By: Myles Power Edited by: Peter
I recently uploaded a video to YouTube critiquing an american advert asking people to vote yes for proposition 37. For those who don't know, proposition 37 was the failed attempt calling for the mandatory labelling of all genetically modified food in California. To try and get people to vote yes, the advert mislead the viewer into thinking that GM-food poses a threat to human health and that Bt delta endotoxins are not safe for human consumption (even though they are used in organic farming). At the end I discussed my personal thoughts about about the proposition, and how I was actually for the labelling, but angry at the misinformation in the advert.
My video did fairly well in the first day, and quite a lot of people contacted me giving me their thoughts on proposition 37 and GMOs. Out of all the people who contacted me one in particular stuck out. It was a tweet from the GreenPolkaDotBox, a company that sells non-GMO food in big green polkabot boxes. As well as selling the boxes, their website claims that they also "educate the public about the links between diet and disease, motivating them to seek out healthier, clean, organic alternatives" and how to "protect our children from the debilitating consequences of processed and genetically modified foods". Their tweet to me said "It is very important that we are well informed about what is in our food as well as knowing the real dangers". In my video, I briefly mentioned that there were potential dangers to genetic modification but foolishly never gave any examples. This has led people to believe I was talking about examples of GM-crop on the American market when actually I was talking about examples confined in the lab or in a controlled experiment. This is why I was so fascinated with the GreenPolkaDotbox's tweet, as they where obviously talking about dangers in GM-crop on the market.
I replied back asking for an example of the dangers of GMOs from a reliable source. What I got in return was a link to a pdf hosted on their website on the dangers of glyphosate (AKA Roundup herbicide). Before I go any further I have to stress that GreenPolkaDotBox is not some anonymous commenter online; they are a company that sells non-GMO products whilst pushing the idea that GMOs are dangerous. If anyone should be able to give me a link to a reliable source showing these dangers, it’s a company in which it’s entire business is based around these dangers. You can imagine my surprise when the best they could give me was an open access paper entitled ‘Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases‘. First the paper is a prime example of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) and references many questionable papers including ones from Andrew Wakefield. The paper also quotes the highly discredited paper ‘Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize’ which shows you the level of scientific understanding we are dealing with. Secondly, the paper says that glyphosate is responsible for everything from autism to obesity, which is not supported by the literature. Thirdly, most obvious and unforgivably, the paper is about glyphosate and not GMOs. Like others who apparently have research that shows dangers of GMOs have not bothered to read the research they are quoting. You would think a company who’s product is based on theses so called dangers would not be so lazy.
The common misconception among anti-GMO-ers like GreenPolkaDotBox is that glyphosate (roundup) is produced in roundup ready GM-plants. It does not take a degree in biology or an advanced knowledge of science to understand why this is so stupid it just takes a little bit of common sense. Why would someone make a plant which produces a compound which can kill it? These plants do not produce glyphosate; they are resistant to the herbicide, this is even mentioned in the paper which GreenPolkaDotBox is quoting. The paper says that roundup ready crops which are resistant to roundup allow for more of the herbicide to be used in farming and if thats the worst example of the dangers of GMO that the Green PolkaDot Box can throw at me then I am going to say GM-crop on the market are safe.
I, of course, contacted the Green PolkaDot Box with my problems with the paper they sent me but am still awaiting a reply.