Are the Findings of Dr. Don Huber Alarming or Alarmist?

Update November 13, 2013
What’s become of Dr. Huber and his claim of a new organism that causes trouble for seemingly every living thing on the planet in the nearly three years since I published this post?  The latest news is from Dr. Kevin Folta who I’ve had the privelage of meeting over dinner while he was attending an event at Purdue late this summer.

Today Dr. Folta posted about his face to face with Dr. Huber whenHuber recently spoke in Florida.  Folta attended and extended a kind offer to Huber.

From Folta’s Illumination blog post “A Generous offer to Dr. Huber – Turned Down”

“I offer to sequence the genome of the pathogen and identify what it is,” I said.  “If Dr. Huber could kindly give me a small amount of the culture we could identify this new life form before Christmas.”

I’m not bluffing here. We could do that.  I could pay to have the libraries made and get several lanes of Illumina sequencing done in a few weeks. We’d get several hundred million ‘reads’ (small bits of data) that could be computationally assembled into a whole genome of his novel organism, if it actually existed.  If it was real, we could have 300-fold coverage of its sequence.  Completely do-able, and I’d pay for it.

If you take the time to read the entirety of Folta’s post you’ll see he had Huber squirming in front of a very pro-Huber audience.  Dr. Huber danced around the issue of his, as Folta says, “this novel not-quite-a-virus, not-quite-a-fungus plant-animal kingdom-hopping pathogen.”

The claims of Dr. Huber are quite exceptional, but he alledgedly discover this organism 8 years ago, but he seems to refuse to let anyone else in the scientific community help him tackle the issue.  An issue that according to Huber is devasting the health of plants, livestock, and humans.  You’d think he get on with dealing with that wouldn’t you?

For more on the subject Biofortified has a nice piece entitled “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence.”  I also have some first hand knowledge I blogged about in “Long Term Glyphosate Use Effect on Wheat.”

January 10, 2013
Rob Wallbridge aka @songberryfarm, an organic farmer, penned a post on his blog The Fanning Mill called Deconstructing Don Huber – A Tale of Two Talks.  It’s a great read on how Huber is out fear mongering. “He’s undoubtedly done some good, valuable work in his career. But don’t be mistaken – whatever has lead him here, his current path is deceptive, misleading, and irresponsible. Unless and until he can stick to the science and offer solid evidence for his extreme claims, he must be called to account for the way he is scaring people, and his tour of terror must end.”

Original Post from February 24, 2011

A photo from June 2012 of our wheat and corn in adjacent fields.  The wheat has changed color because it's nearly mature and ready for harvest.

It’s been a roller coaster week for glyphosate. Early this week we hear of a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack from Dr. Don Huber, retired Purdue University professor. At first glance it almost seems as if the end of RoundUp is upon us, but I didn’t get too excited because information was vague and I wanted to hear more. If you haven’t seen it already, here is the text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn-suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!

This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies. On the other hand, this new organism may already be responsible for significant harm (see below). My colleagues and I are therefore moving our investigation forward with speed and discretion, and seek assistance from the USDA and other entities to identify the pathogen’s source, prevalence, implications, and remedies.

We are informing the USDA of our findings at this early stage, specifically due to your pending decision regarding approval of RR alfalfa. Naturally, if either the RR gene or Roundup itself is a promoter or co-factor of this pathogen, then such approval could be a calamity. Based on the current evidence, the only reasonable action at this time would be to delay deregulation at least until sufficient data has exonerated the RR system, if it does.

For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.

A diverse set of researchers working on this problem have contributed various pieces of the puzzle, which together presents the following disturbing scenario:

Unique Physical Properties
This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.

Pathogen Location and Concentration
It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal, fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas.

Linked with Outbreaks of Plant Disease
The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income-sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn. The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).

Implicated in Animal Reproductive Failure
Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.

The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%.

For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions. Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlege, which likely had been under weed management using glyphosate.

Recommendations
In summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.

It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.

I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.

Sincerely,

COL (Ret.) Don M. Huber
Emeritus Professor, Purdue University
APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS)

Then today, we get a letter from several scientists at Purdue essentially saying there’s potential for such an issue but not likely a major concern.

English: Glyphosate - 2D skeletal

English: Glyphosate – 2D skeletal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On top of that if you search the web now you’ll find sites holding judgement on rumors that the Huber letter may actually be fraudulent. So I’m not going to change anything until something more concrete comes through. No industry is perfect, ag included, and if something comes along that requires change I’m sure it will happen. I think it’s pretty much common knowledge that there are glyphosate resistant weeds popping up, and as a result weed management is already adjusting by changing up the chemicals and practices we use.

Huber is claiming something pretty spectacular, yet no one credible seems to back him up.

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Comments

    1. Biotech has been a great help in allowing farmers to apply less chemicals to the both the plants and soil as advances have been made, all while increasing production. It takes years for a vew hybrid to come to market after much testing has been done to insure it’s safety. If we aren’t stewards of the land it will not continue to provide us with a living or meet the needs of a growing population.

      Can you address some of your specific concerns?

    2. Actually, genetic mutations are acceptable as Organic.

      GMOs are not mutated. They are carefully controlled, precisely monitored modifications.

  1. Sorry, scottfarms, but what you’re saying is not true.

    In fact, as a result of GMO introduction, more chemicals have been used. (That’s why it’s called Round-up Ready, because it can take more pesticide.) The testing is done by the big corporations themselves, so it’s useless. And the yields are generally lower.

    GMO is a disaster. If you really want to know what’s going on, please read the books by Jeffrey Smith,

    http://www.seedsofdeception.com/

    GMOs are poisoning us. They are creating cancers, mutations, reproductive problems, and lots more. Check out this,

    65 health risks of GM foods
    http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/GeneticRoulette/HealthRisksofGMFoodsSummaryDebate/index.cfm

    Please wake up to what’s going on.

    1. You don’t trust scientists that are hired by “big corporations,” but you’ll trust some random dude that makes his money completely from telling you had bad GMOs are?

      To date, there has been absolutely NO credible scientific studies showing that GMOs cause cancer, mutations, reproductive problems, or anything else. They are perfectly safe. The lies and scare tactics are getting really old.

      1. The March 4,2013 TIME on p.30 tells us that we rank 50th in child mortality. We are almost that in longevity. And it costs us almost twice as much per capita that the healthiest countries. Why do you think this has happened?

          1. We had all those other factors before GMOs, but insignificant rates of autism. I know. I was a practicing child psychologist in a major diagnostic and treatment center.

      2. You should look before you leap!

        Professor Don Huber is an internationally recognized plant pathologist and professor emeritus at Purdue University. For the past 40 years he spent his career as a scientist working in professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and man-made biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks.

        –For 50 years, he’s been a scientist studying plant diseases in the U.S. and around the world and spent 35 years at Purdue University as Professor Emeritus of plant pathology.
        —He has a 41-year military career as a retired Colonel, evaluating natural and man-made biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks.
        —He coordinated the “Emergent Diseases and Pathogens Committee” as part of the USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System under Homeland Security before he retired.

        1. The agriculture faculty at Purdue are embarrassed by Don Huber and have completely distanced themselves from him.

          1. Just a point to mention, there is a good sum of grant money from Monsanto going to Purdue. If you want to stay employed, researchers are following the money tail.

      3. Just had to comment on this.

        Are you willing to put your farm, your career on the line/at risk and officially go on public record advocating “there has been absolutely NO credible scientific studies showing that GMOs cause cancer, mutations, reproductive problems, or anything else. They are perfectly safe”. Perfectly safe? I assume you are talking about a 99.9% confidence level.

        If you are willing to bet the farm. I am interested in pursuing the debate. By the way what is your take on GMOs being safe long-term, like another 15 to 20 years down the road. As I recall it took about 50 years for the tobacco industry issues to surface. I would not want to be in those executives’ shoes. They all testified before Congress that the nicotine in their cigarettes was not addictive. That sure bit them.

        I just wanted to make sure I read your statement correctly.

        1. Here’s what we know:

          * We know the rates of various health problems are increasing (cancer, heart disease, obesity, autism, etc).

          * We know the rate of increase is too large to be explained by genetic factors, so therefore it is an environmental factor.

          * We know every chemical company (whether it’s pesticide, medicine, food, or whatever) is going to hire an army of scientists and lawyers to obfuscate and misdirect to protect their business, because that’s what big companies do.

          But as I pointed out, we know it’s an environmental factor causing all these problems. So what environmental factor is it? The pesticides we eat? The vaccines we inject? The medicine we take? The water we drink? The toothpaste we use? What is it? Who can we trust to answer this?

          Well, personally, I tend to trust people like Don Huber and Stephanie Seneff more than others. Why? Because they are at the end of their careers. When the pitchfork mob shows up calling them quacks and cranks and a lot of other terrible things, they are at the point in their life where they can brush it off.

          At the end of the day, they just want to answer this question: What environmental factor is causing all these health problems? Whereas others just want to play the obfuscation game of “well you can’t prove it, the evidence you have has been discredited, neener neener I’m so smart, I am so smart!” But those know-it-alls can come up with every reason why everything in the environment is perfectly safe. But if they are so smart, how come they can’t answer the question of what is causing all those problems?

          1. The problem I have is Dr Huber will not provide his “pathogen” to anyone to test his claims. All the while he’s getting paid to run all over the country crying wolf. I tend not to believe someone like Huber when he wont work with his peers to solve his crisis that only he has seen.

          2. The bitter truth is more likely to be sugar – high fructose corn sugar. See what your liver has to do in order to digest it. Most of the products produced are related to the toxic effects that you are concerned about.

    2. Glyphosate is not a pesticide.

      Testing has been done many times outside of the corporations.

      Jeffrey Smith is not a biologist, chemist, geneticist, statistician, or health professional. He also wants you to believe he can levitate.

      Please wake up to what’s going on.

      1. You got it. A broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds.

        You mention testing done outside of corporations. Do you have some names of these independent agencies that have done long-term testing on GMO’s. I would like to take a look at some of their test results.

        Thanks

        1. Why is it being used if it hasnt had a long term test? Show me some for the monsanto GMO’s that were truly blind and not university stipend produced?

        2. Here are some findings by MIT researchers; Anthony Samsel has been studying glyphosate for a long time:
          Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases ISSN 1099-4300
          http://www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy
          Accepted 10 April 2013

      2. One point of contention from my end, Daphne. Herbicides are pesticides as are insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, and so on. I think the pest part of pesticide makes people think pesticide is only equal too insecticide. As an example I have a pesticide applicator license that covers all the needs of our farm. That being said I’ve encountered plenty of people who think glyphosate and Bt are the same thing.

    3. stickler, are you aware that scottfarms grows a very large quantity of corn, both GM and non-gm? I’ve been reading his blog and following him on facebook. He uses less chemicals thanks to GM seeds.
      Every link you provided come from sources that aren’t backed by the scientific community. The authors/owners of those websites do not have credentials or valid sources to back up their outlandish claims.

      There are over 2,000 studies relating to GM foods confirming the safety. If you follow the link I’ve provided, the page can direct you to the actual scientific documents from both independent and industry sponsored scientists. Is it logical to conclude that 1,000s of scientists lie?

      http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/with-2000-global-studies-confirming-safety-gm-foods-among-most-analyzed-subject-in-science/#.Uo6nR-KiI2c

      1. Thanks for sharing the link. Interesting reading all of the comments. The one comment”Contrary to the claim of the article, not all of the 1783 studies listed actually delve into research validating the safety of GMOs. Nor are all the studies listed actually studies. So it doesn’t really help the GMO case for authors of articles touting the vast research on the health and environmental safety of GMOs if the author didn’t even bother looking at the studies. Just knock this article up to more pro-GMO propaganda that’s meant to appeal to the pro-GMO crowd”… this took the words right out of my mouth.

        I assume you are a GMO advocate. So let me ask you this. If you are so sure GMO’s are safe for human and animal consumption, I am not talking about now, but long-term… long-term safety, hence no risk 99.9% confidence level no one will have irreparable health damage or fatalities contributed to GMOs that come off of your farm would you be willing to sign a document that states that should there there be such an occurrence from your GMO product, then criminally and civil liabilities attach to you and your farm operation. With today’s technology is easy to code grain and trace it back to the producer. In other words, you are growing GMO food and you are aware of some of potential risk areas raised by scientists. you have seen them, you just do not believe them, right? Would you be willing to sign such a document. For my self, I do not like much risk at all when it has the potential of affecting human lives. I like stuff that has been tested and has a 20 year plus track record. That is why I am not a GMO gambler. I have seen untested technology go bump in the middle of the night and watched BIG, unpleasant repercussions occur. I have seen people wishing they had had a little better judgement, foresight, and due diligence.

    4. Stickier – I was once in your shoes, believed Jeffrey Smith, Don Huber, the Health Ranger and all the other bozos out there who are spreading lies and fear about GMOs. I was just a mom trying to make sense of the food I was buying.

      But when I looked deeper I realized that none of this information they are spreading is being duplicated and worse, the vast majority of scientists out there point out flaw after flaw after flaw in the so-called research. I made an informed choice to believe the real experts. I think Brian’s article here pretty much exposes the reaction that anti-GMO touters of BS exhibit time and again when asked about their “science” by a real scientist in the field. They are masters at evasion.

      Why won’t Huber let his pathogen be sequenced? What credible scientist would NOT want that? Why won’t Seralini try to repeat his study and do it the right way so that science will stand behind him and not ridicule him? Oh, wait, he’d rather cry “foul!”

      Please wake up to what’s going on. Seriously. This is really important stuff.

      1. Well, this is really important stuff. I agree with you on that bit.

        But I have a problem when you start categorizing anyone who is anti GMO as a bozo and anyone else a “real scientist”. Maybe Jeffrey Smith, Don Huber and anyone else trying to sell a book are making sensational claims to get more attention on them and sell more books. I’ll grant you that.

        But what about real scientists? Let’s consider Stephanie Seneff, a researcher from MIT who is strongly against the health impacts of glyphosate. Jeffrey Smith interviewed her, so does that make her a bozo in your opinion? Granted, glyphosate isn’t necessarily a GMO, but GMO crops are engineered to have glyphosate applied to them. So, there’s an important connection there.

        But more directly to the point of the danger of GMO itself, one topic I’m incredibly fascinated with is horizontal gene transfer of transgenic dna. Here’s a site with a lot of material from “real scientists” (http://www.i-sis.org.uk/horizontalGeneTransfer.php). They aren’t trying to sell books and they aren’t showing up in interviews with the bozos you mentioned, so they are relatively unknown. But they raise some really important points about potential dangers of these GMO products that are relatively ignored from what I’ve been able to find.

        So which “real scientists” are you referring to? I’d like to take a look at their research if you can point me to it.

        1. Tom
          I think originally there were acute toxicity studies done on GMO’s. if you are in contact today, will you die tomorrow. Then they got GMO’s classified as “substantially the same” so that they are the same as non gmo’s and would not require any further testing. There were no long term test. The only testing is being done by private people, allot of which maybe being harmed buy the gene. The hog study of long term affects were not done by the chemical companies. http://www.zoology.wisc.edu/faculty/Por/pdfs/Carman.pdf The consumer and farmer just figure if its out there, then it must have been tested. Now the evidence points to long term animal and human damage. At this point its cover up or be sued. Unless of course you can get legislation passed to make you as a company not liable. But I think the execs can still be sued, and they will next go down the ladder with everyone that sold the product and non closure agreements, even the end consumer, the farmer. Most of my farmer friends have been patted on the back and told that they need to feed the world and cant do it unless they buy their GMO’s and chemicals, and they are safely tested. The farmer takes that knowledge and runs with it, never questioning any health effects.

      2. Actually, Don Huber answers the question in great detail about why he didn’t give the pathogen to Kevin Fulta in this Q & A:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyLDS82pYBo

        His answer is quite revealing on a number of points: Apparently Fulta did not disclose everything about himself and his exchange with Huber, and did not have enough knowledge or expertise to be competent to find the pathogen if he was given it:
        1. the pathogen has no DNA to sequence; not everything that replicates must have DNA, this is no secret, prions and bio-matrix pathogens don’t; this pathogen is not living but IS self-replicating, for example the prion that causes mad cow disease.
        2. Fulta is a genetic engineer, fully committed to defending his territory of influence; he is not a plant pathogen expert like Huber.
        3. Fulta also told Huber he would “expose” Huber within 3 months as a “fraud” by trying to sequence the pathogen which would obviously lead to a false conclusion that there was no safety threat because there is no DNA in this pathogen.
        4. Huber told Fulta that he didn’t need to give the pathogen to him because he could EASILY CREATE ONE HIMSELF by just growing GMO soy, dousing it with Roundup, and filtering it.
        5. Huber said the pathogen is not “his” and therefore was not his to give.

        The pathogen is now known to not have DNA. It’s not clear if at the time of their exchange the pathogen was known to be without DNA. In either case it was right for Huber to be cautious and not let himself be setup by someone whose obvious intent was to discredit rather than find the truth.

        Huber gives more information about further developments of the international study of this pathogen.

        1. Hi Steve,

          Answers to your comments.

          1. The recording is very clear, I stated that we were the lab that completed the strawberry genome in 2010 and that I would happily, at my expense, sequence the genome of his organism. The information would be open source upon his approval and he’d get the credit. It was important to me to help solve this crisis, and a small amount of the culture would have allowed us to have a DNA sequence for this organism he claims is infecting plants, animals and humans. I just would have needed a few ml of culture. It is been three years now. How many must die before he reaches out to experts to help solve the problem?

          2. I don’t think you know my credentials. We have just published a solid paper on plant pathology in strawberry, and I certainly work hand-in-hand with plant pathologists. Certainly you have no questions for Dr. Huber to be posing as a cattle abortion specialist, so let’s just avoid the ad hominems and let’s work to solve the crisis he outlines.

          3. To be fair, I have offered Dr. Huber a chance to solve the problem he says exists, and he has elected to NOT take me up on my kind offer for almost three years. That bothers me. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and help him solve the problem he claims. The fact that he is not forthcoming with sharing a new pathogen that the CDC, USDA, and Purdue University say does not exist — at least they have no evidence of it. If he fails to produce, as he has for ten (?) years now, then maybe more stronger language should be used. Huber claims there is no genetic material in a self-replicating organism, then moved the goalpost to “prion” or “biomatrix” which cannot self replicate. I’m not sure where his story is.

          4. Huber provided no protocols when asked. He did not tell me how to isolate the critter or tell me what to look for. How do you know you have a ghost in a bottle? He has never published anything on this after ten (?) years so we have nothing to work from. I need his assistance with a tiny culture of self-replicating material so I can help. Again, he gets all the credit. What culture medium does a self-replicating organism without genetic material need? It must be very intricate!

          5. It is not his? Well that flies in the face of everything he has said, especially early. So he can’t give it to me, but he can tell me to culture it myself, with no instructions on what it is or how I would know I have it.

          Does it seem like BS to you too?

          I have no interest in discrediting a breakthrough. In fact Huber has my support 100%, and I would simply love to help science move forward in a HUGE step (self replicating organism with no genetic material would be a huge step) and solve the problems he claims with plant, human and animal health. I’m glad to provide my services as a scientist. Everyone thinks he’s an old crackpot and ignores him except for his adoring anti-GMO fans. I think that’s unfair, and wanted to offer an opportunity to leverage my expertise to his advantage.

          Now, if a credentialled scientist were to fabricate a story about a mystery pathogen and scare audiences with it for a decade with no proof, I think we all should take that very seriously, and it would be worthy of ridicule.

          He also lied about me and my behavior at a public event, sending a letter to my boss in an attempt to get me in some hot water or fired. I could have made a big deal of this, but let it go. I still have the letter and the audio recordings that show he was not being truthful. If I was an angry person I’d post them both and let everyone hear my demeanor and kind offer to him. I was absolutely silent during his talk, and he claimed I was “unprofessional and constantly disruptive”. He claimed that I was in need of anger management training too.

          If he was not so irrelevant to science, and a tremendous credibility liability to the anti-GMO movement, I’d be more proactive in reporting this failure to produce any evidence of his secret creature. However, he’s better to science out being a buffoon and making up stories about a molecular Bigfoot that only he can see.

          Until there’s evidence, there are just adoring fans that buy his fantasy.

          As soon as there is evidence I’ll be the first to congratulate him, apologize profusely, and send him a lovely edible arrangement.

          1. Also, Dr. Huber might not remember this, but proteins like prions could be easily sequenced too. Any half-cocked grad student could easily identify the nature of the self-replicating entity in a few days. What is he waiting for?

          2. Hey Kevin,

            Maybe you are right. Maybe Don Huber is making stuff up. Why? Well, maybe it’s just because he’s at the end of his career, feeling insignificant and just wants attention and to feel important or relevant. I can’t really think of another reason, unless he’s trying to sell a book or magic health supplements or something?

            But here’s the thing. Even if you are right, I just don’t believe many of the things you say. You contradict yourself constantly. You act like you want to support Huber 100% and just want to help prove him right. But then in the next breath you reveal your true self and say “Does it seem like BS to you too?” You say others call him an “old crackpot” but really I think that’s mostly just you saying that. After all, in your video from Jan 2014 you say things like “it’s kind of sad, because he had such a great career”.

            When I ask myself: Why would Kevin Folta spend so much of his time and energy to discredit Huber? I think that’s an interesting question. I notice you say things like “you don’t know my credentials” very frequently. You like to show off your credentials. You want everyone to know how great and smart you are.

            I don’t believe you have evidence that you had a calm demeanor when you asked Huber the things you asked him. I believe your true attitude revealed itself, to anyone with even a little bit of emotional intelligence, and that’s why he has not been cooperative with you. That’s it. Yep it’s really that simple.

            Here’s the thing. Glyphosate’s mode of action is to disrupt the shikimate pathway. That means it disrupts the shikimate pathway of human gut bacteria. That means it affects human health (and health of any mammal, such as cows, etc) in ways that are unpredictable and incredibly difficult to track down. Scientists will never explain all the problems affecting human health.

            Maybe Don Huber hasn’t actually found a pathogen. Maybe that’s because there is no ghost in a bottle causing the increases in human health that smart scientists like you cannot explain. Maybe it’s just the glyphosate. That’s it. Yep, it’s really that simple.

    5. Your probably a tree hugger in the city, and dont
      Know what it takes to be a farmer. Without us you wouldnt eat.

      1. Todd, who are you talking to? You are right, I live in the city of San Francisco. But, believe it or not, I’ve worked on a chicken farm for a while once upon a time. I remember they put ephedrine in the feed to get them to lay eggs during the hour while we cleaned the coups. Once a week, on Thursdays, we’d slaughter 200 of the oldest. So, I at least know what it takes. Perhaps you are being a tad judgmental? True, without farmers I wouldn’t eat, but luckily here in SF there are 3 grocery stores within walking distance of my home that feature organic non-GMO produce, grass fed beef, wild caught seafood, free range chickens and so on. Those are the farmers I support, not the farmers growing products sold to them by chemical pesticide companies, and I’m fortunate to live somewhere that allows me to do that easily.

    6. Actually pesticide use has been drastically reduced through gmo’s. Remember that bt is a organic protein that insects can not ingest so instead of spraying them on top for all bugs to die from (as they do in organic farming) now it’s is in the plant and only the harmful bugs are affected. Also rr crops have made no-till much more viable for soil health and organic matter. On a further note roundup is a salt compound that plants can not handle. It is one of thee most safest herbicides and has no residuals. its is ok to be concerned but please look to accurate research before spouting off comments. The UK spent 300 million dollars on this subject and found nothing. Major schools like PSU, OSU PURDUE IOWA Iowa St Minnesota not to mention many others have found no harmful connections despite what Bob in apt 4c says on his website.

  2. What’s not true is that chemical use has increased due to GMOs. We grow BT corn on our farm to protect against infestation of corn borers. As a result, we do not have to treat the seed with insecticides or spray insecticides on the fields during the growing season. That also means we are using less fuel and reducing soil compaction by taking less trips to the field.

    I’ll admit the days of using glyphosate as widespread as it has been used since the advent of resistant crops are pretty much over. Glyphosate resistance may prove to effective for it’s own good and should teach the industry a valuable lesson. We are going to have be more intensive with our managment practices in order to maximize the shelf life of technology. More and more farmers are switching to different chemicals and mixes because resistant weeds are popping up. I see this in our area namely with marestail. Glyphosate used to kill it just like another other weed, but know it stays green and keeps growing while others wither away.

    We also grow popcorn and when the product hits store shelves it’s labled GMO free. When we were visited just recently by our rep from the poporn company he noted that this year there will be a tighter standard on regular corn kernels in each load of popcorn in order for them to maintain GMO free status. This could be an issue if a grower were to plant popcorn after corn. We try manage our crop rotation so we don’t have to worry about getting a load rejected. If necessary, at harvest if the neighboring field is planted to corn we may skip harvesting the first few rows of popcorn that border that field. Since our popcorn is GMO free the seed comes to us with an insecticide treatment which adds cost to the seed. Without it we would again be making those extra trips to the field for pest treatment. Bugs can easily ruin a popcorn crop because if the kernels get even the tinies hole in them, guess what, your popcorn won’t pop!

    Less fertilizer is being used as well. Is talked about this in one of my earlier posts and cited this article http://www.agriculture.com/uploads/assets/promo/external/siteimages/summer2010/nitrogen.pdf.
    As more farmers incorporate variable rate applications use of many inputs will go down. It makes economic sense, which in turn makes environmental sense. If I apply nitrogen to a corn field and soil and stalk testing shows the plants aren’t using all that nitrogen them that’s basically dollars I don’t get back at harvest.

    The 65 health risks mostly read as statements by Mr. Smith without a lot of citations of source material. Here’s an alternate view put forth by a group of scientists citing many sources.

    http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette

    You’ll have to take my word for it when I say I do check into things like the list you presented with an open mind. I’ll never claim this industry is perfect, but I’m certain it’s not inherently motivated by profits at the risk of the consumer.

    1. Regarding:

      “What’s not true is that chemical use has increased due to GMOs”

      You might want to check this out. One of many validating increased herbicide use.

      I know up by our farm, GMO users are making at least two passes. Some are contacting the seed companies for refunds when it comes to third application.

      http://www.rodalenews.com/pesticide-use-and-gmo-crops

      1. A two pass herbicide system is pretty standard practice whether your crop is GMO or not. A fall or spring burndown and then a post emeregence application after the crop is up. The first application often has some residual effect and the second will get a second generation of weeds. By early summer corn will have closed the canopy enough to shade out most weeds. Soybeans will take a bit longer and depending on conditions might warrant a late season application.

        Some who are growing cover crops like we are now have at times been able to get by with one application of herbicide in soybeans after a cereal rye cover. The mat of residue formed by the rye prevents weed growth and also the dying cover has an allelopathic quality to control weeds.

        And it’s a very rare case for us to spray insecticide at all since we use treated seed and Bt corn. We’ve quit using soil applied insecticide with our planter, so we are using less pesticides on our farm.

        1. Thanks for your info.

          Regarding cover crops. I thing they are a good thing in term s soil preservation and or supporting organic matter. Overall, I think it is just a cost of doing business to prop up a monoculture strategy. You have additional input costs, plus you now have additional herbicide applications because you have to kill the stuff before planing. Will be interesting to see how folks view the economics of cover crops with possible $2.75 – $3.50 corn.

          In the long run I stand by a robust 4 to 5 year non-monculture strategy as being the most viable solution in terms of soil preservation, weed and pest control and net profit. Of course I am going incorporate a robust risk safety strategy and not plant GMOs..at least until the verdict sorts itself out in another 10 to 15 years.

    2. Boy you weren’t kidding there is a lot of information here!
      I guess my main question is if the BT corn kills the corn borers when they ingest it , why would there not be a damaging affect to anyone / thing else that ingests the BT corn ?

      also, I’ve been the unfortunate witness to several friends and family members dieing of cancer, i think when it comes to things we put in air, water, and flesh anything less than perfect is not good enough

      1. Hi Phil, Bt crops contain bacterial genes to produce crystalline protein that acts as a toxic agent towards certain insects. It basically stabs their insides causing them to dehydrate to death. From what I’ve read, these proteins have been considered harmless to humans based on studies showing that this protein gets metabolized in the stomach and doesn’t otherwise penetrate deeper into a human’s overall bodily system. In fact, Bt/cry protein can even be sprayed on crops as a topical pesticide and still be considered organic (because it’s not a synthetic chemical product, and is considered safe). I think it starts to get a lot more complicated with transgenic crops like Bt corn. The bacterial genes have been horizontally transferred into the plant and it is possible for those genes to continue horizontally transferring into other bacteria, such as the microbes in the soil. Some claim the genes can even horizontally transfer into bacteria in the gut. The implication is that now instead of just eating the protein and having it metabolized in your stomach, bacteria deep in your gut starts producing the protein, allowing it to enter the bloodstream. What are the health implications at that point? Who knows. Cancer? Perhaps. There’s not a lot of serious research into it. Brian will likely point out that there’s no evidence of this happening and that any such claims are junk science. On the other hand, I think there’s an abundance of what I would call “tobacco science” to have us believe all these chemical products have absolutely no impact on our health. In the end, it’s up to use to decide and “vote with our wallet” by purchasing the food products we believe are optimal for our well being.

        1. I knew food was affecting my health and had to find out what was making me feel so ill and what the hell was coming out of my skin! First I thought it was dairy then I thought it must be wheat! I was getting worse and thought ‘I’m allergic to all food’! These weird things weren’t normal. They were scarey and I was so ill I thort I’m dying! It must be something in our food that’ shud t b there! Well I didn’t know much about g.m.o but looked into it. I did a little experiment and only eat g.m. For a couple of days! Well the result of that told me e’thing! I was a complete wreck and felt drugged up and completely insane! Not to mention the painfully joints, dizziness, nausea, memory loss and zombie state I was In! No wonder they don’t want to label it! I hear Monsanto wont have it in the work canteen! Lucky them knowing wat not to eat!! So don’t tell me anything about scientific evidence of how wonderful it is! It’s a slow painful way to murder people and make billions doing it! How do these people sleep at night?! And what about the karma that’s awaiting them?! And everyone being paid to promote it as a gr8 invention ‘Brian’!

          1. My name actually is Brian, and I’ve been paid a sum total of nothing to run my blog and social media accounts. If you’re ever in Northwest Indiana, Angela, and want to see our farm just drop me a line at thefarmerslife@gmail.com.

            What foods did you eat when only ate GM for a couple of days? You must have only eaten corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, summer squash, alfalfa, canola, or rainbow papaya that your confirmed were genetically modified as they are the only crops currently on the market utilizing biotechnology.

            1. I cant remember everything but I know I eat ambrosia rice, Heinz tomatoe soup, cadburys chocolate, kelloggs cereals. british milk,uncle benns rice and some birds eye vegetables, tinned sweetcorn. Had a bit of a binge on things I normally don’t eat because of G.M.O. ingreediants that I know make my morgellons symptoms worse! One of them symptoms is spelling , but doing my best in a bad situation! You said last time I left a comment that you had never heard of morgellons?! Where you been all this time whilst you were clearly sticking up for Monsanto? Oh yeah then you looked it up on wikipidia as they haven’t had time to update they”re page! Try morgellons research or you tube videos like morgellons GMO and chemtrails, and morgellons the big fat lie! Or you too scared to look?

              angie

            2. just emailed a reply but was told farmers life had stopped responding! I would write it all again only GM food makes my eyesight very blurry! Maybe write it again tomorrow and im sure it will be ok cos I will stick to organic food and hope I don’t consume some of them gmo”s! in the meantime all you people shopping in your local supermarket go round the isles singing “just say no to GMO”. the words are printed on you tube and natural news by the health ranger Mike Adams. Now theres a sexy man talking lots of sense!

              angie

              1. What’s going on with email? I haven’t seen anything come through from you. Checked my spam folder just in case.

  3. A little update I’d like to add to this. One of our seed/chemical reps came by today, and he mentioned he had been to Purdue and talked to some of the researchers there about this issue. Seems a continuous corn after corn rotation for several years where RoundUp is used extensively can cut down on some of the beneficial organisms in the soil. He brought this up because he was giving us some pricing on soybean inoculants. The inoculant is what you may want to use if you have soils where the rhizobia population is low. The rhizobia attach themselves to the roots of legumes like soybeans, and their main benefit to the farmer is that this naturally occuring relationship fixes nitrogen which is great for your next corn crop. Last I knew you could count on 30lbs of N/acre planting in a field that contained soybeans the previous year.

    The issue with RoundUp being used year after year in a corn only rotation is that when the field is sprayed the corn takes in the chemical and processes it in a way that doesn’t harm the resistant corn plant. The end product comes out of the roots as a salt, and this is what inhibits the rhizobia. That being said, for those who want to grow continuos corn, there are ways around this problem. RoundUp isn’t the only chemical you can use to control weeds in corn. What we do on our farm (in which we don’t often have corn after corn) is rotate the chemicals we use from year to year. This reduces the chances for weeds and pests to become resistant and avoids problems like the rhizobia issue. There are those who will continue with corn on corn, but just know that RoundUp isn’t the only way to kill weeds. In fact on our farm we have quite a bit of ground where we can’t spray RoundUp or it’s equivalent. Our popcorn isn’t resistant, our waxy corn isn’t either, and neither are the varieties of seed beans we grow for seed companies. If you read trade magazines and listen to some agronomists there is a push towards rotating chemicals and using different tank mixes rather than just going with a straight product year after year. It’s a little less convenient, but it preserves the technology advances ag has made, and it’s the right thing to do for us to be good stewards of the land.

  4. I live in the uk and im very ill with Morgellons Disease. I believe 100% it is caused by GMO”s. As an experiment I eat what I knew where GM food for 24hrs. I felt so ill and had a bad rash that I couldn’t do it for any longer! It took me a couple of weeks after that to recover to my usual ill state! We are all paying a terrible price for all this messing about with our food. (except for Monsanto etc., who wont eat it and lucky for them know what is G.M.!

      1. Everything that’s G.M. Too many things to name. The wikapedia site u looked at is out of date. The c.d.c have just announced Morgellons is a real disease and they lied in the research they done. Probably being paid a lot of money from Monsanto.

      1. That may not be correct. Countries in the EU import quite a lot of crops, including GMO varieties while for the most part they keep farmers from be able to choose whether or not to grow them.

      2. Yes we r eating G.M. In the uk! Companies like Heinz , Kellogg’s , cadburys etc.’ etc., look on YouTube for companies that use G.m and u will learn a lot about our food supply and why labels are misleading.

      1. I’m only trying to stop people from getting Morgellons as I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to have this horrific illness! Why don’t u educate yourself and look up Morgellons and G.M websites? I can’t believe some people don’t even think about what we being made to eat!

  5. Brian, glad to see the throw-back article to 2011. Memories.

    Let’s put his feet to the fire. Yesterday there were 40 people at his talk that saw him crash. I’m sick of him using fear to push concerned people into action against good technology. He’s twisting science!

    Don’t forget to sign the petition and add your comments!

    http://tinyurl.com/lnq6mzg

    1. Thanks, Kevin. That was probably my first “serious” post when I was just a baby blogger less than one month old!

    2. Kevin,

      Do you have a link regarding “yesterday there were 40 people at his talk that saw him crash”. I would like to see this.

      Thanks,

    3. Would an audio or visual record of the exchange between you and Dr. Huber be available? Dr. Huber’s age and reputation compel me to hear an accusation like this first-hand before I would give it any credence.

      thanks,

  6. I could not help add a few comments. What is disturbing about GMOs is the limited testing involved. For example, in the aerospace industry, if you tried to certify components on a new commercial jet aircraft design the way that Monsanto and the FDA proceed with approvals of GMO seed products, it would be interesting to know what the death toll would be for innocent victims as a result of premature (catastrophic failures) in the aircraft design. Note that some of these failures that do occur, or what are called “quality escapes” do not show up in some cases for many years, but when they do occur they have catastrophic consequences and end up killing innocent people due to sloppy design procedures or due to short cuts in the design to maximize profits. Further to that, it you had a major aircraft designer courting the FAA the way Monsanto court’s the FDA and the way their senior leadership cycles back and forth from from FDA to Monsanto to FDA, folks would be called on the carpet for criminal violations.

    It may be that GMOs are safe, but there are not conclusive evidence that they are safe and until they are proven safe, that is FDA has not been bribed into stating they are safe, the public, including other countries should not be put at risk.

    The other part that is disturbing is the amount money that the biotech seed companies spend to silence the majority consumers and countries who say they do not want this stuff. Again, biotech industry is all about big, big bucks. “Feeding the world” is just a flimsy front to promote GMOs.

    You farmers who continue to tout GMOs need to wake up and and start listening to what your consumer customer is demanding. You really do not hear consumers asking for GMO food. They say they want non-GMO products. Duh? Some of you dudes need to enroll in a sales 101 course. It is not about what you want or what you are trying to force the public to accept, it is about what your paying customer wants and it is also about being sensitive to supplying a safe, well tested product. When you monkey around with genetic modification, it like tampering with nuclear fusion. One slip-up can have catastrophic consequences. If you are willing to go on record that it is safe, then be prepared to take ownership and accountability when something goes bump in the middle of the night cause repairable health consequences to your consumer customer.

    We are effectively transitioning GMOs off of our farm.When proven safe we may reconsider.

    1. I’m obviously one of the farmers who touts GMO, but I often qualify that by saying they aren’t the be all, end all solution to everything. I’m not much for the feeding the world mantra as far as my main crops, corn and soybeans, go. A lot of the world is still going to be hungry if I’m growing 300bu corn. Many people are living under tyrannical governments and/or have very poor infrastructure, etc.

      My goal is for consumers to be informed about agriculture. That means informed on all sides on an issue. If the market shifts such that it’s not good business to raise GMO crops then so be it. Farmers will adjust, but we will lose the benefits that come with biotechnology.

  7. I am not sure what you mean by “benefits that come with the technology”, hence there are no substantial increase in yields or net gain per $/acre. Actually, non-GMos are out yielding GMOs in many cases.(Gargill has a program that pays ~ +.45/bushel for non-GMO corn and ~+ $1.75 – $3.00/bu for non-GMO beans)There is extremely high risk, hence you are dealing with an unknown that is basically untested that can have irreparable consequences on human lives, plus you have to sign a technology agreement, therefor you have added another layer of liability risk. Monsanto has no mercy on their customers regarding liability suites. Protein value is lower and the global market place states they do not want this stuff. The genetic material is harder on machinery…metal and tires. I had to install Kevlar tires on my equipment to keep from puncturing tires (even for chopped fields)in my neighbor’s fields. Machinery manufactures are having to design additional robustness into harvest equipment to retain reasonable reversibility levels. You are paying for the additional cost. Oh, by the way do not forget the additional seed premium cost. This will run an approximate, $30.00/acre. Your GMO technology is promoting herbicide and insecticide resistant habitat. The GMO corn seed now requires additional passes of herbicide application because the weeds are now becoming resistant. Bees are dying. Herbicides seem to be the culprit. More research may reveal a GMO smoking gun. By the way, where have all of the Pheasants gone. I personally think it will only be a matter of time before research will show that GMOs will be a contributor,…. that is, assuming the GMO seed companies and FDA do not twist the data. I also forgot to mention the boarder-line corruption and fraud that come with the industry. Take a close look at the revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA and closely aligned government agencies. University researchers are no threatened with job loses if they produce any thing that counters GMO technology. Monsanto threatens liability suites, contract cancellations of TV stations if they report anything that questions the viability of GMOs. Don’t for get the bookoo bucks that biotech seed companies spend to counter food labeling. Forty million dollars would feed a lot of hungry people. I almost forgot to mention the inside political shenanigans the biotech companies use to convince other non-GMO countries to plant this stuff.

    Now you have to ask yourself, why would any business person with reasonably intelligence sign up to plant this stuff. I can only think of one reason and that is the one benefit that GMOs offer. It does not take any brains to plant the stuff. It is sort like magic in a bag. As one university researcher told me, most farmers today do not have the skill set to manage a non-GMO hybrid crop. It is sort of like having a wife or husband that cannot cook. You just go to the grocery store and buy some junk quick serve meals or you just eat out all of the time. Before GMOs came along, farmers had quality skill sets, much like today’s Organic farmer. I would say many farmers are just getting sloppy. If you cannot push a button, or the tractor has no cab or there is no magic in a bag, the operation is basically grounded.

    In terms of producing a quality product for the public and preserving the environment I cannot understand why any farmer would be proud to produce such a product.

    1. But biotech crops have been grown widely for about 20 years now with no proven animal or human health issues. Biotech seed companies do testing that goes far above and beyond anything the FDA requires to ensure a good, safe product. They can no more afford to have crops failing and people getting ill than the airline manufacturers could stand to have planes dropping out of the sky constantly.

      You’re right there are companies out there paying premiums for certain products, and the seed is cheaper. In other posts here and around the internet I’ve stated many times that with popcorn and waxy corn most of our corn acres actually are not GMO. Our waxy does not need to be non-GMO, it’s just that the biotech options are limited. With popcorn there is no biotech option at this time.

      One of my most popular posts on this blog concerns tech agreements. In this post you can read my breakdown of a tech agreement as well as read the full scanned document for yourself.

      Some say Bt corn stalks are tougher than conventional stalks. There might be more crop residue too, but I’ve never punctured a tire or noticed an increase in the wear and tear of other components of my equipment.

      My corn doesn’t require additional passes to control weeds and pests. In fact with seed treatments and Bt we’ve quite using soil applied insecticide at planting on all our acres whether they’re biotech or not. And we aren’t using machinery, labor, fuel, water, and pesticide to make further applications of insecticide during the growing season. The premium cost of the seed can be accounted for in reduced costs elsewhere. I just made an order today that includes less corn with corn rootworm control biotech traits because it is cheaper and I believe the seed treatment will do just fine at this time. As a side note know that sweet corn accounts for about 1% of the total US corn crop yet the pesticide applications required to bring a good crop to harvest with non-Bt varieties account for almost 1/3 of the pesticide applied to corn.

      Bees are dying it seems, but there are a great many factors in play with colony collapse disorder including environmental factors like mites.

      Where have all the pheasants gone? Apparently they’ve gone to my fields because we see them all the time when we are working in the fields. I see pheasants, hawks, eagles, deer, raccoons, foxes, quail, crows, mice, and rabbits just to name a few.

      Your magic in a bag argument makes no sense. You make it sound like I can randomly toss some GMO corn on the ground, come back in six months with a combine, and collect a paycheck. Magic bag, indeed. How about science in a sack? You should know better since you have claimed to have farmed with GMO in the past. Organic, conventional, or GMO a corn or soybean plant needs a certain ration of nutrients, rainfall, and good weather to produce a fine crop. Before we push those buttons in our air conditioned tractor cabs a great deal of planning, decision making, and money goes into deciding which button to push and when and why. My friend Carolyn operates an organic farm and her farm uses all the same kinds of technology we do here. She pushes the same buttons and has the same tractors cabs we have on our farm. Why can’t or wouldn’t organic farms afford themselves the use of modern technologies that make us all more efficient and more productive? The idea that organic farmers are stagnant in their thinking probably wouldn’t sit well with the organic farmers I know. If I went cold turkey organic corn, soybeans, wheat, and popcorn next season I wouldn’t have to make any equipment changes. The seed I buy and some of the inputs I use would change obviously, but I could use the same equipment I’m using now to plant biotech crops.

      1. Brian,

        Not many farmers I know would ever dream of talking like this guy michael. No farmer I know calls other farmers “you dudes.” I think a lot of what he says is just taken straight from the internet.

        1. Sorry you have sensitive skin. Out west it is used respectably and primarily means a person who dressed in an extremely fashion-forward manner. Let say I get my data from well respected, highly respectable sources in the industry.

      2. Interesting comments. I would challenge you to call Monsanto and ask them to share their test data with you. They will not even share it with the FDA. The GMO process is basically a rubber stamp process driven through International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) a corporate lobby group. Relative to aircraft design and certification, when certifying new components all manufacturers are required to submit their test data to the FAA for review and in many cases also have to demonstrate safety compliance via test work scope. Not GMOs.

        Glad you have Pheasants. Don’t think I said anything about Organic farmers being stagnate. I have the highest regard for the these dudes. Ops! “These folks”.

    2. Michael, that was one of the most offensive comments I have read in a long time. To basically call hard working farmers, who’s families have farmed for generations stupid and lacking skills because they choose a tool like biotechnology is arrogant at best, let alone ungrateful for those who spend their lives growing the most abundant and healthy food on the planet.

      Thank you farmers, I support you! And thanks Brian for writing this blog!

      1. Here here AgWife! I am late to this conversation, but I have to say here again in this comment thread we have non-farmers fresh from a Don Huber lecture or a Jeffrey Smith tour appearance telling farmers how to, or better yet, how not to run their business. Poor siilly farmers don’t know what they’re doing. COME ON PEOPLE. You have to be kidding.

        Farmers, thank you for all you do and how hard you work.

        1. Regarding your your comment “non-farmers fresh from a Don Huber lecture or a Jeffrey Smith tour appearance telling farmers how to, or better yet, how not to run their business”. These folks are just alerting the public to the unproven risky technology. Some farmers wish to engage in this risky technology. But it will be interesting to see how the biotech community reacts when a there is a “bump in the middle of the night” that is a manipulated gene takes an ugly turn an performs unintended action and hence invokes life threatening collateral damage on the public and the environment. The verdict is still out on GMOs and will be for the next 20 to 30 years as was the case in the tobacco industry. So why not act responsibly and play it safe.

          1. “Unproven, risky technology” Come on Mike. Almost twenty years, billions of acres grown, trillions of meals consumed with ingredients derived from GE crops and NOT one single documented case of harm. If you don’t like how GE crops are tested before they can be commercialized please tell us what tests not already done you would like to see added to the evaluation of GE crops and why.

            We await your opinion.

    3. The world population is increasing by leaps and bounds and we are going to have to produce more food with less land.Tell me what is going to be the answer to this problem? Organic will not be the answer that is just a word that is used to run the price up.GMO’s do increase yield and crops have been modified all through time.WE import food from other countries like Mexico and they are unregulated so people have no idea what they are eating there.

      1. Hawaii Ag Wife and Steve

        Well if I offended anyone with the term “dude” my apologies. Out west it is used respectably and primarily means a person who dressed in an extremely fashion-forward manner. I am not sure how that can be offensive, but if that rubs you the wrong way, and for that matter anyone else on the blog I extend my apologies. You farm folks seems to offend easily, hence have sensitive skin.

        If you get your kicks out of growing GM products have at it. But, you should be prepared to take ownership down the road when un-silenced, unbiased science starts showing the adverse effects on human lives. Studies are already showing adverse effects, it is just that the biotech companies throw big bucks to dispute it. I am not sure a lot of folks would agree with your ‘healthy’ food statement. People these days have a term for it. Don’t want to bruise any more feelings so I will refer to it as inadequately tested, high risk products. When I say inadequately tested, I challenge you to call Monsanto and see if they will share their test data with you….Good luck. GMOs approvals are a rubber stamp process through the FDA.

        By the way I do not think I called anyone stupid. I did say that ” it does not take any brains to plan the stuff”. I was just repeating what my GM neighbor told me. That is what I get for repeating comments verbatim .

      2. Plenty of food to feed the world and non-GMO’s and organics can do the job. It is basically distribution and political issues that restrict’s food access. GMO companies would like you to believe it takes their licensed product to get the job done. “GMOs needed to feed the world” is basically a biotech marketing gimmick.

        1. I’ll be in some agreement with you here. I’m not much for the feed the world mantra either. As you say infrastructure and politics play a large part in hunger. Doesn’t matter if I can average 300bu corn crops. Third world countries are still going to have dictators and no roads.

  8. Michael, I’m interested in knowing where the non-GMO crops are outperforming GMO crops.I must have missed those studies. And yes, I have looked at a bunch of them

    1. In our experience on our farm we’ll have our non GM corn produce about the same yields as our GMO stuff. Right now all our non GMO is a special type of corn called waxy corn which we get a premium for over the corn market price. Now that premium is not because the corn is non GMO, it’s because it is waxy corn. There are GMO waxy hybrids and it seems more may be coming as soon as next year, but so far there haven’t been many options to raise GM waxy. The reason we do well with popcorn and waxy not being GMO is I think two fold. All of our corn seed is treated with things that help the plants resist pests and disease before we even put it in the planter. Secondly, many would argue that Bt crops have been so effective at managing European corn borer, corn rootworm, and the like that conventional and organic acres are benefitting from the results.

      My view is that at this time with the traits on the market now I like to say that biotech does not directly increase your yield in the sense that planting, say Bt corn, that you’ll gain X bushels by default. What biotech traits like that do right now is protect the yield potential of a hybrid in the event of stress applied by the pest or whatever the trait is designed to manage. Pest damage also leads to pathways for fungal diseases to take hold, so Bt is somewhat managing disease to a point.

      So if I haven’t confused anyone yet I’m saying if you took a hybrid and planted it side by side in a conventional version and a Bt version and you had no pest pressure the yields would be pretty close. You might even see what some call yield drag from the trait that would cost a couple of bushels. But over time the Bt corn will likely show a higher average yield over several years as pests come and go. Your non Bt hybrid with either take some yield loss from the damage done, or it could be sprayed for pests at an additional cost. A few bushels here and there gained by Bt corn and the reduction in time, fuel, equipment hours, pesticide, and water to disperse it will easily account for the premium price of the seed.

      And if you’re wondering we are looking at buying less expensive seed as the pressure from pests has been pretty light around here as of late. And my next thought is what happens if all my neighbors are having the same idea? If we stop putting pressure on the bugs, they will return in economic numbers in due time.

      A few links on the things I mentioned.
      http://lat.ms/19O820s
      http://bit.ly/19O8hZa

      1. Good information. I have to agree with you to some extent. I would stick with a robust 4 to 5 year crop rotation using a non-GMO. This is the best way and a good first start to effectively controlling pest insects and weeds.

        Put that on your marketing label and people will buy. Of course pop corn is in a sense already GMO free. It is a different kind of seed. Just keep it that way.

        We stay clear of GMO sweet corn.

    2. Nelson,
      for the most part gmo crops are not real “food” , they sweeten Coke and pepsi and add filler or frying to many boxed food-ish things in the super markets, and fuel cars, if we as a country replaced all those acres of so called “food” with real foods, and pastures to raise the meat products, we would surely feed anyone interested in eating, you would be surprised how many people are doing just that on very limited acres and budgets

  9. Half of my production is organic and the other half conventional. So I get to observe both systems. I’ve been if the seed production business all my life. I’ve grown conventional seed, and organic seed. This year my organic corn out yielded my GMO corn. And usually my Non gmo corn outyields gmo corn. I have neighbors saying the same thing. Everyone in the seed business knows why Monsanto started gmo seeds. Its about the money. If you can insert a gene into the soybean seed and get 20$ a bag from all the soybeans sold in the US, its not a bad business decision. Then you can charge the seed companies a license fee, increased inbred fees, and charge the roundup fee and sell them the chemicals. Your on the right path to make billions of dollars. They aren’t patting you on the back and telling you, your a great steward of the soil because they like you. I’ve watched the researchers of the world find potential questions on the safety of glyphosate. IMO I think there are valid concerns. Right now the food industry is concerned also. I’ve seen large companies wanting to switch to non-gmo grain. They are taking their 10yr plan and trying to make the switch in two years. Dr. Huber has more colleges retiring that have more evidence to back him up. This has the processors concerned. It seems Monsanto has got legislation passed to make them not liable for damages. This has made the perfect storm to make allot of profit in the organic and non-gmo markets. As far as the claims that gmo seed was going to reduce pesticide use, that never did pan out. The weeds and insects adapted. In my area people using both events of rootworm control had rootworm damage. Now farmers are going to buy both events and use an insecticide. Double the cost of non-gmo. With gmo seed you pay every year if you need it or not. On non-gmo crops you can pay only in the year you need control. I would say insecticide use is at least double if not triple of what it use to be. The reason my organic crops work so well, is because of rotation.

  10. Great input Jim. I am getting similar input from some distant neighbors who have switched to non-GMO platform. They are not organic, but claim they are recording as good or better results than previous use of the transgenic’s. You hit it on the head. It is all about big money and a smoke screen sales job to farmers. As one farmer put it, “For the past 20 years, Monsanto has used its political and financial power to foist a deeply flawed technology on America’s farmers, consistently underestimating the real risks of genetic engineering while putting America’s farmers, the environment and the public in harm’s way simply in the name of profit”.

    1. Half our corn acres are non-GMO and we do see pretty consistent yields with a lot of our corn. Need to keep in mind we also farm some very different soils. I can’t make a good comparison if for example we have a SmartStax at home in the dark soil and conventional up North in the sand. The last few years we have not had very much pest pressure in our area. Aside from 2012 a few wet springs have cut down rootworm populations. Most of the state of Indiana is in at least a 50/50 rotation with corn and soybeans with a rotation being one of the best ways to break the pest cycle. With that in mind this year we are cutting the corn rootworm Bt trait out of half our GMO corn because we don’t think we need it. Should save us about $21/A in seed cost. All our corn and popcorn seed is treated with Poncho for some pest protection. Between the treatments and the low pest population brought on by weather and studies that show Bt acres benefit non-Bt acres, I think we are making a good decision financially at this time.

  11. General Mills is going to label Cheerios non-gmo. This is the trend I see from the grain contractors. They are being pushed to find more non-gmo grain to fill the demand from the food companies. Also, I found this comment interesting from an agronomist. “I met with a seed company today that said they are producing more non GMO corn hybrids and they are actually out yielding traited products because it takes up to 6 more years to get traits added. So the new traited products could be up to 6 years old compared to the newest non GMO hybrid.” I would check out the prices for non-gmo contracts for next year. Don’t get caught up in the gmo debate, look at what the market trend is and how you can profit from it. fwiw.

    1. We have ordered less corn with Bt Rootworm protection for 2014. We haven’t had that pest pressure fir a few years due to wet springs, crop rotation, and I’d say the effectiveness of Bt control. We’ll save $21.00/acre in seed next year on about half our corn acres. We’ve not had problems with the pest in our waxy and popcorn acres, neither of which have any Bt traits. All our corn seed is treated with Poncho. We’ve also saved money the last two years by not applying any soil insecticide at planting. About $4.50 there I think.

      The biotech debate is full of bad info. Even if the subject matter was different id like to see people making their own minds up with good information whether or not they agree with me.

  12. Right or wrong we all remember when the CEO’s of the cigarette companies under oath said that they had no evidence that their products cause cancer. I’ve seen this numerous times in the pharmaceutical industry also.

  13. That is correct…..Under oath in front of Congress.

    What is wrong about all of this is that that the biotech CEO’s are not dumb and they know they have some serious issues, but they keep throwing megabucks and invoke a bully and deceptive demeanor to try and manage manage a hot situation. These are the kind of people you do not care to do business with.

  14. I’m expecting another announcement, maybe this week of another major food company that is going to start non-gmo labels on its product. They may not have to vote on the non-gmo labeling as food processors will label it anyway to keep market share.

  15. “In a November 2011 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman I read an article entitled: “Why are so many cows losing pregnancies? Losing up to 20% of pregnancies is not acceptable.” According to the authors, experienced cattle breeders are reporting increased numbers of fetal abortions despite increases in semen costs, nutrition costs, and overall breeding costs throughout North America.

    I know this article in the Hoard’s dairyman does not mention anything about Dr. Don Huber’s pathogen as being the cause of all these fetal abortions nationwide that experience cattle breeders are reporting. Yes it could be anything causing these fetal abortions but if it caught the attention of a prestigious national dairy magazine I think it’s worth looking into further by the scientific community. I know I did not post a link to this article because I cannot currently find it on their website anymore. If you want to contact the Hoard’s Dairyman to verify the article their number is 920–563–7298 or email them at hoards@hoards.com

    1. It is worth looking at further, but people are beginning to question why Huber won’t look further if it’s such a terrible thing.

  16. What their proposing is that the roundup gene doesn’t stay put, and when you eat the grain the gene gets in you and you can produce the chemical. They test kids and found roundup in their urine. I know a guy that spread city sludge and it is over the legal limit of roundup. The starlink gene was stopped back in 2000 and it still shows up in samples. They think the gene has transfered to the soil it was first grown on. Most people would argue that this is just speeding up what whould happen in traditional corn breeding. I don’t think that if you breed corn you will eventually end up with a roundup gene in it. Or a jellyfish gene in it that makes it glow in the dark. So I guess the big concern is the genes arn’t staying put which would make them unsafe.

    1. Genes don’t transfer to soil since soil doesn’t have DNA. Are you saying that people who eat Roundup Ready crops are producing glyphosate in their bodies?

      1. Hi Brian,

        Just discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’d like to share some of mine 🙂

        Since you are a farmer I’m surprised you don’t think soil has DNA. Why do you think fertilizer is applied to fields? It is full of bacteria. Similar to our own gut flora, you can think of soil as the digestive system for plants. I’m no farmer but I do a little gardening here and there, and good soil is critical, of course.

        I see you grow bt corn. It is called “bt” because it contains bacterial genes to produce a type of protein (cry1ab) that is produced in every cell of the corn. The protein has a crystal, stabbing the guts of certain insects (corn borers in particular) until they dehydrate to death.

        So how does that gene get into the soil? Well, there is something known as “horizontal gene transfer” that some scientists now think happens more frequently in bacteria than was previously thought. Basically they just sort of exchange genes directly. You may have also heard bt corn referred to as “transgenic”. To put it simply, that is because the gene is easily “transferred” (that’s how they get it in the corn to begin with). So, the idea is that the transgenes are more readily exchanged with the microbiology in the soil via horizontal gene transfer. I saw above you mentioned you can’t label your popcorn as GMO if you grow it in the same field as bt corn, and this is probably why. The bacteria in the soil still has the bt transgenes and it may be possible that it can transfer back into new crops planted there.

        So, how does it get into humans? Well there were some articles that came out that said cry1ab protein was detected in the blood of humans. Is it true? I don’t know. But it isn’t supposed to be possible. If you eat the protein directly it is supposed to be metabolized in your stomach. The implication is that the bt gene transfers into the bacteria in your gut, causing your own gut bacteria to start producing the cry1ab protein deeper in your digestive system where it isn’t as easily metabolized and then enters your bloodstream.

        Anyway I prefer to eat food that is created by nature. Nature doesn’t mix bacteria genes with plant genes. You seem convinced the manufacturers of these products diligently test them for safety. I’m not so convinced. If people like me don’t want these products, why do you think they fight so hard against labeling requirements? I live in CA and when Prop 37 was on the ballot I was surprised at the ads that came out, scaring people into believe labeling would be the end of the world and we wouldn’t be able to afford to eat anymore. Sometimes it’s really hard to know what is a bt product and what is not. So now in general I just avoid corn and soy almost entirely. It’s hidden in many products and used in livestock feed as well, so it’s really hard work to know what is in the food we eat. Just be aware, the consumer tide is slowly turning away from these products as we grow more informed!

        1. Glad you found your way here, Tom. It shouldn’t be any surprise that I think soil doesn’t have DNA. The soil itself does not have DNA. Soil is not a living organism. There are things in the soil that are alive and sporting DNA obviously, but I was merely referencing the dirt.

          About the popcorn. We grow for Weaver Popcorn, and they don’t want to see corn kernels in loads of popcorn for a couple reasons. It’s not popcorn is the main reason, and since they ship product overseas to countries that might not want to import GMO ingredients then they wouldn’t want a biotech dent corn kernel ending up in a test sample. I can and do plant popcorn feet or even inches away from SmartStax hybrids of corn with multiple biotech events in plays. Popcorn can’t be pollinated by regular field corn, so there is no worry on that front. If by chance we or a neighbor gets an outside row a little too close to popcorn we will leave a row or two in the field so we don’t get a load of popcorn rejected for having corn kernels in a sample. They don’t want to find soybeans either, or much of anything else that isn’t popcorn.

          Biofortified has some great pieces on Bt that are certainly worth a read. Check out Bt and There’s no Bt in your blood.

          1. Thanks for the links. I’m already aware of the refutals that the ELISA was faulty, and the other studies on pigs and cows. Let’s assume the ELISA was just recording noisy useless data. I think it still warrants another study on *human* blood, using a precisely tuned ELISA? What we have is this: 1 study on human blood that some say is bad science and 0 studies on human blood showing there is no cry1ab protein present.

            There could be a lot of factors that cause bacterial transgenes to be active in humans, but not in cows or bigs. Maybe it requires a certain alkalinity to activate, or maybe it is activated when consumed with some other food product or chemical that is not in the diets of livestock, but is common in humans. Maybe there’s other factors nobody has even thought of.

            We can just discount any evidence that comes along as bad science, but where’s the good science? It’s a pretty complicated subject, I’d personally like to see more research on it before I eat such foods.

  17. Heres the update. I imagine this is going to be the trend.
    “We have an exciting update for you. Post has released a non-GMO verified Grape Nuts that is on the store shelves as of January, 2014. Also, we are exploring some of our other cereals to see if there is potential going forward to add more non-GMO verified products to the Post Foods product line. We are always listening to our consumers and looking for ways to provide a good variety of products.”

  18. I’m not sure why the starlink keeps showing up after 20 years. If its in the residue, flora, or fauna. He is suggesting that the gene transfers to the body and you can produce roundup. Now is that happening or is the roundup coming from the food they eat? I’ve seen studies done by other Dr’s that have tested the urine of kids and show a variety of pesticide residues. The kids were put on organic foods and the levels went down. Atrazine was one chemical that affected the hormones in the developing fetus. That makes you wonder if we are actually making people gay. Thats a nice feeling.

  19. I

    I did get to listen to a toxicologist make some comments at a meeting this week. He said the roundup gene changes the DNA in you body for 3-4 generations. And it is causing infertility in humans. It is also affecting the hormones in the body, which can cause gender issues with embryos. Also this study on hogs could be whats happening to humans, because our digestive systems are similiar. Notice the discussion of the gene affect on the pigs stomach, uterine weights, and stomach inflammation.

    .Discussion
    In this study, we found that female pigs fed the GM diet had median uterine weights that
    were 25% greater than non-GM-fed pigs (p=0.025). This result is attributed to the
    difference in diet as other variables were controlled for, including the presence of
    mycotoxins, and possible confounders such as infectious diseases, animal husbandry
    considerations and various forms of bias such as temporal, between-person,
    measurement or recording bias, as these were all controlled-for. The concentration of
    mycotoxins in the feed was insignificant, both dietary groups received the same nutrients
    and care, the care complied with industry standards, and all those doing laboratory
    analyses and weighing, caring for, slaughtering and doing autopsies on pigs were blinded
    as to the dietary group of each pig.
    The reported difference in uterine weight warrants further investigation in future studies
    because such a biologically significant difference in uterine weights may reflect
    endometrial hyperplasia or carcinoma, endometritis, endometriosis, adenomyosis,
    inflammation, a thickening of the myometrium, or the presence of polyps. The uteri from
    two GM-fed pigs were full of fluid compared to nil from non-GM-fed pigs (Table 3) which
    may be linked to pathology. The link between an increase in uterine weights and GM
    feeding is supported by other authors (Brasil et al., 2009) who found that GM soy-fed rats
    had a statistically significant 59% increase in the density of the uterine endometrial
    glandular epithelium compared to rats fed an equivalent organic soy diet. Further studies
    should include histology, blood oestrogen, progesterone and cytokine concentrations, and
    which GM crop(s) and their GM protein products may, or may not, be involved. As this
    study used neutered males, further studies are required to investigate any potential effect
    of these crops on male reproduction. Multigenerational reproductive studies should also
    be considered.
    In this study, a diet of GM feed had no effect on stomach erosions or ulceration but had a
    significant effect on inflammation. Pigs fed the mixed GM soy and GM corn diet showed
    2.6 times the rate of severe stomach inflammation compared to non-GM fed pigs. This
    biologically significant finding was statistically significant (p=0.004). GM-fed male pigs
    showed severe stomach inflammation at a rate of 4.0 times that of the non GM fed male
    pigs (p=0.041); and female pigs showed a rate of severe stomach inflammation that was
    2.2 the rate of the non-GM fed female pigs (p=0.034).
    The pig industry uses finely-ground feed to maximise feed efficiency which can increase
    inflammation and ulceration of the stomach (Wolf, 2010). We therefore controlled the
    grind size, removing it as a confounder. Hence our results show that these GM crops
    were associated with stomach inflammation that was additional to any that may be
    caused by particle size. The result is attributed to the difference in diet, since the
    presence of mycotoxins, possible confounders such as infectious diseases, animal
    husbandry considerations or temporal, between-person, measurement and recording bias
    were controlled across the two groups.
    One explanation for the inflammation results could lie with the Cry 3Bb1 and Cry 1Ab
    proteins that these GM corn varieties are engineered to produce. They act as insecticides
    by inducing pore formation and disintegration of the gut tissue (Spok et al., 2007) of
    certain grubs that attack corn plants. It has been argued that these proteins cannot harm
    the gastrointestinal tract of mammals because mammals lack the necessary gut
    environment and receptors (ANZFA, 2000). However, Vazquez-Padron et al. (2000) found
    six proteins in the mouse small intestine that could bind to a Cry protein (Cry 1Ac).
    Furthermore, when the Cry protein bound to these proteins, it resulted in
    hyperpolarisation of the intestine, which is consistent with the formation of cationic
    channels, as occurs in the insect gut (Vazquez-Padron et al., 2000). In addition, an
    independent in vivo study found structural changes and hyperplasia in the ileum of mice
    fed a Cry protein for two weeks (Fares & El-Sayed, 1998). Chowdhury et al. (2003) and
    Walsh et al. (2012b) found the Cry1Ab protein (which was present in the feed in our
    study) throughout the digestive tract of pigs. Chowdhury et al. (2003) found the protein
    (and sections of the gene that codes for it) in the stomach, duodenum, ileum, caecum
    and rectum of pigs fed Bt11 corn for four weeks, while Walsh et al. (2012b) found the
    protein in the stomach, caecum and colon of pigs fed MON810 corn for 110 days (they appear not to have looked in the rectum), indicating that this protein is resistant to
    digestion in pigs. In our study, stomach inflammation may be due to one or both of the
    Cry proteins fed in the study and future studies may provide answers.
    The findings in this study are conservative since the non-GM diet pigs were exposed,
    albeit minimally, to potential GMO impacts. The presence of small amounts of GM
    material in the non-GM feed, using out-bred animals, piglets from GM-fed sows, and
    performing the study in a commercial setting (including the potential exposure of the pigs
    to any infectious diseases common to US commercial pigs and taking blood on site)
    could be expected to reduce any differences between the two dietary groups.
    We found that our key findings were not reflected in the standard biochemical tests often
    undertaken by researchers in this area, probably because such tests provide a poor
    measure of inflammation and matters associated with uterine size. We suggest that the
    following may be better measures: the red blood cell count and haematocrit to measure
    anaemia and iron deficiency from possible blood loss, C-reactive protein and white blood
    cell count to measure inflammation, and oestrogen and progesterone.
    In addition, if an autopsy is done at the end of a GM crop feeding experiment, this often
    involves only a visual inspection of the exterior of organs without weighing them.
    However by weighing organs we found a significant 25% increase in uterine weights in
    the GM-fed pigs. Moreover, where organs are weighed in such studies, they are often not
    examined internally (Carman, 2004) and such an approach would preclude finding the
    stomach inflammation reported in the present study.
    The present study is an observational study of the action of a mixture of GM crops on the
    health of pigs, versus a comparable non-GM diet. Future work will investigate individual
    GM crops, will involve histopathology, and will consider mechanisms for reported group
    differences.
    Conclusion
    Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach
    inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet. Given the widespread use of
    GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern. The results
    indicate that it would be prudent for GM crops that are destined for human food and
    animal feed, including stacked GM crops, to undergo long-term animal feeding studies
    preferably before commercial planting, particularly for toxicological and reproductive
    effects. Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are
    widely consumed by people, particularly in the USA, so it would be be prudent to
    determine if the findings of this of this study are applicable to humans.

  20. Obviously very late to comment relative to the original article but there’s a key point about Bt not being made here:

    The Bt toxin is generally very specific in terms of both groups that it will attack and in terms of the conditions internally under which it functions.

    There are various Bt’s. Most of what is talked about here is targeted towards Lepidopteran (moth) pests e.g. corn borer. Some of it is targeted towards Coleopteran (beetle) pests e.g. corn rootworm. Different proteins. Neither will work on the other type of pest because it is specific to the conditions within the gut of the specifically targeted pest. In simple terms beetle targeted Bt doesn’t work on moth larvae (caterpillars) and vice versa.

    Now most of those concerned with Bt don’t care, they think it’s transferring to the internal gut fauna of humans and “attacking” in that manner. Unfortunately the key point has been missed. Bt only works to form the crystals that rupture the gut wall of the target insect in a basic environment. By basic I’m referring to the pH of the system. Insects have a basic gut. Humans on the other hand have an acidic gut. Stomach ACID? ACID reflux? yeah, that’s us humans. Insects aren’t like that.

    Regardless of the Bt strain we’re talking about, even if ingested by humans, it is never activated. It’s not metabolized either, it’s digested, because that’s what the acid in your gut is for, to break down and digest stuff. Now not everything is broken down of course, hence why you read a newspaper once a day or so. But the Bt will not activate, nor will it likely survive in the human digestive system.

    Nothing is ever 100% safe, there are always exceptions.

    1. Good points and thanks for the comment. I must not have mentioned it here, but it’s vitally important fact you make about the specificity of Bt. And your name is buggs, so you should know!

    2. Hi buggs, if you see a post of mine above from March 3 you may see that I wrote in reference to Bt cry proteins: “From what I’ve read, these proteins have been considered harmless to humans based on studies showing that this protein gets metabolized in the stomach and doesn’t otherwise penetrate deeper into a human’s overall bodily system.” What you say about the stomach being acidic may be true, but I think the concern is not the direct consumption of Bt / cry proteins (which is actually considered an organic topical pesticide), the concern is the Bt gene in the GMO corn. That Bt gene comes from a bacteria and is put into the corn via Horizontal Gene Transfer of Transgenic DNA. The concern is that the same transfer process can occur to the bacteria in your intestines. Health intestines are an alkaline environment, not acidic. So if your own friendly gut bacteria inherits the Bt gene and your own bacteria starts pumping out cry protein in your deeper gut beyond the acidic protective first-line of defense of your stomach, that’s where the concern comes from. The ultimate question is: is the cry protein entering the blood stream? If it is, that’s a big deal. There have been a few handful of haphazard studies showing both (it is in the blood, and it isn’t). Someone else mentioned “Starlink corn” which I looked into recently. I didn’t know about it, but it’s a case of exactly this happening: A different type of cry protein showed up in people’s bloodstream from GMO Bt corn, so there IS a precedent for it. I think when that was going on the manufactures were also saying it wasn’t possible, even though it was happening. So I think it’s totally reasonable to have be cautious and skeptical on the supposed safety of these products…. and of course I haven’t even mentioned glyphosate, which is very damaging to gut bacteria and is designed to be applied liberally to these GMO crops.

  21. The study that showed roundup in breast milk, also shows it in urine. Remember the chemical that we were told would disappear as soon as it hits the ground is coming through the food chain into people that don’t even use the product. It also shows up concentrated in city sludge at levels that are higher then EPA limits. I’m sure that Kevin Folta would defend its use with his life. Why bite the hand that feeds you.

    1. That is a GREAT study Jim! You mean from the same people that published the fake corn data last year that was not even remotely biological? The ones that used a soil test (actually they didn’t use it, the just made up numbers) that can’t make sense of biological materials? Stay hot!

      I’m glad you embrace the work from a scholar like Zen Honeycutt as high quality work. Of course, if a biotech company published a result that said there was no glyphosate detected you’d say the results were invalid due to conflict of interest and collusion. Just sayin’.

      Bite the hand that feeds me? Yes, the familiar retreat of those that don’t want to discuss hard science– attack the credibility of the scientist. Nice. I never was paid a cent by these companies and as a public scientist that works for YOU… my record is 100% public.

      Of course, if you’d ever like to discuss the posted (not published) work, I’d be glad to do that. One of the most telling factors is why their detection is so different than their standard curve, why the subject numbers are so low, and the fact that “detected” levels are really small. Detection is sensitive these days. If you use Roundup in the yard you’ll probably see it in the test.

      That also assumes that he data are legit, which based on the sloppy or false data from the Stunning Corn Comparison suggest we take them with a grain of salt. Thanks.

      1. Kevin, the test for Glyphosate was done in the lab. You may want to call them and talk to Ben that did the test at Microbe Inotech Laboratories He said its an accurate test and they stand behind it. It also test for G in urine. So how much roundup in breast milk is safe for infants and how did it get their may I ask? Can you cover this one up? Kevin, you will go to any length to cover for Monsanto. Do you do it for the children?

        1. If the results are real, publish them and stand by them, don’t just put them on a website. That should be your first clue. When you tell me “cover for monsanto” it is clear that you need to attack the scientist instead of the science. It exposes your position as weak.

          If you think this is great science, then give me a quick synopsis of the strengths and weaknesses of the work. What do you find makes it particularly compelling? What is rigorous about the statistical treatment, the experimental design? Are the results significant statistically, and if they are, are the biologically relevant?

          If the data are real and relevant, why are they only presented on an activist website rather than published in a reputable journal?

          I’m thrilled to discuss the science if you are willing to put your expertise on the line and discuss the science. I’m not going to reply to people telling me I am covering up something for some company I have no relationship with. Plus, 1000 companies make glyphosate.

      2. Hello, Mr Kevin Folta! Are you saying there is no conflict of interest between biotech researchers and government regulatory agencies? Anyway, yes, there are probably a lot of quacks out there. I get the impression you enjoy going after the easy targets and then you seem to like to cast anyone who has a similar position is in the same category, no exception. What’s up with that?

        1. Actually, the relationship between government regulatory agencies and biotech companies (or anyone trying to commercialize gm crops) is absolutely horrible. It is better now than it ever has been from my understanding. Historically it has been a contentious relationship, fought by lawyers and expensive and time consuming for companies.

          Don’t believe me? It costs $100 million and 5-10 years to deregulate a new plant. Hardly a rubber stamp.

          These companies (and universities and small private companies) have thousands of biotech solutions sitting on shelves going nowhere. Nowhere. It is because the barriers are so high that you have to have a massive field crop like corn to even think about recouping the investment.

          With respect to the research and scientists, I do weigh each case on its own merits and make appropriate statements. I have no personal axe to grind with any of them, but I am disappointed when scientists use fear and bad science to influence opinions. That’s unethical.

          We need to have the intelligence to identify objective sources of science information and have the courage to listen to them. If you don’t, these days there are plenty of politically motivated scam artists waiting to fool you. Period.

          I’m a research scientist that simply does not like science and scientists being smeared. I have no interest other than seeing technology used to help farmers, the environment and people that need it.

          1. Kevin, you keep saying you want to discuss the science. But between all your babbling you are doing very little of that here. Also it seems like a double standard when you say: “it is clear that you need to attack the scientist instead of the science. It exposes your position as weak.” and yet all you seem to be doing here is attacking scientists and the journals their work is published in.

            Do you actually want to discuss science? For instance, let’s consider Stephanie Seneff’s paper that was published in Entropy. According to her, she refuses to publish in a journal that is not open access. Anyone can go get her paper for free. As you admitted, there is a lot of conflict of interest in this industry. For example, wasn’t some Monsanto man put in charge of approving what papers get published in some “reputable” journals? So when you attack her for publishing in Entropy, you just sound weak. And you just sound like you are repeating the same PR crap you can read on Monsanto’s blog (they said the same thing).

            Anyway, in regard to Stephanie’s paper, you haven’t called out anything specifically you take issue with. Do you have a problem with the idea that glyphosate can disrupt gut bacteria and affect uptake of micronutrients? Do you have a problem with data on sulfate deficiencies showing up in a wide range of diseases from autism to alzheimers?

            I guess the difference is your priority is to help farmers, whereas the rest of us have a priority to understand health problems affecting people in our lives. All you do is basically shout “they are a bunch of fear mongering quacks! ramble ramble!!” without offering anything else of substance for people to pursue to help them understand these health problems.

            1. I’m not “attacking” anyone. I simply stated that Entropy is not a good journal. it as no impact factor, it as obviously lax peer review. Moreover, her work is not research. It is a literature review of work that has been well criticized and debunked (some retracted) elsewhere.

              I do have a problem with the gut bacteria hypothesis. There is no data to support it. It is an idea. There is no data to support it. I make decisions based on evidence. When you look at the math you cannot possibly argue that there is sufficient glyphosate in the diet to have any biologically relevant effect.

              I’m done here. Yes, fear mongering quacks. One of the most healthy decisions people can make is to trust science and scientists. Anyone trying to motivate you with fear is wrong.

              Take the last word. This is boring.

              1. I apologize if I insulted you, I was getting a bit out of line here. I replied to your other post below. I do want to take a look at the tons of good science and data you are referring to. I admit, as someone that has not spent decades in your field of science, it is difficult for me to find what is good, independent and unbiased.

                1. Tom, here’s the most important point. Do you know where the EPSPS gene in glyphosate resistant crops comes from? Bacteria. Bacterial EPSPS do not bind glyphosate. It kinda puts the whole issue to bed.

                  It is frustrating for all of us in science. We work with hundreds, thousands in our field and nobody can understand why so many want to stop good technology. We had a scientist give a talk here yesterday from Vienna Austria and she spoke over and over again about how her gov’t and people are clueless.

                  The best place to start is Duke et al., 2012 and Mink et al.,. Both are good reviews and cite hundreds of articles.

  22. Here’s Kevin Folta’s stance on Stephanie Seneff’s concerns with glyphosate:
    http://gmoanswers.com/ask/maybe-gmos-arent-problem-they-are-only-enabler-case-roundup-ready-enabling-food-be-doused-it

    Note how Kevin attempts to discredit Stephanie by claiming she is a computer scientist, not a biologist. Note that he doesn’t mention she actually received her undergraduate degree in biology and nutrition from MIT. Either Kevin has a hard time with facts, or he deliberately misrepresents them for his purposes.

    He then goes on to discredit her work by claiming it’s all correlation with no real evidence and was published in a junk journal. So I guess that automatically means it is not worth even looking into if there’s any truth contained therein? I noticed that Kevin did not specifically address any actual topics in her paper, he just looked for a few little things he could use to completely discredit and ignore her theories. And then he comes around here bashing people for ignoring science done by the biotech companies for conflict of interest? Talk about hypocritical.

    So what does Kevin think about glyphosate? He states “Glyphosate is amazingly non-toxic to humans”, so we obviously know where he stands on the subject.

    So Kevin, since you say you are all about science and want to discuss. Let’s discuss the safety of glyphosate. It works by disrupting the shikimate pathway in plants, right? And the reason you claim it is amazingly non toxic to humans is because we don’t have shikimate pathways, right? I’m assuming this is your stance. So let’s discuss Stephanie Seneff’s theory that our gut bacteria DO have shikimate pathways that get disrupted by glyphosate and therefore, there is a negative impact on our beneficial gut bacteria. Do you think this is true? Would you consider this toxic to humans or non-toxic?

    1. Tom, you make quite a few assumptions about me and that’s quite unfair. Yes, Entropy is a junk journal. Sorry. Seneff may have had biology as a major, but she is not a practicing researcher in that area. I took home ec in school, so I don’t represent myself as a chef. That’s an extreme I understand, but somewhat relevant. The real measure of her scientific acumen is where she publishes, how others repeat her work and evaluation by other scientists.

      That said, she did not do “work”, as in research. Her papers are cherry-picked nuggets from websites and published research, extrapolated to fit her conclusions. That’s not how we do science.

      Glyphosate is amazingly non-toxic. There’s no question about that.

      Gut bacteria? Okay, let’s go there. First, how much glyphosate is in on food? Not much, it is usually sprayed on the field long before food items are on the plant.

      If there is a bit there, what is its biological fate? How does is it broken down and removed from the body?

      With that said, and knowing that there are a trillion bacteria in the gut, how much corn do you need to eat to be exposed to glyphosate enough to put one molecule in each microbe?

      Do the math. What is the molar concentration and volume of glyphosate needed to realistically do anything? There has been sooooo much research on this.

      If you are genuinely interested in discussing this I can go back and dig out sources and other citations. Let me know. It is hard to tell who wants to understand science and who will never accept information when they get it. Thanks.

      1. Kevin I appreciate the offer for sources / citations. Do you have anything I can look at specifically about glyphosate impact on gut bacteria, or I guess just the gut in general? I’ve heard there were studies on pigs that showed inflamed gut when fed gmo vs non gmo corn feed? I’m sure you will likely say it was bad science, but do you have any good science in this area I can look at? If it conflicts with Seneff’s theories I will bring try to bring it up with her and see what she says.

        By the way, I happen to work in computer science at a top company, with a large number of new hires coming out of top schools with PhDs in computer science. Many of them are receiving their PhDs by applying computational analysis in the fields of medicine / biology / genetics. For instance, using computational tools to find connections between genes / proteins / medicine side effects, etc. So you do seem a little out of touch when you say Seneff’s experience has nothing to do with biology. Times are changing, computer science overlaps with a lot of other fields of science. Turns out of these topics are quite complex and beyond the scope of a single human brain to figure out, so we need computers to assist us in finding patterns. Just sayin’

        1. I’m not sure I need a lecture from you in this area. I publish regularly using computational biology. Unfortunately, I don’t have any evidence that Seneff has worked in this area, and even if she did, her publications are opinionated and soft-reviewed literature reviews in Entropy.

          My point is simple. If you are talking about ppm levels of residues there is no way that you can consume enough corn to have any biological relevance. The pig study has been widely criticized, published in an obscure online journal funded by anti-GMO groups. You can find good dissections of the work online.

          If you could show in a real paper that glyphosate was 1. in food in biologically relevant amounts (which has never been shown) and 2. It has a biological effect compared to controls (which was only shown in Seralini’s retracted work), the research would be in the best journals. It just is not that way.

          There is so much science about residues in food, so much science about how glyphosate is metabolized. I’ll see what I can do this weekend on this, but humor me and just do the math.

          1. Hi Kevin,

            It sounds like our discussion is ending, based on your other comment, but I will try to take you up on your challenge.

            1. Find a “real” (what does that mean?) paper that shows glyphosate in relevant amounts. Here’s something I found from a quick search:
            http://www.testbiotech.de/sites/default/files/TBT_Background_Glyphosate_Argentina_0.pdf

            In general, I keep hearing that glyphosate usage is increasing due to emerging resistance in weeds. I’ve also heard that it is becoming common practice to apply glyphosate just before harvest for certain crops. I’ve also discovered that: “Glyphosate is not included in compounds tested for by the Food and Drug Administration’s Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, nor in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program” So what IS the average amount of residue these days in common crops like corn, soy, wheat? Since it seems to not be monitored, can you help me “do the math” by pointing me at some data that will give me the basis to do said math?

            2. Since you mentioned Seralini, I would also like to offer you a counter-challenge: Can you show me “real” or “good” science conducted on rats that was conducted for longer than 3 months? You of all people should know how complex biology can be. For example, there are many studies on the affects glyphosate has on soil. You can think of soil as the microbiome that supplies micronutrients to plants, similar to how our gut microbiome supplies micronutrients to our body. The studies show that impact on soil may not be apparent in the short term, but after repeated applications over a long period there are significant affects. So, why not do some studies that last longer than 3 months? Do you know of any good ones?

              1. Anonymous, you have not provided any extra information. Kevin was the one who brought up Seralini in his post and he already mentioned it was retracted. You are just parroting the same mantra of “some study related to this was retracted, so if you even have a theory somewhat similar to it, you are a quack.” But, since you brought it up, I’ll repeat my same challenge to you: Can you show me “real” or “good” science conducted on rats that was conducted for longer than 3 months?

  23. What burns me is GMO’s were suppose to help the farmer. We now use 4 times as much chemical as we use to. Our seedcorn cost is now triple what it use to cost. (wonder who’s making the money?) The insect problems are worse. Roundup isn’t killing weeds like it use to, so the answer is to make it better and charge more, and add the dicamba gene to the plants so we can spray both 2-4D, and roundup. At even more cost then before. If we would have used crop rotation right from the get go, we could have overcome much of the weed and insect problem we had and wouldn’t have even needed GMO’s and more roundup. I see farmers in Mississippi spraying 3 gallons of roundup and they even had to destroy the field crops to kill the weeds. This doesn’t even take into account the health affects of the chemicals. I think people like Kevin are too far removed from reality, or they have vested financial interest in covering the damage up. Kevin was miffed that Dr. Huber wouldn’t give him what he wanted, but thats like the bellboy at the bank demanding information from the FBI that just did the investigation of the robbery.

    1. If a farmer doesn’t like the price of biotech seed corn there’s a simple solution to that problem. He just doesn’t buy any. Simple as that. Insect problems are not worse, and they will never go away. Some parts of the Corn Belt having an issue with corn rootworm resistance. I’m concerned about this, and from what I’ve studied the problem arose from farmers acting as free riders. They planted corn year after year and used the same form of Bt every year. Things are changing now with refuge in a bag products that put a small percentage on non-Bt corn in the bag of Bt vs buying different seed and planting a different plot.

      Resistance is not a problem in Indiana where I farm. Weather, effectiveness of Bt, and the fact that the entire state is on a good crop rotation has kept the populations down and resistance at bay. Resistance to things will happen over time. This was true before GMO. I often say if I only relied on tillage to control weeds then after a few years I’d have weeds that can survive all those tillage passes.

      Roundup is still fantastic. Dicamba and 2,4-D aren’t the same thing, but I get your point. The combo of 2,4-D and Roundup is something farmers are and have been applying as burn down in fall or spring for a long time. And just because a crop is resistant to a herbicide doesn’t always mean that’s what gets sprayed on the crop. We have a lot of Roundup Ready corn, but we almost never spray Roundup on it. We rotate our modes of action for weed killers just like we rotate our crops.

      I’ve heard of way high rates applied like you mentioned in Mississippi. I’m no fan of that. Herbicides should be put on at the full label rate according to conditions. Light rates to save money just make weeds mad.

      1. And just throwing this out there:
        If the label says it will control (kill) THIS weed up to 6″ and you spray it on THIS weed when it is 10″, odds are you are not going to kill it. You may stunt it, but you have pretty much just ticked it off. And you may be helping to contribute to the herbicide resistant weed problem.

        1. That’d be marestail in late summer in a soybean field around here. You can make the tops yellow, but they just get angry. They emerge all season resistant or not so they are tough to get. 2,4-D does a number on them though. Dow’s Enlist soybeans are going to be bad news for marestail in soybeans.

  24. Kevinfolta writes “Glyphosate is amazingly non-toxic. There’s no question about that.”

    Actually it would appear there are many questions about its toxicity, I mean just read these comments. People are worried and confused.

    There are at least two sides, and no side is clearly right or wrong amidst all the contradictory ‘studies’, but in that situation should the ultimate decision be based upon profit or based upon human safety? It’s clear no the decision espoused by the US Government is ‘profits first, human safety not’.

    A true statement is, “Monsanto has a profit motive. There is no question about that.”

    I wonder why kevinfolta didn’t respond to Tom’s two questions. I’d like to ‘run the numbers too’. And also realize a fraction of parts per million for many substances is enough to kill.

  25. Hers and interesting study showing the amount of roundup and AMPA in GMO soybeans. Now, the GE industry would try to convince us that the roundup bean is better for us. I’m sure infant formula with roundup in it is better for you then some old organic bean that might have been grown on ground that had manure on it. I think Kevin is still trying to find a long term study. I think he’ll be a while. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814613019201

    1. If you read the paper you’d see that glyphosate treated soybeans were detected to have 0.4-8.8 mg/kg glyphosate detected. This is somewhere between 0.5-45% of allowable levels, so all below accepted safety limits.

      The fact that the authors call this “contain high levels” might tell us a little about agenda. If I was a reviewer or editor they would have not been allowed to make such quantitative statements without a relative standard.

      So how much is a “high amount”? At the high end (8.8 mg/kg) you’d have to consume 56,818 kg of soybeans to attain the acute toxic exposure LD50 for glyphosate (assuming you’re 100 kg for easy math). That’s >100,000 lbs of soybeans! Good luck with that.

      The other red flag in the paper is that they didn’t say anything about the timing of application. That’s important too, not that it matters that much, as the levels of glyphosate were remarkably low, non-toxic, and certainly within the limits of all accepted safety assessments.

      1. Regarding your comment “At the high end (8.8 mg/kg) you’d have to consume 56,818 kg of soybeans to attain the acute toxic exposure LD50 for glyphosate (assuming you’re 100 kg for easy math). That’s >100,000 lbs of soybeans!”

        Just curious how you determined/arrived at the metric for “acute toxic exposure”

  26. I’m sure every study is flawed if it doesn’t fit your agenda. We all know haow the EPA works. And I think the consumer would buy the non-gmo or organic formula for their child over you approved chemical laced cocktail.

  27. I see the Chinese have

    I see the Chinese have decided to buy sorghum instead of GMO corn. I’d like to know how much of our exports get stopped because the corn board insist that the contries buy GMO corn. Why don’t they ask the consumer “What do you want to buy” instead of this is the best thing for you and thats what you are going to take. The ag industry pats them on the back ($) and assures the corn board that GMO’s are the best thing for them, and we watch our exports decline. Mean while China is making deals with SA to get a supply of non-gmo corn and sorghum. I can’t figure out why farmers can’t see the light and arn’t upset about it.

  28. I am a victim of G.M. Food. I have Morgellons disease. Look into this everyone and all those who tho say G.M. Food is safe, pray you dont get it!

  29. This is an interesting discussion: Please read GMO-Myths-and Truths-2nd edition by John Fagan, Ph.D; Michael Antoniou, Ph.D.; Clair Robinson, MPhil
    and also The GMO Deception, by Sheldon Krimsky coedited with Jeremy Gruber.
    “Gekaufte Wahrheit” or Purchased Truth is what our society is accepting through “peer-reviewed” – Land Grant College teaching, that should be evaluated.
    This life-time farmer – at heart and mind – and Grandfather – does not question the advancement of GMO technology as valuable, rather – I challenge the incomplete “assumptions” of the biological process by “acceptable and or safe” to a certain significant level. It reminds me of the saying a “little-bit-pregnant” – you are or you are not! As long as there are so many unresolved issues, we cannot and should not resolve “safe” through majority agreement. Evolution can only help us for so long but cannot be reversed.

  30. I am another victim. It’s ruined my life and my families. Years after I became too sick to garden anymore, my glyphosate numbers are sky high. Why is that??

    I can’t believe the ignorance I see on display here.

    Don’t come cry to our community for help when you go down the rabbit hole.

    Yes, thanks to people like you, it really is too late. We are all going down, I’m afraid.

  31. I know exactly what your going through! I think Brian is being paid a lot of money to lie to people about g.m.o. He will regret it one day and all the money in the world won’t help him! You can only do so much to help yourself and it costs money but I hope you feel a bit better soon! God bless.

  32. If you aren’t getting paid then you must be delusional. When this hits home for you, you’ll understand. Our DNA has been altered. Millions will die. It’s bigger than aids. And you’re part of the evil demons who carried out the lie. God won’t help you.

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