s death. Source: Kianh Foundation Newsletter, Dec. 2011[22])
As a result of the use of Agent Orange, Vietnam estimates that over 400,000 people were killed or maimed, 500,000 children were born with birth defects, and up to 1 million people were disabled or suffered from health problems—not to mention the far-reaching impact it had on the health of over 3 million American troops and their offspring.
Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems of dioxin contamination of Agent Orange when it sold it to the U.S. government for use in Vietnam. Despite the widespread health impact, Monsanto and Dow were allowed to appeal for and receive financial protection from the U.S. government against veterans seeking compensation for their exposure to Agent Orange.
In 2012, a long 50 years after Agent Orange was deployed, the clean-up effort has finally begun[23]. Yet the legacy of Agent Orange, and successive generations of body deformities[24], will remain in orphanages[25] throughout VietNam for decades to come.
(Think that can’t happen here? Two crops were recently genetically engineered[26] to withstand a weedkiller made with one of the major components of Agent Orange, 2,4-D[27], in order to combat “super weeds” that evolved due to the excessive use of RoundUp.)
8 – Petroleum-Based Fertilizer
In 1955, Monsanto began manufacturing petroleum-based fertilizer after purchasing a major oil refinery. Petroleum-based fertilizers can kill beneficial soil micro-organisms[28], sterilizing the soil and creating a dependence, like an addiction, to the synthetic replacements. Not the best addiction to have, considering the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil…
#9 – RoundUp
During the early 1970s, Monsanto founded their Agricultural Chemicals division with a focus on herbicides, and one herbicide in particular: RoundUp (glyphosate). Because of its ability to eradicate weeds literally overnight, RoundUp was quickly adopted by farmers. Its use increased even more when Monsanto introduced “RoundUp Ready” (glyphosate-resistant) crops, enabling farmers to saturate the entire field with weedkiller without killing the crops.
While glyphosate has been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and is widely used, concerns about its effects on humans and the environment persist. RoundUp has been found in samples of groundwater[29], as well as soil[30], and even in streams and air[31] throughout the Midwest U.S., and increasingly in food. It has been linked to butterfly[32] mortality, and the proliferation of superweeds[33]. Studies in rats have shown consistently negative health impacts ranging from tumors, altered organ function, and infertility, to cancer and premature death. Reference the above “GMO Risks[34]” page which includes countless references to support these statements.
#10 – Aspartame (NutraSweet / Equal)
An accidental discovery during research on gastrointestinal hormones resulted in a uniquely sweet chemical: aspartame. During the clinical trials conducted on 7 infant monkeys as part of aspartame’s application for FDA approval, 1 monkey died and 5 other monkeys had grand mal seizures—yet somehow aspartame was still approved by the FDA in 1974. In 1985, Monsanto acquired the company responsible for aspartame’s manufacture (G.D. Searle) and began marketing the product as NutraSweet. Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report listing 94 health issues[35] caused by aspartame.
#11 – Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
This genetically modified hormone was developed by Monsanto to be injected into dairy cows to produce more milk. Cows subjected to rBGH suffer excruciating pain due to swollen udders and mastitis[36], and the pus[37] from the resulting infection enters the milk supply[38] requiring the use of additional antibiotics. rBGH milk has been linked to breast cancer[39], colon cancer[40], and prostate cancer[41] in humans.
#12 – Genetically Modified Crops / GMOs
In the early 1990s, Monsanto began gene-splicing corn, cotton, soy, and canola with DNA from a foreign source to achieve one of two traits: an internally-generated pesticide, or an internal resistance to Monsanto’s weedkiller RoundUp. Despite decades of promises that genetically engineered crops would feed the world with more nutrients, drought resistance, or yield, the majority of Monsanto’s profits[42] are from seeds that are engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s RoundUp—an ever-rising, dual income stream as weeds continue to evolve resistance to RoundUp[43].
Most sobering however, is that the world is once again buying into Monsanto’s “safe” claims.
Just like the early days of PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Monsanto has successfully fooled the general public and regulatory agencies into believing that RoundUp, and the genetically modified crops that help sell RoundUp, are “safe.”
Except Monsanto has learned a thing or two in the past 100+ years of defending its dirty products: these days, when a new study proving the negative health or environmental impacts of GMOs emerges, Monsanto attacks the study and its scientist(s) by flooding the media with counter claims from “independent” organizations, scientists, industry associations, blogs, sponsored social media, and articles by “private” public relations firms—frequently founded, funded and maintained by Monsanto.
Unfortunately, few of us take the time to trace the members, founders, and relationships of these seemingly valid sources back to their little Monsanto secret.
Fooling the FDA[44] required a slightly different approach: click on the below chart compiled by Millions Against Monsanto[45] to see how many former Monsanto VPs and legal counsel are now holding positions with the FDA. And don’t forget Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney who is now a Supreme Court Justice, ruling in favor of Monsanto in every case brought before him.

A Baker’s Dozen: #13 – Terminator Seeds
In the late 1990s, Monsanto developed the technology to produce sterile grains unable to germinate. These “Terminator Seeds[46]” would force farmers to buy new seeds from Monsanto year after year, rather than save and reuse the seeds from their harvest as they’ve been doing throughout centuries. Fortunately this technology never came to market. Instead, Monsanto chose to require farmers to sign a contract agreeing that they will not save or sell seeds from year to year, which forces them to buy new seeds and preempts the need for a “terminator gene.” Lucky for us… since the terminator seeds were capable of cross-pollination and could have contaminated local non-sterile crops.
What’s the Result of our Monsanto Legacy?
Between 75% to 80% of the processed food[47] you consume every day has GMOs inside, and residues of Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide outside. But it’s not just processed food—fresh fruit and vegetables are next: genetically engineered sweet corn[48] is already being sold at your local grocer, with apples and a host of other “natural” produce currently in field trials.
How is it that Monsanto is allowed to manipulate our food after such a dark product history? How is it they are allowed to cause such detrimental impact to our environment and our health?
According to the Organic Consumers Association[49], “There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.
Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, U.S. factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—backed by farm subsidies[50]—while organic farmers receive no such subsidies.
Monsanto’s history reflects a consistent pattern of toxic chemicals, lawsuits, and manipulated science. Is this the kind of company we want controlling our world’s food supply?
P.S. Monsanto’s not alone. Other companies in the “Big Six” include Pioneer Hi-Bred International[51] (a subsidiary of DuPont), Syngenta AG[52], Dow Agrosciences[53] (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, BASF[54] (which is primarily a chemical company that is rapidly expanding their biotechnology division, and Bayer Cropscience[55] (a subsidiary of Bayer).
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"See, the science we possess on GMOs indicates they’re almost certainly safe to eat."

Thanks for making that determination for the rest of us. I'm sure you're a scientist and have an extensive understanding of science. Oh wait. Nevermind. You don't.

"Indeed, the Yes on 92 representatives who attended our endorsement interview acknowledged purchasing and eating GMO products all the time."

I don't see why this is a negative. Each form of GMO is different than the other. Safety for each item needs to be checked individually (at least what has been transplanted and the methods used). There are some forms of GMOs I'm convinced are safe. Others may not be. It's called the precautionary principle.

In the end it's also about consumer education. With the labels on there, engineering firms will want to explain how their products were engineered. I think labeling, as it has in the EU, increased knowledge of food processes and further increase acceptance of GMOs. Right now in the US, there's a huge chunk of the public that thinks it's a secretive conspiracy.

Voting yes on 92 can help change that through increased transparency.
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"Ps Here is another fact for you that may not have come up in your first page of Googling: Pesticides have increased since in the introduction of GMOs – as found in this 2012 research by Washington State University, published in peer-reviewed Environmental Sciences Europe:

http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24/abstract"

Not research by Washington State University. That research was funded by the Organic Center, administered by the Organic Trade Association. Check the timeline. That paper was submitted before Benbrook arranged a courtesy association with WSU. No WSU scientists were involved. And it was published in a bottom-feeding open access journal.
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To all of those here who are pushing for more information in your food choices; I applaud you! I'd also like you all to back me in another initiative about knowing more about where our food came from...

See, I am a insatiable racist. I just go crazy at the thought of minorities being treated like anything less than the sub-human garbage that I feel they are. So why should I be forced to eat food that has been touched by the dirty hands of the impure races of the world? I mean, that food is going into my body! I should be able to choose the racial integrity of the hands that plucked my non-GMO lettuce from the fertile soil.

So I would ask all of you, who support the right of people everywhere to know where there food comes from, how it is grown, and whose dark, dirty, sinful hands (or lily white, pure, anointed palms) have touched the food you intend to put in your body, and SUPPORT RACIAL HARVESTING LABELING NOW!

It's not about racism. it's about consumer choice. Yo soy totes racist, tho.
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If people think that a label is warning then that sounds like an issue of their own failure to follow up on facts and make the decision that's right for them. "Without sufficient context, a label is likely to sow doubt or apprehension in shoppers who assume it’s a warning, and that there’s a reason they should be warned." It's not a warning, it is a fact, and we have a right to the facts. Whether or not one believes that GMOs are dangerous is less relevant than allowing us to know what we consume and where it comes from. Don't withhold info from those who do know what they want and chose to find the information and think for themselves. People "misinterpreting" simple and truthful labels is a horrible reason not to label things.
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Regardless of the science and the safety of GMO’s I don’t think people should be forced to eat GMO’s if they don’t like them. We have to have a solution that satisfy s both sides of the argument.

A mandatory label is an extreme measure in a free market there is a private venture that is providing labels and that business will get hurt.

If you think a label is something you want you should be paying for it not me. It a big waste because two thirds of the public doesn't read the label or care.
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Emily Reed: I'll be back with a response. Too tired to continue at the moment but I am enjoying it as well. I appreciate that you are not throwing insults at this point.
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Someone upthread was casting aspersions on those of us with opposing views, particularly DavidBrown35. Look, guess the fuck what, people have different opinions about this issue. So many of you cannot accept that fact, and show it with these comments about people getting paid by Monsanto, people being trolls who comment everywhere about this issue, whatever.

Why is it so hard for you to imagine people disagreeing with you? It shows that you have not thought about this with any depth.

I have lived in Oregon for 15 years. Before that I grew up in Montana, where I was a 5th generation native. I have a religious vocation in which the natural world is preeminent. I am voting yes on 91. I ride my bike to school, where I am working on making a better solar cell. I once hated Monsanto and worried about the safety of GMOs, but I changed my mind after studying the evidence. Deal with it.
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Denis C. Theriault is a shameless shill
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Last election these guys were all "TEETH CAN'T WAIT, and drinking FLUORIDE is the best TOOTH doctor money can BUY (your vital organs are just collateral damage)." But now they're all "GMO LABELING is not a STRAIGHTFORWARD and DIRECT way to address the REGRETTABLE PROBLEMS with GMOs and corporate AGRICULTURE."

I'd say you're being inconsistent, but there are more direct ways of saying you provide intellectually dishonest protection for wealthy corporations that screw us over.

Our grandparents grew up eating nothing but organic food. What we call "conventional food" is a science experiment that started about 60 years ago. What we've done to the land in the meantime is a complete travesty, and you are now complicit in trying to erase the knowledge of that crime.
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Thiebes, Dave Brown works for Monsanto. He doesn't live in Oregon, has never commented on any Merc article before this. If you think about that "with any depth" you may suspect that his posting here is not just a little difference of opinion among those of us who will vote on measure 92. How nice that you are a 5th generation Montanan! What that has to do with Measure 92 is unclear to me. Same about your vocation! Deal with it! If none of us imagined others disagreeing with us, there would be no comment thread. Deal with it! Many of us disagree with you! Deal with it!
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You missed me by a day, Mercury. I'm one of those usual "monkey me stupid" type of voters that votes precisely the way you tell me to, but I had to fill out my ballot over the weekend as I wanted to get it over with before I head out of town for the next couple of weeks. Why not time your endorsements to coincide with the mailing of the ballots to the voters? If this measure passes by 1 vote you only have yourselves to blame.
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I wonder where all the trolls are coming from.
86
What would it hurt then to have it pass? If it's really no big deal then it shouldn't matter.
87
Trying to convince the Oregon hippy s that GMO’s are safe using science and logic is blasphemy. The green Oregon tree hugging bike riding natural philosophy has a religious fervor where mother nature is a sweet kind old lady who can do no wrong and science is unreliable and controlled by big corporations.
88
Science is very reliable. Monsanto and Syngenta are not.
89
"I wonder where all the trolls are coming from."

Portland has an abundance of bridges.
90
Good for you guys. Science and reason are not dead yet, it seems.

People who continue to repeat, over and over, "What's the big deal? Why is more information bad? Just label it!" are missing the point. Without a valid, scientific justification for those labels, your desire for them comes down to nothing but consumer interest or curiosity. And those are not valid reasons to MANDATE a label. It may be a valid reason for some companies to voluntarily label their products in order to secure your business, but to force the labels with legislation...you don't get to just do that for no good reason other than "we just want it."
91
It is interesting for a news paper to tell people they should remain happily ignorant. What is that about ? Whoever paid you for this editorial is not working in your best interests. Happily ignorant people do not read newspapers or even food labels.
92
Watch this and Vote Yes on 92:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw0bkRq8_aM
93
The bottom line of food labeling is that it is a health issue: food products should only be required to have labels for those things which have demonstrable health effects, not for those things which people want to avoid for non-health related reasons.

And the current state of scientific thought is OVERWHELMINGLY on the side that GMOs have no health effects whatsoever. The consensus on this is as strong as it is for evolution or global warming -- so if you want to argue with GMOs, just be aware that you are putting yourself in the same general camp as the Ken Hams of the world.

GMO labeling is a political issue, nothing more, nothing less. If you don't like the idea of GMOs, that's your right. Do your research and avoid those foods containing them. But labeling? No. You don't get to demand labeling for your pet political beef.
94
"pests that are immune to poisons"

Nope. Pests that are *resistant* to a particular control mechanism. Please be precise with your terminology. But otherwise a well written position.
95
If this measure fails I will simply continue to ONLY purchase foods that voluntarily label as organic and non-GMO.
96
This is your worst endorsement yet. At one point scientist thought DDT was safe. I would like to avoid eating GMO's until there have been a few decades of research into it's safety not conducted by the companies selling them. This has been some of your worst writing yet. Do some research. I am really angry about this.
97
The science says that it is "almost certainly safe"... in 80% of our food??? Sorry, that's terrible odds and you would lose your you-know-what in Vegas. Gmos are GRAS.. Generally regarded as safe just isnt good enough. Just label them.
98
You guys are a joke of a newspaper and hurting Oregon. Show me the raw data stating it's safe, oh wait you can't because Monsanto won't release it. They ran one 3 months study and twisted the arms at the FDA and it was approved. Wake up! The rest of the world is against it we're gonna look like the dumbasses again falling behind! You say the "yes" supporters are lying about their motives?! Then your blind if you think Monsanto and DuPont give a fuck about feeding you. Stop hurting Oregonians and start supporting things that matter. That's what the media is supposed to do... How much did Monsanto pay you assholes to write this?!
99
I agree. I also applaud your the Mercury's courage in coming out on the no side of the issue. You could have taken an easier path, yet didn't. Kudos.
100
So, after 100 comments, the biggest take-away is, regardless if any potential GMO labeling, to only buy foods labeled organic?