Category Archive: GMOs

Could EU “Hostility” toward GMOs Cause Global Famine?

A senior official within the United States Department of Agriculture warned that the European Union’s aversion to genetically modified crops (GMOs) could have dire consequences. Genetically modified crops like corn have been altered to make them resistant to insects or disease and increase production rates for farmers. Scientists have also found ways to benefit consumers. Yet GMOs have faced opposition from environmental and organic food lobbies. Ted McKinney, the USDA’s undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, told Farm Europe, an agricultural think tank, that European restrictions on GMOs could lead to famine and starvation for future generations, according to a...

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Putting Purchases into Perspective During a Pandemic

When disaster strikes, how much does it matter that last hand soap on the shelf is organic? Judging by the pictures circulating social media, the answer is a resounding no. As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, cleanliness and preparedness have become paramount in fighting the disease. For most, this means stocking up on everything from food to disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Cleaning products were some of the first necessities swept from shelves when the virus’ impact extended into grocery stores. The first items to go weren’t the “organic” products promising to be free of harsh chemicals made from “natural” ingredients. No,...

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How One Anti-GMO Activist Changed His Mind in the Face of Scientific Evidence

One great advantage of scientific knowledge is its elasticity. Through careful input, observation, and an abundance of consistent findings, accepted truths can change. For many of us though, changing an opinion even in the face of overwhelming evidence is just plain difficult. Today, we’re taking a moment to celebrate Mark Lynas. The onetime anti-GMO activist reversed course in response to years of mounting evidence and a clear scientific consensus that agricultural biotechnology is safe. Last week, Lynas authored an essay in the Wall Street Journal describing how and why he changed his mind on GMOs. You can read an excerpt below,...

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Here’s the Scoop on Glyphosate in Your Ben & Jerry’s

The New York Times is making a name for itself in the realm of sensationalism lately. First came the heavily criticized article accused America’s favorite macaroni and cheese of being laden with “potentially harmful chemicals.” Now, the Times is taking on Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream over a sensationalized report claiming 10 of 11 of the company’s flavors contain traces of a common weed killer. The report was commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association, which bills itself as an advocate of “health, justice, and sustainability.” But let’s be clear: the Organic Consumers Association isn’t concerned about the dangers lurking in your dessert. If it...

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Daytime Emmys Have a Low Bar for “Informative Talk Shows”

Perhaps the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences should drop the final word from its title, after awarding “The Dr. Oz Show” a Daytime Emmy for its role as an “outstanding informative talk show.” Clearly, it doesn’t matter to the Academy that the information Dr. Mehmet Oz so “outstandingly” peddles is pure fiction. A 2014 study in the journal BMJ found that two thirds of Dr. Oz’s recommendations – including cutting salt to avoid cancer, and cutting GMOs to cure autism – were either baseless or completely contradicted by available scientific evidence. In that same year, “America’s Doctor” came under...

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Keep Marching for Science

This weekend, science advocates in over 500 cities celebrated Earth Day by taking to the streets to March for Science. Emerging from the comfort of our laboratories might be a good thing. Despite the fact that Pew Research surveys show Americans invest a high degree of trust in scientists – far more than the news, elected officials, or even community leaders – 83 percent of Americans cannot name a single living scientist. (A few recognizable names for your personal reference: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, James Watson, Richard Dawkins.) Americans appreciate “science” in the abstract, yet common chemistries and technologies have whipped many parents and hasty health reporters into a fear-filled...

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Girl Scouts Trade Science for Marketing

While the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) organization certainly deserves credit for encouraging generations of girls and young women to pursue their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), its commitment to sound science seems to have taken a back seat in recent months. Last November, our girls in green announced their first “non-GMO” product, a S’mores-inspired cookie celebrating the organization’s 100th year. The change followed more than 3 years of intense activist pressure to convince GSUSA to purge all their recipes of genetically modified ingredients. Here are a number of facts that did not accompany the roll out of...

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A Vote for Genetic Modification is a Vote for Public Health

In the war on Zika, Florida residents may soon fight fire with fire (or mosquitoes with mosquitoes in this case). On Tuesday, 58 percent of Monroe County residents voted to allow the release of GM mosquitoes to help control the local mosquito population. In the FDA-approved trial, males modified to produce inviable offspring would be released to mate with wild females. Any offspring from the pairings die in the larval stage, and the population of Zika-carrying mosquitoes subsequently plummets – which is great news for pregnant Floridians. But residents of Key Haven, where the release is poised to take place, weren’t so...

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Activists Make Big Stink about GMOs

Scientists recently gathered at a conference in Europe to discuss the challenges of food security and sustainability in the 21st century. But not long after the lectures began, activists burst in and made a big stink about biotechnology. Had they been scientifically minded, they would’ve brought arguments based on evidence. Instead, they doused audience members in urine, threw rotten eggs, and dumped cow manure on the lecture hall floor. That’s one way to make a statement. Albeit not a very respectable or rational one. Thousands of studies and the world’s major scientific bodies have concluded, based on peer-reviewed, empirical findings, GMOs are safe. It’s a fact which flinging...

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Another Tip for Detecting Junk Science

When health scares start to spread, they can become hard to stamp out—even if its source has been long extinguished. This is especially true when it comes to junk science online, where headlines live longer than they do in traditional media like newspapers or TV stories. After seeing hysterical "news" online about GMOs or vaccines, readers might be surprised to hear how little evidence is behind such panic. The mass hysteria of both anti-progress movements was triggered by a single study, and both were swiftly discredited upon peer-review. That means the “studies” anti-vaxxers and anti-GMO activists like to cite have been dead...

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