Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them*—Anti-Biotech Edition


Anti-biotech crop activists are often economical with the truth, but this one is a particularly amusing howler. From GE Free NZ anti-biotech spokesperson Claire Bleakley:

"Bt is a insecticidal toxin and has known deleterious effects on the blood and organs."

If this were true (and it's not), this would be very disturbing news to consumers of organic foods and organic farmers who have been dousing their crops with b.t. for decades. But not to worry, the Environmental Protection Agency has found:

The delta-endotoxin proteins of B. thuringinesis have been intensively studied and no indications of mammalian toxicity have been reported. Furthermore, approximately 176 different B. thuringiensis products have been registered since 1961, and the Agency has not received any reports of dietary toxicity attributable to their use.

An even more recent EPA analysis of b.t. biotech crops finds:

The mammalian toxicity data gathered by the EPA currently are sufficient to support the Bt plant-incorporated protectant registrations. None of the products registered at this time, all of which have tolerance exemptions for food use, show any characteristics of toxins or food allergens.

Bleakley is just another in a long of line of anti-biotech liars. 

*Apologies to Al Franken.

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  1. Your right, most “green” groups are frauds, including the global warming/ carbon cap and trade advocates at Reason. However, that doesn’t mean that EPA studies are worth a damn. What we need are more studies from…those guys are awesome…I particularly like the little taser devices on the belts of the pre-teens we need to start watching over us.

  2. What about the Dihydrogen Monoxide DHMO? DHMO is widely used in the preparation of school lunches. Won’t somebody think of the children?

  3. Don’t apologize to Al Franken. Fuck Al Franken.

  4. Two can play at this game. “Recent studies have shown that a willful underuse of DDT can damage the kidneys and cause potential organ failure.”

  5. Well, it causes organ damage in weevils.

  6. Don’t apologize to Al Franken. Fuck Al Franken.

    And it finally outs. Warty hates SNL.

  7. Don’t listen to one word from BushMcChimpHitliar’s EPA.

  8. Don’t listen to any other president’s EPA, either.

    I wanted to write here that I don’t hate SNL, but the more I tried to write a coherent denial, the more I realized that I do in fact hate SNL. So fuck you too, Lorne Michaels.

  9. Won’t someone think of the bees.

  10. More info:

    Bt corn is a variant of maize, genetically altered to express the bacterial Bt toxin, which is poisonous to insect pests. In the case of corn, the pest is the European Corn Borer.

    Expressing the toxin was achieved by inserting a gene from the lepidoptera pathogen microorganism Bacillus thuringiensis into the corn genome. This gene codes for a toxin that causes the formation of pores in the larval digestive tract. These pores allow naturally occurring enteric bacteria such as E. coli and Enterobacter to enter the hemocoel where they multiply and cause sepsis. (Broderick et al, PNAS 2006) This is contrary to the common misconception that Bt toxin kills the larvae by starvation.

    And the whole Starlink thing:

    U.S. regulatory authorities permitted the commercial sale of StarLink seed, with the stipulation that crops produced must not be used for human consumption. This restriction was based on the possibility that a small number of people might develop an allergic reaction because the version of the Bt protein used in StarLink is less rapidly digested than the version used in other Bt varieties.

    StarLink corn was subsequently found in food destined for consumption by humans with an episode involving Taco Bell taco shells being particularly well publicized [2]. This led to a public relations disaster for Aventis and the biotechnology industry as a whole. Sales of StarLink seed were discontinued. The registration for Starlink varieties was voluntarily withdrawn by Aventis in October 2000[3].

    28 people reported apparent allergic reactions related to eating corn products that may have contained the starlink protein. However, the US Centers for Disease Control studied the blood of these individuals and concluded there was no evidence that the reactions people experienced were associated with hypersensitivity to the starlink protein [4].

  11. I wanted to write here that I don’t hate SNL, but the more I tried to write a coherent denial, the more I realized that I do in fact hate SNL. So fuck you too, Lorne Michaels.

    Yes. Yeeeeesssss. SNL is like the idiot class clown in your 7th grade class. He’s an idiot who is occasionally funny, but the rest of the shit he tries for attention is so shitty that the few wins just can’t make up for it.

  12. Yeah, I would watch SNL if someone else could watch it first and delete the 90% that isn’t funny so I wouldn’t have to waste my time.

  13. The real concern for Bt-corn (and other GMO crops) as far as I’ve understood it is the fear that using Bt too much will lead to resistance in the insect populations.

    Bt is one of the few insecticides available to organic farmers, and if it loses it efficacy, they’re going to have a much harder time preventing their crops from being overrun by insects.

    I’ve seen someone eat spoonfuls of Bt extract on a dare, and several years later, they’re doing fine.

  14. Warren,

    Darn you! DHMO was the first thing I thought of when reading this. You beat me to it.

    Don’t forget, we use Dihydrogen Monoxide over here at DOD for all sorts of things. I was about to get about 20 oz. to enhance my afternoon performance.


    The second thing I thought of was the Killer Bees. I hear they may arrive in Arlinton, VA before the advancing sea levels.


    I wonder if I can do that Bt eating thing at Church when I can’t find a snake?

  15. “economical with the truth”

    Heh. Must remember that one.

  16. If you remove just one letter from “biotech” you get biotch. Just sayin’.

  17. So, are these folks ecoterrorists or ecofundies? Guessing the latter, until they start burning “unclean” crops.

  18. Adam | July 31, 2008, 12:20pm | #
    The real concern for Bt-corn (and other GMO crops) as far as I’ve understood it is the fear that using Bt too much will lead to resistance in the insect populations.

    This is correct. Because the toxin produced by BT breaks down into harmless amino acids within 24 hours (IIRC) on exposure to sunlight it is considerably short lived. This trait means that insects are likely exposed to lethal doses or none at all, severely reducing the risk of populations of “super bugs”. The whole idea of insecticides is to keep populations in check, not wipe them out. Aiming for the latter breeds resistant bugs.

  19. Does Europe still ban all GM food?

    Those backward, superstitious hicks.

  20. DHMO has been found in many autopsies, and in a single incident DHMO killed around 250,000 people a few years ago.

    DHMO is the deadliest chemical on Earth. It can kill in gas, liquid, or solid form. It’s probably killed more people than all other chemicals combined.

  21. DHMO can kill polar bears.

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