Pushing back the organic movement

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Pushing back the organic movement

This guest article is contributed by Mischa Popoff, a former organic farmer and USDA-contract organic inspector and is the author of Is it Organic?


In its first major action in 1972, the United States Environmental Protection Agency made history by banning dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). It led to a worldwide ban, all based on the public outcry elicited by marine biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring.

This marks the beginning of the organic movement in America, and remains a badge of honor for organic activists, in spite of the fact that this ban resulted in the deaths of over 41 million people – roughly the same number of people Chairman Mao murdered in his Great Leap Forward – as public-health authorities lost their only effective means of controlling mosquitos that act as a vector for tropical diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

But Carson never called for a ban on DDT, a substance viewed by activists as a product of modern science but which was first synthesized in 1874 and first used as an insecticide in 1939. Nor did she call for a ban on ANY pesticide in her bestselling book, or anywhere else. Contrary to popular belief, Carson only called for the more judicial use of pesticides.

But she failed to appreciate that there are no harmless chemicals, only the harmless USE of chemicals. Or, as the medieval father of toxicology, Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus, puts it, “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous.” With a “prosecuting attorney’s” style of writing, hand-in-hand with repetitive use of phrases like “elixirs of death,” the unfounded claim that there is “no safe dose” for such pesticides, and anecdotal tales of people dying from cancer within a year of using DDT, Carson and only Carson must be found guilty of perpetuating environmentalists’ interpretation of her book as an “impassioned plea for action against the use of these new materials.”

Alas, Carson was not available to comment by the time the EPA took its fateful action, having died 6 years before Republican President Richard Nixon even formed the EPA, 8 years before activists undemocratically twisted her words into this regulatory fiat. And so the way was paved for the default notion in organic circles that anything synthetic is bad and everything natural is good. As Mussolini so infamously put it, reason is a tool, but it can never motivate the crowd. Throngs of angry, often violent demonstrators, feed off inspiration, not boring ol’ facts and figures.

Fast forward to the present and the crowd of organic activists have found a new enemy. This time it’s not something toxic. It’s not even a substance. It’s a process; the field of science known as genetic engineering which creates novel traits in plants that are then referred to as genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs. But never mind the facts. GMOs are viewed by organic activists in the same terms as DDT once was, and thus, they say, must be banned.

At a recent forum titled “Modifying the Future of Food: What If GMOs Are the Only Option?” a group of esteemed academics explain the many positive aspects of GMOs. There’s just one problem, one which all the experts in the world are proving incapable of solving. No one’s listening.

The GMO sector will never make headway simply by talking about the science-based agronomical facts surrounding GMOs. We have to come to grips with the fact that we’re under attack from the tax-subsidized anti-GMO organic movement, the exact-same baseless, hyperbolic, emotional attack in fact that was used with such ruthless efficacy against DDT. Do you know any scientists working on DDT? Neither do I.

A handful of public-health officials in the Third World are once-again using with DDT having grown bold enough to stand up to anti-DDT organic activists. But beyond that, DDT is like toxic waste. Find me a graduate student somewhere planning to study DDT for her dissertation and I’ll show you someone destined for a career in obscurity who likely won’t pay off her student loans until she retires… assuming she’s even able to find employment.

And, unless we start fighting back, GMOs are headed for the same fate. Dr. Gonsalves alludes to this at the forum (around the 23:30 mark) when he points out that the development of the GMO papaya was a fantastic scientific achievement, but then asks (and I’m paraphrasing) What have we done since? The answer, sadly, is nothing… nada… zip… rien! He goes on to say (24:30) “It’s not about science, it’s about people skills.” In other words, we have to win the public-relations debate, once and for all, the same way General Electric did when the light bulb replaced the gas light over a century ago.

The alternative is atrophy. We’re now in a holding pattern in modern agriculture. Public and private interests are no longer willing to lead this field of science, leaving farmers to rely on the handful of GMO crops that have already made it through the maze of regulatory and public-relations obstacles.

Sure, there are a few academics pressing ahead with GMO research. But the crops they’re working on – GMO wheat and flax for instance – have ZERO chance of making it to the field unless a company like Monsanto, Bayer or Syngenta purchases the technology and invest a quarter-of-a-billion dollars into commercializing it. And why would a company make such a bold decision when the deck is stacked against them? There is simply no business case for taking such a high-risk gamble.

Research and development into GMOs is rapidly approaching the same position we’re witnessing in the field of antibiotic development; forget about developing new products; concentrate on existing ones, even as they gradually lose effectiveness. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria were observed by scientists almost immediately after Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. But the the medical community didn’t throw up its hands and use less penicillin. New antibiotics were developed! And thankfully so. No… not stronger antibiotics. New varieties were developed, to the point where doctors and veterinarians now have well in excess of 100 antibiotics to rely upon in fighting infection.

And how far behind is the field of genetic engineering? Or is it already on par with antibiotic research?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting we stoop to the same level as the anti-GMO organic movement has. Never! Facts matter, to the exclusion of anything speculative that could be interpreted as a mean-spirited attack on the organic industry. But where is the line-up of speakers at any forum exposing the complete absence of facts emanating from the anti-GMO, anti-antibiotic organic industry?

Let’s face it, the impetus for change will not come from industry, nor from industry organizations, farm bureaus, commodity boards or academia. The people at the helm of these institutions have all consciously chosen to enter the holding pattern on GMOs, cognizant that just a single misstep could result in banishment. DDT anyone?

And so, it befalls to farmers in the freest nation on the planet to fight fire with facts, and engage those who would take farming backwards in time as the rest of the American economy finally starts to move forward.

Let me know when you’re ready.


Mischa Popoff is a former organic farmer and USDA-contract organic inspector and is the author of Is it Organic?

  • http://www.ecosense.me Patrick Moore

    Mischa hits the nail on the head. We must “campaign” for GM and biotech progress. This battle can’t be won by scientists in labs, corporate executives in offices, or government regulators pushing paper. It must be fought in the media and in public by people committed to science and truth. I add my name to this effort by leading the campaign to Allow Golden Rice Now! http://www.allowgoldenricenow.org Two million children die each year from vitamin A deficiency, yet Greenpeace and the organic activists campaign against Golden Rice which is a cure. Get on the front lines for the improvement of our food and medicine using genetic science!!

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Right on Patrick!
      It’s time to confront the enemies of human innovation. It’s time to give the needy of the world every piece of the technologies we have that keep every one of us fed and healthy.
      Keep up the Good work!

  • Josh_Fuller

    “… where is the line-up of speakers at any forum exposing the complete absence of facts emanating from the anti-GMO, anti-antibiotic organic industry…” In Kelowna, they’re being threatened and kicked out of events: http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/opinion/columnists/article_bc9c815c-03df-11e4-823f-001a4bcf6878.html#.U8A_sY01PYk.twitter

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Yes Josh… sadly, the entire province of British Columbia has become a hotbed of anti-GMO activists.

      Many communities have deemed themselves “GMO-free” zones, reminiscent of when B.C. declared itself a nuclear-free zone back in the 80s.

      The only saving grace is that the Liberal government has already effectively shut down most production agriculture in the province, leaving only the grape, cherry and peach sectors as viable while market gardens, livestock and apple orchards are all defunct.

      So the province’s anti-GMO stance will have little or no impact beyond its borders… thank God.

      I have written to the editor of the Kelowna Daily Courier (who happens to also be my boss), and suggested he run a face-off column on the whole GMO issue. He’s thinking about it. Maybe if you write to him it’ll help him make up his mind.

  • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

    There has never been a worldwide ban on DDT. DDT has never been banned in Africa, nor Asia, nor South America.

    The U.S. ban on DDT applied only to the U.S. EPA has no jurisdiction outside the U.S. EPA’s order specifically granted DDT manufacturers the right and duty to keep making the stuff in the U.S., for export.

    Malaria deaths have fallen most years since the U.S. ban on DDT — there was no malaria in the U.S. of any consequence, then. But malaria deaths have fallen from 4 million annually at peak-DDT-use years of 1958-1963, to fewer than 700,000 annual deaths, today.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      You are so completely out of touch Ed.

      The United States and the World Trade Organization banned DDT, and then threatened to withhold financial aid from any nation that continued to use it. This resulted in an effective world-wide ban on DDT.

      It doesn’t matter whether Africa, Asia or South America actually went through the trouble of writing up legislation and passing it into law to ban DDT. After the big boys in Europe and the U.S. of A. banned it, it was banned for all.

      And so it came to pass that tens-of-millions of people would die from preventable diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

      You should be ashamed of yourself for getting this so wrong, and for misleading people.

      • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

        The US banned DDT for use on crops, out of doors. Indoor Residual Spraying (as for malaria) is legal in the U.S.

        The World Trade Organization has no authority to ban any substance, anywhere. Anyone who told you otherwise was pulling your leg.

        EPA tried to save the chemical companies who made DDT. The order banning it for use on crops, specifically allowed manufacture in the U.S. to continue, for export. ALL that DDT, several millions of pounds, was exported to Africa and Asia, for use against mosqutoes or any other pest people there wanted to use it against.

        There has never been a shortage of DDT in Africa or Asia.

        The World Health Organization started using DDT in 1955, and though they had to end their ambitious campaign to eradicate malaria in 1965 (seven years before the U.S. ban) due to DDT abuse by farmers and other businesses, WHO has used DDT constantly since 1955. Mexico used DDT since 1948 — and still does.

        When DDT was banned in the U.S., it became cheaper and much more available everywhere else in the world. In fact, one problem now is what to do with all the surplus DDT that was left over. (See the photos, especially — and click through for the full FAO report: http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/legacy-of-ddt-abuse-cleaning-up-old-pesticide-dumps/ ) DDT manufacture in the U.S. continued at least through 1984; today it is made in massive quantities in India; it’s easy to make, and anyone who wants to manufacture it, may.

        Though WHO ended the malaria eradication campaign, people kept fighting it. Many fail to understand that DDT was just one leg of the platform used to beat malaria. The idea was to knock down the local mosquito population TEMPORARILY, and then treat and cure all the humans — so when the mosquitoes came roaring back as they always do, there would be no well of malaria disease for the mosquitoes to draw from, to spread it (mosquitoes must get infected with malaria before they can pass it on, and then they have to incubate the parasite for another two weeks). Efforts to treat and cure malaria continued, and from the DDT-peak-use high of 4 million dying each year of malaria, the death toll was reduced to about a million a year by 1999. With the assistance of NGOs like the Gates Foundation, WHO and several nations re-energized the anti-malaria fight in 1999, using Integrated Vector Management, the methods Rachel Carson urged in 1962. Since 1999, malaria deaths have been cut by 45% more, WHO calculates — about 600,000/year. That’s a dramatic difference from 4 million a year. Still too many, but much, much improvement.

        And so it came to pass that, mostly without DDT, malaria deaths did NOT INCREASE, but instead DECREASED, year over year, after the U.S. banned DDT use on cotton in Arkansas.

        By the way, the head of the U.S. Public Health Service testified to the EPA in 1971 that there was not need to keep DDT around in the U.S. for malaria or any other disease — “no legitimate use” of the stuff for 20 years prior, he said. Norman Borlaug, fresh from his Nobel Prize, testified DDT was important to third-world nations — which was one more factor in EPA’s odd order, against U.S. law, leaving the manufacturing going, for export.

        Mischa, there is a lot written on DDT history, at EPA’s site (though much of it was taken down prior to 2008), and at many other sites. You can catch up by starting here, at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ddt-chronicles-at-millard-fillmores-bathtub/

        Other good sources include the blog Deltoid, and look for John Quiggin’s book on Zombie Economics.

        DDT has never been banned worldwide. The Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty names it one of the “dirty dozen” chemicals, but there is a special addendum to the treaty that keeps it available to fight malaria, for any nation.

        I also recommend WHO’s annual “World Malaria Report.”

        And if you’re interested in actually helping fight malaria, go to Nothing But Nets, and buy a bednet for a kid. Nets are about double the effectiveness of DDT or other pesticide spraying to prevent malaria.

        Get in touch with what’s really going on in the malaria fight, and join in.

        • Illinois Farmer

          Ed,
          Thank you for so elequantly sharing the facts. I have read rants like this one in the past. It is easy to believe someone if they appear to know the facts when in fact they are on a agenda for commercial interests.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            How exactly do you figure I have a commercial interest because I want to help less fortunate people in the Third World?

            I am 100% independent. I don’t defend Monsanto, Bayer or Syngenta. I believe, in point of fact, that they have little interest in true innovation for the betterment of humankind.

            I defend the science. And if that bothers you Mr./Mrs. Illinois Farmer, perhaps you’re the one who has the commercial interest in play.

          • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

            Not sure what sort of interest you have in this fight, but it’s not the pursuit of facts.

            One of my posts disappeared. Care to explain what’s going on?

          • Ian

            Hi Ed,

            Any comments with embedded links are held in pending for Moderator approval.

            I didn’t get to approve yours in time – it’s now been corrected.

            Sorry about that.

          • Gilles Hosch

            mine has disappeared also. mischa popoff is a phoney, and controls “in the freest of all countries” what can and cannot be said on this blog regarding GMOs, and the bunch of halftruths and lies that are contained therein.

          • Gilles Hosch

            GMO crops are to save/help the third world?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            All forms of technology help all humankind, especially those most in need. And those opposed to technology are antihuman.

          • Gilles Hosch

            wrong. not all technology helps mankind. and some forms of technology serve no purpose other than enslaving the masses. GMO crops belong to those technologies that primarily serve big money and large corporations, kill tradidtional agriculture, put the environment at risk, are not needed / serve no immediate purpose (like saving the third world – which is TOTAL bullshit) other than concentrating power and money in humanity’s food supply chain.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            The only way any corporation makes money off of GMOs is if millions of farmers choose to grow them. You have no faith in farmers, and want to have the power to make choices for them.

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          If a country like the United States or an organization like The WTO threatens to withhold aid to a poor country if they’re caught using DDT, then that’s all the authority they need. Isn’t it?

          • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

            Please show me where the World Trade Organization has ever threatened anything on DDT. That’s not the job nor purview of WTO, and I cannot imagine how it would become an issue in that group.

            BTW, WTO only came into existence in 1995. By that time, DDT was already compromised around the world as an effective malaria fighter.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Ed Darrel is attempting to use the tired-old logic of the global-environmental movement that man-made substances eventually lose their efficacy, so we shouldn’t bother to use them to begin with.

            This argument is routinely used against glyphosate (Roundup) and antibiotics, leading ill-informed environmentalists to argue that glyphosate-resistant weeds and antibiotic-resistant bacteria force us to abandon these man-made substances. And yet, glyphosate and antibiotics are still in use, and are used with great success.

            It’s true that all organisms develop resistance to the substances we use to eradicate them. But that does not mean we should abandon them. It means we should use them judiciously (as Rachel Carson said, by the way) at the same time as we develop new and better versions of these substances.

            As for DDT, it remains the ONLY effective means we have of controlling mosquitoes that spread malaria. It never lost its efficacy; DDT-resistant mosquitoes never became a problem as Ed Darrel tries to imply. He does not have his facts straight, plain and simple.

            For those who are interested, you can read the full story about how Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring led the banning of DDT by clicking here: http://www.greenerideal.com/lifestyle/0718-anti-science-wing-of-organic-movement/

  • Sebastian Larsen

    Personally, I am boycotting organic and urging everyone I know to do the same. As soon as the initial chock of hearing that someone is against organic, most I have talked to understand what a load of nonsense organic is and what the dangers of this particular branch of Luddism are. I have also joined anti-organic or pro-gmo groups on facebook, such as:

    https://www.facebook.com/BoycottOrganic
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/GMOLOL/
    https://www.facebook.com/hatepseudoscience

    Please join and promote these pages, they are doing great work.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      I grew up on an organic farm and remain a heartfelt supporter of many of the principles of organic farming. But I daresay you are right Sebastian, it is time to strike back against organic.
      The movement has gone off the rails, and no longer stands for what it once stood for, having become nothing more than a front for the global anti-GMO, anti-human-population movement.
      Please visit my website Sebastian: http://www.isitorganic.ca and let’s get started. I look forward to hearing back from you.

      • Gilles Hosch

        you are not an organic farmer. you are an asshole.

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          And you sir, are not only dull, but are the cause of dullness in others.

  • stewart

    Mischa, I urge you to review Tim Lambert’s compendium of DDT information at Science Blogs (Deltoid is the blog name). As Ed notes, you are spreading misinformation and lies – they may not originate with you, but such carelessness does not make me rush to trust the rest of your comments.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      I am familiar with the points Ed Darrell is trying to make Stewart. But the details surrounding the banning of DDT are not important. Just because some countries have not officially banned DDT does not change the fact that we stopped using DDT to control mosquitoes, and tens-of-millions have died as a result.

      Some countries in Africa are – thankfully – using DDT again in spite of what the elitist urban organic activist crowd might say. There’s no point in trying to deny the fact that the same people who are opposed to the science of genetic engineering remain dead-set opposed to the use of DDT.

      • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

        I am familiar with the points Ed Darrell is trying to make Stewart. But
        the details surrounding the banning of DDT are not important. Just
        because some countries have not officially banned DDT does not change
        the fact that we stopped using it as our only effective means to control
        disease-carrying mosquitoes, with tens-of-millions dying as a result.

        Facts are important — you get the details wrong.

        1. DDT has been in constant use against malaria since 1948. There has never been a ban on the stuff, especially not in South America, Central America, Mexico, Africa, nor Asia.

        2. DDT has never been in short supply. No nation that wanted DDT to use has ever found it difficult to get it.

        3. Some African protested the spraying of DDT in their homes, and otherwise DDT advocates OPPOSED the use of DDT because it hurt their commercial interests (Uganda, for example).

        4. DDT’s efficiency was compromised by commercial interests in Africa, to the point that the World Health Organization was forced to abandon its malaria eradication campaign in 1965, seven years prior to the U.S. ban on use of DDT on crops in the U.S. This is not a fault, nor an action, by any environmentalist group, but a fault and sin by DDT advocates — many, perhaps most of whom now advocate GMOs, oddly enough.

        5. Environmental groups, like EDF, have ALWAYS advocated use of DDT in indoor residual spraying in Africa. Please do not mischaracterize their positions contrary to what history shows.

        6. Rachel Carson was dead right about DDT, though she didn’t have access to information on all the wildlife damage we now know to be the case.

        7. The slander campaign against Rachel Carson and environmentalists is a warning that those who promote the slanders should not be granted credence.

        8. By the way, malaria declined almost every year after the U.S. ban on DDT, and now the worldwide malaria death toll stands less than 25% what it was at peak DDT use. Rachel Carson and the environmentalists were sadly correct that monied interests would abuse DDT until it was not effective to fight disease.

        We are forced to wonder: Is it the same monied interests who were wildly and dangerously wrong about DDT when Rachel Carson was right, who now tell us “don’t worry” about GMOs?

        What does history tell us about that?

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          Ed, Ed, Ed…

          You are deliberately misleading people. Just because DDT might have been officially “available” for use, it does not follow that it was available for use. Where do you think people in the Third World would get their DDT?

          All throughout the Developing World, DDT became scarce and ultimately UNAVAILABLE after the U.S. EPA banned it and the WTO followed suit. Countries that continued to use DDT to control mosquitoes that spread malaria saw their aid cut off, and quickly fell into line. They had no way of making their own DDT; they were subject to the will of the USA and Europe.

          The banning of DDT here in the Developed world led, ipso-facto, to the effective ban on it throughout the entire world. And MILLIONS of people died. To deny this as Malcolm Gladwell tried to do makes him no better than a holocaust denier.

          I notice you have attempted to carry your flawed argument forth on other websites where there is no comment section, and hence no opportunity for me to respond to you. So I have posted another article here on GreenerIdeal where you and others can freely comment: http://www.greenerideal.com/lifestyle/0718-anti-science-wing-of-organic-movement/

          Get your facts straight Ed.

  • WeSeeYou
    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Interesting response to that article by the author: http://www.isitorganic.ca/attempted_drive-by_smear

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Well of course you see me. But no one can see you because you’re too cowardly to use your real name Mr. Mrs. “WeSeeYou.” Nice try.

      You can see my response to all of Cornucopia’s baseless claims on my website.

  • Jessica Chasko Denning

    Hey, we are just asking for a label.
    And the right to grow our own food without GMO contamination.
    Don’t we deserve the same right to freedom to know what we eat and feed our families that citizens and scientists and doctors and moms in 64 other countries already have?
    Most of these crops are GE’d to contain a pesticide factory, and be doused with pesticides (Roundup is an herbicide/pesticide, and was patented as a broad spectrum antibiotic, and as a way to remove minerals).
    Antibiotic resistance a problem? Well, there is an antibiotic-resistant marker built right in to GE crops that have contributed most likely to the rising antibiotic resistance.. feed this to all the animals and people and it is not a surprise at all.
    Organics are not the problem. Unlabeled, unquarantined GMO crops are a problem.
    We just want to know what we eat. What do they think we are, stupid?

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      You already have a label Jessica. Now you want another label. When will it end?

      • Shalom

        Why does it matter when it ends? The more labels the better. Knowledge is POWER. Let us choose.

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          A difference that doesn’t make a difference is no difference at all.

          • pilman

            No sir, you clearly have a agenda, all we asked for is a label showing what products are genetically modified, we are the consumers, we should have the right to know what we are paying for. Why are you so against labeling and testing? No one told you that you can’t grow Gmos, if that’s what people want then that is their choice, but we want to know what it is we are buying. We have to pay for certified organic food and rigorous regulations to prove it is organic to be certified by USDA yet the big industries think they should be able to hide this information while passing off food as all natural, we are sick of your subsidized gmo garbage canola, soy and corn, this isn’t real food, it’s garbage.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            GMOs are not an ingredient. They are a process, the same as chemical and nuclear mutagenesis, and plant hybridization, all of which are allowed in organic production.

            But all right, I’ll tell you what, I’ll start giving in on GMO labelling as soon as we start labelling organic foods informing consumers that they were fertilized with compost that might contain pathogens.

            As long as we’re labelling the process instead of the ingredient, it stands to reason, no?

  • MADGE Australia Inc

    Mischa is as wrong on GMO as he is on malaria and DDT. The main GM crops are either designed to be sprayed with a herbicide – so the weeds die and the crops survive. Or to produce a toxin within the plants to kill certain insects that eat them. Or are a mixture of both ie Smartstax corn can be sprayed with two herbicides and contains genes for 6 insect killing proteins.

    Unsurprisingly this has created intense selective pressure on both weeds and insects causing 50% of US farmland to be infested with ‘superweeds.” These are so large they can destroy harvesting machinery and require either hand weeding or intensive use of weedkillers. Numerous insects are becoming resistant to the bt toxin. Also GM seeds are usually coated with neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to bee and bird deaths.

    It is peculiar that Mischa says he grew up on an organic farm and was an inspector (which others have questioned) and yet seems to have no understanding of the basis of this form of farming.

    What is the problem that Mischa thinks GM will solve? If it is feeding the world then he should look at the UN 2008 report IAASTD Agriculture at the Crossroads that showed agroecology as the way to feed the world with GM as more or less irrelevant and potentially able to entrench poverty and lack of access to resources.

    To see how well GM is doing at feeding people we should look at the US as this is the country that grows the most GM crops. In 2010 in the US (latest stats) 1 in 7 people were food insecure – the highest number ever recorded. Children are the worst affected. If this is what we want for the world then GM with its technological failures, corporate control, delusional cheerleading by pundits and governmental refusal to stand for the public interest is the way to go.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Wow, you are SO-O out of touch Madge.

      Yes, there are some GMO crops that withstand weed spray. They comprise a tiny minority of all GMO crops available today, and yes, they can give rise to herbicide-resistant weeds. But there is no such thing as a “superweed.” That is the mythical construct of paranoid environmentalists who read too many comic books.

      But you are dead wrong about GMO crops producing toxins. GMO Bt crops have Bacillus thurengiensis spliced into them which is an organic biological control agent. So, clearly, you’re the one with no understanding here.

      • MADGE Australia Inc

        Where are you getting your evidence from? The vast majority of GM crops are designed to be sprayed with a weedkiller. That is why they are called things like “Roundup Ready soy” and “Liberty Link Corn”. The repeated spraying of these chemicals has selected for ‘superweeds’ like the Palmer Amaranth that can rapidly grow to 7 feet tall, resist several herbicides and produce a million seeds. This is why the USDA is in the process of approving GM corn and soy designed to be sprayed with 2,4-D.

        Where are you getting your info on bt from? Bt occurs naturally in the soil. It is only activated in the stomach of an insect. It is a crystal protein with insecticidal properties. This has been altered to make it more aggressive and inserted into the GM plant genome so it will kill insects that eat it. If bt is not a toxin, how does it kill insects?

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          No, you’re wrong Madge. Only a handful of GMO crops are engineered to withstand weed-killer. You have no idea what you’re talking about, and have bought into the whole anti-GMO, anti-Monsanto organic agenda.

          And if you believe Bt should be classified as a toxin, then please get ahold of the USDA, EPA and FDA and convince them.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            If you go to the USDA site “Recent trends in GM adoption” under the heading “Herbicide-Tolerant (HT) Crops you will see that in the US in 2014 herbicide tolerant (HT) soy ie designed to be sprayed with weedkiller comprise 94% of the plantings, ht cotton is 91% and ht corn is 89%.

            If you look at the same USDA page under the heading “Insect-Resistant crops” it says “These bacteria (ie bt) produce a protein that is toxic to specific insects,…”

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            If you bothered to look at GMO Golden Rice, brinjal, papaya, citrus, bananas, drought-resistant wheat, and a whole host of other non-proprietary crops, you will see that the ruse being peddled by urban organic activists about GMOs being developed so chemical companies can sell more herbicides is without basis.

            As for Bt being toxic, “a 2012 European regulatory peer review of 5 approved strains found that while there is data to support some claims of low toxicity to humans and the environment, there is insufficient data to justify many of these claims.”

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            GMO golden rice is nowhere near release – as the IRRI states if you look at their site. Meanwhile Vitamin A deficiency has been massively reduced in the Philippines by better diets and supplements.

            GM wheat, citrus and bananas have not been commercialized.

            GM bt brinjal was released to 20 farmers in Bangladesh recently and 9 of the 19 spoken to by The Guardian had problems with it.

            GM papaya has been growing in Hawaii and has polluted other non-GM papaya. It is resistant to the ringspot virus but vulnerable to black spot fungi requiring it to be sprayed with fungicide. It has collapsed the export market and reduced the price at which papaya is sold.

            The main GM crops grown are GM soy, corn, canola, cotton and sugarbeet. As proved before they are mainly herbicide resistant.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Wow… talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. As long as urban activists like you keep the pressure up and prevent all those non-proprietary crops from being approved, you’ll be able to carry on pretending GMOs are all associated with herbicides.

            Your actions and words are shameful Madge. Like hybrid crop-breeding technology, genetic engineering will provide benefit to humankind, as soon as people like you get out of the way.

          • Gilles Hosch

            madge, you owe a medal for putting up all the information, step by step, while getting denigrated by this nono from response to response. mischa, i’ll say it again. you’re an asshole and a liar. (now you can delete this post too)

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            And you, sir, suffer form delusions of adequacy.

            If you can’t point out any factual errors in my article, please take your mindless insults elsewhere.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Thanks Gilles.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Umm that’s because GM crops are associated with herbicides and creating bt toxins.

            Gene Ethics an Australian group with 26 years experience in examining the promises and performance of GM crops shows that scientists know the promises of GM wonder crops are false. They have put together this overview of why GM can only deal with simplistic traits together with quotes from scientists with relevant experience:

            “Simply put, using genetic manipulation techniques, scientists are only able to cut and paste the genes for traits that are controlled by single genes whereas most traits involve the interactions of multiple genes. Thus, the same 3 traits – Roundup herbicide tolerance, Bt insect toxins, and virus resistance -that were commercialised in 1996
            in soy, corn, canola and cotton, are still the only traits
            commercially available now.

            The following comments on single vs multigenic traits suggest that existing GM techniques will be unable to deliver on most of their grandiose promises of more complex traits and higher productivity, and on other traits such as nitrogen fixation in grains, drought and salt tolerance, longer shelf life, ‘healthier’, more nutritious and biofortified foods.

            “GM technologies are generally only suitable for the single gene traits, not complex multigenic ones.” Richard Richards, Chief Research Scientist Plant Industry at
            CSIRO

            “the dramatic breeding and selection advances (that mapping the beef genome sequence) promised
            have been difficult to achieve because hundreds, even thousands, of interacting genes control important production traits like growth rate, feed efficiency and meat quality – not the handful that researchers had originally believed.” Dr Heather Burrow, CEO Beef
            CRC, Weekly Times, Beef CRC chopped, 11/9/11

            The Australian Bureau of Resource Sciences also says: “canopy temperature depression (CTD) has been shown to be positively correlated with yield in both warm and temperate environments. As CTD is a complex, multi-genic trait, it is unlikely that transgenic technologies could be easily used to introduce the responsible genetic elements into breeding lines; however, molecular markers could be developed for this trait.”
            Australia’s crops and pastures in a changing climate – can
            biotechnology help? Julie Glover, Hilary Johnson, Jacqueline Lizzio,Varsha Wesley, Paul Hattersley and Catherine Knight, Bureau of Rural
            Sciences, 2008

            While improved understanding and data on gene functioning may facilitate marker-assisted breeding, there is scant evidence that GM techniques are capable of more complex transformations. It is therefore appropriate to question GM’s performance to date and the wisdom of further expenditures of scarce public R&D funds on what is already a flawed and failed enterprise.”

            What does work is agroecology. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food released a paper showing agroecology could double food production in 10 years in the places with most hunger and would reduce rural poverty and cool the climate at the same time.

            Do not accuse me of harming humanity. Instead stop land being grabbed from the poorest farmers on the planet in the name of Western ‘investment.’ Also support the worldwide farmers movement “La Via Campesina” that looks after the people that actually provide food for people rather than biofuels and animal feed for export.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            GMO crops can be whatever we want them to be. And as long as scientists respond to the free market, we can assume they’re for the good of humankind.

            You have a deliberately narrow view of GMOs Madge. Do you know anyone with diabetes? Ever heard of synthetic human insulin? How do you think scientists came up with that? It replaced insulin from slaughtered pigs.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            GM crops cannot be ‘whatever we want them to be”. See the quotes from scientists in my previous post warning that most traits involve multiple genes and this is why all the 40 year old promises of GM wondercrops have failed.

            “As long as scientists respond to the free market…” this is an entirely ideological phrase. Dwane Andreas, ex-CEO of Archer Daniel Midlands one of the world’s big grain traders, said “There isn’t one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians.” He understands the vast amount of subsidies and benefits huge agribusiness receives at the expense of farmers. So there is no ‘free market.’ and why should scientists respond to that rather than ethics or human need or anything else?

            The second part of your sentence assumes that what is good for the free market is good for humankind. The insane kind of neo-liberal, corporate capitalism we currently have is creating inequality and poverty at record levels. Oxfam calculated that the richest 85 people in the world own more than the poorest 3 billion. How is this good for humanity?

            I have heard of GM insulin. This is prescribed to people who have an illness. They know they are using it and it is for their benefit. This is entirely different to growing GM crops that pollute the common gene pool and have appeared on our plates with inadequate testing and no labelling.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            GMO crops can indeed be whatever we want them to be, as long as activists like you get out of the way and stop helping Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta maintain monopolies.

            As for the free market, you’re quite right that there is far too much crony capitalism in agriculture. And we should do something about that because if the free market gave us the light bulb, penicillin and the personal computer, then surely it can give us truly useful GMO crops that would make even people like you applaud.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Hi Mischa, Scientists obviously cannot create whatever they want via GM and that is why the overwhelmingly vast amount of GM crops are either herbicide tolerant, insect resistant or both.

            Far from supporting Monsanto et al MADGE supports local and global food sovereignty and an end to patents on life.

            The free market did not give us the lightbulb, penicillin and the personal computer. Edison invented the lightbulb. “(T)he inducement to produce penicillin during World War II
            was largely driven by the War Production Board, and far from encouraging proprietary exclusive property rights, the U.S. Government basically forced various pharmaceutical manufacturers to share technology, including various manufacturing patents. It is crystal clear that the missing element in the 1928 to 1941 gap was not absence of patent incentive. There were four other factors much more important in this story:…” Read the rest at “Patent and Penicillin” by Stephen Kinsella.

            The personal computer was a result of masses of input by lots of different people in the computing area. You could say it started with developments by Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace in the 18th century and included the on-going role of government.

            The free market is nothing more than an ideological means for extracting private profit from public assets. The free market has a long and appalling history – read “Late Victorian Holocausts’ by Mike Davis to see how this concept was used to starve Indian peasants in a time of failed harvests. Previously there would have been social measures to feed the poor and distressed. Under the ‘free market’ railways were used to move food out of famine areas to the more profitable markets elsewhere.

            Before the British had control of India there was a famine every 100 years or so. Under there rule there was one every 4 years. The free market’s placement of private profit above public well-being means in the US one is 7 people (1 in 4 children) are food insecure. In the UK 1 million people require food handouts. This is appalling and unprecedented.

            We already know how to feed everyone. It is using agroecological methods which support small farmers feed their communities (and create a surplus) as well as cooling the climate. GRAIN has released a report showing this and that the greatest threat to feeding ourselves is the rise of the industrial farm that displaces people that grow food.

            If you also look at the recent report showing that pesticides, and neonicotinoid ones in particular, are killing the web of life on which food growing depends.

            GM and industrial agriculture is not only a failed technology and a huge injustice but will end up starving us all.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Sorry Madge, but history shows that local and global food sovereignty leads to starvation.

            I grew up on an organic grain farm in Saskatchewan. We exported all of our grain to Europe, and were proud to do so.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            You are in the habit of making assertions with absolutely no evidence. Weirdly enough local food systems have supported people right up until very recent times! You may reflect that current food systems wastes between 30-50% of all food grown. What we have is ideology not a thoughtful system of feeding people.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I suggest you write your thoughts into an article Madge, and see who might be willing to post it. I notice you’re the one not providing any evidence.

            Until Fritz Haber discovered the means by which we pull an infinite supply of nitrogen from the earth’s atmosphere in 1917, people routinely suffered from malnutrition and starvation at much higher rates than we see today.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Really? Everyone was starving all the time until we had nitrogen fertiliser? All this was solely due to poor farming practices? None of it was to do with unjust social and economic systems? Really?

            How about “Farmers of 40 centuries” by FH King. He was a US agronomist who toured China, Korea and Japan and whose book showing how these farmers had maintained soil fertility for centuries was published in 1909.

            Or how about Albert Howard “Though he journeyed to India to teach Western agricultural techniques he found that the Indians could in fact teach him more. One important aspect he took notice of was the connection between healthy soil and the villages’ healthy populations, livestock and crop. Patrick Holden, Director of the UK Soil Association quoted Howard as saying “the health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”

            Are you seriously claiming that until the Haber Bosch process all was gloom and famine?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            People like you always want to tell the story about what people like Sir Albert Howard learned from the people he was sent to help. But the truth is it was a two-way street. So while Sir Albert certainly learned about composting while in India, it was not until he combined what he learned with the SCIENTIFIC METHOD that he was able to form it into a usable technology that helped everyone.

            As for the Haber Bosch ammonia synthesis process, yes, things weren’t as good as they are now before it was discovered. It is estimated that over HALF of the world’s population lives today thanks to that process. And it’s our job to get it into the hands of the other half.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            People like me look at the evidence.
            As stated before the US’s report “Agriculture at the Crossroads” show we need to move rapidly from industrial agriculture to agroecological agriculture to feed the world.

            The GRAIN report “Hungry for land” shows that the people who actually feed the world are the small farmers who have access to 25% of land.

            The Bretton Woods Project has released a report “Our Land Our Business” that the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings is leading to land grabs.

            As I repeatedly state the availability of food is dependent both on food being produced and on the social, economic and political climate in which it is grown, distributed and sold,

            Even if true that half the world’s people would not be alive without the Haber Bosch process since we throw away 30-50% of all food grown it just shows how stupid and wasteful our current system is.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            The evidence is that the modernization of India’s agricultural sector has tuned that beautiful nation from Third-World status to an export nation in less than a generation Madge.

            If you think redistributing our food is the way to solve world hunger, then go right ahead and knock yourself out. I prefer to give every farmer in the world the same tools of science and technology that we benefit from here in the First World.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Just because a country exports does not mean its domestic needs have been met. Go to UNICEF site on India and children. It says “Malnutrition is more common in India than in Sub-Saharan Africa. One in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India.

            Malnutrition limits development and the capacity to learn. It also costs lives: about 50 per cent of all childhood deaths are attributed to malnutrition.”

            So India has a huge malnutrition problem. I assume that you are claiming the Green Revolution increased yields and reduced hunger. This is a contested view as many claim that the seeds required more water and fertiliizer and benefitted larger farmers. This led to the impoverishment of the poor, water wars and chemical pollution of land and the infamous cancer train from the Punjab as so many people are sick due to agricultural chemicals. It is also claimed that it led to more hunger as the range of crops grown massively reduced while commodity crops like wheat and rice increased.

            Have a look at Vandana Shiva’s critique. She also says the loss of traditional varieties meant the loss of micro-nutrients in the food. Vit A deficiency is partly due to the loss of a diet of varied foods high in micronutrients.

            Redistribution goes on all the time. This is why the US Farm Bill helps the big commodity and big food corporations rather than small farmers. That is why the world spends an estimated $600 billion a year subsidising fossil fuel. (See Global Subsidies Initiative).

            The world spends $1.7 trillion on military spending. Redistribution is everywhere except to people, land and peace.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Right, and the reason, I suppose you’ll argue, that India is becoming the next “Silicone Valley” for the whole world is because Indian people are starving.

            Give it a rest Madge. You use technology in all areas of your life to make your life better. Why do you believe farming should be the exception?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Technology has different effects on different people. It also comes embedded in various mindsets. You display the techno-optimistic one that all technology is good and that ‘high’ technology is the only technology there is. This is incorrect as agro-ecological agriculture is highly knowledge based but it is not the sort that can be patented and sold.

            Just because India has a successful computer industry does not mean that all Indian children are therefore adequately fed. Or do you think UNICEF is making up information on child malnutrition in India?

            The current economic, political and ethical system is creating massive injustice and cruelty worldwide and it is not just visible in India. Currently in Detroit people are having their water cut off – the elderly, sick, those with children etc. People peacefully campaigning against this were targeted by military sound weapons. The people of Detroit appealed to the UN over their lack of human rights.

            “The situation is so dire that last month the United Nations weighed in. Responding to a complaint filed by the pressure groups, an expert panel led by Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN’s special rapporteur on safe drinking water and sanitation, said cutting off the supplies of those who cannot afford to pay “constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.” Guardian article Detroit residents fight back over water shut-off: “It’s a life or death situation.”

            Where the aim of society is to maximise corporate profits then you get the hideous situation we are now in. The complete disregard of other people, the living world and rampant corruption of ethics and institutions. For a really good description of where we are and how we got there read “Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” by Sheldon Wolin.

            Also have a look at what the corporations want to do to our democratic rights via the TPP or the TTIP. Pay close attention to the Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            There you go again… equating GMOs with patented technology. Again, for everyone who’s still following along, GMO Golden Rice, brinjal, citrus, papaya and bananas are all non-proprietary.

            If you’re a farmer and you don’t like Monsanto, don’t use their crops or their technology. Simple.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Monsanto and the fellow gene giants have taken over the seed industry and so it is extremely hard to buy seeds not owned by them. Google Phil Howard + Seed Industry Structure to see how chemical companies have created a cartel out of seed companies. For the effect on farmers google “The GMO seed cartel” by Ken Roseboro.

            Second Syngenta owns the patents on golden rice including commercial rights to the improvements of the technology. Critics say that should golden rice ever be released and should it be widely grown Syngenta will be able to profit from this.

            If you want to see how GM companies behave with patents have a look at farmers being sued by Monsanto and their recent attempt to get royalties collected on S American soy by the grain traders.

            You pick at little bits of what I say in a meaningless and monotonous fashion whilst ignoring the massive injustice of a food system that patents seed, contaminates it, sues farmers, massively increases pesticide use, drives inequality, corrupts science and is destroying the natural world that supports us all. Congratulations on your mental and ethical gymnastics as well as total lack of substance!

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You’re wasting your breath Madge. I have nothing to do with any of those corporations.

            And, if I may, it sounds like what you’re upset with is crony capitalism, not the science of genetic engineering.

            Figure out what really bothers you on this issue and get back to me.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Where did I say you were involved with corporations? The science of genetic engineering that has produced the current GM crops has been shown to be totally flawed. Therefore the corruption of science for profit worries me deeply.

            The control of seed and the reduction of biodiversity by the GM companies, who are also the agricultural chemical companies, is a huge threat to anyone who eats.

            The rise of these ridiculous corporations and the hollowing out of research, science, universities by the obsession with profit and a grossly unfair economic system worries me deeply.

            People like you who go round and round in circles with unsupported silly statements are intriguing. Why are you doing this?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Ah yes… capitalism will destroy modern agriculture the same way it destroyed the computer industry.

            So look, if GMO crops are a total failure, then get out of the way and let them collapse.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            When the GM companies own most of world seed stepping out of the way to allow them to collapse is ecocidal and unethical.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I’m all for non-proprietary, non-patented, open-source seed stocks. You’ll be hard pressed to find an example where I defend any corporation.

            I believe free enterprise is the only way to go, but the crony capitalism practiced by many large ag corporations is a dead end.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Good. Then you will be supporting the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. “AFSA is committed to small farmer led solutions to Africa’s food crisis and are vehemently opposed to measures imposed by for instance, the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN), spear headed by the world’s industrial powers. The explicit emphasis of NAFSN is to industrialise African agriculture and promote corporate control over Africa’s food systems. The NAFSN is pressuring African countries to rewrite their seed and land laws to allow for fully fledged entry and profit making by multinational corporations on the continent. We are equally concerned about other similar initiatives, including the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), the US government’s Feed the Future (FtF) Initiative, the Grow Africa Partnership, and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa(AGRA). ”

            Now explain to me what ‘free enterprise’ actually means.
            All systems are bounded by explicit or implicit laws. Therefore there is no ‘free enterprise’ as such but only what a society allows people to do.

            The crony capitalism you and I so abhor pretends it is free of anything but the ‘discipline of the market’ but ignoring that this is a mirage.

            The ‘market’ is embodied in a myriad of things including what governments allow ie the extreme concentration of the seed market despite anti-trust laws.

            It is also embodied in what the courts allow – for example the fiction that corporations are people and so can donate as much money as they like to politicians ie the Citizens United decision that allowed rampant bribery and corruption.

            Then it is also part of what the global system allows. We now have corporations writing the laws (ALEC in the US and Free Trade agreement ISDS) and the latest TPP and TTIP agreements will mean no further democratic ability to shape the laws of any country should a corporation not like the law.

            Pretty hard to see how anything ‘free’ exists in this world apart from ‘freedom to destroy’.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            If “Food Sovereignty” is code for stalling or banning technology or free enterprise in any way, then no, I will not be supporting it.

            The best way forward for Africa is to deliver our technologies and economic systems to the people of Africa. And the best way to do that is through free enterprise.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No Food Sovereignty ” is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” Sounds a bit like free enterprise to me – people doing what is appropriate for them.

            Next we have your very interesting way of circular argument with no supporting evidence. So refreshing.

            You claim the best way forward for Africa is for them to have the same technologies and economic system as the US.

            The same one that has created massive increase in pesticide use, that has resulted in superpests and superweeds and is being dealt with by creating GM crops designed to be sprayed with 2,4-D too.

            The same system that is pushing farmers off the land or into servitude to the corporations (see Food Inc for details or any number of reports and articles). The same system that has produced massive increases in diseases linked to food like diabetes and obesity.

            The same system that is denying water to the poor in Detroit. Wow lucky Africans to have all this coming their way.

            Meanwhile the report “Agribusiness in Sub-Saharan Africa 2013″ states “Sub-Saharan Africa has unexploited reserves of land and water which are unmatched in other parts of the world,” What a great time to grab all those resources and make wonderful profits!! This is what the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa is campaigning against. They know colonialism when they see it. Another version of the “White Man’s Burden” that has burdened Africa for so long.

            You seem wedded to the slogans of ‘free enterprise’ and ‘technology’ without either defining what they are, how they have helped or what economic, historical and political context they sit in.

            My impression of you is that you are emotional and are attracted to forces that, for you, seem to order the world in the way you think it should be. There is no rational or empirical evidence for your beliefs, just a feeling of what you think should be and therefore, in your mind, it is.

            The IRRI discussion where you cannot read and understand what the people doing the Golden Rice project is amazing. Can you see you can’t even read and understand this page due to your own internal beliefs or is this concept too hard for you?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I grew up on an organic grain farm in Saskatchewan, and we sold 100% of what we produced to Europe. How does that fit your idea of “culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods”?

            I’ll tell you what, if I didn’t think some war lord would seize my land, I’d set up a grain farm in Africa, and I’d grow both conventional and organic grain. The conventional would be for domestic consumption; the organic would be for export to Europe.

            That’s all free enterprise, in case you’re interested.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Great! Now we can talk about Empire, Chicago Board of Trade, the establishment of commodity trading, the Corn Laws, the Enclosures and much more.

            I am assuming that you are saying that without Europe importing Canadian grain they would have starved? It is much more complex (and simpler) than the view that there is not enough food in the world and that is why people are hungry.

            Ireland exported masses of food to England during the potato famine. The market was working doing what it does best – allocating goods to people with money rather than people with needs. It’s the same market that starved Indians regularly during the time of the Raj – see Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis – as previously referred to.

            Could Europe feed itself? Have a look at the Soil Association’s page on reports on Future Farming. Also have a look at the IAASTD’s reports on agroecology. The answer is yes, depending on wise use of resources and a sensible diet.

            Does that mean there should never be any trade in food? No. Does that mean Europe should be self-sufficient in food? Not necessarily.

            All this is part of a discussion being had worldwide by farmers and food producers. Have a look at La Via Campesina that represents half a billion farmers. They want to be able to grow food for themselves, their families and the communities without being shoved off their land by corporations and the global bodies like World Bank etc that push a fundamentalist economic theology that has been a constant failure for the past 30 years.

            I think that if you want to farm you should do so for your local area rather than bothering the Africans. They are pretty good at growing food themselves, especially when there are no resource wars, corruption or colonialism. Here we are again looking at the historical, economic and political systems that influence who eats what and who starves.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            No, Europeans would not have starved without our grain. Don’t be ridiculous.

            They made agronomic decisions to grow things like grapes for wine and other exotic crops, so they needed to import our wheat. And as luck would have it, Saskatchewan grows some of the best wheat in the world, both conventional and organic.

            Countries specialize in a global marketplace. And the freer it is the better.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Enjoy your ahistorical circular arguments.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            It’s called the division of labor Madge. Countries, just like individuals, pick the things they’re best at, and do trade with countries that do the things they don’t do.

            You want to live in a cottage in a small self-sufficient village, which is certainly your choice. But it’s not mine.

            Have fun being a jack-of-all-trades.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            It is the theory of competitive advantage from the political economist David Ricardo who died in 1823.

            “Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage assumes the existence of an industry and trade policy at a national level. It does not presume that business decisions are or should be made independently by entrepreneurs on the basis of viability or profit. Ricardo attempted to prove, using a simple numerical example, that international trade is always beneficial.[10] Paul Samuelson called the numbers used in Ricardo’s numerical example dealing with trade between England and Portugal the “four magic numbers”.[11] “In spite of the fact that the Portuguese could produce both cloth and wine with less amount of labor, Ricardo suggested that theoretically both countries benefit from trade with each other.”

            As Joan Robinson subsequently pointed out in reality following an opening of free trade with England, Portugal endured centuries of economic underdevelopment:
            “the imposition of free trade on Portugal killed off a promising textile industry and left her with a slow-growing export market for wine, while for England, exports of cotton cloth led to accumulation, mechanisation and the whole spiralling growth of the industrial revolution”. Robinson argued that Ricardo’s example required that economies were in static equilibrium positions with full employment and that there could not be a trade deficit or a trade surplus. These conditions, she wrote, were not relevant to the real world. She also argued that Ricardo’s theory did not take into account that some countries may be at different levels of development and that this raised the prospect of ‘unequal exchange’ which might hamper a country’s development, as we saw in the case of Portugal.”

            Interestingly England’s superiority of textile production rested on its destruction of the existing, and far superior, textile industry in Bengal. Part of this campaign involved cutting off the thumbs of Bengali weavers. This deindustrialization of India has had long lasting effects.

            “The Company became feared for its brutal enforcement of its monopoly interests, particularly in the textile trade. Savage reprisals would be exacted against any weavers found selling cloth to other traders, and the Company was
            infamous for cutting off their thumbs to prevent them ever working again. In rural areas, almost two-thirds of a peasant’s income would be devoured by land tax under the Company – compared with some 40% under the Mughals. In addition, punitive rates of tax were levied on essentials such as salt, cutting consumption in Bengal by half. The health impacts were cruel, increasing
            vulnerability to heat exhaustion and lowered resistance to cholera and other diseases, particularly amongst the poorest sections.”

            Also I’ve recently returned from Portugal. In Porto about 1 in every 4 buildings is bricked up. The Bolsa (or the old stock exchange) is a sumptuous building that took 68 years to complete. It was designed to show the splendours of trade. Meanwhile poverty was everywhere to be seen outside.

            Ah free trade, free enterprise and blinkered ego and entitlement at its best!

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            So, I take it you don’t believe in the division of labor? Or had you simply never heard of it before?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Um, are you talking about the division of labour (meaning what?) or the economic theory of competitive advantage?

            I think you mean competitive advantage as you brought this up over Canada growing wheat and exporting it to Europe. I have then shown how competitive advantage only works in theory.

            Joan Robinson shows it “required that economies were in static equilibrium positions with full employment and that there could not be a trade deficit or a trade surplus. These conditions, she wrote, were not relevant to the real world.”

            I have also provided examples of failure of this model it Portugal and the England/India link over textiles. Therefore the theory of competitive advantage does not work in the real world as it requires conditions that do not exist. Therefore I suggest we try an economic system that does work. Weird and wacky I know but somehow it makes sense to me. How about you?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Individuals and nations are good at doing certain things. And for the things they’re not good at, they can go to the world market. that goes for agriculture as surely as it goes for microchips.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Except that it has been shown to be a failure that stymies development in countries. How successful is the US now it has decided it is more competitive for companies to be based in China? This has resulted in poverty and unemployment and a hollowing out of society. This is the result of your theories.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I don’t support shipping jobs to China. And I have no idea what this has with developing more nutritious crops for the Third World.
            In any case, please provide a link to IRRI’s website where they talk about this failure of Golden Rice. Even if it has lower yields, I remind you that it would still be better than conventional rice which provides little to no Vitamin A.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            You have no idea of how anything is linked and this is why I find your analysis of what is going on bizarre, solipsistic and lacking in worth.

            The neo-liberal, Washington Consensus that was introduced by Regan and Thatcher and supported by the WTO, World Bank and the various “Free Trade” agreements has had a devastating effect on the world. It has led to the vast inequality that shows in the richest 85 people owning more than the poorest 3 billion. It is a continuation of the European colonialism that has so profoundly affected the world for the past 500 years.

            It is a system that puts profits for corporations above everything else. That is why jobs have been off-shored to China and Mexico etc and the profits have been protected from taxation in the numerous tax havens worldwide.

            The result is poverty in the US and elsewhere. What has this to do with food? US farmers, and others worldwide, are being forced out of business as the Farm Bill and other subsidies support agribusiness not food or farmers. Here is an article on what has been going on. “America becoming a land without farmers” http://www.independentsciencenews.org/environment/america-becoming-a-land-without-farmers/

            Regarding developing more nutritious crops for the third world. They have them already. They have been struggling under colonialism and neo-colonialism for hundreds of years.

            “The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons.”

            http://www.independentsciencenews.org/un-sustainable-farming/how-millions-of-farmers-are-advancing-agriculture-for-themselves/

            Bangladesh has re-introduced a traditional rice variety and ended the ‘hunger gap’ between harvests.

            http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/seeds-hope#.U88Fb3Q0GMk.twitter

            See what reintroducing traditional foods has done to a community in Kenya: http://vimeo.com/7096771

            The Kamburu Story – A community-led response to climate change in Kenya

            You seem to have no knowledge of what has happened to food and land over the past few hundred years. This is despite you being a part of it. Where did you grow up in Canada? What was there before you family arrived?

            Here is the link to the IRRI page showing that it needs more research due to low yields:
            http://irri.org/golden-rice/faqs/what-is-the-status-of-the-golden-rice-project-coordinated-by-irri

            Your statement “Even if it has lower yields, I remind you that it would still be better than conventional rice which provides little to no Vitamin A.” shows how you totally misunderstand the Vitamin A issue.

            Yes rice is not high in Vitamin A. So why engineer it with it in the first place?

            If you scroll down you will see under “Sources of Vitamin A” Food that sweet potato, beef liver, spinach, carrots, mango, peppers and many more foods are loaded with vitamin A. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

            Therefore people do not need GM golden rice they need carrots and spinach to go with their rice followed by a lovely ripe mango.

            I know that you will not be able to follow these simple facts. However you have provided me with an interesting insight into the mechanisms of holding to a ridiculous idea even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

            Bob Altemeyer’s book “The Authoritarians” shows how fundamentalists cling to beliefs despite evidence to the contrary from their own side. I consider the proponents of GM that simply cannot hear or see what is going on to be fundamentalists and I see you as one of them. This is what the book review says:

            “Much more interestingly, Altemeyer shows how hard the religious right find it to reason about the Bible, which logically ought to be their home territory. The experiment I found most convincing had him showing subjects the passages from the four Gospels describing the events of Easter Morning. As is well known, the four accounts differ in many particulars, some of them quite important. Altemeyer asks students what they consider the best explanation for these internal contradictions and inconsistencies. Astonishingly, to me at least, the most common response from people with high Fundamentalist scores was that there were no inconsistencies; even after subjects were given a week to discuss the issue with other members of their community, very few changed their minds. Incidentally, I should mention that Altemeyer is focussing on the American religious right mainly because they are the group he finds easiest to study. He quotes studies carried out by Russian researchers which show very similar belief patterns among old hardline followers of Marxist-Leninism.”

            http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1971601.The_Authoritarians

            Even though the IRRI site shows that golden rice is not ready (and therefore cannot be shown to be better than anything because it has not completed development) you claim that it is ready and better.

            Even though the main GM crops are herbicide tolerant or insect resistant you claim that there are far more beneficial GM crops – like golden rice – that as discussed does not exist in any meaningful sense. This doesn’t dissuade you in the least from the fixed idea in your head that there is a GM golden rice ready to be released. It doesn’t matter how many times I quote from the people running the golden rice project saying it is not ready you refuse to understand this.

            I suspect that you like the idea of a technology that can solve problems. However most problems we face cannot be solved with technology as they are an issue of justice. Ie all the colonial issues I have flagged as well as the morality of an economic system that repeatedly concentrates wealth and power and allows the poor to flounder and die. (Have a look at Chris Hedges to see what is going on).

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Here is my post without links as I think the one with direct links needs to be approved. However if you google the words you will find the right links:

            You have no idea of how anything is linked and this is why I find your analysis of what is going on bizarre, solipsistic and lacking in worth.

            The neo-liberalism, Washington Consensus that was introduced by Regan and Thatcher and supported by the WTO, World Bank and the various “Free Trade” agreements has had a devastating effect on the world. It has led to the vast inequality that shows in the richest 85 people owning more than the poorest 3 billion. It is a continuation of the European colonialism that has so profoundly affected the world for the past 500 years.

            It is a system that puts profits for corporations above everything else. That is why jobs have been off-shored to China and Mexico etc and the profits have been protected from taxation in the numerous tax havens worldwide.

            The result is poverty in the US and elsewhere. What has this to do with food? US farmers, and others worldwide, are being forced out of business as the Farm Bill and other subsidies support agribusiness not food or farmers. Here is an article on what has been going on. Google “America becoming a land without farmers” + Independent Science News

            Regarding developing more nutritious crops for the third world. They have them already. They have been struggling under colonialism and neo-colonialism for hundreds of years.

            “The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons.”
            Google How millions of farmers are advancing agriculture for themselves + Independent Science News

            Bangladesh has re-introduced a traditional rice variety and ended the ‘hunger gap’ between harvests.

            Google “Seeds of Hope” + Down to Earth

            See what reintroducing traditional foods has done to a community in Kenya. Google Vimeo +
            “The Kamburu Story – A community-led response to climate change in Kenya”

            You seem to have no knowledge of what has happened to food and land over the past few hundred years. This is despite you being a part of it. Where did you grow up in Canada? What was there before you family arrived?

            Here is the link to the IRRI page showing that it needs more research due to low yields:
            Google IRRI + “What is the status of the golden rice project coordinated by IRRI?”

            Your statement “Even if it has lower yields, I remind you that it would still be better than conventional rice which provides little to no Vitamin A.” shows how you totally misunderstand the Vitamin A issue.

            Yes rice is not high in Vitamin A. So why engineer it with it in the first place?

            If you scroll down you will see under “Sources of Vitamin A” Food that sweet potato, beef liver, spinach, carrots, mango, peppers and many more foods are loaded with vitamin A. Google NIH + gov + fact sheets + Vitamin A + health professional

            Therefore people do not need GM golden rice they need carrots and spinach to go with their rice followed by a lovely ripe mango.

            I know that you will not be able to follow these simple facts. However you have provided me with an interesting insight into the mechanisms of holding to a ridiculous idea even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

            Bob Altemeyer’s book “The Authoritarians” shows how fundamentalists cling to beliefs despite evidence to the contrary from their own side. I consider the proponents of GM that simply cannot hear or see what is going on to be fundamentalists and I see you as one of them. This is what the book review says:

            “Much more interestingly, Altemeyer shows how hard the religious right find it to reason about the Bible, which logically ought to be their home territory. The experiment I found most convincing had him showing subjects the passages from the four Gospels describing the events of Easter Morning. As is well known, the four accounts differ in many particulars, some of them quite important. Altemeyer asks students what they consider the best explanation for these internal contradictions and inconsistencies. Astonishingly, to me at least, the most common response from people with high Fundamentalist scores was that there were no inconsistencies; even after subjects were given a week to discuss the issue with other members of their community, very few changed their minds. Incidentally, I should mention that Altemeyer is focussing on the American religious right mainly because they are the group he finds easiest to study. He quotes studies carried out by Russian researchers which show very similar belief patterns among old hardline followers of Marxist-Leninism.”

            Google Goodreads + The Authoritarians + Bob Altemeyer and read the first review.

            Even though the IRRI site shows that golden rice is not ready (and therefore cannot be shown to be better than anything because it has not completed development) you claim that it is ready and better.

            Even though the main GM crops are herbicide tolerant or insect resistant you claim that there are far more beneficial GM crops – like golden rice – that as discussed does not exist in any meaningful sense.

            I suspect that you like the idea of a technology that can solve problems. However most problems we face cannot be solved with technology as they are an issue of justice. Ie all the colonial issues I have flagged as well as the morality of an economic system that repeatedly concentrates wealth and power and allows the poor to flounder and die. (Have a look at Chris Hedges to see what is going on).

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Wow. What a longwinded response.

            I’m going to repeat a friendly suggestion I have already made to you Madge. Write an article and see if you can get someone to post it on a reputable website.

            I’m open to what you’re trying to say, but if you can’t just come out and say it in a few sentences I’m afraid I’m even more suspicious than before we began this exchange.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            The global economy is massively increasing inequality. The evidence of this is the fact that the richest 85 people own more than the poorest 3 billion.

            Hunger is related to poverty. In the US 1 in 7 people is food insecure, 1 in 4 children are food insecure. People in the third world are poor and hungry because of this unjust system just like the poor in developed countries.

            The pretence that any technology can relieve this poverty and malnutrition is just a pretence as the global governance, finance and political system is entrenching the poverty which is why people are hungry and malnourished in the first place.

            The evidence of how to feed the world is clear – use agroecology. The UN IAASTD report shows this. Agroecology cannot be patented or controlled by corporations. In contrast GM is patented and controlled by corporations and they have taken over the seed industry since the 1990s. Therefore for corporations the patenting of seed and the selling of the chemicals designed to be used on the GM crops is a win-win profit situation. They have to pay no regard to the health and well being of the land, water, people, biodiversity or anything apart from profit and so they ignore these ‘externalities.”

            Corporations are increasingly linked to governments who hand over increasing power to corporations and are destroying any kind of non-corporate enterprise as well as democracy itself. See what NAFTA has done and what the TTIP and TTP will do.

            I don’t expect you to understand any of this.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Hey everyone! We have to go back to Medieval times so we can be more equal.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Hey everyone! We are – it’s called feudalism. Neo-serfdom. Have you visited the IRRI page yet? Google IRRI+

            “What is the status of the Golden Rice project coordinated by IRRI?” And you will see that golden rice is in no way ready for release because as yet it does not exist in any meaningful way.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            It says they found one variety that didn’t yield enough, so they’re trying other varieties. So what is your point? That we should not proceed?

            Even a lower-yielding variety of Beta-carotene-enriched Golden Rice is better than a higher-yielding variety that does nothing to address Vitamin-A deficiency. A person can eat all the white rice they want and still go blind and die if they suffer from Vitamin-A deficiency.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            So you concede that GM golden rice is still under development and therefore not available to farmers? Therefore your accusations that activists are holding up GM golden rice are wrong?

            The Philippines has massively reduced Vitamin A deficiency by increasing the variety of the diet, food fortification and supplements. Therefore spending years of time, loads of money and tons of effort on a GM golden rice ‘solution’ that is not necessary is a vast waste.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            No.

            Making a new crop available to farmers is PART of developing it. As explained, there comes a point when researchers leave the test plot and go to the test field. That’s where farmers come in.

            You can live in a fantasy world where everyone in the Developing World gets a bowl of salad and fresh fruit every day. I live in the real world where you push new crop varieties out into the field to test them. It’s called FIELD testing.

            Get it?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Thank you for admiting that GM golden rice is still under development and therefore unavailable to farmers. Now it would be gracious if you apologised for saying activists are blocking its release.

            Yes my fantasy world of people eating diets full of variety is called pre-market fundamentalism normality. Where do you think the cuisines of Italy, India, South Sea Islands etc came from?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Drugs that are still under development are routinely given to patients who don’t have time to wait.

            Approving a new GMO crop can take up to 10 years and cost 100 million dollars. But even if Golden Rice just needed one more year of testing, I’d say go ahead and give it to Third World farmers right now. Because it could save 1 MILLION lives if it’s deployed just one year earlier, and it cannot possibly do any harm.

            You on the other hand seem perfectly content to wait 10 years or more. How nice of you to be so cautious on behalf of all those poor people. Maybe they’ll send you a thank you card for looking out for them like that.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Do you ever reread your posts? They are very amusing. Vitamin A deficiency has been massively reduced in the Philippines due to a variety of measures. Yet you are still waiting for a technofix that has failed for decades.

            What would you say to me if I said “we just need another few million dollars to create an organic fix that is nearly there – not yet but if you don’t fund me millions will die.” While people were having their Vitamin A increased by changes to diet, supplements and support? Think about it for a milisecond.

            Why not listen to what the poor think about GM. Go to La Via Campesina site. On You Tube you can watch how GM bt cotton is devastating farmers in India. Google “Yield + Testimonies from Vidarbha”

            Or hear farmers in the Philippines condemn the GM corn forced on them. They say that it gives them stomach upsets and is no good as an animal feed. Google
            “10 Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM Corn”

            The poor farmers are wiser than you.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I’d say, “There is no ‘organic’ fix that is nearly there.” An organic solution to Vitamin A deficiency in the Third World would cost tens-of-billions.

            Solve the problem; get these people back on their feet by eliminating malnutrition; get their economies going… and THEN they can consider adopting organic practices.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            You are so amusing! Organic and agroecological practices are doubling food production. They are ideal for the small farmers worldwide as the reduce input costs and improve soil. I have repeatedly pointed you to evidence of this.

            Have a look at the work of Olivier de Schutter the recent UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

            Look at the IAASTD – the largest scientific investigation into how to feed the world. Google the films I sent you in previous posts (Philippines, Kenya etc) to see how it is improving lives.

            Even in Australia farmers switching to organic are finding that their crops and livestock health improves. Google the Australian TV programme Landline called “Organic Converts” that aired on 19th May this year. In it a banana farmer explains that he converted part of his plantation to organic farming. Since then they have had drought, floods and cyclones. The organic section of the plantation is thriving and producing high yields of bananas. He is very happy with his decision to go organic.

            The organic/agroecological fix is already here. It is being held up by people like you supporting a vastly expensive, non-existent technofix. Why are you doing this?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            The most optimistic estimates for organic production are 30% LESS than conventional. But these estimates fail to take into account the fact that organic farms currently benefit from all the synthetic pesticides being used around them, without which yields could drop by as much as 100% as they used to for farmers before we started to control pests with modern technology. And there’s nothing amusing about that.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Wrong! And how ridiculous to say organic farmers benefit from the pesticides sprayed around them. As I keep repeating the biggest investigation into how to feed the world said we need to use agroecological agriculture. It is the UN’s IAASTD’s Agriculture at a Crossroads report of 2008.

            Using agroecological methods has doubled production in some areas. You obviously did not read the article I sent you about the largest yield of rice being grown by a small farmer in India.

            “The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification
            (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons.”
            Full article at Independent Science News site and is called “How millions of farmers are advancing agriculture for themselves.”

            You also do not appear to have noticed that Australian farmers are experiencing great results with organic farming especially with harsh weather events. I sent you info so you could google the link but you have chosen not to.

            How can you claim organic is 30% less productive than chemical? I’m assuming what you are referring to is the yield drop you get in the first few years in converting from chemical to organic farming (however, as usual, you give no evidence for your claim). This declines over time as the soil recovers and then organic equals the yield and outperforms chemical agriculture in times of stress. For evidence of this see the Rodale Institute’s 30 year assessment of chemical and organic farming called “The Farming Systems Trial.”

            Can you see that making claims about how bad organic agriculture is and how good GM is without any evidence apart from your prejudice is just making things up?

            I repeat why are you doing this? What motivates you to claim things that aren’t true and to harm the people you are claiming to help? Why are you doing this?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You’re certainly welcome to believe what you want, but the fact of the matter is that organic farming have much lower productivity than conventional farming.

            As I say above, even the most optimistic estimates by pro-organic activist academics pegs organic farming at 30% LESS productive. And Lady Eve Balfour – with all of her efforts over literally decades of experimentation – was only able to achieve the SAME results as conventional farming after WWII. Conventional farming has since then gone up in terms of productivity; organic farming has not.

            So that’s that I’m afraid. Nothing you say can change that.
            With that said, I still support organic farming.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            It is not a question of my belief it is research by the UN and over 30 years by the Rodale Institute. Who are the pro-organics saying that 30% less production is the best that can be achieved?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff
          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Wow a reference from you! I nearly fell off my chair. Interestingly it references the biggest study ever done into feeding the world – the IAASTD that I have previously mentioned and the work of Olivier De Schutter saying:
            “Organic farming—a system aimed at producing food with minimal harm to ecosystems, animals or humans—is often proposed as a solution3, 4″

            This is how it dismisses a report done by hundreds of scientists over years and commissioned by the UN. Amazing!.

            The evidence it uses to dismiss the largest research ever is this: “However, critics argue that organic agriculture may have lower yields and would therefore need more land to produce the same amount of food as conventional farms, resulting in more widespread deforestation and
            biodiversity loss, and thus undermining the environmental benefits of organic practices”. The reference it gives to this is to Trewavas, A. Urban myths of organic farming. Nature 410, 409–410 (2001).

            Trewavas is a well known GM promoter who uses dubious means to push his cause. “As part of his tireless crusade, Trewavas has even had two articles attacking organic farming published in the journal Nature. However, both are simply opinion pieces involving no original research
            and the arguments he presents and the sources he draws upon are open to very serious question.” Therefore this paper is using Trewavas who has done no original research and who uses dubious sources as a basis for their claims.

            Greenpeace won damages in a court case in London over libellous allegations made by Professor Trewavas in October 2001 in relation to organic farming and GM foods.

            Tthe paper you referenced says it is a meta analysis and claims that “Under certain conditions—that is, with good management practices, particular crop types and growing conditions—organic systems can thus nearly match conventional yields, whereas under others it at present
            cannot.”

            I don’t want to buy the article and therefore cannot look at the studies which it has used to come to this conclusion. They may have merit and they may not. I do not think that they supercede either the UN report or the gains reported on the ground. Once again I refer you to the highest yield of rice in the world being from an Indian farmer using the System of Rice Intensification. His yields are nearly three times what is considered to be a good yield.

            Your evidence is unconvincing.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Your response, as usual, is longwinded and meandering. It’s as if you’re searching for what you’re trying to say while you type.

            This is why – with all due respect to you Madge – I humbly suggest that you take a stab at writing an article sometime. That way you’ll run it by an editor who will help you decide what to leave in and what to take out.

            And who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to convince me of whatever it is you’re trying to say if you do that.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Since you can’t follow long arguments with evidence I’ll be brief:
            1) the biggest scientific study in the world, the IAASTD, shows the way to feed the world is agroecological agriculture.
            2) proof of this is in the field ie the System of Rice Intensification that is nearly tripling crop yields.

            3)There is no need for GM.

            4) GM has failed – see superpests, superweeds, 2,4-D crops

            I don’t need to write articles on this – they have already been written. What I object to is you writing misinformation. Please stop.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            If agroecological agriculture (I assume you mean organic, sustainable etc.) actually works, then why hasn’t it worked yet? Where’s this “proof of this is in the field”?

            Organic farming is a luxury, not a solution to world hunger.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            I’ve answered this in my article “Twisted Tunnel Vision on Food Locks in Hunger.” on the MADGE site. It is fully referenced so if you google it you will find it. Here’s my response:

            “So why has agrocology been virtually ignored despite its scientific and agronomic superiority to GM? A paper by Vanloqueren and Baret (2009) suggests that GM fits the current mindset, structure and ideology.

            GM is reductionist, concentrating on the gene and cell level. It can be patented. It is profitable for the public-private partnerships that most universities and research establishments are now dependent on. GM suits “the new rules of global finance and free trade, or consolidations and strategic alliances in the agricultural input industry.” Four companies control 56% of “brand name” seed sold world wide. The largest owner of conventional, GM and organic seed in the world is US company Monsanto. GM technology also has the support of the most powerful government in the world, the US.

            In contrast agroecology designs agricultural systems that require few agrochemcial and energy inputs. They use ecological interactions and synergies that create their own soil fertility, productivity and crop protection. (Altieri 1995). This is the exact opposite to industrial farming, of which GM is the latest flowering, which depends on fertilizers, chemicals and purchased seed. In agroecology the farmers are in control and reap the benefits. In GM the seed, fertilizer and chemical companies set the price, make the profits and control the system. Which do you think will better feed people?”

            Do you understand?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Organic farming (what you refer to as “agroecology”) is a luxury. Once the people of the Third World lift themselves out of starvation and depravation, THEN and only then can they consider adopting organic farming practices.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Just because you repeat the same thing does not make it true. You have no evidence for your statements.

            In contrast I have continually presented you with evidence to the contrary taken from scientific research (IAASTD, Olivier de Schutter’s, Miguel Alteri’ at Berkeley, Jules Pretty from UEA etc) and from the field (the Indian rice farmer who produces the largest crop yields in the world, to the Philippine farmers benefiting from organic production in the film “10 years of failure – farmers deceived by GM corn).

            You need to understand how the ‘third world’ was created. Have a look at empires and how they used the ‘ghost acreages’ to enrich the centre.

            You have a very naive view that it is the “GM man’s burden” to relieve the poverty and suffering of the poor in foreign countries. Have a read of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” about how the Belgians destroyed the Congo to see how ridiculous and entirely backwards your view of the world is. I’m suggesting this as you seem unable to read or understand non-fiction.

            It has been interesting to see how ignorant you are of:
            1) what GM actually is – you did not know that it is mainly either herbicide tolerant, insect resistant or both

            2) that it is failing – see cotton failure in India and corn failure in Brazil as well as superpests and superweeds in North America

            3) that conventional breeding and many cultures have already created drought tolerant, flood tolerant and highly nutritious seeds. It is stored in the biodiversity of the world that is being trashed by corporate takeover of agriculture. See that in the ‘progressive’ industrial countries we only have a tiny fraction of the seed varieties we had a century ago. All thanks to the seed industry being taken over by companies that have extended their control over seed by influencing government regulation and patent holding.

            4) the effect on the world of 500 years of European colonialism. Of course other empires at other times have had negative effects too – see the Roman empire and the destruction of the fertile areas in N Africa as revenge. They also had subsidied food for the poor and huge monocultures worked by slaves that became less productive and failed.

            5) the extensive scientific and practical examples of agroecology far surpassing industrial agriculture in feeding people, providing rural wealth and cooling the climate

            6) no understanding of economics

            7) no understanding of power

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            The Third World was never created. The rest of us just developed.
            If there was modern farming in the Third World, there would be no Third World.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            You are SO amusing! You are Canadian. Where did your family come from and why?

            Scratch back a bit and find out what happened to land in England, then Ireland and Scotland. Find out the importance of the Napoleonic Wars to Scotland (I’m guessing you may have Scottish ancestors).

            Have a look at the riches of Africa before colonisation. Also of India. Also of South America.

            The third world is a creation of 500 years of plunder by western powers.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Ah yes… a little Marxist anti-colonial theory. How fascinating that you would raise that issue in a discussion about the benefits of science.
            Even communists support science.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No, it’s called history.
            You have not demonstrated that GM is anything more that a failed technology that has ignored the evolving science of genetics as well as that of evolution.

            Superpests and superweeds were obviously going to evolve from GM crops – and they have. The chemical companies have profited from this by selling more chemicals. This is not science is it stupidity and cupidity.

            Genetic science shows that the old idea of “one gene, one protein” is wrong. The human genome project shows that although there are about 100,000 proteins in humans we only have about 23,000 genes. Therefore there can be “one gene many proteins” and “many genes one protein too.”

            The science of epigenetics and also the increasing understanding of the role of RNA shows that the GM crops we have are nothing to do with science and all to do with greed, gullibility and the abuse of power.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            No, not history. You’re in a fantasy world Madge. Superpests and superweeds are figments of your imagination I’m afraid. Organisms do not develop superpowers.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Superweeds and superpests are weeds and pests that can no longer be controlled by the existing herbicides and GM toxins.

            What you call fantasy affects 50% of US farmland (google superweeds and see).

            Superpests are causing corn to fall over in the US as the rootworm is resistant to the GM toxins in the plant. Brazil is also having immense failure of bt crops and farmers sued Monsanto for the failure of its technology.

            My fantasy world is based in the reality of what is happening on the ground and is easily checked. What supports your view of the world?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Sorry Madge, but you’re completely wrong on this.

            Again, weeds and insects do not develop superpowers like in the comic books. What happens is some weeds and insects (emphasis on “some”) develop a resistance to certain herbicides and insecticides. They can then be controlled by other herbicides and insecticides, or by mechanical means in the case of weeds.

            If “superweeds” – for instance – had developed an across-the-board resistance as you suggest to… say… Roundup (glyphosate), then all GMO Roundup Ready crops would be rendered useless. And gosh… that simply hasn’t happened.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Well what do you call the weeds like Palmer Amaranth that are growing invasively in US cotton, soy and corn fields (note these crops are about 90% GM and designed to be sprayed with glyphosate)?

            It grows as tall as a man and is as thick as a baseball bat. It can destroy combine harvesters and farmers are having to resort to manual weeding. It also breaks hoes. Google “Superweed that can’t be killed”. This is a 2008 US news report that shows what the weeds can do.

            Ragweed grows 16 foot tall in cotton and soy fields (note once again these crops are nearly all GM). It destroys yield by up to 70% and has recently been spotted in Canada.

            These weeds affect 50% of US farms. The destruction of the effectiveness of glyphosate has been accelerated by the continued use of it on GM crops. It has caused immense selection pressure on weeds and they have responded.

            Also note that the new GM crops are designed to be sprayed with 2,4-D as well as glyphosate and glufosinate to deal with these superweeds.

            Live in your fantasy world of GM perfection but do not expect farmers and mothers to do the same.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            When a weed develops resistance to Roundup, it does not also develop resistance to other herbicides. By that same token, it does not grow any taller, more robust or any more prolific. It does not, in short, develop superpowers. Sorry Madge.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            I did not invent the terms “superpests’ and ‘superweeds’. They were coined by the farmers and others trying to deal with them. If you had spent the 2.16 minutes watching the 2009 TV report from Arkansas entitled “Super weed can’t be killed.” you would understand the issue.

            Here are some quotes from the story:

            “It’s the weed that can no longer be killed (pigweed)”
            “For decades farmers have been able to control it by spraying their fields with herbicide.”
            “(farmer) has spent $500,000 fighting them and watch it grow at 3 inches a day. At the base it is the thickness of a baseball bat.”

            “It destroys crops and heavy machinery.”
            “It’ll stop a combine dead in its tracks.” Farmer
            “I’ve worked in agriculture for 30+ years. I’ve never seen anything that’s going to have this kind of impact on our agriculture.” Weed scientist

            “Farmers will continue to lose their fields to this enemy. Some may be forced to harvest their crops by hand.”

            So it looks like these weeds are qualitatively different to previously known weeds and that is why the farmers are calling them superweeds.

            Your world is getting smaller Mischa – you have to make up more and more fibs to ignore what is happening to agriculture and farming.

            You have also not responded about colonialism. I was most intrigued that only corruption and land title differentiates the third world from the richer world.

            How sweet to think that Australia and Canada and Africa and India just had little discussions with the European powers over who had the best jurisprudence and were the least corrupt and then land and resources were just handed over to the better side. Amazing no one has written this up before.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I didn’t say you invented the terms “superpests’ and ‘superweeds’. But if you want to be taken seriously you have to stop using them. They don’t exist. And TV reports don’t change that.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            They are what these new pests and weeds are called by the people who are confronting them. Just because you and the biotech industry do not like the terms because it shows the appalling failure of GM technology does not mean I should stop using the words.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Only anti-GMO organic activists use the made-up term “superweeds.”
            And if GMO technology failed, why is the overwhelming majority of farmers across America, Canada and Australia choosing to grow GMO crops?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            As you can see by the TV news clip from 2009 that is only 2 minutes long the term ‘superweed’ is being used by the farmer affected. Is he an anti-GMO organic activist? No, he is a farmer growing GM.

            The overwhelming majority of farmers in North America are growing GM due to the lack of knowledge about what GM was when it was introduced. They continue to grow it due to the immense concentration of the seed companies. Google Phil Howard and Seed Industry Structure to see the infographic or read “Farmers’ seed options drastically reduced in GMO-producing countries” by Ken Rosboro

            N American farmers have seen their export markets ruined by GM. That is why Canadian farmers did not want GM flax released. When the GM triffid flax was discovered in Germany it hugely damaged their export markets.

            N American farmers campaigned against GM wheat for the same reason.

            In Australia nearly all of the cotton crop is GM but less than 10% of the canola crop is. There are large premiums for non-GM canola.

            You appear to know nothing about GM – what it is, why it is grown, the failures of it and why it is being increasing ly rejected by consumers.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Farmers are free to grow whatever they choose on their land. And they choose GMOs.

            If they notice herbicide-resistant weeds on their land, and feel they must be “superweeds,” they’re certainly free to abandon the use of GMOs. Or, they can simply use a different herbicide or tillage to deal with the problem, just like they did before GMOs were invented.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Sweetly naive as usual Mishca. Have a google of “market power”, “monopoly”, “monopsony”, “cartels”, “political donations” etc.

            I’ve sent you loads of info to support my stance including reports on what has happened to the seed industry over the last 20 years. Also short news reports. If you want to see something explaining what is going on google “Farmer to farmer” + GM crops. A UK farmers went to North America to see on the ground the effect GM crops were having. You may be interested in it. Or not.

            I am fascinated to know why you are such an ardent supporter of GM crops when they demonstrably do not work and farmers and eaters are rejecting them when they can?

            Do you believe technology can solve all ills?
            Why are you unable to either provide solid evidence for your claims or to even look cursorily at the evidence I have provided for mine?

            I’d love to know.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You’re changing the subject. We were talking about weeds. Now you’re trying to talk about monopolies.

            And yes, as a matter of fact I do believe technology can solve al ills. Do you believe technology can’t solve problems?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No I’m not changing the subject. You are talking about farmers ability to choose GM or non-GM seeds. I have sent you items on how the takeover of the seed industry by the chemical industry in the 1990s onwards has removed farmer choice. Once again google Phil Howard and Seed Industry Structure to see what is going on in easy to understand info graphics.

            One of Phil Howard infographics under his food system title is “Technology Treadmill” that shows the winners in adoption are not the farmers but the technology suppliers and the finance companies.

            Regarding technology, it has its uses but must be examined in who it benefits and who or what it disadvantages. However it is not the main driver of human well-being and development. For example you can surround a child with technology but unless they have the human, social care they need they will not thrive.

            You have not answered my question about why you champion a technology you know so little about? Please enlighten me. Thanks.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Any farmer who doesn’t want to do business with agri-business corporations is free to save his/her own seed.

          • hyperzombie

            The third world is a creation of 500 years of plunder by western powers.

            Nope, the third world is due to corrupt governments and no real property rights.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            How did the British colonists respect the property rights of the indigenous people living in what we now know as Canada and Australia as well as India, Africa etc?

            When governments sign secret agreements such as the TPP and the TTIP that remove democratic rights and allow corporations to control the creation and enforcements of law, is this corrupt?

            When wars are launched on the basis of a lie and vast profits are made by companies that are linked to the members of that government, is that corruption?

            When new technologies in food are forced onto a population without their knowledge or consent and despite the objections of scientists, farmers and regulators, is that corrupt?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            It’s not what I believe it is what the reports from the UN and the Rodale Institute and many more say.

            Where is your evidence for saying organic is less productive?

            Why do you support GM?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff
    • hyperzombie

      Mischa is as wrong on GMO as he is on malaria and DDT.

      Not really, malaria kills about a million people a year, mostly children under 5.

      The main GM crops are either designed to be sprayed with a herbicide – so the weeds die and the crops survive.

      Yes this is true but there are non GMO crops that do the same thing. Clearfield crops for example and corn is naturally resistant to Atrazine.

      Or are a mixture of both ie Smartstax corn can be sprayed with two herbicides and contains genes for 6 insect killing proteins.

      Smartstax corn contains a GMO and NON GMO traits for herbicide resistance and contains 6 variants of the same protein (CRY) that only kills some insects. Most insects and all mammals,reptiles, and birds are unaffected by this protein.

      Unsurprisingly this has created intense selective pressure on both weeds and insects causing 50% of US farmland to be infested with ‘superweeds.”

      THere is no such thing as superweeds, there are many resistant weeds and all herbicides have this problem, including Organic ones.

      Numerous insects are becoming resistant to the bt toxin.

      The vast majority of insects are resistant to Bt anyway, but resistance to Bt has been documented all the way back to the 1930s, nothing to do with GMOs.

      What is the problem that Mischa thinks GM will solve?

      GM solves all kinds of problems, less insecticide use and less herbicide use along with less tillage and more money for farmers.

      look at the UN 2008 report IAASTD Agriculture at the Crossroads

      This is a report mostly for subsistence farmers in the developing world, nothing to do with Modern Ag in developed countries. Also Canada, Australia and the US did not agree with the findings.

      • MADGE Australia Inc

        Thanks for confirming my statement that most GM crops are designed to be sprayed with herbicide. You are correct that this can be accomplished by non-GM means too. However most crops are not bred to be herbicide resistant – unlike GM crops.

        “SmartStax has been created by crossing four transgene varieties: MON89034 x 1507 x MON88017 x 59122 [4], which together provide eight traits. The eight traits are accompanied by an array of regulatory sequences derived from bacteria, plant viruses and other plants, are as follows, as far as one can tell, as SmartStax is very poorly characterised, and is in all probability a hybrid corn
        [5, 6]. (From ISIS SmartStax Maize a Medley of Transgenes). You can read the entire article to see the issues with this GM corn.

        You are making assumptions about the safety of bt for people and animals. There is plenty of evidence to doubt this. Google “Seralini + Three GM Maize varieties negatively affect organs.” This study is an examination of the raw data provided by Monsanto for approval of corn in the EU. Two of the corn varieties were bt.

        “In the three GM maize varieties that formed the basis of this
        investigation, new side effects linked to the consumption of these
        cereals were revealed, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted.”

        You claim there is no such thing as superweeds and that all herbicides would cause this problem. You are correct that all herbicides would cause selection pressure. That is why creating Roundup Ready soy, corn, canola, cotton, sugarbeet etc and having farm policies that make profitable the repeated growing of the same crop year in year out over vast swathes of the US has encouraged the rapid emergence of weeds that farmers call superweeds as they grow faster and larger than anything they have seen before. Google a US TV report that is years old now ” Superweeds that can’t be killed” to see the impact of the problem. What this shows is the stupidity of a system that depends on regular doses of herbicide to grow what is supposed to be food.

        Once again the selection pressure on pests by bt sprays used when there is a specific pest attack is entirely different to massive percentages of US farmland with plants continually creating bt toxins year in year out.

        GM has been documented to not increase yield, to increase pesticide use and to not increase farmer profits. Charles Benbrook has done studies using pesticide usage documented by the USDA and Monsanto showing that after the first few years of GM HT use herbicide usage increases. The price of GM seeds has been raised far above non-GM and the concentration of market share of seed companies is creating a lack of choice for farmers. For details see “The GMO Seed Cartel” by Ken Roseboro.

        The IAASTD is for feeding the world, this includes all countries. If you have not noticed modern agriculture with its use of monocropping, pesticides, reliance on fossil fuels and other inputs has caused massive damage to land and water. Have a look at “Stuffed and Starved” by Raj Patel to show that the benefits of this type of agriculture in developed nations is a huge health crisis caused by poor quality processed food from the commodities that are so profitable for agribusiness and BIg Food.

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          Dear Madge: please do some research on GMO Golden Rice, brinjal, citrus, papayas and bananas. And while you’re at it, look into genetically engineered, synthetic human insulin that replaced insulin from slaughtered pigs.

          Genetic engineering is a field of science. It is much, much more than herbicide-resistant crops.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            As previously discussed GM golden rice is nowhere near cultivation. See the IRRI site for confirmation of this. Further more a paper on GM golden rice it to be retracted because children were fed GM golden rice without informed consent of their parents and because there had been no previous trials on animals.

            GM brinjal, as reported earlier has been a failure with 9 out of 20 farmers who trialled it in Bangladesh this year. It was refused approval in India due to concerns about human health from international scientists.

            GM bananas are about to be fed as a trial to people in the US but there have been no papers published on animal feeding trials.

            GM papayas in Hawaii have been disastrous – see my previous post on this.

            GM citrus, presumably you mean to combat citrus greening. This needs to be tackled but given the long and constant failure of GM to solve even one agricultural problem why would this be any different?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            All the negativity you describe comes from anti-GMO organic activists Madge. All of it. So, for instance, as long as people like you prevent GMO Golden Rice from being approved, you will be able to continue saying that it is nowhere near cultivation.

            Shame on you Madge. A million kids a year will go blind and die this year thanks to you, roughly the same number of kids we still lose every year to malaria thanks to your opposition to DDT.

            I’m finally starting to realize you’re not out of touch Madge. You want it this way.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Does it disturb you to make things up continually? GM golden rice is not being held up by activists. It is not ready as if you went to the IRRI site (the International Rice Research Institute that is co-ordinating the project) you would see that is the case.

            Next you blame me for 1 million kids a year going blind. Vitamin A deficiency has been massively reduced in the Philippines by a campaign of education, increasing Vit A foods available and supplementation. Since this has been so successful surely spending more money on a failed GM technology is harming more kids than it is helping. Spend the money on allieviating poverty so people can buy or grow Vitamin A rich food would be a far better use of funds.

            As for malaria, others in this comment list have shown how misleading your statements are.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You’re so completely out of touch Madge.

            No one’s suggesting we spend any money on GMO Golden Rice. All we have to do is get it approved and it will be distributed to farmers in the Developing World to grow for the people.

            And if you checked out All Golden Rice Now you’d see that you’re wrong, dead wrong. GMO Golden Rice has been held up by anti-GMO organic activists for over a decade now.

            But tell you what. If you’re so smart, write an article and see if you can get it posted somewhere.

            All the best Madge.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Please give evidence for your claim that it is activists holding up GM golden rice. As I repeatedly state the IRRI, that is running the project, state that it is not ready. Go to their website. Who should I believe the IRRI or unsubstantiated claims by you?

            Should you wish to read an article by me I suggest that you google “What is genetically modified food, why is it controversial and how do I know if I’m eating it?” published in the Journal of the HEIA Vol 20 No3 2013.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You’ll try anything Madge. IRRI is in favor of GMO Golden Rice.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Yes it is. Which is why I have suggested you go to their website where it shows that it is not ready for release. Therefore your claim that activists are blinding a million kids a year by their actions is misinformation. It would be gracious if you could give an apology.

            This is what IRRI says about GM golden rice:

            “The first round of MLTs was conducted using one of the most advanced versions of Golden Rice: GR2 event “R” (GR2-R). This first round took place in 2012-13 to assess how well this version of Golden Rice would perform in different locations in the Philippines. Preliminary results were mixed. While the target level of beta-carotene in the grain was attained, average yield was unfortunately lower than that from comparable local varieties already preferred by farmers.

            An important goal of the trials was to test whether the agronomic performance of the new rice variety would be acceptable to farmers. The initial results indicate that more research is needed, with greater focus on increasing yield. Based on these results, a decision has been reached to move forward from work solely focused on GR2-R to also include other versions of Golden Rice, such as GR2-E and others.”

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Here’s the fatal flaw in your convoluted argument Madge. While IRRI might want more research on GMO Golden Rice, they are most definitely NOT opposed to seeing it approved immediately.

            It’s organic activists and their allies at Greenpeace who have successfully prevented Golden Rice from being approved for over a decade now.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No. The fatal flaw is that GM golden rice is not ready to be grown, as shown by IRRI’s website. It has low yield and it has not been proven to work ie to increase Vit A levels. Also it is not clear what storage and cooking do to the beta carotene that is the pre-cursor to Vit A. What you call my convoluted argument is a simple one – GM golden rice is still in the developmental stage.

          • sciguybm

            Wait, that “1 million kids a year” is also a hoax; there is no credible information that supports this; none. It is just misinformation designed to make bleeding hearts think there is all this “horror” that GMOs will eliminate.
            Don’t be fooled, this is shilling and deception.
            Same as the “feeding 12 billion” ….. neither UN nor any other agency can show populations anywhere near what these corporate liars claim, none. Just more fantasy.
            Yes: we need labels: we need to label all those who feed at the trough of GMOs for what they are: bribed, profiteering liars.

  • MADGE Australia Inc

    My comment on Mischa’s understanding of GM crops was removed. Why?

    • Gilles Hosch

      mine also. the reason is that your comment might be appropriate and contain current scientific knowledge not in line with mischa’s mickey mouse world vision… this blog is not worth to spend any time on. it is a GMO lobby outlet – and a very poor one at that!

      • Ian

        As the moderator of the site, I can assure you comments are not disappearing. And this site is not a GMO lobby outlet. Get your facts straight.

      • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

        You guys are hilarious if you think for a minute I have any control over what comments are posted in response to my articles. The next thing you know you’ll believe Monsanto is using its influence to remove your comments.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Secret agents are monitoring this site Madge. So be careful!!

  • sciguybm

    Hmmm, interesting. But interesting for all the wrong reasons.

    DDT did turn out to be an endocrine disruptor. So it doesn’t kill you spray #1 like a bug;it maliciously kills you a little (a bug’s worth), at a time. But death, whether in a year or 10 years is still death.

    The corporations who have become the mainstream GMO manufacturing groups have used their ill-gotten gains to buy their way into every USA agricultural and regulation agency. Don’t believe me then believe this: http://www.cornucopia.org/is-the-usda-a-wholly-owned-subsidiary-of-monsanto/

    Knee-jerk negative response to an industry that has caused more deaths, breast, uterine, prostate and ovarian cancer then any other industry isn’t “out of line” it is essential.
    Say “No!” first, then review the research.
    In case you don’t understand: ALL the EPA and FDA/USDA new product and renewal approval and review boards are staffed with short-term employees from the very companies making the applications.
    Let em say that once again: THE EPA/FDA/USDA APPROVAL AND REVIEW BOARDS ARE NO LONGER STAFFED BY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, THEY ARE STAFFED BY FULL TIME EMPLOYEES OF THE VERY COMPANIES MAKING THE APPLICATIONS. Reagan, the worst criminal in mankind’s history, did this to pay-back the corporations that subverted Jimmy Carter, cause double-digit inflation and got him elected.
    Given this, these are the same people who write the safety protocol for the toxicology testing, the same people who review it and the same people who pass it.

    Sooo, you think being selective about how you address GMOs plays to this audience?
    No, you are wrong. And so wrong that now I wonder your motives. We already know that every newspaper and print media makes their living selling advertising….and most advertising is the consumer supply industry and that the consumer supply industry is the right-hand of GMOs.
    I smell a few rats.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Rachel Carson was not opposed to the use of DDT. She was only opposed to the unsafe use of such toxic sprays. To read your longwinded comment, people might come away believing that DDT is unsafe. It is not. It is only unsafe if used improperly. And using it for mosquito control in areas with malaria is perfectly safe.

      • sciguybm

        Perhaps you need a cell biology refresher course in what “endocrine disruptor” really means before you dismiss those words out-of-hand.
        Carson’s time & age had not yet learned of what happens to humans when their endocrine system is impacted by hormone-mimicking chemicals.
        However Mischa, we do today.
        And the corporate-bodied EPA/FDA/USDA federal approval and review boards are selling the people down the drain for corporate profiteering.
        It is either them or us.
        If you choose them then you are just as guilty. You cannot claim ignorance when yesterday I made the truth perfectly clear.
        Arguing against the facts as they are presented revels a pro-GMO and pro-chemical agenda.
        Not sensible science; biased agenda.

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          And you need to go back and take high-school science all over again (assuming you’ve ever taken it to begin with).

          What your forgetting “sciguybm” is that chemicals dissipate in the environment.

          Yes, it’s true that SOME chemicals bio-accumulate in certain animals higher up in the food chain. This is the case with DDT and is the reason DDT needs to be used properly.

          But Roundup (glyphosate) does not bio-accumulate. Thus endeth the lesson.

          • sciguybm

            Hmmm, seems you are only parroting what Monsanto claims. How original.
            And seems that you are evading what I pointed out, that corporate-employed lackeys populate the EPA and FDA/USDA approval & review boards and are in control of our federal government’s supposed safety and health protection of the people of the United States.
            And why this doesn’t anger you to the point of boiling shows a fair amount about Mr. Mischa.
            But evading realty is what Monsanto teaches its bloggers; focus on anything that you can nit-pick at and ignore the rest. Argue semantics and deny, ridicule, ignore any and all independent research and when the argument gets too overwhelming against Monsanto, et al, then claim EPA & USDA approval and slither into the grass.
            Well friend, glyphosate has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor by hundreds of independent scientists and no amount of evading changes that.
            But you are young still, your prostate cancer is still off in the distance. Maybe you have children, maybe not, maybe your sexual orientation was already affected by atrazine years ago or maybe your children’s will be affected by glyphosate now….. or your wife’s breast cancer, or ovarian cancer……. that is the good thing about karma, yes? You cannot run from what these companies are doing to the world, and while you obviously feed at their trough you WILL pay the price….

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            So… now I need to teach college in order to explain that chemicals dissipate in the environment? That’s not semantics. That’s a fact my friend.

            I think you’re the one who’s confused here Mr./Mrs. “sciguybm.” You want everyone to agree with you just because of your credentials, and you don’t even use your real name!

            Ha! gotcha!

          • sciguybm

            We are not talking about ag chemicals dissipating in the environment…that is you trying to confuse the issue.

            This is about ag herbicides, like atrazine and glyphosate, being endocrine disruptors that cause gender-bending in-utero and developing children and hormonal cancers in adults especially mature adults.

            But that’s not what you wish to focus on, science facts, what you’d rather do is play semantics and ignore the real deal: toxic chemicals in our foods, water, wind and virtually throughout our environments.

            No, you need to KNOW cell biology, not teach it, before you make misleading statements in media. But that doesn’t seem to stop you from parroting those statements about ag chemicals that are written by your sponsors….. without any regard for the facts as they are unfolding.

            While you STILL avoid the most improtnat issue: that corporate-employed lackeys populate the EPA and FDA/USDA approval & review boards and are in control of our federal government’s supposed safety and health protection of the people of the United States.
            But that would make all of your corporate-written arguments moot…then what? Lose your sponsors….. and part of your income?
            Oh heaven forbid!!

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You have no idea what you’re talking about sciguybm. And the fact that you don’t use your real name is all we need to know about how baseless your comments are.

          • sciguybm

            Well, the facts are there, now everyone can Google what I said and see exactly who is right and who is a mouthpiece for the GMO industry.
            If I keep my name hidden it may very well be because I am a mole working to expose those criminals who have bought our health & safety for their Aspen Condos and $10 million homes…… and my comments have only exposed you for the lackey you seem to be.
            Congrats: hope you are proud of yourself, instead of doing something to help the future you seem to be dedicated to helping yourself.
            However, remember those words well Mr Mischa: “endocrine disruptor” …… your prostate will be saying them again and again soon enough.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Great. Then buy organic food. Stop trying to convince us to believe in the same obscure, un-reproduced studies that you choose to believe. Pesticides are perfectly safe as long as they’re used properly, and that goes for synthetic as well as organic pesticides.

          • sciguybm

            That is not the issue here; the issue is that you, and apparently this website, are shills for the GMO industry.
            You call it “truth” while they reap the profits from the contamination and death of everything around us.
            It is our, even my, duty to the future to expose those like you who smile, hide behind pretty faces and wave to your audiences all the while knowing, knowing full well, that it is lies and deceit that you preach.
            But that is because you believe that your corporate cronies protect you….you feel empowered that no one looks at who and what you really are.
            Now we will work alittle harder to make sure the people see you for what you are: just another bought liar. There have been many, you are just another. But now we know as well.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I don’t make any money doing this. I’m 100% independent, and proudly so.

            But I’ll tell you what sciguybm. Show me a single example of “contamination and death” cause by GMOs and I’ll join you in protesting them.

            Just one.

          • sciguybm

            Well, let’s see you put your money where your lip-service is:

            Here is EPA assessment:
            http://www.epa.gov/teach/chem_summ/Atrazine_summary.pdf

            here is what they say it does WITH REFERENCES:

            “…Effects reported in adults (human and experimental animals) include shortening of estrous cycle length,
            attenuation of the LH (leutenizing hormone) surge, decreases in pituitary hormone levels, ovarian
            histopathology (changes in ovarian tissue), and liver effects including increased serum lipids and liver
            enzymes, and liver histopathology (2). Other effects
            on the central nervous system, immune system, and
            cardiovascular function have been reported in adults (2). Exposure to atrazine may be associated with
            some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in adult humans (1, 2). Significantly increased risk of preterm delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, and decreased birth weight were significantly associated with atrazine concentrations in drinking water (4, 5)…”

            So, as for deaths: I would say virtually every one who died in the corn belt from any of those health impacts died from atrazine exposure because: http://www.nrdc.org/health/atrazine/
            we can no more avoid it then avoid death.
            You will argue differently I am sure because you are a chemical mouthpiece.

            And you do make your income from GMO sources. Just your salary at the media publisher comes from GMO advertisers. And I am sure if we were able to get to your real finances we would find more interesting connections: like all those deceitful “green” sites who are fronts for the GMO industry…. oh, like this one?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Did you post the right article sciguybm?

            We’re talking about GMOs. That article is about atrazine, which everyone already knows is dangerous.

          • sciguybm

            Just checking to see if your brain is actually working or just on GMO-autoresponse:

            Siriporn Thongprakaisang, Apinya Thiantanawat, Nuchanart Rangkadilok, Tawit Suriyo, Jutamaad Satayavivad. Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jun 8. Epub 2013 Jun 8. PMID: 23756170
            So I would say that about 500,000 deaths can be directly attributed to GMO chemicals….. what excuse will you have to post to keep your “GMO-Friendly” position??

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            If this was true, why hasn’t there been a lawsuit? Lawyers would be lining up to take this case if there was even a shred of truth behind it.

            in any case sciguybm, glyphosate (Roundup) is not a GMO. So, is your brain working?

          • sciguybm

            lawyers: already lawsuits about this and other ag chemicals in California….and I hear Texas…coming to a state near you.

            GMO is about the chemicals, come on, you aren’t that dumb are you…???

            Oh you mean the GMO itself? The one where they said “it will NEVER EVER contaminate humans.” That GMO?

            Well: you asked for it;
            Ho MW. Horizontal gene transfer happens. A
            practical exercise in applying the precautionary principle. i-sis news5, July 2000, http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews/i-sisnews5.php#hori

            Ho MW. Horizontal gene transfer from GMOs does
            happen. Science in Society 39, 22-24, 2008.

            Netherwood T, Martin-Orue SM, O-Donnell AG,
            Gockling S, Graham J, Mathers JC and Gilbert JH. Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract. Nature biotechnology 2004; 22: 204-209.

            Ho MW. Transgenic lines unstable hence illegal
            and ineligible for protection. Science in Society 39,
            28-29, 2008.

            Netherwood, T., Bowden, R., Harrison, P.,
            O’Donnell, A.G., Parker, D.S., Gilbert, H.J., 1999. Gene transfer in the gastrointestinal tract. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 65, 5139–5141.

            Kelly BG, Vespermann A,
            Bolton DJ Gene transfer events and their occurrence in selected environments. Food Chem Toxicol 2009, 47, 978–83.

            McCuddin, Z., Carlson, S.A., Rasmussen, M.A., Franklin, S.K., 2006. Klebsiella to Salmonella gene transfer within rumen protozoa: implications for antibiotic resistance and rumen defaunation. Veterinary Microbiology 2005,
            114, 275–84.

            Ho MW, Lim LC et al. The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World, Independent Science Panel Report, ISIS, London, 15 June 2003.

            Mercer DK, Scott KP, Bruce-Johnson WA, Glover LA and Flint HJ. Fate of free DNA and transformation of the oral bacterium Streptococcus gordonii DL by plasmid DNA in human saliva. Applied and Environmental
            Microbiology 1999, 65, 6-10.

            Simpson DJ, Fry JC, Rogers HJ and Day MJ. Thematic issue on horizontal gene transfer. Transformation of Acinetobacter baylyi in non-sterile soil using recombinant plant nuclear DNA. Environ Biosafety Res 2007, 6, 101-12.

            Rizzi A, Pontiroli A, Brusetti L, Borin S, Solini C, Abruzzese A,
            Sacchi GA, Vogel TM, Simonet P, Bazzicalupo M, Nielsen KM, Monier J-M and Daffoncho D.Strategy for in situ detection of natural transformation-based horizontal genetransfer events. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2008, 74,1250-4.

            Pontiroli A, Rizzi A, Simonet P, Daffonchio D, Vogel TM and Monier JM. Visual evidence of horizontal gene transfer between plants and bacteria in the phytosphere of transplastomic tobacco. Appl Environ Microbio 2009,
            75, 3314-22.

            Wicks A and Jacobsen B Bl. Lack of detectable DNA uptake by transformation of selected recipients in monoassociated rats. Wicks and Jacobsen BMC Research Notes 2010, 3, 49.

            Schaedler RW, Dubos R and Costello R. Association of germfree mice with bacteria isolated from normal mice. 1965, Jem.rupress.org.]

            Human flora. Wikipedia, 13 May 2010, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_flora

            Ho MW. Living with the Fluid Genome, ISIS/TWN, London/Penang, 2003. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/fluidGenome.php

            Ho MW, Traavik T, Olsvik R, Tappeser B, Howard CV, von Weizsacker C and McGavin GC. Gene technology and gene ecology of infectious diseases. Microbial
            Ecology in Health and Disease 1998, 19, 33-59.

            Ho MW, Ryan A, Cummins J and Traavik T. Slipping Through the Regulatory Net: Naked and Free Nucleic Acids, TWN Biotechnology and Biosafety Series no. 5, 2001, http://www.i-sis.org.uk/onlinestore/books.php

            Ho MW and Cummins J. New evidence links CaMV 35S promoter to HIV transcription. Science in Society 43,
            26-27, 2009; and Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2009, 21, 172-4.
            Look: all you have to do is admit that there is evidence that the EPA approval is wrong, that evidence is mounting and INDEPENDENT researchers need to look at this before re-approving…. that a problem? I mean, what’s the problem with INDEPENDENT researchers doing the toxicology? Your GMO buddies afraid to have someone not on their payroll do the work?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Genetic engineering is a plant-breeding process, not a chemical. As such, there is no such thing as “contamination” of an organic crop by GMOs.

          • sciguybm

            I’m beginning to wonder about you….
            Ok, let me phrase it so even YOU can understand:
            “contamination by GMO chemicals..”
            Happy now?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Name a GMO chemical.

          • sciguybm

            glyphosate is a chemical GMOs are engineered for.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Glyphosate is not a GMO. You said “contamination by GMO chemicals.” And even if we go with your response, you’d be hard-pressed to find an example of glyphosate “contaminating” neighboring fields since it’s not persistent, it dissipates rapidly, and it neutralizes on contact with soil.

          • sciguybm

            Well, I’m not sure where you get that information but it is wrong, even State of California doesn’t agree with you….you just a mouth-piece?? Mischa mischa mischa….sleep good at night?
            http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/emon/pubs/fatememo/glyphos.pdf

            Bergström L, Börjesson E & Stenström J (2011) Laboratory and Lysimeter Studies of Glyphosate and Aminomethylphosphonic Acid in a Sand and a Clay Soil
            Journal of Environmental QualityVol 40 pp 98–108

            Simonsen L, Fomsgard IS, Svensmark B & Splid NH. 2008. Fate and availability of glyphosate and AMPA in agricultural soil. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part B 43: 365-375

            Feng J.C. and Thompson D.G., 1990. Fate of glyphosate in a Canadian forest watershed. 2. Persistence in foliage and soils. Journal of Agriculture, Food and Chemistry
            38: 1118-1125

            Humphries D, Brytus G & Anderson AM. 2005. Glyphosate residues In Alberta’s atmospheric deposition, soils and surface waters Water Research Users Group Alberta Environment

            Sanchis J et al,2012. Determination of glyphosate in groundwater samples using an ultrasensitive immunoassay and confirmation by on-line solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry Analytical and Bioanalytical
            Chemistry 402:2335-2345

            No “hippies” or “environmentalists” in that bunch….. and of course I posted this for the rest of the world to be able to find mischa, I know you can’t understand any of those “big” words in any of those research journals what with all the RR floating around in your bloodstream:

            http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urin

            http://omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-residues-in-animals-and-humans-2161-0525.1000210.pdf
            But not to worry, your prostate will soon enough have had its fill of estrogen mimicking compounds and you’ll be hearing those magic words “you have cancer” too! That’s the great thing about Monsanto, et al, toxic contamination: it gets everyone, not just the “hippies” and “organanuts” it gets all of ya’ll! Sweet, no?

            Hokanson R, Fudge R,Chowdhary R & Busbee D. 2007. Alteration of estrogen-regulated gene expression in human cells induced by the agricultural and horticultural herbicide glyphosate. Human and Experimental Toxicology 26: 747-52

            Well, my point? See ya, wouldn’t wanna BE ya!

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            It doesn’t really matter what the State of California thinks. What maters is the number of lawsuits that have been successfully launched against farmers who use Roundup for allegedly contaminating neighboring organic crops.

            I am aware of only one such case from back when I was an organic inspector. There might be a few more, but on the whole, Roundup is a very benign herbicide and has not elicited anywhere near the amount of litigation between organic and non-organic farmers as most other herbicides and insecticides.

            Prove me wrong sciguybm. Show us the lawsuits!

          • sciguybm

            Cigarettes were smoked since the 1800s. People started dying from cigarettes around the 1930s when they started screwing around with the natural tobacco product to make it “better.” Emphysema first.
            1950s & 60s all the additives were legalized and the ag chemicals getting more toxic; lung cancer now.
            Lawsuits against the tobacco industry didn’t start until the 1970s…almost 100 years later.
            Asbestos has been used as a pipe insulator since the early 1900s. People started dying from it almost immediately. Lawsuits weren’t started until 1960s…almost 60 years later.
            Don’t worry; yours’ is coming too.
            My company was involved in a lawsuit, unlawful death, centering around lymphoma and nitrates. 12 others were in the lawsuit. We were excused, the other 11 paid dearly to settle. Now I see dozens similar…the fertilizer industry is going to be crucified.
            So far attorneys have been reluctant to file as the EPA and USDA is adamantly supporting the GMO chemical tax-cash-cow, one of the few exports we have….along with pharmaceuticals. As the evidence mounts the vultures will circle.
            We’ll be sure to include your name as one of the minions bolstering the misinformation and lies put out by the chemical companies. And like a rat I’m sure you’ll cling to EPA and USDA safety reports and claim your innocence, how you were mislead too.
            But, comment blogs like this show you to be more than “just mislead”….shows you to be a perp. Write more, we’ll copy them!
            Love your blog-site; copying that too.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            If you’re trying to say some bad people did some bad things in the past and therefore we have to be suspicious of the new field of science that gave us synthetic human insulin which replaced insulin from slaughtered pigs for the victims of diabetes, then I’m afraid I cannot follow you.

            In any case, I don’t defend the use of tobacco, or marijuana for that matter.

          • sciguybm

            I am not against technology…I am against the “technology” buying EPA/FDA approval by filling the review and approval boards with their OWN EMPLOYEES.
            And all the while you have been “debating” on this comment board you never once admitted that is true. But you know, as well as I know, that it IS true.
            That is the issue, reagan (worst criminal in history of mankind) started it (to pay-back financial supporters who got him elected) and not one president has had the guts to change it…..cause now it would impact economy AND the tax role. There is no truth to “the end justifies the means.”
            We’re in a sh-thole with no ladder out…. trading our health, sexual orientation of our children, handing out cancer with every gallon of herbicide, for the taxes the entitled get in their dole.
            And no one cares anymore then what they get out of it.
            The “Me” generation indeed.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            Then attack the EPA, FDA and corporate interests that “buy” their employees. You’ll get no argument from me.

            Stop attacking the field of science here. Just because a few corporations that you don’t like control this science is no reason to reject it.

            In fact, the more you reject the science of genetic engineering, the more you play right into the monopolistic hands of those very corporations you despise.

          • sciguybm

            However; until such time as the federal government has the individual citizens’ safety and health as its #1 goal of importance the genetic engineering industry is running amuck on our world.
            The choice is a) support genetic engineering which, in its form today, is basically unregulated or b) resist first, see the data, then relent. I think “b.”
            Just willy-nilly giving the “thumbs up” to genetic engineering, as it is practiced today, is suicide.
            No thanks.
            Given one small step, GMO labeling, we can start compromise.
            Let’s be clear; 63 countries around the world require GMO labeling so its not the end-of-the-world as we know it.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            It’s never advisable to oppose science. Look what happened to the Catholic Church when they tried doing that with Galileo.

          • sciguybm

            That’s ridiculous. Science is not infallible nor does it have the right to dictate our lives. It is a servant…except they have forgotten that and now commercial science is trying to be god.
            churches and religions are made of humans….who are greedy, slothful, gluttonous and prideful in every thing they do.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            The science of genetic engineering is not dictating anything to you sciguybm. You’re welcome to reject it, avoid is, and even attack it all you want.

          • sciguybm

            And I am, in many more ways than this little comment section…… while you preach and praise the genetic modification industry we are building the movement that will stop it from commercial application. The Captains of Industry did not learn their history…..and so are doomed to repeat it. As are those who feed at their trough.

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            “Feed at their trough”? I take it you mean, “getting paid to say the things I say”?

            Sorry my friend, but I am 100% independent. And I’ve been saying these things since 1998 when I first became a rookie, IOIA-trained organic inspector.

            In any case, fight all you want. You’re fighting progress, that’s all.

  • William Brooks

    It is the ever increasing Herbicide use (as reported by the USDA), since GMO introduction, that is driving the Organic Movement to request food labeling, not banning:
    Glyphosate (an endocrine disruptor), is now found in the placenta and breast milk of nursing mothers. The California Medical Association and numerous other medical professionals worldwide have concerns. Don’t we all deserve to know what is in our food?

    1. Within the last 20 years there has been an exponential increase in
    the adoption of GM crops along with associated applications of
    glyphosate to those crops (Benbrook, 2012).

    2. Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) have been detected in air (Majewski et al., 2014, Chang et al., 2011), rain (Scribner et al., 2007; Majewski, 2014), groundwater (Scribner, 2007), surface water (Chang, 2011; Scribner, 2007; Coupe et al., 2012), soil (Scribner, 2007) and sea water (Mercurio et al.,2014). These studies show that glyphosate and AMPA persist in the soil and water and the amounts detected are increasing over time with increasing agricultural use.

    3. Glyphosate residues are high in our food. For example, glyphosate
    & AMPA residues are as high as 15 parts per million in GM soybeans
    with no residues detected in organic or conventionally grown soy. In
    addition, “Organic soybeans showed the healthiest nutritional profile
    with more sugars, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose,
    significantly more total protein, zinc and less fibre than both
    conventional and GM-soy” (Bohn et al., 2014).

    4. Glyphosate bioaccumulates in organs and muscle tissue (Kruger et al, 2014).

    5. During this same time period, there has been an alarming increase
    in serious illnesses in the US, along with a marked decrease in life
    expectancy (Bezruchka, 2012).

    6. The onset of serious illness is appearing in increasingly younger populations: neurological disease (Pritchard et al., 2013); obesity, asthma, behavior & learning problems and chronic disease in children and young adults (Van Cleave et al., 2010); type II diabetes in youth (Rosenbloom et al., 1999).

    7. Not only has the rate of chronic disease in the entire US
    population been dramatically increasing, but an estimated 25% of the
    population now suffers from multiple chronic diseases (Autoimmunity Research Foundation, 2012).

    8. The connection between glyphosate and chronic disease has been outlined in a recent review paper by Samsel & Seneff (2013a).

    9. Time trends of the rise in chronic diseases along with the rise of
    glyphosate use, and the adoption of GM crops show very high
    correlations with very strong statistical significance (Swanson, 2013).

    10. Glyphosate has been shown to be toxic to the liver and kidneys (Cattani et al., 2014; Jayasumana et al., 2014; Lushchak et al., 2009; El-Shenawy, 2009; de Liz Oliveira Cavalli et al., 2013; Séralini et al., 2011).

    11. Glyphosate is a patented chelating agent (U.S. patent number 3160632 A) causing mineral deficiencies.

    12. Glyphosate is a patented anti-microbial & biocide (U.S. patent number 20040077608 A1
    & U.S. patent number 7771736 B2). It preferentially kills
    beneficial bacteria in our intestines leading to nutrient deficiency,
    chronic intestinal diseases, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases (Samsel & Seneff, 2013b; Kruger, 2013; Shehata et al., 2012; Carman et al., 2013).

    13. Glyphosate leads to teratogenicity (birth defects) and reproductive toxicity (infertility) in vertebrates (Antoniou et al., 2012).

    14. Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor (Gasnier et al., 2009; Paganelli et al., 2010; Antoniou et al., 2012; Thongprakaisang et al., 2013).

    15. There are no “safe” levels of endocrine disruptors (Vandenberg et al., 2012; Bergman et al., 2013).

    16. Imbalances and malfunctions of the endocrine system can lead to
    diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease, cancers of the breast,
    prostate, liver, brain, thyroid, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Marc et al., 2004; Thongprakaisang et al., 2013), osteoporosis, Cushing’s syndrome, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, infertility, birth defects, erectile dysfunction, (Soto & Sonnenschein, 2010), sexual development problems and neurological disorders such as: learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder (de Cock et al., 2012), autism (Schulkin, 2007), dementia (Ghosh, 2010), Alzheimer’s (Merlo et al., 2010), Parkinson’s and schizophrenia (MacSweeney et al., 1978).

    17. Endocrine disruptors are especially damaging to organisms
    undergoing hormonal changes: fetuses, babies, children, adolescents and
    the elderly (Bergman et al., 2013).

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Anti-GMO organic activists like William Brooks assume that Roundup (glyphosate) has only been in use since Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready crops to the market in the late 1990s. But Roundup has been in use for decades longer than that. And if there were problems with it – like endocrine disruption – we would have noticed it much sooner.

      With that said, it’s good to read comments from people like William Brooks so we know just how baseless the anti-GMO organic movement has become.

  • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

    Some commenters below are trying to spin the yarn that DDT was never banned by environmentalists in the 1970s. Others are trying to spin the yarn that DDT is highly dangerous and hence had to be banned. Don’t be fooled.

    Rachel Carson never called for the banning of DDT, or any other pesticides. She knew there was nothing wrong with such substances unless they were used improperly. But 8 years after her death, environmentalists (who happen to believe there are too many people living on this planet) went ahead and banned DDT here in the United States, and then on the world stage by withholding aid to any country that continued to use it.

    Anyone who claims DDT was never banned – resulting in tens-of-millions of deaths of people in the Third World, mostly children under the age of 5 – is lying. DDT was banned. Anyone who claims it had to be banned should travel to countries in Africa where officials are using it again in spite of what environmentalists might have to say about it, and see all the people whose lives have been saved.

    It’s time for environmentalists and organic activists to quit killing people in the millions.

  • Concerned Cynthia

    Mischa you have my full support. It is important that we move forward with technology based on facts not fear.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      Please visit my website Cynthia: isitorganic (dot) ca
      And be sure to drop me a line!

  • Gilles Hosch

    “But where is the line-up of speakers at any forum exposing the complete
    absence of facts emanating from the anti-GMO, anti-antibiotic organic
    industry?” Are you truly saying “the complete absence of facts”??? you are a truly devious asshole. there are dozens of extremely solid and far-reaching scientific concerns regarding genetic modification of food crops – regardless of the business model and the corporate master plans behind those crops. anybody who pretends that the sum of those scientifically-grounded concerns is nil is an intellectual criminal. and an asshole, as i already said…

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      The basis of the scientific process is reproducibility. And no one has ever been able to reproduce any study that suggested there were problems with GMOs. No one, not even the original authors of said studies.

  • Dirty Momma

    this sounds like the typical behind the back way of trying to get rid of the organic market. You do it your way I’ll do it mine. I as organic farmer will not give in to the bio tech industry. This anti GMO movement was put in to the organic rule for a reason.
    , and it was public input. I think I;ll stick with the public.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      The organic industry began as an anti-synthetic-fertilizer movement in the 1920s.

      In the 1960s it came to include rejection of synthetic pesticides.

      It was not until the 1990s that the organic movement became concerned with GMOs, for entirely self-serving reasons.

      And once GMOs became the phantom menace for the urban leadership of the organic movement, concern over synthetic fertilizer and pesticides dropped to the point where no one in the organic movement cared anymore about them. The result is that a whopping 43% of all organic food now tests positive for prohibited pesticides. That’s right… almost half of all organic food is contaminated with synthetic pesticides.

      The once-proud organic movement has become nothing more than an anti-GMO movement, to the exclusion of everything else we once stood for.
      It’s time to bury the anti-GMO hatchet.

  • Sandra Corlett

    Mischa is a schill for the biotech industry. He has nothing to do with the organic industry. He is paid by the Heritage Foundation to spread misinformation. Anyone can claim to be from within an industry, but not actually represent that industry. Being an organic farmer, and an organic inspector that was trained by the same organic inspector’s training organization as the one which trained Mischa, I believe that I can safely say that anyone who takes this man seriously is a fool.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      I am not paid by anyone to write in defense of the science of genetic engineering. I am 100% independent.

      I have never worked for the Heritage Foundation. And I was a USDA-contract organic inspector from 1998 to 2004, after growing up on an organic grain farm in Saskatchewan.

      If you really think I’m a fool, then why not humiliate me by engaging me in debate Sandra? Michael Olson at Food Chain Radio, KSCO, has agreed to host such a debate. Let me know when you’re ready.

  • Sandra Corlett
    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      This attempted drive-by smear is riddled with errors, some of which are deliberate. I have a standing offer to debate anyone from The Cornucopia Institute about their attack on me. They have refused to accept that offer.

      To see a point-by-point response to Cornucopia’s lies about my work, click here: http://www.isitorganic.ca/attempted_drive-by_smear

  • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

    For anyone concerned about comments below claiming DDT was never banned, you can now read the whole story right here on Greener Ideal: http://www.greenerideal.com/lifestyle/0718-anti-science-wing-of-organic-movement/

    Make no mistake, DDT was indeed banned by environmentalists in 1972, exactly the same way environmentalists are trying to ban GMOs. The result was tens of millions of deaths in the Third World from diseases carried by mosquitoes, mostly children under the age of 5. We have yet to come to terms with how many people will suffer if GMOs are ever banned.

  • pianosaurus rex

    Mischa
    There must be some reason, unknown to myself, as to why you would decide to send this posting to my email inbox unsolicited.

    Please pool all of your consideration into one place and leave me out of your propaganda about how safe GMO products are.

    If indeed the claims made in this article were even remotely correct, why has the entire European continent banned GMO’s.

    Do not send me anymore of these postings.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      If you’re only willing to receive emails from people you’ve sent emails to, how do you ever expand your horizons?

  • MADGE Australia Inc

    No I’m talking about the same IRRI. Go to their page “What is the status of the Golden Rice project co-ordinated by IRRI”. There they report that more work is needed as the yield is low and the agronomic performance was poor. You actually have to read things and not just assume your fantasies are reality. It would be gracious of you to make an apology to all the activists you have slurred saying they are delaying GM golden rice when it actually does not exist.

    • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

      All right Madge. You have finally gone completely off the deep end now. We need to get Golden Rice approved in order to really test it. It’s not like it can harm anyone. If you’re right it will fail and you’ll win. So get out of the way.

      As for apologizing to activists, do you deny that organic activists want FEWER people on the planet? Do YOU want FEWER people on the planet?

      That’s what this is about.

      • MADGE Australia Inc

        It is very interesting to see your logic. Why should golden rice be approved before it is tested? How can you assume it will not harm anyone if it has not been tested? You can look up various reasons why it may harm people including that vitamin A can be toxic to people, especially unborn children.

        Next you are saying I want fewer people on the planet! Bonkers!

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          No-no-no Madge. Golden Rice HAS been tested. But you, along with every organic activist in the world and every Greenpeace activist, believe it needs FURTHER TESTING. And the only way to do that at this stage is by approving it and getting it into the hands of the people.

          Organic activists always say GMOs haven’t been tested enough, which isn’t true. But whenever someone tries to test GMOs, you guys are always standing in the way.

          Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No Mischa, I keep sending you to the IRRI site that states GM golden is not ready and yet you keep saying it is. When IRRI says it is all tested and ready to go, get back to me. Why are you finding it so hard to read and understand what IRRI says?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I finally see what the problem is here Madge.

            I’m saying GMO Golden Rice is ready to go to the people so we can see how it performs in the real world. After a few years we’ll be able to assess its effectiveness in preventing blindness in kids.

            You on the other hand seem to think we can’t go ahead and try GMO Golden Rice until we’re sure it works. But that’s a Catch-22 because we’ll never know that until we try it in the real world.

            Get it?

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            No that is not the issue.
            “We can see how it performs in the real world”. Go to the IRRI page ‘What is the status of the golden rice project coordinated by IRRI” where it says “An important goal of the trials was to test whether the agronomic performance of the new rice variety would be acceptable to farmers. The initial results indicate that more research is needed, with greater focus on increasing yield.”

            So nothing is ready to try in the real world. Therefore there is also nothing to test to see if it works or not as it does not yet exist. Do you understand this?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            You’ve apparently never heard of “field trials.” Once Golden Rice is approved, it can be given to a few hundred farmers to try out. If they like it, it can then be given to a few thousand, and so on.

            Greenpeace is trying the same strategy that you are, saying Golden Rice hasn’t been tested enough. But as with all crops, the only way to test it further is with field trials on real farms.

            It’s called the real world Madge.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Weirdly I have heard of field trials. That is what IRRI has been doing and have discovered the poor performance of GM golden rice which is why they say: “An important goal of the trials was to test whether the agronomic
            performance of the new rice variety would be acceptable to farmers. The
            initial results indicate that more research is needed, with greater
            focus on increasing yield”

            That is probably the 3rd time I’ve sent you that quote from the IRRI website. When will you read and understand it? It means they have done field trials and GM golden rice is currently not suitable for farmers. Have you understood this?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I’ll make up my mind whether Golden Rice is acceptable to farmers as soon as farmers start growing it and provide their feedback.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            It’s obvious you have made up your mind. The fact that GM golden rice is still being developed by IRRI does not alter your mind one bit that it is ready to be grown by farmers. Wow, impressive cognitive dissonance! How do you manage it?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I have indeed made up my mind that GMO Golden Rice is ready for extensive field trials with real farmers. If you’re right and it’s a flop, farmers will drop it and you’ll win the argument. If, on the other hand, farmers embrace it, then millions of people will finally have access to it after over a decade of delay.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Hello, earth to Mischa, the group that are organising the GM golden rice project THEMSELVES (IRRI) say it is not ready to go to farmers. You say it is. Can you see the problem here?

            Once again IRRI say: “An important goal of the trials was to test whether the agronomic performance of the new rice variety would be acceptable to farmers. THE INITIAL RESULTS INDICATE THAT MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED WITH GREATER FOCUS ON INCREASING YIELD.”

            This means the IRRI field trials showed low yield and so there is no point having farmer trials as it will not be acceptable to them with the current low yield. Do you understand this yet?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            An important part of field trials for new crops is to go from the test plot to the test field.
            Scientists test new crops in small plots, sometimes as small as just one hundred square feet. Successful crops are then propagated and the seed is given to farmers in different climate areas with different soil conditions to grow in fields, sometimes as large as 100 acres.
            That’s how the science of agriculture has been conducted for over a century.

          • MADGE Australia Inc

            Yes, I understand that. The issue is that the small scientist test plots have not been sufficiently successful to give to farmers. This is what IRRI is saying about their golden rice project. Do you understand this yet?

          • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

            I’m sorry, but when you first mentioned this I immediately went to the IRRI website and could not find what you’re talking about. Do you have a citation or a link?

            It’s normal to occasionally get less-than-stellar results for a crop at the early stages, but the results are good enough to go to the field-trial level.

          • pilman

            Tested by who? Independent or the corps?

      • pilman

        I will happily answer that, at some point overpopulation is going to become a problem, there’s already areas that are so densely packed that there’s literally no room for growth, that has little to do with Gmos, as many have stated, we ask for labels to know what we are eating. Overpopulation is a pretty this poor example as Gmos hardly exceed the yield of organic farming, and there’s other methods of preserving resources like the slow dripper that israel uses.

        • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

          How exactly do you define “overpopulation” pilman?

  • Aidan Benelle

    Mr. Popoff ~ Here you go again

    Anyone with a ‘brain’ sees you have an agenda as you continue to spin that agenda everywhere a GM article is found. Your ‘task’ is to deploy information that GMO’s and their associated herbicides are not that bad and ‘attempt’ to negate the benefits of organic foods for health and the overall environment.

    P.S. Its not working – never will