Pass the GMO labeling bill now

Despite wide support, measure may not get a vote

MOST PEOPLE CARE what’s in their food. Whether the reason is dietary, religious, moral, or a concern about flavor, we like to know – and many need to know – what we’re eating. That’s why nearly everything we consume is labeled, and why those labels are so important to us. In January, Whole Foods had to recall 75,000 pounds of frozen pepperoni pizzas, not because the food was bad or dangerous, but because it was incorrectly labeled. Those labels matter. And yet, still, in 2016, there is no law requiring labeling of a genetically modified organism, or GMO, ingredient in Massachusetts. We can and should change that this year.

The country’s first mandatory GMO labeling bill is set to take effect in Vermont in July. As a result, Campbell Soup Company, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, and ConAgra have all announced over the last few weeks that they will begin to label their products to comply. Despite overwhelming support for labeling across the country (93 percent in an ABC News poll conducted last June), it’s clear that these companies would not be taking this step if not for the Vermont law.

Northeastern states have led the way on this issue for years (Connecticut and Maine have also passed labeling laws), and remain the only US governments that have taken action. Sixty-four countries, including member nations of the European Union, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, Turkey, and South Africa already require GMO food labeling. If we want to see GMO ingredients labeled on our food (and 93 percent of us do), Massachusetts and other states must step forward and set the standard.

Last year, 154 of Massachusetts’s 200 legislators, including big majorities of both the Senate and the House, of Democrats and Republicans, joined together to cosponsor The Genetic Engineering Transparency Food Labeling Act. Yet, despite the support of more than 75 percent of the Legislature, the bill, H. 4156, is far from guaranteed even a vote by the Legislature. That’s a major problem for anyone who wants labeling of GMO ingredients, because despite calls for a new federal law, Congress is not coming to the rescue anytime soon.

In 2015, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” which is more properly titled the “Denying Americans the Right-to-Know,” or DARK, Act. The DARK Act not only prohibits the federal government from mandating GMO labeling, it also prevents states from passing labeling laws, and instead institutes a framework for voluntary labeling.

Among the many problems with this proposed law, which has been pushed by the Grocery Manufacturers of America and its allies in the biochemical and agrochemical industries, is that it’s based on the false premise that a majority of major food companies will voluntarily label their products. These same industry groups are currently pulling out the stops to pass the DARK Act in the US Senate, desperately trying to roll back Vermont’s law.

We have often heard that states are the laboratories of democracy. Important reforms, demanded by citizens, are often debated, vetted, and passed on the state level where lawmakers are closer to their constituents and less influenced by industry giants and their armies of lobbyists. Only after being faced with the prospect of negotiating different laws in different states and wasting millions of dollars in uphill battles are powerful monied interests willing to come to the table on the national level to adopt simple reforms for the whole country. The reality is the states, particularly Vermont, have pushed the major food companies to label GMOs, and must continue to do so.

Meet the Author

Deirdre Cummings

Legislative director, MassPIRG
Meet the Author

Martin Dagoberto

Campaign coordinator, MA Right to Know GMO
As the Whole Foods pizza recall proves, we all want to know what’s in our food. And as the debate in Washington proves, it is more important than ever for Massachusetts to side with consumers and pass the GMO labeling bill. By joining with Vermont, we not only provide our fellow citizens with the right to know about GMOs, we also strengthen the likelihood of getting a meaningful national GMO labeling law for the entire country.

Deirdre Cummings is legislative director for MASSPIRG and Martin Dagoberto is campaign coordinator for MA Right to Know GMO.

  • Since we are labeling GMOs should not the genetically modified red junglefowl (domestic chicken) and the genetically modified auroch (modern cow) be so labeled as well? Is there a single animal or plant in our grocery stores that was not modified genetically? Should fear begat more fear?

    • relO627

      Are they genetically engineered or just bred? Are they like the Aqua Bounty Salmon? You have a PHD you know the difference between traditional breeding methods and using a gene gun. Right?

      • Transgenic organisms are those who’s genetic makeup has been altered by the addition of genes from an unrelated organism. A GMO is not necessarily transgenic. It is often recombinant, meaning that the genes have been brought together from several sources. This is exactly what breeding is, but without the gene gun as you put it.

        There is a lot of fear and misinformation about GMOs and this has driven the public to consider labeling laws.

        Just today I read a decent piece about GMOs that included this quote: “Really, what a GMO is is an organism that has been modified genetically using a recombinant DNA method,” said Robert Wright, a Texas Tech associate professor of crop genomics… “It’s not like we’re playing Frankenstein — we’ve been genetically modifying plants for thousands of years,” Wright said.

        This is an accurate statement from an expert.

        Unfortunately in the desire to show false equivalence the piece also contained this quote: “I think they haven’t been well studied, and I think they encourage the use of heavy pesticides,” she said. “I think certain corporations are using them for profitability with no concern for consumer safety … I would want to see more research, ideally done by independent sources.”

        This is an inaccurate statement from a layperson (a farmer). For a genetically modified organism to be approved for release in the USA, it must be assessed under the Plant Protection Actby the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) agency within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and may also be assessed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental protection agency (EPA), depending on the intended use of the organism.

        Both quotes were given equal weight.

        • relO627

          When was the first selectively bred crop done? When was the first genetically engineered crop done?

          Consumers want to be informed of presence.

        • Debbie Owen

          You are just trying to confuse the topic, most readers won’t fall for that. There is no good excuse for keeping people in the dark about the food they are feeding to their families. Also the statement from the layperson you quoted is accurate, no new GMOs are independently tested before they are released into our food supply and GMO roundup ready crops do encourage the use of herbicides which is a form of pesticides.

          • Nothing confuses the topic more than well cited arguments.

            “GMO roundup ready crops do encourage the use of herbicides which is a form of pesticides.”

            A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops.  Klümper W, Qaim M PLoS One. 2014 Nov 3;9(11):e111629. <-On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

            Environmental impacts of genetically modified (gm) crop use 1996-2013: impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions. Brookes G, Barfoot P.GM Crops Food. 2015 Mar 11:0<-The technology has also facilitated important cuts in fuel use and tillage changes, resulting in a significant reduction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions from the GM cropping area. In 2013, this was equivalent to removing 12.4 million cars from the roads

          • Ken Gallaher

            BS. GMOs have INCREASED the use of pesticides.
            Another c/p from the Monsnato database.
            Restaurant business must really be down to make those 5¢ posts worthwhile.

          • Debbie Owen

            No, you are wrong. It is nothing but a pro-GMO lie that pesticide use has decreased. Just look at how the use of roundup has increased since the mid 90s when GMOs were snuck into our food supply.

          • razorjack

            Pesticide use is at an all time high and cancer causing Roundup/glyphosate is the largest selling pesticide o the planet. On top of that they don’t even count the bt pesticide that is part of every cell in every GMO plant with the bt trait.

            People have been duped into think that bt cuts down on pesticide loads. They
            ignore the fact that we must include the Bt endotoxin load itself. Of
            course the corrupt GMO pesticide industry disinformation echo chamber
            $hills and their media stenographers always omit this massive pesticide load
            when they parrot the line about “less pesticide”. But according to the calculations
            of Charles Benbrook (p.6), based on data from corporate submissions to the regulators,
            SmartStax maize (which Monsanto touts as the normative baseline Bt maize
            product at this point) generates an average Bt endotoxin load of 4.2
            kilograms per hectare, 19 times the application rate of conventional
            sprayed insecticides in 2010. So acre for acre SmartStax deploys
            pesticide at 19 times the rate which the “less pesticide” lie implies is
            the total application. How’s that for accounting fraud? Benbrook finds
            that in general Bt endotoxins equal or exceed the amount of sprayed
            insecticides displaced. In fact, just as with neonics, to the extent any
            spraying is displaced, that’s only because it’s replaced by other
            poisons such as the Bt toxins.

        • Ken Gallaher

          Nice c/p job.

        • Rob Bright

          I thought it was your bedtime, doctor? Or is that just an excuse you use when you’re cornered and caught in your own web of misinformation?

          • I am awake now, and happy to resume to cite actual evidence and refute the fear mongering.

    • Martin Dagoberto

      ^This has been a classic trick of transparency opponents for decades: muddy the waters of debate and say “it’s all the same.” (In fact, there IS an internationally recognized definition for genetic engineering.) Well, consumers overwhelmingly disagree!

      A bit of history: Lacking any scientific evidence to backup its claim, a 1992 policy statement of the Food and Drug Administration declared that all GMO crops, including those engineered to produce their own insecticides or withstand applications of chemical herbicides, are uniformly “safe and substantially equivalent.” The federal government, therefore, does not perform or require any safety testing of genetically engineered crops, and instead relies on voluntary assessments made by the industry.

      GMOs are unique enough to warrant a patent, and recent studies also show substantial differences in protein structure and the accumulation of herbicides in GMO crops (including the suspected carcinogen, glyphosate), as compared to their non-GMO counterparts. One such study, here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814613019201

      At the end of the day, consumers have demonstrated that this information is important to them, and the issue is clearly not going away. Whether or not the old adage “the customer is always right” holds any
      weight any more, the populist tenor of today’s political climate is undeniable and growing. We will settle for nothing less than clear, conspicuous on-package labeling of genetically engineered ingredients.

      • “The federal government, therefore, does not perform or require any safety testing.”

        A common fallacy.

        For a genetically modified organism to be approved for release in the USA, it must be assessed under the Plant Protection Actby the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) agency within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and may also be assessed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental protection agency (EPA), depending on the intended use of the organism.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_genetic_engineering

        “suspected carcinogen, glyphosate”

        Another fallacy.

        Glyphosate has a LD50 of 5600 mg/kg based on oral ingestions in rats, according to EPA assessments , placing it in Toxicity Category III. The EPA ranks chemicals in four categories, I being the most toxic and IV being the least. To compare, caffeine has a much lower LD50 of 192 mg/kg based on oral ingestions in rats. (see reference below).
        http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/REDs/factsheets/0178fact.pdf

        • Martin Dagoberto

          Dr. Reiss may have difficulty directing readers to the results of any independent government assessments of GE food safety because there are none. The FDA invites manufacturers to submit a voluntary assessment and allow the companies to retain the raw data as a “trade secret.”

          And in March 2014 the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.”

          • Ken Gallaher

            Exactly. “dr” my donkey

          • Along with other such probable carcinogenic as wood smoke, urathane, making glass and being a barber.

          • Debbie Owen

            You are comparing apples to oranges. People have a choice whether or not to be a barber, make glass, be around wood smoke and so on. People don’t have a choice when it comes to glyphosate, it’s in our food and many people aren’t aware of that fact. Glyphosate is a poison that doesn’t belong in our food, that’s the bottom line.

          • Everything is a poison if you ingest enough of it. That is why there is the specific dose required to do harm as I cited above. In this case the dose is quite high.

          • Debbie Owen

            So in your opinion its ok to add poison to our food as long as it’s just a little? No matter how you try to justify it, there is no good reason for glyphosate to be in our food.

          • Hyponatraemia is salt poisoning. Water intoxication (poisoning) is fatal. Even Apple seeds contain cyanide, but like salt and water they are unlikely to kill you in the doses you ingest. In poisons, dose is everything.

          • Debbie Owen

            In other words the answer is yes, you believe it’s ok to add poison to our food.

          • Semantics, a substance is not poisonous until it meets a specific threshold, by definition. I am all for unadulterated foods, but until the adulterant becomes toxic, I am not concerned.

          • Debbie Owen

            Glyphosate=poison

          • It is late where I live please do not take umbrage if 8 hours or so pass before I return this stellar example of rhetoric.

          • Ken Gallaher

            HAHAHAHA….slithers away

          • So true, I fell to the frailties of being alive.

          • razorjack

            False equivalency half truth lie.

            Salt is acutely toxic but people ingest it over a lifetime without any health problems and they would die without it.

            Glyphosate is a chronically toxic from the smallest dose up but it slowly degrades your body at the cellular level until the weakest system breaks down and the system dies.

          • Ken Gallaher

            When did you take up trolling?

          • I hadn’t thought of it as trolling when I presented well cited arguments, but considering the source of the article, I was certainly asking for it.

            4400 comments on Discus alone, you are quite accomplished.

          • Ken Gallaher

            HAHAHAHA .. that is not “science” you you spewing.
            Wine took you down?
            Better put “troll’ on your resume.
            And be honest about that “degree”.

          • Debbie Owen

            Considering the source of the article? Well I would trust a source that promotes transparency in labeling over someone who promotes keeping people in the dark about their food. You are also defending the poisoning of our food supply with glyphosate, so I don’t trust what you have to say.

          • Damo

            I wouldn’t trust you, an admitted racist that wants to see all the brown people die so you lie about GMOs.

            Remember, you are a racist and wants poor black and brown people to die.

          • Jeff Leonard

            And 4399 of those comments are to accuse someone of being a shill with no relevant information supplied while displaying complete ignorance of any scientific data supplied to him.

          • Ken Gallaher

            Every single comment a pro-GMO shill post. LAMO

          • razorjack

            Those are all thing that people can make a choice about.

            Cancer causing Roundup/glyphosate laden GMOs are purposely hidden from the public who is not able to make an informed choice.

          • See reply to Ms. Owen.

          • Viriato77

            The FDA may “invite” but can you cite to products that denied that invitation and made it to market. The FDA then evaluates the assessment and require follow-up experimentation after review of the data. And as far as the WHO classification, wouldn’t it be a little less disingenuous if you included some context for what carcinogenicity classifications include?

        • Debbie Owen

          None of those agencies you mention do any safety testing on new GMOs, their assessment is based on the testing done by the very companies that would profit from the product.

          We also have a choice whether or not to ingest caffeine, people don’t have a choice about ingesting glyphosate when they don’t know it’s in our food. By the way, glyphosate has been classified as a probable carcinogen because that’s what it is, it shouldn’t be in our food.

          • “A number of non-expert organizations have published reviews claiming that the USA provides little or no regulatory scrutiny of genetically modified organisms [GMOs; also called transgenic or products of recombinant DNA (rDNA) technologies]. Although these are readily readable by non-experts, they contain numerous errors and nonsense. ”

            US regulatory system for genetically modified [genetically modified organism (GMO), rDNA or transgenic] crop cultivars
            Authors
            Alan McHughen,
            Stuart Smyth

            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-7652.2007.00300.x/full

          • Ken Gallaher

            That Monsnato database is very dated – on purpose

          • Debbie Owen

            Go ahead and try to find just one independent test that was done on any GE food before it was released into our food supply, you won’t find one.

          • Read the paper I cited earlier.

          • Ken Gallaher

            It appears YOU need to read the crap you c/p.

          • Debbie Owen

            It doesn’t show any independent testing done on any GE food before it was snuck into our food supply.

          • Do you consider the Center for Environmental Risk independent? They certainly consider them selves such. Here is their data base on GMO testing: http://www.cera-gmc.org/GMCropDatabase

          • Ken Gallaher

            NO! It’s a GMO front group!
            Board member:
            Jerry Hjelle, Ph.D., DABT
            Consultant, Monsanto Company

          • Cherry picking a bit. Yes, one of the board members consults to Monsanto because he is an expert on the field they are in. Would you tell the viewing audience who the other board members are?

          • Debbie Owen

            Why don’t you? Even one board member who is a consultant to Monsanto is proof they are not independent.

          • Debbie Owen

            They consider themselves independent? That means nothing. Click on the link you provided, you won’t find any independent studies on any GE food before it was released into our food supply. Face it, GE foods aren’t properly tested before being released onto an unsuspecting public.

          • I will never convince a true believer, but for those looking on allow me to point out that your argument is considered a moving the goal post fallacy, since you do not accept the definition of an independent study in order to prove your point.

            As well, you avail yourself of the special pleading fallacy by insisting that the procedure for testing every other kind of food by the FDA and the USDA is not good enough for GMOs.

          • Debbie Owen

            It seems you don’t understand the point, it isn’t just about independent tests, it’s also about the fact that there aren’t any BEFORE the release of new GMOs into our food supply. As far as every other food goes, they aren’t newly created in a lab so you compare apples to oranges.

          • razorjack

            Please post ONE study that shows long term consumption of GMOs is safe for humans…

          • Jeff Leonard

            From the European Food Safety Authority “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.”

          • Ken Gallaher

            STILL not even one

          • razorjack

            Please post ONE study that shows long term consumption of GMOs is safe for humans.

        • SageThinker

          I will speak to the fallacies of Stephen Reiss, “PhD”, here, about glyphosate.

          Monsanto’s own data shows that exposure correlates to tumors in lab animals. Stout and Ruecker (1990) for instance shows that it appears to cause pancreatic and thyroid tumors.

          LD50 is about acute toxicity. If you’re trying to cite LD50 as evidence that glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer upon chronic exposure, then you’re showing your complete ignorance about the very basic of toxicology. Game over. You lose, sir.

          The force of reason shows that you’re pretty certainly pushing an agenda and you are not to be believed. I do not see any integrity in your comments, Stephen.

    • Ken Gallaher

      Typical Big-GMO troll speak.

    • Ken Gallaher

      And just why are you attempting my right to know what I am eating?
      Do you flog GMO wines? And fear knowledge?

    • Rob Bright

      Those animals have not been genetically engineered. You’re either unclear and unaware of the difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering,or you are intentionally obfuscating and clouding the issue to intentionally confuse people.

  • Debbie Owen

    This is a great article. We not only should have the right to know what’s in our food, we need to know. Since GMOs were snuck into our food supply in the mid 90s our country has become very sick, especially with allergies and GI disorders. At the very least everyone should be allowed to have an informed choice, label GMOs to make it easier for those of us who wish to avoid herbicide laden/pesticide producing GMO “foods”.

    • Trepur

      What a load of garbage. Do you have any evidence to back up your stories?

  • ian

    Ok then, I demand to know whether or not any of my vegetables were picked by left-handed workers and whether or not the employees of the companies worked on a Sunday. Also, I demand that you tell me the exact chemical composition of the ground where the vegetables were grown and the names of all the animals on the farm (including dogs). Where’s my mandatory labeling? Don’t I have a right to know this information? Why are these companies hiding these valuable facts from us?

    • Ken Gallaher

      SPAM flagged.

      • ian

        Nope, natural-grown pesticide-free comment here. You must be eating too many foods grown by left-handers – haven’t you read “The Sinister Side of Left-Handed Produce Pickers” by Some Quack, PhD?

        • Rob Bright

          What kind of nonsense are you on about?

    • Debbie Owen

      Ridiculous comment, but if you want those things labeled then make it your cause, the cause here is to label GMOs.

      • ian

        So if enough people demand something the government should enforce it no matter how ludicrous? Shouldn’t there be some kind of actual evidence of harm before we add additional regulation?

        • Ken Gallaher

          SPAM!

          • ian

            Looks like a genuine comment to me. Do you have an actual point to make?

          • Ken Gallaher

            Brand new sock puppet account!

          • ian

            Everyone has to start at some point, Ken. Mind actually addressing my point?

          • Ken Gallaher

            I don’t debate shills and sock puppets – buzz off.

          • ian

            You first. As far as I can tell you’re the one not contributing anything to the conversation.

          • Ken Gallaher

            HAHAHAHA troll

          • razorjack

            Exposing industry trolls is a huge contribution here.

            You better be more concerned with your own contribution instead of trolling truth tellers here.

        • Debbie Owen

          More than 90% of people want GMOs labeled, so yes they should be labeled. Do you need evidence of harm on every single ingredient before it’s labeled? With that logic many ingredients wouldn’t be labeled. Just label GMOs and let everyone decide for themselves.

          • ian

            Would you make the same argument about vaccines? If 90% of people wanted to not vaccinate their kids, should we do away with vaccine requirements? Shouldn’t there be some actual standard of evidence before adding regulations?

    • relO627

      Weird, but good luck, Get a grass roots campaign going, When the GMA spends millions fighting you let us know.

  • SageThinker

    We have a right to know what’s in our food. I know that this is not the best way to accomplish it, but i want to know what’s GMO mainly so i can avoid glyphosate, which pretty clearly causes cancer. Monsanto’s own experiments in the 1980s up to 1990 show that it causes tumors in mammals, and yet Monsanto covered this up with a shady 1991 EPA memo that is so twisted it’s hard to even read. Anyway, the data is clear and they did no research on this topic after they got their little excuse note from the EPA in 1991. Note that three of the EPA staff toxicologists didn’t even sign it and wrote dissent on the signature lines. Note that the data shows a clear correlation of glyphosate to tumors, and yet the memo used nonsense to attempt to wipe away this data for Monsanto — a political favor if i ever saw one. The second image shows the data from the 1991 memo showing significant correlation to pancreatic tumors. This shows anything but safety. The final image is a table from the review article Greim et al (2015) that shows that the 1990 experiment data shows a correlation of glyphosate to thyroid cancer. And thyroid and pancreatic cancers have increased in humans since glyphosate wen mainstream in our food. It’s murderous and criminal. Monsanto needs to be dissected and held accountable for their crimes against humanity. They are the worst abusive corporation. They are evil.

    • Viriato77

      your green highlight shows that you get highest tumor count at the lowest dose. This doesn’t say much for a dose-dependent response. Have there been any follow up experiments?

      • SageThinker

        Good observation and you’re absolutely correct that the data in these three doses does not show linear positive increase, nor is it monotonic, but i take that to probably mean that the doses are all three above a threshold of maximum response and that the variation is noise. That’s the simplest explanation to my mind. Similar thing to the response in regard to thyroid carcinomas. And that would make sense, as the doses in the experiment are very large, beginning around 100 mg/kg/day which is around 5,000 times higher than we humans see in our diets.

        • Viriato77

          “…the doses are all three above a threshold of maximum response and that the variation is noise. Similar thing to the response in regard to thyroid carcinomas. And that would make sense, as the doses in the experiment are very large, beginning around 100 mg/kg/day which is around 5,000 times higher than we humans see in our diets.” Then how does this prove glyphosate causes cancer in a way that is meaningful to the consumer? Are you saying that data points at lower concentrations would be more informative?

          • SageThinker

            Yes, certainly that is exactly what i’m saying. The experiment should not have been left in this state, and the industry wanting to put this chemical in the bulk of the human food supply ought to have tested it at lower doses in a similar way, if they really wanted to figure out what risk it presents. They could have found a linear section of a dose response curve, presumably, or they could have found more reassuringly that the data in the 1990 experiment was really a fluke of random noise and there is not really much effect of glyphosate in regard to causing tumors. Or, if there does prove to be such an effect, then the chemical shouldn’t be in our food even if it helps with “chemical weeding” as it does. That would be a policy decision to make on the basis of good knowledge.

      • SageThinker

        As for your other question, though, that’s the clincher. There have NOT been any follow-up experiments. The EPA memo in 1991 effectively washed this data away in some political sense, and Monsanto didn’t have to do a follow-up experiment or series of experiments in order to test this data, because they had the excuse note from the EPA declaring that the effects seen were “not compound related”. Note that they didn’t say there were no effects. They said the effects were “not compound related” — and yet this is an experiment using the good old experimental method! This means that everything is held constant except for the treatment variable, and therefore any effects seen are presumably compound related. So you see how this doesn’t compute?

        • Viriato77

          “There have NOT been any follow-up experiments.” It’s not a terribly complex experiment and if a more rigorous follow up hasn’t been done. It’s likely that the data is probably negative. Negative data doesn’t often get published, though that should probably change (see Ben Goldacre). Mouse models can be expensive too and investigators don’t typically spend that money on what would likely be a negative. If this experiment is such a red flag, why isn’t this experimental design used as a template, and refined, rather than publish poorly designed studies in pay-for-play journals?

          • SageThinker

            If Monsanto or the industry knew of such data, then they would refer to it in review articles and they would counter the press reports about this issue with it. So it’s pretty safe to say there is no such data. I do realize that a 2 year 240-rat study is rather in-depth and costly, but don’t you think the safety of the human food supply would be worth knowing with some surety that the chemical doesn’t cause tumors? Or finding out with more certainty that it does, and then dropping its use? So your questions are great ones, but they by no means makes this problem go away. The experiment is definitely a red flag, as is the sloppy 1991 EPA memo that makes little sense from a toxicology point of view, and it needs to be addressed? Why did this take 25 years? Beats me. It’s disappointing. Willful ignorance by some, purposeful concealment by others, is my guess. And simply falling through the cracks, and the fact that few people would think such a big thing would be left untied.

          • Viriato77

            “don’t you think the safety of the human food supply would be worth knowing with some surety that the chemical doesn’t cause tumors?” only if it actually raised actual concerns among those that have the extensive and relevant experience. I don’t share your passionate concern over this, but my own experience in mouse models is limited to tissue sample evaluation for a narrow range of carcinogenic/ tumorigenic markers. It may be safe to say that no follow up data exists, but that doesn’t necessarily imply negligence or conspiracy. It could simply mean that it was deemed unnecessary in view of existing data or preliminary data confirmed a negative result and it was dropped without formalizing any results, negative results rarely ever get publication (and I acknowledge that should change e.g. Goldacre). Assertions of willful ignorance or concealment still don’t address that fact that there is little to no reason why, if there was an actual concern, why this experiment wasn’t repeated more rigorously by a third party; they should be able to up this thread and follow up on it with the proper modifications to the experimental design. But that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, there has been a string of publications in pay-for-play or predatory journals that have serious design flaws and disingenuous conclusions. Seralini used a convoluted experimental design and ignored the caveats within it. He could have proceeded with a much more straightforward design based on the data reviewed by EPA peer review, but he didn’t. I would suspect because for the very same reason negative results don’t get published.

  • It’s lovely that two reporters didn’t bother to check their facts … the DARK act was defeated last month … but yes, I fully support the labeling law in Massachusetts, especially because our enactment will also trigger Connecticut’s bill which needs a “nearby state” to activate their bill. Ya know, research …

    • Martin Dagoberto

      Actually, DARK is likely making a return in early May. It was not defeated for good. A cloture vote was defeated. We must remain vigilant! http://citizensforgmolabeling.org/darkdefeated/

    • Martin Dagoberto

      Also, we’re not reporters. We are on-the-ground community organizers ;)

      • Viriato77

        “Also, we’re not reporters” so that gives you carte blanche to use whatever sources without fact-checking. OK, awesome.

        • Martin Dagoberto

          Viriato is a ubiquitous personality, anonymously trolling the comments
          of any article related to this issue (see their profile).

          If any readers are interested in further clarification of any points made in the above article, I would be more than happy to post it and/or converse via email. I can be contacted at marty@marighttoknow.org .

          • Viriato77

            Martin Dagoberto is an equally ubiquitous personality on this subject, and calls it activism. If any readers would like better context and information on the technology in question I ask that you NOT contact me or an organization with a specific agenda. Unlike, Mr. Dagoberto I won’t use my undergraduate degree as an appeal to authority or an intellectual cudgel. Instead, I implore you to reach out to your local University or public research institution and talk to their research faculty, several of them, to get input from more than one professional. Researchers in academia are acutely aware that they are beholden to the public and are working to better engage the public to communicate the science they are working on. Don’t relay on filtered information from an activist but get information from your local scientists, as many as you can.

          • Martin Dagoberto

            Let the record show that “Viriato77” asked for citations and then indicated that they didn’t actually want them. Trolling, much?

            But I actually agree with this anonymous presence: don’t trust me. Do your own research. But always consider where it’s coming from and what their motivation might be!

    • Martin Dagoberto

      It’s looking like my original reply didn’t make it through. The “defeat” a few weeks ago was of a cloture vote. Sen. Roberts is still trying to negotiate with dems to get a compromise bill to pre-empt Vermont from going into effect. We must remain vigilant. Thanks!

  • mem_somerville

    We should have known that Chipotle had norovirus in their non-GMO stuff, that’s for sure. But the issue isn’t GMO or not GMO. That’s not an ingredient. That such a useless distraction from the actual issues that it’s a terrible idea to codify this.

    Everybody knows that sugar is sugar whether it’s from GMO beets or non-GMO beets. Or cane sugar, treated with multiple awful herbicides. A GMO label tells you nothing at all about the item or the farming process.

    The best solution is one that already exists: a 3rd party label like Kosher for folks who have these philosophical issues.