There are a number of subjects that we write about at The Western Producer that really seem to get our readers fired up to comment online.
Two of them are genetic modification and anything to do with glypho-sate and its manufacturer, Monsanto.
Major stories in the news last week about both subjects yielded the expected result.
First came word that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a subgroup of the World Health Organization, released a report categorizing glyphosate as a substance “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
As WP reporter Robert Arnason put it in a story on the subject posted March 23, “the skirmishes are over. The war on glyphosate has officially begun.”
A reader identifying himself as Richard writes:
“What did we honestly think they were putting in these products … vitamins? Now that we are drenching crops with dessicants at harvest, we are mainlining the glyphosate right into the germplasm of THE FOOD WE EAT… and this is called progress… Are we living on the planet of the apes????”
A reader named Neil took a more measured approach:
“You can see why the consumer questions what we are doing on the farm. The science behind these two opposing claims is likely very complicated for most of us to understand. I would like explained why subsequent reviews on the other four products has one discontinued, one being phased out due to health and environmental concerns and one subject to new risk reduction measures. I would say that this puts doubt in our consumers’ mind on our regulatory system.”
Neil even came back to comment again later:
“Upon more consideration of this article, I have thought that maybe all five are carcinogenic if in close continual contact with animals or humans. But that doesn’t mean they are carcinogenic at the rates and the way they are used in food production. As a farmer, I certainly try not to splash any on my skin or any easily entered body part (mouth, eyes, nose, ears, etc.) Like any potentially toxic substance, proper care handling and application along with well researched safe rates are the mainstays of prevention for negative consequences.”
Neil’s second comment prompted a reader calling himself Tom K to write:
“Common sense is usually a product of the farm. Thanks for your very sensible comment, I couldn’t agree more.”
Laurette Reimer went to our Facebook page to leave her comment:
“This classification is more fear mongering. I hope people read the entire article carefully.”
Amelia Jordan was similarly un-fazed by the report:
“And thus glyphosate joins the list that includes working at night, drinking coffee and the sun. This move means nothing and changes none of the studies on glyphosate toxicity.”
The second story that sent our readers to their keyboards broke late last week and had to do with the approval for sale in Canada of the genetically modified Arctic apple.
Brandie Nadiger-Harrop took to our Facebook page to succinctly share her thoughts on the decision, announced jointly March 20 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada:
“This is so upsetting!”
A reader calling herself commonsense seemed equally disappointed with the announcement:
“Again government ignores industry and public concerns on GM crops. B.C. Tree Fruit Growers Association didn’t want it. Public petitions and letters were presented in opposition and still affected industry and consumers are summarily ignored.”
You can join the discussions noted above online on either the WP web-site or our Facebook page via the URLs noted below.
Glyphosate toxicity: bit.ly/1DGEnLh
Arctic apple: bit.ly/18Tl0B2
WP Facebook page: www.facebook.com/westernproducer