Roundup & glyphosate: Independent Research is the Key

crop massgen poppies

This article is a response to an opinion piece in the Bay of Plenty Herald.  Unlike most opinion pieces, the piece BOP Times Independent research is the key never went online…. so here is the text:

In response to Tauranga city council’s communications adviser Marcel Currin’s opinion piece ‘Scare Tactics Modify Stance on GMOs’, of Friday December 6th.

He discusses unhappy rats that ended up with ugly tumours.

Why is there such a fuss over this study?

It’s different.

Professor Seralini is the first scientist to do a lifetime study of the complete Roundup formulation. The study found tumours both with rats fed GMOs and rats fed only Roundup. And they were higher than the control group of rats – the rats on a normal diet.

None of the big assessment agencies like the WHO, EPA and European Commission consider the stronger formula – it is not industry requirement.  But there are a tonne of scientists out there, not connected to industry that want studies of the complete Roundup formulation. It’s more toxic.

And the predisposition to tumours?  These are the same rats used historically by Monsanto, Cheminova and Syngenta. These rats have similar responses to toxins to humans living in industrialised societies.

Mr Currin, does the pesticide industry get to use this rat strain for years and then dismiss this strain when an organisation working in the public interest finds tumours (at a higher rate than controls?

I think that’s called having your cake and eating it too.

Normally a journal demands a retraction of a study for faults like data error, plagiarism or unethical reseach.  Many scientists believe the retraction of this study for ‘inconclusive science’ was illicit, unscientific and unethical.

I believe Professor Seralini previously worked for the European agency EFSA, and assessing the GMO’s that come into Europe.  His job was to say ‘yes, these are safe’.  And when he couldn’t say they were safe he couldn’t work there anymore.

So that’s when he started filling in the scientific gaps left by the corporate GMO industry.

Mr. Currin, the world we are in now is a lot different from the world we inhabited as children.  When I was a child, most of the research and development for agriculture was in the hands of government departments.

It’s not like that anymore.

But we need to see toxicity studies, of the formulations we spray on our food, unconnected to industry shareholders, proving safety.  That’s my middle ground, I don’t believe that’s a ‘sensationalist straw to pluck’.

And your comments regarding ‘anti-GMO grumble’? Why is Roundup so connected to GMO’s?

Because the last 16 years of open research for GMO’s in America have led to more pesticide being sprayed on crops (not less), and the development of six major transgenic pest-management traits dominating pesticide use in the U.S. over this period, 1996–2011: herbicide-resistant (Roundup) corn, soybeans, and cotton;  Bt corn and cotton.

Thousands of smaller ag-based firms have closed business as ownership of the corn traits have led to domination by a small group of firms.

This has led to less crop diversity, higher input margins for farmers, less crop rotation, less drought tolerance, poorer soils and more chemicals on our food.

The scientists at Scion will tell you that internationally, scientists have no problem with GMOs.

The fact is, internationally, industry connected scientists have no problems with GMOs.  But scientists and medical professionals unconnected to GMO industry in the fields of toxicology, paediatrics, neurology, oncology, soil science, endocrinology and veterinary work have a huge problem with them.  These guys want more science to prove safety.

The legal term of GRAS that GMO’s receive, generally regarded as safe, means this stuff doesn’t get tested for toxicity, ever. Yet science demonstrates GMO corn has 18 times the safe level of glyphosate set by the EPA.  GMO plants have less essential nutrients in them – less calcium, less magnesium, less manganese.

They are different.

One of the latest food New Zealand GMO food approvals is for corn with an insecticidal toxin inside the actual plant, which can be then sprayed with Roundup, and 2,4-D and glufosinate and a new pesticide called AOPP.  All together.  These are called stacked traits.

No assessment agency in the world requires these combined pesticides to be tested cumulatively to prove them safe.

Every carcinogenicity study in the world declaring 2,4-D is safe, is directly paid for by Dow or a pesticide industry organisation known as 2,4-D task force?

Intuition, logic and independent science tells me this is not safe. For our kids. This is why I write.

Mr Currin, the Scion scientists believe if the Bay of Plenty uses the term ‘precautionary principle’ in its policy wording it will lead to less science. Poppycock.

Many of our food exporters involved with ongoing research and development believe higher premiums are tied to a GMO free export product.

Consider Comvita, for instance. Do they fit in your ‘middle ground’?

Mr. Currin, my central, conservative view, is that we need more science. More research to prove safety – that is not paid for by industry.

And a heck of a lot of very conservative scientists and corporations agree with me.

Jodie Bruning.


Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years:  Charles M Benbrook

European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility:

About Jodie

It is only by questioning and discussing and attempting to view the world our childrens children will live in, that we start to understand that life isn't a linear process - it is a room of dominoes falling. Our world has a lot of special interests and stakeholders that by default, keep science undone, and economics hooked in the 1920's - resulting in governments that don't address the complexity that is challenging our world. From pollution to mental health (and the cost of food) to the health of our freshwater - it's complex and dynamic. What equilibrium do we want to reach - a healthy vital one or a suffering one?
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2 Responses to Roundup & glyphosate: Independent Research is the Key

  1. Hi Jodie, when did this guest opinion piece feature in the BOP Times? I'm sorry I missed it. 
    I should be very clear for the record that the opinions expressed in my weekly newspaper column are my personal views only; I don't speak on behalf of my daytime employer in any way at all in that forum. It's just me, the poet/creative guy writing those pages. 
    Thanks for your response to my article. I think this is an excellent ongoing debate.
    Marcel Currin.

  2. Jodie says:

    Saturday 21st December. And I’m sorry Bay of Plenty Times didn’t put the piece online so you could read it earlier. Thanks for bringing up a lot of topics that too many people generalise on. It is such an important conversation. I’d like to add that it wasn’t ‘scare tactics’ trying to modify the stance on GMO’s, it was independent (public domain not corporate paid) science. Look forward to meeting you.

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