The Top 5 Lies About Biotech Crops

Don't believe the anti-biotech hype.


The Institute for Responsible Technology, an organization opposed to crop biotechnology, has published a list of reasons to avoid GMOs—that is, genetically modified food. It's a mish-mash of misinformation and disinformation. All of the institute's assertions are unfounded, but here are the five most dubious claims on the list.

1. GMOs Are Unhealthy

Every independent scientific body that has ever evaluated the safety of biotech crops has found them to be safe for humans to eat.

Credit: Library of Congress

A 2004 report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded that "no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population." In 2003 the International Council for Science, representing 111 national academies of science and 29 scientific unions, found "no evidence of any ill effects from the consumption of foods containing genetically modified ingredients." The World Health Organization flatly states, "No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved."

In 2010, a European Commission review of 50 studies on the safety of biotech crops found "no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms." At its annual meeting in June, the American Medical Association endorsed a report on the labeling of bioengineered foods from its Council on Science and Public Health. The report concluded that "Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature."

Unfortunately there is no shortage of fringe scientists to gin up bogus studies suggesting that biotech crops are not safe. My personal favorite in this genre is Russian researcher Irina Ermakova's claim, unpublished in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, that eating biotech soybeans turned mouse testicles blue.

One widely publicized specious study (also cited by the IRT) was done by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini and his colleagues. They reported that rats fed pesticide resistant corn died of mammary tumors and liver diseases. Seralini is the president of the scientific council of the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, which describes itself as an "independent non-profit organization of scientific counter-expertise to study GMOs, pesticides and impacts of pollutants on health and environment, and to develop non polluting alternatives." The Committee clearly knows in advance what its researchers will find with regard to the health risks of biotech crops. But when truly independent groups, such as the European Society of Toxicologic Pathology and the French Society of Toxicologic Pathology, reviewed Seralini's study, they found it essentially to be meretricious rubbish. Six French academies of science issued a statement declaring that the journal should never have published such a low-quality study and excoriating Seralini for orchestrating a media campaign in advance of publication. The European Food Safety Agency's review of the Seralini study "found [it] to be inadequately designed, analysed and reported."

Sadly, such junk science has real-world consequences, since Seralini's article was apparently cited when Kenya made the decision to ban the importation of foods made with biotech crops.

2. GMOs Increase Herbicide Use

First, so what? This claim is simply an attempt to mislead people into thinking that more herbicide use must somehow be more dangerous. As a U.S. Department of Agriculture report has noted, planting herbicide resistant biotech crops enables farmers to substitute the more environmentally benign herbicide glyphosate (commercially sold as Round Up) for "other synthetic herbicides that are at least 3 times as toxic and that persist in the environment nearly twice as long as glyphosate." Glyphosate has very low toxicity, breaks down quickly in the environment, and enables farmers to practice conservation tillage, which reduces topsoil erosion by up to 90 percent. So the net environmental effect is still positive.

Credit: Library of Congress

Second, it must be admitted that there are few honest brokers when it comes to this issue. Most of the research on biotech crops and herbicides is underwritten by either activist groups or industry. I have drawn my own conclusions, but I provide a fairly comprehensive review of the various studies on this question below.

When it comes to biotech crops and pesticide use data, the go-to guy for anti-biotech activists is Charles Benbrook. After a long career with various anti-biotech groups, Benbrook now serves as a research professor in the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. He has a long history of publishing studies allegedly showing that the adoption of biotech crops boosts the use of pesticides. Four years after commercial biotech crops were first planted in the United States, for example, he concluded in 2001 that herbicide use had "modestly increased." Benbrook's article contradicted research published the year before by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who had found that biotech crops had reduced pesticide applications.

In a 2004 report funded by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Benbrook asserted that "GE [genetically engineered] corn, soybeans, and cotton have led to a 122 million pound increase in pesticide use since 1996." In contrast, a 2005 study in Pest Management Science, by a researcher associated with the pesticide lobby group CropLife, reported that planting biotech crops had "reduced herbicide use by 37.5million lbs." A 2007 study done for the self-described non-advocacy think tank National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, founded in 1984 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, reported that planting biotech crops in the U.S. had reduced in 2005 herbicide use by 64 million pounds and insecticide applications by about 4 million pounds. Another 2007 study, by a team of international academic researchers led by Gijs Kleter from the Institute of Food Safety at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, concluded that in the U.S., crops genetically improved to resist herbicides used 25 to 30 percent less herbicides than conventional crops did. In 2009, Benbrook issued a report for the anti-GMO Organic Center claiming that "GE crops have been responsible for an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide use in the U.S. over the first 13 years of commercial use of GE crops."

Benbrook's latest study, issued last year, found that the adoption of pest-resistant crops had reduced the application of insecticides by 123 million pounds since 1996 but increased the application of herbicides by 527 million pounds, an overall increase of about 404 million pounds of pesticides. The media—including Mother Jones' ever-credulous anti-biotech advocate Tom Philpott— reported these results unskeptically.

Benbrook largely got his 2012 results by making some strategic extrapolations of herbicide use trends to make up for missing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In fact, the USDA does not provide herbicide use data for corn in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2011, for soybeans in any year after 2006, and for cotton in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2011. (The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is expected to issue a report updating national herbicide and insecticide usage later this year.)

As the University of Wyoming weed biologist Andrew Kniss points out, in order to get an increasing herbicide trend, Benbrook's extrapolations turned a negative herbicide use trend for corn positive. He did the same thing to a neutral use trend for soybeans. Meanwhile, a 2012 study by Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot at the PG Economics consultancy found planting modern biotech crop varieties had globally cut pesticide spraying by 997 million pounds from 1996 to 2010, an overall reduction of 9.1 percent. Brookes and Barfoot calculated the amount of pesticide used by multiplying the acreage planted for each variety by the average amounts applied per acre.

3. Genetic Engineering Creates Dangerous Side Effects

The Institute for Responsible Technology's list simply fearmongers on this one, claiming, "By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects." Not really.

Credit: Robby Ryke / / CC BY-NC

All types of plant breeding—conventional, mutagenic, and biotech—can, on rare occasions, produce crops with unintended consequences. The 2004 NAS report that I alluded to above includes a section comparing the unintended consequences of each approach; it concludes that biotech is "not inherently hazardous." Conventional breeding transfers thousands of unknown genes with unknown functions along with desired genes, and mutation breeding induces thousands of random mutations via chemicals or radiation. In contrast, the NAS report notes, biotech is arguably "more precise than conventional breeding methods because only known and precisely characterized genes are transferred."

The case of mutation breeding is particularly interesting. In that method, researchers basically blast crop seeds with gamma radiation or bathe them in harsh chemicals to produce thousands of uncharacterized mutations, then plant them to see what comes up. The most interesting new mutants are then crossed with commercial varieties, which are then released to farmers. The Food and Agriculture Organization's Mutant Varieties Database offers more 3,000 different mutated crop varieties to farmers. Many of these mutated varieties are planted as organic crops. Among of the more recent new mutant offerings are two corn varieties, Kneja 546 and Kneja 627. Whatever genetic changes wrought in these corn varieties by induced mutagenesis, they must be far less known to researchers than any changes made to standard-issue biotech crops, yet these mutants get practically no regulatory scrutiny or activist censure.

The point here is not that mutation breeding is inherently dangerous. Given its solid record of 80 years of safety, it's not. The point is that the more precise methods of modern gene-splicing are even safer than that.

The Institute for Responsible Technology warns that producing biotech crops can produce "new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies." There is no evidence for any of this. Consider the panic back in 2000 over Starlink corn, in which a biotech variety approved by the EPA as feed corn got into two brands of taco shells. Some 28 people claimed that they had experienced allergic reactions to eating "contaminated" tacos. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested their blood and found that none reacted in a way that suggested an allergic response to Starlink. As far as cancer goes, it is worth noting that even as Americans have chowed down on billions of biotech meals, the age-adjusted cancer incidence rate has been going down. In fact, research shows that biotech corn engineered to resist insects is much lower in potent cancer-causing mycotoxins.

4. GMOs Harm the Environment

As exhibit 1 for this claim, the institute recycles the fable that biotech crops harm monarch butterflies. This particular meme was jumpstarted in 1999 when a researcher at Cornell University poisoned monarch butterfly caterpillars in his laboratory by forcing them to eat milkweed leaves coated with pollen from an insect resistant corn variety. Of course, the larvae died since the Bacillus thuringiensis gene inserted into the corn specifically targets caterpillar pests like rootworms.

Countering misinformation takes a lot of work, but eventually the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a series of articles evaluating the effects of biotech corn on monarch butterflies in the wild. The researchers described the product's impact on monarch butterfly populations as "negligible." A 2011 review of more than 150 scientific articles found that "commercialized GM crops have reduced the impacts of agriculture on biodiversity, through enhanced adoption of conservation tillage practices, reduction of insecticide use and use of more environmentally benign herbicides, and increasing yields to alleviate pressure to convert additional land into agricultural use."

Meanwhile, no matter what effects either conventional or GM crops have on biodiversity in crop fields, they pale in comparison to the impact that the introduction of modern herbicides and pesticides 60 years ago had on farmland biology. Thanks to GMOs, farmers' fields became dramatically more productive and comparatively weed- and pest-free.

5. GMOs Do Not Increase Yields, and Work Against Feeding a Hungry World

As evidence for this assertion, the institute cites the Union of Concerned Scientists' 2009 report Failure to Yield, calling it "the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield." But this report is less than honest when evaluating biotech crop yield information: biotech crops boost yields chiefly by preventing weeds from using up sunlight and nutrients and insects destroying them.

Credit: Library of Congress

More recently, a 2010 review article in Nature Biotechnology found that "of 168 results comparing yields of GM and conventional crops, 124 show positive results for adopters compared to non-adopters, 32 indicate no difference and 13 are negative." With regard to feeding the world, yield increases are greater for poor farmers in developing countries than for farmers in rich countries. "The average yield increases for developing countries range from 16 percent for insect-resistant corn to 30 percent for insect-resistant cotton," the Nature Biotechnology article notes, "with an 85 percent yield increase observed in a single study on herbicide-tolerant corn."

A 2012 article by two British environmental scientists, reviewing the past 15 years of published literature on the agronomic and environmental effects of biotech crops, finds that they increase yields and produce impacts that are largely "positive in both developed and developing world contexts." They add, "The often claimed negative impacts of GM crops have yet to materialize on large scales in the field."

Indeed they have not.

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  1. Ron, I agree with what you say, but the Anti-GMO crowd will not listen to one word of it. They have made up their minds and nothing will change that.

    IOW, Ron, you have just wasted a whole bunch of electrons. Shame on you! ;P

    1. I don’t think the issue is convincing the anti-GMO freaks, but rather making sure regular folks find out that the anti-GMOers are full of shit.

      1. +1 to this comment. The point of an article like this is to have a link to show the uninformed.

        You won’t convert a Environmentalist by showing them evidence that goes against their faith.

        1. Did the two of you get windburn when the joke whistled over your heads?

          1. Hey, once folks get used to your ‘personality’, they’ll get the jokes.
            Occasionally, sarc gets missed, and the cross-posts can be amusing.

      2. I’d say its about preventing the anti-GMO people from forcing their preferences on the rest of us. Because you know they’re dying to do just that.

  2. That picture from the other day of the person with vitamin A deficiency made me want to vomit…don’t know if i want to view this article.

    1. There are few pictures, and they are pretty benign.

  3. The important thing to remember about the anti-GMO crowd is that they seem themselves as part of a larger movement against corporate agriculture, and for naive environmentalism. (I said naive, because an intelligent environmentalism would see the benefits of GMO crops to the environment.)

    Like much of the progressive, leftist, environmental movement, they’ve adopted the idea that every environmental problem the earth faces is SO dire, SO catestrophic that the only way to stop it is to scare the public into immediate action. This tactic probably originated with anti-nuclear groups in the 60s, when the threat of civilization-anhillating nuclear war was very real. But since then it has spread to nuclear power in general, then climate change, then every other environmental issue. You can see this just by looking at the evolution of Greenpeace, which started out as an anti-nuclear group and spread into general environmentalism. At this point, Greens are so accustomed to framing every issue in the direst of terms that they probably don’t even know HOW to respond to any issue except as if it were a life-or-death crisis. As a result, it’s become common to accept mistruths and half-truths about various issues as “necessary” to arouse a sufficient level of public “awareness”.

    In other words, they think it’s OK to scare people with lies if that’s what it takes to save the planet.

    1. I would buy that, Hazel, if the Greens would really examine what is better or worse for the environment.

      But they don’t.

      Subsistence agriculture has been responsible for most of the deforestation, soil erosion and degradation and species extinction in history (Eg: The Aurochs, the Irish elk, the Dire wolf).

      Drought-resistant crops help prevent over-irrigation and soil salination. They also reduce dependence on dams that obstruct rivers to the detriment of fish runs, deltas and estuaries.

      Fundamentally, the Greens are irrational romantics, wedded to a concept of agriculture that never existed and, if we were to try to implement, would result in the death by starvation of 85% of the people on the planet.*

      *I have met Greens who think this would be a good thing.

      1. It’s not just that they’re irrational romantics. It’s that they’re trapped in this constant crisis mindset. Everything’s an emergency. Everything’s a war against the corporate capitalist system. The entire ecosystem is perpetually on the verge of collapsing.
        In that kind of mindset, you don’t stop and think, you REACT.

        1. Alarmism also helps with fundraising.

        2. I have tripped up hippy types I know [gotta buy pot somewhere!] by pointing out many of these things listed in the article and adding that we do not have a free market, capitalist system in North America, its Corporatist. By looking to the government to control these things they are just empowering the corporations they don’t like. I don’t think Monsanto is evil, but I do think they rent seek anywhere they can, like any profit minded entity will if able.

      2. Something we agree on. I thought this to be an informative read on the subject of changing certain ways of farming.…

        I also agree that Greens are very much alarmist. I think we have time to fix things we break, that this planet is more resilient than we are, and it’ll be here a long time after we are gone.

        It’s funny that I’ve been called a Green so many times in this comment thread — probably more times here than the rest of my life combined. I don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming, the vast majority of their environmentalism, and just about always disagree with their implementations on how to “fix” things.

    2. Very well put.

  4. Here’s where I come at this:

    I believe that we currently have the system of Big Ag we do because of the government intervention that exists all over the place with regard to subsidies, regulation, and even government promotion of certain goods over others. Even a lot of the GMO-is-ok studies referenced above were funded by government or pure government research.

    Generally speaking when something is that heavily influenced by government, I take a cautionary view of just swallowing (hah) everything the government says is “good”.

    Evolutionarily, we didn’t start farming until about 10,000 years ago. I would like to think we are more adapted to a hunter gatherer lifestyle that would exclude just about all the food Big Ag could throw our way.

    In the end, part of me doesn’t care if companies want to do this type of agriculture on their own land as long as it doesn’t affect my life, liberty, and property. So give up your subsidies, (captured) regulation, government promotion, government-granted monopolies (patents), and let’s see which system best arises, eh?

    1. “In the end, part of me doesn’t care if companies want to do this type of agriculture on their own land as long as it doesn’t affect my life, liberty, and property. So give up your subsidies, (captured) regulation, government promotion, government-granted monopolies (patents), and let’s see which system best arises, eh?”

      Herring, red, anyone?

      1. That’s not a red herring, that’s a legitimate libertarian response to any government meddling of industry.

        1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 10:52PM |#
          “That’s not a red herring, that’s a legitimate libertarian response to any government meddling of industry.”

          It’s a red herring dressed in oh, so fashionable clothes.
          Your wife might buy your BS, but I don’t.

          1. How is asking an industry to compete on a fair playing field a red herring? It’s not fair to assume that we’d have the same GMO-dominate system we have now without government intervention.

            1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 11:30PM |#
              “How is asking an industry to compete on a fair playing field a red herring?”
              Would you like to define what “industry” is being denied a “fair” playing field?

              “It’s not fair to assume that we’d have the same GMO-dominate system we have now without government intervention.”
              Now there are stupid assertions and then there are really stupid assertions. I’m gonna say this one is really, really stupid.

              1. Read one of Joel Salatin’s books for a good understanding of how agriculture is an industry regulated biased toward CAFO vs grass-fed, for example.

                By the way, for someone who likes to call out logical fallacies (poorly, though), you sure like to use ad hominem a lot.

              2. You also never actually refuted with any substance my debate about you calling a false red herring.

                Keep insulting, though, it makes you seem oh so believable to those that read through these comments.

          2. Do you think that agriculture and food processing should be deregulated?

            Should we subsidize our crop production?

            What about intellectual property, should that be eliminated?

            I’m curious where you sit on these issues, “sevo”.

    2. “Evolutionarily, we didn’t start farming until about 10,000 years ago. I would like to think we are more adapted to a hunter gatherer lifestyle that would exclude just about all the food Big Ag could throw our way.”

      This might well be true, but the Earth can probably only support around 500 Million human hunter gathers. So, it’s pretty irrelevant isn’t it?

      1. What’s wrong with aiming for 500 Million people *eventually*? Perhaps as society becomes wealthier and population starts to decline we’ll revert back to a more in-sync-with-nature symbiosis. Why would you poo-poo that?

        1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 10:56PM |#
          “What’s wrong with aiming for 500 Million people *eventually*?”

          Fine by me; kill yourself.

          1. Well, I can see we’re being civil here. Perhaps next time you can say the same thing without the anonymous coward shield.

            1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 11:32PM |#
              “Well, I can see we’re being civil here”
              Yeah, proposing eliminating several billion people is just being “nice”, right?
              Please start what you wish and commit suicide; I’ll applaud your effort.

              1. You say a lot of stuff I’m sure you’d hold your tongue on if we were both in the ring, boxing gloves strapped on. I’ll again point out that you are hiding behind an anonymous coward shield.

                Have fun trolling on the Internet, troll. Apparently coming here for legitimate discourse is worthless.

                1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 11:50PM |#
                  “You say a lot of stuff I’m sure you’d hold your tongue on if we were both in the ring, boxing gloves strapped on”

                  Stuff it up your ass, internet tuff-gai.

                  1. Well, boxing is more sophisticated dance than I think you’d be able to handle.

                    1. Kenny| 2.23.13 @ 1:18AM |#
                      “Well, boxing is more sophisticated dance than I think you’d be able to handle.”

                      Boy, bullshit is your specialty!

                    2. Seems I have good company. There are few other replies of mine you seem afraid to answer. (though, not surprising, you don’t answer really anything I point out with substance, anyway)

                      You can take this comment as BS, too. I’m sure you will.

                2. Oh, and:
                  “Apparently coming here for legitimate discourse is worthless.”

                  “Legitimate discourse”? If you offered it, no one would gripe.]
                  Sorry you got called on your bullshit fantasies. Do you love the mud momma?

              2. And to be clear to those scanning these comments instead of actually reading what I said: I didn’t propose eliminating billions of people.

                What I said was that perhaps over time as population growth reaches a maximum (like all systems do), and then starts to decrease, that it wouldn’t be crazy to hypothesize that we’d level out at the point of symbiosis with the ecosystem we live in.

            2. Oh, and:
              “anonymous coward shield.”
              My goodness; ignorant asshole claims superiority by posting identity on the web!
              When you grow up, you might find that embarrassing. Assuming you learn anything.

        2. And here we have laid bare the absolute idiocy and monstrousness of the Greenie Faith. He’s willing to jettison everything that has come to man since the development of agriculture – printing, medicine, philosophy, the high arts – to fulfill his vision of “better”. He’s either a simpleton with no conception of what civilization has meant, or a monster who doesn’t care so long was he gets to claim moral superiority.

          And you notice that he would deny to us as ‘un-natural’ the right to modify our environment ? a right exercised by termites.

          1. When did I claim that? You people sure like to put words in my mouth.

            1. You said you wanted to aim for a population of 500, 000,000 hunter-gatherers. I don’t need to put idiocy in your mouth, I just have to wait for you to come up with it on your own.

              1. Respectfully, you are taking what I said the wrong way. I don’t want to eliminate anyone. I just said that there’s nothing wrong with assuming that over time we might naturally shrink our population back down to a level that is in with those numbers. How is that a damning statement? I didn’t advocate killing anyone, like you and so many others on this comment thread seem to infer from my comment.

                1. yes starvation and disease is perfectly natural and anyone advocating for more of that is a monster because they are advocating for massive amounts of suffering.

                  Please check your naturalism fallacy at the door.

                  1. Again, I said nothing of the sort. Every consider what would happen if birth rates declined below that of death rates (from natural causes)? As a general rule, as a population gets wealthier and better educated, birth rates decline. All I’m saying is that, at some point, that might happen everywhere. If that does happen, then population will start to decline. No one is murdered for that policy, no one suffers for that policy, it just is what it is.

                    I really expected a higher level of sophistication from commenters on this site.

                    1. We are sophisticated enough to see through your sophistry. If you want mankind to return to any kind of hunter-gatherer lifestyle, you want the deaths of billions, and also the death of civilization and most of its works. Maybe you are unsophisticated enough to believe otherwise, but that is what you are stumping for.

                      In short; you are either a fool or a scoundrel.

                    2. Unbelievable.

                      I have ZERO interest in pursing policy or any other type of action that would force or coerce that (or anything else) to arise. I’m saying that it wouldn’t surprise me if that condition arose emergently. Hell, I’m not even saying I’m right, I’m just saying it’s not outside the realm of possible! No ones knows what will happen in the future.

                      I have a personal opinion about the methods used in Big Ag, but being a libertarian, I wouldn’t care if that’s what was done on their land and if people wanted to eat that product, as long as it doesn’t violate someone else’s life, liberty, and property. My only qualm is that this current system was built on top of massive government involvement. To say that same system would exist without government intervention is pure insanity. It just doesn’t logically follow.

                      Again, I *do not* have any interest in violating anyone’s rights. You people cannot seem to get it through your head for some reason that is absolutely not what meant.

                      Keep thinking about it, though, you’ll get there.

                    3. Kenny| 2.23.13 @ 8:09PM |#
                      …”Keep thinking about it, though, you’ll get there.”

                      Oh! Oh! Look here!
                      No one has thought about it sufficiently to come to the idiocy of Kenny!

                    4. Ah yes, more ad hominem. How predictable.

    3. “I would like to think we are more adapted to a hunter gatherer lifestyle”

      Don’t worry. We’re not.

      1. If longevity is any evidence of adaptability to a certain regimens, it’s obvious that humanity is far more ‘adapted’ to sedentary farming than h-g’ing.

        1. That is actually not accurate. Maximum longevity was longer during the paleolithic for humans. Same with brain size — they were larger back then. This is common knowledge among paleontologists.

          What you’re describing is *average* life span. Sure, when half of your population dies at birth or from an infection before the age of 6, you’re going to have trouble competing on the average with a modern society.

          1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 10:59PM |#
            “That is actually not accurate. Maximum longevity was longer during the paleolithic for humans.”

            Yes, we had white indian pushing this bullshit for quite a while.
            You’re an ignoramus.

            1. Here’s your cite. Read up.


              1. “We attempt to”….
                Yep, seen that cherry-picking before.

                1. It’s a legitimate study. I still haven’t seen any cites from you. Keep trying to seem relevant, though.

            2. What a strange coincidence, I get up to do my morning reading, and sure enough, run across this. I can’t seem to locate the underlying paper yet. If I do, I’ll add that link.


          2. or you know the astronomical rates of violence.

            1. Naah. Kenny knows propaganda. No more, no less.

      2. Please be more specific if you are going to criticize my point. There are plenty of paleontologist and nutritionist that would agree with me.

        1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 10:56PM |#
          “Please be more specific if you are going to criticize my point. There are plenty of paleontologist and nutritionist that would agree with me.”

          I’m sure there are; they’re as stupid as you are.

          1. I’m sure your credentials will prove your expertise on the matter. Mind providing those?

            1. Kenny| 2.22.13 @ 11:39PM |#
              “I’m sure your credentials will prove your expertise on the matter. Mind providing those?”

              No, dipshit. You made the claim; let’s wee those cites.

            2. BTW, Kenny, just so you don’t waste too much time proving your stupidity, we all got a dose of that whacko claiming hunter-gatherer people had wonderful lives picking crickets off the grass to live.
              He was and has been debunked more than even you might imagine.
              Go away.

              1. I’m glad that a single person with an idea (whether or not it was argued well) is enough for you to dismiss an idea altogether. You truly have a dizzying intellect.

                1. Kenny| 2.23.13 @ 10:40AM |#
                  “I’m glad that a single person with an idea (whether or not it was argued well) is enough for you to dismiss an idea altogether.”
                  Yeah, well when that single person produces nothing but bullshit, there’s a reason for that.

                  “You truly have a dizzying intellect.”
                  Considering the level of your intellect, that’s not really a compliment.

                  1. For the record, to illustrate to anyone coming to these comments: check the comment timestamps. He only responds to this comment, and not the various others, and again without substance.

                    So you point is essentially, “I know you are but what am I?” Great comeback…

  5. Really? Sop who comes up with all that crazy stuff?

  6. There is a reason the 2001 study showed a much larger increase of pesticide use than the 1984 study. Monsanto’s patent on glyphosate expired in 2000.

    Ahhh, cheap generic roundup.

  7. OT: Obama warns of falling aircraft!
    “Administration warns of impact of broad budget cut”
    “Widespread flight delays and shuttered airports, off-limit seashores and unprotected parks.”
    Cats living with dogs! Women and minorities dying in the streets! Bullshit from the liar-in-chief!

    Read more:…..z2Lgzdb497

  8. Yes well you have fun eating as you wish and I’ll eat as I wish. Until I’m in the biotech field (which is where I’m going) I won’t be experimenting on myself. By the way you should probably think on it from a health perspective, scientists can claim whatever they want but we still no nearly nothing when it comes to DNA and the complexities of what makes up what we eat, I’ll stick to a tried and true method that has been giving consistent results for thousands of years, you can support some companies that abuse the patent and lawsuit system and help their lobbying interests. (ps) when I say “nearly nothing” I mean to say that in comparison with what their is still left to learn, I do not mean to insinuate that the people running various research don’t know what they’re doing as I am sure they are intelligent and nice people with no intent of harm.

    1. Sebastian| 2.23.13 @ 12:24AM |#
      “Yes well you have fun eating as you wish and I’ll eat as I wish. Until I’m in the biotech field (which is where I’m going) I won’t be experimenting on myself.”

      The fantasies of the greenies!
      Idiot, you’re ‘experimenting on yourself’ every time you eat.

  9. So GMOs aren’t responsible for me growing a third head? That’s a little unsettling.

    1. Well, yeah. How are you supposed to achieve balance now?

  10. GMO crops generally are not nutritionally harmful. However, they are patented and companies are playing the same monopolistic games with them as they are with drugs and software, and that is something libertarians should be very concerned about. They also tend to infringe on the rights and liberties of others through contaminating their fields.

    The fiction about GMO crops is that they can be contained and that every farmer is working on isolation. In fact, agriculture forms one integrated whole, and if we introduce GMO crops, we do so across the boundaries of private properties and individual businesses.

    1. Gee, TomG, have any other non-issues you’d like to use as an excuse for being a luddite?

    2. That’s my biggest beef with the GMO companies. Do things like sue farmers because your pollen floated over to their field and cross-pollinated their crops, and I will do whatever I can to not give a dime in profit to your company. They already get millions in farm subsidies that I’m forced to finance with the asinine amount of taxes I pay. It’s my wallet and I choose to not finance them any further, so I don’t buy anything containing corn, soy or wheat.

      1. Monsanto is not suing farmers that have incindental crop contamination. They are suing farmers that willfully send farm hands out to spray their fields with glyphosate thus selecting for RR traits. There was a lawsuit recently brought against Monsanto concerning this very issue and it was dismissed because the organic farmers could not show any occurance of Monsanto doing what you and the organic farmers claimed.

      2. KimInGA| 2.23.13 @ 10:56AM |#
        “That’s my biggest beef with the GMO companies. Do things like sue farmers because your pollen floated over to their field and cross-pollinated their crops,”

        So your biggest beef is something that doesn’t happen?
        Wonder why you’re considered to be an idiot? Well, there it is right there.

        1. Shut up people, KimInGA makes a good point, one that I am just as concerned with as well, now i don’t oppose GMO, i don’t want it banned or don’t care much for labelling, but what does bother is the childish ways in which they bully farmers, I’m sure KiminGA is genuine in this concern, i think all libertarians are Free and Open Source advocates and i think we should apply this logic to essential life saving medicines and foods. I’m against patenting GMO foods the same way i’m against patenting an important cancer-resisting gene in DNA or a Productivity software on computers, i think IP and Patent Laws are something libertarians SHOULD be concerned about on both ethical/moral grounds and on pragmatic grounds, imagine a farmer’s non-GMO crops are pollinated with a GMO crop, and the hybridization results in a much stronger strain, must he be prosecuted for growing and selling it, or if he gets a GMO strain and further modifies it himself? Patent Laws and Intellectual Property are un-ethical in terms of life-saving and cause inefficiencies on an overall economic picture, they are a government granted monopoly….

    3. Sounds like you have an argument against agricultural patents and not GMO crops.

  11. Ron forgets what tops the list of things ordinary people really hate about GMO crops.

    Number 1, announced the Royal Society after conducting an elborate and extensive public survey, is that the majority surveyed are aghast at the idea of eating genes.

  12. Shouldn’t the other Bayley be talking about food?

  13. Thank you Mr. Bailey for writing such a great review of GMO foods. I especially like how you bring up the anti-GMO “facts”, put them into perspective, then refute them with appropriate studies. I will use this article as a reference when fighting anti GMO-ism on the blogs!

  14. Kenny| 2.23.13 @ 6:46PM |#
    “For the record, to illustrate to anyone coming to these comments: check the comment timestamps. He only responds to this comment, and not the various others, and again without substance.”

    Kenny, let’s not beat around the bush.
    You’re a lying luddite. Your cite of life expectancy is cherry picking nonsense, and there is nothing other than that to support your stupidity. Yes, if you ignore this and that, you can claim that, well, things would be different. And if Kenny had a brain, well, Kenny might not…
    Is that clear enough? Do you understand that your bullshit has been debunked before you started posting here?
    Go away, asshole.

    1. All that effort and not a single word of actual, substantive, response. No link to a former debate in the comments of a different article, no refutation of the citation other than calling it nonsense. Nothing more but insults and a lack of maturity, all the while decrying mine! I’ll say it again, despite your dismissal: you’re wrought with language that I think you’d never use if we were having this discussion in person, and not hiding behind the anonymity. It’s shameful.

      It’s no wonder that you just want me to go away, you clearly have no interest in a real debate. Do you want to live in an echo chamber the rest of your life? No? Well, then if you really believe what you believe, you might have to defend it more than once.

  15. Tell me there are safe pesticides?????? Do you understand soil science?????? Do you understand in one gram of living breathing organic soil there is 600 million microorganisms? Do you understand the importance of earth worms? Do you understand the symbiotic relationship with fungi that 85% of all plants depend on???????? Do you get that soil is alive and breaths life into the plants from which they grow????? Do you get that microorganism populations are 85% reduced on conventional farms vs. organic. Bird life is decreased 45-70% cause no earthworms. So you kill the soil life with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and claim superior ‘science’???????? Then you tell me that plant is healthy and worth eating when it tastes like watered down crap???????? THERE IS NO GOD DAMN SCIENCE ON THIS PLANET THAT CAN DEBUNK THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU EAT THAT CRAP YOUR BODY WILL BE THE SAME CRAP YOU EAT!!!!!!!!!! And your mind will soon follow. Anyone that doesn’t get this basic common sense that needs NO complex fake industry funded economically beneficial ‘science’, has been eating this nutrient deficient, chemically produced crap for too long and it is too late. I just gave you the REAL science.

  16. We know very little about genetics. We’re playing with something far beyond our current awareness. There are always unintended consequences of our meddling in nature. PCBs were good too. So was lead. So was Agent Orange. Industry public relations campaigns don’t influence me. Go look up Arpad Pusztai there is a ton of information out there. This article is a perfect example of Bernays style misinformation. Science that shows problems with GMOs is omitted and strawman arguments put up to debunk. Easy to mislead those who eat nutritionally deficient foods.

    1. The extra question marks CONVINCED me!!!

  17. My family has large farms passed down from generation to generation. My Great Grandfather, a Senator fought against pesticides. We have never, nor will ever use Monsanto or counterparts seeds or chemicals on our farms and do well thanks. The point is, none of this is as necessary as one might believe, please view this site:…..hout-gmos/

  18. til I looked at the draft ov $6467, I didn’t believe that my brothers friend woz like they say actually bringing in money part time on their laptop.. there moms best frend had bean doing this for only seven months and resently paid the dept on their appartment and got Audi Quattro. this is where I went,

  19. Kickoff to you with the online store 2013

  20. My personal favorite in this genre is Russian researcher Irina Ermakova’s claim, unpublished in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, that eating biotech soybeans turned mouse testicles blue.

  21. Regardless of what the pseudo-libertarians at Reason think, we have a right to know what’s in our food and if it contains GMOs. I no longer eat ANY corn or soy products since there’s no way for me to know if they’re GMO. Soon, there will be no choice…just as the bought off Reason wants.

  22. Ron, Herbicides kill plants.Pesticides kill animals. I believe there is a difference between the two on most levels, except for maybe your IQ, so you cannot correlate the two as you have done here.

    Herbicides increased because GMO properties allowed Roundup weed killer (herbicide) to be applied to crops without killing the crop.

    Since herbicide use increased, toxic residue of the herbicides inside the growth nodes of the plants also increased – and you want to tell me this is healthy? Want some Kool-Aid with your Roundup, Reverend?

    Since 1996 when the first GMO alfalfa crop was introduced, bovine miscarriages increased by more than 40% and bovine bull infertility increased, as well. It now takes more than twice the amount of bovine semen to get the job done as compared to pre-1996 data. And, gee, infertility among us humans is also on the rise. What an odd coincidence.

    It’s also been proven that the GMO plants are taking in a lot less nutrients from the soil, making them basically closer to cardboard in terms of nutritional value. So we can feel happy about our selves that we’re now able to feed the growing population of this planet with a never ending supply of stuff that looks like food, but unfortunately it isn’t food, so we’re doing a lot more of something to end up with results that amount to basically nothing.

    1. “Since 1996 when the first GMO alfalfa crop was introduced, bovine miscarriages increased by more than 40% and bovine bull infertility increased, as well.”

      When were you born? I have a feeling that’s more important than your luddite claims.

  23. This is he most misleading article i have ever read at Reason and I’m highly disappointed. If you would have done a little more homework and digging you would have this TWO YEAR STUDY done on GMO’s. watch it and weep, and shame on you for for misinforming people.…..ture=share

  24. Not entirely germane, but the photo used for point number 3 is credited as CC:BY-NC. I know there’s no consensus on this, but since Reason is a commercial entity with subscriptions and advertisements, it would seem to make sense to avoid the use of “noncommercial” licensed works.

    See executive summary of the study done here: http://wiki.creativecommons.or…..commercial

    PS. It’s also, rather tackily, not directly linked to the original (By Attribution) in any useful manner.


  25. Where did you get the idea that Round-UP is benign? My brother-in-law’s oncologist (cancer doctor) at the MAYO CLINIC told him that his cancer was caused by his use of Round-Up over the years on the ranch.

    1. Yeah, dpmt67, my cousin’s hairdresser’s plumber told me you’re an idiot!

  26. Brooklyn. I can see what your saying… Sandra`s story is astonishing, on friday I got Toyota sincee geting a check for $6410 thiss month and also ten thousand last-month. this is certainly the most comfortable work Ive had. I began this 10-months ago and pretty much straight away began to bring in minimum $82, p/h. I work through this link,, Go to site and open Home for details

  27. The most impressive test for GMOs I have seen to date was Corn side by side. Birds nailed the organic and barely touched GMO. Now, normally, birds can eat things humans can’t touch. They eat things that are poisonous to us but they metabolize it so fast, it doesn’t harm them. Now when a bird ignores something, it tends to make me wonder why. Do they know something we don’t?

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