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The Conflict of Interest Culture Among GMO Advocates

The Conflict of Interest Culture Among GMO Advocates

Tim Schwab

The New York Times recentlyweighed in on the scandal involving University of Florida professor Kevin Folta, a leading GMO advocate whose passionate declarations about his absolute independence from the biotech industry were revealed to be false. Documents turned up a few weeks ago showing that Folta has received tens of thousands of dollars from Monsanto, promised the company a “solid r

GMOs are but the latest test of the precautionary principle.

Follow the money usually works in science as elsewhere, case in point here in the beginning of this article.

Because it is “science” does not mean that outcomes should be accepted verbatim especially given humanity’s weakness in the integrity department.

My adivise to whoever will listen is get the back story and consider the source. Dispense with hook, line and sinker.

Consider this piece on Cornucopia titled: The Future of GMOs, Meat Safety and Organics Under the Influence of the Same Corrupt, Corporate-Lapdog: the USDA
by Jérôme Rigot, PhD

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There actually is no real science on the real effects of GMOs. It’s impossible. You cannot put nature in a lab. You cannot do clinical research on the complexity of the biosphere. Scientific methodology is incapable of understanding the holistic aspect of all the life that comprises food webs.

Effectively these corporates are doing their experiments literally in the field. That’s why they get it wrong… apart from the fact that it is probably impossible to improve on nature’s aggressive strategy to maximise photosynthesis and help us out of our stupidity by sinking CO2. Monocropping, pesticides, herbicides, endless ploughing, industrial fertilisers and anti-fungicides are all biology killers. Such greed and self-centred stupidity! All for the $£€s.


I stopped reading the NYTimes, Washington Post and other corporate media outlets a while ago. Paying for propaganda is stupid when you can get your information online.

I wrote to the New York Times about this article’s false equivalency comparing the massive GMO industry with one or two Organic Food specialists. I don’t think they published my letter.

A Monsanto representative blurted out when he didn’t know he was being recorded:
“We have a whole office dedicated to that.” That meaning oppo research and lobbying.
We know that because we see the industry talking points from different bloggers over and over. Here’s one:
“Human beings have been modifying food for millennia.” They are comparing ancient cross-pollinating in the field with gene splicing and DNA modifying in the modern laboratory.

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I agree with most of your post, but there is actually a lot of science that could be done if GMO foods were labeled. For example, there are numerous epidemiological studies that could be done to compare allergic reactions, etc., of GMO eaters and non-eaters. That science is deliberately - and effectively - prevented by the loss of the control group. One of the most inexcusable of the many untruths involved with the “controversy.”

That’s ONE of the borders. Others include Voluntary and Involuntary, and Informed and Uninformed. (or Disinformed)

I don’t agree with this. To my way of thinking, a truly robust debate would have to include the political corruption by which the FDA and USDA were “genetically-modified” to be “captive agencies,” functioning as fully-owned subsidiaries of the food chemical industry.

A robust debate would take on the fact that the appropriate human-safety testing has been circumvented. If you’re not willing to acknowledge a difference between testing for your ability to make a transgenic plant grow, on the one hand, and testing for how that plant affects human health when we eat it, then your debate can hardly be called robust.

Such a debate would surely be willing to look into what Dr. Barry Commoner had to say about it years ago:

The fact that one gene can give rise to multiple proteins also destroys the theoretical foundation of a multibillion-dollar industry, the genetic engineering of food crops. In genetic engineering it is assumed, without adequate experimental proof, that a bacterial gene for an insecticidal protein, for example, transferred to a corn plant, will produce precisely that protein and nothing else. Yet in that alien genetic environment, alternative splicing of the bacterial gene might give rise to multiple variants of the intended protein - or even to proteins bearing little structural relationship to the original one, with unpredictable effects on ecosystems and human health.

The whole article, Unraveling the DNA Myth: The Spurious Foundation of Genetic Engineering, is long, but illuminating. I submit that it belongs in a “robust debate.”

Likewise, this debate must include an acknowledgement that experimental science can take a very long time and a great deal of effort to uncover its own effects, a case made elegantly in GM Foods: A Moment of Honesty.

Until the “debate” gets more comprehensive, I don’t see how it can be called “robust.”

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Sorry - I was a bit general. I meant in the sense that you cannot put nature into a lab, or test anything fully in a clinical sense.

Thank you, Mr. Schwab. Under the illusion of fairness, any group that opposes an entrenched interest is portrayed as “the other side” of the issue. This team sports frame allots a false sense of fairness when it’s anything but. The following paragraph could not be repeated too often:

“If the organic industry is squaring off with the biotech industry, this battle amounts to a small posse of gunslingers versus the entire U.S. military. The biotech industry has spent, literally, hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress, funding political candidates, sponsoring academic research, endowing professorships, funding construction of university buildings and hiring university professors as consultants. This influence campaign also reaches into the federal government, which pressures foreign governments to accept GMOs and even censors government research that goes against the wishes of the biotech industry, according to whistleblowers.”

Excellent article!

What bio-tech does is shut out the scientists they can’t purchase through “research funding,” and then pretend that there IS no scientific evidence to refute the patently false claims that GMO crap is safe and/or healthy to man, woman, nature, and beast.

It’s war! And that’s why Monsanto is so cozy with the war profiteers and the chief designer of its chemical hazards like Agent Orange. All have the same ethos: Dominate and control others and call it freedom.

You think nature IS a machine than flawed males marching lockstep to a manmade (for profit) model can improve upon.

Like Tom Carberry pushing chemical pollution instead of global warming as a context for fighting climate problems, you set up a false dichotomy between chemicals (bad) against Gen. tech (good); and then, using the same level of integrity that PR firms used to bamboozle the public about the purported safety of tobacco products, affix a stigma of “unscientific” onto those who rightfully challenge what big Agri does by playing fast and loose with the biological DNA banks of time.

The Precautionary principle is apt. But your GAME to indict Big Chemical while pretending that genetic engineering IS progress is proof positive of you being a paid message shaper. Your opinions are all over “the board” apart from your naked applause for Bio Tech, nuclear power, and pro-corporate attitudes, in general.

Vandana Shiva would eat you for breakfast and spit out your lies like the PITS that they are.

Most informed comment in this thread. Well-done.

Thank you.