The GMO labeling crowd seems to be quite the wacky bunch. Out in front you have a yogic flying dance teacher, a snake-oil salesman, a professional protester, and an alternative health knucklehead who claims GMOs are the equivalent of Zyklon B. Oh, and GMOs are the new thalidomide as well. All are in the anti-vaccine camp and all of them are anti-GMO. All are anti-science and say The Man is out to get them. They have ways for you to avoid the poison of GMO. Just buy their health supplements that will counteract the GMO poison. But this is just a right to know campaign, right?
Then you have the schizoid messages the campaign is peddling:
- It’s just a right to know.
- We’re not saying we want GMOs banned.
- GMOS are dangerous which is why we want them labeled.
- No long-term studies have been done as their safety.
- They’re not safe and here are the discredited studies to prove it.
- It’s just a label, we don’t want GMOs banned even though they are responsible for all health problems.
- They label in Europe, China et al. Why not here?
Let’s look at number eight. Labeling supporters always point to other countries that require labeling as if that is a legitimate reason to do it here… Hey, here is some timely news: Italian scientists guilty of manslaughter in 2009 earthquake.
Yup, you read that right. “Italian prosecutors say that the scientists gave inaccurate and incomplete information about whether smaller tremors before the April 2009 quake should have been grounds for an official warning.”
Among those convicted were some of Italy’s most prominent and internationally respected seismologists and geological experts, including Enzo Boschi, former head of the national Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.
I’ll just leave that there.
Oh wait, there is this from last year… EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration. “EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.”
China? They require labeling but have been found to be exporting toothpaste, food and other products found to contain high levels of lead.
Yeah, we should follow their scientific lead.
The latest coup of the campaign is they got over 300 celebrity chefs to endorse Prop. 37. That’s right, celebrity chefs who are well versed in the subject of transgenics. Such experts like Mario Batali who recently settled for $1.5 million in a lawsuit which accused him of stealing employee tips.
And that’s another thing about these kooks. They chose to fight for a dubious cause against a process that has never been proven dangerous, just that they think it is. If food is your fight, why not choose real world problems, ones that we know affect real live human beings? Oh I don’t know, like farm workers’ rights? I wrote about this in an August 4th post
United Farm Workers spokesman, Mark Grossman told grist.org, “There’s a common conventional wisdom by a lot of consumers, especially at the higher-end stores, that just because it’s organic the workers are treated better. “And that’s simply not true.”
Urban Habitat, in a 2011 survey of 500 organic growers in California found, “only 7.5 percent were in favor of labor standards. Forty-seven percent felt strongly that organic standards should not include labor standards and over 50 percent felt that organic certification should not require growers to provide workers with health insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation, or the right to unionize.”
Why do 47% feel strongly that “organic standards should not include labor standards?” Why do over 50% feel that “organic certification should not require growers to provide workers with health insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation, or the right to unionize?”
Considering this campaign is heavily promoted by the Organics industry, I guess I can see why they wouldn’t take on an issue like that.
The more you look at it, the more this campaign is nothing more than an attempt to do at the ballot box what they can’t do in the marketplace. In fact, as I’ve written before, one of the big donors to the campaign, Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Union has admitted as much in an open letter to supporters.
It’s also a venue for the snake-oil salesmen, conspiracy theorists and other lamebrains to advance their tinfoil hat agendas.
Site after site promotes the same talking points and in many cases, they re-publish the very same articles over and over again without vetting them to decide if they are correct or not. There is very little original thought that goes into this campaign among supporters.
I find I have a conundrum with this issue. Despising as I do corporations, I find it unsettling to be on their side on this issue. Well, I guess I’m not so much on their side as I am against this badly written, bad science law. And the fact of the matter is, even with the Miller controversy and the misleading mailer quote with improper use of the FDA official seal, the industry has more valid points than the labeling side. You can argue whether food prices will rise due to the law, but one thing is not arguable and that is that the supporters have relied on bad science and a worldview rather than facts and evidence.
As a life long progressive, I find that disturbing. It’s disturbing because what it says to me is that the crackpots have gained major influence among progressives. Over at ScienceBlogs, David Gorski, a surgical oncologist who goes by the nom de blogger, Orac, weighs in on the issue. “When it comes to GMO, I don’t really have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, but brain dead studies like this one certainly prod me towards the view that much of the “science” behind anti-GMO activism just doesn’t hold water, and the easy acceptance of such nonsensical results as valid by “progressives” is just plain depressing.” ( He was speaking of the widely discredited Seralini study).
And Orac isn’t the only one in science who feels that way. Many scientists tend to hold progressive views and it is those very scientists who are disturbed by this trend toward nonsense.
Orac also writes this: “Next up, I anticipate that someone, instead of calling me a “pharma shill,” will call me a “Monsanto shill.” It’s coming. You know it is.”
Oh boy, ain’t that the truth. I’ve had that lobbed at me on more than one message board and so has every single person who has the temerity to contradict the anti-GMO party line.