How to Feed the World & Other Ways Media Linked to ACSH this Weekend

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1. Discussing Vermont's bizarre and arbitrary GMO warning label law, set to take effect July 1st, Congressman Bob Gibbs of Ohio takes the evidence-based approach, and notes that thanks to biotechnology, the lives of the world's poorest are being saved - and the lives of everyone are being made better:

Numerous studies have been conducted to analyze the safety of GMOs. Countless reports show that GMOs are perfectly safe for humans while the American Medical Association even states “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods.” The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine agree, as does the American Council on Science and Health, the World Health Organization, and the Royal Society of Medicine.

Are you diabetic? GMOs keep you alive. Want the poorest people to spend less on basic needs and use their money to improve their lives? GMOs do that.

On the other hand, if you are a wealthy elite who can afford to buy food for self-identification, keep on being anti-science. Fortunately, some people in Congress stand up for data and reason.

2. At Legal News Line, Taryn Phaneuf outlines the bizarre situation with the pesticide glyphosate (popularly known as Roundup) and how the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found it to be a carcinogen. Which no one seems to be able to understand.

The problem is epidemiology.  If you can't declare a chemical toxic, you can still gather a group of people, see what environments and diseases enough of them share in common, and then correlate one cause to one harm. It's not good science but to suggest "hazard" you don't really need to do science and consider toxicity, much less exposure. Which is how IARC has claimed things like cell phones, bacon and glyphosate are cancer-causing agents. It's the kind of claim environmental groups and Merchants of Doom like SourceWatch and Mother Jones love, but not anything scientists accept.

Unfortunately, as we have seen this year with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, government science bodiess may be moving more toward IARC methodology and away from being science-based. The EPA used that same IARC methodology with another pesticide, atrazine, to declare it hazardous without ever showing it to be toxic.

3. In the San Diego Union-Tribune, I discuss some of the anti-science tactics of California government related to sustainable food. We know fish is a healthy source of protein and fat, so California should be in favor of eating more of it, and 95 percent of Atlantic salmon is currently imported, and California claims to care about emissions related to food shipping, so they should be in favor of locally-grown fish. A genetically-modified salmon that finally got approved last year satisfies both those goals, and as a bonus is far more sustainable than other fish farming methods.

Yet California Governor Jerry Brown banned these farms just the same. He says voters don't want this kind of science in the state so he gave them no choice.

Why would Californians object to locally-grown, sustainable food that reduces overfishing and requires less environmental input to grow? Because they are arguably the most anti-science culture in America, the home of the anti-vaccine movement, the anti-agriculture movement, and the anti-energy movement.  That they are simultaneously contending they care about wild fish depletion while boycotting the modern world is no real surprise, but it is a real travesty.