Saturday, December 8, 2012


Anthony Gucciardi
by Anthony Gucciardi
December 7th, 2012 | Updated 12/07/2012 at 2:28 am
drozgarynull 260x162 Dr. Gary Null, Mike Adams, Organic Consumers, Others Speak Out Against Dr. Ozs Organic Food Lies Dr. Oz’s attack on informed individuals who choose to eat high quality organic foods free of genetically modified organisms and IQ-damaging pesticides has led to serious outcry over the past week. Many more health advocates are now joining independent journalists highlighting the many errors in Dr. Oz’s claims. This is great news as far as I’m concerned, having written my own piece detailing Dr. Oz’s lies regarding the consumption of GMOs and pesticides in conventional food.
Following the Time Magazine article piece in which Dr. Oz stated that GMO-laden conventional food is comparable to organic, full of nutritional value, and even that those that choose real organic food are ‘elitists’ and ‘snobs’, leading health experts have come out against the celebrity doctor’s claims. Groups like Organic Consumers Association, Mike Adams of NaturalNews, and Dr. Gary Null have spoken out publicly regarding Dr. Oz’s bogus claims.
Dr. Oz Facing Mass Response from Real Informed Consumers and Experts
Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Associated has authored a piece appearing on Alternet detailing how Dr. Oz, a man who has actually had shows which placed GMOs and pesticides in a negative light, has taken a card from politicians and flip-flopped on the issue. Whether due to the failure of Prop 37, a big financial incentive, or who knows what, Dr. Oz has effectively betrayed his informed fan base. The article is appropriately entitled ‘Dr. Oz Flip-Flops as High-Profile Attacks on Organic Food Intensify’.
The piece comes after Mike Adams addressed Dr. Oz’s attack on the day the article hit the news, in which Mike points out how Dr. Oz has sold out to Big Agriculture by siding with Monsanto and others. He also goes on to offer a possibility that I agree with, which is the likely possibility that Dr. Oz didn’t actually even author the article. Instead, he simply signed off on it — perhaps for a large financial incentive from a third party. The reasons for this are many, but the most important is the fact that the piece has too many similarities with recent organic assault pieces straight out of Time Magazine itself.
Outside of that, it’s very common for celebrities and major personalities to simply hire on a team of ghostwriters to generate stories for certain gigs. But even if Dr. Oz did not write the piece himself, he is still sticking up for it. On his Facebook page, Dr. Oz has tried many times to ‘set the record straight’ by literally repeating what was stated in his article. In the latest post he says that ‘critics’ of his post, which literally means those who are against GMOs and pesticides, just don’t seem to get it:
“Critics of the Time Magazine piece argue that my use of the phrase “food snob” (which describes me as well) undermines their fight to preserve the integrity of the American food supply.”
Immediately grouping everyone with informed opinions on food additives as ‘critics’ of Dr. Oz, Oz separates himself from millions of concerned consumers around the globe who were concerned with his organic food lies. Instead of apologizing, Dr. Oz continues to defend his statements.
And in case you’re doubting just how many people are fighting against GMOs (a number of which I am very grateful follow my work on a regular basis), you need to look no farther than Dr. Oz’s Facebook comments page. Over the past several days, the comments section has been almost 100% related to the Time piece. From demands for apology to accusations of being bought out by Monsanto, fans are not happy.
Dr. Oz’s loss of countless fans due to his organic food lies and failure to tell the truth about GMOs and other conventional food concerns shows how the element of truth works. Even if you’re a celebrity doctor with millions of fans, covering up information on such serious issues will not be forgotten. The new media, the alternative media, is entirely centered around exposing the truth in regards to topics that the mainstream media will not touch. Alternative media outlets make mistakes sometimes as we all do, but legitimate outlets push for truth. Dr. Oz appears to be pushing for the opposite.

Read more:

Friday, December 7, 2012


Seralini and Science: an Open Letter
October 2, 2012
(Authors listed below) (Traduction Francaise)        

A new paper by the French group of Gilles-Eric Seralini describes harmful effects on rats fed diets containing genetically modified maize (variety NK603), with and without the herbicide Roundup, as well as Roundup alone. This peer-reviewed study (Seralini et al., 2012), has been criticized by some scientists whose views have been widely reported in the popular press (Carmen, 2012; Mestel, 2012; Revkin, 2012; Worstall, 2012). Seralini et al. (2012) extends the work of other studies demonstrating toxicity and/or endocrine-based impacts of Roundup (Gaivão et al., 2012; Kelly et al., 2010; Paganelli et al., 2010; Romano et al., 2012), as reviewed by Antoniou et al. (2010).

The Seralini publication, and resultant media attention, raise the profile of fundamental challenges faced by science in a world increasingly dominated by corporate influence. These challenges are important for all of science but are rarely discussed in scientific venues.


1) History of Attacks on Risk-finding Studies. Seralini and colleagues are just the latest in a series of researchers whose findings have triggered orchestrated campaigns of harassment. Examples from just the last few years include Ignacio Chapela, a then untenured Assistant Professor at Berkeley, whose paper on GM contamination of maize in Mexico (Quist and Chapela, 2001) sparked an intensive internet-based campaign to discredit him. This campaign was reportedly masterminded by the Bivings Group, a public relations firm specializing in viral marketing – and frequently hired by Monsanto (Delborne, 2008).

The distinguished career of biochemist Arpad Pusztai, came to an effective end when he attempted to report his contradictory findings on GM potatoes (Ewen and Pusztai, 1999a). Everything from a gag order, forced retirement, seizure of data, and harassment by the British Royal Society were used to forestall his continued research (Ewen and Pusztai, 1999b; Laidlaw, 2003). Even threats of physical violence have been used, most recently against Andres Carrasco, Professor of Molecular Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires, whose research (Paganelli et al. 2010) identified health risks from glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup (Amnesty International, 2010).

It was no surprise therefore, that when in 2009, 26 corn entomologists took the unprecedented step of writing directly to the US EPA to complain about industry control of access to GM crops for research, the letter was sent anonymously (Pollack, 2009).

2) The Role of the Science Media. An important but often unnoticed aspect of this intimidation is that it frequently occurs in concert with the science media (Ermakova, 2007; Heinemann and Traavik, 2007; Latham and Wilson, 2007). Reporting of the Seralini paper in arguably the most prestigious segments of the science media: Science, the New York Times, New Scientist, and the Washington Post uniformly failed to “balance” criticism of the research, with even minimal coverage of support for the Seralini paper (Carmen, 2012; Enserink, 2012; MacKenzie, 2012; Pollack, 2012). Nevertheless, less well-resourced media outlets, such as the UK Daily Mail appeared to have no trouble finding a positive scientific opinion on the same study (Poulter, 2012).

3) Misleading Media Reporting. A key pattern with risk-finding studies is that the criticisms voiced in the media are often red herrings, misleading, or untruthful. Thus, the use of common methodologies was portrayed as indicative of shoddy science when used by Seralini et al. (2012) but not when used by industry (see refs above and Science Media Centre, 2012). The use of red herring arguments appears intended to sow doubt and confusion among non-experts. For example, Tom Sanders of Kings College, London was quoted as saying: “This strain of rat is very prone to mammary tumors particularly when food intake is not restricted” (Hirschler and Kelland, 2012 ). He failed to point out, or was unaware, that most industry feeding studies have used Sprague-Dawley rats (e.g. Hammond et al., 1996, 2004, 2006; MacKenzie et al., 2007). In these and other industry studies (e.g. Malley et al. 2007), feed intake was unrestricted. Sanders’ comments are important because they were widely quoted and because they were part of an orchestrated response to the Seralini study by the Science Media Centre of the British Royal Institution. The Science Media Centre has a long history of quelling GMO controversies and its funders include numerous companies that produce GMOs and pesticides.

4) Regulator Culpability. In our view a large part of the ultimate fault for this controversy lies with regulators. Regulators, such as EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) in Europe and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US, have enshrined protocols with little or no potential to detect adverse consequences of GMOs (Schubert, 2002; Freese and Schubert, 2004; Pelletier, 2005).

GMOs are required to undergo few experiments, few endpoints are examined, and tests are solely conducted by the applicant or their agents. Moreover, current regulatory protocols are simplistic and assumptions-based (RSC, 2001), which by design, will miss most gene expression changes – apart from the target trait - induced by the process of transgene insertion (Heinemann et al., 2011; Schubert, 2002).

Puzstai (2001) and others have consequently argued that well-conducted feeding trials are one of the best ways of detecting such unpredictable changes. Yet feeding trials are not mandatory for regulatory approval, and the scientific credibility of those which have been published to date has been challenged (Domingo, 2007; Pusztai et al., 2003; Spiroux de Vendômois et al., 2009). For example, Snell et al. (2012), who assessed the quality of 12 long term (>96 days) and 12 multigenerational studies, concluded: “The studies reviewed here are often linked to an inadequate experimental design that has detrimental effects on statistical analysis…the major insufficiencies not only include lack of use of near isogenic lines but also statistical power underestimation [and], absence of repetitions…”.

Apparently, the same issues of experimental design and analysis raised about this (Seralini) risk-finding study were not of concern to critics when the studies did not identify risk, resulting in ill-informed decision-makers. In the end, it is a major problem for science and society when current regulatory protocols approve GMO crops based on little to no useful data upon which to assess safety.

5) Science and Politics. Governments have become habituated to using science as a political football. For example, in a study conducted by the Royal Society of Canada at the request of the Canadian government, numerous weaknesses of GM regulation in Canada were identified (RSC, 2001). The failure of the Canadian government to meaningfully respond to the many recommended changes was detailed by Andree (2006). Similarly, the expert recommendations of the international IAASTD report, produced by 400 researchers over 6 years, that GMOs are unsuited to the task of advancing global agriculture have been resolutely ignored by policymakers. Thus, while proclaiming evidence-based decision-making, governments frequently use science solely when it suits them.

6) Conclusion: When those with a vested interest attempt to sow unreasonable doubt around inconvenient results, or when governments exploit political opportunities by picking and choosing from scientific evidence, they jeopardize public confidence in scientific methods and institutions, and also put their own citizenry at risk. Safety testing, science-based regulation, and the scientific process itself, depend crucially on widespread trust in a body of scientists devoted to the public interest and professional integrity. If instead, the starting point of a scientific product assessment is an approval process rigged in favour of the applicant, backed up by systematic suppression of independent scientists working in the public interest, then there can never be an honest, rational or scientific debate.

The Authors: Susan Bardocz (4, Arato Street, Budapest, 1121 Hungary); Ann Clark (University of Guelph, ret.);Stanley Ewen (Consultant Histopathologist, Grampian University Hospital); Michael Hansen (Consumers Union); Jack Heinemann (University of Canterbury); Jonathan Latham (The Bioscience Resource Project); Arpad Pusztai (4, Arato Street, Budapest, 1121 Hungary); David Schubert (The Salk Institute); Allison Wilson (The Bioscience Resource Project)

Signatories: Brian Wynne (Professor of Science Studies, UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Cesagen, Lancaster University); Irina Ermakova, Dr of Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences; Jo Cummins (Professor Emeritus University of Western Ontario); Michael Antoniou, (Reader in Molecular Genetics; his university (King’s College, London) has a policy not to allow Dr Antoniou to use his affiliation here); Philip L. Bereano (Professor Emeritus University of Washington & Washington Biotechnology Action Council); Dr P M Bhargava (Former and Founder Director, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Government of India); Carlo Leifert (Professor for Ecological Agriculture Newcastle University); Peter Romilly (formerly University of Abertay, Dundee); Robert Vint (FRSA); Dr Brian John (Durham University, UK, retired); Professor C. Vyvyan Howard, University of Ulster); Diederick Sprangers (Genethics Foundation); Mariam Mayet (African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa); Eva Novotny (ret. University of Cambridge); Ineke Buskens (Research for the Future); Hector Valenzuela (Professor, University of Hawaii); Ronald Nigh, (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudio Superiores en Antropología Social, Chiapas, Mexico); Marcia Ishii-Eiteman (PhD, Senior Scientist, Pesticide Action Network North America); Naomi Salmon (Dept. of Law, Aberystwyth University, Wales); Michael W, Fox (Minnesota, Veterinarian & Bioethicist, PhD, MRCVS); Neil J. Carman (PhD Sierra Club); Vandana Shiva (India); Hans Herren (President, Millennium Institute, Washington DC, USA); John Fagan (PhD Earth Open Source, UK and USA); Sheila Berry and the Global Environmental Trust; Av Singh (PhD, Perennia); Laurel Hopwood (for the Sierra Club, USA); Philip H. Howard (Associate Professor of Community, Food and Agriculture, Michigan State University); Donald B. Clark (on behalf of Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice and Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, United Church of Christ, Pleasant Hill, TN); Robert Mann (Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry & in Environmental Studies (rtd) University of Auckland, NZ); Chris Williams (PhD, FRSA, University of London); Mae-Wan Ho (PhD Director Institute of Science in Society); Peter Saunders (Prof. Emeritus of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London); Dr. Terje Traavik (Prof. Gene Ecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsö); Oscar B. Zamora (Prof. Crop Science University of the Philippines Los Banos College, Philippines); Adrian Gibbs (Prof. (ret.) Canberra, Australia); Christian Vélot (Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics, University Paris-Sud, France); André Cicolella (Scientific adviser INERIS (National Institute of Industrial Environment and Risk) France); Maurizio Pea (Bussolengo General Hospital and University of Verona, Italy) Xiulin Gu (PhD, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, P.R.China); Brigitta Kurenbach (PhD,University of Canterbury, NZ); Elena Alvarez-Buylla (Instituto de Ecología, CU, Coyoacán, México); Elizabeth Cullen (MB, Ph.D, MD and environmental scientist); Claudia Chaufan, MD, PhD (University of California San Francisco); Marijan Jost (Prof., Croatia); Manuel Ruiz Perez (Dpto. Ecologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid-Spain); Rubens Onofre Nodari (Full Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina Florianópolis, Brazil); Judy Carman (Institute of Health and Environmental Research Inc., Kensington Park, Australia); Florianne Koechlin PhD (Blueridge Institute, Switzerland); Richard Lasker (for Brabant Research, Inc., BioInformatix, Inc., Puget Environmental Group, Inc.); Anita Idel (Dr. med. vet. Mediatorin (MAB) Germany); J.R. Olarieta (PhD, Lecturer in Soil Science, Universitat de Lleida); Svein Anders Noer Lie Associate Prof. University of Tromsoe, Norway); Cathey Falvo, MD, MPH [(retired)Prof & chair, international public health, New York Medical College, NY); Thomas Bøhn (GenØk - Centre for Biosafety, Tromsø, Norway); Jiang Gaoming, PhD, Professor of Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China); Prof. Enrique Ortega (FEA/Unicamp, Brazil); Gregory Möller (Prof. Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, The University of Idaho-Washington State University, USA); Dr Paulo Roberto Matins, Coordinator of the Brazilian Research Network in Nanotechnology, Society and Environment); Paulo Cezar Mendes Ramos (PhD ICMBio - Chico Mendes Biodiversity Conservation Institute, Brazil); Henry Kuska (PhD ret. Associate Professor, Depart. of Chemistry, University of Akron, USA); Philipe Baret (Université de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium); Marco Tulio da Silva Ferreira (MSc, UFMG, Brazil); Facundo Martín Phd (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, CONICET, Argentina); Jacinta Palerm (Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico); Dr Maarten Stapper (BioLogic AgFood); Sergio dC Rubin, (Latin Research Center, Bolivian Center of BioScience Research); Dr. Jalcione Almeida (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brasil); Jaime Breilh, Md. MSc. PhD (Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, Ecuador); Raquel Maria Rigotto (Profa. Departamento de Saúde Comunitária, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brasil); John J. Moore, S.J. (D.Sc. ret. Professor of Botany UCD, Dublin and UNZA, Lusaka); Gualter Barbas Baptista (Researcher in Ecological Economics and Political Ecology, Portugal); Prof. José Carlos de Araújo (Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil); Ligia Regina Franco Sansigolo Kerr (Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brasil); Silvana Suaiden (Professora da PUC-Campinas, Brazil); Prof. Florence Piron (Université Laval, Québec, Canada); Luigi D'Andrea, Biologist, PhD (Biome, Switzerland); Dra. Maria do Céu de Lima (Professora Associada LEAT UFC, Brazil); Tim LaSalle, PhD, (Professor of dairy science,ret., RSA); Profa. Dra. Cecilia Campello do Amaral Mello, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil); Randy Wayne (Assoc. Professor, Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, USA); Pr Marcello Buiatti (University of Florence, Italy); Kathya Orrico, PhD, (Brazil); Gabriel Silva Campos (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Espana); Prof. Dr. Andres E. Carrasco MD (Institute of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, School of Medicine Univ. of Buenos Aires, Argentina); Profa Dra. Valéria Cristina Lopes Wilke (Diretora da Faculdade de Filosofia, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - UNIRIO, Brazil);Profa Simone Benedet Fontoura (Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Amazonas, Campus Manaus Zona Leste, Brazil); Prof. Dr. Mauricio Chiarello (Ribeirão Preto - SP, Brazil); Prof. David O. Born (Professor, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, USA); Isabelle Goldringer (directrice de recherche INRA, UMR de Génétique Végétale, Université Paris-Sud, France); Rueidi Bastos (EMBRAPA, Brazil); Dr Stuart Parkinson (Executive Director, Scientists for Global Responsibility); Jean-Pierre Berlan (Directeur de Recherche INRA (retired)); Marciano Silva (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil); Dr Ulrich Loening (ex-Director of the Centre for Human Ecology, University of Edinburgh); Flávio Fabrini, PhD; Yara Paulina Cerpa Aranda (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul - Brasil); Thomas Heams (Assistant Professor, AgroParisTech and INRA, France); Donald R. Davis, Ph.D. (Biochemical Institute, The University of Texas, Austin, USA); Pierre M. Stassart (Associate Professor, Université de Liège, Belgium); Rosemary Mason (MB ChB FRCA); Dott. Ernesto Burgio (President of ISDE Scientific Committee, Italy); Dr. Narciso Barrera-Bassols (Investigador Nacional SNI II, Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad (UCCS), México); Jacques Hallard (Ing. CNAM, France); Jérôme Enjalbert (INRA, FRANCE); Rupa Patel, MD,FCFP (Queens University, Canada); Carlos Sonnenschein MD (Tufts University School of Medicine, USA); Bruno Gasparini (Coordenador do Curso de Direito do Instituto Superior do Litoral do Paraná, Paranaguá - Paraguay); Rod Toms (Ret. Lecturer in Biological Sciences Cornwall College); Cristine Carole Muggler (Associate Professor, Soil Science Department, Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil); Valério Pillar (Professor Titular, Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil); David Quist (Senior Scientist, Centre for Biosafety, Tromsø, Norway); Emilia Wanda Rutkowski, University of Campinas, Brasil); Raoni Japiassu Merisse (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade - ICMBio, Brazil); Marc Mathieu (Research scientist, Inserm, France); Prof. Jorge A Quillfeldt (Biophysics Dept, IB / UFRGS, Brazil); Adelheid Kresse, PhD (Medical University Graz, Austria); Paul Connett, PhD (Prof. Emeritus of Chemistry, Director, American Environmental Health Studies Project, USA); Thomas Kesteman, MD, MPH (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium/Université Aix-Marseille II, France/Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Madagascar); Juan Carlos Martínez García, PhD (Professor, Advanced Studies and Research Center of the National Polytechnic Institut of Mexico -Cinvestav/IPN-, México); Benjamin Bathfield, (PhD student at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico); Jan Diek van Mansvelt, (ret. Wageningen University (NL) and Timirazev University (Moscow, Russia); Anna Milena Zivian, Ph.D (Ocean Conservancy); Dr. Peter Weish (Institut für Zoologie der Universität für Bodenkultur, Wien, Austria); Prof. Fábio Kessler Dal Soglio (Faculdade de Agronomia - UFRGS; Porto Alegre, Brasil); Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir (Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland); Harald Sverdrup (Professor of Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Sweden).

and if you are a scientist or academic and would like your name added to this list, please email: isneditor (at) and write 'Seralini letter' in the headline, providing an affiliation if you wish.


(1) In addition, US scientists who publish studies finding adverse environmental effects are frequently vehemently attacked by other pro-GM scientists. As a report in Nature, which discusses numerous examples, points out, "Papers suggesting that biotech crops might harm the environment attract a hail of abuse from other scientists. Behind the attacks are scientists who are determined to prevent papers they deem to have scientific flaws from influencing policy-makers. When a paper comes out in which they see problems, they react quickly, criticize the work in public forums, write rebuttal letters, and send them to policy-makers, funding agencies and journal editors" (pg. 27 inWaltz. 2009a. Indeed, when one of us wrote a Commentary in Nature Biotechnology ten years ago suggesting that more attention needs to be paid to the potential unintended effects associated with insertional mutagenesis, we received a flood of responses, and an administrator at the Salk Institute even said that the publication "was jeopardizing funding for his institution" (see Waltz, 2009a). Similar attacks have greeted studies on adverse effects of Bt toxins on ladybird beetles and green lacewing larvae, which were used by German authorities to ban cultivation of Mon810, a Bt corn variety (see: Hilbeck et al. 2012a,b , respectively). In 2009, a group of 26 public sector corn entomologists sent a letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency which stated "No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions involving these crops [because of company-imposed restrictions]” (pg. 880 in Waltz, 2009b; it was no surprise that the letter was sent anonymously as the scientists feared retribution from the companies that funded their work (Pollack, 2009). Furthermore, industry control over what research can be conducted in the US means that adverse findings can effectively be suppressed. In one example cited in the article, Pioneer was developing a binary Bt toxin, Cry34Ab1/Cry35Ab1, against the corn rootworm. In 2001, Pioneer contracted with some university laboratories to test for unintended effects on a lady beetle. The laboratories found that 100% of the lady beetles died after eight days of feeding. Pioneer forbade the researchers from publicizing the data. Two years later Pioneer received approval for a Bt corn variety with Cry34Ab1/Cry35Ab1 and submitted studies showing that lady beetles fed the toxin for only 7 days were not harmed. The scientists were not allowed to redo the study after the crop was commercialized (Waltz, 2009b). In another example, Dow AgroSciences threatened a researcher with legal action if he published information he had received from US EPA. As the article notes, “The information concerned an insect-resistant variety of maize known as TC1507, made by Dow and Pioneer. The companies suspended sales of TC1507 in Puerto Rico after discovering in 2006 that an armyworm had developed resistance to it. Tabashnik was able to review the report the companies filed with the EPA by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request. “I encouraged an employee of the company [Dow] to publish the data and mentioned that, alternatively, I could cite the data,” says Tabashnik. “He told me that if I cited the information…I would be subject to legal action by the company,” he says. “These kinds of statements are chilling” (pg. 882 in Waltz, 2009b).


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Worstall, Tim. 2012. Proof Perfect That The Seralini Paper On GM Corn And Cancer In Rats Is Rubbish. Forbes 21 Sept 2012.



Corporate Push for GMO Food Puts Independent Science in Jeopardy
by Vandana ShivaPublished on Friday, December 7, 2012 by The Asian Age

Science is considered science when it is independent, when it has integrity and when it speaks the truth about its search. It was the integrity, independence and sovereignty of science that drew me and propelled me to study physics.(Photo:

Today, independent science is threatened with extinction. While this is true in every field, it is the field of food and agriculture that I am most concerned about.

At the heart of the food and agriculture debate are genetically modified organisms, also referred to as GMOs. The agrochemical industry’s new avatar is as the GMO industry. According to the industry, GMOs are necessary to remove hunger and are safe.

But evidence from all independent scientists has established that GMOs do not contribute to food security. The UN-sponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report — written by 400 scientists after a research of three to four years — concluded that there is no evidence that GMOs increase food security. The Union of Concerned scientists concluded in its report, “A Failure to Yield”, that in the US, genetic engineering had not increased the yield. “The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes” — a Global Citizens’ report on the state of GMOs based on field research across the world — also found that genetic engineering has not increased yields. Yet, the propaganda continues that GMOs are the only solution to hunger because GMOs increase yields.

The Supreme Court of India appointed an independent Technical Expert Committee (TEC) to advise it on issues of biosafety. The committee has some of India’s most eminent scientists, including Dr Imran Siddiqui, director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, and Dr P.S. Ramakrishnan, India’s leading biodiversity expert and professor emeritus at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

One would have expected the government to accept the recommendations of this eminent panel and to throw its weight behind the integrity and independence of science.

The most effective road to reducing hunger and malnutrition is to intensify land use in terms of biodiversity and ecological processes of renewal of soil fertility. Biodiverse ecological farms increase food and nutrition output per acre.

Instead, the government is throwing its weight behind the industry and its fraudulent claims. The Centre has joined the industry in opposing the expert committee’s report recommending moratorium on open field trial of GM crops for 10 years. Responding to a direct query from a bench presided over by Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S.J. Mukhopadaya, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre, said that the Centre does not accept the recommendations of the TEC. With the industry also filing objections to the report, the court directed the expert committee to give a final report after considering objections by various parties.

Stressing on the need to introduce GM crops, the Centre has said it would not be able to meet the first millennium development goal (MDG) of cutting the number of hungry people by half without such technologies. A moratorium of 10 years would take the country 20 years back in scientific research, it added.

These are fallacious arguments. Only two per cent of the GMO soy in the US is eaten by humans. The rest is used as biofuel to run cars and as animal feed. More GMOs do not mean more food.

The most effective road to reducing hunger and malnutrition is to intensify land use in terms of biodiversity and ecological processes of renewal of soil fertility. Biodiverse ecological farms increase food and nutrition output per acre.

The real scientific need for India and the world is to do research on agroecology, on how biodiversity and agro-ecosystems can produce more food while using lesser resources.

In the chemical industrial paradigm, seed and soil are empty containers to add toxic chemicals and genes to, and water is limitless. Industrial agriculture is destroying the natural capital on which food security depends.

All independent research on safety indicates that GMOs have serious biosafety issues. This is why we have a UN biosafety protocol.

The industrial agriculture and GMO paradigm has no understanding of the millions of soil organisms that produce soil fertility, the thousands of crop species that feed us, the amazing work of pollinators like bees and butterflies. And because ecological interactions that produce food are a black hole in the GMO paradigm, the impact of the release of GMOs in the environment is also a black hole. Independent science is vital to fill the gaps in knowledge about the ecology of food production and the ecology of biosafety. This is the knowledge gap that the TEC and independent scientists everywhere are trying to fill.

All independent research on safety indicates that GMOs have serious biosafety issues. This is why we have a UN biosafety protocol.

Beginning with Hungarian-born biochemist and nutritionist Dr Arpad Putzai and continuing with French scientist Dr Seralini, industry and its lobbyists assault every independent scientist whose research shows that GMOs have risks. Dr Putzai’s research, commissioned by the UK government, showed that rats fed with GMO potatoes had shrunken brains, enlarged pancreas and damaged immunity. Dr Putzai was hounded out of his lab and a gag order was put on him.

The publication of a paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology “Long Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant GM Maize” by Dr Seralini et al (2012) has generated intense debate on the safety or otherwise of Monsanto’s GM maize NK603.

The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) welcomes Dr Seralini’s study. I joined 120 scientists to sign a letter — Seralini and Science: An Open Letter — supporting Dr Seralini’s study.

Independent science is vital to fill the gaps in knowledge about the ecology of food production and the ecology of biosafety.

Russia and Kazakhstan have since halted imports of NK603 maize and, more recently, the Kenyan Cabinet has issued a directive to stop the import of GM foods due to inadequate research done on GMOs and lack of scientific evidence to prove the safety of the food.

This precautionary approach is what India’s Supreme Court-appointed TEC is calling for.

Citizens of California had put up Proposition 37 in the recent elections for something as simple as the “Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food” by having a label on GMO foods. This is recognised as a citizen’s right in Europe and now in India. But the California vote was defeated by industry spending — big food industry players are paying big bucks to battle California’s GMO labelling initiative. According to reports, they are spending as much as $1 million a day on false and misleading advertising.

If citizens don’t have the right to know and scientists don’t have the freedom to speak the truth, we are creating societies that are dangerous — both in terms of loss of democratic freedom and in terms of risking biosafety.

Independent scientists, along with the bees and biodiversity of our plants and seeds, could well become a species threatened with extinction if we do not stop the GMO drone.
© 2012 The Asian Age

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis;Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, includ

Source: International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Organic: Food Justice for the 99% - Dr. Oz in Time Magazine Slandering Families Who Choose Safe, Organic Food for Their Children — Off-Base/Ill Advised
by Charlotte Vallaeys
Published on Saturday,
December 1, 2012 by 
The Cornucopia Institute

As Americans become increasingly aware of the story behind conventional foods—the ecologically destructive monoculture fields, the petrochemical fertilizers, the toxic pesticides and dangerous fumigants—the agrochemical industry has launched an all-out media offensive against the booming organic industry.

The agrochemical industry’s communications specialists have apparently found willing partners in major nationwide media outlets like The New York Times and Time magazine, which have recently published articles discouraging people from buying organic foods. The message is nearly always the same, as industry-friendly researchers and reporters downplay the role and harm caused by agricultural chemicals and focus instead on the differences between a handful of common nutrients. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, the conclusion is always that organic foods are not worth the extra price because the nutritional differences are minimal.

First, we must set the record straight. Scientific studies show that milk from pastured cows contains higher levels of beneficial fats. Beef from grass-fed cattle and eggs from pastured hens are lower in cholesterol and saturated fat and higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A and E. Organic strawberries and tomatoes contain more healthy antioxidants. These are all undisputed facts laid out in a myriad of published, peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Consumers increasingly turn to organic and grass-based foods, based on this scientific evidence that has been reported in magazines, including Time, in recent years. Now, the latest issue ofTime mindlessly repeats the agribusiness mantra: “Nutritionally, an egg is an egg.” Milk is milk. And canned peas, with toxic pesticide residues, heated to extreme temperatures during processing, and then placed in a container lined with a suspected endocrine disruptor, are just as healthy as those for sale at a farmer’s market, picked fresh from a local field just hours ago.

The purpose of these media reports and stories seems to be to pull Americans away from thoughtful discourse about our food and back to blissful ignorance. Concern over pesticides, animal welfare, fostering local economies, and pollution turn people toward organic and local foods—and that’s bad for business for the chemical and industrial farming industries. No wonder they want us all to look at an egg, whether produced on a factory farm or laid by a free-range, pastured hen, and see nothing more.

The paternalistic message—to shut up and eat our food—is no longer working. Americans are no longer ignoring the mounting scientific evidence that pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics and other drug residues are harming us, even at extremely low levels, and especially our children.

This scientific evidence about pesticides’ harmful effects, most recently reviewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and covered in the latest issue of Pediatrics, will continue to be a major driving force behind the booming success and growth of the organic food movement.

The agrochemical industry will not win the hearts and minds (and stomachs) of Americans, especially when the health of our children is on the line. So they have turned their latest attempt to bring Americans back to blind trust in conventional foods by focusing on our collective class resentments. A more sinister message has taken hold, likening a diet of conventional foods to “The 99% Diet” and a chemical-free organic diet as “elitist.”

In Time magazine, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who once told millions of viewers, “I want you to eat organic foods” and “your kids deserve better than to be part of a national chemistry experiment,” has seemingly changed his tune and turned the decision to buy organic foods into a political and class issue.

Not only did Dr. Oz write that conventional foods are nutritionally equal to organic foods (he never mentions pesticide contamination), he calls organic foods “elitist.” Suddenly, a middle-class mother who decides to pay extra for a safe haven from pesticide contamination is called “snooty” and a “food snob” by the very same celebrity physician who once urged her to protect her children from agricultural chemicals by choosing organic.

Of course, the scientific evidence has not changed since Dr. Oz told us to buy organic. The study, for example, that showed statistically significant higher rates of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children with higher levels of dietary pesticide exposure has not disappeared, and is considered as scientifically sound and convincing today as it was when it was first published in 2010 and reported in media outlets including Time.

The conventional food advocates are now attempting to dissuade Americans from buying organic foods by turning the issue into one of class and privilege. The tactic is to paint food as a reflection of one’s position in society, like owning a Mercedes or fancy yacht, rather than a question of health and safety—organic food is painted not as a safe haven from pesticides, but as an elitist food for the “1%.” Would any of us 99%’ers want to be considered a “snob?”

Middle-class Americans who prioritize personal finances and choose to protect their children from harmful pesticide residues should be proud of this decision, and should not be bullied or shamed by Oz. Our children, as Dr. Oz once noted, should not serve as the human equivalents of lab rats. Rather than malign organic foods as elitist, we must recognize the very real and indisputable health benefits of organics and work to make pure, wholesome, uncontaminated foods more accessible and affordable for all.
© 2012 Cornucopia Institute

Charlotte Vallaeys, M.S., M.T.S. is the Director of Farm and Fo
od Policy at The