Kevin Hoover: Why the big fuss about GMOs but not mutation-bred food?

Among the things that we deserve to know is that there is no such thing as GMO pizza sauce. Image courtesy Rep. Jared Huffman

Among the things that we deserve to know is that there is no such thing as GMO tomato sauce. Image courtesy Rep. Jared Huffman

Science has scored some huge advances in recent months, in the sky and in the news media, if not with politicians.

We found organic life-precursor molecules on Comet 67P, via Rosetta and Philae. Kepler found among the thousand-plus potentially habitable planets one that could be Earth’s larger twin. The New Horizons probe revealed Pluto, the planet with a heart. (The entire Pluto mission, by the way, cost less than 1/10th of what Microsoft just wrote off over its purchase of failed Nokia.) We’re closing in on those mysterious glowing patches on Ceres, too. Breakthrough Listen gained a $100 million commitment to really listen for extraterrestrial intelligence. Some people think we’ll find it, and perhaps be reading the Encyclopedia Galactica, within just a few years. Meanwhile, we’re headed to Europa.

Perhaps in part because of these accomplishments, some of the news media seem to have figured out that science is more interesting than trendy folklore.

Liberal MSNBC has been rather hands-offish about GMOs, possibly due to tension between the science side (overwhelmingly in favor) and the view popular among progressives that biotechnology is all kinds of harmful.

Surprisingly, the network published a withering online review of Neil Young’s new album, The Monsanto Years, calling him out on its lazy inaccuracies. MSNBC pointed out that evolution happened, human-caused climate change is real, vaccines are safe and GMOs are, too.

They didn’t mention fluoride or Smart Meters, which as you may recall, were also supposed to kill and maim us but never got around to it.

There are other mainstream media reports that indicate new glimmers of respect for evidence-based findings on controversial issues, and GMOs in particular. Even progressive Slate is calling BS on the anti-GMO movement, which really needs it.

It’s only natural to have a lag between the findings of science, the reportage in the media and the utterances of finger-to-the-wind politicians.

For the Republicans, that day seems far, far off.

They’re still trying to have creationism taught in school, and even in 2015, with the planet melting, they mumble and misdirect about climate change. Maybe when coastal inundation strikes the South, they’ll scale back the denial?

You expect more from progressives, because real progress away from superstition and ignorance would include an embrace of fact, wouldn’t it?

No, it doesn’t. Our liberal-progressive political leaders are just as comfortable going along with the mob as, you know, leading.

Bernie Sanders recently advocated insinuating alternative medicine – magic, for want of any better description – into medicine. His reasoning was illogical: alt-med is sensible because a lot of people like it. This is an argument from popularity, as though data is verified by popular sympathy.

Bernie supports food labeling for GMOs because it is popular among liberals, even if there’s no food safety reason to do so. He even puts dumbed-down anti-GMO cartoon memes on his website.

Recently on MSNBC, Bernie implored conservatives to pay attention to science on climate change. Good advice.

It turns out that our very own congressman, Rep. Jared Huffman, is not above picking and choosing which science to observe. He opposes the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, which would prohibit states from enacting GMO labeling laws.

He and other opponents call this the DARK Act, again exemplifying the role that fear plays in the anti-GMO, anti-vaccination, anti-fluoride and other anti-science movements.

On July 23, Huffman posted a meme on his Facebook page ominously warning that without GMO labeling, “we’ll never know that our pizza comes with genetically modified toppings...” It depicts what it says is “genetically modified tomato sauce.”

In the annals of anti-GMO inanity, and of all the contrived reasons to pursue labeling, this was a new achievement. Doubling the head-desking potential was that a congressman sent it out – one who says he supports science education.

In the annals of anti-GMO inanity, and of all the contrived reasons to pursue labeling, this was a new achievement. Doubling the head-desking potential was that a congressman sent it out – one who says he supports science education.

There is no GMO tomato sauce, because there are no GMO tomatoes. Labeling wouldn’t inform us of genetically modified tomato sauce, since no pizza contains it.

What’s funny is that the rennet used to make the cheese probably genetically engineered (GE). However, even with GMO labeling as is done in dairy state Vermont, the only state that requires labeling, you still wouldn’t know you had “GMO pizza” because their labeling law exempts cheese from labeling.

A year ago, and certainly during the frenzied run-up to the last election with Humboldt's Measure P on the ballot, the reaction to Huffman's tribal hoot about GMOs might have been thunderous approval. No more. Instead, the comments called him out for promulgating faddish anti-science, which is all it is.

Huffman’s scare meme is reminiscent of Mayor Michael Winkler’s misleading message to Arcata voters from the council dais at City Hall last fall. He supported Measure P, which would criminalize farmers who grow GE crops, citing, among other things, “terminator seeds.”

Only those don’t exist either. This was right around the time that Michael sent in a letter to the editor calling out his opponent, Juan Fernandez, for “inaccurate statements.”

It’s almost as though Huffman and Winkler are taking a Minority Report approach, advocating for laws against things that no one’s done, and in these cases, have no way of doing.

Huffman was vigorously challenged over the misleading image. He responded by invoking the Flavr Savr tomato, which was sold briefly but hasn’t been on the market since 1997.

The congressman confidently predicted that a new FDA-approved tomato will be marketed in a year or so. He also noted that that some oils used in the pizza sauce could be from genetically modified canola or corn. Or the sugar could have come from GMO beets, making it “GMO pizza sauce.”

Except that there’s no DNA in refined oil or sugar, nor can science find anything GE-related that can hurt you in these products. They’re just oil and sugar.

Perhaps there’s some homeopathic function here, where the oil or sugar molecules remember the vibrations of the GE? If anyone can verify this, they qualify for Nobel Prizes in chemistry, biology and physics.

This is where polarized left and right politicians find common ground, in that Kenyan-born U.S. presidents, Obamacare death panels and GMO pizza sauce are all equally real, and equivalent in the menace they pose.

This isn’t really about safety or science. It’s about trendy tribal doctrine, which provides complete and comfortable answers, as opposed to that pesky old science, which never seems to care much about our political beliefs and annoyingly challenges our assumptions.

The anti-biotech argument basically boils down to a general sense that GMOs give you cooties.

Huffman allowed that food safety was “not a significant driver” of his labeling policy. He offered a somewhat more plausible reason for labeling genetically engineered food – so that a shopper could be aware of the origins of a food purchase.

His premise is that GMOs get agriculture “hooked on herbicides” such as glyphosate, which kills milkweed, on which Monarch butterflies are dependent. Indeed, many GMO supporters are skeptical of the herbicide-dependent model presented by the biotech industry.

Still, all farming methods require removal of competing weeds, and if it is not from an innocuous chemical, it will be from a cultivator or possibly the hoes of migrant workers.

Pollinator decline is bound up with industrial agriculture, development, loss of habitat and climate change. The feelgood gesture of labeling food doesn’t restore the Monarch population any more than a Facebook like does, but creation of a “butterfly highway” and other more serious actions might help. And thanks to GE crops, waaaaay less insecticide is used compared to just 20 years ago.

The main problem with GMO labeling is that there’s no reason for it, since there isn’t any distinguishing biological mechanism by which GE food can harm anyone.

A million pictures of green babies or tomatoes with syringes hanging out of them won’t change that.

The big question 

Here’s a most vexing question, one that absolutely baffles many who follow this issue: how does it make sense to fuss about GMOs and say nothing about mutation breeding?

This method is all but ignored by anti-GMO activists, and the resulting food can even be labeled “organic,” yet it far surpasses GMOs in supposed areas of concern.

Mutation breeding involves bombarding crops with gamma rays to jumble DNA and produce a desirable trait via mutation. No one knows how many other genes are affected, since the produce isn’t tested or regulated, even for environmental impacts. And they aren’t even organic gamma rays!

Mutation 1

Common forms of genetic engineering. Inexplicably, just one is singled out for impassioned demands about labeling. Courtesy Kevin Folta | University of Florida

As noted by Humboldt State biology professor Mark Wilson during his HSU Speakers Series talk last fall, no one has been harmed by mutation-bred food, or GE-derived.

How does it make sense to fuss about GMOs and say nothing about mutation breeding?

Mutation 2

Why the mass freakout over GMOs when bombarding food with gamma rays, creating all sorts of unknown mutations, is never mentioned and of no concern? The fact is, neither method has ever harmed anyone. Courtesy Kevin Folta | University of Florida

Huffman hadn’t heard about mutation breeding, but promised to look into it. The question is, wouldn’t any serious review of breeding-induced hazards have included all methods in common use, so as to realistically weigh risks for constituents?

Why oh why aren’t the anti-GMO activists doubly, triply concerned about mutation breeding?

You know the answer: because this isn’t really about safety, or science. It’s about trendy tribal doctrine, which provides complete and comfortable answers, as opposed to that pesky old science, which never seems to care much about our political beliefs and annoyingly challenges our assumptions.

Science doesn’t know everything. But at least it tries, unlike ideologues who start with a belief and then look for factoids to confirm it. Science is a method for elucidating data from which conclusions can be drawn.

Findings aren’t validated by popular sentiment, despite what Bernie Sanders may espouse. Reality's not up for a vote.

But the best part is, science merrily tromps all over our foolish assumptions. Pretending, bargaining, and clinging to doctrine are only human nature, but eventually reality prevails, and that process is occurring now.

Just to show the need for serious education on this subject, 80 percent of the respondents in a recent poll said that all food containing DNA should be labeled!

Laugh, but maybe that would resolve the labeling issue – a pamphlet listing all known breeding methods included with every food item that has DNA.

Huffman, a supporter of STEM education, agreed that there are probably better ways to communicate on complicated issues than pics of imaginary GMO pizza sauce.

“I don’t disagree that we live in a world of sound bites,” Huffman said. “I’ll try and do better.”

The bottom line is that GMOs, like venturing beyond Earth, offer the potential to solve many of our problems, expanding and enriching our lives. Our future depends on the science involved with these technologies.

GE food is providing solutions for thousands of farmers, improving nutrition, massively reducing pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions, among many other helpful improvements. Work is underway on crops that are less allergenic, more salt- and drought-tolerant, and nutritionally improved.

Something many of us who follow this issue have noticed is that the anti-GMO hysteria is waning. We’re figuring out that there are much more urgent things than progressive agriculture to march in the streets against, and really fret about.

The anti-GMO forces have unintentionally aided this process by turning their backs on critical thinking, insulating themselves from criticism or dissent.  By aggressively excluding differing opinions from their online echo chambers – just as the comparably science-averse anti-vaccinationists do – and dismissing those who disagree as "shills" and worse, this has led them to repeat easily disprovable claims (about autism, for example), further discrediting the movement.

GMO panic has peaked, and reason is roaring back.

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31 Comments

  1. Torm Oakey said:

    Actually, there are genetically modified tomatoes, but none on the market. Apparently it is really common to use tomatoes for genetic research:
    “Tomatoes are used as a model organism
    in scientific research and they are frequently genetically modified to
    further understanding of particular processes. Tomatoes have been used
    as a model in map-based cloning, where transgenic plants must be created to prove that a gene has been successfully isolated.[46] The plant peptide hormone, systemin
    was first identified in tomato plants and genetic modification has been
    used to demonstrate its function, by adding antisense genes to silence
    the native gene or by adding extra copies of the native gene.”

    However there are many efforts to bring nutritionally improved tomatoes to market, including some with higher concentrations of lycopene, as well as other healthy benefits:
    “More recently, scientists created blue tomatoes that have increased the production of anthocyanin, an antioxidant in tomatoes in several ways. One group added a transcription factor for the production of anthocyanin from Arabidopsis thaliana[35] whereas another used transcription factors from snapdragon (Antirrhinum).[36] When the snapdragon genes where used, the fruits had similar anthocyanin concentrations to blackberries and blueberries.[37] The inventors of the GMO blue tomato using snapdragon genes, Jonathan Jones and Cathie Martin of the John Innes Centre, founded a company called Norfolk Plant Sciences[38] to commercialize the blue tomato. They partnered with a company in
    Canada called New Energy Farms to grow a large crop of blue tomatoes,
    from which to create juice to test in clinical trials on the way to
    obtaining regulatory approval.[39][40]”

    “Another group has tried to increase the levels of isoflavone, known for its potential cancer preventive properties, by introducing the soybean isoflavone synthase into tomatoes.”

    Above quotes are from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_tomato,
    although there are many more resources for those interested.

  2. Kevpod said:

    You don’t cite any previous “statements of slighted fact,” so that’s unsupported. Nor do you address the issues of mutation breeding, and whether or not it too should be labeled and/or held in contempt a la GMOs.

  3. lodgegoat said:

    I get the contrarian trip Kevin, and I now understand this was not one of your past articles making statements of slighted fact, but as Jack pointed out, in the opt-ed section. Your past articles have created a built-in natural response and is the source of the ire in the above , so I will leave it at that, was my mistake. My points however, stand. All the best.

  4. Kevpod said:

    Those are references to the anti-GMO movement, not individuals.

    A more accurate citation for something genuinely demeaning and targeting an individual might be:

    “I know you like to think yourself the smartest guy in the room Kevin, and your group of ‘we are scientists that think critical’ is nothing more than any other group so common up here of dogma circle j***ing.”

    Or:

    “I appreciate you probably don’t think about Monsanto and other large corporations and how big business is done in the USA, considering your track record at running a business yourself, but let me enlighten you”

    So, have you pondered mutation breeding yet? Perhaps you noticed that it poses all the same (imaginary) risks as GMOs. That being the case, what’s your policy on mutation breeding?

  5. lodgegoat said:

    You are making such broad sweeping assertions of those of us that question your and the pro-GMO group. look back at what you say; ‘cult’ , ‘disconnected from reality’ etc etc, even if this is in the opinion, you are supposedly a reporter, these are examples the kind of language that I originally said were demeaning. you talk about wanting actual discussion, or debate, yet you have in the past been the one to label others that are skeptical in a way that is counter productive.

  6. Kevpod said:

    This piece is in the Opinion section of the website, along with all the other pro- and anti-GMO opinion columns.

    The compulsion of the anti’s, as seen above, is to tamp down and limit any evidence-based objection to their GMO fear doctrine. To create something more like the ideologically pure and highly wayward information silos they curate on Facebook.

    This even though such echo chambers do not serve them well at all. Insulated from outside information, they tend to repeat easily disprovable claims until these become fixtures of the doctrine.

    News of another breeding technique with all the same risks and more as GMOs is rejected because it monkeywrenches the whole anti-GMO premise. At this point it’s more important to protect the fear than evaluate evidence. That’s why the anti-movement is crashing and burning. It’s disconnected from reality.

  7. lodgegoat said:

    I think simply putting it in the op-ed page, or putting it in the opinion area of the paper would be sufficient. You are not reporting news, as much as your opinion.

  8. Torm Oakey said:

    Here’s a nice little primer on mutation breeding from Wikipedia, for laypersons such as myself, and, I “assume Mr. Lodgepole:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation_breeding

    “In the debate over Genetically Modified foods, the use of transgenic processes is often compared and contrasted with mutagenic processes.[12]
    While the abundance and variation of transgenic organisms in human food
    systems, and their effect on agricultural biodiversity, ecosystem health and human health
    is somewhat well documented, mutagenic plants and their role on human
    food systems is less well known, with one journalist writing “Though
    poorly known, radiation breeding has produced thousands of useful
    mutants and a sizable fraction of the world’s crops…including
    varieties of rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint,
    sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum.”[7] In Canada crops generated by mutation breeding face the same regulations and testing as crops obtained by genetic engineering. [13][14][15][16]
    Mutagenic varieties tend to be made freely available for plant
    breeding, in contrast to many commercial plant varieties or germplasm
    that increasingly have restrictions on their use[4] such as terms of use, patents and proposed Genetic user restriction technologies and other intellectual property regimes and modes of enforcement.

    Unlike genetically modified crops, which typically involve the
    insertion of one or two target genes, plants developed via mutagenic
    processes with random, multiple and unspecific genetic changes[17] have been discussed as a concern[18] but are not prohibited by any nation’s organic standards. Reports from the US National Academy of Sciences
    state that there is no scientific justification for regulating genetic
    engineered crops while not doing so for mutation breeding crops.[5]

    Somewhat controversially,[19]
    several organic food and seed companies promote and sell certified
    organic products that were developed using both chemical and nuclear
    mutagenesis. Several certified organic brands, whose companies support
    strict labeling or outright bans on GMO-crops, market their use of
    branded wheat and other varietal strains which were derived from
    mutagenic processes without any reference to this genetic manipulation.
    These organic products range from mutagenic barley and wheat ingredient
    used in organic beers[20] to mutagenic varieties of grapefruits sold directly to consumers as organic.[21]”

    “In Canada crops generated by mutation breeding face the same regulations and testing as crops obtained by genetic engineering.”

  9. Torm Oakey said:

    That’s pretty funny that our Congressman has to resort to flustered blustering to try to cover his “oopsie!”
    “Well, there might be GM tomatoes soon, And, and, well the oil or sugar could be GE, and, and..!”
    Actually, it’s pretty sad. This is supposed to be an informed person. It’s understandable that those misinformed by anti-GMO memes on social media sites would believe such balderdash, but our Congressman claims to be a pro-science guy? Sheesh.
    Next they’ll try to implicate the innocent pizza crust. But we all know there’s no GE wheat on the market, right? Right?
    But there is plenty of wheat created by mutagenesis:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11269355

    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/264635489_Wheat_mutagenesis_by_combining_recurrent_irradiation_hibridization_and_DH-technology

    Probably Organic, too!
    Too funny!

  10. gnomeangnomes said:

    That wasn’t an “article”. It was an editorial, i.e. an opinion piece. Mr. Hoover removes himself from news regarding “GMO” topics, because he recognizes that he is clearly biased.
    I am glad there is an intelligent, well-informed person commenting on politicians making blatantly false statements about “GMO pizza sauce”. He is calling out a public representative for making a statement that is either scientifically uniformed, or deliberately deceptive. The kind of comments the anti-GMO crowd seem to enjoy chanting repeatedly.
    Note that no one is arguing against space exploration. Science is only convenient when it supports their particular ideology.

  11. gnomeangnomes said:

    Genetically engineered foods are the most studied foods, like, evahr! Years and years, and multi-millions of dollars, before even being subject to review by public agencies. Conventionally cross-bred crops get a free pass, until there has to be a recall due to ill effects (celery causing rashes, the Lenape potato poisonings etc.,)
    Organic products are continually being recalled due to food-born illness, disease and deaths. This has never occurred with a GE crop.
    The “scientific understanding” is a major consensus among the world’s scientific and medical organizations that GM foods pose no greater risk than foods produced by any other plant breeding method.|
    Labeling is a separate issue. We already have labels for nutritional content. I appreciate that, because my personal concerns include sodium content, and hydrogenated oils.
    But if we are to label plant breeding processes, labels should warn the consumer of foods produced by mutagenesis, and that there has been no safety testing done whatsoever. The genes are randomly scrambled, and sometimes it works out. “Hey, this random mutation looks pretty good, what say we give it a shot?” Not many talk about the failures.
    In comparison, genetic engineering involves the specific placing of one or two genes into an exact location for a specific, desired result. And then undergoes many years of study to make sure it is safe to consume.
    http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/07/22/debunking-claims-of-no-long-term-and-independent-gmo-studies/

    http://fafdl.org/gmobb/about-those-industry-funded-gmo-studies/

    Don’t get me wrong; I love ruby grapefruit, and I’m thankful for the many varieties of lettuce, spinach, wheat and barley that are available due to mutagenesis. And after all, it’s possible that any of these genetic aberrations could have occurred naturally given thousands of years (assuming you think artificial selection is “natural”).
    But if we’re going to label, then yes, I want to know if my food was created by radiation and chemicals.
    It is actually Big Org that is fanatically opposed to labeling, except when it serves their business interests in order to paint their competitors as somehow being a less healthy purchasing choice.

  12. gnomeangnomes said:

    Just because some countries (not very many) “ban” “GMOs” does not make for a very good “anti-GMO” argument. Countries ban marijuana, Bibles, homosexuality, etc. That is politics, not science. Even the argument that countries “ban” “GMOs” is dogmatic hearsay repeated in an echo chamber.
    http://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com/2014/04/but-rest-of-world-bans-gmos-right.html

    https://gmoanswers.com/ask/do-you-know-how-many-nations-really-either-label-or-ban-gmo-food-products-i-cant-find-any

    http://www.themindrestrained.org/columns/gmo/dear-american-anti-gmo-activists-no-the-eu-does-not-ban-gmos-they-love-importing-them/

    https://preventdisease.com/images/gmo_world_map_large.jpg

    http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/04/11/most-countries-other-than-u-s-ban-gmos-myth-debunked/

    The dogmatic “circle j***king” Mr. Lodgegoat refers to is quite applicable to the local liberal/progressive regime. Science is a convenient spin when applied to such matters as global climate change, and the need for vaccinations against perilous transmittable diseases. Discussions of plant breeding techniques, for some odd reason, lead to utterings and pronouncements of the most bizarre and irrational mystical thinking.

    ” Critical thinking should be encouraged to your readership; your spin doesn’t play to most your readers.” It appears that Mr. Hoover encourages critical thinking, and encourages a readership that embraces intellectual intercourse. He is most certainly not arguing from popularity, and if his “spin” doesn’t “play” to most of his readers, then all the more power to him for voicing an opinion contrary to the popularity of, say, Food Babe or March Against Monsanto, both huge proponents of logic, reasoning, and scientific evidence.

  13. Ian Ray said:

    Mutation breeding is fairly prevalent. The products are sometimes marketed as natural, non-GMO, etc.

    For example, RW Knudsen Rio Red grapefruit juice:
    http://www.rwknudsenfamily.com/products/natural-juices/rio-red-grapefruit

    Rio Red was produced by irradiating Star Ruby bud wood. As well, Star Ruby was produced by irradiating Hudson seeds. Thus, Rio Red came about by irradiating a variety produced through irradiation. Sounds pretty natural.

  14. Kevpod said:

    One guess – perhaps because mutation-bred food, which poses all the same and even more concerns as GMOs, can be sold as organic.
    So the organic industry looks the other way.

  15. Kevin Hoover said:

    I’m guessing that we can agree that a healthy and diverse food supply is desirable, that megacorp food producers can’t be allowed to put smaller ones out of business, and that any technology which has harmful or destructive potential must be heavily regulated.
    In fact, that’s the situation we have now. The organic industry is booming – bigger than ever.

  16. Ian Ray said:

    Palmolive was also recently banned in Russia. Does that mean there is good reason to ban Palmolive? Or, is it possible that governments sometimes ban things for political reasons?

  17. Chad White said:

    And regarding mutation breeding? ignore, deflect, attack tone, attack messenger, (crickets chirp), Shill!!!! Cemickals!!! move goalpost, agree to disagree, we all have a right to our opinions(gag)…. ”You hurt my feels Hoover!!!””

    ya ya ya… but

    What about Mutation Breeding? Why , Oh why, does this get a free pass? Why should transgenic crops get a label, but not Mutation breeding? AD INFINITUM

  18. Chad White said:

    What ? No ”False Ballance” coming from Hoover? The nerve….

    ”There are valid counter points that have based in science” ?? (CITATION NEEDED PLEASE)

    Golden
    Rice….. If the anti gmo movement is wrong, whats the harm?
    Millions of poor children are dying for want of golden rice, but gmo
    opposition continues to thwart this humanitarian effort that could be
    saving people in poor countries if not for the priviliedged organic
    elitist spreading misinformation, and organic NGO’s ripping up research plots and spending millions of dollars to stop it. What are they afraid of? It would work and make GMO’s look good at the expense of saving children from blindness and death. Kevin Hoover is being nice considering the harm to people and the planet that the anti gmo cult is responsible for.

    Please… do look into mutation breeding. With a
    right to know, comes a responsibility to learn. The right to know
    crowd deserves to be demeaned……… after trying to illuminate the
    discussion about GMO’s by raising the question about Mutation breeding literally hundreds and hundreds of times, I’ve only been accused of corporate shilling, or been entirely censored from commenting (cult behavior). Never have I heard a gmo opponent face this contradiction, and I think it’s well past the time they’ve shown some integrity. Anti gmo demeans themselves with their lack of integrity, and they should be ashamed of entrenching science iliteracy with their psuedoscience by spreading myth and misinformation based on conspiracy theory. And when groups like the CoOp delete and block people like me trying to advocate for science they are complicit in deceiving our community for their own gain as they further enforce the anti gmo echo chamber, and silence dissent.

    Ask the CoOp about Mutation
    Breeding. Don’t we have a right to know? Why don’t they label it?
    What are they hiding? And why is it O.K. for them to sell you organic
    sweet potatoes with transgenes in them!?? And veggies bred with radiation mutated dna? Why does Mutation breeding get a free pass?

    Here is the paradox! What you will find is that transgenic technologies
    are much more understood, predictable, traceable and safe. Fewer genesare moved and we know what the genes do. We can determine where genes land in the genome and where/if/when/how much they are expressed. However, these are not allowed in organic cultivation and people want to label them. The acceptable methods move or alter tons more genes in random ways that can’t be traced or even remotely understood.

    Particularly, please compare:

    1. How many genes are transferred.

    2. If we know where transferred or affected genes are located

    3. If we know what transferred or affected genes do

    4 If genes can be used from one species to another

    5. If plant products are acceptable for organic cultivation

    6. If laws are pending to label the products

    7. How long it takes to make an improved plant product

    Now honestly answer these questions:

    1. Which technology is most precise?

    2. Which technology is best understood?

    3. Did you realize that humans have intervened to create so many common foods?

    4. Did you know that you regularly consumed so many genetically altered products?

    5. Isn’t it amazing that humans just implement nature’s own tools to improve plants? -Thanks to Folta for this

    http://www.science20.com/kevin

  19. Chad White said:

    What ? No ”False Ballance” coming from Hoover? The nerve….

    ”There are valid counter points that have based in science” ?? (CITATION NEEDED PLEASE)

    Golden Rice….. If the anti gmo movement is wrong, whats the harm? Millions of poor children are dying for want of golden rice, but gmo opposition continues to thwart this humanitarian effort that could be saving people in poor countries if not for the priviliedged organic elitist spreading misinformation, and organic NGO’s ripping up research plots and spending millions of dollars to stop it. What are they afraid of? It would work and make GMO’s look good at the expense of saving children from blindness and death. Kevin Hoover is being nice considering the harm to people and the planet that the anti gmo cult is responsible for.

    Please… do look into mutation breeding. With a right to know, comes a responsibility to learn. The right to know crowd deserves to be demeaned……… after trying to illuminate the discussion about GMO’s by raising the question about Mutation breeding literally hundreds and hundreds of times, I’ve only been accused of corporate shilling, or been entirely censored from commenting (cult behavior). Never have I heard a gmo opponent face this contradiction, and I think it’s well past the time they’ve shown some integrity. Anti gmo demeans themselves with their lack of integrity, and they should be ashamed of entrenching science iliteracy with their psuedoscience by spreading myth and misinformation based on conspiracy theory. And when groups like the CoOp delete and block people like me trying to advocate for science they are complicit in deceiving our community for their own gain as they further enforce the anti gmo echo chamber, and silence dissent.

    Ask the CoOp about Mutation Breeding. Don’t we have a right to know? Why don’t they label it? What are they hiding? And why is it O.K. for them to sell you organic sweet potatoes with transgenes in them!??

    Here is the paradox! What you will find is that transgenic technologies
    are much more understood, predictable, traceable and safe. Fewer genes
    are moved and we know what the genes do. We can determine where genes
    land in the genome and where/if/when/how much they are expressed.
    However, these are not allowed in organic cultivation and people want
    to label them. The acceptable methods move or alter tons more genes in
    random ways that can’t be traced or even remotely understood.

    Particularly, please compare:

    1. How many genes are transferred.

    2. If we know where transferred or affected genes are located

    3. If we know what transferred or affected genes do

    4 If genes can be used from one species to another

    5. If plant products are acceptable for organic cultivation

    6. If laws are pending to label the products

    7. How long it takes to make an improved plant product

    Now honestly answer these questions:

    1. Which technology is most precise?

    2. Which technology is best understood?

    3. Did you realize that humans have intervened to create so many common foods?

    4. Did you know that you regularly consumed so many genetically altered products?

    5. Isn’t it amazing that humans just implement nature’s own tools to improve plants? -Thanks to Folta for this http://www.science20.com/kevin_folta/atomic_gardening_ultimate_frankenfoods-91836

    Jun

    24

    What is “Genetically Modified”? and the Frankenfood Pardox

    The misreporting of “GM grass killing cows with cyanide gas” has
    stirred quite a discussion! People are now realizing that hybrids are
    tremendous random mixing of genes, most with no known function, in ways
    that can create dangerous outcomes!

    But its natural!!

    Now many on comment threads are calling for outright bans on hybrids, as
    they are not natural and humans had to make them. But wait, these
    aren’t the Frankenfoods that they usually make up false information
    about! What are these curious “hybrids”?

    Jennifer Mo @noteasy2begreen asked for a concise reference for what
    Genetic Modification really means. To me, it means, well, modifying
    genetics. It is when something is added to the genome, that is DNA
    added (or deleted or changed) in a cell’s genetic material.

    This is not the definition used in popular discussions. Genetic
    Modification in the common vernacular means a gene (or genes, usually a
    couple) that are added to an organism to confer a valued trait. This
    requires a lab and recombinant DNA technology.

    But this is what I call the Frankenfood Paradox. Transgenic
    modification in the lab is the least invasive genetically, it is the
    most well understood, yet it is the one most shunned by those that
    oppose biotech.

    Here is a table that might help. Click to enlarge.

    Here are the ways that plants are genetically altered. Note that
    all of them are acceptable to most people, despite having no idea what
    the heck is being changed, and the huge number of genes affected.

    Here is the paradox! What you will find is that transgenic technologies
    are much more understood, predictable, traceable and safe. Fewer genes
    are moved and we know what the genes do. We can determine where genes
    land in the genome and where/if/when/how much they are expressed.
    However, these are not allowed in organic cultivation and people want
    to label them. The acceptable methods move or alter tons more genes in
    random ways that can’t be traced or even remotely understood.

    Jun

    24

    What is “Genetically Modified”? and the Frankenfood Pardox

    The misreporting of “GM grass killing cows with cyanide gas” has
    stirred quite a discussion! People are now realizing that hybrids are
    tremendous random mixing of genes, most with no known function, in ways
    that can create dangerous outcomes!

    But its natural!!

    Now many on comment threads are calling for outright bans on hybrids, as
    they are not natural and humans had to make them. But wait, these
    aren’t the Frankenfoods that they usually make up false information
    about! What are these curious “hybrids”?

    Jennifer Mo @noteasy2begreen asked for a concise reference for what
    Genetic Modification really means. To me, it means, well, modifying
    genetics. It is when something is added to the genome, that is DNA
    added (or deleted or changed) in a cell’s genetic material.

    This is not the definition used in popular discussions. Genetic
    Modification in the common vernacular means a gene (or genes, usually a
    couple) that are added to an organism to confer a valued trait. This
    requires a lab and recombinant DNA technology.

    But this is what I call the Frankenfood Paradox. Transgenic
    modification in the lab is the least invasive genetically, it is the
    most well understood, yet it is the one most shunned by those that
    oppose biotech.

    Here is a table that might help. Click to enlarge.

    Here are the ways that plants are genetically altered. Note that
    all of them are acceptable to most people, despite having no idea what
    the heck is being changed, and the huge number of genes affected.

    Here is the paradox! What you will find is that transgenic technologies
    are much more understood, predictable, traceable and safe. Fewer genes
    are moved and we know what the genes do. We can determine where genes
    land in the genome and where/if/when/how much they are expressed.
    However, these are not allowed in organic cultivation and people want
    to label them. The acceptable methods move or alter tons more genes in
    random ways that can’t be traced or even remotely understood.

    Jun

    24

    What is “Genetically Modified”? and the Frankenfood Pardox

    The misreporting of “GM grass killing cows with cyanide gas” has
    stirred quite a discussion! People are now realizing that hybrids are
    tremendous random mixing of genes, most with no known function, in ways
    that can create dangerous outcomes!

    But its natural!!

    Now many on comment threads are calling for outright bans on hybrids, as
    they are not natural and humans had to make them. But wait, these
    aren’t the Frankenfoods that they usually make up false information
    about! What are these curious “hybrids”?

    Jennifer Mo @noteasy2begreen asked for a concise reference for what
    Genetic Modification really means. To me, it means, well, modifying
    genetics. It is when something is added to the genome, that is DNA
    added (or deleted or changed) in a cell’s genetic material.

    This is not the definition used in popular discussions. Genetic
    Modification in the common vernacular means a gene (or genes, usually a
    couple) that are added to an organism to confer a valued trait. This
    requires a lab and recombinant DNA technology.

    But this is what I call the Frankenfood Paradox. Transgenic
    modification in the lab is the least invasive genetically, it is the
    most well understood, yet it is the one most shunned by those that
    oppose biotech.

    Here is a table that might help. Click to enlarge.

    Here are the ways that plants are genetically altered. Note that
    all of them are acceptable to most people, despite having no idea what
    the heck is being changed, and the huge number of genes affected.

    Here is the paradox! What you will find is that transgenic technologies
    are much more understood, predictable, traceable and safe. Fewer genes
    are moved and we know what the genes do. We can determine where genes
    land in the genome and where/if/when/how much they are expressed.
    However, these are not allowed in organic cultivation and people want
    to label them. The acceptable methods move or alter tons more genes in
    random ways that can’t be traced or even remotely understood.

  20. Chad White said:

    Please step up to the big kids table when you are able to give just one risk that applies only to transgenic GMO crops.

    Mutation Breeding …… sigh…. really? Someday an opponent of GE is going to muster enough intellectual honesty to acknowledge Mutation Breeding and see this glaring inconsistency for what it is. Mutation breeding entirely undermines anti gmo ideology, and is the death nail for this cult. They have to ignore this.

    Enough research/results/long term impact studies that has been done for……. Mutation breeding?

    I appreciate you probably don’t think about the Organic Industry and other large corporations and how big business manipulates consumers using fear. Make no mistake, this is an industry versus industry battle, and the capitalists have figured out how to capitalize on anti capitalism. It’s O.K. to not trust big corporations, that does not make it O.K. to blindly trust the lies that others are coming with.

    Please step to the big kids table…… If all breeding methods were labeled. If all breeding methods that pose as much or more risk then Gmo’s, but without regulations or safety tests, were also labeled…… Do you think the organic industry would continue to finance labeling efforts?

    I would support labeling if it included all other breeding methods. But that wont happen because labeling efforts are merely deceptive marketing to demonize competition to scare people into increasing the profits of the organic industry.

  21. Kevpod said:

    1. We have published every GMO-related opinion piece ever submitted to the newspaper. There is vast diversity of opinion on our website – enough for anyone to form virtually any opinion on the subject.

    http://madriverunion.com/?s=GMO&submit=Search

    That being the case, I do’t see any reason why I can’t share my opinion.

    2. Perhaps my manner of expression be less demeaning if I included comments about other people thinking they’re smarter than anyone else, or alluding to their business failings and so on.

  22. lodgegoat said:

    3- Simply because you are phishing Kevin. I like to stick to things I can debate that have valid counter points. I need to read more on you mutation issue.
    As a paid subscriber, I have to tell you from my point of view, you have a very demeaning way about you when you push your viewpoint in your articles, be it from forced vaccines to GMO, and present them as the only sane viewpoint. There are valid counter points that have based in science, however, you prefer to push your personal agenda, instead of presenting both sides of a story and letting the reader draw his/her conclusions. Such is the new way of journalism I suppose, cant blame you entirely.

  23. Kevpod said:

    1. Unfortunately the science community consistently fails to account for my many personal shortcomings in its assessment of biotechnology. And yet this is always limned throughout the Arcata GMO opponents’ reasoning on the topic.

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to insofar as my business track record, but I do congratulate whoever you are as to your powers of clairvoyance, knowing what I think and so on.

    2. There’s no scientifically meaningful reason to label GMOs any more than mutation bred food, or whether the person who picked it was left- or right-handed, or a Pisces or Aquarius, or had red or black hair.

    3. Since it poses the same issues and GMOs, I guess I’ll continue to question why mutation breeding doesn’t pose equivalent concerns for GMO opponents. All I get are evasive sighs.

  24. lodgegoat said:

    It is not popularity, it is opposing scientific understanding and the adults in the room stating plainly; there is not enough research/results/long term impact studies that has been done- more is needed before adoption takes place. I appreciate you probably don’t think about Monsanto and other large corporations and how big business is done in the USA, considering your track record at running a business yourself, but let me enlighten you- the reason the people/consumers cant get a simple GMO label on the food is based around the large corporations wishes and lobbied money that is involved in the process.
    Mutation Breeding…. sigh.

  25. Kevin Hoover said:

    1. Arguments from popularity are useless, or the 82 countries that ban same-sex marriage would be right, and we know they’re wrong. Right?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

    2. I’m far, far from the smartest person in any given room. That’s why I rely on evidence-based findings by the scientific community rather than political websites for my science info.

    3. What’s your stance on mutation breeding?

  26. lodgegoat said:

    Really you should come at this from another angle, there are entire countries banning GMO, such as Germany, Russia… why? I know you like to think yourself the smartest guy in the room Kevin, and your group of ‘we are scientists that think critical’ is nothing more than any other group so common up here of dogma circle j***ing. Critical thinking should be encouraged to your readership; your spin doesn’t play to most your readers. Here are some good reasons Kevin- http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/08/25/answering-resistance-all-sides-germany-moves-ban-gmo-crops let

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