HR 875: Monsanto’s Dream Bill – Or Just a Hallucination?

March 20, 2009

HR 875 and Monsanto

A recent blog post entitled Monsanto’s Dream Bill – HR 875 has created some ripples in the blogosphere and beyond. Several newspapers and even a radio station have picked up on it, and Monsanto has gotten a number of emails and phone calls.

The post claims Monsanto is behind the food safety Bill HR 875.  The article explains that the bill is sponsored by Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and claims that her husband, Stanley Greenberg, “works for Monsanto”. It goes on to describe how the bill would give incredible power to Monsanto by criminalizing seed banking, requiring 24 hour GPS tracking of animals, stripping away of property rights, and forcing industrialized farming on America.

The trouble with this article is most of what is stated within it is untrue. Most notable is the allegation that Monsanto is behind this bill.  The reality is that Monsanto does not even have a position on the bill. As far as Stanley Greenberg working for Monsanto – he did some contract work for Monsanto more than ten years ago.

I have  actually read HR 875, a claim the author apparently cannot make. Nowhere is there any mention of seed banks, loss of property rights, or GPS tracking of animals.  The bill seems to be nothing more egregious than a well-intentioned effort to improve food safety laws and processes. It was no doubt written in response to public concerns with relatively recent incidents with peanut butter, ground beef, spinach, etc.

The likely root of the offending blog post is a concern that food laws will make it more difficult to sell and process food that is grown locally.  That’s a legitimate concern-especially for small enterprises that are hurt disproportionately by the fixed costs of regulation, which larger businesses can spread across more revenue.

I can’t say whether HR 875 would be effective at improving food safety, or whether it would create unreasonable burdens on local production and sale.  But this is the discussion that needs to take place both in the blogosphere as well as in Washington.  Wild and unsupported allegations do nothing to further the policy goals of improving food safety or supporting local food production and sale.

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87 Responses to “HR 875: Monsanto’s Dream Bill – Or Just a Hallucination?”

  1. I’m glad you posted this response to recent blogs about HR 875. Although the allegations about the bill haven’t particularly interested me their proliferation prompted me to read the bill.

    I write about US legislation each week on my website,, and, like yourself, couldn’t find the provisions most decried in those blogs. So the origins and purpose of those blogs have become a curiosity.

    From my experience as a federal consultant in past years when I saw how Reagan had begun the gutting of the food safety and inspection staff, I see the bill as finally taking the subject of food safety to a higher level and one that can be more effective and more accountable than current efforts.

    I personally have concerns about agribusiness efforts with genetic modification and mass produced foods. They are the result of profit motives (what corporations do) made particularly salient in consideration of the fact that a majority of our agricultural products are exported. Concerns about what we get to eat in the US seems to be a result of meeting that giant market. Still, I don’t get that the bill is giving Monsanto or any other agribusiness a more easy path to feed us for higher profit at the expense of lower quality food.

  2. anonymous Says:

    I haven’t read the bill yet but I will. One question I have for you is why should food that is genetically modified or derived from genetically modified animals not be labeled? I as a consumer have a right to know if the food I buy is genetically modified or not. Some people may not care and others may care if the food they buy is genetically modified.

    Don’t you think it should be labeled and we have a right to know?

  3. F. Long Says:

    While Monsanto’s admission that it had nothing to do with this particular bill may in fact be true, it remains that the term “organics” sticks in the craw of large scale corporate agriculture. The wording in HR 875, by its use of such language as “industry experts” and “science based data” sounds nice on the surface, that is, until the validity of organic and biodynamic farming practices comes into question, the quality of which is far superior to GMO technology. Then, using a scale which the corporate agricultural industry has itself generated, organic farmers will be left without the necessary decades worth of data to support a practice which goes back as far as human history.

    The problems with the farms and facilities that this bill supposedly addresses were problems not with the current system, but failure to enforce the current system already in place by the FDA.

    For the bill to even suggest, under SEC. 301 (c)(2)(A) PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT SYSTEM …… that “a comparison of the safety of commercial processing with the health hazards associated with food that is harvested for recreational or subsistence purposes and prepared noncommercially,” is totally absurd and only further reinforces the public’s perception of Monsanto’s disdain for those who despise Monsanto’s legal and horticultural intrusion into the lives of people who, quite frankly, don’t wish to eat that crap, myself being one of them.

  4. Mike Says:

    Consumers may assert that they have a “right to know,” but they exercise that right by their purchasing decisions, not by imposing that “right” on others. When I wake up in the morning I want to know the time and temperature, but the solution is not to enact a law that forces someone to tell me, the solution is for me to turn on the radio, where someone is making a living by giving me that information. The United States is a market economy, where businesses achieve success by meeting the needs, demands and desires – real or imagined – of consumers. There is no law that prohibits any company from disclosing that their food product does or does not contain genetically modified ingredients. The fact that most companies do not do so indicates rather compellingly that most consumers do not consider such information a need or even a desire. The few companies that do provide such information are turning a handy profit by catering to the small minority of consumers who do care, at a significantly higher price.

  5. F. Long Says:

    GMOs are everywhere. They’ve crept into seeds stocks even of those people who have specifically chosen to avoid them …… and the courts have backed Monsanto, even when there was no motive or intent on the part of the defendant to infringe on Monsanto’s “patent”. That’s like me setting up a cigar company and when I find that the people who lived downwind of my plant have inhaled the smoke and tried to sue me for it, I’d turn around and sue them for using my product without paying for it.

    Your just towing the party line, Mike. We both know it. The only problem is that you just see the immediate economics of it and not the long term consequences that companies like this in impacting peoples and cultures around the world. You think you’re helping to feed the starving masses, when in fact, the company’s practices disconnect families from their own soil in as little as two generations.

    Monsanto’s I.G. Farben model may work for them for a while, that is until all hell breaks lose, which at this rate, probably isn’t too much longer. They can control legislature and they can certain keep influencing what drivel gets spoon fed to the general public during American Idol or the Super Bowl, but sooner or later, Monsanto’s system will come down, because it flies in the face of nature.

  6. Deborah Rubin Says:

    I’m wondering if Monsanto can speak to this situation, Montana House Bill 445:

    Monsanto courts Senate committee at private dinner

    HELENA (AP) — An unusual private dinner shared by most of a Senate committee and biotech giant Monsanto has led to talk that unfair tactics, avoided by even the most seasoned Montana lobbyists, are being used by groups that slip through the state’s lobbying laws.

    The controversy has sprouted over a bill that would set rules for how seed samples are taken from farmers’ land for patent enforcement by companies such as Monsanto. On Tuesday, a Senate committee is scheduled to vote on a measure that has already passed the House on a 57-43 vote.

    Instead of offering public testimony at the committee hearing for the bill, Monsanto shared its opposition to the measure during a private dinner with the Senate committee at the Montana Club, according to committee chairman Sen. Donald Steinbeisser. Six of nine committee members attended the dinner, but all were invited, he said.

    But supporters of House Bill 445, which would set guidelines for how farmers’ fields are checked for stolen seeds, feel the private dinner undermined the fairness of the bill’s actual hearing.

    Lawmakers at the dinner, held about a week before the formal hearing, said Monsanto organized and paid for the event. But a group known as Growers for Biotechnology claims it picked up the tab and sent out the invitations. Monsanto also said it did not pay for the dinner, although the company had a major presence.

    Taking a committee out to eat before a bill hearing is not illegal in Montana, but it is highly unusual.

    “The idea that they would not testify before the committee and instead that they would bring the committee to them — I think it’s fair to say that’s not a common approach,” said Dennis Unsworth, Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices.

    Spokesmen for PPL Montana — which led in spending on lobbying efforts in the 2007 session — and Capitol regular NorthWestern Energy both said they have never taken a full committee out to eat before a bill hearing. They have, however, offered committee dinners at the end of the session once lawmakers’ work is largely finished.

    “It’s more about appreciation and getting together to say goodbye,” said David Hoffman, the lobbyist for PPL Montana.
    Veteran legislators also could not remember seeing full committees offered a private dinner prior to a hearing.

    “I’ve never had the experience, and I’m not personally aware of any committees being taken out before a bill hearing,” said Sen. Mike Cooney, D-Helena, who has served in both the House and Senate, and currently serves on three committees.

    Neither Monsanto nor Growers for Biotechnology are registered as lobbyists in Montana. Unless they spend at least $2,400 on lobbying — whether in wages or steaks — they are not required to report their activities in the state. “It’s open to anybody who’d like to do it. We weren’t buying anybody’s votes,” said Allan Skogen, chairman of Growers for Biotechnology. “We basically introduced ourselves. We just want to provide information.”

    The bill would require Monsanto and other companies to get permission from a farmer before sampling crops on their land. If the farmer denies permission, the company could ask a district court for an order to sample the crops. The farmer or the company could also ask the state Department of Agriculture to oversee the sampling process.

    The state’s leading farm organizations, however, have testified against the need for any such guidelines. They argue the bill’s real aim is to discourage the development and sale of genetically modified seeds in Montana, leaving farmers without access to the benefits of biotechnology.

    Opponents include the Montana seed company WestBred, the Montana Farm Bureau, the Montana Agribusiness Association and the Montana Grain Growers Association — all of which joined the committee and Monsanto at the dinner, accord-ing to its sponsor.

    “It’s not a farm protection bill,” said Arlene Rice of the Montana Agribusiness Association during the bill’s hearing. “What it does is deny many farmers and many growers a chance for new technology.”

    But farmers supporting the bill contend rules are needed to protect small growers from false accusations of seed theft that have led to hefty legal fees and harassment in other states.

    Now they are also pointing to Monsanto’s efforts to undermine the bill as more proof that protections should be in place.
    “I think it shows this bill is needed to protect farmers because we want an open, honest and transparent process and clearly a behind-the-scenes dinner isn’t open to the public,” Hands said.

    “The idea that they would not testify before the committee and instead that they would bring the committee to them — I think it’s fair to say that’s not a common approach,” said Dennis Unsworth, Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices.

    The bill would require Monsanto and other companies to get permission from a farmer before sampling crops on their land. If the farmer denies permission, the company could ask a district court for an order to sample the crops. The farmer or the company could also ask the state Department of Agriculture to oversee the sampling process.

    “It’s not a farm protection bill,” said Arlene Rice of the Montana Agribusiness Association during the bill’s hearing. “What it does is deny many farmers and many growers a chance for new technology.”

    But farmers supporting the bill contend rules are needed to protect small growers from false accusations of seed theft that have led to hefty legal fees and harassment in other states.

    Why didn’t, or did, Monsanto give public testimony and information that could be openly debated?

  7. John Says:


    Thanks for your comment. The bill mentioned in the article you posted affected more than Monsanto, and concerned a number of Montana interests with their own patented plants at risk. A number of in-state groups opposing the bill testified at the Senate committee hearing, each of which delivered similar messages: that the House bill in question is unnecessary and its real intent is to discourage biotech advances in Montana. Monsanto agrees with both assertions wholeheartedly.

    We’ve been very transparent about why we patent our technology and why we protect our patents; in fact, it was the very first issue we addressed on this blog: We even created a page on our site to answer questions and respond to myths about saved seed. See

  8. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Did Monsanto testify at the Senate committee hearing?

  9. Deborah Rubin Says:

    House Bill 445, which was patterned partly after similar bills in North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, Indiana and California, had a simple objective: protect the rights of farmers while still allowing the company to enforce its patents. The bill would have done that by regulating the seed sampling process (allowing farmers to have 3rd party testing done, making the company get permission from farmers before coming on to the land, etc), eliminating liability for farmers that unknowingly grow patented seed, and by mandating that the cases be tried in the farmer’s home state, rather than the company’s home state.
    What did Monsanto find so threatening about this bill? How is it so discouraging of Biotech?

  10. Mike Says:

    Wow! I came upon this blog and just, well WOW.

    I can’t believe the amount of ignorance and just plain misinformation from some of the questions submitted.

    1)All products are the results of genetics and genetic manipulation. Label them? OK, I’ll save the world some money and several million trees worth of labels; all plants and animal strains are manipulated in some form or another.

    2)”All hell will brake loose-which probably won’t be much longer” Can you be more specific? We are talking science and proven theory and I see emotionalism and statements offered with no proof or underpinnings. What has happened to critical thinking in the world?

    3)As for the term “organics”, When I go to the grocery store I prefer foods that are processed for safety, tested and frankly considerably cheaper since I have a family to feed. Scaring people half out of their wits with a nameless, faceless “boogie man” to justify higher prices is great marketing, and even better theater, but just plain out and out not grounded in fact.

    I have bothered to check out articles and the science behind some of them. Other folks should too before making groundless claims.

    Monsanto wants to make a profit. Wow what a concept for a “for-profit” company. There are several hundred thousands just like them, are we going to make them all stop working for profit?

    C’mon folks…

  11. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Mike says:

    1)All products are the results of genetics and genetic manipulation. Label them? OK, I’ll save the world some money and several million trees worth of labels; all plants and animal strains are manipulated in some form or another.


    Most products I see in the store already have labels–packaging to excess in most cases. It’s only the additional information that many in the public are requesting and feel is their right to know.

    I’m still hoping for a reply as to how the Montana House Bill 445 is so objectionable to Monsanto and why Monsanto did not testify in public.

  12. Alex Says:

    Here is an online petition you can sign to help stop HR 875:

  13. Brad Says:

    As previously explained in this blog, several times in fact, food labeling requirements in the US are not right-to-know laws. They are based on things people need to know – basic contents, allergens, etc.

    I personally agree that most products have excess packaging. I would like to see all packaging evaluated as to whether the packaging is excess, would support a third-party program that evaluated packaging and certified it as not having unnecessary packaging. Products that passed the criteria would be allowed to display some sort of symbol designating it as such. I would pay more for it.

    I wouldn’t want the government to do it though. I don’t. There are too many more important things that need to be addressed. I think it is best done through consumer demand.

    The statement from the Growers for Biotechnology best characterizes the events which occurred around this bill and the obections that resulted in its failure:

  14. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Perhaps labeling of those packages will be done by consumer demand. I have the need and the right to know, and I will continue to petition my government to recognize my right.

    The Growers for Biotech article did not really clear it up for me. It sounds like they are saying they are trying to protect farmers from unknowingly hurting themselves.

    ” First, farmers do not need a law to require someone else to get permission before entering their fields or sampling their crops and they do not need their right removed by the legislature to grant someone verbal permission to enter their fields and sample if they wish. Second, federal patent law will determine the course of patent infringement cases, not state law. This bill, as written, would deceive farmers into thinking they had rights which they would not have and that they do not now have rights that they in fact do have.”

    I’m not so sure about that. But one thing I do know: I have not deceived myself into thinking I need labels for gm food…Speaking for myself, I need to know. I have an unrecognized right to know.

  15. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Brad Says:

    March 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm
    As previously explained in this blog, several times in fact, food labeling requirements in the US are not right-to-know laws. They are based on things people need to know – basic contents, allergens, etc.


    But things are changing, aren’t they, Brad. What would USDA give as the “need to know” basis for country of origin labeling? Certainly, a cow is a cow, etc., no matter where it is raised. After years of stalling, legislators may be going in the direction of more information because the public wants to know and believes they have that right to know–and to affect policy.

    COOL info:

  16. scared stiff Says:

    I have two questions….
    How much of food product is irradiated and why?
    And tell me what is


  17. Demodyfying seeds Says:

    I see a lot of need for a broad based “food for dummies” or food 101 teaching to Americans here. No doubt, this will be censored and removed by Monsanto!
    When I read someone like “Mike” say;
    “I have bothered to check out articles and the science behind some of them.” and then go on to defend GMO’s, GMF’s, it tells you, Mike and a lot of other people have no clue what food really tasted like before people like Monsanto got their manipulating hands on it. Mike, either you have not really “checked out” much of this science, or your idea of protecting your family stops somewhere before it gets to the dinner table. You are eating genetically altered food that DOES IN FACT EFFECT AND AFFECT the genetics in you and your children’s bodies. Not to mention, thanks to Monsanto, the world has lost nearly all its God given varieties of food and we are slowly being reduced to a selective manipulated unsustainable food line that one day will cease to function because of its own genetic failures.
    Why do you think the tomatoes taste like cardboard? Why do you think potatoes no longer have ANY flavor at all. Why do you think you have to marinate meat to make it palatable?
    Take it from me sir, you are doing your family a great disservice by defending these people in any way shape or form. We grow our own ORGANIC ANGUS, Organic (Hand raised) vegetables from our own seed banks, and sitting down to eat is like it was in the 19th century. We need not spend a dime on flavor enhancement, marinades or any other food prep to get what food was originally designed to give you. You have to put a bib on because every single bite makes your mouth uncontrollably water. You can’t do that with the genetically altered CRAP Monsanto has made you.
    Start doing real research Mike, and any one else who says GMF’s GMO’s are in any way “good.” If you really do the research, it wont be long before you’re searching for new food sources.
    Start with these; Jeff Smiths freely available audio teaching, “You’re eating what?” And the freely available PDF Book or audio “Seeds of Deception, both available here.” (
    The DVD: “Hidden Dangers in Kids’ Meals: Genetically Engineered Foods” and another DVD “Unnatural Selection” You can download and watch full versions from torrents if you use any peer to peer? (Then buy them, spread them around and lets get this company SHUT DOWN!) If anyone can read and watch all of them, and still defend this criminally corrupt, murderous company, and still feel good about giving your kids food from the store shelf, I’m sorry but, your simply an idiot.

  18. Ewan Ross Says:

    “Why do you think the tomatoes taste like cardboard? Why do you think potatoes no longer have ANY flavor at all. Why do you think you have to marinate meat to make it palatable?”

    It must be the genetic modification of these products which does this.

    Notwithstanding the fact that none of these products have genetically modified varieties currently commercially available.

    It really stinks when the cold hard facts completely negate your entire arguement.

  19. scared stiff Says:

    Demodyfying seeds has it pretty much right. Maybe not commercially available in usa but pretty sure somewhere in this country those varieties are available.
    Oh and how is South Africa doing?? Way to make that maize not produce…… anything. Way to go.

  20. Jason Says:

    Ewan, I believe “Demodyfying seeds” was referring to varieties that were GMed (tomatoes) or will probably be GMed (potatoes).

    For you to say the entire argument was negated by this is a gross overstatement.

    You would agree that genetically modification of tomatoes called FlavrSavr was a bad thing, right? Granted, not all genetic modifications result in a loss of flavor. Some modifications result in crop loss, as seen in South Africa (GM corn). Or as seen in India, non-BT seed yielded 60% more than BT seed, while the BT seed cost 400% more. We also have “superweeds” to look forward to, weeds that are becoming resistant to Roundup.

    Maybe there is a place for GM foods, someday. But isn’t it painfully clear that we are nowhere near fully understanding the ramifications of our tampering? I guess it doesn’t matter if it makes you a quick buck now, who cares about our children, right?

    Then there’s growth hormones in our milk (not to mention making it poisonous by pasteurizing and homogenizing it, because yeah, that’s what nature intended), tainted meat from overstressed animals and poor handling techniques, and adding thousands of various chemicals to our foods to “enhance the flavor and/or color” (read: make the food addictive so we eat more of it).

    For what it’s worth, I switched from conventionally grown foods to organic and raw foods — there is most definitely a “taste difference”, not to mention I don’t get sick anymore, my allergies have vanished, my skin is back to normal, I have more energy, I sleep better, my acid reflux is gone, I’m regular, my mood is better (except when I get worked up in these matters)*

    * These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Only a patented money-making drug can treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

  21. Ewan Ross Says:

    Jason – On flavr savr tomatoes – I wouldnt agree that genetically modifying tomatoes was a bad thing – mistakes were made in plant breeding which made the whole operation unprofitable from the start.

    Your figures for indian bt yield appear to be somewhat at odds with reality – every report I have seen so far shows a 25-30% increase in yield (for Bt cotton) with increased farmer income per acre due to this (a packet of seed could cost 500% more and this yield increase would still more than cover the cost, even before taking into account reduced need to apply pesticides)

    I remain confused about the worries surrounding ‘superweeds’ – weeds resistant to roundup – this is only a problem to users of roundup, and producers of roundup, and is something Monsanto works hard to combat (for obvious reasons) these weeds are not super in any other way, infact in a situation where roundup is not used it would be literally impossible to differentiate a roundup resistant weed from a non-roundup resistant weed.

    Growth hormones in milk has been covered elsewhere in these blogs so I will just reiterate that even in a grass fed cow, brought up in seclusion from the industrialized world, living a stress free life, will still have growth hormones in its milk.

  22. Mica Says:

    Jason’s comment made me reflect on a recent friend of a friend who was touting all of the benefits of switching to an organic or more natural diet. As I relay this, please note that in no way am I likening this to Jason’s experience which I know nothing of.

    This friend was going on and on about how he had lost weight, improved his health, quit having headaches, reduced his stress yada yada yada because of his switch to organic. What he neglected to notice was that his switch was from fast food and junk food to more fruits and veggies and lean protein, irregardless of whether it was conventional or organic. It just made me chuckle to think that he was attributing this to organic rather than a total shift in diet away from fast food.

  23. scared stiff Says:

    The question remains where did the growth hormone come from in the first place.
    I guess it is ok then if the milk has it anyway why not just add some more for good measure.
    Seriously that is supposed to be a viable logical counter argument or point??


  24. scared stiff Says:

    And please tell me about CODEX??

  25. Ewan Ross Says:

    The answer is the growth hormone came… from the cow… and that the increases in level, as discussed elsewhere in these blogs, are microscopic in comparison to levels of the same growth hormone in human saliva (or any other part of the human body)

    So yes, seriously this is a viable, and perfectly logical counter arguement

  26. BP Says:

    I have a couple of quick comments over a few topics. First, if it were easy enough to locate which products have GMOs in them, then maybe I’d be okay with looking for them on my own, but it’s not. Consumers don’t have the chance to make the choice because they are left in the dark. I don’t think it would be a catastrophic monetary change to change the letters on the ingredient list either.

    Secondly, I think that it is hard to believe those that are taking up Monsanto’s case on this blog listening to their scientific studies prove this and the myth about seed saving that. I can’t help but feel the lies from the 60’s are continuing. There has to be something to protect people, like the people of Anniston, Alabama, from lies and deception in the name of profits. I applaud those who are challenging Monsanto’s ‘results’ and ‘facts’.

  27. Brad Says:

    Consumers do have a choice. They can buy certified organic which is grown without GMOs.

    The purpose of this blog is dialogue, so I too applaud those who challenge those of us from Monsanto. I do wish there was less hyperbole and more substance to some of the replies. BP, it would be helpful if you provided some facts and references of your own, rather than simply accusing us of “lies…in the name of profit”.

  28. Brad Says:

    Organic agriculture does not “stick in the craw” of Monsanto as an earlier poster stated. We have nothing against organic agriculture. Some of our customers are organic growers (not all our seeds are GM).

    I often wonder why some in the organic sector are so intolerant of agriculture that is not organic. I sort of get why they might be concerned about pollen flow from GM. However, even this is a largely philosophical concern. No organic farm has ever lost certification do to GM “contamination” and beyond a handful of crops (corn, soy, canola, cotton, sugar beets and a couple others) few are GM. Of those that are, most are not grown widely on organic farms. Few veggies are gm and the only fruit that is GM is papaya.

    I’ve often wonder why individuals who belieive in farming in “harmony in nature” are so intolerant of the beliefs of others. I do not see where GM is impacting organic negatively. If anything, it is likely part of the increased consumer demand for organic (which has risen steadily right alongside the increased farmer demand for GM.

  29. Nic Says:

    Perhaps because the acts of this company are hideous?
    It should be obvious to everyone that some clever marketing is not a reason to now trust GM foods and their major source.

  30. Jason Says:

    First of all, I apologize for continuing this off-topic discussion; I’m letting my emotions run here…

    You’re admitting that mistakes can be made by GM foods (something we all already know), what’s to stop there from being mistakes in the future? It is certainly inevitable.

    You didn’t deny that a “mistake” caused substantial crop (corn) loss in South Africa. Corn is their primary source of food; you’re tampering with their lives!

    One potential mistake can wipe out millions, even billions of people. Who needs to fear war-mongering, pschyco world leaders when the same death toll can come from a libratory “mistake”? A “mistake” was made by Baxter by releasing a vaccine to 18 countries that contained both the avian flu virus and the seasonal flu virus – nearly causing a global pandemic! A mistake was made with the corn seed for South Africa. I understand you are compensating the farmers for this “mistake”, but what happens next time when your bet is larger than your bankroll? What are you going to do, file BK and walk away, or do you have a year’s worth of food stored up for the entire world — that you’re willing to give away in the event of a “mistake”. Are not all the minor profits from science more than negated by one single mistake? It’s like gambling at a casino, you can bet smart all you want, but in the end, the house always wins.

    There’s no doubt that you are looking to control more of the world’s food supply, right? I mean, you’re in the business to make money and by expanding control; you’ll certainly make more money. And as long as you have people in government to grease the way, what’s to stop you? On the surface, HR875 is not sponsored by agribusiness, I’ll give you that. But please don’t insult us by denying the “partnership” between key players in government and at the tops of big pharma and agribusiness. Most of us are fully capable of understanding human nature where money and power are concerned.

    Look at all this time and energy spent on this bill, to what, prevent a handful of deaths each year? And the bill doesn’t even address the main sources of risk in the industry? What’s to say any lives will even be saved? We’re talking about billions of dollars to manage these regulations; wouldn’t that money be better spent subsidizing locally grown organic foods? Buying out fast food? Encouraging healthier lifestyles? No, because every one of those efforts would be blocked.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but does the bill not contain some verbiage about seed-cleaning equipment? My dad used to reuse his own seed for some of our crops. Take oats for example, we used an old rickety seed cleaner from early 1900’s to reuse our oats for seed. We couldn’t afford a million-dollar machine to do the same thing this $50 machine could do. If small farmers are not able to reuse their own seeds, where are they going to get them from? The magic seed fairy?

    Given the length and breadth, yet lack of details and open nature of this bill, us consumers have a right to be concerned. Much of our information does come second hand and is inherently flawed, but only because there is no voice reassuring us otherwise. Of course the bill isn’t going to say “elimination of organic farming” or “world domination by agribusiness”. It’s taking use a few centuries, but we are learning to read between the lines.

    Finally, I’m not denying that science can help us create a better future, but what I am opposed to is using science to control food for the purpose of satisfying greed. The same goes for pharmaceuticals. Once you admit that the only thing that matters at the end of the day is that you made a profit, then you will understand.

  31. Carey Michelle Says:

    In response to Brad’s comment (are you Bradley Mitchell? Do we meet again!? Where is the section on Anniston and the PCBs on For the Record? I still can’t find it, and you told me almost a year ago that it would soon appear…) Despite your statement that no farm has lost its organic certification due to cross contamination by Monsanto’s virus and bacteria-spliced genetic material, the fact remains that many organic farms have lost their crops due to contamination? Here is a link to the issue that occurred with canola in Canada:
    Does that not matter? It should! If there is one thing Monsanto understands, it is profit! What about all the lost profits for the organic farmers (like my friend in Hawaii whose papayas had to be destroyed) due to cross contamination? It is near impossible for Hawaiians to purchase papayas that don’t contain Monsanto’s genes, and trust me, there are many consumers who have stopped buying papaya there, not to mention that exports are dismal since other countries don’t want anything to do with viral papayas!

    Here is a link illustrating my point:

    And all for what? So that farmers don’t have to pull weeds? I say they should get out of the farming business if they don’t want to FARM! How do consumers benefit from GM crops? I would not consider a thousand-fold increase in allowable herbicide residues in my foods a benefit! Bradley, how can you in good conscience work for a company guilty of destroying a town and lying to the citizens about it for DECADES? How can you in good conscience say that artificial colors and flavors are identified on labels due to a need to know when gene altered bacteria and viruses aren’t? I would think the latter is much more important that the former! I would much rather eat artificial colorings than gene-altered germs! Seriously, Bradley, why should anyone trust anything you say?


    Monsanto is going down for it’s lies, lies, lies.. It has done more damage to the human race as a whole, as time goes by more and more evidence will start surfacing. Thanks for destroying our world’s natural seed banks, good luck with your world domination through the control of our food supply. Besides all this GMO food tastes horrible anyways.. How can anyone believe a company like Monsanto with it’s long history of lies and deception of information.

  33. Alex Says:

    Here’s a few links to show how worthless Monsanto is. Monstanto should label all of their food as GMO’s, instead of trying to hide everything. I bet once the public gets rid of Monsanto, then the public won’t have so many health problems.

    By the way, everyone should visit to find the truth out!

  34. Kate Says:

    I might suggest that those sources are not what most would call neutral sources of information, however, here are some pages that address those issues:

    French Researchers Speculate Roundup May Cause Human Cell Damage

    Do Monsanto Corn Products Reduce Fertility in Mice?

    GMO Labeling

    What’s the Problem with Labeling Genetically-Modified (GM/GMO) Foods?

  35. Bob Says:

    Whoever can answer these questions,

    Do me a favor and ask your grandparents if they ever heard to so many food allergies? Then ask yourself if Monstanto’s genetically modified food is good for you. Some people say their children died from GMO’s. Lastly, the public overwhelmly wants Monsanto to label their food as GMO’s. So why not label? The age of delaying, and denying of needed public information should be over for Monstanto.

    No GMO’s = Virtually no food allergies

    GMO’s = Greater risk of anaphylactic shock and death

    By the way, do you know what a phytonutrient is?It’s basically nutrients in food that science says is good for the body, but the scientists just don’t know how. So, now we know that science is not 100% capable of figuring out food in relation to the metabolism, and nutrition in the human body. So, my last question is how can Monstanto say 100% that it’s genetically modified food is not harmful?


  36. Bob Says:

    Whoever can answer these questions,

    Do me a favor and ask your grandparents if they ever heard to so many food allergies? Then ask yourself if Monstanto’s genetically modified food is good for you. Some people say their children died from GMO’s. Lastly, the public overwhelmly wants Monsanto to label their food as GMO’s. So why not label? The age of delaying, and denying of needed public information should be over for Monstanto.

    No GMO’s = Virtually no food allergies

    GMO’s = Greater risk of anaphylactic shock

    By the way, do you know what a phytonutrient is?It’s basically nutrients in food that science says is good for the body, but the scientists just don’t know how. So, now we know that science is not 100% capable of figuring out food in relation to the metabolism, and nutrition in the human body. So, my last question is how can Monstanto say 100% that it’s genetically modified food is not harmful?


  37. Brad Says:


    Yes, I do know what phytonutrients are. Your definition is a bit simplistic and inaccurate regarding the scientific understanding of phytonutrients . For more information, I would refer people to the USDA Web site at

    Biotechnology has the potential to be used to increase the level of phytonutrients. While no product has been commercialized to date to my knowledge, USDA researchers have used biotech to increase the levels of the phytonutrient lycopene in tomatoes.

    On the allergy front, my wife’s grandmother actually has a serious allergy to seafood. She grew up in Nepal and never ate anything but organic food (by default, not choice) until probably the late 70s. She has likely never consumed GM food as she never left Nepal and I don’t see anything in her diet that is likely to contain GM.

    As to allergies, there is no evidence to link allergenicity to currently approved GM crops.
    There is evidence to suggest that the reporting of allergies is increasing in some countries and geographic areas. This is likely due to several causes:
    • There has been an increased interest in food allergies. Unfortunately, there are no stable diagnostic criteria for testing for food allergies and food intolerance. Together, these two factors have probably resulted in an increase in reporting of allergies. Therefore, rates of allergies may not have actually increased as much as it would appear.
    • Increased prevalence of allergies is in some cases well documented. These are likely due to the fact that the consumption of some foods has increased in certain geographic areas. For instance, in the U.S., the use of soy-based infant formula has increased in the last 10-20 years. You need to be exposed to a substance in order to develop an allergy to it, and historically not as many people had been exposed to soy, particularly as infants, as they are today. Any increase in infant soy allergies is likely due to increased consumption of soy.
    • There is also evidence that better household hygiene and reduced early exposure to allergens and infections may be partially responsible for increasing rates of some allergies. This has been called the “hygiene hypothesis”. Because exposure to certain allergens is removed or greatly reduced during infancy and early childhood, the immune systems may develop an improper or exaggerated response, which results in allergies later in life. Supporting evidence for this theory includes the fact that children on farms have lower rates of asthma than non-farm children, and children born into a household with a pet are also less likely to develop asthma than children in a home where a pet is introduced later in life.
    Assessing the allergenicity of introduced proteins is a required component of the safety assessment of GM crops. There is no single test that can be used to determine if a substance is an allergen. Consequently allergenicity must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  38. Jason Says:

    Good arguments on the allergen front. If other sources of allergies in children can be found, then GM foods must be exhonerated.

    By that same logic, if we can prove that earthquakes kill people, then tornados must not. Makes sense.

    People, there hasn’t been enough testing to prove that these GM foods are safe! This isn’t the American justice system we’re talking about here; you’re not innocent until proven guilty! New scientific developments with food need to be treated as unsafe until proven safe, and not by corrupt studies. My god people. Wake up!

    We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars (look it up) on agribusiness and only a few million on organic farming. With the pitiful gains (met with equal or greater losses) on the GM front and the certain success and safety with organic farming, doesn’t it make sense to switch the budgets around? Doesn’t safe organic SUSTAINABLE farming sound like a REALLY good idea?

    Even if by some miracle (fitting use of the term), these foods do not have long-term adverse effects on people, what if something goes wrong with a generation of food? You’re not just messing with one speciman, you’re messing with hundreds; again, just one mistake… one.

    By exterminating the very strains that have brought us this far, we are guaranteeing the extermination of the human race.

    I can’t wait. Neither can my children. “Hey baby girl! Guess what? Some very smart people at a very nice, rich company decided to ‘help’ us! Isn’t that great? There’s only one problem, I hope you like their idea of dinner, cause there’s no other choice. They had some ‘accidents’ with some other varieties. Apparently, the bees didn’t like them, so they all died. You’re going to be missing quite a few important nutrients and enzymes. But don’t worry, I bought some synthetic supplements from the drug company, they have quite a few side effects (allergies, weakened immune systems, liver damage, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, hyperactivity, you get the idea), but at least my insurance paid for them. It’s a good thing we also have such nice people working for us in healthcare, wow, I have no idea how the human race made it to today without all these peoples’ nice ‘help’.”

  39. scared stiff Says:

    still never get an answer about what is CODEX???

  40. Ewan Ross Says:

    Jason – I believe the point on GM foods was that no, there is zero evidence connecting GM foods to allergies, however there is a body of evidence which explains rises in allergies within the same timescale.

    I assume the pitiful gains you see on the GM front include the 35% reduction in environmental damage by herbicide applications as seen in RR crops, the huge reductions in pesticide applications as seen in Bt crops, the increases in cotton yields in india, the increases in yields for US sugar beet growers.

    And I equally assume that the certain success and safety of organic food includes outbreaks of E.coli traced back to organic spinach producers, Puna Rat Lungworm infection from organic leafy vegetables etc.

    I’m unsure exactly what you mean by what if somehting goes wrong with ‘a generation of food’ – it doesnt really make any sense whatsoever – why would something go wrong with a generation of food? Why would multiple different lines of GM product all fail at the same time? What possible mode of action are you postulating for this occurence?

    Which strains are we exterminating? Keep in mind Monsanto also supplies non-GM hybrid seed, our plant breeding operation (if I remember right) recieves equivalent funding to our biotech operation – improving crops through traditional breeding parallel to our improvement of crops by genetic engineering.

    Not sure how this ties in to exterminating the human population either – without yearly increases in the yield of all our crop plants then the human population is on pretty thin ice anyway – even through conventional breeding this will pretty much mean that all varieties of crop plants currently in use will need to be improved upon and replaced – without any obvious reason why this replacement should in any way threaten mankind.

    On nutritional supplementation – GM offers the capacity to increase the nutritional value of crop plants without the need for pharmaceutically produced nutrients – more omega 3’s, more protein etc – I’m unaware of any evidence that bees avoid GM crops, or that the wind no longer blows the pollen of GM crops, so not 100% sure how you postulate that your doomsday scenario would unfold.

    I can forsee a future in which GM crops were banned, where farmers kids ask why daddy has to spend all his time out spraying the fields, and why the itch in their eyes won’t go away. Where indian farmers bemoan the fact their yields suddenly dropped 50% and they can no longer send their kids to school. Where little Jimmy asks his dad why nobody did anything to prevent the gulf of Mexico becoming completely anoxic due to pesticide and fertilizer runoff etc etc.

    Of course this view is pretty much as ridiculous as your own – but surely the fact I can imagine it makes it true? Right?

  41. Jason Says:

    Excellent spin! You’re absolutely correct on every statement. You and the company you work for have never made a mistake. And even if you did, none of your mistakes have ever cost anyone anything, ever. You are all perfect and there is no way anything in the future could ever go wrong, ever. And it is impossible for GM crops to ever contaminate non-GM crops.

    Why do I even bother, it’s a brick wall with you guys. My prior opinion of Monsanto is now stronger than ever, but for grins…

    Don’t think I don’t know firsthand the ill-effects of pesticides and herbicides, I grew up on a conventional farm, I drove the very tractors that spread the toxic chemicals to every square inch of our land. Need I remind you that we farmers were told the use of these chemicals was safe for our animals and customers? That the only way we could remain in business and stay competitive with our neighbor was to apply more chemicals? Oh wait, that was years ago, we didn’t know better then. Now we know all.

    On organic spinach, can you please produce the evidence that it was the organic spinach that was tainted? From what I recall, they company’s organic line had been cleared while the conventional line had not, but I could be mistaken, I acknowledge that I am human. Besides, improper handling of any food can lead to such outbreaks. Just because growers use organic methods, doesn’t mean they are perfect. Only Monsanto is perfect.

    On Puna Rat Lungworm, you’re saying that your products could have prevented this problem? Or are you saying that future research in this field could prevent this problem in the future? Because I’m pretty sure any substantial effort, be it organic or GM, could resolve the problem. Or are you saying that conventional growing methods using toxic pesticides could have prevented this?

    Tell you what, you stop fighting legislation that labels foods as GM, and stop infecting organic crops with your own, and stop suing innocent farmers (granted, not all are innocent) for reusing their own seeds the way that they have been for thousands of years… and I’ll change my opinion. Until then, I’m putting up my own brick wall.

  42. Deborah Rubin Says:

    ScaredStiff, are you asking about Codex Alimentarius?

  43. Ewan Ross Says:

    Jason – my point was entirely to counter your rather sweeping statement that there was “certain success and safety”(and here I thought you were of the opinion that only monsanto was perfect) with organic food – success is never certain in farming and neither is safety – the point being that organic practices, or producers, have been linked to actual real public health issues – whereas GM foods – have not.

    If you know first hand the real effects of herbicides and pesticides – wouldnt you welcome technology that removes or reduces these very real threats to the wellbeing of farmers and farm workers? Each spray of pesticide or herbicide that doesnt have to be applied to a crop due to the GM tech (and its imagined risk) removes the (very real) risk associated with spraying.

    I’d also like to know of a case in which Monsanto has sued an innocent farmer, I’m pretty sure we only sue those who deliberately and knowingly infringe patent law.

  44. Jason Says:

    If I had a staff of 75, some of the strongest and most powerful law firms in the country, and an annual budget of $10 million, I’m pretty sure I could find most of them guilty too. If they were all truly guilty, you wouldn’t need so much fire power to take them down.

    And here we go with the spin again… c’mon. Yes, I do know the effects of herbicides and pesticides. That’s why I eat organic foods.

    So by countering my “sweeping statement” that organic foods are “successful and safe”, you stress that GM foods have not resulted in pathogenic outbreaks? Or an outbreak of snails? Apples and oranges. . Let’s try to dumb this down with an analogy: would you argue that airbags are not “successful and safe”? I bet you could find many cases where airbags didn’t always help, but as a whole, do airbags not provide greater safety?

    I do not doubt that my children will not get E Coli poisoning from eating GM corn, or suffer Puna Rat Lungworm from GM soy, that’s for sure. I’m not talking about getting sick because some people didn’t rinse their leafy vegetables before they ate them. You managed to find one instance of illness because the food came from an organic source (and another that wasn’t true), and I’m still confused as to how current GM foods could have prevented it. I guess you could argue that future developments in GM foods could have created a strain of plants resistance to the snail, but talk about an enormous amount of time, energy, and most of all, risk, to do what thoroughly washing the food first would have done. Not to mention that you would have to predict the future to even begin development on such a plant before it ever had a problem.

    You take the time to pick apart my statements, but do nothing to argue the facts. Don’t worry about arguing with me, argue with the research.

    Tell me how come mice from GM corn suffered fertility problems in a recent Austrian study?

    Tell me how come rats fed GM potatoes developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, partial atrophy of the liver, and inhibited development of their brains, livers and testicles. And subsequently, why the lead scientist was fired after going public with his findings.

    Tell me how come soy allergies in the UK on the rise shortly after introduced to GM soy.

    Tell me how come 7 out of 20 female rats that were fed GM tomatoes devolved stomach lesions.

    Tell me how come the livers of rats fed RR canola were 12% to 16% heavier?

    Tell me how come a Russian study found 51.6% of offspring from GM soy-fed rats died after the first three weeks (as opposed to 10% from the non-GM soy group)?

    Tell me how come dozens of farmers reported pig sterility, false pregnancies, etc after being introduced to BT corn.

    Tell me how come 25% of sheep grazing on BT cotton plants are dying in India.

    Tell me how come 83% of Luxembourg citizens reject genetic engineering. How come Austria, Hungary, France and Greece all banned MON810? (However, it’s only a matter of time before the liberal EC gets their way and the bans are lifted.)

    Just because there are no FDA or Monsanto funded studies that proves that GM foods are linked to public health issues, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Why are there no long term studies as to the health risks of GM foods by the FDA? Is it because the FDA relies on the studies funded by Monsanto? Why is it that the FDA does not even require testing of GM crops, even though the FDA’s own scientists believe that GM foods could lead to “hard to detect allergens, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems”?

    I don’t trust the FDA (in case you didn’t know). Their stance: “The first genetically engineered whole product–a tomato–went on the market in 1994. The FDA determined that the new tomato, which could be shipped vine-ripened without rotting rapidly, was as safe as other commercial tomatoes.” But that’s an outright lie! At the time that article was written, they knew their own internal specialists questioned the safety of GM foods.

    It’s funny, the more research I do on this topic, the more I strengthen my own viewpoints, and the more I spread the word to my friends and family about the dangers of GM foods.

    Go ahead and prove any of the above wrong. But in order to make GM food safe for my family and me, you’ll have to prove them all wrong.

  45. Ewan Ross Says:

    Jason – could you link some of the studies you’re quoting, having a little difficulty (at least on the first few) in finding the scientific data. Anywhere.

    I’ll cover a few of the points as I can

    Mice fed GM corn:-

    deals with the austrian study – in short the study was preliminary, the results were inconsistent, and when looked at by independent experts in reproductive toxicology it was assessed that the “results do not support any conclusion of adverse effects on reproductive performance”

    Putzai’s study on rats (GM potatoes (I assume this is the one you mean) (unpublished, and pretty much unpublishable) were “badly flawed. Half of the rats in the trial died, and results were taken from those that survived, in breach of normal scientific practice. ” (that’s a statement from greenpeace, not any pro-GM organization, so the study must have been pretty abysmal)

    Drawing a blank on any data about incidence of Soy allergies in the UK

    From the rat studies with flavrsavr tomatoes

    states that the expert panel conclude “that the gastric erosions observed were incidental and not test article related”

    RR canola – cant find the study you are citing figures from –

    reviews GM safety assessments and all the rat data on RR canola (5 or 6 studies cited) shows no significant effect

    Also deals with the 51% claim pretty thoroughly

    Reports of pig sterility and false pregnancies etc – cant find any reliable information around this, I’d stick with the animal feed studies which show no detrimental effects to the health of farm animals rather than rumours propagated by anti-GM organizations with no foundation in truth.

    The 25% mortality claim for sheep grazing bt cotton in India is made up as far as I can tell – I’d be interested to see some real data around this claim though.

    GM food in europe isnt a safety issue, it is a political issue. I grew up in Europe during the initial introduction of roundup ready crops – it inspired me to persue a career in genetics, however the general consensus adopted in Europe, in my opinion, is an anti-scientific stance largely driven by previous unrelated food scares (specifically Salmonella and BSE in the UK) – essentially it is practically political suicide in many European nations to be seen to support GM technology, which explains the bans and the european comissions attempts to override them (Germany fell to this phenomenon recently)

    I think I covered most of the points (that I could find anything on) there without applying too much ‘spin’.

    As a spinny aside however… I dont have to do anything to make GM food safe for your family and you (it already is) and it is pretty clear that it will be nigh on impossible to persuade you that GM food is safe, but I’m willing to try.

  46. Jason Says:

    Some of my statements were taken from Genetic Roulette, by Jeffrey Smith.

    I’ll admit, Dr. Pusztai’s findings were indeed preliminary. Until he decided to undertake the study, the only other peer reviewed study was a favorable one done by a Monsanto scientist (of course). Also, a group of 22 scientists from 13 countries support his findings, so I think it’s ignorant for his research to be thrown away because of pressure from external forces, (including the pressure that led to his suspension).

    On a side note, I found this interesting:
    “Top pro-GM food scientist threatened me, says editor:
    The editor of one of Britain’s leading medical journals, the Lancet, says he was threatened by a senior member of the Royal Society, the voice of the British science establishment, that his job would be at risk if he published controversial research questioning the safety of genetically modified foods.”

    Article regarding high sheep mortality rate:
    And a related article regarding farmers in India suffering allergic reactions to BT cotton:
    They could be made up. They weren’t peer reviewed or taken from studies funded by Monsanto, and they certainly don’t make Monsanto look good, so they must be ignored. We need to wait until Monsanto finds out for sure if BT cotton is toxic. Until then, keep buying Monsanto seed!

    I like your statement: “I’d stick with the animal feed studies which show no detrimental effects to the health of farm animals…” I’d feel the same way if my paycheck was signed with a big “M”.

  47. Tom Says:

    Jason, You seem to be doing quite a bit of reading about GM crops. But are being as critical of your sources as you are of the technology? In other words are you challenging your biases?

    I was involved in the conduct of sevearal rat studies Monsanto conducted on RR canola. In hindsight all these feeding studies were ill-advised scientifically because their relevance to food safety is weak. They are typically misunderstood in terms of conclusions that can be drawn e.g., proving safety, which cannot be done. Canola in particular is a problematic material because RATS DON’T TOLERATE CANOLA of any kind especially at the levels they were fed. Importantly, people do not eat canola-based protein (the meal). So, you don’t get good data when your test organism is made sick by the test substance (GM, non-GM, it doesn’t matter with canola).

    To resolve the uncertainty associated with this test system, we designed very large study with multiple lines of canola that had different compositional characteristics (glucosinolates that are know anti-nutrients). The point was to clearly separate effects of anti nutrients from the genetic modification. In addition we consulted toxicologist in Canada and France. We published this study: Hammond, B.I and T.E. Nickson. 2002. Case Study: Canola Tolerant to Roundup® Herbicide An assessment of its substantial equivalence compared to nonmodified canola. In: Safety Evaluation of Agricultural Biotechnology Products. Atherton, K. Editor, Taylor and Francis publisher. pps. 138-163. You can find the book at:

  48. Jason Says:

    Also, one of the reviews you cited as a supporting GM food safety had this to say in conclusion:

    “The main goal of the present paper has been to review critically the published scientific literature concerning potential toxic effects/health risks of GM plants. It has been noted that experimental data are very scarce. As shown throughout the paper, most investigations correspond to short-term studies, mainly nutritional studies, with very limited toxicological information (Filip et al., 2004). Where are long-term toxicological studies that should guarantee the safety of the transgenic plants for animal and human consumption? (Patel et al., 2005). Because of the importance that the consumption of GM foods has acquired, as well as its enormous potential in the near future, the performance of a complete case-by-case study seems would be advisable (Weil, 2005). Long-term studies are clearly necessary. This review can be concluded raising the following question: where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food are tox icologically safe, as assumed by the biotechnology companies involved in commercial GM foods?”

    This just emphasises the following points:

    * The long term, adverse effects of GM foods are unknown due to the lack of long term studies.
    ** Would you disagree?

    * Short term, adverse effects (as with many toxins and drugs) are possibly masked or undetectable.
    ** Would you disagree?

    * That GM foods are equal in nutritional value, but to the extent that only part of the “nutritional values” in nature are even understood. There is much that is still unknown. There is more to life-giving foods than just a few line items on the side of box of cereal.
    ** Would you disagree?

    Of course the majority of studies accepted by Monsanto and the FDA (and other gov. entities) only include short term observations, because those make GM foods look safe. Why would they voluntarily submit evidence that GM foods are not safe by endorsing any damaging long term studies?

    It’s the same type of studies that show no harmful effects from pasteurizing dairy and other live foods, the same types of studies that are used to show HFCS is safe, and that aspartame is safe, etc.

    Or how about the same types of studies that showed no long term effects from certain pesticides or herbicides, from smoking/nicotine, from PCBs, or the hundreds of other toxins released as “safe”, but later universally accepted as poisonous? Why can’t we learn from history?

    I’m going to close with these quotes:

    “A lie told often enough becomes truth”, Vladimir Lenin.

    “What I saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the technology was good and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked. And there was a lot of money that had been invested in this, and if you’re against it, you’re Luddites, you’re stupid. There was rhetoric like that even here in this department. You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on some of the issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches.” – Dan Glickman, United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 until 2001

    Don’t you ever feel like Mr. Glickman sometimes? Probably not. But maybe there’s still hope. I think sometimes, “Maybe I’ll see these people on the news someday, exposing the truth….” One can dream…

  49. Jason Says:

    Tom, you make a very valid point. I absolutely agree with you. Unfortunately, I don’t have a very scientific background. I made it through univ chem and physics, but switched to IT for obvious reasons :)

    But can’t you make the same argument agains some of the same, limited scope studies that are done to make various drugs and foods appear “safe”? I remember reading a reference to a study some time ago that claimed sugar didn’t cause hyperactivity, but the study was done on a very small group of individuals, and the control group was on a high sugar diet while the “sugar gorup” was on an even higher sugar diet.

    I’m just afraid there hasn’t been enough research done to prove GM foods are completely safe and now we starting to possibly see some of the consequences. I don’t want to be a part of the experiment, but I fear the time is near that I won’t have a choice.

  50. Tom Says:


    Thanks for your question. I wouldn’t have the courage to blog if the issue was my computer’s operating system or software.

    Focusing on your last paragraph, the trouble is that no one can prove safety of anything with absolute certainty. Science is a tool to create a weight of evidence. In the end it is a judgment based on policy, reason and the quality of the science. Public policy defines acceptable risk and science informs the decision-makers. The standard we use for the science is the best available; it’s the best we can do. We only know what is knowable at a given time. But based on my 17 years in this field and hand’s on experience with the technology, I feel certain that the products that are on the market today are at least AS SAFE AS their conventional counterparts. The words I’ve used here are chosen carefully and are very specific. No one can say “safer” or “completely safe” and be honest.

    I too don’t want to feel that they I, my wife, 5 children and 2 grandchildren are being subjected to meaningless risks. But the future of my children and their’s depends in part on the things I do today. Population is increasing and current food production is unsustainable. The consequences associated with too many people and too little food (of adequate quality) are really bad. Doing nothing is not an option. As I said in another blog, no one knows what sustainable is. We know what it isn’t through history. We’re going to have to learn by doing and I believe technology applied morally and prudently is a good place to start.

  51. Deborah Rubin Says:

    From the rat studies with flavrsavr tomatoes

    states that the expert panel conclude “that the gastric erosions observed were incidental and not test article related”

    Ewan, were any follow-up studies done to confirm that the gastric erosions were incidental and not test related?

  52. Ewan Ross Says:

    Deborah, I’m assuming not, – I didnt actually read further than that quote from the document, but the next page tabulates the incidence of gastic erosions (showing that while in 2 of the studies these were only seen in transgenic treatments, in one study gastric erosions were observed in control and water treated subjects also) which I assume is where the conclusion of incidental non-test article related came from.
    All the gastric erosions were also rated as minimal to mild in severity.

  53. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Even mild gastric erosions can mean health trouble–and over what time frame? What would follow if the study continued? I really believe a follow-up should have been done and should be done. On which page do you find your information, Ewan?

    Even though Flavrsavrs are not on the market, and I am thankful for that, the research should have been extended. When there is an unexplained or unexplanable observation, we need to be as certain as we can that we understand it, to learn from it and prevent future problems. You can’t just dismiss findings or assume in the scientific method. How do we know that the method did not injure the animals or that they were not ill to begin with. That in itself would affect the validity of the study.

  54. Ewan Ross Says:

    Deborah – pages 13 and 14 of the report (13 contains the statement that the erosions were incidental and not test subject related, 14 the table which shows incidence of gastric erosions as assessed by 2 different panels on 3 different tests)

    I think it would have been interesting to see how the study progressed longer term, however I dont agree that it is necessary that the studies needed to be continued as they show no difference from the non-transgenic diet – the arguement can always be made, for any study, that the study wasnt long enough to observe results (so you only investigated effects to the 5th generation? How then can we know this product is safe to the 7th generation?)

  55. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Why would Monsanto sue Germany to end that sovereign country’s ban on growing and selling MON 810? Why should Monsanto, a corporation, be able to tell other countries how to legislate gmo’s?

    HAMBURG, April 22 (Reuters) – Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, said on Wednesday it hoped legal action to end Germany’s ban on growing its genetically modified (GMO) maize would allow the variety to be sown for the 2009 harvest.
    On Tuesday, Monsanto said it had started legal action against the decision on April 14 by German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner to ban cultivation and sale of Monanto’s MON 810 GMO maize which stopped it being sown for this year’s harvest.
    The ban put Germany alongside France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg, which also banned MON 810 maize despite its approval by the EU as safe for commercial use in the bloc.
    Does Monsanto plan to sue France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg as well? Have they already been sued?

  56. Brad Says:


    We would take legal action against Germany because we believe their ban was unwarranted and in conflicts with EU requirements.

    This is how a democracy works. An aggrieved party can take legal action against those they feel have wronged them – including the government. We feel Germany has wronged Monsanto and German farmers.

    It is the same concept that allows the Center for Food Safety to take legal action against USDA for approval of RR alfalfa. By your logic, CFS should not be able to tell the US, a sovereign country, how to legislate GMOs.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too Deb.

  57. Deborah Rubin Says:

    I don’t think that would be my logic, Brad. The people should have a say in their government in a democracy. The people of a nation need to participate to even have a democracy. I didn’t elect any large companies to represent me in government, nor do I expect them to craft the laws in their own interest. Surely, big business can represent its own interests to government, but not claim those of a country–or the entire Earth, for that matter. I don’t believe big business should have more sway with the government than the people do. When they do, we then have an oligarchy, not a democracy. If the people join together to support a common interest–like their environment, they are clearly able to organize and petition their government. We, the People…all of us.

    Wasn’t the RR alfalfa was found to be a danger to the environment. Sometimes the balance of powers must correct legislation made without proper oversight.

    What if a foreign company sued the US to force them to market a product banned by our government? Can you ever remember that happening? How well would that go over? I can only imagine “the nerve!” “The threat to our way of life and all we hold dear!” What if they said some of the American people want the product and they knew better that it is safe! That we must prove it to them with only evidence they will accept? Whose rights should supercede whose? Precautionary principle at work and about time!

    I don’t believe Monsanto has the interest of German farmers in mind–I believe it is their own bottom line they are looking out for. And a challenge to any show of resistance. It certainly doesn’t look good. It might catch on…

  58. Brad Says:


    You do not understand the details of this event or action.

    There was NO finding that RR is unsafe. The suit on RR alfalfa involves the allegation that USDA did not follow appropriate processes set up under law/regulation.

    It is much the same in Germany. We are alleging that Germany did not follow protocols set up under law, and that the German Ag minister acted in violation of EU requirements. These laws and requirements were set up under a democratic process. We are asking for our rights, and those of German farmers (and all citizens for that matter) to be upheld under existing EU law.

    Law exists to establish and protect the rights of entities ranging from individuals to non-profit organizations to corporations.

    Foreign countries have taken action against the US for violation of trade requirements under international law, and the US has taken actions against other countries. It is an unfortunately common occurence.

    Monsanto’s interests, and those of German farmers who want to plant this corn, are exactly the same. They want to access to this technology. We want to provide it to them. Both parties want to be treated fairly, in accordance with law.

  59. Deborah Rubin Says:

    I beieve the Oregon seed company and CFS believe the seed is unsafe and will easily, perhaps even more easily than canola, contaminate the conventional and organic alfalfa. I realize that a proper EIS was not done. Strange how the regulatory bodies are not following the laws of the land.

    Perhaps you do not understand by point, or are trying to deflect it.

    Did the German farmers join Monsanto’s lawsuit, Brad?

  60. Mica Says:

    That may be the Oregon seed company and CFS’ belief, but that is not why they are allowed to sue. They are allowed to sue under the allegation that USDA did not follow policy as stated articulately by Brad above. And I believe USDA is fought back saying they did follow the framework and protocol as they understood it. There’s no conspiracy here.

    I think Brad did understand your point but it didn’t make any sense.

    If farmers didn’t want it, then there would be no reason for us to sue regardless of whether farmers joined the lawsuit or not. Why would we undertake the expensive effort of a lawsuit if we thought that no farmer would buy the product? That’s just silly. And if we follow your logic…that we are really doing this just to make money…then it seems to reason that we would make money because farmers WANT the product. Lawsuits COST money. Your argument seems like double speak.

  61. Brad Says:

    CFS and Co. may BELIEVE the seed is unsafe, but that was not the finding of the court.

    Regulatory agencies must interpret the law. Sometimes others take exception to their interpretation, as evidenced with both the CFS/Alfalfa suit and our action agains the German government. The fact that CFS can take legal action against USDA, and Mondsanto can take action against Germany, is a sign of a healthy and functioning system.

    I can see nowhere in your posts where you ask whether German farms have signed on to Monsanto’s legal action. Your charge of deflection is spurious. To my knowledge they have not, as of yet. I do not know whether the law or process under which we have initiated action has provisions which allows other parties to sign onto the action.

  62. Deborah Rubin Says:

    The district court considered voluminous evidentiary submissions
    from both sides, including the detailed declarations
    of multiple witnesses regarding the scope of permanent
    injunctive relief and scientific papers on the factual issues
    involved. The parties’ experts disagreed over virtually every
    factual issue, including the likelihood of genetic contamination [sounds familiar]
    and why some contamination had already occurred.
    Defendants’ evidence included declarations and live testimony
    by Forage Genetics’ president, Mark McCaslin, declarations
    of an APHIS official, Neil Hoffman, and a declaration
    from a scientist at Colorado State University, Bob Hammon,
    who had conducted a study sponsored by Forage Genetics on
    pollen movement from alfalfa-seed fields by bees. Plaintiffs’
    evidence included Hammon’s study, which they argued supports
    their position, as well as declarations from seed growers
    whose crops had been contaminated with the Roundup Ready
    gene and scientists who opined that genetic contamination is
    likely to occur.

    The district court rejected
    the conditions proposed by the agency because it found that
    genetic contamination had occurred when similar conditions
    were in place pursuant to Forage Genetics’ contracts with its
    Roundup Ready alfalfa growers. Defendants, joined by intervenors
    Monsanto and Forage Genetics (collectively, “appel-
    lants”), now appeal the injunction, arguing it is too broad.
    Neither the government nor the intervenors now question the
    existence of a NEPA violation. They dispute only the scope
    of the injunction, and whether the district court should have
    held a further hearing.

    With respect to harm, the court found that genetic contamination
    of organic and conventional alfalfa had already
    occurred, and it had occurred while Monsanto and Forage
    Genetics had contractual obligations in place that were similar
    to their proposed mitigation measures. It held that such contamination
    was irreparable environmental harm because contamination
    cannot be reversed and farmers cannot replant
    alfalfa for two to four years after contaminated alfalfa has
    been removed. The court also reasoned that appellants would
    be unable to enforce compliance with any proposed mitigation
    measures, given the government’s admitted lack of resources.
    The court therefore did not presume that irreparable harm was
    likely to occur only on the basis of the NEPA violation; it
    concluded that plaintiffs had established that genetic contamination
    was sufficiently likely to occur so as to warrant broad
    injunctive relief, though narrower than the blanket injunction
    sought by plaintiffs

  63. Brad Says:


    Our discussion around the alfalfa case has been:
    1. My point that, like Monsanto’s legal actions against the German Government, CFS and company sued USDA with the allegation that they did not follow proper procedures relative to the approval of RR alfalfa and filed suit.
    2. Your unsupported claim that the court in the alfalfa case ruled RR alfalfa to be a “danger to the environment”.

    In the segment of the document you cite, the court’s reference to “contamination” was not in relation to environmental safety, but to impacts on organic crop and certification – economic harm, not environmental. The court ruled that USDA had violated NEPA because they did not conduct an assessment in accordance with NEPA. It did not rule there was danger to the environmental. The fact that the assessment is now under way is testament to this. Similarly, the fact that the court allowed plantings of alfalfa that occurred prior to the ruling to remain planted (albeit with restrictions to protect against as of yet – in absence of the NEPA assessment – unassessed risks to organic), provides similar testimony.

    The question of whether there is risk of “contamination” to organic crops will be determined by the USD A assessment, not the courts.

    If you are going to provide text of a document, it is appropriate that you provide the link to the entire document so that readers can compare that text into the context from which it was taken.

  64. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Silly me, I was considering other farms and conventional alfalfa, itself, to be in the environment. And the link is provided. That is where the entire text comes from.

  65. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Here is what I see was considered:

    With respect to harm, the court found that genetic contamination
    of organic and conventional alfalfa had already
    occurred, and it had occurred while Monsanto and Forage
    Genetics had contractual obligations in place that were similar
    to their proposed mitigation measures. It held that such contamination
    was irreparable environmental harm because contamination
    cannot be reversed and farmers cannot replant
    alfalfa for two to four years after contaminated alfalfa has
    been removed.

    After considering the likelihood of irreparable injury, the
    court next considered the balance of hardships. The harm to appellants was economic, and the court reasoned that
    Roundup Ready alfalfa accounted for only 15% of Forage
    Genetics’ total revenue and “much, much less of Monsanto’s.” Monsanto and Forage Genetics contend
    that the district court disregarded their financial losses,
    but the district court considered those economic losses and
    simply concluded that the harm to growers and consumers
    who wanted non-genetically engineered alfalfa outweighed
    the financial hardships to Monsanto and Forage Genetics and
    their growers.

    The district court finally considered the public interest, the
    fourth factor in the framework for injunctive relief. See N.
    Cheyenne Tribe, 503 F.3d at 843. The court, while recognizing
    that agricultural biotechnology has social value, held that
    it would be in the public interest to enjoin the expanded use
    of Roundup Ready alfalfa before its impact was studied,
    because failing to do so could potentially eliminate the availability
    of non-genetically engineered alfalfa.

    Appellants also argue that the district court should have
    deferred to APHIS’s proposed interim measures because of
    the expertise of the government agency, despite the agency’s
    now undisputed failure to comply with NEPA.
    Here, the agency’s proposed
    interim measures would perpetuate a system that was found
    by the district court to have caused environmental harm in the
    past. While the agency’s response may deserve deference,
    Idaho Watersheds does not require the district court to adopt
    it automatically. The district court did not abuse its discretion
    in choosing to reject APHIS’s proposed mitigation measures
    in favor of a broader injunction to prevent more irreparable
    harm from occurring.

  66. Brad Says:

    You did provide a court link in your original reply Deb – my apologies on that. I believe however that it is a link to the appeal, not the original decision. This is the orginal decison:$FILE/6-1075%20Geertson.pdf

    Here is where our conflict arises. If you read the original decision, Judge Breyer states that “Substantial questions are raised
    as to whether (1) the deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa without any geographic
    restrictions will lead to the transmission of the engineered gene to organic and conventional
    alfalfa;(2) the possible extent of such transmission; and (3) farmers’ ability to protect their crops from acquiring the genetically engineered gene.”

    He did not conclude or rule that environmental harm would occur – that was not his role. He concluded there were “substantial questions” on the topic of “contamination” and went on to order APHIS to prepare an EIS in order to address those questions.

    There was no ruling of environmental harm.

  67. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Brad Says:

    April 23, 2009 at 7:49 am

    It is much the same in Germany. We are alleging that Germany did not follow protocols set up under law, and that the German Ag minister acted in violation of EU requirements. These laws and requirements were set up under a democratic process. We are asking for our rights, and those of German farmers (and all citizens for that matter) to be upheld under existing EU law.

    I am under the impression that Germany invoked the safeguard clause, as provided by the EU, to ban the MON 810. Is this illegal?

    I note that France did the same, and the decision was upheld by its courts.

  68. Brad Says:

    My understanding of the safeguard clause allows an EU member company to implement a ban in conflict with EU findings only when there is new data. Germany has not cited any new studies or data, but is referencing existing studies which have been reviewed by the EU.

    I don’t have background on the France lawsuits, if there were any, but will get it. It is my understanding however that the European Food Safety Authority has declared these bans to be unfounded.

  69. Brad Says:

    France Followup:

    The European Food Safety Authority has rejected France’s argument invoking the safeguard clause relative to their ban on Mon 810:

    The EU regulatory committee heard the EFSA opinion in February, but did not come to a conclusion (either supporting nor denying the French ban). This will be voted on by the Council at some point in the near future.

    There are seperate, ongoing legal actions being taken in France.

  70. Deborah Rubin Says:

    I meant that the French courts had upheld the ban:

    French Court Upholds Ban on Gene-Altered Corn Seed

    The New York Times
    March 19, 2008

    But the Conseil d’État upheld the ban until it could rule on its scientific underpinning. Hearings are expected to be held in coming months.

    In his ruling, Judge Jean-Marie Delarue pointed out that a report issued in January by a committee of French specialists had called for more studies on the product’s safety.

    French officials were correct to have paid attention to “new elements brought to light by the committee that could be seen as posing a grave risk to the environment,” Judge Delarue wrote.

  71. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Brad Says:

    April 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm
    You did provide a court link in your original reply Deb – my apologies on that. I believe however that it is a link to the appeal, not the original decision. This is the orginal decison:$FILE/6-1075%20Geertson.pdf

    My link is to the judges’ opinions on the appeal, the final word so far. But to your link, I find the APHIS et al position appalling:

    In this context, plaintiffs [Geerston et al]identify what they believe are several
    significant environmental impacts that will be caused by Roundup Ready alfalfa, or that at
    least may be caused by the deregulation of the genetically engineered alfalfa.

    The paucity of caselaw is unsurprising given that one of
    Congress’s express goals in adopting NEPA was to “attain the widest range of beneficial
    uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health and safety, or other undesirable
    and unintended consequences.” 42 U.S.C. § 4331(b)(3) (emphasis added). A federal action
    that eliminates a farmer’s choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer’s
    choice to eat non-genetically engineered food, is an undesirable consequence: another NEPA
    goal is to “maintain, wherever possible, an environment which supports diversity and variety
    of individual choice.” 42 U.S.C. § 4331(b)(4).

    To put it another way, if the government’s action could eliminate all alfalfa, [THINK ABOUT IT]

    there would be no dispute that such action has a SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT [my caps], even though the
    primary impact is the economic effect on alfalfa and livestock farmers.

    The government’s apparent belief that the farmers’ and consumers’
    choice is irrational because the engineered gene is similar in all biological respects to a gene
    found in nature (although never in alfalfa) is beside the point. An action which potentially
    eliminates or least greatly reduces the availability of a particular plant–here, non-engineered
    alfalfa–has a significant effect on the human environment. See 40 C.F.R. § 1508.27(b) (“A
    significant effect may exist even if the Federal agency believes that on balance the effect will
    be beneficial”).

    APHIS failed to answer these substantial questions, concluding instead
    that any environmental impact is insignificant because gene transmission is the problem of
    the organic and conventional farmers [HOW CONSIDERATE AND EQUITABLE]and weeds always develop resistance to herbicides. As
    such reasons are not “convincing” and do not demonstrate that the agency took a “hard look”
    at the potential environmental impacts of its deregulation decision, plaintiffs’ motion for
    summary judgment on its NEPA claim that APHIS is required to prepare an EIS is

    Who is APHIS looking out for? What blatant disregard of organic and conventional farmers, the environment and consumers!!

  72. Brad Says:


    The final decision was the one by Judge Breyer. Appeals simply uphold or overturn decisions.

    The bottom line is that courts did not find RR alfalfa to pose a risk to the environment. That was not the court’s role or expertise. As you quoted, the judge said that “APHIS failed to answere these questions”. That was the meat of the matter and why APHIS is now conducting the EIS.

    Think about it, if the judge ruled there were environmental risks with RR Alfalfa, why would USDA now be doing an EIS???? You portray this as if it were already determined. It has not been.

  73. Deborah Rubin Says:

    I realize the final decision was Judge Breyer’s. That’s why I quoted it originally. The dissenting judge’s opinion is there as well. Breyer said that RR alfalfa had already contaminated organic and conventional crops by following the APHIS guidelines, so how can those policies be sound and workable? If you care about contamination. He also said there is a risk of the non GM alfalfa no longer existing. NO LONGER EXISTING. Take it as you will. I just hope the EIS and commenting period that follows will be above board. I read it and see that Breyer has serious concerns for the environment, organic and conventional farmers, and the consumer. The public good as he said.

    Anyone who is interested will have to read it for him or herself and interpret the language.

  74. Brad Says:


    Your original question/assertion that began this thread read “Wasn’t the RR alfalfa was found to be a danger to the environment.”

    The answer to that question is “no”.

    The decision of the court was that “Substantial questions are raised as to whether (1) the deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa without any geographicrestrictions will lead to the transmission of the engineered gene to organic and conventional alfalfa”

    In short, the court found that USDA had not adequately addressed the question of whether there were risks of RR alfalfa. You are quoting the judges opinions that led to that ruling.

  75. Deborah Rubin Says:

    More follow up on Monsanto V Germany:

    HAMBURG, May 5 (Reuters) – A German court on Tuesday rejected an urgent application from U.S. biotech company Monsanto to end Germany’s ban on cultivation of Monsanto maize containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, had requested an urgent decision to lift the ban imposed on April 14 by German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner stopping cultivation and commercial sale of Monanto’s MON 810 GMO maize which prevented it being sown for this year’s harvest.

    The court in Braunschweig in north Germany rejected an application for an emergency ruling to overturn Aigner’s decision so as to allow sowings for the 2009 crop.

    A statement from the court said Germany’s law on GMOs laid down that a ban on a new plant variety did not need to be justified by proven scientific research which showed without doubt the crop to be dangerous.

    It was enough when research showed there were indications that the crop could be dangerous, the court said.

    The court ruled that German authorities had not made an arbitrary or biased decision in imposing the ban.

    The court statement added: “There is no proven scientific evidence that the genetic maize could lead to increased danger to the environment.”

    “But new studies could indicate that the poisonous substance (generated by genetic mutation) could not only have an impact on the pests which it is aimed at combating, but also on other insects.”

  76. Laurel Says:

    HR 875 may have stirred up a lot of inaccurate hysteria, but you can’t really blame folks for being paranoid about what Monsanto is up to. After all, it’s the company that brought us saccharin, agent orange and aspartame, to name a few. GM seeds may have their place, but do do small farmers. Here’s a good article from the Virginia Hopkins Health Watch about HR 875 hysteria and what real food safety means:

  77. Ewan Ross Says:


    Aspartame – considered safe in 90 countries globally (scientific evidence shows it to be safe)

    Saccharin – safe, no longer requires labelling. (scientific evidence shows it to be safe)

    Agent Orange – brought to you by… the US government (and manufactured by Monsanto and other chemical companies by order of said US government) – and discussed here :-

  78. scared stiff Says:


    Now an accredited group comes out with some of the most scathing information. I cant wait to see how mansanto tries to tell everyone that this group is a bunch of crazies too..


    F. William Engdahl
    Global Research,
    Friday, May 22, 2009

    US Doctors’ association calls for Moratorium on GMO Foods

    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has just issued a call for an immediate moratorium on Genetically Manipulated (GMO) Foods.

    In a just-released position paper on GMO foods, the AAEM states that ‘GM foods pose a serious health risk’ and calls for a moratorium on GMO foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes ‘there is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse health effects’ and that ‘GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.’ The report is a devastating blow to the multibillion dollar international agribusiness industry, most especially to Monsanto Corporation, the world’s leading purveyor of GMO seeds and related herbicides.

    In a press release dated May 19, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which describes itself as ‘an international association of physicians and other professionals dedicated to addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health,’ called immediately for the following emergency measures to be taken regarding human consumption of GMO foods:

    * A moratorium on GMO food; implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labelling of GMO food.

    * Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GMO foods.

    * Physicians to consider the role of GMO foods in their patients’ disease processes.

    * More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GMO foods on human health.

    The AAEM chairperson, Dr Amy Dean notes that ‘Multiple animal studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients’ and the public’s health.’ The President of the AAEM, Dr Jennifer Armstrong stressed that ‘Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions. The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil.’ The AAEM’s position paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found at

    The paper further states that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) technology ‘abrogates natural reproductive processes, selection occurs at the single cell level, the procedure is highly mutagenic and routinely breeches genera barriers, and the technique has only been used commercially for 10 years.’

    The AAEM paper further states, ‘several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signalling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.’

    They add, ‘There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation as defined by Hill’s Criteria in the areas of strength of association, consistency, specificity, biological gradient, and biological plausibility. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.’

    GMO is toxic

    The AAEM paper should give grounds for official rethinking of the current quasi laissez faire regulatory stance to GMO in which the solemn word of the GMO seed companies such as Monsanto is regarded as scientifically valid proof of safety. The AAEM study is worth citing in detail in this regard:

    ‘Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation. Animal studies also show altered structure and function of the liver, including altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism as well as cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging and possibly lead to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Changes in the kidney, pancreas and spleen have also been documented. A recent 2008 study links GM corn with infertility, showing a significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed GM corn. This study also found that over 400 genes were found to be expressed differently in the mice fed GM corn. These are genes known to control protein synthesis and modification, cell signalling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin regulation. Studies also show intestinal damage in animals fed GM foods, including proliferative cell growth and disruption of the intestinal immune system. ‘

  79. Brad Says:

    AEEM is not an accredited organization. Neither AEEM nor it’s specialty of “clinical ecology” are recognized by the AMA or other credible organizations.

    The studies it relied upon to make its claims have been refuted by numerous organizations.

    AEEM’s previous work on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity has been shown to be flawed. Their rationale on a moratorium on GMO foods is equally flawed and in conflict with legitimate scientific and regulatory bodies worldwide.

  80. scared stiff Says:

    there are plenty of things that could be considered flawed in monsantos work as well. Does that make them a non accredited organization. Of course not
    AEEM is a group of people (fairly large)internationally who have many members who are accredited doctors,scientists and the like.
    Just because something is in conflict with another group of accredited scientists and doctors doesnt make them wrong.
    THere must be a more substantial argument than that.

  81. Brad Says:

    The fact that no outside organization has accredited them makes them a non-accredited organization.

  82. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Brad Says:

    May 28, 2009 at 9:35 am
    The fact that no outside organization has accredited them makes them a non-accredited organization.


    But it does not necessarily make them wrong.

  83. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Perhaps this is Monsanto’s Dream Bill. Isn’t this a partial public subsidizing of biotech and mandating biotechnology in connection with foreign aid?:

    Monsanto does, however, mention lobbying on Senate Bill 384—the so-called Global Food Security Act—which would gear U.S. foreign aid policy to promote GMO seeds in developing countries, according to gristmill.
    Bill 384 provisions:

    As for the language about GMOs and biotech, the bill amends Section 103A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to read:
    (4) include research on biotechnological advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including genetically modified technology.

  84. Brad Says:

    Scared described them as a accredited organization – I was correcting him in mentioning them that they are not.

    Not bing accredited does not make them wrong, but it does certainly bring their credibility (note tha “accredited” and “credibility” have a common root. AEEM’s opinions are in conflict with the AMA and any number of accredited organizations. Certainly any reasonable person would conclude thatAEEM’s and their opinions suffer on the credibility scale.

  85. Brad Says:

    SB 384 is not our Dream Bill. Yes we support it as evidenced by our lobbying activities.

    As I understand it, the bill would make biotech research funding available to developing countries should they choose to want to do research in this area. Monsanto would not benefit directly from this but as we obviously support ag biotech, we support positive developments in biotech and giving countries who could benefit from it the choice in exploring the technology and the benefits that it may offer their citizens.

    Others such as the Center for Food Safety, (who I believe you are affilliated with Deborah?) have been lobbying against this inclusion in the Bill. CFS would not be directly harmed by the legislation, but are still active in opposing it.

    Our support does not make it our Dream Bill. This is just our democratic process in action – interested parties weigh in with their opinion.

  86. Deborah Rubin Says:

    I am not affiliated with the Center for Food Safety or any other organization–other than signing a petition here and there if I support the cause and receiving a newsletter.

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