If You Hate GMOs, Are You a Pro-Russia Conspiracy Theorist?

CornfieldOpponents of genetically improved foods (GIFs) don’t have science on their side—a growing consensus (today the Crop Science Society of America joined the chorus) of scientific authorities finds GIFs safe. As a result, they’re left with some bizarre arguments that sometimes end up in our e-mail inbox (or at least the spam folder). In the interests of sharing the high-quality argumentation and flawless logic of the typical anti-GIF activist, we reprint one such email below, interjecting only to offer our thoughts.

I don’t understand why people write articles saying GMO’s are safe.
There are many countries that will not use any GMO’s. It’s getting so you don’t know who to believe.
If GMO’s are so safe than why do some countries BAN it.

Yes, it is a fact that “some countries” ban GIFs. One such country may soon be Russia (which has banned particular GIF crops before). Russia also recently invaded neighboring Ukraine, has killed 56 journalists since the end of the Soviet era, and criminalized speech about homosexuality last year.

Now, we don’t think that our correspondent necessarily supports all those things, but it shows how silly the “other countries do it” argument is. Sure, some countries may not like GIFs, but many countries also don’t like free speech, the free press, free expression of personal views, democratic political oppositions, and the existence of at-least-somewhat-democratic countries on their borders, and that doesn’t make those other views right—just like it doesn’t make their stances on GIFs right.

As for antibiotics injected into our animals, people must be crazy to
think that it does not cause any problems.
Our young children (girls) are developing breasts at 7 and 8 years old.
That just did not happen before all the antibiotics ingested or injected
into our beef, chicken etc.

First of all, antibiotics have nothing to do with precocious (early onset) puberty. Some claim that the use of hormones in beef production may be tied to early development, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that “People are not at risk from eating food from animals treated with these drugs because the amount of additional hormone following drug treatment is very small compared with the amount of natural hormones that are normally found in the meat of untreated animals and that are naturally produced in the human body.”

Short version: The dose makes the poison, and the dose is basically nil. A Penn State veterinary scientist estimated that the dose in a three-ounce serving of treated beef is 1/400,000th of the total estrogen in a woman’s body—less than one billionth of a gram. One birth control pill has about 10,000 times more estrogen than an 8-oz. serving of steak.

We now cannot prevent some diseases with antibiotics because the over use [sic] of them or possibly because they are in our animals, [sic] that we eat.

Misconceptions about antibiotic use in humans are the key cause of antibiotic resistance. The rule of thumb from the CDC and FDA is, “Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.” Unfortunately, using useless antibiotics to treat viral infections is popular enough that it breeds resistance to the kinds of antibiotics used in human treatment. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, when Denmark banned the use of certain antibiotics in livestock production, it “had little to no effect on the growing resistance problem in their human population.”

Whoever wrote the article I just read, and the people, doctors who deny all this, are nuts. Anyone in their right mind knows all this adding things to natural foods, is causing diseases we never heard before.

If our correspondent thinks that the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association are “nuts,” that’s her right. It’s also crazy talk, especially if she believes such scions of the anti-GIF movement as the snake-oil salesmen at Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (founded by an escapee from an asylum), the FDA-warned osteopath Joseph Mercola, and ideologically motivated discredited activist scientists are “in their right mind.”

People say eat organic, don’t eat organic, don’t eat fruit from Chile
etc., the public is so confused. The FDA, is full of lies and has continued to lie.
Great, we can feed more people with GMO’s, but we are killing more people
because of modifying the natural way of growing.

“Modifying the natural way of growing” as practiced by scientific agriculture is not only safe, but it has saved billions from starvation. GIFs are just the latest incarnation of that effort, as the late Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug knew well. We’ll put the credentials of Nobel Prize-winners, America’s farmers, and the scientific community against those of the Russian State Duma, shyster snake-oil salesmen, and conspiracy-minded e-mailers any day.

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