I Was Lured Into Monsanto’s GMO Crusade. Here’s What I Learned.

Public debates about science and technology are rarely ever just about the science and technology.

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  • The controversial agricultural company Monsanto, acquired last June by Bayer, has become synonymous with genetically modified food.

    Visual: Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images


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It wasn’t until long after I first met Vance Crowe, at the 2016 conference for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry in Las Vegas, that I realized he was trying to win me over. Tall, white, conventionally handsome, and extremely charismatic, the 34-year-old Crowe was two years into a stint as the director of millennial engagement for Monsanto, the controversial agricultural company that has become synonymous with genetically modified food. And I was exactly the kind of person that he sought to engage.

As a millennial, progressive, science-minded mom of two, I had grown sick of fearmongers who were using bad science, poorly interpreted science, or — worst of all — no science at all to render parents’ love for their children into an anxiety about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. I’d found solace in the skeptics movement, whose members stress empiricism and the scientific method, and I began blogging to counter the fear and myths that were so pervasive in the parenting world.

So began my strange dance with Crowe and Monsanto — a dance that saw me go from vocal supporter of Crowe and his GMO movement to unabashed critic. The dance more or less ended in May of this year, when Crowe announced in a blog post that he stepped down as Monsanto’s director of millennial engagement, having largely failed at his goal of warming young people to the idea of GMOs. (Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last June, said in a statement that the company does not currently have plans to fill the position.) During my years of interactions with Crowe and some of the who’s who of Monsanto and the pro-GMO world, however, I learned an important lesson — one that Crowe never seemed to grasp: Public debates about science and technology are never just about science and technology.

Monsanto has been a lightning rod for people’s views on food, the food system, global health, and war since well before it began its pivot into agricultural biotechnology in the 1980s. And in 2013, 31 years after Monsanto scientists first modified a cell line, the furor around the corporation showed few signs of slowing. Amid a wave of anti-Monsanto fervor on the internet, a reported hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets around the world to “March Against Monsanto.” GMOs, and Monsanto in particular, were being wrongly blamed for a raft of health and social problems, including rising allergy rates, farmer suicides in India and even racial health disparities in America.

In 2014, in an apparent attempt to win over young minds and “crack the millennial code” — to borrow the theme at that year’s Animal Agriculture Alliance conference — Monsanto hired Crowe, a communications strategist, as their director of millennial engagement. As journalist Jessie Scott put it in a 2017 profile for Successful Farming, Crowe’s overarching goal was “to engage with millennials about the intersection of farming, food, and technology,” and push back against activists who “spread fear of modern agriculture.” He identified six like-minded communities — which he problematically called “tribes”— that he hoped to recruit as allies: computer technologists, STEM proponents, pragmatic environmentalists, food-as-fuel proponents, agriculture advocates, and skeptics.

It was no surprise that Crowe and Monsanto eventually noticed my writing. During my young but very active career as a blogger, I’d written article after article and tweeted ad nauseam about how GMOs weren’t the cause of the myriad problems attributed to them. I’d interviewed Nobel Laureate Sir Richard Roberts to help amplify his #Nobels4GMOs campaign. I made it clear that widespread opposition to genetic engineering technologies had kept important agricultural solutions out of the hands of people who need it. I even co-founded March Against Myths, a science activist organization forged to counter the “pseudoscience injustice” that we believed was being perpetuated by the March Against Monsanto.

Crowe soon began to engage me. We shared cordial Twitter exchanges and even commiserated face-to-face about the often fact-scarce rhetoric of genetic engineering opponents. It was unsettling to later realize that he was deliberately targeting not just me but the entire community of skeptics — who had rescued me from my own fear as a young mother — and the other so-called tribes.

Crowe preached a scientific gospel of GMOs that went something like this: If you’re pro-science, you must be pro-GMO. If you’re anti-Monsanto, then you’re anti-GMO. Therefore, if you’re anti-Monsanto, you’re anti-science. His objective, it seemed, was to render opposition to GMOs as ridiculous as belief in Bigfoot, and to amass a movement that could be counted on to shout that message from the rooftops.

For a while, I played the part of loyal apostle. One frequent target of my work was the Non-GMO Project, which had begun putting its distinctive butterfly label on the packaging of foods it certifies as free of genetic modification. Altogether, the Non-GMO project claims to certify more than 50,000 products representing more than $26 billion in annual sales. In a 2017 op-ed, I wrote that “the Non-GMO Project’s vilification of safe technologies” was indefensible, and that they were “ruining my shopping experience.”

However, I gradually began to sense that there was something very wrong with the GMO gospel. In August 2017, several pieces I co-wrote for Forbes were taken down when it was discovered that my co-author had published articles ghostwritten by Monsanto. That feeling that something was wrong came into even sharper focus early last year when Crowe and Monsanto hosted a fireside chat with University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson to address farmers on “the danger of allowing ideologies to grow unopposed.” Peterson’s star was rising among the political right, following his very public refusal to comply with his university’s policy of addressing students with their preferred gender pronouns.

In an essay for Slate, I criticized the decision to invite Peterson, both on account of his bigoted views and because as far as I could tell — in his numerous lectures and hundreds of hours of popular YouTube videos — he had never before addressed the topic of agriculture. Soon after my story went live, a slew of pro-GMO tribespeople rushed to Monsanto and Crowe’s defense. Among them was Kevin Folta, then one of the most prominent scientists advocating for genetic engineering, who tweeted that his “heart hurts” for Crowe, adding, “That was a shitty title and a hit job Kavin. I hope the check was worth it.”

The blowback from the Slate story catalyzed an awakening, and suddenly I saw the landscape of the GMO battle with aerial clarity. Everything I’d written and said in support of GMOs was factually correct, but my approach had been all wrong. It’s impossible to have a constructive conversation about GMOs without acknowledging that underlying the unscientific claims made by many GMO opponents is a legitimate desire for trustworthy behavior from the companies that dominate the agricultural marketplace.

For instance, I had dismissed the Non-GMO Project’s ever-present butterfly labels as an annoying tactic based on pseudoscience. But the label’s popularity showed that something in the Non-GMO Project’s narrative was resonating with the North American marketplace: The labels play to people’s desire for transparency, to their underlying lack of trust in the food system, and to their desire to have some say in the way our food is grown and made.

According to a 2016 Gallup analysis, Millennials in particular tend not to trust big companies to deliver on their promises. And Monsanto has repeatedly failed to behave in trustworthy ways. A year after Bayer acquired it, Monsanto is still embroiled in controversy for several previous misdeeds, including keeping a list of influential critics and allies, in possible violation of French law. Since March, the company has been ordered to pay damages in three cases involving cancer said to be caused by its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup

But Crowe didn’t pay credence to such concerns. Behind his and Monsanto’s doomed struggle to position the company as a beacon of sustainable innovation was always a bit of contempt for those who didn’t agree with them. “If we don’t stop these ideas from opponents and get other ideas about modern agriculture to spread faster,” he told Sustainable Farming in 2017 “the world won’t look the way that I hope for or want it to look.”

But people, this millennial included, don’t necessarily want the world to look the way that Monsanto wants it to look. What was missing from Crowe’s battle for the hearts and minds of millennials were answers to big picture problems — about the health of our families, the environment, the food system, and the injustices that pervade all of these facets of life — that people on both sides of the GMO debate care about.

The entities that push unscientific, fear-based narratives about GMOs will never be defeated if the powers that be neglect to sincerely tackle the people’s underlying mistrust. As I said in a speech to fellow skeptics this past fall on the steps of the Sacramento capitol building, “While the scientific method may be the way we interact with the world, largely by choice, the scientific method is wielded by people, and what drives those people are values.” I’m hopeful that Monsanto will get the message, but I’m not holding my breath.


Kavin Senapathy is a freelance writer covering science, health, parenting, and food, based in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s the co-founder and contributing editor at SciMoms.com, and the co-host of the Point of Inquiry podcast. She also works with Genome International, a family owned business since 1992. Previously, she received travel and speaking funds from Monsanto parent-company Bayer.

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133 comments / Join the Discussion

    You say the scientific consensus says that GMOs are safe; however, do you realise that most GMO research comes from companies like Monsanto? journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0167777 This is an article by Thomas Guillemaud showing that about 40 percent of all GMO research is biased. Plus, an independent French research team repeated one of Monsanto’s trials except the researchers extended the trial period for 2 yrs and found that GMOs really do cause cancer; it posed so much of a threat to Monsanto that it was retracted but fortunately was republished with responses to its critics. So all that so called “science” about GMOs is really nothing more than corporate propaganda. The same is true with Big Pharma and Big Tobacco. Another interesting experiment performed by a farmer regarding GMOs can be found here governmentslaves.news/2019/07/06/farmer-conducts-experiment-using-gmo-and-non-gmo-corn-discovers-sobering-truth-that-animals-know-and-humans-dont/ If animals can sense something wrong with GMOs then why should we trust them with our health?

    Reply

    Your article mentions the “cases involving cancer said to be caused by [Monsanto’s] glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup”. But you didn’t mention that these suits were based entirely on the IARC’s Group 2A carcinogen classification, which doesn’t take dosage into account and which doesn’t have to follow the scientific consensus.

    I understand that your point was the public perception of Monsanto’s integrity, rather than the scientific basis (or lack thereof) of these lawsuits. But as you’re someone scientifically literate, you know that the actual scientific consensus around glyphosate is that it’s less toxic than table salt and is almost certainly NOT carcinogenic in the quantities consumers are exposed to. To not mention this fact when talking about the lawsuits against Monsanto/Bayer seems disingenuous.

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    There are two separate issues here:

    * The actions and ethics of Monsanto.
    * The risks and safety of GMO foods.

    Monsanto has acted the greedy bully, and it’s present troubles are well deserved.

    The methodology of gene modification is suspect: New genes are inserted via a tiny gold pellet coated with the genetic material, and it’s fired into the cell. “Shotgun surgery” Most of the cells die. Sometimes the gene is active. Sometimes not.

    We do not have a good understanding of how genes interact. It’s almost never the simple tall/medium/short peas of Mendel’s experiments, or brown eyes/blue eyes in your high school biology book. Two examples: Dog coat colour involves at least 7 genes, and another bunch for patterns. (Many dark hued dogs have white tip tails, and light socks. Some are speckled, patched, countershaded (light underneath) Pigments can be black, brown, red(ish), grey.) (Imagine the opportunities for racism if people had as much variation as dogs…)

    A second striking example was the Russian researcher who started a project to breed a more tractable, less fearful silver fox. The breeding was successful. In 6 generations he had a fox that instead of cowering int he back of it’s pen ready to bite, was calm enough to be picked up and petted. Their coats went from silver-tipped black to the same sort of patchy mix of black, white, and brown that Canadian Eskimo dogs exhibit today.

    ***

    There are tradeoffs in round-up ready foods. It’s a fairly simple modification. The ready canola has an enzyme that breaks up glyphosate before it can take effect. But since this is encoded in the plant’s genes then it can cross over to any species that the grain can hybridize with. Thus we now have round-up ready Johnson’s Weed. Worse: Your neighbour’s non GMO canola can be pollenated by your roundup ready canola. And Monsanto can sue your neighbor for “stealing” and confiscate your seed crop for next year. (Monsanto clients agree to buy new seed every year.)

    Reply

    Meh. Garbage in/ garbage out. You sign up to be a propagandist for Monsanto, you pay the piper when they sell out and get sued for billions. Kavin has been shilling for the biotech brigade for several years now. I guess Bayer doesn’t buy into the same shenanigans that Monsanto pulled. No more shill-bucks for you, Kavin. So sad…

    Reply

    I’m not sure if this is a conspiracy theory or if I just have my facts completely wrong. Also, please bear in mind, I also don’t care about left or right or any other direction – I’m just one of your below average plonkers trying to make sense of the world :) So –

    As far as I know these “modified seeds” get copy righted. So the genetic code for these modified seeds belong to Monsanto. If said seeds grow into plants and then cross pollinate your crop (via wind), then because that code is now in your crops seeds – Monsanto owns them ? Is that right?

    I want to grow my own veggies in my garden. But what if one of Monsanto’s plants corrupts my natural god given/ for all life to use/ original big bang plants? Then Monsanto can tell me its theirs? What if their plants contaminate all the plants? Then Monsanto owns every living plant?

    So its ok for all life to belong to everyone – and then for Monsanto to come contaminate it- then take it……. away from us – all for them greedy selves ……for money and power? Why would the rest of humanity allow that?

    In my opinion: GMO’s, science, solutions – in a world that is not ideal, ever changing and predominately under mankind’s dominion ( a mankind still struggling with self) – will be with us until the end. My issue is not with genetically engineering solutions or with pesticides or, or, or. We will start from the beginning, make a lot of mistakes, then tweak and improve and learn as we go along – striving for the best outcome.

    My issue is with the business side of things. With inequality, corruption, greed and the devaluation of human life / mankind. Business outcome (predominately) is for the one at the top of the pyramid – not for all.

    Or am I way off? Please advise, please clarify.

    Kind regards

    Reply

    To “JENNIFER” the FARMER and others who say they can not farm without ag chems this attitude backed by the American Farm Bureau is to counter organic farmers who continue to show us via the millions of dollars they are raking in by not using Beyer ag chem products. My family farmed with huge success by simply recycling bio-nutrients from dairy barn, beef cattle sheds and layer coops and yards into the grain fields by use of a manure spreader. Cultivators were mechanical not chemical. Record yields were realized in oats, wheat , corn and several types of hay. Pastures were tall in grass. Minerals, N,P, Mg along with ORGANIC MATTER applied to all fields and pasture creates a soil rich in microbial life (bacteria, viruses, fungi and invertebrate fauna), Applying chemicals to your growing crops is toxic to all things alive in the soil. I watch idiot farmers around my farm grow cover crops like seasonal rye…then kill it with Roundup prior to planting soy beans! How about some cows out there to eat it and fertilize the field num nutz! DO not eat peanuts! Sprayed no less than 4 times before harvest with herbicides and fungicides! Buy organic peanut butter for you and the kids, please! Farmers can not do math.
    Roundup is a fault free chemical? No one in my county in FL uses just Round Up on fields of peanuts, melons.. Years of repeated season use of Roundup has made most weeds Roundup resistant so chems such as pelargonic, diquat, and 2,4-D are mixed with Roundup in tanks and out to the fields they go. Good by insects and birds that fly by these fields as these potent chems vaporize as the sun beats down on the fields. When it rains…? BUY ORGANIC ONLY!

    Reply

    Who funds the research programs and resulting research that is used to train and educate the young farmer of today? Controlling the funding and research of modern schools of medicine and farming research , while burying questions of cheap versus healthier-research questions that might find behemoth companies less sacrosanct is just capitalist American business practice. So?

    Reply

    One point that the article makes is that discussing GMOs can’t really be separated from “big picture problems — about the health of our families, the environment, the food system, and the injustices that pervade all of these facets of life.”
    From a pure-science perspective, it’s true that inserting a gene from the DNA of one organism into the DNA of another organism has nothing to do with income inequality. But from the perspective of, say, a person concerned with the gigantic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, that gigantic dead zone is the result of a lot of farming in the midwest, and GMOs definitely bring down the cost of that farming, and that farming grows a lot of cheap food that 43 million people living in poverty can afford, so maybe raising their income might require less cheap food, and a smaller dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
    In this scenario, we have three potential activists; the pro-GMO person, the environmental activist, and the person trying to raise the national minimum wage. The pro-GMO activist naturally assumes that the environmental activist is their enemy, and vice-versa, and neither of them are going to touch income inequality with a ten-foot pole because it’s way too controversial.
    Of course the GMO/farming/income inequality relationship is totally debatable, but here’s the point: just go ahead and have the debate.

    Reply

    Monsanto is in terms of business ethics and communication one of the most despicable company I have ever heard of. It is still spreading cancer with its number one pesticide and has been running a well organized disinformation campaign about the desastating effects of glyphosphate on human health for years. Bullying scientists and fostering ghostwriting research are daily instruments.
    Fortunately research started linking glyphosphate with cancer and some courts like in California or Oakland recently ruled in favor of victims. Monsanto will eventually have to respond to hundreds further complains in trials, so there is good hope truth will prevail.

    Reply

    After reading through all of these comments, I am left deeply bothered. The general premise of the majority of the commenters is that I, the farmer have no idea what I am doing with the land and crops I care for. It seems most people either think that I’m too stupid or just plain too greedy to care about the health of the environment and the people I work to provide food for. It doesn’t matter that I have a BS in Dairy Science or that I’ve spent the last 20 years learning, studying and constantly improving my working knowledge of agriculture. It feels as if most people are convinced that THEY must know more about what I do and how to grow crops than me. Even though most of what I’ve read in these comments about what I do is completely wrong. So first, before you pass judgement on me, I invite you to take a moment and visit a farm or connect with a farmer to learn about what we really do. If you can’t do that, ask me questions, I’d love to share with you what I do everyday. Now, I would like to set the record straight about a few things I’ve read in these comments. I’m sorry, I won’t be posting links to studies or resources. If you are truly interested, you can google whatever you want, the resources and correct data is out there. First, I agree that Monsanto screwed up many times over the years, they made some stupid marketing decisions. Their biggest mistake was underestimating how much the consumer cares about their food. And yes, I’m glad you care. From the beginning, they never talked to you, the consumer about the advancements that they made in crop production and what it could mean for safely feeding our growing population. They are a huge company and that comes with a huge responsibility. They should have done bette. However, Monsanto is not the devil. The research and new technology that they and other companies have developed have allowed us to more safely produce our crops. It was stated that roundup ready corn has allowed us to use way more roundup on our crops (only on corn and soybeans). Yes this is true, but what isn’t stated is what that means. Because I can use roundup, I no longer have to use stronger chemicals that are more dangerous and less selective. When we plant our crops we use a practice called no-till. In the fall, I plant a grain such as wheat or rye. This grows through the fall. It keeps my soil covered, prevents weeds from growing and improves my soil health because the root system of the plant keeps the soil in the ground from being compacted. In the spring we cut and harvest that plant for our cows to eat. At that point we can plant our corn seeds. If you notice, I’ve have not even mentioned spraying yet. That’s because I’ve kept the weeds suppressed naturally. Now my next step will be to make ONE pass over the field to apply herbicides. Read that correctly, we are not spraying our field 5 or 6 times, if everything works correctly, I will spray my corn field one time. Roundup and roundup ready corn seed allows me to do this. I will use roundup to kill the other grasses and usually one other herbicide to kill any other weeds (specifically broad leaf weeds) that will emerge. We work with agronomists and other specialists to make sure we apply exactly what is needed and nothing more at the specific time that it needs to be applied. There are many other examples of what the technology Monsanto has created has allowed us to do, For example, thanks to BT corn seed, now my husband doesn’t have to handle or mix insecticide into our corn seed. This is much safer for him and our family and the environment. Farmers want to buy new seed each year from companies like Monsanto, because it allows us to use the newest genetics. These new genetics of seed are much more drought tolerant and hardy. We can now produce more corn or soybeans or wheat or triticale or rye or canola or many other crops on way fewer acres than we did just 30 years ago. To me, that’s pretty amazing. The science and technology from companies like Monsanto have allowed my little family farm to be better stewards of the environment, take better care of my land and keep it safer for my family. Again, if you have questions ask a farmer like myself. Do this before you pass judgement on what we do every day.

    Reply

    Nobody wants your toxic roundup-ready corn and soy Jennifer the farmer. Say all you want to make yourself feel better, but even with one spray you’re poisoning the consumer, your cows, you land, and the planet.
    Farmers who truly care about health and environment ate transitioning to organic regenerative agriculture and want nothing to do with Monsanto/Bayer and the poison cartel.

    Reply

    Jennifer, your essay is excellent and certainly explains why I support farmers like you, who do care for the land and your families.

    Reply

    ONLY SCUM OF THE EARTH POISONS FOOD AND OUR NATURAL RESOURCES AND FIGHTS TO KEEP IT SECRET.

    Reply

    > The labels play to people’s desire for transparency, to their underlying lack of trust in the food system, and to their desire to have some say in the way our food is grown and made.

    This is a naive interpretation of what you were sensing. Capitalism’s underlying principle is caveat emptor, buyer beware, or vote with your dollar. Monsanto has spent millions upon millions to deny consumers, worldwide, the right to know what they are purchasing, to hide the ingredients, to deny consumer choice. All the while, it’s lobby quietly changes laws to favor its products, like GMO corn that was once illegal in the US, but the same year as GMO corn “accidentally” made its way into the supply chain igniting a nationwide corn chip recall, laws began to change without referendum, and now GMO corn is in nearly everything we eat and use; from chips to sweeteners, from plastics to automobile tires. This isn’t just undemocratic, it’s not even captialism, it’s pathological greed. They have been, and continue to, game the system.

    Reply

    You said that everything you said about GMO’s while working for Monsanto was true but that’s not true. Everything you said about GMO’s was what Monsanto told you and you believed to be true, and then you repeated those ‘facts’. GMO’s have never been tested on humans in a controlled environment over a long period to see if they effect humans negatively. My questions for you is; why did you ever care what other people think about GMO’s? I have a right to form an opinion of GMO’s and to decide whether I want them in my foods or not, regardless of what information or lack there of, I used to make my decision. I personally don’t need any scientific studies to tell me that something man has altered is good and that I should put in my body. What I look at is my environment and the symbiotic relationship that all things have and how they depend on each other in the form that they’re already in. These relationships were formed over a very long period of time and are extremely important and I don’t believe that man should intervene in what occurs naturally, ever. If you really want to get involved in something of great importance that is destroying our planet, why don’t you blog/vlog about the geoengineering that’s been going on for 90+ years over our heads. I believe the first test was done in 1928 and has been increasing ever since. Governments around the world are using weaponized weather to do battle while us people sit here with particles raining down on us daily, such as Aluminum, Barium, Strontium, Sulfuric Acid, Sulfur dioxide, etc. None of which we should be breathing in or have in our water supplies or on our fruits and vegetables. If you want to narrow your field of vision a bit why not just research Aluminum and see what it does to humans when it’s ingested, breathed in or injected into our blood stream when given vaccines.

    Reply

    I worked for Monsanto from 96, the year test market acres began for Roundup Ready Soybeans, and HELP introduce 5 new Roundup formulations prior to patent expiration in 2001. I stayed working on branding n communications of all Roundup products til 2004 including the IPO of Monsanto.
    The words and positions of the ‘Millenial Engagement’ guy would never had been the position of the company or it’s product management at the inception of Roundup Ready, YieldGard, BollGard, or stacked genetic technology. What I read is a world domination scenario which paints Monsanto as the evil empire ppl fear. A very large percentage of the employees there grew up on farms or in ag retailer families, as I did. We would not do anything to hurt the soil, it’s ability to raise a crop or our families neighbors that we would have to face if we did such a thing.
    In Saint Louis, I was more comfortable working for Monsanto cause I could defend what I did with science with the actual scientists who did the work. Maybe now there are no longer ppl involved at the company that did the work and they have lost the connection to the soil n to their soul.

    Reply

    Corrupted, inadequate government oversight is the main problem, and you’re still pushing your nonsense ideology that GMOs are great–just because–despite their long-term health effects not being studied sufficiently for you to make that claim. You’re as faith-based and irrational as anyone you seek to libel, and I do not find you credible at all from this article.

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    If GMOs is so great then advertise it made with GMOs, or how about ” smart gmo”…. but please stop convincing people we have no right to know what’s in the food we eat ,where the food is from, and who makes it…..why not convince people organic food is bad for you ,causes cancer, and responsible for starvation, so people will choose to buy non- organic, and then make small farmers prove the food they make is safe and tell us what’s in it?…

    Reply

    Lawson Gary = Kevin Folta aka Vern Blazek, Atloph Haight, etc

    He posts same the rhetoric all over social media and internet. Cut & paste. Get a new script. And life :)

    The ultimate GMO troll.

    Have a good day!

    Reply

    When I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I was completely dumbfounded. I’m a vegetarian, DON’T drink, smoke or do drugs. I ate “healthy” but not organic because it was expensive. I asked my oncologist how I could get stage 4. She responded that the American diet is really poor. So I researched and found that RoundUp is found in most of OUR FOOD and beverage. Boy I was Pissed. I switched to mostly ORGANIC. And with MUCH Lionhearted Faith and Elbow Grease, lots of research, I’ve beat stage4 back twice. I was only given SIX months to live.
    I DON’T TRUST our FOOD manufacturers or MONSANTO at all. FARMERS CANCER NHL will surely exterminate those who use RoundUp. Have a blessed day

    Reply

    Rose, I am happy you are well and avoiding round up. I am vehemently anti gmo and consume mostly organic foods as well. Please look into fenbendazole as a cancer treatment – they are testing it (again) but you can buy otc. Just wanted to share 💕

    Reply

    Kavin, doesn’t this make you wonder why Monsanto won’t or can’t deal with this subject in an open and honest way?

    Kind of makes you wonder… Doesn’t it?

    Reply

    I believe the safety of GMOs in and of itself is only part of the picture. I know many people, myself included, that would have just as much concern even it it were proven GMOs are completely safe. Why? Because GMOs are being created by corporations whose only goal is profit. So they genetically modify crops to be resistant to Roundup, which allows those crops to be sprayed with much more Roundup, which allows them to make more money off of Roundup. And the ultimate health concern here is the Roundup, not the GMO… the GMO is allowing much more Roundup to appear in our food and in our bodies. And corporations have proven time and again that they are perfectly willing to use “science” to cover up real health concerns. Remember how safe cigarettes were according to the corporations and their studies of the day? Now they are telling us the same thing about Roundup, but we aren’t buying it. At. All. They have lied and cheated enough to have lost all our trust.
    Rather than solving real problems with GMOs, profit driven corporations will be motivated to leverage GMOs to do things like lock farmers into buying their seed every year, further eroding trust.
    The fact of the matter is, all throughout the industrial age, we have used science to invent very “safe” and amazing things that have later been proven to be quite harmful. After generations of this, we simply have little faith that science can tell us so soon anything at all about GMO safety. And the reality is, while one GMO crop may be safe, another may be unsafe. We don’t know yet how these genes interact completely for every single crop, and if those genes could be creating a domino effect that science won’t detect for ages. Even if the scientists are absolutely earnest and honest, it generally takes decades before the science can truly prove the safety of something, and even longer if greedy corporations are slowing things down with their own flawed studies, while also trying to hush or discredit studies that disagree with them.
    If corporations are ever going to get through to millennials, they have to build trust. This means being completely open and honest and transparent. They have to set aside the short term profitability of lying to their customers for the long term investment of developing products in the open. I would be much more apt to buy a company’s product if they told me up front what their own researcher’s concerns are about the product. Then i could weight for myself if the risk was worth it. “We are still investigating an additional and unexpected protein that appears in this crop due to its genetic modification. This protein is seen in plants/animals such as _, but we want to be sure it doesn’t have any unexpected interactions at this quantity and with the other components of the plant…” Or, “This crop is resistant to Roundup, which, even though initially declared safe for human consumption, has proven to have an adverse effect on gut flora, leading to a host of possible health issues with enough exposure. This crop will encourage more use of Roundup, thereby increasing exposure.” Start engaging millennials about their own concerns and your own researcher’s concerns. Heck, enlist millennial’s help in solving these issues – brainstorming, testing, developing, etc. Make them part of this open process.
    That seems like anathema to corporate leadership, but it’s the only thing that will work. Even though people are now aware of the risks inherent in tobacco and smoking, the industry still remains incredibly profitable. And what if the industry had been open and honest all along, so that they had built trust along the way and avoided most of the litigation and bad press?

    Reply

    I am apparently satan.

    I worked for Monsanto after working for another seed only company. So those of you who are blind to facts will not believe anything I say.

    I am a PhD biologist who used to be a Friend of the Earth organizer until I realized all they did was complain.

    I saw a clear opportunity to replace insecticides with a biological solution better than any so called organic approach.

    Bt crops – which are GMO and use Bt protein that is used by organic farmers – have massively reduced the amount of synthetic insecticides that are used on corn, soy and cotton worldwide.

    For example, in corn in the USA alone 25-35 millions acre of corn were routinely sprayed with insecticides to kill insecticides before 1998. The Bt GMO corn replaced these insecticide with a resistance that was tested with more than $150M of testing and approved by – US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, S.Africa, EU, S.Korea, Japan, India and China (to name a few) as safe to consume.

    These synthetic insecticides (and including some organic ones) will kill a person if consumed in high enough dose. For cotton crops they were often sprayed synthetic insecticides 15 times a season. With Bt crops they were sprayed at most a few times. A cotton farmer in the southern US went from carrying an epipen to help him/her if they got exposed during spraying to not needing to carry an epipen. I can tell you they are pretty angry about someone in a city telling them what is safe or not safe for them.

    When BT proteins that are produced by Bt crops are tested for safety on mammals the results show the only way they will be killed is if they choke on the amount of Bt you feed them – as such the agencies say there is no hazardous level that people can be exposed to. This is not true even for many organic insecticides.

    What I know is how Monsanto dealt with safety.

    Coming through smaller company from academics I can tell you with complete confidence that the safety culture in Monsanto was probably higher than anything the readers here would have been exposed to.

    1. Every employee had safety goals that were assessed every year.
    2. Every major team or company meeting started with a discussion of safety and how to improve it in our work and products.
    3. Constant testing for our knowledge of safety and ethics.
    4. Even if a product was safe they stayed away from products that would provoke more fake concern.

    One thing I was very annoyed about in Monsanto was the management’s unwillingness to advertise the benefits of GM crops more than they did.

    I saw nothing like this in other companies and certainly not in academics (3 Universities)

    If there was a hint of a safety concern with a product it would be investigated further. There was the ability to question your boss or a team leader on safety issues. Whenever Monsanto took over another small or larger company the safety record for that taken over company improved. In fact, the safety record was so high it became difficult to measure an improvement after a while.

    They never really showed the public the benefits – with farmers describing the benefits – the Indian or African farmer dramatically improving their livelihood etc etc. They just thought they could never change those who were most active against them. They were probably right but I still think it is worth trying.

    Not only did the safety culture improve my sense of abatement of safety issues but it raised that of the employees around me. Data for safety assessments have to be collected and analyzed under GLP conditions – this is a special code of conduct and behavior that is used also be pharmaceutical companies to assess safety of their products. None of this is done for conventional crops or organic crops despite there being a finite possibility that those new crops or processes could be more harmful. GLP means that someone collecting data has to document the information at an extremely high level that no academic lab does (or could probably deal with). You have a separate group of inspectors looking over your shoulder and when the data is submitted to a government agency it is done under the threat of criminal perjury if you lie or conceal. I have signed some of those documents and it really makes you an extremely careful person.

    There has also been a lot of discussion in recent trials and the web about Monsanto’s “ghost writing” of scientific papers. I have had direct involvement in interacting with academic who have studied a GM product and it basically goes like this.

    An academic is interested in testing your product before it is sold and provided they have good credentials you allow them access to the materials to do the testing. In agriculture it is common for academics to not have enough resources to test at enough test sites to get enough meaningful data so you try to explain to them what experience you have had with the product and what it would take to see meaningful differences (differences that are real based on statistically analysis). With a bit of luck they also bring with it their own way of doing things that can help. When they have completely their work they usually will want to put your name as an author on the scientific paper they are submitting. In this regard there are several factors – from perspective I didn’t care to get the scientific credit by having my name on their paper. Some journals (if academics every look) have policies about who can be an author or not. Many heads of science labs have their name last on a paper even if they had no intellectual involvement in the science. To me I had to significantly contribute to the science described and have also been involved in writing the paper. I would be given a chance to offer a chance to edit the paper but in all cases changes suggested were correcting factual errors and usually you would not try to chance the primary conclusions. Any contribution would be acknowledged at the end of the paper.

    So I am pretty annoyed (to say the least) as are nearly all Monsanto employees or ex-employees that people assume that they are evil, producing fake data and are corrupt. It makes me question the intelligence of our society. I have a similar disgust for the anti-vaccine movement and the crazy climate change conversation where one side suggests every weather event is caused by climate change or on the other side, that there is no impact of CO2 emission on climate (both are not true).

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    Put aside all scientific premises that GMO food is or is not safe. I challenge any pro gmo hoe to TASTE. (Anyone else for that matter).

    Try a GMO grape next to an Organic one, or any other fruit & vegatable and ask yourself which tastes better?

    Organic wins every time. Delicious. Eat organic, local & seasonal; let food be thy medicine.

    Reply

    Mike. My experiences in 12 years at Monsanto, managing safety studies and making regulatory submission around the world, matches yours. It was the most exciting and fruitful period of my 40 year career in the food and ag industry. What hasn’t been discussed is the negative effect the anti-GMO movement has had on developing countries in Africa and Asia. Products like Golden Rice and Bt eggplant that have not made it to the market.

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    Does anyone know much about the AHS study? I am troubled by it. The AHS cohort study eliminated proxy answers from the data-set which was analyzed. How can you study the incidence and/or relation of cancer with given glyphosate exposure if you eliminate those that died during the 20 year study? Half the people diagnosed with NHL die within 10 years!

    The debate about the science is real and ongoing. If you aren’t troubled by that methodology, please explain why!!

    Reply

    So the ex-promoter is now a blogger, promoting the same product with its same flaws, by focussing on a different mechanism — get the millenials desperate for jobs to “participate” … or are they to volunteer … marketing to a different demographic a different way, but never by showing safety study design and data.

    Does anyone here believe science PhDs can’t put together a proper sentence? Or maybe it’s the ideas just don’t connect logically — but even if they can’t make a logical argument in a blog, maybe they can in a scientific study. But I, for one, wouldn’t count on it. But bots don’t need to.

    So now you’ve got the promoter, who ostensibly quit because she didn’t like the message … she gets that the picture is skewed, but hasn’t changed lenses … while bots respond to comments, and perhaps even post obviously stupid negatory comments to further enhance a bad image of those who aren’t on the same team.

    I looked at things from a multitude of angles, and approached with a “what is here” attitude rather than a foregone conclusion, as well as a “what is not here” question. if I hadn’t proceeded on the basis of third party fact rather than on my own beliefs and/or prejudices, I’d never have changed my mind about the science and the all-good that Monsanto and GMOs are … along with the Bayer, Syngenta, etc. versions.

    Unfortunately, I’ve eaten a lot of rice in my day, and probably too much non-organic soy. I hope it doesn’t catch up with me. But I’m not nearly as worried about that as about my family downline … and the rest of the world. (And I believe it was rice that was released without approval … by that time problems were showing up with other GM products and licensing was less certain.)

    But mainly I worry about what a crappy education system and upbringing we must have subjected the young to, to arrive at where we are.

    And today I’ll go out and tend my garden, that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals at all and still keeps on being amazing. I don’t think I’m getting any “herd benefit” from users of chemicals. I think it’s what nature does, given half a chance.

    Reply

    Was this a purposeful reply? Having trouble applying it to my post. No big deal, just wondering.

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    I don’t really give a shit if people do or don’t like Monsanto, but as a farmer that grows their products… There’s a reason why so many of us do. It allows us to use LESS chemicals, no more insecticide, no more tillage which helps soil health, safer herbicides, save crops from disease, the list goes on. The anti GMO crowd needs to step back and connect with us, farmers are very smart people.

    People fear GMOs (everything we eat is modified!) only because of the billions of dollars the Non GMO project and organic food corporations spend to make them feel that way. The “corporate science” of the $85 BILLION “organic” industry is a point blank lie. Organic doesn’t use pesticides? LIE NUMBER ONE. What else are they lying about? “Monsanto Monsanto” is nothing more than a media scapegoat that sells a story, and the author latched onto it for attention. Just like others do.

    Stupid. Talk to farmers and let us farm. We know what the hell we’re doing, so please just let us do our jobs. 95% of farmers arent wrong. I love protecting the environment. I love GMOs.

    Reply

    Eat organic when you can, better for the environment and your gut.
    Avoid glyphosate. Limit sugar and meat.
    Support your local farmer.
    Don’t stress, we all die by something.

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    Lawson Gary, just read the summary of the USDA paper on pesticide residues on organics. The paper does not support your argument.

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    This is just a very subtle form of marketing for Bayer. Millenial mom has crisis of conscience over her association with Monsanto, which is assuaged when Monsanto is absorbed by Bayer – a much more wonderful producer of pesticides than Monsanto was! LOL! How do you shift from product promotion for a defunct company to product promotion for a not-yet defunct company? You explain that you’ve now realized it’s about values, like transparency. LOLOL!!!!
    Ms. Senapathy is the Madonna of the millennial GMO-promotion social media world. She keeps morphing to fit the bill. Writer gotta write. More money in biotech/chem than environmental/public health.

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    So companies do marketing and hire people to lead it. Sounds like the author got their feelings hurt when they found out they weren’t the super special pet blogger they thought they were. I’m not seeing any real point here, other than sniping back over hurt feelings.

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    Right? I kept waiting to read something of substance. I feel like this could be titled “company hires guy to help promote their business”.

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    I am not saying the coincidence amounts to causation. But has causation been robustly tested? Why has the incidence of cancer and other dreaded chronic diseases gone up substantially with the Advent of pesticides and GMOs. Why is there a cancer train in India that goes from the farmlands of Punjab to the cancer hospitals every night? Why has the cancer society just updated the incidence of cancer from 1 in 3 to 1 in 2 people in 2017 up from 1 in 10 a few decades ago. What else has changed? The genes are the same that existed then. Why are the immune systems weaker than they ever were? Why are there more autistic kids today than there ever were. What is new that can cause this? We must think about all these changes occuring and see common themes and investigate them. Anybody that thinks Monsanto had a vision of an idealistic world in mind and no bearing of profit is naive at the least if not foolish.

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    We die of cancer and chronic disease now because we live long enough to do so— thanks to immunizations and public sanitation. We all die of something—

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    Fairly good article, but:
    1) I would argue that the most deep-seated fear of GMOs has much less to do with giant corporations and much more to do with a mistrust of man-made technologies in general, brought on by a lack of scientific literacy. Many of these are the same people who use “alternative medicines,” blame “chemicals” for everything, and advocate against giving kids vaccines.
    2) How is Monsanto being forced to pay damages in cases against glyphosate pesticides an example of the company behaving in an untrustworthy way? It’s not Monsanto’s fault that juries don’t seem to understand science.

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    24 of 24 jurors reviewed the science and disagree with you. By years’ end it will likely be 50 out of 50 jurors. How many jurors would it take for you to ask yourself if it is you who is misunderstanding the science? If there is no such number, you are indoctrinated or incredibly arrogant. Without a doubt, the bulk of the CURRENT science favors that it is not a carcinogen. As with the bulk of the science on cigarette smoke, asbestos, wood dust, rock dust, coal dust, at one point in time, and just about anything that would benefit commercially from having a paid scientist say it’s safe. Regulatory capture is the norm, and it’s creating an intense distrust of all science in people, and with good reason.

    I hope you realize that Monsanto/Bayer have already moved the goal posts on their science a few times. In the 90’s, the product was ‘safer than table salt’. You could bathe in it without consequence. Now they say it’s safe if used as directed — it’s just a simple matter of making sure it doesn’t drip all over you or blow-back in the breeze. What did they see that made them stop the ‘safer than table salt’ advertising?

    If that’s not enough for you, consider the following question: What kind of scientist eliminates proxy answers (i.e., dead people) from a 20 year study intended to determine the relationship, if any, between a chemical and a cancer that kills on average inside of 5 years of diagnosis? That’s what they’ve done in every MonBayer funded population study. To clarify, every individual studied was given periodic surveys. If they died, the wife or survivor (the “proxy”) would still return the survey. Removing those answers happens to move the incidence rate of NHL below statistical relevance. While discounting proxy answers is in fact a standard practice in population based studies, its’ application to a 20-year study focused on a fatal cancer is morally reprehensible. Read the depositions in which Monsanto scientists try to defend the practice, and you’ll understand why 24 of 24 jurors have found as they have. By the way, other studies have relied on the same data collected in the AHS study but included the proxy answers. Can you guess how that shifted the results?

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    I like the discussion here and hope some antiGMO folks take note. Just good to see some concepts passed around and the heterogeneity of the discourse!

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    Thank you Kavin,

    For a couple years after retiring as a scientist from one of Monsanto’s competitors I also “defended” GMO technology in frequent online commenting. While like you I still believe the technology is safe and should play an important role in agriculture (and that many of the anti-GMO NGOs may be gaming public fear for money – just look at their Form 990s and how well some of them compensate their executives), I’ve become more wary of big corporations generally. The US in particular has allowed the wealthy to usurp the will of the people and it’s no small irony that by undermining the credibility of OUR government regulators, conservatives have helped create public mistrust that eventually comes back to hurt the very bisiness profits they so cherish.

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    The notion of conservatives promoting distrust is profoundly ironic. In the 50s and 60s, distrust of the government and of corporations was pretty much a leftist thing. To conservatives, “love it or leave it” was all that mattered. But now, conservatives have figured out how to use distrust as a weapon. Leftists, of course, continue to mistrust, but these days it seems like distrust is a blunt instrument. Polarization sucks.

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    Thank you for writing this. I too support GMOs, but the pro-GMO camp online has lately devolved into a toxic mess of pro-Monsanto warriors instead. You and the rest of the sane pro-GMO camp who still believe that honesty, transparency, and capability of disclosing conflicts of interest are keys to trust-building with the wider public should maintain your stance. We need more people like you, Kavin.

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    Hi Kavin, you want to find a perfect company where all the staffs are honest? Do you think that exists? Find me an example of a big company who doesn’t play politics! None.
    Even in scientific labs or institutes you will still find sexual harashments, plagiators, facists, racists and sexisms. Yes, not only some journalists (like you) but some scientists (and many other professions) must face all those things too in their labs/research institutes on a daily basis just with lower salary.

    But guess what, as long as it’s still based on fact and science, it will keep make a better world than charlatan-based companies or charlatan’s organizations like organics and homeopathy companies.

    To me this article is a like a “cry baby” of ex-employees who write a bad review about their former employer or manager on a Glassdoor or Indeed or other job recruitment websites.

    Just face it, wherever we work, whatever profession we do, we will always bumb onto one-two (or many) assholes collaborators, and your sneaky collaborator at Monsanto is just probably one of them, but that doesn’t mean the whole Monsanto’s employees and their collaborators are like that. Grow up Kavin!

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    Income from seeds in form of royalty that is all it is looking for .it does not care for world hunger problem.

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    Thanks for the thoughtful piece. I’m a breeder at Bayer and agree and understand a lot of what you’ve written here. Vance certainly had one particular approach to promoting GMOs, but there are a lot of diverse viewpoints even within our organization. Nuances are difficult to express clearly – simplifications are inevitably expressed by researchers who don’t work on things from end to end.

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    As in much I read about the GMO “controversy” Senapathy cites public relations, business practices, public perceptions, marketing methods, and even court decisions in her position on GMOs.

    What about the actual science?

    Don’t be fooled: the anti-GMO camp, and especially The Non-GMO Project, are just as based on the marketing of products and the shaping of public perceptions as any promotion of genetic engineering is. They just have an entirely different mindset that they’re trying to influence.

    And an entirely different motive.

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    GMO foods are the main cause of health problems in america….your body is not modified why would you eat GMO foods.This is an agenda by the FDA that signs off on anything that will yield a profit.The health of the public at large is never a concern.It is there duty to misinform people to push there HYBRID MAN MADE FOOD AGENDA.

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    From your tenuous grasp on English I assume you’ve never sat through a science class in your life.
    Every single food we eat today has been modified by humans to its current state.
    Hate on Monsanto, but don’t ‘fear’ science simply because you don’t understand it. I’d guaranty you don’t understand how heart bypass surgery works, but if you need it, I also doubt you’d reject that off-handed.
    If you want to be taken seriously in a science debate, at least try and learn the science. You’ll come off as less of the opinionated fool.

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    There is no proven relationship between health and GMOs. Our health has actually improved over the past 20 years (minus some obesity related diseases). And hybrids are not the same as genetically engineered.

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    Kaven Senapathy should do his research on Monsato on the way science
    is conducted. When scientist reveal the truth of devastating effects of their products, Monsato shuts them. Monsato wants the scientist to alter their findings insuch a way to look favorable. To me this out right deceptive. Do the research.

    Reply

    Are you going to detail some of these “devastating consequences” for us? I’ll wait here for your assuredly hilarious response.

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    Her.

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    Yeah….her. That was one thing, at least, I thought the article made clear. Not to make too big a deal of it, but since this entire discussion is about understanding information and transmitting it transparently, a little faux pas like that sorta undermines credibility in my mind.

    As far as the article, I found it and these comments enlightening. As a skeptic of the giant multinationals and their root motivations, I applaud any and all discussion that keeps the lid off the topic, and a flame underneath it.

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    These food alteting corporations are mostly interested in owning the food supply.

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    Overabundance of food leads to increase in population. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

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    This is a story that needs to be told. I was along with Kavin on this journey. I wonder how many other stories like this there are out there not being told. This should serve as a beacon for future science enthusiasts who venture in without a political lens. She is so right-on about how “Public debates about science and technology are never just about science and technology.” We had to learn this the hard way and now she’s being attacked and vilified for her fastidiousness to the truth. Which is ironic because that is why she was celebrated in the first place!

    Great piece Kavin, thanks for your candid bravery in telling a story most wouldn’t, or can’t, tell.

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    I’m sorry. What “truth” are you talking about? The science is clear. Monsanto has revolutionized agriculture and allowed me to farm more sustainably and more efficiently. There is nothing else to discuss. I’m sorry you guys somehow got your feelings hurt but it has absolutely nothing to do with the GMO conversation.

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    You can’t seriously believe that replacing the great diversity of crop varieties farmers used to grow with a few genetically engineered varieties is a feasible approach for our future agriculture. Additionally, the crop production package relies on continual applications of herbicides. You should know as well as anyone that not only does this lead to weed resistance to those herbicides, it leads to larger and larger amounts of herbicides being applied. In the case of dicamba, this has caused significant damage to nontarget crops and native vegetation. Don’t pretend that growing GMOs is such a healthy and clean way of farming, it isn’t.

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    Jane,

    Point me to when farmers grew “a great diversity of crops” in America? We have been growing row crops on an industrial scale (ie monocropping) in the US for over 100 years. Name me crops besides grains and oilseeds that can be dried, stored for a year on a farm, then shipped to Asia on a container in bulk form. You simply don’t understand how the industrial food complex works. This is how people like ME feed the world.

    And if you literally mean “varieties” as in you believe that there is only one variety of corn sold by Monsanto, then you simply do not understand anything about modern crop breeding/farming. Today I am growing 8 different varieties of field corn from 5 different breeders. I have dozens upon dozens of options for corn varieties. If I drive to Nebraska, there are even more dozens upon dozens of varieties suited for there colder climate/soil types etc.

    Jane, we use herbicides because we have to protect our crops from pests. We will continue to create various modes of actions to kill these plants, because our job is to fight natural selection. The alternative is to continually plow the soil, creating erosion and topsoil loss, while burning billions of gallons of diesel (increasing atmospheric carbon) dragging hunks of metal through the earth. This is how we farmed from the 1800’s through the early 1990’s. Herbicide resistant varieties are much more sustainable by every measurable metric. If you have a better suggestion THEN PLEASE FILL US IN. In fact, I will personally invest millions of dollars into your new row crop production model if it is economically viable and sustainable.

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    “People like you” … what a mouthful of bad business… You are a troll in favor of genocide and all for that dirty green dough… Sooo looking forward to meeting you… Friendo

    Amen! People forget that to feed our nation, we need GMO’s. If I’m correct, aren’t they made so they are stronger crops needing less herbicide? I too come from a farming family (my brother’s one, I am not) of 5 generations. I’m not actively involved but I do ask questions.

    I think also a little research is in order. GMO’s were used in rice adding vitamin K, which then was shipped to Africa. Think of all the kids who didn’t go blind who otherwise would have without the K being added.

    I’m not a huge fan of Roundup. But I think many believe farmers douse their crops with it wily nilly. First, why would they do that? Their families eat the same food as everyone else. Second, that stuff costs money. Something most farmers don’t have in abundance.

    Also, farmers work their tails off and are on call 24/7. They don’t get vacations often nor holidays off. They aren’t money seeking maniacally rubbing their hands together.

    Thanks for standing up, Gary. My best to you.

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    This author is woefully ignorant and really needs to be put in his/her place. Monsanto’s corporate mission has effectively been
    death and destruction from inception (agent orange, PCB’s, uranium, dioxin, aspartame, etc, etc)

    1) the reality of terminator seeds (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5427059/)

    2) the actual science of glyphosate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN3LXjigjIg&t=2s)

    Frankly, when a corporation with that history is seeking to patent the right to life itself, we should all be standing against it.

    Reply

    Thank you for a quintessentially anti GMO post. I’m delighted that you actually attempted to provide references! Lol.

    Firstly, there is not a single seed that has ever been commercially sold expressing a terminator gene. The authors of the paper you posted literally published a paper based on an internet myth.

    And then comes the obligatory YouTube link, the cornerstone of the anti gmo morons’ argument.

    Thank you, Tomer! needed that laugh.

    Reply

    You won’t be laughing when you end up with cancer dude wake up people they use roundup to make this stuff it has been proven that roundup causes cancer have fun being blind to the truth. I bet you support 5g and AI as well lol you people are the problem if everyone stood up against these corporations getting rich off making people sick things wouldn’t be so bad wake up.seriously.

    Reply

    Tom, can you show me the err of my ways? Can you show me where it has been proven that roundup causes cancer? Please link actual science, not a YouTube or blog post. I’ll wait for your response. Thanks in advance.

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    Hi Gary:

    You seem super smart and it’s also great that you personally have millions of dollars to invest. I have just a few questions in response to your request for a specific conversation.

    (1) Would you agree that, at one point in time, there was a scientific consensus that cigarettes did not cause cancer?

    (2) What sort of effects would you expect to see if “proxy answers” — answers from a surviving wife or spouse to an exit survey — were excluded from the results of a 20 year study intended to determine the link, if any, between glyphosate and a cancer that kills on average 50% of those diagnosed within 10 years of diagnosis?

    (3) Did the AHS or other cohort studies eliminate proxy answers?

    Thank you in advance!!! I can’t wait to learn from you!!!

    Thanks exactly what I was going To say.people like this guy are the problem writing this garbage supporting these corporations. where is the independent testing on gmo foods? Where is the data that says its safe to eatI have not seen it anywhere its just people running their mouths complete nonsense. I am forced to spend a lot of money on food not buying anything made with gmo crops we need labels that clearly state food is modified.

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    Glyphosate inhibits the shikimate pathway, a pathway essential in plants and many microbes.
    This method of killing by interfering with this pathway means that microbiomes in us, in livestock, in soil may be impacted as they all bear microbes that rely on this pathway.
    This mechanism of toxicity appears to be pervasive in our entire environment, but industry has led questions away from this.
    Glyphosate is an antibiotic.
    Studies about the ‘active ingredient’ – glyphosate – intentionally omitted asking about formularies, such as the product Roundup, because addition of such as solvents or other so-called ‘inert additives’ may affect toxicity or effects of the entire mixture. In short, truncated and incorrect questions have been asked.
    Ask wrong things… have bad data.
    Try to make sense of this and you’re chasing your tail.
    It is completely befuddling that this toxin is now pervasive in our environment.

    Reply

    Of course, you can’t provide a single shred of evidence that glyphosate effects our gut microbiome, especially at double digit ppb that consumers are exposed to can you? Other things (that we ingest at concentrations 10000000x higher than glyphosate) that effect your gut microbiome: antibiotics, toothpaste, alcohol, etc etc

    I could sit here and link you over 100 studies looking at the inert ingredients of roundup. You really think you are the first person to do this? Hahaha. Are you people really this delusional?

    https://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/pdfs/Surfactants.pdf

    Reply

    Micki Jacobs presents several points relative to the published science (and lack of) of glyphosate. The topic of glyphosate (not GMO’s per se) has surfaced in several lunchtime discussions with colleagues -ecologists, botanists, and other molecular biologists such as myself.

    The general consensus is that fully independent research on the compound, both in the lab and the field, is nearly impossible. Few a scientists will not “touch it with a ten-foot pole” (quoted from one research lab that tried to access funding with no direct and indirect ties to agribusiness. His department head laughed at them and refused to support their grant proposal with a warning that it was bad PR and non-agribusiness funding “doesn’t exist”.) Research groups in Europe may have a better chance of soliciting independent grant funds.

    A good scientist is always skeptical. Evidence should always be examined, re-analyzed, and critiqued. It is the nature of the science process, and not all scientists are infallible. The current recalls of many published studies demonstrates fallibility, intentional and non-intentional. The increase in attempts to replicate studies, often with failure, is another factor. And many instances of accepted science that has been overturned with later studies (every chemist is familiar with the history of thalidomide) is not uncommon. A good scientist also knows, never say never.

    Does that mean all science is untrustworthy? Of course not. However, we scientists are quite aware that personal ambition, funding sources, and political influences can sway how science is conducted and/or how it is interpreted and reported. Evidence of cause and\or effect, and lack of, exist for glyphosate. Most scientists I know are not confidently convinced that glyphosate is free or not free from health impacts on humans. As they often conclude, “The jury is still out.” And it will continue to be so as increasing epidemiological and ecological studies suggest the impact may be more than admitted.

    Until credible research is funded without any ties to agribusiness, reviewed by colleagues without ties to agribusiness and politics, and published the same, will a confident consensus form and inform the public.

    Reply

    Kavin,

    From a fan….
    I believe you miss the most profound psychological component of what motivates the anti-GMO movement. These folks have a deep enmity toward the human products and technologies that have made such a mess of the natural world. They demonize the companies who profit from these products and technologies not so much because the companies are not particularly trustworthy (many certainly aren’t), but because they are seen as threats to the natural environment.
    This feeling is so deep that opponents of GMOS, or nuclear power, or fossil fuels or pesticides or “chemicals” (and to some degree vaccines) automatically reject any hard evidence that contradicts their concerns in favour of the “protect Nature” values they are mostly about. They make up all sorts of wild claims that fly in the face of robust hard evidence to support their deeper goal. And these claims try to tap universally appealing emotional themes, like our common belief that natural is less harmful than anything human-made, and that anything at all that a corporation or person does who is mistrusted, should thus be suspect.
    You are right that there is mistrust toward Monsanto, some of which the company deserves. I would note, however, that mistrust of corporations is generally true, given that we all know that corporations are by law out for their own profits and self interest first. But with corporations involved in environmental issues – chemicals, fossil fuels, nuclear power – the deeper initial motivation is rejection what those companies do, more than how they behave. The feeling that the companies are harming the environment comes first, and then opponents find ways to taint them with the charge of mistrust – an appealing allegation to anyone, no matter where you are on the issue itself – as an additional way to foment resistance to what those companies are doing.
    Offered from a student of the research on risk perception and risk communication…and a fan of yours.

    Reply

    What a joke.

    Monsanto’s Misdeeds, according to the author:

    1. Releasing dicambia-resistant soybeans (which have helped farmers with HR weeds and they have gladly adopted). Just imagine if you hand-waving histrionic hipsters had been around when we first started using crop dusters or even roundup. Change is inevitable in farming, especially when our job is to fight natural selection.

    2. Keeping a list of people who attacked their organization. LOL- oh how DARE they!

    3. Being sued in liberal jurisdictions based on zero credible scientific evidence (and this somehow makes Monsanto “untrustworthy”, instead of trial lawyers)

    As a young progressive farmer, it joys me to tell you that we do not give a single solitary F about your feelings. Science is facts, and we have them. Your whiny self-centered pseudoscientific generation will be looked upon poorly by our children and grandchildren. I’m glad I’m on the right side of history.

    Reply

    Lmao found the shill

    Reply

    Yes Monsanto/Bayer has plenty of “operatives”
    This one has all the usual fingerprints.

    Reply

    I’m posting under my real name. You can look me up and find my real farm and real ag mfg business. You can also see that I don’t have any need for (insert conspiracy theory)’s money or support.

    I’m an advocate for modern farming and happen to understand the science as well.

    Reply

    Those whom use the shill gambit are of no consequence and less integrity. Lawson posted facts you 2 losers can’t refute.

    Reply

    And here is another well known operative.
    They hate being exposed

    Reply

    Again, Detective Hamilton, we are using our real names. But, awesome job exposing us. Your sleuthing is almost on par with your ability to make cogent, fact-based arguments in support of your argument.

    In April the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) also said they couldn’t rule out an association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The ATSDR determination was put on hold for many years as Monsanto attempted to curtail its release. Court-released documents show evidence that Monsanto coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the paper from going public

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3521387-Doc-189-Docs-Mentioning-EPA-Jess-Rowland.html?fbclid=IwAR2XQxWJIjmiHj3EirnKIsbOsLHgFpc12-f6D2WUAAJEtD6f3LlMvf99_EI

    Reply

    Amazing work, John. I’ve never seen such a slam dunk of a declarative condemnation of a compound before!

    They CANT RULE OUT that there “MIGHT” BE A “LINK”

    We should ban all glyphosates!

    What about essentially every other scientific regulatory body on earth that has also claimed glyphosate is safe? Did Monsanto pay off those scientists too?

    https://images.app.goo.gl/EoHiFogAe7jikVWu7

    Reply

    Gary
    It is only a handful of agencies. That are fed the studies by the manufacturer. Why could they not pay 10 or 15 agencies to look the other way when fed engineered studies? Look at the stakes. How much money would be made for how many years if the 15 agencies were lobbied enough to put them in the clear?
    I find it completely plausible that they would .

    Reply

    It’s painfully obvious that you don’t even bother looking. You think Monsanto paid off the BfR in Germany, the ANSES in France? These countries performed their own testing AND DONT EVEN GROW GMO CROPS.

    There are hundreds upon hundreds of studies. Literally every credible scientific regulatory body on earth agrees that glyphosate is NOT CARCINOGENIC, MUTAGENIC, TERATOGENIC, or even TOXIC. Yet here you people are espousing that a company the size of Starbucks has bought off tens of thousands of scientists across the globe. Step back for a second and look at how silly your conspiracy theories sound to rational people.

    https://www.anses.fr/en/content/glyphosate-publication-results-european-assessment

    https://mobil.bfr.bund.de/en/the_bfr_has_finalised_its_draft_report_for_the_re_evaluation_of_glyphosate-188632.html

    “fed?” got any proof for that one? Kavin sure is attracting the ignorant shill gambit users.

    Wow, what a brutal slam dunk of a condemnation!

    We “CANT RULE OUT” that there “MIGHT be a LINK”. Can’t get any more concrete than that lol

    Did Monsanto pay off essentially every other scientific regulatory body on earth that agrees that glyphosate is not carcinogenic?

    Reply

    You can’t trust anyone who is pro Monsanto, they can only be shills no honest person advocates for evil unless they are paid to do so.

    Reply

    I advocate for agriculture, bro. Your problem is not with Monsanto. You’re simply not scientifically educated and, therefore, easily hoodwinked by wacktivist and NGOs. Furthermore, you know nothing about farming and you use naturalistic fallacies to fill in your knowledge gaps. Engage me in a specific conversation and I will prove everything I just posted as being 100% accurate.

    Reply

    Is that right? Well post your data that proves roundup dosent cause cancer where is the indepdent testing? I have not seen any data at all people just want to run their mouths in support of these corporations most likley you are on their payroll

    Reply

    Dumb remark. Not only for the shill gambit. But for the fact that there is plenty of independent testing. Start with the EFSA and then take look at the AHS. Then quit skipping your classes.

    Hi gary.
    If you know about farming.
    Tell me the effects of chemicals of pestecides
    On bees that pollinate many of our farming
    Products.
    Better drink some glyphosate and see what happens
    To your stomach.
    The issue is glyphosate is an antibiotic(patented as such)

    Reply

    What are your credentials that should make anyone trust you in particular on the safety of glyphosate or other agricultural chemicals? If you’re a family farmer with no formal education in biology, environmental science, or chemistry, your word via your personal experience and motivation is all you have and simply not enough to make you any kind of authority. I’m not against GMOs, but I am against pesticides and herbicides that will further destroy our environment. In fact, I’m hoping that GMOs will be what makes them unnecessary. If you really did know what you were talking about, and had any amount of respect for the land you farm, you wouldn’t take whatever your seed/pesticide/herbicide supplier sells you at face value. You would want the evidence that you’re not contributing to the further decline of native species and destruction of the extremely delicate ecosystem that supports them and thereby effectively you as well.

    Reply

    And herein lies the major difference in me and the anti Science loonies posting in this thread. I provide substantiation via peer reviewed literature or assessments from respected scientific institutions. The other side posts YouTube’s, blog entries, or (usually) just ignorant diatribes. You should never take an internet stranger’s word for anything- which is why I provide references.

    Now, about your assertion that I don’t know anything about the toxicity or environmental impact quotient of pesticides I apply. Remember, I’m just a dumb dirt farmer who does whatever my pesticide supplier tells me to do. Let’s see how much YOU know about it. So, Ashley, kindly specifically detail which pesticide you’d like to discuss. I’m waiting on bated breath for our detailed farming discussion. I especially can’t wait for you to explain to me how farmers- organic or conventional- can grow crops without pesticides. Ready- Go!

    Well said Gary. As a retired agricultural scientist, the ignorance here is scary…

    Reply

    Is it glyphosate really non-toxic?
    Like, bath in it non-toxic?
    Serous question, not trolling.
    Even if it is devil juice incarnate, well it wouldn’t be the only dangerous thing that underpines our society.
    The plasticizers in cpvc water supply lines and thousands of other plastic products worry me more than glyphosate.
    Coal fired power plants and their resulting emissions fuel the electric that allows for this post.
    Working on top of a dome that contained nuclear waste helped pay for the house I live in.
    I also get free cancer screenings for life.
    Risk is part of life, we all know this.
    We all want to know the true level of risk we are exposed to, so we can make our own choices.

    That a corporation might be willing to expose us all to dangerous toxins and suppress valid science to do so is not far fetched.
    We have established examples of this.
    That others might spread lies and fear of a substance for their own gain is also true.
    That established science might be corrupt, or simply incorrect, also a known thing.
    I takes these as givens.
    So I can hardly believe that the full truth about glyphosate is known by anyone here.

    I will take a look at the European studies, they seem to be more likely to be untainted.

    I grow food, as a hobby.
    I can afford to hand weed, or for a crop to fail.
    If one is growing food at even a market garden scale, this is no longer a tenable path.
    Most of the US and Europe market gardeners I have heard of use tilling, flame weeding and lots of plastic, in order to avoid spraying.
    They get a premium for their products, and that is what makes these expensive practices work.
    Plastic sheeting, tilling, and flame weeding all rely on fossil fuels, and their attendant environmental costs.
    I have yet to see a way of producing food in the quantities we have come to expect, without depending on conventional agriculture.
    But conventional agriculture has many environmental costs that go unaccounted for.
    If we do force the agricultural industry to be accountable for those costs, we should expect to pay more for food.

    Some people are bound to be negatively affected by eating GMOs .
    The same of true of dairy, nightshades, eggs, beef,peanuts,corn, beans, etc.
    Dry beans? Poison.
    Lenape Potatoes (B5141-6) ?
    Could kill you, despite being a product of conventional plant breeding.
    My point is, plants, aside from fruits, did not evolve to be eaten.
    We have bent them to our needs, through unnatural selection.
    They remain full of potential toxins and allergens.
    GMO plants are different in that they are more thoroughly tested.
    If I eat raw GMO corn and you eat raw pokeweed, who do you think will sicken faster?
    Yet pokeweed has been around a long time and is perfectly “natural”.
    Corn has been altered from its natural form immensely, well before it became GMO.

    Reply

    This is ridiculous BS. The other side to GMOs from the pusher side is abti-science? Thats not true! Americans eat enough plastic to total a credit card every week! There are hundreds of cutting edge published scientific studies discussing the toxic impact of gmos. You talk of supporting science and yet include zero data in your silly Bayer sponsored diary piece. How unscientific of you to focus on the flaws with your opponents instead of focusing on data. You obviously are not educated on the topic. Let me help you. Glyphosate poisoning is just one of a dozen existential crises we face as a species which are all converging at once. It is not the only one that Monsanto and now Bayer is involved with/criminally responsible for. You see milennials dont want transparency, they are sick of criminals harming them with zero justice due to corrupt political lobbying (of which big pharma – Bayer is the biggest player in). The people arent stupid. You make bad products to get us sick, you make bad meds to keep us sick, you drain us of all our money then kill us for profit. Screw you Bayer! Bayer is an evil corporation that is criminal. Period. You want data? Here you go, research all the science for yourself at www dot geoengineeringwatch dot org.
    Toxic aluminum, toxic glyphosate, seek killing genes, noxious chemical waste, insect die off, killing small farmers literally and figuratively by financially crippling them in wrongfull lawsuits, frankenfoods proven to cause cancer. Working with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Dispicable. Shamful. Inescapable. This mom must not care about her own kids let alone the rest of the world…..and for what? A paycheck? What good is a paycheck on a dead planet???? That is the reality. Dont take Bayers money and then tell us you are unbias in a controversy mirred by lies. If you are accepting Bayers dirty money, you are part of the problem. A big problem. You are a cancer cell in the microbiome of life. Get bent.

    Reply

    “ There are hundreds of cutting edge published scientific studies discussing the toxic impact of gmos”

    And straight out of the anti science playbook, you claim knowledge yet do not provide a reference. You do, however, point us to a hilarious conspiracy chemtrail blog. My god, you people are ridiculous.

    Reply

    Correct again Lawson. Well done.

    Reply

    Eric is a paid Monsanto parrot, not a thinking kind of person. He loves The Genetic Literacy Project which is all Monsanto propaganda.

    Reply

    and kevin chimes in with a shill gambit and no proof. Actually, I have criticized the GLP for posting authors like kavin. They used to even allow cry, the discredited, Gillam post occasionally.

    Don’t forget that Bayer knowingly sold HIV tainted products to Europe, with FDA approval. The MSM reported on it briefly, but it was mostly memory holed.

    Reply

    Well then….in that case….

    Monsanto must be evil

    Roundup must be bad

    GMOs must be poison

    Am I following your flawless deductive logic correctly?

    Reply

    Never believe Kavin Senapathy.

    Reply

    Why? I, myself, may disagree with her as to what constitutes freedom of speech and some particulars about Monsanto, but she’s spot on about the Dicamba fiasco and the way Monsanto handled that. And Peterson really did turn out to be right wing racist nut job. So, while one may not always see eye to eye with Senapathy, she is nonetheless trustworthy.

    Reply

    Peterson is hardly a racist. Just because someone leans right politically does not make them a racist. Words mean things, stop skewing definitions to fit into a narrative.

    Reply

    Peterson isn’t right leaning. He actually is politically Center left. It is the media and the activists who have painted him as a right leaning racist and bigot. He is however drawing a clear line on free speech.

    Reply

    If you think Jordan Peterson is fine, then it’s easy to understand why you’d fall on your sword for Monsanto (Bayer?) , a sacred corporation, even to the detriment of selling the science to a public that’s not as bereft of values as you are. Monsanto has done some great science, but at the end of the day, they’re doing whatever they can do to make a profit. It’s their fiduciary duty. The problem is that they tended to shoot themselves in the ass and alienated the public. You can rail all you want at the dumb ol’ public, but they’re the people you are stuck with.

    TL;DR: GMOs are fine. Monsanto is not. I don’t understand what motivates those who would sacrifice science for the sake of a pretty shittily-run corporation. You have a lot to learn regarding how to sell an idea. So did the management of Monsanto.

    Reply

    omg whoever this author is , clearly at the beginning states she was just looking for comfort so she could keep feeding her kids pesticides without guilt. keep relying on industry “science”, you wonder why kids these days can’t figure out if they’re men or women, as when you stated that professor refused to acknowledge their identifiers, I guess actually you probably don’t even think about it, it’s too steeped in irony for you to grasp

    Reply
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