OPINION: Stop the GM controversy in organics

Organic activists would like you to believe that their brand pre-exists in nature the way fresh air and clean water do.

It does not.

Organic food exists only because we have come up with a legal framework by which to define it. And it’s a mind-numbing legal framework — just ask any organic farmer who’s behind on his paperwork.

If we were to decide tomorrow that certain GMOs would be acceptable as organic, as former U.S. president Bill Clinton suggested, we could rewrite the law, or we could leave things the way they are, embroiled in controversy.

Either way, it’s up to humans to define what “organic” means.

Then there’s the notion that GMOs “contaminate” organic crops, as if we’re talking about dumping effluents into a pristine stream full of brook trout. We’re not. We’re talking about politics, plain and simple.

GMOs are completely safe, so if politicians should ever decide to agree that GMOs actually “contaminate” organic crops, it would be a political rather than a scientific decision to devise a legal construct saying so.

So why do organic activists so fervently embrace the idea of GMO contamination?

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It’s simple. Their aim is to sideline agricultural genetic modification and prevent GMO farming from moving forward.

And the gambit is working marvelously: GM flax, wheat, Golden Rice, Arctic Apples, innate potato are all on the sideline, some for more than a decade.

Yes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program does stipulate how and when organic crops can become contaminated by synthetic pesticides. This is because pesticides can be harmful if misused. Canada’s organic standards, by contrast, make no such stipulation.

However, there is nothing in the U.S. or Canadian standards that explains how GMOs “contaminate” an organic crop. Organic farmers are prevented from making use of GMOs only because of a political aversion to this science that exists in urban organic circles.

Let’s be clear. Not a single organic crop anywhere in the United States or Canada has ever been decertified as a result of pollen or plant-material drifting onto it from a GM crop.

And yet, even the proponents of GMO farming have come to believe that GMOs contaminate organic crops, wondering how they can help prevent it and, most absurdly, how to insure organic farmers against it.

Apocryphal stories abound of “organic shipments being rejected by buyers” who, we are told, insist on absolute genetic purity. However, 43 percent of American organic food tests positive for prohibited pesticides, and the number is even higher in Canada.

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Why don’t organic buyers ever reject those loads? It’s simple. Organic stakeholders no longer care about synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizer, even when used fraudulently by organic farmers. They have concluded, erroneously, that the only way forward for organic farming is to ban all new GM crops.

Nice try boys, but the jig is up. And no, it is not “inflammatory” or “mean-spirited” to point any of this out. It’s the law.

Organic farmers are not required to keep their crops 100 percent or 99 percent or even 90 percent GMO free. In fact, they’re not required to observe any threshold limit on GMO content in their organic crops, with the exception of organic seed production.

Organic standards were written by organic stakeholders, so there is absolutely no excuse for ignoring them.

There’s been peaceful coexistence between organic and GMO farmers since GMOs were first introduced two decades ago. And there is no basis for a GMO-free definition of organic. The whole premise of being organic is, after all, pure artifice from start to finish.

The time has come to stop organic activists from creating controversy where none exists. We should strengthen the peaceful coexistence that has always existed be-tween organic and GMO farmers wherever GM crops are grown, and look forward to the day when we might even see the world’s first certified-organic, genetically modified crop.

In fact, it would be mean-spirited to do otherwise.

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Mischa Popoff worked for five years as a U.S. Department of Agriculture organic inspector, and was assisted in writing this article by Hans-Jörg Jacobsen, Klaus Ammann, Al B. Wagner, Jerzy Nowak, Pierre Desrochers, Bruce Thornton, Robert Wager, Patrick Moore, Antonio Saltini and Adrian Dubock.

About the author

Mischa Popoff — Mischa Popoff is a former organic farmer and Advanced Organic Farm and Process Inspector. He’s the author of Is it Organic?, which can be previewed at www.isitorganic.ca.

Also by this author

  • Well sure. Bring it up. What would you like to say about Triffid flax?

    • Dayton

      I’d say the contamination was one of the worst of it’s kind. Why didn’t the govt. and stakeholders launch a class action for lost income and rejected loads?

      • The whole Triffid flax incident was one of the most overblown anti-GMO P.R. stunts ever devised.

        No one fell ill, no one died. It was a case of Canadian officials and executives caving in to Europe’s anti-GMO ideology, all while Europe relies heavily on GMO feed imports from America and Canada.

        It was the height of hypocrisy, to say nothing of absurdity.

        • Dayton

          However it’s been proven time and again the GMO Genie does and will escape the bottle. Contrary to what the GMO proponents have assured us.

          • As the old saying goes… No harm, no foul.

          • Dayton

            So your saying there is no harm in losing markets? It’s no wonder you had to quit farming.

          • Canadian flax farmers didn’t lose the European market. Cowardly Canadian officials surrendered it after farmers diligently fulfilled their contracts both legally and scientifically.

            As I said at the time, and as I said above, if European officials want 100% GMO free flax, let them go find another source. Maybe Cuba?

    • KDJK

      From the article:

      “Not a single organic crop anywhere in the United States or Canada has ever been decertified as a result of pollen or plant-material drifting onto it from a GM crop.”

      Although the Triffid flax debacle did not result in organic produce/producers being decertified, it has had a significant and long lasting effect Canadian flax exports as a result of GM ‘contamination’.

      I guess it is a bit off topic, and I agree that organic production should not exclude the use of GM crops. I merely wanted to point out that while claims of organic ‘contamination’ by GMOs are erroneous from a synthetic chemical standpoint, this example may give credence to claims of genetic ‘contamination’. Which shouldn’t matter anyway, since organic agriculture doesn’t preclude GM.

      • The only possible argument to be made about Triffid flax being a “contaminant” is the fact that it was not a registered crop. Insofar as it is a GMO crop, that is completely irrelevant.

        • Dr

          Why is the topic of canola not available to be grown by organic farmers due to being non visually distinguishable not being addressed on this forum? …Mischa? Organic farmers don’t want to lose more crops in our rotation. The consumer and organic farmers have staved off the introduction of GMO wheat and alfalfa…for now. If commercial farmers and organic farmers have coexisted until now it is because organic farmers have always made concessions . We have a 25′ buffer strip along conventional land, we must get and provide non GMO affidavits when we buy and sell seed, we the organic farmers have not been able to grow canola. It seems to me that as long as organic farmers and consumers are quiet then commercial and organic farmers get along…sounds like a dis functional and abusive relationship to me. I think it would better be called a “lationship” since it is so one sided. What else isn’t being told? Roundup is being found in higher concentrations than ever before in breastmilk and urine. What about that Mischa and WP? And it’s not because we the organic farmers and consumers are “uninformed” or “blind to science”

          • TZ

            You are so right! http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urin
            Herbicides in the urine

            by Dirk Brändli and Sandra Reinacherstrasse Refer
            Glyphosate, the main ingredient of most commercial herbicides, is a plant poison. However, poisoned not only plants, but also insidiously animals and humans. At a German university urine samples of the urban population were tested for contamination with glyphosate. All samples showed significant concentrations of the herbicide active ingredient which were higher by from 5 to 20 times above the limit of drinking water.

          • Nice try TZ, but the overwhelming majority of GMO crop varieties do not incorporate glyphosate. Most GMO crops, in fact, have nothing to do with any pesticide.

          • Denise

            in and trusted the scienific research, that glyphosate was harmless. You could drink it! One farmer was talked into doing just that! I wonder what happened to him.
            It is costing farmers dearly- financially for crop production and healthwise for them and their families from exposure to these cancer- causing toxins.

            On a positive note, here is something for more farmers to consider:
            http://www.globalresearch.org “American Farmers Abandoning Genetically Modified Seed: Non-GMO Crops Are More Productive and Profitable”.

          • This article is not about glyphosate. Did you read it before commenting Denise?

          • Denise

            Actually IT REALLY IS about glyphosate since the majority of crops ( GMO corn and GMO soybeans and otherGMO crops) are engineered to tolerate excessive toxic amounts of glyphosate (Roundup Ready!!!)
            That is what the biotech industry has spent MOST of its time and resources (R+D) on developing. As the weeds and bugs adapt and mutate to withstand these poisons, the biotech guys are scrambling to alter the genes of the plants so they won’t die with stronger and more applications of glyphosate and its adjuncts.
            Everything around the plants will die, including us ,but not the GMO crop!
            Ever see a sign that said ‘WRONG WAY’ Well guess what…..
            You’re going the wrong way.

          • Sorry, but the majority of GMO crops have nothing to do with glyphosate or any pesticide.

          • TZ

            … The majority of GM crops are Roundup Ready….GM sugar beets, corn, soy, cotton…..do the math!!!!

          • TZ

            Really? … http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24

            Background
            Genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops have been remarkable commercial successes in the United States. Few independent studies have calculated their impacts on pesticide use per hectare or overall pesticide use, or taken into account the impact of rapidly spreading glyphosate-resistant weeds. A model was developed to quantify by crop and year the impacts of six major transgenic pest-management traits on pesticide use in the U.S. over the 16-year period, 1996–2011: herbicide-resistant corn, soybeans, and cotton; Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn targeting the European corn borer; Bt corn for corn rootworms; and Bt cotton for Lepidopteron insects.

            Results
            Herbicide-resistant crop technology has led to a 239 million kilogram (527 million pound) increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011, while Bt crops have reduced insecticide applications by 56 million kilograms (123 million pounds). Overall, pesticide use increased by an estimated 183 million kgs (404 million pounds), or about 7%.

            Conclusions
            Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%. The magnitude of increases in herbicide use on herbicide-resistant hectares has dwarfed the reduction in insecticide use on Bt crops over the past 16 years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

          • The majority of GMO crops are not pesticide resistant, and do not incorporate any pesticide. In fact, the first successful GMO crop can be grown under organic management. Do you know what crop it is?

          • TZ

            http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-residues-in-animals-and-humans-2161-0525.1000210.pdf These authors also found that glyphosate accumulated in bones. … of glyphosate in humans was previously reported [20] by monitoring 48 farmers, …

          • Glyphosate is not a GMO.

          • TZ

            http://www.thelocal.de/20150626/concerns-over-safety-of-german-breast-milk
            Germany’s news in English Change edition: Austria · Denmark · France · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

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            spotlight_woman1.png
            Greens warn: German breast milk unsafe
            Photo: DPA
            Greens warn: German breast milk unsafe
            Published: 26 Jun 2015 10:18 GMT+02:00

            The Green Party warned on Friday about the health risks of breast-feeding after traces of a substance found in weed-killer were found in breast milk.

            The Green party made their warning after testing the breast milk of 16 women from a variety of German regions.

            Traces of glyphosate, a chemical used in weed-killers, amounting to between 0.210 and 0.432 nanograms per mililitre were recorded.

            In drinking water a quantity of no more than 0.100 nanograms of the substance is allowed.

            Irene Witte, professor of toxicology at the University of Oldenburg described the findings as “intolerable.”

            “I would never have guessed that the quantities are so high,” she said.

            Witte warned that no conclusions should be drawn from tests on 16 women, but added that this was a first indication that there is a problem. She called for the tests to be broadened to included a larger sample set of breast-feeding women.

            The extent to which glyphosate is harmful to one’s health is still contested, but in March the World Health Organisation’s cancer research programme designated the substance as “likely carcinogenic.”

            Witte said that if the chemical is proven to be carcinogenic then any exposure could be dangerous.

            “There is not upper limit you can then put on the quantity. Every molecule could cause cancer.”

            The chair of the Environmental Committee in the Bundestag (German parliament) Bärbel Höhn of the Green Party, called for government action.

            “The government needs to take glyphosate out of circulation until the question of its links to cancer has been cleared up,” she said.

          • GMOs are not herbicides.

          • Organic farmers are free to grow organic canola anytime and anywhere they want, just as surely as organic farmers grow organic corn, soy, beets and every other crop that exists in a genetically-modified form.

            It’s a bald-faced lie to say that organic farmers can’t grow organic canola.

          • dr

            Mr Popoff ; it is a bald faced lie to say organic farmers can grow canola . You seem to require clarification on every point brought up against your opinion . This does tend to stir the pot but does very little for true discussion. …
            So I will clarify for Mr Popoffs benefit. Organic farmers cannot grow organic canola on just any land. Organic canola must be segregated and and hidden away from pollen drift and contamination. It is my understanding that this requires a 30mi + distance from GMO neighbouring canola. Also great care must be taken to deliver it in a clean truck and to deliver it to a facility where it will not have any chance of being contaminated because organic canola and GMO canola cannot be separated (they are nonvisually distinguishable). The choice to grow organic canola had effectively been taken away from 90% of organic growers due to their geographic location and farming next to gmo Canola. Next, the delivery problem; it is the big 6 grain companies that failed to segregate GMO canola in their public handling system that yanked away the choice from organic growers and so there is the rub . People are demanding choice in matters of food security and not ingesting chemicals. You say that not all GMO crops are attached to herbicide and not all GMO crops are. But the majority of the ones being used on a grand scale are resistant to herbicide or produce their own pesticide. Not occurring in nature. It would be my opinion that if Mischa Popoff just wants to play the contrarian game all day long that he do so with the skeletons in his closet that started his whole contrarian approach. The consumer is speaking, one vote (when they purchase) at a time … Be careful what you wish for. You might be the only one left wearing a save the GMO tshirt …

          • Show me the standard that says organic farmers can’t grow organic canola. You haven’t bothered to read this article before commenting, have you now?

          • dr

            The COR standards state that “No” GMO material of any kind will be tolerated…hence the non GMO affidavit required all the time signed by buyer and seller. Farmers can’t use anything with GMO cornstarch , soy additives from GMO crops, or GMO canola. So therefore by elimination and proximity to other fields thes crops have essentially been eliminated as a choice for organic farmers.

            No , herbicides are not GMO s but they are so closely tied and interdependent that they are part of the whole big picture. Something Big AG fails to acknowledge. This is the same strategy of smoke and mirrors or divide and conquer these multinational companies spread. Is that what you support Mischa? Because that is not pure science either.

          • Organic farmers are only prevented from making use of GMOs. There is no threshold limit on GMO content in organic food the way there is for synthetic pesticides.

            Read the standards. They were written BY organic stakeholders. They should be followed by organic stakeholders.

          • Dr

            I know that 0% is a threshold. It is called none… …

          • And where does it say that?

          • Dr

            Organic farmers are prevented from making use of GMO plants. It says it in your last post. Prevented from making use of zero, nunca nada .

          • Harold

            Dear Mr. Mischa Popoff. As a reporter and a master of none such as you, let me give you my equally naïve opinion. With this I will deliberately not prove what I’m saying is fact. The burden of proof is for the receiver in this case as I think we can agree that neither are the scientist. (You don’t shoot the messenger) The purpose for the Gmo is for the causes of infertility and lower mental acuity. Gmo is wide spread across our Continent and its effects are becoming accountable. In the near future you can have all the GMO you wish because that’s all that will be served. Maybe that’s why other intelligent life forms in other countries Banned it. I’ll throw you a bone, FEMA Ask yourself who are they for and how come so many people are expected to die? By the way, that’s where you start, not finish, as you seem to me as having the tendency to do. Just saying..

          • Harold

            Mr Micha Popoff, I have to weigh in one more time. … The human being has the
            supreme right to make exactly what they wish and put that in their
            mouth. If he contracts someone else, their rights are not changed.[human
            rights] Breach or non disclosure voids any contract.[crime] (Labeling
            issue) The Consumer decides which company lives or dies and not the
            other way around, especially through Government intervention. the
            Government is a trustee and not a consumer. … What can be said about
            any company who does not have a open book? they use a virus in the
            process of GMO and the identity is concealed. untraceable? honest?
            deceitfully progressing? Put anything in your mouth and you have
            completed a contract and the other party becomes not liable. In your
            “100% independent thinking” multi-co-authored article you were staring
            right at this and didn’t recognize any human rights. Mother Nature is
            Science in action and any abomination to it can only come from man. that
            is not a fact that is a truth. GMO-herbicide Ready. Ready for what? You
            take a container marked poison dilute it enough to kill organic and it
            gets absorbed into the “ready” plant. an organic eats the ready plant.
            the ready plant also can have a benefit self producing pesticide. the
            organic eats the pesticide. Pesticide finds more good bacteria inside
            the organic. Does this all just disappear” No, Its found in organic
            Urine. Meanwhile back at the herb can, what happens with light exposure,
            medium exposure and heavy exposure? Moreover where does 100 tons of
            chemical go? Fact: no one knows. No weeds, but it is somewhere. Both
            organics sharing it? (Earth, Human) Further, where is it your finding
            fresh air and clean water? I think the “its Safe” people did away with
            that. There is not the organic apple-Just the apple. then there is the
            modified apple for those that are shellac deficient and that’s not
            political plain and simple.- that’s proper labeling. Why you’d lean on
            Cocaine smuggling/dealing/Laundering Bill Clinton is puzzling to me,
            [editor. credible testimony and public] To close. Farmer buys seed and
            herbicide from Monsanto cartel by law, they make a billion dollars.
            Farmers make 10 dollars extra a bushel. Creating a law to protect their
            profits or to help man kind?…. and the dish ran away with the spoon.
            Do I want a natural plant or do I want an Organism? Let me hear your
            guarantees again. That is of course the ones you can personally give.
            The ones you are liable for.

  • Denise

    The jig is up! No,really,it is! …
    Europe,China, and Russia is done with GMOs. North America is next.
    Check out: beyondpesticides.org and PAN.org (PesticideActionNetwork.org)
    WE’ve had it!

    • If America had copied Europe, China and Russia on anything in the past we wouldn’t have put a man on the moon, we wouldn’t have GPS or the Internet, and you’d still be typing away on a Commodore 64.

      • ed

        Many Americans except for the original inhabitants came from Europe. Germans and other European employees of Canada’s Avro Arrow aviation facility put the USA on the moon, had lots to do with GPS and Internet and computers, Chinese built our railways being smarter, tougher and braver than ourselves and Russia brought us the helicopter. Your attitude lacks respect. Even the guys that landed on the moon remembered where they came from and how they got there.

        • Correction, they escaped from oppression in Europe.

          • ed

            Yes, especially in agriculture, corporate oppression did arrive in Europe first and as you can see took the “you can run but you can’t hide” approach and followed our forefathers over.

          • It wasn’t corporate oppression people were escaping from in Europe. It was the remnants of the feudal system, and a burgeoning bureaucracy of lazy, overpaid civil servants.

          • ed

            Caused by corporate oppression at all levels that lead to burgeoning bureaucracy of lazy civil servants perhaps.

          • Let me make sure I’ve got this right here Ed. You’re saying the private sector somehow caused laziness in the public sector?

          • ed

            Your are the one that said bureaucrats were lazy. Corporate oppression caused slavery here as it did in Europe was what you may be missing here. Fleeing that here is not as easy with the only option being to step out of the voluntary slavery line because things have got so bad. This is what 70% of farmers have done in the last 30 years in North America and still some people are not alarmed. When the slaves building the pyramids got down to a handful of very competent men; no more pyramids! Pretty simple stuff!

          • No… it was free enterprise in the North that DEFEATED slavery. Did you think the Union Army was communist? Yeesh!

            But I agree completely with you that we need more farmers. Many, many more.

          • ed

            Thank you.

          • And you may rest assured that our current standards for organic production will do nothing to encourage more people to farm.

            Nothing.

          • ed

            We do also know that everything that we have done over the last 35 years has enticed over 70% of the farmers to quit, most of them in the under 35 years of age bracket. So we will have to do the complete opposite of that.

        • hyperzombie

          The chinese provided some labour for the railways, they hardly built them. Modern Helicopters were invented in the USA.

          • Quite right. People always forget the Irish and Eastern Europeans. My ancestors (Russian Doukhobors) did all sorts of dangerous hard labor when they weren’t struggling to keep their farms afloat.

          • ed

            That means the good old USA invented the helicopter? Biotech companies invented seeds etc? Americas are very proud and sometimes rewriting history a bit to help support that. That is a well documented human behavior.

          • hyperzombie

            “That means the good old USA invented the helicopter?”

            Nope, but it was invented in the USA. Individuals or groups of them invent things.

            Biotech companies invented seeds etc?”

            Well if you are referring to new varieties of crops, then yes.

          • ed

            Rewriting history is a common human behavior to support preconceived ideology. That may not be a patentable genetic trait yet, but who ever was responsible for it will not get the credit and those who copy the behavior will not be able to use the technique any longer without being prosecuted to the full extent of the law once it is patented. So use freedom of speech as much as you can and how you will until that day arrives.

          • hyperzombie

            “Rewriting history is a common human behavior to support preconceived ideology.”

            So, what does that have to do with GMOs and helicopters.

            “That may not be a patentable genetic trait”

            I know its not what you are talking about but all new and novel plant traits are patentable.

            “technique any longer without being prosecuted to the full extent of the law once it is patented”

            Patents only last 20 years, and you cant patent human behaviour.

            “So use freedom of speech as much as you can”

            Ok, will do.

          • ed

            That’s it. People didn’t believe plant life could be patented so don’t be surprised when human behavior passes that same group of tests. In many ways patents and the removal of older products from the market place delegates the new products to those who can afford them only. What ever the market will bear type of thing. In doing so human behavior is altered. We are already there except to get some smart corporate lawyers to formalize the process. If you helped with your freedom of speech you could help stop that. You have to see it first however. Some will never see it.

    • RobertWager

      China is done with GE crops? Wow are you wrong. They will be the world leaders in this technology very soon. They have over 1000 events ready for field trials.

      • Denise

        Genetically modified (GM) food crops are banned for cultivation in China. Of course, the Chinese government is still doing tests on GMOs, but the people of China reject GMOs.

        They recognize that these transgenic seeds are a threat to human health and the environment. They believe that GMOs may endanger the country’s food security and national security, as well.
        The manipulation of seed genes to produce more pesticide-tolerant crops is of no value to mankind. North Americans are plagued with gastro-intestional ailments,reproductive problems,and cancers.
        These GMOs and their pesticide companions deplete the soil of its life-giving micronutrients and microorganisms.They leach toxins into the waterways and destroy the biodiversity of nature.
        “It’s worse than we thought” as more studies reveal the truth about these altered genes. The lies and deceit practiced by the biotech players is coming to light.
        Steve M. Druker’s book: Altered Genes, Twisted Truth follows the path of how we ended up in this mess.
        Here, too, is an excellent article following with comments by well informed and thoughtful people.
        http://www.independentsciencenews.org “Growing Doubt: A Scientist’s Experience”

        • Ken Gallaher

          I was in China recently and was told by a senior scientist specializing in rice that he felt that NO GMO research shoud be done – that it was too dangerous to mankind.

        • KDJK

          Steve M. Druker is not a scientist, he is an attorney.

          • razorjack

            He has also written a meticulously documented book that show how our agencies were corrupted to get GMOs approved without any safety testing and over the warning by their own staff scientists.

            Smart people will ask why 38 nations have banned GMOs and 64 countries require mandatory disclosure of GMOs on food labels.

            Are we to assume that Americans are the only ones who have scientists studying this issue?

            Wake up!

            We are the subject of an undisclosed science experiment that is being conducted on North Americans with out any consent from the people who are forced into a study without their knowledge or consent.

        • hyperzombie

          No China does not ban GMO cultivation. They are the fifth largest growers GMO crops, after USA, Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. They grow HT and Bt corn and they even grow GMO petunias.

          • razorjack

            38 countries ban GMOs and 64 countries require mandatory labels of GMO foods.

            North Americans are told that the people are to stupid here to understand these information labels and that we should shut up and let them keep hiding cancer causing Roundup laden GMOs in the food we feed our families.

            American need and deserve the same freedom and transparency that most of the rest of the developed world gives their people to make an INFORMED choice about the food they feed their families.

          • Most GMOs are not Roundup Ready.

          • ed

            Breed to withstand chemistry that will basically take out all other life in the field. Doesn’t sound to safe and consumers are now on to that fact and most don’t want to die prematurely. Natural way of thinking you would agree.

          • Papayas… do you ever eat them?

          • ed

            Do they grow naturally within 100 miles of any where in North America. Would I die if I had never eaten them. Are they hidden in any of the food that I would buy in a store or McDonald’s with out their presence being displayed on a label. Should all things that are good for you not be allowed to be displayed on food content labels. Does you question have a point?

          • Papaya is a non-pesticide GMO.

          • ed

            Do they label it GMO. I hope they do because if they prove to be of some sort of advantage the consumer should be aware, so they can choose premium products.

          • The advantage to consumers and farmers is that the papaya was rescued from the brink of extinction.

          • Don

            To add to this line of discussion, which by my line of reason, is the point of the article. If an organic papaya grower were to produce GMO papaya using standard organic protocols, they would not be able to market that production as organic since it is in fact a GMO.
            However, should organic growers collectively decide to allow GMO as a breeding technique, then the benefits could be captured by organic producers as well.
            Stands to reason since other hugely beneficial, non pesticide traits are just around the corner.

          • Bang on Don! You have hit the nail on the head.
            Thanks for reading!!

          • ed

            Why don’t we just label organic production as “May contain GMOs” and kill it off as quick as we can. Cut to the chase sort of thing. Or we could cut all paper work and regulation to the organic industry and let the informed consumer decide if the organic claims on the package are valid. Free market it!

          • ed

            Dinosaur meat would likely be healthy. I wonder if they are working on bringing them back. Probably a good idea as long as they don’t eat papayas or they keep them separated somehow. No need to label the new delicacies. Meat is meat right.

          • Ag-West Bio

            The point is that GMO is a technology that can be used in a numerous ways. You might not care about papaya, but in Hawaii many farmers’ livelihoods depend on growing this fruit. Herbicide tolerance is just an application that made sense here. The trait allows for less (and safer) pesticide to be used (glyphosate is safer than other herbicides), plus zero-till which captures tons of carbon in the soil. These crops have been a boon to Canadian agriculture, used in the production of one of the healthiest oils available.

          • ed

            Canadian farmers are making so much money that they will soon be able to sow all the land down to native grasses, plant trees and put back the flood creating marsh land that they destroyed and take early retirement. It make you wonder why the farm debt is going up at a record pace and they are still doing the opposite on all fronts trying to get another acre if they are making out like bandits.

        • GMO Corn Fed

          Actually Denise I have to side with the Pro-GMO people here on the subject of China. China is probably one of the most Bioethically challenged when it comes to GMOs. You need to look at their entire M.O. when it comes to government approved, sanctioned and probably funded highjacking of Patents and Copyrights irrespective of what product or industry. China started manufacturing their own Roundup long before Monsanto’s Patent ran out and Monsanto rightly complained, but China ethically doesn’t care what others think or how they are viewed unless backed into a corner. China wants their own Patented version of GMOs to sell around the globe, so their phony outrage is nothing more than a smokescreen while they develop their own versions of GMOs, probably which also engaging in industrial espionage of the technologies.

          • Denise

            I agree with you that the Chinese government wants to be in the game but the fact remains that human consumption of GMO- based food is banned in China ; except fo cooking oil and papayas.
            The people of China do not trust their government and they do not want and trust the safety of GMOs in their food. The government has had little success in changing these attitudes, reinforced by the tainted baby formula tragedies.

          • GMO Corn Fed

            The ban is an industrial political smokescreen, it basically means nothing. Earlier this year Chinese industrial espionage operatives were caught stealing seeds red-handed. This type of scheme doesn’t happen without the Chinese government’s blessing.

            http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2015/03/29/seed-corn-theft-plot-national-security-fbi/70643462/

    • hyperzombie

      China is the 5th largest growers of GMO crops. Spain grows GMOs.

  • TZ
    • Not field testing, which is what’s required by law and by science.

  • TZ
  • Rob Wallbridge

    So disappointing to see the WP publish a piece that is so grossly misinformed, slanderous, and divisive. I’m all for coexistence and cooperation, but it has to be based on a clear understanding of the facts and context. Rants like this are a huge step backwards and a disservice to all involved.

    • Hi Rob,

      The piece is clearly labelled as the author’s “opinion.”

      While I’m aware of the oft retold “can’t scream ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre” example, I’m pretty sure this is not quite so black and white an illustration of the limitations of freedom of speech.

      How can we maintain our commitment to “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” and tell any author we’re not going to publish theirs in our “Op-Ed” section?

      What if the shoe were on the other foot?

      I would respectfully invite you to respond to this piece sharing your perspective, and we will gladly publish it. I believe the target should be about 700 words, and it can be sent to newsroom@producer.com

      Cheers,
      Paul – WP web ed

      • Rob Wallbridge

        Hi Paul,

        Thanks for the response. I do understand your position here. You have a right to publish opinions, and I have a right to express my disappointment!

        I appreciate the invitation to write a more detailed response. If I can carve out some time, I’ll see what I can do.

        Cheers,
        Rob

        • You failed to explain which facts and context that we don’t understand.

        • Rob: When you said our article was ” grossly misinformed, slanderous, and divisive…” I almost thought you were referring to the anti-GMO organic industry and its baseless, tax-subsidized attack on this field of science.

          We’re all waiting for your response…

      • ed

        Yes, opinion.

        • Can’t handle the facts?

          • ed

            Paul labeled your stuff opinion which is painfully obvious. You can’t seem to handle the facts.

          • Opinion pieces contain facts, or the opinion is baseless. Which facts do you take issue with?

    • Cassandra Biophilia

      Which information is incorrect?

      • Great question Cassandra.

      • Rob Wallbridge

        For a start, Mischa can’t even get the facts straight on the products he advocates in favour of, much less those he attacks.
        Far from being “sidelined”, both the Innate potato and the Arctic Apple are expected to be commercially available as soon as next year.

        http://www.frozenfoodsbiz.com/potatoes/12/23-product-news/68-potatoes/681-simplots-innate-potato-gets-planting-approval-from-usda

        http://www.arcticapples.com/arctic-apples-approved-canada/

        I hope to go into more detail later, but if he can’t be bothered to fact-check the most basic claims, can we really trust his understanding of an organic industry that he hasn’t been involved in for over a decade?

        • hyperzombie

          Yep, innate potatoes are already on the market, they are now called “White Russets”. Arctic apples may take a bit longer, you know cause apples take a while to ramp up production.

          And GMO wheat is sidelined because the companies developing it realize that there is no market for it, no farmer needs HT wheat, so it wouldn’t sell well.

          • Innate potatoes were sidelined when the fast-food industry rejected them. Like the Arctic Apple, they’re still available… sure. But for the time being, both of these crops have received a severe blow from anti-GMO organic activists, just as GMO Golden Rice has.

          • hyperzombie

            THey may have been delayed a bit but they will slowly be adopted. Once McDs, Wendy’s and Burger KIng realize that the lunatic fringe doesn’t eat that their restaurants, they will adopt them. I think Chipotle is learning this lesson the hard way.
            You know that I am a huge supporter of GM technology, but even I realize that the last thing Golden rice needs is a premature release. Give them time to increase the yield and it will be a runaway success.

          • Yes, I am certainly familiar with your support for GMOs. But you cannot deny that organic activists scored a huge win when they scared the fast-food chains into sidelining the Innate potato. Only time will tell if fast-food executives change their minds. But they didn’t the last time a GMO potato was introduced; and it was abandoned, never to be seen again.

          • Denise

            I try to eat only organically grown potatoes. The other day I bought the industrial grown potatoes because they were out of the organic ones. When I opened the bag the smell of fungicide treatment was over whelming. No wonder workers get sick working around these toxins.

          • Denise

            GMO Innate potatoes? Definition of innate: inherent in one’s nature ,inborn, not acquired. What a joke.

        • I see. So when McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger Kind all rejected the Innate Potato, that didn’t mean this GMO crop was sidelined?

          As for the Arctic Apple, it too has been sidelined by most apple-grower associations.

    • Rob Wallbridge

      Mischa claims that the Canadian organic regime makes no stipulations about contamination with synthetic pesticides. He even goes so far as the make the slanderous accusation that organic stakeholders “don’t care” about the fraudulent use of prohibited substances. He provides no actual proof of these allegations, of course.

      The fact and truth of the matter is the complete opposite, of course. A visit to the CFIA website reveals a detailed factsheet on these issues:

      http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/organic-products/labelling-and-general-information/fact-sheet/eng/1389651477171/1389651725636

      We could excuse Mischa’s ignorance of the Canadian organic regulations by virtue of the fact that his 5 years of experience as an organic inspector were well over a decade ago, long before the our national regulations were enacted in 2009.

      Then again, we have the right to expect someone who shouts about writing opinion pieces based on facts to do a little research first, don’t we?

  • Ken Gallaher

    WP should be embarrassed to publish Monsanto et al propaganda like this.
    Popoff is a well known spokesman for them.

    • We’re proud to share a variety of opinions on any subject, Ken. Even yours.

      Cheers,
      Paul – WP web ed

      • Ken Gallaher

        You should communicate his CURRENT employment.
        A notorious PR firm.
        https://www.heartland.org/mischa-popoff
        http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Heartland_Institute

      • Dayton

        How often do you allow opinions on the same subject repeatedly? Seems everyone here has flogged this subject to death. However the WP continues to publish. Why? Can we not agree to disagree and leave it to the consumer to decide which option they prefer?

        • ed

          If we labeled so the consumer could decide organics would go up ten fold in price and GMO’s would rot and go stale on the shelf. You can quickly see the dilemma the food industry has got us into. Don’t believe it. Just try it! The road back is not going to be easy but we are now on it at least.

          • Actually, the opposite will happen. Most consumers buy organic because they’ve been led to believe GMOs are dangerous. Once GMOs are labelled, customers will abandon organic food and simply buy non-GMO instead.

          • ed

            That is not the trend right now. If you label food as containing skull and crossbones labeled chemical you would be surprised. Malt barley is one example where consumers even drinking “beer” will not accept even minute amounts of Roundup in it.

          • Ed, ed, ed… this article is not about Roundup.

            Have a nice day.

          • ed

            I believe if you check you will find that there are still some RR GMO crops being grown out there. Correct me if I have errored here.

          • Of course there are. But they represent only a sliver of all GMO crop varieties.

          • hyperzombie

            “If we labeled so the consumer could decide organics would go up ten fold in price and GMO’s “

            Even in countries with GMO labels Organic sales have never gone above 9%.. Denmark and now Organic sales are falling.

      • Dayton

        However Poppoff’s opinion hasn’t changed as he last few opinions so why republish them? Saik is another one. Got nothing new? Finish your barn yet? That would be news….

        • Apparently his opinions are strongly held.

          Not unlike some others’ here…

          And the barn (it’s really an old United Church) is pretty much buttoned up for the winter. Really glad to be done hanging 25 feet off the ground in a zoom boom putting on the tin roof and roof cap.

          Now the work begins inside… Thanks for asking!

          Cheers,
          Paul – WP web ed

        • I have said many times before in print that GMOs pose no threat to organic crops. But I believe this is the first time here in the pages of the WP that I pointed out that GMOs could be considered organic.

          But no matter how many times the WP runs my material, don’t you have anything to say about the article itself?

          • ed

            Are you suggesting that sneaking GMO’s into organics to get the premium is what a producer could do or that they should wait for you to get the certification done on that first.

    • I’m highly critical of Monsanto. I am also 100% independent.

      • Keith Duhaime

        Likewise Mischa, why are you critical of Monsanto? They are publicly traded (MON on NYSE), It’s not like they hold some dominant position in the food commodity chain. If these were your concerns, then look to the Macmillan family and their privately held operations (Cargill, 10x the burn rate of Monsanto) with control of 30% of the world’s food supply at any given time.

        • See for yourself by going to my website: www (dot) isitorganic (dot) ca (slash) news.

        • Did you happen to check out my website Keith?

    • By the way, where can we find your articles posted Ken?

    • Keith Duhaime

      Ken, can you explain what your concern is with Monsanto? Everytime I have heard some criticism of Monsanto, it can be shown quickly to rooted in irrational nonsense. And strangely, it is almost always around GMOs, Anyone that knows anything about agriculture knows Hugh Grant is a lot more concerned about what Sergio Marchionne and Sam Allen are up to that the ditzy crowd that comprises the Morons Against Monsanto march.

  • Rory

    Why such parties need to attack organics? Do they feel they are missing out on potential sales, which would be rather small one would think? Or is it that they feel organics are becoming a little inferior? Organic is a niche enterprise so like it or back off.

    • hyperzombie

      Who is attacking Organics?>

      • razorjack

        Take a look at your posting history and you will have your answer.

        • Please keep your comments to the article rajorjack.

          Take your personal conflict with hyperzombie somewhere else.

          • Debbie Owen

            You don’t work for WP so it’s not your place to tell others how to respond. If you don’t like the comments that’s your problem.

          • OK Debbie. But let’s be fair… you don’t work for rajorjack. So please let him/her defend him/herself.

    • Where did we attack organics?

  • Dr

    Now Mischa Popoff writes for WP? Who next? Stephen Harper?

    Organic farmers lost the crop Canola in their rotations because of GMO canola being intermingled. In fact a lawsuit was brought forth to the Supreme Court of Canada , where , because of monsantos room full of lawyers and the power of the money associated with corporate lobby got told to stop wasting the courts and Monsanto s time. Mischa you must have heard of the terms “non visually distinguishable” . This is the fact that GMO canola cannot be separated out by looking at it.
    For a contrarian of his reputation to be writing for the WP speaks volumes about who and what the WP stands for. Isn’t journalism supposed to present both sides??

    • Doc,

      Popoff does not “write for” The Western Producer.

      He’s simply someone who has an interest in a subject we report upon, and he took the time to put pen to paper and tell us what he thought about that subject in an “OPINION” piece.

      Good journalism absolutely presents both sides of any issue.

      An opinion piece is just that – one person’s opinion.

      We’re proud to publish any opinion, provided it’s presented in a civil and respectful manner.

      Even yours.

      Cheers,
      Paul – WP web ed

      • Thank you Paul.

        But you left something out of your response…

        The WP will publish any opinion, provided it’s presented in a civil and respectful manner, and IS BASED IN FACT.

        Please note that for all of the reaction we see here in the comments section, no one has pointed out a single factual error in this article.

        On behalf of myself and my co-authors, we thank you for having the journalistic integrity to run our article.

    • Organic farmers never lost canola. That’s an outright lie.

      Organic activists prevented organic farmers from growing organic canola so they could try to sue Monsanto for loss-of-income. The legal gambit failed, but the apocryphal pretext remains.

      Shame on the organic industry.

    • hyperzombie

      I am sure if any X Prime Minister of Canada wrote a non political article about agriculture WP would be happy to publish it. But I am just guessing.

      “This is the fact that GMO canola cannot be separated out by looking at it.”

      All GMOs are visually indistinguishable from non GMOs, they are just plant traits, not a different variety. Almost all plant traits are like this, you cant tell rust resistant wheat from non rust resistant wheat and blackleg resistant canola looks the same as the highly susceptible varieties.

  • Denise

    I hope the farmers are taking note.
    http://www.gmwatch.org – “44 reasons to ban or label GMOs” “Monsanto’s secret studies reveal glyphosate link to cancer”

  • Dr

    Oh yes , it is pure assumption to address me as Doc just because I use the name Dr. What other assumptions are being made? If it were an abbreviation there would be a period after Dr

  • Rob Wallbridge

    It’s worth noting that the USDA does not employ organic inspectors, they are independent individuals whose services are contracted by third-party certification bodies. Also, there is no such thing as an “Advanced Farm and Process Inspector.” The Independent Organic Inspectors Association has been very clear on this point in direct response to Mischa’s misuse of the term.

    The USDA affiliation may be an honest misunderstanding by WP’s editorial department, but the title Mischa has made up for himself is a clear misrepresentation of his qualifications.

    • Nice try Rob, but I most certainly did not make up the title… and as you know I worked as a USDA-contract organic inspector on both sides of the border for 5 years.

      Please have a look at IOIA’s Guide to IOIA Organic Inspector Training program, (Copyright of IOIA, March 27, 2008), in which it clearly explains that “IOIA offers 3 categories of Basic Organic Inspector Training, plus Advanced Inspector Training.”

      You can see screen shots here: http://www.isitorganic.ca/attempted_drive-by_smear/guide_to_ioia_organic_inspector_training_program

      If you can’t win the argument, attack the individual’s integrity.

      • Rob Wallbridge

        Once again, the USDA does not contract organic inspectors. This is a factual misrepresentation of your non-existent relationship with the USDA. And the existence of an “Advanced” inspector training course does not mean that the title “Advanced Inspector” exists. Margaret Scoles has made this very clear as the Executive Director of the IOIA. Please find me one other organic inspector who uses this title.
        I’ve been asked to point out factual errors in your article. I’m pointing out that you cannot even describe your qualifications without making factual errors. What that says about your integrity is up to the reader to decide.

        • You’re confused. I was trained to inspect to USDA standards, and I worked as a contract organic inspector. Hence, I was a USDA-contract organic inspector, as opposed to a CFIA or JAS-contract organic inspector.

          I never claimed to work with the USDA, and am proud of that fact, saying so in many interviews over the years.

          As for use of the title that bothers you so much, I guess you failed to notice I did not actually use it in describing myself. The WP did. Either way, it’s 100% accurate, as evidenced by the screen shots I provided.

          So… I take it you have nothing to say about the article itself?

  • It’s been five days and no one has pointed out any errors in this article. Instead, organic activists have tried attacking the character of the authors, and my affiliation with The Heartland Institute.

    Rob Wallbridge’s comments seem particularly desperate, charging that I was never a USDA-contract organic inspector. When I explained to him that I was, he did not respond. He also claims there are errors in this article, but has not yet pointed to any.

    • WeGotta

      Your first sentence: “Organic activists would like you to believe that their brand pre-exists in nature the way fresh air and clean water do.”

      That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of something “pre-existing in nature”.

      • And, did it work for you?

        • WeGotta

          What do you mean?

          • I mean, did it make sense?

            I appreciate that to say something is pre-existing is redundant. But it seemed to be called for in this case.

            In anthropological or biological terms, organic farming is no more natural than GMO farming.

          • WeGotta

            Ya, I see your point.
            I was just giving you crap. Sorry!

            Going down the “natural” rabbit hole is useless. You could say since humans are natural everything we do is “natural”.
            But that’s what most advertisement is, useless at best and dishonest most often.

            You’re right. We could decide to call anything “organic” if we wanted to. But we could also make GMO illegal if we wanted to.

          • Why would we ban innovation?

            I’m bothered by the de-facto monopoly corporations like Monsanto hold over this technology. But we should never ban a field of science.

          • GMO Corn Fed

            I don’t think anyone has really ever spoken about truly banning science, with the exception of a handful of extreme back to nature types which are not a real issue anyway, other then some may participate in these online discussions. In so many ways I find the industrial Agro-chemical/Biotech business model and the Industrial Organic business model to be the mirror image of each other. The problems are these silly combat forum discussion expressions like “pseudoscience” and “anti-science” of which in reality there is neither. There is only good or bad science. I hear the same arguments regarding legal court cases, where one side loses and the Press and Public in general will say the Defense or Prosecution had no evidence. This is stupid because both sides come into court with their evidence. The one who lost simply didn’t have compelling evidence that may have convinced or persuaded the Judge and/or Jury.

            The problems I have with the industrial organic side are their pursuit of organic pesticides. Why ? In that way, they mirror the synthetic chemical side in combating an imbalance within the artificial ecosystem of crop growing. That is, let’s invent a chemical that will kill something we don’t like or even understand for that matter. I would think that true organics would be research through observation on how most natural ecosystems work and replicating these, but the organic side falls as far short as the synthetics side. Take these ridiculous debates on how we arrive at drought resistance in crops. Neither side deals with reality in this area. Mostly because business models involving artificial versions of technology must be protected as opposed to changing farm practices which bring no money to the manufacturers and that is what both find unacceptable which brings an equalizing which neither side wishes to admit. I’ve written about it many times but nobody wants to really bring it up as a solution. The Biotechs and Agro-Chemical companies I understand why they are mum on the subject, but the silence on the Industrial Organic side is inexcusable. I don’t play favourites with either position. But it should also be noted that many of the claims of anti-science and pseudoscience are nothing more than default smokescreens answers when someone really doesn’t have a viable argument. And it cut’s both ways.

            http://timeless-environments.blogspot.se/2015/10/headline-news-flash-biotech-world.html

          • You make excellent points.

            However, the “industrial Agro-chemical/Biotech business model” is supported by individual farmers making individual decisions, while the Industrial Organic business model survives only with government support.

          • When you and I are talking about Organic, we’re talking two different methods as I could care less about the supposed certified organic side any more than the industrial agro-chemical side. But everyone likes to put the same blanket face on every label. I’m curious, what is your opinion about those who claim to support GMOs as far as their worldview background. Maybe you should do an article on that. This website is clearly traditionally rightwing conservation and the transhumanist GLP site owned by Jon Entine is clearly on the leftwing side. I’ve never been political and my opposition comes from 30+ years of biomimetic application in replicating nature.

            What I am constantly hearing are leftwing sciencey types blaming bornagain rightwing Republican luddites for being anti-gmo, but then I listen to sites like this who accuse back to nature environmentalist hippy type liberals being anti-business and therefore against GMOs. I have also found that the political leaders of both sides in favour. I have found both sides actually favour GMOs, but you cannot get either side to believe that they are both playing slap and tickle with each other under the same BT Cotton bed sheets. Have you found that ?

            Here is one example, that infamous study [clearly by the transhumanist side] which insisted that Anti-GMO people are mostly religious and believe the earth has a purpose, which I found to be a very biased asinine study to begin with, since I know agnostics and atheists who believe the Earth has purpose.

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150424105348.htm

          • Here’s the secret no one will tell you Owen: The overwhelming majority of organic farmers in The United States and Canada are small “c” conservatives who support the science of genetic engineering.

          • John Fefchak

            Politics and Science

            John Fefchak

            “But we should never ban a field of science”
            I Totally AGREE.

            However,SCIENCE,and Politics, and the good of the public are not always the same.
            My question (or observation) is: How does one separate the two?”

            Profit and destruction are two of the major reasons for the application of science today,whereas environmental and associated social costs are seldom, seriously addressed.
            I don’t approve but can understand why university scientists who have been underfunded for so long,welcome generous grants and the many extras offered by industry and corporate endeavours.

            I appreciate the additional finances are a life line for some universities to survive; but it seems to me, and it is reasonable to ask: “What is expected in return by these fund givers”?.
            For instance, will scientists in such a relationship, be influenced to achieve and even promote findings that are not strictly factual conclusions of their research, but are beneficial to the situation of their kindly patrons?
            Then there are many self-regulated companies and industries that have the need and also the resources to employ and maintain their very own faculty of experts. Those individuals,among them, scientists, who will serve in research, advance new products and help deflect any criticism that may be encountered.
            Again, one must consider the reputation and integrity of that company to help determine if true science will be upheld or will it be compromised. But in the final analysis, it comes down to two things.
            First: Who is paying for the work? and
            Second: What does that particular company want by way of controlling or predetermining the outcome of any research that is undertaken?.

            The examples that I have put forth are typical of to-day’s modern society that allows the truth of science to become a casualty and therefore, a victim, influenced in many ways by the interfering role of politics/ and MONEY.

            So, the question remains: “How does one separate politics from interfering with science”? Is it even possible?

          • What are the environmental and social “costs” of using GMOs?

          • John Fefchak

            I have no idea, but I am sure there are some who could provide you an answer. Did I even mention GMO’s ….No I did NOT.
            My input was on science and politics and how they are intertwined.

  • ryan canart

    this article was disappointing to read. “GMO’s are completely safe” was were I decided to turn out .. also when the activists or who ever rejects a market product, the producer should not cry foul or find ways to sneak it onto the tables or plates. the customer is always right except when it comes to big AG??

    • It’s not consumers who have the choice to make on GMOs. It’s the farmer. And farmers know exactly what they’re doing when they overwhelmingly chose GMOs here in Canada, in the United States, in India and in Australia.

      • John Fefchak

        MORE Information on GMO’s, which tells me the safety of GMO’s is unproven.

        GMO’s — or genetically modified organisms — refer to the plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. In conversation,GMO’s and GE foods refer to the same thing. They are foods created by merging DNA from different species.

        The first GMO crop (the Flavr Savr tomato) was approved by the FDA in 1994. Since then, GE varieties of corn, soya, sugar beets and canola have become common local crops in Canada. In addition to locally produced crops, GE varieties of cottonseed oil, papaya, squash and milk products are imported from the USAinto Canada. In a mere 20 years, GMO ingredients have made their way into most of the processed foods available on Canadian grocery shelves. Apples, potatoes and wheat are all in the lineup for approval.

        GMO crops, when first introduced, were touted as the answer to world hunger. The argument was that by developing pesticide and herbicide resistant crops, farmer’s would be able to increase their yields and decrease their costs. This has not proven to be the case. Instead, bugs and weeds have become increasingly resistant to the widespread applications of these chemicals, leading to increased use of both. More spraying means more costs for the farmers, more damage to the environment and more health concerns.

        On the flips side, it means more product purchased from the seed producer. The companies that develop and patent GMOseeds are the same companies that develop and patent the pesticides and herbicides to which the unique seeds are resistant. Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world and owns about 86% of GMO seeds sown globally. It is also the parent of Roundup.

        The safety of GMO foods is unproven and a growing body of research connects these foods with health concerns and environmental damage. For this reason, most developed nations have policies requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods at the very least, and some have issued bans on GMO food production and imports.

        In Canada we do not.

        Canadians are often unaware that the foods they choose contains GMOingredients. It is this basic right to choice that is behind the growing movement to have GMO foods labeled. While environmental and food advocates lobby for labeling, other groups, like The Non-GMO Project, have created voluntary non-GMO certification to facilitate consumer information.

        • But you’re not the least-bit interested in facilitating consumer information John. Let’s be honest here; your comments reveal that you’re actually focused on banning GMOs.

          • John Fefchak

            I’ll answer you this way. We are what we eat;
            It is a scientifically proven fact that any of our food choices affect our heath. The old saying, we are what we eat, is true. Every cell in our body was created from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. In addition to nourishing our bodies, food also affects the quality of our lives, our appearance, moods, weight, energy, the aging process and our overall health and well-being.

            What evidence do you have that GMO’s are NOT a health related issue.? Your comments reveal that you are actually focused on promoting GMO’s, and you are not the least bit interested when others show concern and do not agree with what you say.

            When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures must be taken, Even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context, the proponent of an activity, rather than the public must bear the burden of proof.

          • But what’s your concern based on? A feeling?

            We already know eating organic food is much more likely to result in food-borne illness. And I’m a supporter of organic foods! So please don’t try to tell me about raising the threat to human health.

          • John Fefchak

            The Safety of GMO’s “has not been proven” that’s my concern. What evidence do you have that GMO’s are NOT a health related issue.? Is it only a feeling….where is the established burden of proof.? …No answer. So please don’t try and tell me GMO foods are perfectly safe.

          • No answer? Well then there’s no answer to prove anything’s safe.

            Meanwhile, there is, sadly, ample proof that under the current system of record-keeping and record-checking, organic food is not being kept safe. Nor, for that matter, is it even pesticide free, with over 46% of all organic food sold in Canada testing positive for prohibited pesticide residue.

            But you turn a blind eye to all of this for some reason, while demanding more than 20-years of proof that GMOs are safe.

            It’s a bit of a disconnect on your part John.

          • John Fefchak

            I can live with that.

  • It’s been 10 days since this article was posted, and no one has pointed out a single factual error. Time for the organic activists to unleash the character assassinations.

    • John Zohn

      Pointing out factual errors to propaganda is about as plausible to proving that God doesn’t exist, or the Chupacabra and Bigfoot for that matter, and maybe vampires too! But anyone that is educated to the propaganda that is propagated by right wing think tanks … can recognize it pretty quickly!

      • I see. So you believe GMOs actually do contaminate organic crops? But where does it say so in our standards for organic production?

        You are aware, I trust, that these standards were written by organic stakeholders, aren’t you?

        To prove this is propaganda, you have to show where the errors are.

        • John Zohn

          There’s plenty of evidence that the contamination occurs. Just because the NOSB that has it’s members hand picked by Tom Vilsack could have a lot to do with why there is no standard. But like I said before, just because there is no standard, doesn’t mean it’s not occurring.

          Survey: Organic Farmers Pay the Price for GMO Contamination
          https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/survey-organic-farmers-pay-price-gmo-contamination

          Who exactly runs the NOSB? Could it be the biotech shill Tom Vilsack by any chance?

          “Vilsack’s nomination for Agriculture Secretary received mass endorsements immediately from Big Food unions, federations and associations that knew already that he was a biotech proponent, pushing for industrial farms and “pharma crops” – the kind that grow drugs inside the plants by using genetic modification. Though Iowa is a dominantly large agricultural state, Vilsack’s nomination to the “throne” of Agriculture was due in large part to his “seed pre-emption bill” from 2005 that put him on the map as a politician who blocks communities from regulating where genetically engineered crops could and would be grown. Plus, “Tom” Vilsack was the founder and former chair of the Governor’s Biotechnology Partnership and had been named “Governor of the Year” by a powerful biotech lobbying industry front group called the Biotechnology Industry Organization.”

          • You’re just digging yourself in deeper my friend. Better stop, and go read the standards … . The issue of GMO “contamination” has absolutely nothing to do with the NOSB.

          • John Zohn

            Digging myself deeper? I don’t think so! So if the NOSB doesn’t have anything to do with GMO contamination, why don’t you enlighten us an tell us who is responsible for creating the standard, that apparently doesn’t exist for contamination of Organic Crops by GMO crops?

          • Read the standards. There is no such thing as contamination of an organic crop by GMOs. That’s what this article you’re commenting on is about. …

  • John Fefchak

    Check this out, I did and am more convinced that there are health implications, and it’s not all propaganda.

    http://www.nationofchange.org/nogmo/?gclid=CNHv5fH4kskCFQczaQodzNILbQ

  • ed

    Our European ancestors that came here to slaughter the American natives or take their furs in trade for safe GMO like hyper allergen laced blankets were no angels. And some of them haven’t change much. They have a better cover story perhaps. Just visit the War Museum in Ottawa to see for yourself if you need to.