Monday, October 19, 2015

Genetic Literacy Project

FOIA emails reveal anti-GMO, pro-organic spin 'A team' led by Tom Philpott and Michael Pollan, by Jon Entine & Nicholas Staropoli
Those who can’t support their position on a controversial science issue with empirical research and independent studies—take vaccine safety rejectionists as an example—often buttress their opinions with the words “it’s scientific fact”. In popular use, the statement is used sometimes in jest and sometimes as hyperbole, but the intent is the same: “You can’t win this argument because I have science on my side” (just don’t ask me to cite legitimate research). We have seen dedicated opponents of crop biotechnology use these tactics. Questionable studies by marginal scientists? Offer up research by Gilles-Éric Séralini, computer scientist Stephanie Seneff or biological engineer V.A. Shiva Ayyadura. Controversial legislation? Vermont passed a GMO labeling bill that’s being challenged in court. Celebrity supporters? Doesn’t get much bigger than Oprah, Dr. Oz or the team of celebrity, organic-endorsing moms assembled by Just Label It’s Gary Hirshberg…..

“You are awesome. Wall Street is paying attention, too. Chipotle’s stock hit a record high last week when they announced they would have to raise prices to go non GMO. It’s up 44% on the year. Have spoken with Target and Nestle in the last week. Sending a hug to you, Chuck. You are such an inspiration and mentor to me. Thank you for all that you do.”


Email from Robyn O’Brien to Charles Benbrook, October 29, 2013

This brief note—contained in the trove of emails posted by the New York Times last month about the ties between public scientists and the food industry—is perhaps the most revealing evidence yet about the tactics and ulterior motives behind the non-GMO movement. The Times released the emails in the wake of its publication of a September 5 article by Eric Lipton, “Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War.” A separate FOIA led to the release of more of Benbrook’s emails, available here, which reaffirms his close ties to the organic industry that has bankrolled him for more than a decade……
If one believes the backers of mandatory labeling initiatives, it’s simple common sense: consumers have a “right to know” what’s in our food. That is the beguiling message promulgated by a myriad of activists linked to such organizations as Right to Know GMO, Label GMOs and Just Label It. It’s powerful and superficially persuasive. “To be clear the Just Label campaign is not an anti-GMO effort,” Gary Hirshberg, founder of organic food maker Stonyfield Organic, and director of Just Label It, has said repeatedly. After all, what but a conspiracy of the federal government and global corporations could be against providing helpful information to consumers about what they eat?....

The number of autism cases has skyrocketed in the past few decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 1 out of every 2,000 children had autism. Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 150 8-year-olds in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. This expanded definition refers not only to autism but also to a collection of brain development disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome.   It’s been considered a medical puzzle. Mothers, and frankly all of us, are understandably concerned. Considering the numbers, it’s reasonable to ask: What’s causing the rise in cases.  Now researchers believe they know: Almost certainly, nothing. Most of the rise in autism is a statistical mirage….

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