Saturday, May 2, 2015

GMO terrorism

A new technology offers answers to viruses and pests that consume food. In poor countries, this might be a godsend, enabling people to eat without forcing them to put pesticides on growing crops. Instead, using this technology inspires threats from outsiders who are under the mistaken belief that the technology is unsafe. This nightmare scenario is repeating worldwide thanks to the pointless demonization of GMO technology.

Nice little meta-article (i.e. an article that links to dozens of others) on how Chipotle's move encourages people to be science-illiterate. I'm glad to see that a quick Google search of "Chipotle GMOs" turns up articles like this one right after linking to the company's own website.

In many cases, GMO's cut the use of agricultural chemicals. When Chipotle says they're going GMO-free, they're basically saying that they're going to use more pesticides and herbicides.

Finally, my Facebook feed got lit up with some people bashing glyphosate (AKA Roundup, Monsanto's favorite herbicide). This is linked to GMO's pretty directly: the vast majority of corn and soy currently produced are Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety, which means that the chemical can and is used frequently to kill weeds around the crops without harming the crops themselves. Glyphosate is widely regarded as safe, including by the EPA. The EPA says that "a lifetime of exposure in drinking water" may or may not cause problems. So, don't drink the stuff every day, ok?

A recent peer-reviewed scientific article concludes that the chemical doesn't cause cancer, though two of the writers are from Monsanto. Another from 2013 by "independent consultants" finds no genotoxicity.

Opposed to Monsanto? Ok- they do some nasty things, but that doesn't mean that all GMO's are bad. Please be afraid of something just because you don't know much about it, or you might fall into the dihydrogen monoxide trap.

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