Ministry Of Controversy

The Left is Hotly Divided on GMOs

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Wow.  Just in the last few days the Daily Show ridiculed an anti-GMO activist.

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The New York Times opinion page carried “How I Got Converted to GMO Food” including this meaty bit:

After writing two books on the science of climate change, I decided I could no longer continue taking a pro-science position on global warming and an anti-science position on G.M.O.s.

There is an equivalent level of scientific consensus on both issues, I realized, that climate change is real and genetically modified foods are safe. I could not defend the expert consensus on one issue while opposing it on the other. 

And on the anti-GMO side, Chipotle announced it’s no longer serving GMO food.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on April 27, 2015 at 10:19 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.


  1. Carefully read, the piece is an indictment of the dishonesty on both sides of the argument, and when the respective sources of the two sides are weighed, the embattled small farmer and the marauding multinational behemoth, it’s easy to understand why our sympathies are with the farmer. Monsanto is indeed loathed, and rightly so, not so much for its science as for its winner takes all, profit driven approach to our planetary food supply, while claiming to want only to save the world’s brown people from themselves. In the name of science they have invaded the third world like colonial troops in mufti.
    Food issues simply cannot be lumped in with smart watches in the race to gain market share. The last line of the New Yorker piece couldn’t be truer. We need all approaches to world food sustainability and that includes learning from traditional and indigenous farmers and resurrecting the nutritionally superior and climate adapted minor crops like amaranth and quinoa and ragi and teff that Monsanto’s monoculture mania has all but eradicated.

  2. Can’t someone be both? I had professors who were working to genetically modify plants to clean up polluted bodies of water, and that is something I can get behind, but modifying plants so that they can take repeated spraying of poisons is the number 1 reason I cannot claim to be “pro-GMO.”
    I am not some purist that cannot understand science, but these technologies have a place–and some uses are wildly inappropriate in addition to not being well regulated.

  3. It seems to me that what you are really against is the use and abuse of pesticides, and there’s plenty of science to support that stance. We need to separate the pesticide issue from the GMO issue because now it has become completely confused in the public’s mind and they think all GMOs are about pesticides.

  4. I agree with you that GMOs are being painted with too broad a brush. In my opinion, the public has become confused by the development of GMO seeds that enable the indiscriminate use of pesticides on agricultural crops. In fact, GMOs are developed for many reasons, including beneficial improvements and harmless modifications.

  5. Except that the “they” lobbying behind the labelling movement are corporations with a vested interest in keeping the quasi-organic industry prosperous, and that — like Right-to-Work laws — the Right-to-Know banner is a misnomer.

  6. I can’t think of any GMO except the tortillo that would be found in a Chipotle bowl. Or in a home garden for that matter. Grain corn, wheat and soybeans stand a good chance of being GMO seeds, but apart from those, what else are we actually eating that is GMO? Papayas, strawberries with fish genes…that’s about it. GMO apples haven’t hit the market yet…anything else?

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