Comments about ‘In our opinion: GMOs not harmful to human health, but further research into farming practices necessary’

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Published: Monday, June 9 2014 12:16 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, June 9 2014 12:16 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"Scientific American published an article discussing research on the inert ingredients in herbicides like Roundup in 2009."

Scientific American said "'This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,' wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen. 'Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels' found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens."

In our commercial system we rush products to market before we know their carcinogenic effects. Half of all cancers have an environmental component, but we don't know the mechanisms.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Question – are we even able to conduct control group, peer reviewed studies designed by scientists with no conflict of interest on most of these products?

My understanding is most of these (GMO’s) are patent protected and therefore cannot be studied by anyone but the companies who own them, a situation which calls to mind Upton Sinclair’s truism –

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"

With the proliferation of GMO’s over the last 30 years, we are conducting an enormous experiment on our population – except without proper controls to isolate other variables from a single independent variable, it may be difficult to make cause and effect connections.

However, since many countries have already banned these products, this may have the unintentional result of setting up the experimental group we need - namely, us – with much of Western Europe acting as the control group.

Don’t experimental subjects typically get paid to play the guinea pig?

Springville, UT

In your opinion, GMOs are OK. But you don't know. Neither do I. What I do know and believe is that it is a good thing to label and then let consumers make their own decisions. Can't you come out and say that, and push back on the corporate food industry to allow consumers to be informed?

Bountiful, UT

I've read that several genetically modified crops are made to have their own pesticides. Now bees are dying off so much so that it is a significant concern. Could it be that the pesticides in genetically modified crops are the cause of bees dying off?

Louisville, KY

When we naturally cross breed one strain of plant with another we are pushing mother nature along - not changing things up entirely. Genetic modification can be quite a bit more radical. The possible effects are much harder to model accurately as often there is no precedent.

Does this mean we should not do it? No. But caution and study first should be the rule.

The law of unintended consequences has never been rescinded (and never will be). We should text exhaustively and over the long term before allowing GMOs into the food supply.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Of course scientific research should continue, but I'd like to point out one thing... The "scientific consensus" is that GMOs have no greater risk than other foods.

What happened to accepting "Scientific Consensus"??? We insist people accept "Scientific Consensus" on Climate Chaos... but on this one... the same people who are pushing Climate Chaos DENY Scientific Consensus on GMOs...

If you Google "GMO" or "Genetically modified organism" (wikipedia) and read the "Controversy" section... it states "There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops poses no greater risk than conventional food. No reports of ill effects have been proven in the human population from ingesting GM food."

So... who are the "Deniers" of "Science" and "Consensus" this time???

environmental idiot
Sanpete, UT

Dear Marxist, please research the true facts. The GMO Study By Gilles-Eric Seralini retracted. David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, said it was "clear from even a superficial reading that this paper was not fit for publication".

We have been eating GMO foods since Gregor Johann Mendel stated it in 1800's. GMOs are generally crops that are made from plants with superior genetics found in the nature already. Using modern techniques these traits are isolated and then seed with the trait is bread more efficiently that waiting for the randomness of nature. Roundup resistant crop exist in nature already and we eat them without knowing which ones they are and have no problem with that ignorance. When a company tells us they are resistant then someone throws a fit before researching the facts.

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

It may just be coincidence and there may or may not be any correlation but...

Isn't it interesting as GMO's are becoming more common place that obesity rates are skyrocketing?

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

How it works is that a patented GMO is aligned with a specific patented pesticide so that they must be used jointly. The problem then is two-fold: One, we no longer can use basic "free" seeds from nature for food; seeds are now patented by the major food companies so that the farmer (and we as consumers) must continue to pay those patents, and the seeds of our food supply increasingly are dependent on a few massive seed providers who control them. And two, changing the genetic properties of the seeds and food removes them from nature, so that basic natural processes that have evolved over millions of years are now disrupted.

Will we as a society then have to rely on paying Monsanto to combat weeds and pests and replace God's natural order?

I'm so afraid conservatives, in their zeal for anti-science and anti-intellectualism for the all mighty short-term dollar, will bypass research and promote GMOs at the peril of our children and grandchildren.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT


I have a suggestion. If you don't trust the "corporate food industry"... and you want to know for sure everything that's in your food... grow it yourself!

Then you would know for sure what's in it. And you wouldn't have to trust the evil "corporate food industry". And you wouldn't be contributing your $$$ to the advancement of the "corporate food industry".

The evil "corporate food industry" that made America great, insures Americans are well fed, and allows us to help feed the world, I might add.

But if you don't trust these corporations... the solution seems obvious to me. Just plow some land in your back yard and grow your OWN food! Totally organic... no fertilizers or weed killers... I'll bet you'll get pretty hungry though...

Provo, UT

It might put things in better perspective to understand exactly how many people have died because of GMO technology, and compare that number with estimates of how many people would have died of starvation or been killed in wars and social unrest that would have resulted without the added food produced from technology. My thinking is that the ratio would weigh vastly in favor of technology.

The world has a food surplus today thanks to improvements in the technology of food production. Changes introduced by scientists ever proved to be a mixed blessing, but the downside of feeding a world of billions of starving people is not quite as clear. The further science investigation that is needed should not be aimed at condemning the technology, but rather with a focus on continuing to improve it for the benefit of a hungry world.

Eagle Mountain, UT

cjb states
"I've read that several genetically modified crops are made to have their own pesticides. Now bees are dying off so much so that it is a significant concern. Could it be that the pesticides in genetically modified crops are the cause of bees dying off?"
What you are referring to is the recent reports that neonecotinacides are killing bees. that "research" has really made it's rounds in the press BUT it is seriously flawed and does not prove anything. Dosages given to bees were 50 to over 100 times what they should of been. Bees were made to directly digest it which is not the way bees get it in nature. Many, many independent variables were not factored in the research. Actual bee researchers are reviewing it and totally disagree with the conclusions.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@2 bits – “So... who are the "Deniers" of "Science" and "Consensus" this time???”

These two (climate change and GMO’s) are not analogous for a couple of reasons.

First, GMO is a word like “drug” – there’s aspirin and there’s heroin. What these have in common is only that each affects our physiology. After that, the commonalities largely disappear.

GMO’s are like this and are rapidly changing all the time. Just because one genetic modification may be safe doesn’t say anything about all the others.

Second, and most importantly – no one has a patent on the climate so it can be studied by disinterested scientists from around the world without the corrupting influence of tremendous financial gain.

This distinction makes all the difference in the world when it comes to science, which is not to say that GMO’s are unsafe – only that they have not been studied with anywhere near the objectivity & rigor that climate change has.

Farmington, UT

Mister J - You hit the nail on the head. GMO's, along with herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, have one purpose--increase the amount of food that can be produced by an acre of land. For much of history, mankind has been afflicted by starvation and famine across the vast majority of the world. Today these problems have been largely eliminated in most of the world, and are mostly limited to areas where they farm without GMO's, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. So yes--our waistlines are increasing because we have more food. For the first time in history, mankind is not starving. We need to stop the witch hunt and start recognizing these modern miracles of science for the blessings that they are.

Laura Ann
Layton, UT

I just hope that people don't come to some conclusions without true facts. They might blame GMOs for autism, ADHD, and a host of other illnesses. They did the autism thing with vaccinations, and now children are dying because of this paranoia. Using the scientific method is the way to prove if some things are correlated.

Cowboy Joe
Encampment, WY

Environmental Idiot you are mixing up GMO's and crop breeding. Crop breeding is a natural process where the desired traits are selected an used for breeding to make genetic improvement naturally. GMO's are not done naturally, the plant is altered genetically. It is like playing God with crops.

South Weber, UT

Baron Scarpia, You are naive to consider this a conservative vs. liberal issue. This is a big government in cahoots with with big business issue, that includes scientists being paid, coerced or encouraged to give the "correct" answer. I am a conservative who has marched against Monsanto and believe in freedom of information, including the freedom to know whether I am eating GMOs. Please don't label this fight as something it is not.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

jcobabe 8:56 a.m. has a good point. We may want to compare the number of people who have died from eating GMO crops yearly... with the number that die every year in this world from starvation.


Quote from "2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics"...

"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries (FAO 2012)".

We live in America... so we don't suffer as much as people in other nations (because of our Evil "corporate food industry". But starvation is still a problem (worldwide).

Should we go back to the agricultural methods used in other countries?... I say "NO"!

We make sure what we are doing is safe (and it is) and we keep insuring our food supply is safe... We do NOT give in to these granolas and move backwards!

Sandy, UT

@2bits. How can you prove it is safe? Just because people do not die instantly from gmo foods doesn't mean it is safe. Cigarettes were also deemed safe 50 years ago.

Salt Lake City, UT

re: 2bits "We insist people accept "Scientific Consensus" on Climate Chaos... but on this one... the same people who are pushing Climate Chaos DENY Scientific Consensus on GMOs...

You raise a very interesting point. Just speaking for myself, I place the bar for GMO's higher than for climate change because I am sticking the GMO's in my mouth. I've worked in epidemiology so I know how complex the etiology of cancer is. This has made we extremely wary about what I eat.

Frankly, the science of climate change is a whole lot easier than most of epidemiology.

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