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Published on October 16th, 2011 | by Jeremy Bloom

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The trouble with Monsanto and GMO – Dr David Suzuki spells it out

In honor of World Food Day, I thought it was important to take a look at the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), and specifically gene-modified food, as championed by agribusiness giant Monsanto.

We’ve talked a lot about GMOs here at Red Green and Blue:

david suzuki I’ve been asked why we’re writing so much about Monsanto and genetically modified food. “It’s been tested,” they say. “It’s safe,” they say. “There’s nothing to fear. Why are you spreading disinformation?”

I’m not a geneticist. If I say “We don’t know enough about this,” I’m just one guy. So I’ll let a geneticist answer those questions.

David Suzuki is a geneticist. He’s one of the top scientists in Canada, his textbook is one of the most widely-used in the world, he’s published more than 30 books. As head of the David Suzuki Foundation, he’s both a promoter of science and a popularizer.

So when David Suzuki speaks, I listen (see the end of this article for a list of sources). And David Suzuki says,

“Because we aren’t certain about the effects of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in science, the precautionary principle. Under this principle, if a policy or action could harm human health or the environment, we must not proceed until we know for sure what the impact will be. And it is up to those proposing the action or policy to prove that it is not harmful.”

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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He just moved to Los Angeles, and continues trying to change the world in positive ways.



  • http://Web John W

    Okay, but…

    1. if the huge amount of scientific research that HAS been done doesn’t satisfy Dr. Suzuki, what would? I am really interested to hear his opinion because the EU’s regulators–applying the so-called “Precautionary principle” and contrary to your article–have declared these products safe.

    2. It is really unfair for you to say that the EU has “banned” GM products and this should cause people to question its safety. As mentioned above, EU regulators have confirmed their safety and approved them, not banned them. Europeans import and consume large quantities every day. It is true that Europe’s politicians have banned most GM crops from being planted. But even the politicians (most anyway) acknowledge this is NOT based on a science based safety assessment, or a fear about safety, but rather about anti-GM public sentiment and marketing concerns (non-GM growers wanting to be able to market their products as GM-free without worrying about cross-pollination of crops.) Please be honest with your readers about this.

    • http://Web bernard murphy

      lets face it, big money is like justice, blind as a bat. politicans like big money, it makes them look good and keeps them in a job. but is big business really concern’d about things such as the points david brings to the table?…not really, and why?…the bottom line is profit and more profit. as long as the community remains gullable about big business’ true aims they put themselves at risk. why? because big business will take advantage of that innocent gullability and push the envelope more and more to fatten their bottom line…sorry buddy, but you definetly fall into the gullable category. not to be demeaning, but its time we all started to look coldly at big business, not as our saviours but as what they are, strickly speaking, out for profit, regardless the cost.

    • http://Web Ronald

      well looks like you like
      GMO,s And Degusting way’s of doing busines!!
      that good we Need guinni pigs
      goog luck
      I got kits now
      Organic only

    • Michael Holzman

      John, read the news. Bulgaria BANS MON810. Along with 6 other EU Nations. Read, feed your mind.

    • http://Web E Ferry

      This is not just about money, although that is undouboutedlt the driving force. It is about world wide control of seed. Anyone who is paying attention knows they are powerful enough and moneyed to tie farmers up in court and take teier farms and resources for contaminated seed they caused. For the gentleman who stated theses seeds are safe, I challange him to state citations from a source with no ties to the industry of research stating no harm. The USDA has accepted Monsantos own research! Deplorable.

      • Glarstout

        When the one guy up there said Read, Feed Your Mind, I agree. For your info. :
        1. Did you know that the animals that eat the GMO are thus compromised and then we eat it? And do you know that the huge environmental risk is that the bugs are getting tolerant to the pesticide in the seed, so we are getting ill and sick as are the larger cattle, birds, and most pests now, but in time, the pests will be the only ones who can develop a tolerance to this garbage? We won’t and either will the animals. All of us will slowly die off or become deformed and our future generations will be full of side effects, until we are nothing but lumps. The animals will have died off, but the pests, the one thing this type of idea was designed to kill, will have developed a tolerance. : are we totally insane to allow this to continue? Seriously, the farmers have now been told to grow a moat, around their crops with GMO seed so that when the bugs come they can cross with bugs who are feeding on non GMO, the moat crop, that way the bugs are “delayed” in becoming tolerant to the Round Up in the seed. : are we totally brain dead? This whole idea, like many of the stupid gimmicky vaccines (because these poor kids are being given like 40 more vaccines than when we grew up! and none of them have any value, they are gimmicks since the vaccine companies cannot be sued anymore, Ca-ching, new venture to make money!) and this is no different! This is a ridiculous MOCKERY of science and it is running our govt. M is running our govt. with their ridiculous game. Spain is growing it, Germany is growing it and we are, New Zealand is, and China, And we are all going to go into the toilet, because M is in charge. Hello? is anyone home????

    • http://Web foodie

      Hey John

      1. I would like to start by addressing the fact that you clearly have not done your research on GMO lab tests, every series of tests that i have read, those performed by a non-bias source that is, has proven a direct link between animals fed GE corn causes increased rates of cancer and infertility in the long term. Monsanto lab results should not be considered.

      2.The anti-GMO sentiment extends far beyond Europe and for good reason. This article barely scratches the surface of this potential pandemic.

      3. Even if you disregard all of the signs that GMO’s are a serious risk to the planet, do you really want your children growing up in a world where the rights to their food is owned by corporations? There is HUGE money and corruption behind this GMO movement and I urge you to read up on the subject, try to stray beyond FOX news or the Monsanto website for your information.

    • http://Web julie

      please show me these studies that prove the safety of gmos? show me the studies that prove its unharmful to the environment? to the economy? to the freedom of choice among consumers? please send me the link because id love to see it.

    • Getsy James

      I can only comment that you must be a worker from Monsanto to voice the statements that you do….that or a lobbyist that is pocketing the big monies Monsanto throws your way!

    • Colleen Gaddy

      I would really appreciate it if you could cite examples of experiments that have “proven” GMO’s to be safe. It would be great to actually see the research.

    • jack

      foods that produce their own pesticides?………i don’t flavor any foods that i consume with raid. and the government will not let me to be able to know wether or not i’m buying such a product ?

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  • http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com Steve Savage

    If Dr Suzuki is a geneticist, why isn’t he saying anything about genetics here? He is promoting the “precautionary principle” which we have not, fortunately, adopted in the US. He certainly has not addressed the fact that far more dramatic genetic changes have been made in crops by intended and unintended means than by GMO. To act as if we have no idea what it does is absurd. To say that this science is “in its infancy” is also absurd. We are 15 years into commercialization of the technology and more than 30 years into the science itself. Suzuki has not raised on substantial argument here

    • http://kreddibletrout.com William Foley

      you’re right. 15 to 30 years isn’t ‘infancy’. In terms of the 10,000+ year history of agriculture it is pre-embryonic.
      Keep eating it, Mr Savage… you’ll be fine.

      • http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com Steve Savage

        William
        I do “eat it” and I am fine, thank you. Lets talk about the 10,000 year horizon. The people who lived in the “fertile crescent” in that time frame selected for wheat which was a hybrid of several other grain species at the time. That is why it is a hexaploid species today. People like you would be calling that something terrible today. People at least 10,000 years ago domesticated a plant (teosente) that eventually became what we know as corn or maize. The genetic modification has been dramatic. What we are doing via GMO technology is nothing compared to these changes.

        • http://theendisalwaysnear.blogspot.com/ nahummer

          That’s about the most disingenuous argument I’ve heard in awhile. Kind of like saying since we’ve bred dogs for so long it’s ok to clone them and then force people to only own cloned pets. (ok not exactly, but I hope you get the idea)

        • http://Web Ronald

          Celiac Disease!!
          Ring a bell

          • http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com Steve Savage

            Any your point is? Food allergies are associated with specific proteins. In a GMO crop you know what new protein is being added and you can test for allergenicity. Actually, some people have considered a GMO wheat that would modify wheat gluten to eliminate Celiac.

          • http://Web Mary

            I allergic to peanuts (since long before there were GMOs). I eagerly await the GMO peanut with the allergen removed.

            Reese’s here I come!

          • Jeremy Bloom

            Actually, there’s a good chance it’s not the peanuts your allergic to. Ever wonder why it’s only recently that everyone seems to be allergic to peanuts? The vast majority of commercially-grown peanuts are contaminated by a mold that produces aflatoxin… which may be the source of most peanut allergies. We don’t know, because there’s no money to do the research (and of course it would cost lots of money to prevent the contamination..) More info:
            http://www.peanutallergy.com/boards/aflatoxin-and-possible-link-to-food-allergy-effects-on-intestinal-immune-system
            http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=101

          • http://Web ronald

            Steve
            you don.t get it
            Celiac is the furt one
            out of modify food
            so wat next!

          • Leslie

            STEVE…. dont make statements about celiac disease when you know nothing about it. It is an allergy to gluten, not just wheat, and for some it is the gluten in every major grain crop. The Mayo clinic did studies that proved celiac had increased drastically since 1950 using comparative blood samples and concluded there had to be a new environmental factor causing the genetic mutation for so many people. Monsanto’s GMO food goes hand in hand with Round Up Ready type sprays, which work scientifically by degrading the plants IMMUNE SYSTEM. Take a moment to make the connection to the sudden modern rampit spike in autoimmune diseases, far beyond celiac sprue. We are consuming chemicals and science projects that have already proven they dont advance agricultural production and they make everything sick, from humans, animals, to plants. No normal person defends GMO, so i will assume you are paid to leave your comments for the sake of the big companies who support their bottom line. Monsanto and all these money hungry people should be ashamed of testing their projects on the masses – the amount it costs each individual to be sick, and the resources it wastes are a human tragedy.
            I should know, I have a double copy (both active) gene for Celiac Disease, and have struggled to regain my health more then half my life.

        • http://Web Mary

          @Jeremy: wrong. But thanks for playing. It’s well known what the major peanut allergens are, and they are peanuts. There’s plenty of other allergies out there, but this one is pretty clear. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Your sources are a bit, uh, less than rigorous.

          There’s tons of research on this. Try pubmed.gov.

        • http://Web foodie

          You’re really reaching with that one William.I am convinced that if you understood this GMO situation better then you would have saved that comment for your dog.

        • Getsy James

          In a few years when you have either Diabetes or Cancer then please re-visit your comment and by then it is too late for a reversal. Monsanto created Agent Orange and said it was ok…Please tell that to my DAD or his grave…and on his death certificate it says…death by Agent Orange….hmmmmm….don’t worry..Much….

        • brian

          OMG. Cross breeding plants is not the same as what Monsanto does w seeds. It would not and cannot happen in nature. And accepting the test results of Mansanto would be like a murder trial and the judge only listening to testimony of the accused. Watch the film. These guys are nothing short of evil. It’s an often inappropriately and over used word but I truly believe they are capable of genocide for the sake of profit and power. We need to stop them soon.

          • Roberta_Pate

            Brian, Keep spreading the word. This has been the scenerio all along the history of humanity.
            -War begets contracts to large business ~
            -oil – benefits the very rich at the expense of many lives all over the world. —Argibuz benefits ONLY a few at the top and the puppets they (nuy off) lobby!
            Never do any of them ever give a backward glance at the mass casuality or the fall out of their greed! It makes me sick!

        • jack

          hybridization & cloning are two different things……..one includes the creator…. the other tries to be the creator…..don’t get me wrong…..both can be useful… but the second can get out of control…. because of greed

        • Eva

          Steve and William, you must be somewhat connected to Monsanto. By stating that genetic modyfication has been going on for centuries is ABSURD! It is called crosspolinetion and hybridization happens within the same speacies. This is natural occurance. Genetic modyfication is a completely unnatural. They insert genes from totally different species to plants. Those genes come from bacteria, insects, fish, animals, human etc., they insert them into a plant. This would NEVER occur in nature and this was not happening, like you said, for hundred years before.
          Additionally, their GM plants are engineered to produce their own Roundup pesticide within the plant, so it can withstand havy spraying of Roundup on it. Then they use this toxic plant to produce food products for our consumption.
          Putting the GM organizms in our food is a sick experiment on us and also on animals who eat that crap. Glyphosate, which is in Roundup has been found in blood of women and fetuses and people in general.
          Glyphosate, when kept in high temperature turns into Formaldahyde, which is deadly and known carcinogen. Our body temperature is high enough for Glyphosate to turn into Formaldahyde.
          You saying that eating GMOs is safe and good is like saying inhealing Agent Orange is fine and does not affect humans at all.

    • http://Web MJ

      I think Dr. Suzuki is trying to keep this on an understandable level. The issue he’s addressing isn’t on the level of the science, but on the level of the ethical, concerning the lack of knowledge about the science.

      Also, it is so easy to be indignant about him saying it is in its infancy, but excuse me, the general public hardly knows about this, while the informed minority has been aware for many years. Much like the environmental debates just hitting a general public awareness 30 years after some of us were saying WAKE UP! It really doesn’t matter. What matters is getting people educated about the fact that this is being driven by corporate masters bank net line, rather than the health of consumers. Much like the pharmaceutical companies who are eager to push out medications without waiting for enough time to pass to get true results, sometimes ending in horror stories, sometimes not, but that is exactly the point. When money is the goal rather than health, we have a problem. And Monsanto is extremely aggressive, worldwide, in caring more about their net than anything else. Yes. We have a problem. Thank you, Dr. Suzuki, for making it simple and clear. At least for a lot of people.

    • http://Web monique

      look at the ofsping
      the kits last 15 years
      do you not see what happening to them!?

    • http://Web Kyle
    • Kamran Khan

      Plants being purposefully bred by humans with other plants to make new plants is entirely different to placing a gene from BACTERIA that is modified to produce a toxin many times more powerful than a plant’s natural defenses is a totally different beast altogether. There’s also the possibility that bacteria can pick up the dna from the GMO (it doesn’t get destroyed in the stomach)
      http://www.i-sis.org.uk/hgthumangut.php
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2002/jul/17/gm.science

      • Kamran Khan

        Excuse the glaring grammatical error. Hopefully you get what I mean ;)

  • http://Web Mary

    When did we all become Amish?

    That said, the Amish use GMOs. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7742471.stm

    So I guess we’re good to go then.

    • http://Web bernard murphy

      hey mary, i am so surprised by your devil may care attitude here. see the documentary “food inc.”…it is appalling that monsanto is sueing so many farmers in your country as well as in mine. simple, hard working farmers, who do nothing but try to make a good living with the soil. you are ok with that? you are ok with demeaning the idea of farmers losing their farms because monsanto wants to make more money. it must be nice to be you, living in that bubble of illusion, just remember that when the time comes to pay the piper.

      • http://Web Mary

        Hey bernard–I’m sorry that you find the Amish reckless and stupid. I think you should probably go after them for their “devil may care attitude” and force them to stop using technologies that they think are appropriate.

        • http://Web alice

          mary, just wondering if there are any conflicts of interest you ought to be declaring. the only thing the amish have to do with this conversation is related to herring and its redness. deomcracy does not function when people are not given information. in a properly-functioning democracy, people have the right to know what is in their food. i’m sorry if you find the concepts of democracy and an informed populace so terrible and threatening.

          • http://Web Mary

            No, Alice–how ’bout you? I’m not Amish, have no connection to big Ag, or even little Ag. Do you need to see my tax forms or something?

            Funny how people espousing democracy make false claims and try to stifle discussion with red herrings like that.

        • Getsy James

          Sorry but the Amish that many purchase food from across the nation are both Aware and are not longer GMOS…..they understand the danger….don’t ever think that because one has a secular society that they do not educate themselves…..

    • http://Web jesus

      I Don,t think so

      • http://Web Mary

        @jesus: Son, listen to your mother. Provide substantive comments or just don’t bother. And clean up that grammar and punctuation please.

    • http://Web Dhaiv

      I’m happy for you and your peanuts. I hope they’re everything you hoped they’d be.

      What I really love about your point is that it gives authority to one Amish farmer to decide for all of us whether GMO crops are safe. Do ALL Amish farmers approve of GMOs? Is he qualified to determine whether everyone else should approve of them? I’ll give you a chance to come up with an answer to the first question. The answer to the second question, however, is quite clear.

      The logic depends on the Amish peoples’ unquestionable wisdom in regard to agriculture and sustainability. Unless it can be proven that the Amish are incapable of making mistakes, then don’t expect anyone to take your point seriously.

      Please at least avoid insulting peoples’ grammar and punctuation until you can make less fallacious arguments such as “I wanna eat peanuts” and “the Amish do it”!

      • http://Web Mary

        Right. I should give authority to one Canadian guy to decide they aren’t safe. Your logic is stunning.

        There’s numerous other example of Amish growing GMOs. But I don’t think you really care for the facts.

        And I’m sorry that you are so opposed to the peanuts which could save the lives of kids with really tragic allergies to that naturally occurring plant protein. It’s not a fallacy, it’s a fact that these kids exist, and sometimes they die.

        But if you want to cling to denial, it’s a free country. Go right ahead.

        • http://Web Dhaiv

          I do prefer the Canadian simply because his science is less than 500 years old. The Amish may not be reckless, but it would seem that their knowledge on the subject is less than adequate. If you can inform me on the risks of NOT consuming GMOs, then I am all ears.

          Are you suggesting that we should rid the world of natural peanuts and replace them all with GMOs so that nobody ever has to worry about a surprise allergic reaction in their young children? I’m not saying I’m against the idea, I just want to know if that’s what you’re suggesting.

          By the way, it is not a free country. Our very government is in the hands of large corporations such as Monsanto (important to know for your own good).

        • http://Web lyrafowlpotter

          As useless as it is responding to someone who is clearly a troll. I just have to say that there is HUGE difference between taking out a protein and infusing a plant with chemicals, because when we talk about GMO’s this is what we are talking about. I am not opposed to lactose free milk, and it exist. That is totally a separate issue all together! People have been splicing seeds and such for years, but this is a far cry from infusing something with chemicals which drastically changes the makeup of the plant AND the impact it has on other plants as well as the soil.

          So if you are going to make an argument of this nature, at least differentiate between the two issues. You are little more then a troll with the way you talk, belittling people and being rude in order to make your own argument more sound. I know nothing about the Amish, and do not pretend to, so I am not going to comment on that. But regardless of that, at the very least, when engaging in a conversation of this nature you should choose much more neutral and LESS intentionally inflammatory language. That’s ultimately up to you, but if you are not just a troll and want a serious conversation, you should start treating people in a decent fashion, like equals.

          God Bless ~Amy

        • http://Web Lisa

          NOT ALL AMISH USE GMOs. There are new order Amish and Conservative Amish.

          http://organic.lovetoknow.com/Organic_Amish_Farms_Directory

    • http://Web Sue

      The Amish are also known for running the most horrid puppy mills on the east coast, causing a living hell and needless death for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dogs annually. By all means, let’s follow their lead, since they are obviously the purveyors of all that is ethical.

      • http://Web Mary

        Wow, that’s pretty harsh. And you better watch out, because @Dhaiv is going to come down on you for condemning all the Amish in that way. I’m sure he just hasn’t had time to get back to you on that.

        Thanks for that info, though. People all the time tell me that they admire Amish low-tech farming practices. I’ll be sure to give them this information now to condemn them all.

      • http://Web Dhaiv

        Ummm I thought it would be obvious that I agree with Sue’s point.

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  • http://Web PIERRE

    One interesting point about this debate is what does Monsanto consider to be safe.Have Monsanto established their own standards of safety,have they redifened the word safe.

    The other point i would like to make is what is Monsanto track record? Did they not use to manufacture “Agent Orange” and told the world that it was safe to use??

    • http://Web nahummer

      Yes, the produced Agent Orange as well as DDT, dioxin and even asparthame and here we are trusting them to control our supply of seeds. Good luck everyone.
      http://theendisalwaysnear.blogspot.com/

    • http://Web Hazel

      I read somewhere that many Monsanto scientists stopped drinking milk with growth hormone long before pressure was brought about to essentially get rid of this stuff. Some people still drink it, but if Monsanto’s own scientists avoid it that has to say something. I wonder if their cafeteria is secretly non-GMO?!

      • http://Web Dhaiv

        Wouldn’t surprise me one bit. I’d love to see it!

        Although these same scientists could likely be planning on transferring their consciousness into cyborg bodies within the next twenty years or so… in which case, they may not be so concerned about what they are consuming anyway.

        At the very least, it’s assumable that the Monsanto CEO’s will be, with their power and money, some of the last people with access to clean food. I really wish I was kidding.

      • http://Web Josh

        Yeah they do, in England there is a sign in Monsanto’s cafeteria saying this cafeteria is GM free.

      • Roberta_Pate

        at Monsanto’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, they are GMO FREE! Do an internet search, it’s an easy article to find.

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  • http://Web Marty

    The government invested too much money in GMOs, they can’t abandon this investment until they get their moneys back. But they are not calculating it right.

    The genes which are over expressed in many GMOs is what makes it resistant to their roundup herbicide. As it turns out these same genes also mimic estrogen hormone. This causes early sex development in young girls.

    • http://Web Leah H

      We all should know, we are what we eat and think, right? GMO non-fertile seeds have been around a while and look at how many people are sterile. So many families are trying to conceive a child, and can not. To me, this is a no brainer, we do not need to spend millions of dollars trying to research if this therory is true or not….just be honest and feel how this thought penetrates your cells.

      http://leahhansenlmt.blogspot.com/

  • http://Web Dan V

    First, One cannot disprove a negative hypothesis. In other words, one can never say with absolute certainty that a negative effect will never result from an action, because there is always further change that cannot be known in advance. The full effects of GM crops will never be known. The full effects of the advent of agriculture aren’t yet known. Time marches on, and there are a lot of hungry people.
    Geneticist? Sure. Logician? Hmm.

    Second, Monsanto and company are all racing to develop patents on GM crops, in order to gain greater control of the market worldwide and glean considerable profits from the use of their products. They see hunger as an opportunity to make money. All of this knee-jerk reaction that opposes GM foods outright glosses over this important point. Monsanto will continue to do research and develop patents, in Canada or wherever they please. Publicly funded research struggles to keep up – but think about this: a GM patent in the hands of our government is far more likely to help people without regard to a profit margin. Easing hunger is a social good – a rather important metric, even for most environmentalists I know. Let’s see more support for our federal scientists, and less inflammatory debate.

    • http://Web Ronald

      nice tinking
      but the hole gmo are not going to live long
      it needs to muts chem. furtilizer
      and where out ….fast

    • Getsy James

      Again someone is repeating what they were told….The reality of all of this is simple…control the food and the water and you control everything and everyone. Also food….GM crops are not Food they are poison. The cycle is such that …you create illness and then you give medicine and then people die early….the whole process allows for money lined pockets to flourish and it is easier to control the weak or let the weak die so that you don’t have to care for them…Am just curious if Monsanto gave its workers this link and a full Friday afternoon off to spew lies?

  • http://Web Robert Wager

    Interesting that David Suzuki forgot to mention the latest document from the EU. A decade of EU-Funded Research in GMO`s
    In this document , the Europeans once again state food from GM crops are as safe or safer than food from conventional breeding.

    The same opinion of every food safety agency in the world that has looked at GMO`s. David Suzuki is selling FEAR, pure and simple. That is exactly why the scientific community has lost all respect for him a while back.

    • http://Web Hazel

      Of course they are. Haven’t you read the Wikileaks exposure that USA was bringing pressure to bear on Europe to embrace GMOs? Certainly there are those within the EU who are pushing for this stuff. The simple fact of the matter is that the truth came out when Dr. Arpad Puzstai was allowed to speak about his findings, and he was formerly pro-GM until he tests returned astonishing and awful results.

      David Suzuki is not selling fear. The precautionary principle is basic, sound science and if some of the scientific community wish to sell out for sponsorship and act like cowboys then they are completely irresponsible and unethical. When did it become okay to use humans as guinea pigs?

    • Michael Holzman

      Is that right Robert? Is that why, just today Bulgaria has joined 6 other European Nations banning MON810. That would be Monsanto’s GE Maize(corn). Mr. Suzuki is selling nothing but pure common sense. I’ll buy a bushel full.

    • http://Web David

      Ya, “safe or safer” by using the principle of substantial equivalence. If A=B and B=C than A must equal C. As Suzuki states “Science does not proceed in a linear fashion.”

  • http://Web Rob W

    I shudder at how scarily intelligent humanity is without one mitigating ounce of wisdom.

    David Suzuki gains nothing from speaking out against Monsanto. He already has global notoriety, and he has no financial motivations. He is a man of great conviction and morality. Why would he speak out against it unless he had genuine scientific concerns? That’s all the man has ever done and he’s been proven right again and again and again over his long career. I think I’ll put my trust in his word over Monsanto’s lapdog scientists or governmental reports that are so edited to fit the political agenda du jour as to be meaningless compared to true peer review.

    Oh, and non-gm growers don’t want Monsanto’s frankenseeds around because Monsanto sues anyone that they find who has their crops on their land, even if it was blow over from their neighbor who DOES use Monsanto. You can’t defend against them because who the hell has the money to do that? They just roll over anyone who gets in their way. So, who the hell WOULD want them around?

  • http://Web Ash M

    Really?

    I personally am for the further study of GMOs and the labeling of them, because as Mr Suzuki said, we unfortunately cannot undo what has been done.

    This is largely because i am a big fan of the practice of voting with my wallet, and i try to avoid supporting such blatantly evil companies as Monsanto, and the practices they share with other companies.

    I have to ask you other commenters: if all the other kids said it was safe and awesome to jump off a bridge, would you jump too?

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  • http://Web Dave W

    Dr Suzuki deserves a medal for attacking Monsanto. Monsanto is exporting North American agricultural technology to competitors in Brazil, India, and Africa. This is costing North America billions of dollars in lowering the value on the world market of exports of GM crops such as canola, corn, cotton, and soyabean.

  • http://Web John W

    One of the posts mentions other technologies that are used that change the genome more than modern biotech. He makes a very good point. Just consider good old mutagenesis–the creation of random (and untested) variations in the plant genome using high dose radiation.

    Folks, the use of radiation to modify plants is completely unregulated (except in Canada). No safety studies are required for mutagenic crops. And both Europe and the US (and every other country that I’m aware of) allows mutant crops created using radiation to be labelled ORGANIC.

    Please ask Dr. Suzuki which is safer, mutant organic crops or crops produced using modern biotechnology. I’d really like to know his answer because I don’t see how he can possibly tell us since NO SAFETY STUDIES are carried out on mutant crops–not even organic ones.

    Oh and by the way, for those die-hards who want to avoid mutant foods (which are GMO’s after all), good luck–virtually all Italian pasta contains mutant wheat. Ever heard of semonila–it was created using high dose radiation…

    Don’t get me wrong, I respect Dr. Suzuki, I just want there to be an honest, non-emotional debate.

    • http://wiseacres.macdade.ca john wise

      There is a critical difference between genetic engineering and conventional plant breeding,including using mutagenic techniques. It is the fact that GE involves the insertion of genetic material from a completely different organism into the nuclear material of another organism. This is simply unnatural. Whether it is dangerous or not remains to be seen. But trying to equate it with selective breeding or mutagenic breeding is disingenuous.

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  • http://Web Jayne

    Great article! I have known about weed killers for years and when it was applied right near our yard where our dogs stay, I was in an uproar. I found and printed out all the information and presented it to the person responsible for spraying the Roundup and was treated as if I was insane. They thought it was safe just because it said so on the label. I wish the general public was better educated.

    • Roberta_Pate

      I do too, Jane! Too many Sheeple!

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  • http://Web hfl@yahoo.com

    Looks like we have some shills from Monsanto and big agri-buisness posting here. How much are they paying you guys?

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  • http://Web erik

    You really mean to say they agricultural system inAfrica is sustainable. Sems to me they cam hardly feed their own people.
    its also naive to think Monsanto is monopolizing seed.

    • http://Web Dhaiv

      In what way is it naive to think that Monsanto is trying to monopolize seed? You just tell me what it is they are trying to do.

    • http://Web Lisa

      Genetic engineering crops is the artificial manipulation of plant cells to accept an artificial toxic herbicide. Put this out in nature and you are putting an end to what we have worked on for tens of thousands of years to develop. The only GE crop that even has a small chance of being recalled is the soybean because it doesnt pollinate.

      Worse yet this is a GOVT/CORP takeover of the food supply. If a CORP gives money donations to the GOVT. of course the GOVT. will remember who gave donations and will cater to them by giving subsidies and de regulation amongst other things. Over time if left unchecked this will engulf and ruin all small farming businesses around the world. Which is what has been happening with alarming frequency since the introduction of the corporation.

      also, our subsidies here in the USA make our crop prices low, so farmers in Africa who are poor to begin with and trying to make a living actually become poorer because they are expected to sell for the same low price as USA crops except they have no subsidies in Africa. so guess who is starving to death even more??

      and if anyone believes that this golden rice will save starving people, you might want to think again… in order to utilize beta carotene/vit A a person needs adequate amounts of fats and proteins in their diet and since most starving people do not have this, some golden rice isnt going to help one bit.

      forgot to mention, it take millions and millions of dollars and a ten year time period to produce ONE GE crop. I dont call that sustainable. Those millions of dollars could have really saved starving people.

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  • http://Web Dhaiv

    People, I’m sure, will continue to argue about the validity of the argument that Dr. Suzuki has made. I have my own opinion on the matter, but wish to set it aside in order to make a different point.

    Let’s say that GMO foods can be safe or unsafe to consume… that we are not sure (whether or not you think you are). Some of us feel that we are not ready to trust Monsanto and their products… that is, to play it on the safe side. The idea scares us (call us paranoid idiot freaks!).

    By allowing Monsanto to continue to smear their seed all over our Mother, Earth, the powers that be will eventually take away our right to apprehensiveness. Let the people who are okay with GMOs as well as people who simply see no reason to feel concerned to eat all they want. I do not think it is fair that I should have my option of eating not-GMO food taken away. Allowing Monsanto to continue doing what it’s doing will eventually get to the level where we will either by our food from Monsanto, or not eat and starve to death (not that I ever expected to martyr myself).

    Trust who you want to trust, but please don’t take away my right to choose natural, God made food.

    • Roberta_Pate

      I’m with you Dvaia! If it’s “SO SAFE” just LABEL IT!

  • http://Web Jim Blaye

    When has ANYTHING, EVER been as bad as this retired fruit fly breeding fear mongering Nutzuki ever said it was going to be?
    This queen of Doom has turned nature lovers into hysterical planet fearing freaks. Nice job Davey!

    • http://Web Dhaiv

      Who are you? Rush Limbaugh?? Nutzuki????…. Come on.

  • http://Web J S

    GMO’s are damaging to the human body.
    I have determnined that my hemorrhoids bleed profusely when I have consumed a GMO product. Most easily diagnosed when eating american grown popcorn, vs organic grown popcorn – one causes bleeding the other does not.
    Or take licorice: American licorice comes with corn syrup (GMO), Australian licorice sold in bulk at Sprouts contains Australian corn syrup (nonGMO). The american licorice causes bleeding the australian does not.
    GMO’s in alfalfa and spread all over the country and then fed to our cattle thu stainting our beef – now my hems will bleed when I eat american beef – why are the criminals allowed to ruijn our farmland with man made virus’ in EVERY CELL of the corn, canola, and now alfalfa plant that is grown. Cross pollinates with organic ruining our oragnic food supply – the crimninals win – our food supply is forever tainted.
    Monsanto/Vilsack/Obama administration = CRIMINALS

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  • http://Web Mark

    I support Steve Savage’s viewpoint below, and encourage those genuinely interested here to do some digging on actual GMF science per se, and separate it from what any given private corporation is doing or may likely do with it. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, for what it’s worth, and am liberal socially as well as politically. This issue has become one of the few odd ones that’s stuck out in contrast to the viewpoint of nearly all of my friends, in part anyway. I’ve done some close reading on this off and on the last 6 years or so, trying to focus in particular on study results whenever the work was seemingly conducted by researchers with no, or few ties/ biases to either camp. The common assumption/ foregone conclusion by many progressives is that ALL govt. studies in connection with the science of big business are of the “lapdog” variety, whether we have corroborated evidence of it or not. This holds no water, so to speak. Yes, many EPA & FDA studies DO turn out to be influenced by a multi-national company–too much. But in many cases it’s “not very much”, if at all. You have to look a little closer at the background and professional character/ history of the leader of the study, and the known events/ history around it. With U.S. federal regulators, yes, this is harder to do, though the Washington Post has snoops that are pretty damn good sometimes in ferreting out that stuff.
    But although I haven’t kept up with the EU process on this in great detail, it appears that many of the govt. labs and regulators over there are less willing to even “have a up of coffee”, much less go to bed with Monsanto or any other multi-national, than may likely be the case in the U.S. Some of the science and eco-forums have English translations.
    We’ve already modified plants and animals a great deal in other ways genetically, for other purposes and without exceptional harm, as mentioned here by others. I essentially agree with Dr. Suzuki on the famous principle he invokes here. Yet, like so many technologies, including the ones that will impact hundreds of millions of people, there are two sides to the coin.
    The other side is that great deal of money and time has been spent around the world on this for over ten years, in contrast with what happened with DDT. The majority of experts in applied genetics (whose credentials/ scientific authority surpass Suzuki’s considerably) who’ve been asked to do this research have more or less given a green light for further development- but it’s essentially a conditional one, whether obvious in the phrasing or not. Have all the various possible biological scenarios by which the whole thing could go wrong in some major fashion been thought of, explored, questioned further? Probably yes, by now– though the public has no real way of knowing. This isn’t at all a likely candidate for the sort of “Ooops!” occurrences historically where “someone in R&D” missed an angle of foresight in bringing a new product to market quickly, like too-absorbent tampons made with the wrong sort of fabric causing toxic-shock syndrome in the 80’s. If something ever really “goes wrong” with GMFs someday, I seriously don’t think it will because or bad (poor/incompetent) science. It will be because of one or more private corporations making completely self-interested, and possibly stupid decisions rather than working carefully with governments and other sectors of the economy to execute what’s smart and sensible for everyone.
    When it comes to public “interpretation” of study results, there’s a truly huge difference between saying, “After conducting these studies, we find no evidence to believe that producing GMFs for mass consumption will bring harm to humans or the environment when procedures X,Y, & Z are followed”….and (fictionally) saying, “This stuff is all OK, and Monsanto can do whatever they want with it and everything will be fine”. The journalists reading the official summaries of “Our Conclusions” tell us that the phrasing is much more like the first example…as it damn well should be.
    So, the bigger, pivotal key to GMFs is the question of whether “X,Y, and Z” — the proper bio/eco-implementation and monitoring of the technology, takes place or not. That will obviously vary from one country to the next like everything else, and there you go. The reason I’m not against GMFs in principle is because of the science that’s been conducted on it over time by far more labs than per usual, including private ones not at all with involved with agribusiness via govt. contract, mostly in Canada or Europe.
    But the reason I’m VERY much against GMFs actually becoming a ubiquitous global presence is because of Monsanto, period. They have a horrendous history of consumer abuse, and of environmental damage or endangerment. They have repeatedly demonstrated the will and intent to do whatever they can to either smoothly skirt the laws of countries they operate in, or obfuscate the nature of events and clog a legal process down to a slow crawl. With no reason to foresee the company’s intrinsic culture and behavior changing to an ethical bio-friendly one any time soon, my fears rest as usual not with any specific tested technology, but with how carelessly it will be implemented.

  • Ken Lomas

    No dice David Suzuki!
    I counted you out in the 70’s when you forecasted the next ice age. You belong on television. You do not belong in science.

    • Jeremy Bloom

      Nice lies, Lomas. Totally false, of course, but…. nice try.
      (For the record, there were some scientists who predicted a return to ice-age temperatures in the 70s, mainly because aerosols and particulates from US industry were indeed blocking sunlight and causing cooling, as well as acid rain. The EPA got those emissions under control, and the brief period of cooling ended.)

  • http://Web Prudent American

    I agree with all but your final statement, “is it any wonder some of us have taken this irrational dislike to Monsanto?” Our disgust or dislike of Monsanto is not IRRATIONAL. It is RATIONAL, based on DATA. We KNOW how Monsanto operates. And we are angry and filled with contempt at a company that is contemptuous of American citizens and requires us to be unpaid ‘lab rats’ in its experiment with genetic modification of our food supply, while European governments protect THEIR people.

  • http://Web Paul

    I will stay clear of the nonsense argument going on and simply state that I do not feel that GMO is food. Period. I do not wish to eat it, just as I do not wish to imbibe alcohol, smoke tobacco or marijuana, or shoot heroin. To force it on me as Monsanto (and now our not-exactly-liberal president) is trying to do is nothing short of criminal and I would much prefer to see Monsanto be shut down here in the US, just as it has been in so many sensible countries around the world. Their products do NOT live up to the magnificent claims they make for them, which makes them a (typical) mega-lying mega-corporation. I refuse to knowingly purchase anything manufactured by them.

    • Roberta_Pate

      Well said!

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  • http://Web BJ

    Why cant we stop this? What do we have to do?

    • http://Web john wise

      Find organic farmers in your area,or stores that sell their products,and buy from them. I confess to a conflict of interest as I am on organic farmer. Nothing I grow is gmo.

    • http://www.labelgmos.org Pamm

      Take action by signing OCA’s Truth In Labeling Petition. Google it. Join one of the nationwide rallies for GMO truth in labeling on March 26, 2011. Be a food activist and spread the word. The less we buy them, the more we demand they be labeled, the more likely we are in reducing the demand, then the supply.

      We are organizing an initative for the 2012 ballot in CA to mandate labeling of GMO foods and the facotry farmed animals that eat them. Find us online at labelgmos.org . Get involved, spread the word, point people to places to educate themselves. Watch The Future Of Food. Check labels, buy organic (local is best) visit The True Food Network and download their FMOfree shopping guide and/or get the apps for Iphone and android. Lots going on everywhere. Just tap in. We can make a difference if we take a stand.

      • Roberta_Pate

        Plant a garden!

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  • http://Web Jim Beem

    Pollution is real. Death by human CO2 was not.
    System Change, not climate change.
    Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over a quarter of a century of climate control instead of needed population control.
    Call the courthouse. Make the liars pay.

    • Jeremy Bloom

      Are you insane? What “UN carbon trading” are you talking about? The UN has at no time blocked “fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over a quarter of a century of climate control”.
      There has not BEEN climate control… just a lot of talking.

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  • http://Web Berend Botje

    @John W:
    The sad thing is that the EU’s regulators are hiding behind the EFSA’s approval of GM-crops. EFSA is the EU Food Safety Authority. But how much authority does this institution deserve, when it simply copies reports of gentech-multinationals, in which invariably the negative effects of GMO’s are manipulated? The EFSA is suffering from the same disease that has been with the FDA continuously: approval committees biased towards the gentech industry by ‘revolving door’ specialists. These people have to keep notebooks to find out whether they -at that particular moment- are working for the authorities or for the industry. Ask Michael Taylor how many times he switched. Please wake up John, there is no such thing as a Precautionary Principle in the EU. More than 60% of EU consumers are against introduction of GM crops (read the Euro Barometer on Biotechnology), and still EC President Barroso and Commissioner Dalli are heading cynically towards approval of GM crops in the EU space, as if there are no health risks or dangers of soil degradation at all. The EC confesses with the mouth what is not practised with the hands.

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  • http://Web Lisa

    You seem to have missed the whole point. DDT, CFC, PBA, we were told they were safe. over and over. Now we know they are not. If you want to eat a crop that was artificially manipulated to accept an artificial toxic chemical.. WOW.. and these plants are spreading their genes into what ever is left of our natural plants of that species or of related species.

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