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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

19,853 People Can't Be Wrong ... Can They?

There are days when I think that Canadians will never, ever, become rational, scientifically literate, thinkers. Today is one of those days.

As of right now, 19,853 people have signed a petition asking the Girl Guides of Canada to take GMO ingredients out of girl guide cookies [Girl Guides of Canada: Take all GMO ingredients out of Girl Guide Cookies].

The petition is organized by Maya Fischer and Linda Cirella in Victoria, BC. Here's what they say ...
Our family tries to only buy food that is non-GMO or organic. The reason we're so concerned is because there have been no long-term studies showing that it is safe for people to eat or grow GMO foods. In fact, GMO studies on animals have shown infertility, immune system problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine actually asks physicians to advise patients not to eat foods with GMO ingredients.
The really sad part is the message that those two women are sending to young girls across Canada. They're saying that science doesn't matter. You can just make up stuff to support your biases and prejudices.

UPDATE: Please read: With 2000+ global studies confirming safety, GM foods among most analyzed subjects in science.
A popular weapon used by those critical of agricultural biotechnology is to claim that there has been little to no evaluation of the safety of GM crops and there is no scientific consensus on this issue.

Those claims are simply not true. Every major international science body in the world has reviewed multiple independent studies—in some cases numbering in the hundreds—in coming to the consensus conclusion that GMO crops are as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods, but the magnitude of the research has never been catalogued.

Still the claim that GMOs are “understudied”—the meme represented in the quotes highlighted at the beginning of this article—have become a staple of anti-GMO critics, especially activist journalists. In response to what they believed was an information gap, a team of Italian scientists catalogued and summarized 1783 studies about the safety and environmental impacts of GMO foods—a staggering number.

The researchers couldn’t find a single credible example demonstrating that GM foods pose any harm to humans or animals. “The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops,” the scientists concluded.

The research review, published in Critical Reviews in Biotechnology in September, spanned only the last decade—from 2002 to 2012—which represents only about a third of the lifetime of GM technology.


  1. From today:

  2. Got this petition in my inbox. That's the trouble with signing up for, by which everyone with a Cause can spam you with their plea. I'm sure I want to support some of them, but I don't have time to vet all the petitions to decide which ones are legit, and which are bogus or stupid, and I'm damned if I'm going to sign something without having some confidence I agree with it.

    At least this one I had no doubt I should just ignore.

  3. They have to pick on the poor Girl Scouts because every else is ignoring them. Look at the number of demands they have for these kids: . GMOs, rainforest (several of these), allergies, ethical cocoa (?), sugar-free...and that's just the first two pages.

  4. Dr. Moran, please forward the above information to the relevant leadership of the Girl Guides, and to the individuals pushing this petition. Some good may come of this.

  5. I should add, to their credit, the US Girl Scouts are aligned with the science on this:

    "It's important to note that there is worldwide scientific support that there are no safety concerns with the currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) on the market—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population."


  6. Lest anyone should be under the impression that the "American Academy of Environmental Medicine" is a legitimate science-based organization, it's not:

  7. Also to their credit, the cookies are pretty good. I bought two boxes at the door sometime last week. I figure they lasted maybe two days. I got like three cookies myself. Rest mysteriously vanished.

    Lesson learned: buy more boxes, hide some for myself, if I ever expect to get any.

    I can't help but suspect there's an element of magical thinking about opposition to GMOs on health grounds. Like somehow scientists poking their evil needles into your corn poisons some pretty green aura, turns it black, gets technology all over it or somethin'. Safety studies be damned; this stuff ain't 'natural'. And this is necessarily bad.

    Point's been made a few times, but there's not much 'natural' about most of what we eat. Centuries or millennia of artificial selection are likely to have been involved, for most of what you're likely to find on your plate, at least. I grant there are certainly legitimate reasons to criticize certain industrial farming practices, but a blanket assumption GMO=evil does sound to me, again, to have that magical quality about it.

  8. Are those cookies made with genetically modified Girl Guides ?