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Prop 37: Sometimes Lying and Even Crime Pays

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 23:13:40 PM PDT

Today was an interesting day in the Prop 37 campaign. Here's how it was covered in one CA publication.

And here's the full story...

A while back, I posted photos of a mailer I received from the No on 37 campaign, a corporate-funded campaign opposing CA's Prop 37, which, if passed, will require GMO labeling. The Right to Know (Yes on 37) campaign contacted me and asked if I would send that to them. And I did. Little did I know, one part of that mailer was possibly a felony committed by the No on 37 campaign. This photo:


The Right to Know campaign filed a complaint to the Department of Justice, saying this was an unlawful use of the FDA's logo. Yesterday, Right to Know got a follow-up call about their complaint from the FBI. They put out word that the FBI was investigating No on 37 and schedule a press call today. The press call also addressed some other deceptions and lies by No on 37.

For example, they also said that No on 37 has twisted and lied about statements and positions by any number of authoritative government bodies and organizations, such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the World Health Organization. Among the people saying this is Michael Hansen of Consumers Union, a man who has proven very trustworthy in my experience.

Prior to the press call, the US Attorney's office put out a press release saying the following:

Due to press inquiries this morning, it has come to the attention of this office that some persons have suggested that this office has an active investigation relating to the use of the FDA seal in an advertisement relating to a campaign involving Proposition 37.  Approximately two weeks ago, the U.S. Attorney's Office received a letter complaining about the misuse of the official seal of the FDA in a campaign advertisement.   We have referred the matter to the FDA for any action they believe is appropriate.  Neither the FBI nor this office has a pending investigation related to this matter.

Exactly 18 minutes into the press call, the No on 37 campaign blasted that press release out to journalists on the call along with this message:

Stretching the truth? Misrepresenting the truth? Or flat out lying?  Yes on 37 sent out a dramatically headlined press release claiming that the FBI is looking into the No on 37 campaign.

Guess what: It's not true. The US Justice Department just issued the following statement: "Neither the FBI nor this office has a pending investigation related to this matter."

Yes on 37 can't win on the facts, they can't win on the science. So they're, ummm, stretching the truth - to be kind.

Desperate times call for desperate measures it seems.

Desperate times DO call for desperate measures, it seems. Like lying to consumers that knowing what they are eating will raise their food prices. Honestly, why is industry SO opposed to letting consumers know if they are eating GMOs are not?

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

No on Prop 37's Mailer

by: Jill Richardson

Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 13:02:49 PM PDT

Today I received a mailer from the No on Prop 37 campaign. They are a corporate funded front group that is peddling faulty information about how Prop 37 (the CA ballot initiative to require labeling GMOs) will raise food prices. I wrote about why their calculations on food prices increasing is wrong here.

Photos of the mailer are below. They feature quotes from the cleverly named corporate front group, the American Council on Science and Health and a conservative, anti-government regulation, pro-GMO ideologue who was quietly fired during the early part of the Clinton administration for that reason, Henry I. Miller.

There's More... :: (4 Comments, 96 words in story)

Approval of New Chemical-Resistant GMOs Likely to Prompt Pesticide Escalation

by: Jill Richardson

Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 00:45:29 AM PDT

I'd like to share my latest article, posted today on The original has links - many, many links with lots of information. Out of everything in the article, I am most worried about the new GMO crops that are tolerant of isoxaflutole, a carcinogen. Because that is exactly what we need - more carcinogens in our environment and on our food. The comment period for that one ends 9/11/12.

Approval of New Chemical-Resistant GMOs Likely to Prompt Pesticide Escalation

A decade and a half after farmers began planting the first genetically engineered (GE) crops, the future is clear. The scientists who pioneered genetic engineering thought of themselves as environmentalists, creating products that could reduce pesticide use. Instead, they have simply perpetuated the same "pesticide treadmill" as their pesticide-peddling counterparts resulting in the application of a greater volume of ever more toxic pesticides.

Continued below...

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1528 words in story)

Wanted: scientific integrity on GMOs

by: Marcia Ishii-Eiteman

Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 10:52:49 AM PST

Originally posted on Pesticide Action Network's blog, Groundtruth.

As reported in this week's UK Guardian, Nina Federoff spoke about threats to science at a meeting of 8,000 professional scientists. The former Bush Administration official and GMO proponent described her "profound depression" at how difficult it is to "get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms." I too have agonized over our inability to talk seriously about climate change.

However - and this is no small matter - by conflating fringe climate-deniers with established scientists raising valid concerns about the effects of GMOs, Federoff undermines the scientific integrity that she purports to uphold. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

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Wikileaks: US Pushing GMOs Around the World

by: Jill Richardson

Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 11:43:18 AM PDT

About a week ago, Truthout published an article titled, "New WikiLeaks Cables Show US Diplomats Promote Genetically Engineered Crops Worldwide." I've been waiting for something like this to come out.

One of the first cables I clicked on (from Morocco) mentioned something called Biotech Outreach Funds. Huh? M
ore information please! It didn't take long to Google a State Department presentation on the topic. It was presented by Jack A. Bobo, who was then the Deputy Chief Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He is now the Chief of the Biotechnology and Textile Trade Policy Division, a job he was given in March of this year. He's been working on biotech for the State Department since 2002, under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 887 words in story)

Bolivia Diaries: Day 2, Part 3 - GMOs and Local Food in Bolivia

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 19:23:38 PM PDT

This diary is part of a series describing my trip to Bolivia to study food sovereignty, agroecology, and climate change. On our second day, we saw a presentation from the Bolivian Forum on the Environment and Development (FOBOMADE) and then took a tour of the La Paz foodshed. This diary covers the first section of the FOBOMADE presentation, which covered their work food sovereignty in Bolivia.

Previous diaries can be seen here:

You can also find diaries from my 2010 trip to Bolivia here.

There's More... :: (15 Comments, 1850 words in story)

Engineering Food for Whom?

by: Marcia Ishii-Eiteman

Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:20:58 PM PDT

Originally posted on Pesticide Action Network's blog, Groundtruth.

Warning! Nina Federoff - former "Science and Technology Advisor" to the U.S. State Department and well-known genetic engineering apologist - is back on her soapbox. In an Op Ed published in the New York Times last week, Federoff strings together one blazing falsehood after another, extolling the virtues of a technology that much of the rest of the world has rightly rejected. What is behind her evangelical commitment to this particular technology? Let's take a look.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 850 words in story)

The Dirt on Glyphosate

by: Jill Richardson

Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 23:53:27 PM PDT

Last week, a second letter by Don Huber warning about worrying research on Roundup (glyphosate) and GMOs was leaked. This time he included a long list of published, peer reviewed studies on glyphosate that I've spent the last week reading through. So I thought it was time to share what I've gathered from them thus far.  
There's More... :: (14 Comments, 441 words in story)

Another Huber Letter Leaked, Warns of Harm from Roundup and GMOs

by: Jill Richardson

Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 08:12:11 AM PDT

Don Huber wrote another letter, which he sent to heads of agriculture in other countries. He wrote about why he sent the first letter to Vilsack, and then included more data, including lots of published data. See below.
There's More... :: (6 Comments, 2234 words in story)

GMO Update

by: Jill Richardson

Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 23:08:48 PM PDT

Here's a sampling of the disturbing biotech news from around the world:

GE Alfalfa:

GE Sugarbeets:


Crazy GE animals:

GE Salmon:


Bullshit you should pay attention to:


GE Rice:

  • A jury fined Bayer $136.8 million over the Riceland disaster that occurred a few years back when GE Liberty Link rice got into the commercial rice crop.




Discuss :: (9 Comments)

A Huber/GMO/Roundup Update

by: Jill Richardson

Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 18:04:10 PM PDT

After weeks of silence about the Don Huber letter to the USDA that exposed some troubling preliminary research about Roundup and/or Roundup Ready GMOs, there is some news. It came in the form of a long and detailed write-up by Steven McFadden on his blog, The Call of the Land (McFadden has a book out by the same name). You can find the original blog post by McFadden here but I have reposted it, with his permission, below. Note what he says below, that Huber's letter was NOT intended to go public, and it was leaked. When it was leaked, Huber was unavailable for answering questions or interviews with the media due to a heavy travel schedule. It looks like he'll now be more available and outspoken.
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Scientists Debunk Huber Letter - What Do We Make Of It?

by: Jill Richardson

Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 12:55:15 PM PST

There's a new post on Food Safety News about a formidable team of Purdue scientists who think Huber (who authored a letter to Tom Vilsack raising preliminary findings of problems with glyphosate or Roundup Ready crops) is full of baloney. Their reasoning sounds quite plausible to me (a non-scientist) and I can say for sure that, scientifically, this is WAY out of my league. So what do we non-scientists (who rely on the integrity and intelligence of scientists to understand these issues) make of it?

I still say I want to hear from Huber himself. Let him speak to the media on why he wrote the letter, and let him answer these claims.

What we need to remember here is that ANY time a scientist criticizes biotech, they get attacked. Whether or not their claims are true. In fact, I would say: the more credible the scientist and the claims, the bigger the attack. I pulled out my copy of the book Food, Inc. by Peter Pringle (totally unrelated to the movie) to review some of the past episodes. See below for more.

There's More... :: (36 Comments, 1092 words in story)

Science, GMOs, and the Huber Letter

by: Jill Richardson

Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 18:12:09 PM PST

Earlier this week, I posted a letter that makes some pretty serious claims about problems with Roundup and/or Roundup Ready crops. As I made clear, this is preliminary research, so it's certainly not solid enough to believe as fact. The letter was sent to Tom Vilsack prior to the deregulation of GE alfalfa because the preliminary data was disturbing enough that the letter's author, Dr. Don Huber, felt the evidence we have in hand is enough to justify delaying the deregulation of GE alfalfa until we have more information.

Now there are some questions arising about the letter. A few people even suggested it is a hoax. So I will share what I know, along with my own perspective and knowledge on GMO safety, which will hopefully give you a barometer to determine whether or not you find me a credible source on this.

First of all, my close friend Judith McGeary, the person who first posted the letter online, personally confirmed with Dr. Huber that he did write the letter and send it to Tom Vilsack. So that much is not a hoax. However, many people are asking who is doing the study and where is the data they have thus far? And that information is not available publicly at the moment. Huber has not yet spoken to the media about his letter, although I believe he will in the near future.

The safe thing to do is to wait until the study is done and published in a journal, the data is public for review, and the researchers behind the study are known. For all we know, as the study continues, this preliminary conclusion will be disproved. Or perhaps the study will be completed, and then a peer reviewer will notice a major flaw in the study. That said, Huber's reputation is pretty solid and it seems that he felt there was enough credibility in the evidence he saw and enough urgency that he wrote this letter and made the issue public.

Personally, I usually disregard studies or claims that GMOs cause this disease or that. I am not a scientist, but I have common sense. I'll believe a claim about GMOs when a credible scientist - or, preferably, several - believes it. Internet rumors are just that.

I also don't believe that there is anything inherently dangerous about GMOs. Simply because something is genetically modified does not make it dangerous or harmful. But it DOES mean that we need to study the heck out of each GM variety of seed before we commercialize it and put it into the food supply. And we should do that because we know quite well by now that containment of a GMO is impossible. Once a GMO is out there, it's out there. If you screw up once, it's game over.

What's more, we need independent science on GMOs - and we do not have that. Not right now. And when scientists DO come forward with anything negative about GMOs, they are attacked. That needs to stop. Why would I believe Monsanto's word that its money-making product is safe anymore than I believe BP's word that its drilling won't cause an oil spill? Monsanto stands to gain a ton of money on each GMO they commercialize, and I have anecdotal evidence of intimidation of scientists by Monsanto from a trusted source. (I would need to get his permission to repeat what he said publicly to really make an accusation, so take my "anecdotal evidence" for what it's worth.)

Right now, I have no interest in eating something that has not had independent science performed by scientists who felt safe and secure to publish their findings without being attacked. Nor do I want to eat something that the biotech companies refuse to even label. If you're so proud of it, label it so I know I'm eating it.

What I do tend to believe are the very logical stories that come out about GMOs - if they come from a credible source. That is, it's easy to understand why Roundup Ready crops increase Roundup use. It's not terribly hard to imagine that Bt crops, which produce a insecticide in every cell, might kill insects (beyond just the targeted pest species). Nor is it a stretch to believe that Roundup resistant weeds are emerging and that farmers will need to spray a stronger, more toxic herbicide in addition to Roundup to get rid of them. Based on all of that, and given what I've read from scientists like Jack Heinemann, I think there is an awful lot of evidence that agroecology can accomplish what we are trying to accomplish with genetic engineering more successfully, with better impacts on the environment, and without as much risk.

So, given all that, do we believe the Huber letter? First of all, I do not think anyone should take it as more than it is: evidence of an alarming preliminary finding that merits more research. Nothing more. But Huber himself seems rock solid and very credible. If he thinks this is a big deal - as he put it, an "emergency" - then there's reason to believe it is. I'll be interested to hear what he has to say once he speaks out about this. And I'll keep an eye out for the finished study, once it's published.

Discuss :: (20 Comments)

Michael Pollan on NPR About GMOs

by: Jill Richardson

Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 00:08:36 AM PST

All the buzz today (food-wise, at least) is about Michael Pollan on NPR, talking about GMOs.
Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Researcher: Glyphosate (Roundup) or Roundup Ready Crops May Cause Animal Miscarriages

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 14:54:30 PM PST

A bombshell has been quietly dropped on the website of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. I should disclose, upfront, that the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) is founded and run by my close friend Judith McGeary. Said bombshell is an open letter written by Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, to Tom Vilsack, presenting a finding of a correlation between either glyphosate or Roundup Ready crops and a new, previously unknown organism that may be the cause of animal miscarriages and infertility.

As the letter, printed below, notes, this research is still preliminary. However, Huber, who has 40 years experience working as a scientist for "professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks," believes this should be treated as an emergency until more research can confirm or disprove these initial findings.

Needless to say, the recent deregulation of GE alfalfa is something to think about, because that will dramatically increase the use of Roundup on animal feed and the feeding of Roundup Ready crops to our livestock. There is more to be said on this, but I want to tread carefully and stick to facts that I can confirm, so stay tuned.

There's More... :: (77 Comments, 826 words in story)
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