GMOs: a knee-jerk reaction

Staff writer
February 28, 2014 01:00 AM


In the Feb. 14 edition of Coast Reporter, letter writer Gus Butt praised a column by Dr. Paul Martiquet extolling the virtues of GMO food (Jan. 31).

Yet, both Mr. Butt's and Dr. Martiquet's assertions that GMO crop production and subsequent food growth are benign does not withstand scientific analysis despite their claims to the contrary.

GMO seeds are now routinely sprayed with neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), which have been linked by scientists to bee-colony die-off and numerous other negative environmental effects. GMO seeds, including Monsanto's Roundup Ready strains, are also often systemically sprayed with neonics and/or other chemicals like Dow's 2,4-D, previously linked to cancer and birth defects (source: National Academy of Science, Journal article, August 2013, several other sources and a blog from the Union of Concerned Scientists).

The science and environmental consequences of the use of these, and many other substances, is far from settled, worldwide. In Europe, the EU recently took the precautionary step of requiring companies to suspend the use of neonics for at least two years until further health studies can be completed.

In North America a massive lobby by GMO seed and crop producers Monsanto, Cargill, Dow and others, has so far stymied similar attempts by activists, including many health specialists, to insist governments support additional testing before sanctioning further use of pesticide-soaked seeds and crops.

The assertion, by Mr. Butt, that any criticism to extolling the use of GMOs is "knee-jerk" in nature, is specious; likewise the assertion by Dr. Martiquet in his column that anyone criticizing GMOs is uninformed.

Michael Maser


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