USDA Busts the Myth That GMOs are “Needed” to Feed the World

Food Supply and Food Wasted

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A new report out of the USDA says that Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of food every year, or 31 percent of the total amount of available food. That’s over 4,200 pounds of food a second.

At the same time, the biotech industry says that we need genetically engineered crops to feed the world.


They must have not seen the most recent report out of the USDA that says that in the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels went uneaten.

That is enough to almost feed the population of Texas.

The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day.

Do we need food, patented by chemical companies to withstand their chemicals, to feed the world?  Or do we need to figure out a smarter distribution model so that less real food goes to waste?

The USDA report can’t come as good news to the chemical companies peddling the PR story that we need GMOs to feed the world. It has been part of their positioning not only to farmers, but also to their shareholders.

Their position to shareholders and the public has been a posturing that without their products, we risk a global food shortage. It’s a smart marketing strategy as it creates demand for the chemical industry’s genetically engineered products, not only the genetically engineered seeds, but also the portfolio of weed killers, insecticides, fertilizers and other chemicals required to grow them.

But with the report out of the USDA, it appears that this PR spin is more likely to be more fear mongering by the chemical industry in an attempt to drive product adoption and increase revenue opportunities in the face of growing consumer rejection of these products.

So what’s really going on?  What does the USDA say?

“The estimated total value of food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States was $161.6 billion in 2010. The top three food groups in terms of share of total value of food loss were meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent, $48 billion); vegetables (19 percent, $30 billion); and dairy products (17 percent, $27 billion).

The total amount of food loss represents 387 billion calories (technically, we mean Calorie or kcal hereafter) of food not available for human consumption per day in 2010, or 1,249 out of 3,796 calories available per American per day.

Recovery costs, food safety considerations, and other factors would reduce the amount of food that could actually be recovered for human consumption.”

Not once does the USDA, which happens to have a patent on genetically engineered food, say that the chemical industry’s GMOs are needed to address the problem.

And if we could actually reduce this staggering quantity of food waste, the price of food worldwide might go down, according to a report from researchers at USDA’s Economic Research Service, Jean Buzby, Hodan Wells and Jeffrey Hyman.

Other reports reiterate what the USDA found.

Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of food every year, or 31 percent of the total amount of available food. That’s over 4,200 pounds of food a second.

Yet one of the most compelling promises that the agricultural and biotech industries make to justify the need for their genetically engineered crops, corn and soy that have been hardwired to withstand their chemicals, is that this new technology is needed to feed the world.

With a growing global population, who can argue with that? But can a man (woman or child) live on processed food alone?

According to Business Week, it turns out that “after millennia when the biggest food-related threat to humanity was the risk of having too little, the 21st century is one where the fear is having too much”.

The chemical industry is busy manufacturing demand, using scare tactics, to get us to believe that we need their genetically engineered, chemically dependent products in order to fend off mass starvation.  It is irresponsible given that in all actuality, we have mass produced their corn and soy to such an extent that a global obesity epidemic has resulted and food waste beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.

According to Business Week, “the issue isn’t so much that we can’t grow enough. Rather, existing food supplies are so poorly distributed that those hundreds of millions have too little for their own health, while 2 billion-plus have too much.”  On top of that, a third of food is wasted worldwide, spoiled and thrown out before  it even reaches consumers.

We are wasting enough food every day here in America to feed the hungry.  And while much focus has been on the obesity epidemic, it is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the fact that with advertisements and food access available 24/7, we’ve got more food than we know what to do with.

We throw away 40% of our food, enough to feed 25 million people.  The equivalent of the entire population of Texas.  If we held onto that food in dollar terms, total savings could be $2,275 for a family of four.

Our food system is broken.  The distribution model is broken.  And in that, there is an enormous opportunity to create and build a better one.

What if we were to figure out a better business model, designed to deliver the food we need without wasting over a quarter of it?

Wouldn’t that be in the best interest for the health of our families, our farmers, our economy and our country?

Cleaning up the food supply is messy business, but it can also be a lot of fun. If you are interested in learning more about food waste and how to stop it, please watch the film, “Dive“.

  • Cammy

    The person who argued that GMOs would “Feed the world” was talking about the 3rd world, not the U.S. Not that that is right either. But I do think most people aren’t talking about the U,S. We know that GMOs are primarily for processed foods in the U.S. and oils next.

  • NutritionNut

    I think you’ve missed the point… if the food was distributed properly, the food that is wasted in western/first world countries would sufficiently feed the third world. In other words, we already produce more than enough food on a global scale to feed everyone. We just don’t allow everyone access to it.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    This article basically sets up a strawman to attack. Biotech crops aren’t about increasing yields to feed the world, they are about sustaining existing yields in adverse conditions. That way, in drought conditions or high or low temperatures that would otherwise cause crops not to grow well, the yields will be sustained and not reduced as they would be for other crops. They also lessen the need to use pesticides or fertilizer, making it easier for poorer small farmers to grow crops.

    The fact that food exists for everyone to eat in the world doesn’t mean it gets to everyone. Even if less food was wasted, what exactly is the method of distributing it to the rest of the world? It’s not feasible in the slightest. The best method to actually feed everyone is to enable people in areas dealing with starvation and famine to be able to feed themselves by protecting the yields of their crops. That’s the point of biotechnology.

  • Katherine Gatti Toon

    But we grow them in the U.S. don’t we? And we put our small farmers out of business didn’t we? And we killed the bees didn’t we? Why were they banned in Europe? Because Americans are very gullible and uninformed and passive.

  • Are you kidding? Small farmers can make it on GMO crops? Is that why Indian farmers are suiciding almost daily trying to afford GMO seeds and chemicals? GMO is dirty business and nobody truly knows the long term effects. It’s based on outdated science but nobody will pull the plug because of the money they will lose. Too much invested to admit it’s a huge mistake. You have surely been brainwashed or just haven’t been reading. Try for starters: Seeds of Deception and then we can talk scientific reality.

  • Not sure it would work to access it or transport it, but we can certainly teach them to grow their own food organically rather than force them to use GMO seeds and monopolize the seed and food markets which is what is happening today. But you got the point.

  • Dave Curran

    You do know that the whole Indian farmers suicide because of GMO is not true don’t you? GMO crops are making life a lot easier for them, allowing them to harvest more crops per season. Look for sources beyond NaturalNews and Vandana Shiva. Try for starters: Seeds of Doubt (from the New Yorker) and then we can talk scientific reality.

  • Miles Stockdale

    If you believe anything in Seeds of Deception then you can’t talk any type of reality, and certainly not scientific reality.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Yes. No. No and politics over science.

  • Miles Stockdale

    The third world does not need to be denied useful technology by ignorant Luddites who think they know best for them. You want third world farmers to remain in poverty. Thankfully they are smart enough to ignore people like adopt new seed technologies as soon as they become available to them.

  • Miles, I live in farmersville USA, the midwest. I’ve lived here for many years and watched what happened over my lifetime. I’ve heard the farmers talk around the diner at breakfast. . . they buy more Monsanto Roundup because it’s cheaper to spray than to plow due to rising gasoline costs. The super weeds are in our fields. I see them standing up tall. . . . .in spite of the increased spraying. It makes no sense to make more and more poison to kill more and more bees and monarchs. . . when corn grew just fine decades ago and wheat was four feet high instead of two feet high and making us ill. True, we can farm huge farms with huge machines so less people farm. The small farmers are gone. They are not even allowed to save their own seed. They have been sued out of business by Monsanto. It happens here. . where I live. Where do you live?

  • I take it you have read Seeds of Deception?

  • Tell me what the motive is for people to expose the evils of GMO ? What do whistleblowers have to gain? They lose their jobs, the funding of their science, their families go into hiding. Why? What does Monsanto have to lose? Yea. . right. Patents on the global food supply. Do that math.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Yes I read Seeds of Deception a decade ago. At the time I was vocally anti-gmo and encouraged others to read it. That was back when I knew nothing about science and because of that I was prey to frauds and crackpots like Smith. However, it didn’t require a knowledge of science to start checking Smith’s sources and realize that most of his claims were a complete pile of crap. When I did that I lost my trust in Smith. Then I started to learn science and that allowed me to see that Smith’s scientific claims are on par with the nutty claims of creationists, climate change deniers and anti-vax loons.

    There is a reason why the anti-gmo movement has to rely on people who have no scientific training or knowledge (like Smith).

  • Miles Stockdale

    I work with a number of scientists (and know plenty of others) in the plant biochemistry and molecular biology field. If any of them could find any harm related to GMOs they would love to expose it. It would likely earn them fame, a Nobel prize and more funding then they would know how to spend.

    If all they cared about was money they would do what people like Shiva and Smith have done – which is make a ton of money lying about GMOs. Smith has no scientific training and is completely ignorant. Shiva has no relevant training and is a deluded ideologue. A scientist with relevant education and training could probably do better in terms of financial return. However, doing so would require them to lie and make statements that they know of laughably ridiculous. That makes it a lot harder for someone who actually knows what they are talking about to do.

    Your conspiracy theories have no basis in reality. The large oil companies are several orders of magnitude larger than Monsanto, yet they can not bring more than a small number of scientists on side for them. The idea that Monsanto could control the mass of university and independent scientists is beyond laughable.

  • Miles Stockdale

    The responsible people who grow most of food live in reality, and their bottom line is their reality check. That is why GMOs are so popular with farmers. GMOs are not perfect, but they have tremendous advantages. Super weeds do not exist. It is a made of term spread by ideologues. Does glyphosate resistance occur? Of course it does, as resistance eventually occurs with all forms of weed control. Resistance to Roundup is not occurring any quicker after the introduction of GMOs than it was occurring before. And there are many herbicides with many times more resistant weeds developed against them. This is not a GMO issue at all. Picking weeds by hand results in weeds evolving to appear more like the crops they grow beside.

    Farmers are allowed to save their own seed. However, if they decide to use certain seeds they can not save them. This has been going on for almost 100 years. Hybrid seeds would not breed true and required the farmer to buy them each year. With some seeds they sign a contract saying that they will not save them. Millions of farmers do so gladly because few farmers want to save seed, and paying for seeds each year ensures more money is spent developing better seeds. There are a small number of thieves who want the benefits of the seeds without paying for them. No farmer has ever been sued for accidental contamination.

    I don’t care where you live. I care about the arguments you make and evidence for those claims. I don’t care for anecdotal evidence.

  • Ecec

    It is the over-use of chemicals in agriculture that makes the soil lose potency and creates the adverse conditions that push dessertification of cropland. Organic farming practices actually give better crop yeilds in adverse climates and help rebuild the soil for later crops. Small and large farmers can feed the world if they follow good crop rotation and use legumes for nitrogen fixing in between crops.

  • So rather than talk about books and activists (I have never even heard of Vandana Shiva so it’s not likely her work has influenced my opinion), why not talk science?  Explain to us why we need to insert fish DNA into our tomato plants so that they don’t freeze when it frosts?  Tell us how certain we are that one gene produces one protein – which is what science presumed early on in genetic engineering – but now have learned that one gene can produce many proteins and we never know exactly which ones it will produce so that the tomato might not be damaged by the frost but might contain a toxic protein.  Point me to the studies they have done to prove that the new proteins being produced by genetic engineering are safe to humans and livestock?  Oh.  I forgot.  There aren’t any!

  • Ecec

    But Monsanto does. Are you one of their Trolls? They make like a million dollars per minute, and that is an underestimate. They win almost every court case to take over a farmers land when their own seeds drift. They have huge exhibits in every large museum in the USA. They sponsor school curriculum. They are seen at every county fair in agricultural communities.

    I have been studying Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Nestle, and Syngenta for about 10+ years. Most of the government has been, or still is, working for one of them and/or accepts money from them on a regular basis.

    The ideas and research that the USDA has publicized here are the true crux of the matter. We don’t NEED GMO’s to feed the world. We need to stop throwing food away and start distributing it in a manner more beneficial to the world.

    The joke about that is that we all know that politicians don’t want to admit these issues or they won’t get much needed funding for their political races. They don’t want other countries to know that our very own Monsanto, based in the USA, has been killing their future cropland with Round-Up. And they don’t want people to stop eating our foods and kill our economy which has been sitting on the false premise that American food is good for you but that in reality it is actually going to drive the average age down.

    Bad food keeps the pharmacuetical and healthcare dollars rolling in, including Medicare and Medicaid payments.

    The governments that control the foods people plant and eat, and controls their access to medicine and medical care, controls the people.

    I advocate an organic food and material lifestyle, even though I am not perfect at it. Almost every paper I wrote to get my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition, and that is 5 years worth, covers every topic I have just mentioned. So it is an educated and researched post that I make.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    The Indian farmer suicide claim is a debunked myth. Debunked several years ago, actually. Sources:

    Biotechnology is based on outdated science? How the heck is that? It’s the complete cutting edge of science, especially with the new CRISPR techniques.

    And I think you meant the documentary Seeds of Death, whose every claim you can find debunked with references at the following link:

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Organic farming uses more pesticides than conventional farming does. It also uses more fertilizer and more land, releasing more greenhouse gases in the process and turning more wildlife into farmland.

    Crop rotation is definitely a good practice and there’s multiple methods of nitrogen fixing, but the overall methods of organic farming are actually more harmful to the environment than regular farming is.

  • Yea, yea. . . you don’t care for anecdotal evidence. .. the mantra of the medical community when parents tell them they had a healthy newborn until it received its vaccinations.  And thousands of other parents keep telling them that for decades. . it’s anecdotal.  Just science-speak for “I am smarter than you are and it wasn’t my child that had its brain swell up until it fried so go away until you can prove it scientifically. I only understand science, not reality. . like cause and effect.”  It’s an old argument and one that I get very sick of hearing from the medical and scientific communities.  When is it just a blow off instead of a valid reason to dismiss potential evidence? Where do you draw the line?  How many reports?  How many years of increase in incidence of autism and related problems? When does it become a trend instead of just an isolated experience?  That’s what I think about when somebody says they don’t care about anecdotal evidence.  I think they are stuck on their credentials instead of true scientific process which is after all based on OBSERVATION. That is my point about where I live. .  I observe things that it sounds like you just read about.  And your sources might be biased I suspect.  Perhaps my sources of reading are biased, but my observations are not.  And what I read seems to confirm what I see, not what you are telling me.  I am willing to learn if I am convinced a person has decent motives, but not blindly defending big money. I’ve watched people recover from a variety of serious illnesses simply by refusing to eat GMO and eat organically.  This observation convinces me there are dangers to GMO foods. When I looked into that, I discovered Seeds of Deception.  It was one of the more scientific explanations that I could find.  Since you discredit his work, I looked into it more.  After reading Smith’s credentials, he doesn’t sound very impressive, but many investigative reporters don’t have impressive credentials.  They are just writers.  Many people who discover and document injustices are just gutsy and determined. . . i.e. Erin Brockovich.  So have you read the book? Can you discredit something in the book directly to convince me that it’s not accurate?  Not just dis the author or the entire book? I’m not opposed to true progress or better farming methods.  I see some of those.  Like no-till beans that are growing right across the lane in front of my house.  I like the no-till part, but not the GMO part.

  • Miles Stockdale

    “They win almost every court case to take over a farmers land when their own seeds drift.”

    If you have been studying Monsanto for 10+ years and you still believe the lie that Monsanto sues farmers for seed drift (when they never have; not once; as the court records showed recently when organic organizations attempted to sue Monsanto and could not come up with a single case where that has ever happened) then perhaps you learn how to assess sources. I care if what I say is true. Perhaps you should do the same.

  • Geoff Puryear

    Wow, you really have no clue about organic farming. Have you ever been to an organic farm? You’ll be happy to know that most organic farmers don’t spray a damned thing, and if they do it’s not hazardous to the world and is pointed at a specific cause, not anything like the broad-spectrum chemical herbicides and pesticides used in “regular farming.” Organic farming fertilization cannot be compared to that of conventional agriculture. The fertilizers used in organic farming are of organic origin and add to the overall longevity and fertility of the soil – whereas salt-based synthetic fertilizers used in “regular farming” kill the soil micro-organisims that enable the plants to uptake nutrients which requires even more synthetic fertilizer to be used over time.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Oh good. A vaccine-autism believer. If you still believe that crap there is little sense discussing reality with you. It is a great example of anecdotal evidence should not be trusted. Scientists did take the anecdotal evidence into account by the way, but then they used science – epidemiology to show there was nothing to the claims

    I already have said that I have read the book. It is terrible. Can I give you a specific example of something in a book that I read a decade ago? No. Academics Review has gone through all of the claims that Smith made in his second book (a book that I have no intentions of reading).

    There are actually good books out there. Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding by Kingsbury is not about GMOs, but instead everything that has come before (which is really necessary to actually understand the GMO issue). Mendel in the Kitchen is the best book for covering the actual science and reality of GMOs.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Science doesn’t prove anything safe. Asking for scientific proof only shows that you don’t understand how science works.

    However, there is a mountain of evidence, including hundreds of independent studies that strongly indicate that GMOs are just as safe, if not safer, than non-GMOs.

    Right now there are thousands of plants that have been derived through radiation and chemical mutagenesis, methods that are far more risky, and lead to widespread and completely unknown changes in the genetic code. Because of the ignorant opposition to GMOs, new plant varieties derived through those methods are now on the rise again. Unlike GMOs which are extensively tested for years, these other methods avoid all that.

    Nor is there any reason to feel that plants derived through traditional breeding or hybridization are without risk. The Lenape potato was very toxic. In 2003 the organic zucchinis in New Zealand (known as the killer zucchinis) were extremely toxic, hospitalizing a large number of people, because the plants reacted to insect predation by increasing their toxin levels. Plants produce their own toxins and pesticides. Lots of them. The slight change in genetics between a variety from one year to the next can result in toxic food.

    So the reality is that no food is risk free, and indeed of the countless examples where people have been harmed by food, none of them have been from GMOs.

    People who fear GMOs have a narrow perspective both exaggerating the point of absurdity the risks with GMOs, and denying the risks with non-GMO food.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    The amount of pesticides used in organic farming is recorded by the USDA and EPA, you know. Organic farming uses several times more pesticides per acre than conventional farming does. And their restriction to only being able to use organic pesticides limits them to some completely benign ones like Bt toxin, but also some extremely toxic ones like copper sulfate. Why do you think there was such a big deal about rotenone in organic farming?

    And biotech crops reduce the need of fertilizer altogether, the best of both worlds, since any kind of fertilizer regardless releases greenhouse gases. And, heck, glyphosate reduces the toxicity and bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the soil as well, so another benefit.

    Source for that last one:

  • healthierplanet

    On Monsanto’s website – it clearly states they are about helping farmers make more with less and is about feeding the world “About 22,000 employees dedicated to finding a smarter way to feed the world.” And very well says overpopulation is one reason:
    (I noticed you actually say this in your last two sentences, agreeing with this and contradicting yourself). Politicians are on video also stating this (as the reason) when speaking of/supporting GMO’s. Yes Monsanto initally said it would lessen pesticide usuage ignoring scientists that said it would create resistant weeds when Roundup is applied in conjunction – and it is. Farmers have been doing it for years. It’s a dependent relationship. Was no need for scientists to say this to begin with, it’s just common ecological sense. Farmers have been expressing concern about how Roundup is affecting their soil, beneficial microbes included. And it has been stated glyphosate usage is up by the millions of gallons since the introduction of GMO crops And it is very well known farmers are battling “superweeds” from glyphosate usage. The USDA just approved the next generation of GMO crops as a result…they will withstand both 2,4-D and glyphosate.

  • healthierplanet

    I cannot believe what I am reading. Where to begin? Here…Info on how organic farming helps to reverse the effects of carbon emissons thereby contributing to the reversal of climate change + how organic farming can feed the world:

    Organic farming does not release more greenhouse gases, it captures carbon, through a healthy “living” (not dead/compromised) soil structure full of beneficial microbes. Soil biology is key.

    Turning more wildlife into farmland? Doesn’t make sense…Wild animals turning into farmland? Plant life turning into farmland? You must have meant to say natural areas. have never heard of this. Source please.

  • Wow. I just typed for half an hour and lost my reply. That is so frustrating. Thanks for the direct answers and reading recommendations. However, surely you don’t expect me to believe there are no politics in science? Or that funding of studies isn’t a factor in the results that are allowed to be published? That is insulting to my age alone, if not my intellect. How long did it take for “science” to determine smoking was detrimental to our health? How long did it take for science to admit vaccines were causing injury to children? They still haven’t, yet after 25 years of denial, in 1988, Congress listened to the “anecdotal evidence” parents brought to the table and created the VICP (Vaccine Injury Compensation Program) which provides hundreds of millions of dollars annually to help parents take care of their children with severe disabilities due to vaccine injury. I’m one of those loons you speak of but not because of anything I ever read. I saw the damage personally as a young adult and was unable to forget the sight of a child that suffered up to 50 seizures daily, was blind, and totally paralyzed. I heard the story of his birth and normal development until he was first vaccinated,from his mother who had been caring for him lovingly for 15 years. She told me how he began convulsing and she raced him to ER only to be told he was fine and to take him home. After several hours his little brain had swelled to the point of no return. That mom was not aware of any vaccine controversy way back when I heard her story. Neither was I. I was vaccinating my kids totally trusting in the medicine. My pediatrician way back then (my oldest child is 42) split the dosages of the vaccines he gave my kids due to his concern. Through the years I saw more “anecdotal evidence”. I ran into more children with the exact same injuries as that first boy I saw. Then my own child experienced a serious reaction. Then I became a pediatric nurse and worked in a pediatricians office where I pulled the shots and administered the vaccines myself. I saw the reactions and I took the calls from the parents. I could hear the babies crying a brain cry in the background. Now that’s a sound you don’t forget. I dutifully charted the reactions and filled out the forms from the manufacturers. . . . . . You calling me a loon does not in the least bother me. I’ve been in the trenches with vaccines as a parent and as a nurse. I didn’t have time to become a scientist too. But many times I wished I had taken up law.

  • I don’t know the answers to huge corporate farming. I think that is a problem in itself. I do know that I can grow enough to feed my family on very little area and I do not use any chemicals. I know lots of local organic gardeners who do the same thing. I think we could teach those simple skills to anyone who needs to eat without becoming scientists first. And we can teach them to fish if there is any body of water around while we are at it. . . . All the science in the world can’t change some things that nature continues to make available to common folks.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    You do know that the glyphosate resistance gene was obtained from a weed in the first place, right? Glyphosate had already been a used pesticide for several decades. All pesticides form resistances, that is a given and there’s no real way to avoid that completely. The weeds are no more super than any other weed that develops resistance to a certain pesticide, as had happened for centuries.

    Furthermore, Roundup HAS resulted in decreased pesticide usage. Farmers apply less than 36 ounces per acre, which averages out to 1 drop of glyphosate per several square feet. And this only need to be applied two or three times a growing season. Compare this to conventional or organic farming, where larger amounts of pesticides are used, often with organic farming because they are using inferior organic pesticides that either have to be injected directly into the plants or otherwise coat the plants entirely, and they also have to be reapplied every few weeks because they wear off faster.

    You want to talk about something that will increase pesticide use, look no further than organic farming.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    No, they’re not allowed to use rotenone anymore, since it is highly toxic and harms the soil. However, rotenone was one of the most widely used organic pesticides not that long ago, mainly because it actually kept pace with the far more efficient synthetic pesticides. But it only did so by being highly damaging rather than efficient.

  • hyperzombie

    but we can certainly teach them to grow their own food organically

    They grow their food organically now, that is the problem.

  • Ian

    You seem to be mixing PESTICIDE with HERBICIDE. Roundup is a herbicide – in that it kills plants (it kills everything, but is targeted at killing weeds). Pesticides kill insects.

    There is no need to ‘coat the plants entirely’ with pesticide when growing organically, you may coat the weed plant specifically but not the healthy crop.

    As for fertilizers: If we are eating vegetables and plant material for health and wellbeing we need to eat a wide variety of them to get the nutrients we need. Plants don’t specifically make nutrients they absorb them from the soil and create sugars as energy through photosynthesis.

    If the fertilizers are coming from petroleum based synthetics they cannot have the same amount of nutrition or macro nutrients from a plant growing in a bio-diverse healthy soil environment. Plants grown with natural, rather than synthetic fertilizers are more nutritious (contain more nutrients). This doesn’t even touch the adverse health impact of synthetic toxins in herbicides and pesticides.

    It’s like asking who would be healthier – 1) a person eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables OR 2) a person taking a multi vitamin every day. Which do you think it is?

  • John Zohn

    That makes it more amusing that the rotenone article was the only study I was able to find that talked about repetitive use of organic pesticides. So where is a peer reviewed study that describes the different pesticides used in organic farming and applies to the whole organic industry that organic farmers use 3 to 5 times more applications than GMO and conventional?

  • First Officer

    You’re right about the pesticides but wrong on the fertilizers. All crops, GMO or not, benefit from fertilizers. What the Organic folk don’t tell you is that all that manure they’re using is mostly coming from animals fed crops fertilized with synthetic fertilizers. Hence, even organic crops are heavily dependent on synthetically fixed nitrogen.

  • First Officer

    You’re right about the pesticides but wrong on the fertilizers. All crops, GMO or not, benefit from fertilizers. What the Organic folk don’t tell you is that all that manure they’re using is mostly coming from animals fed crops fertilized with synthetic fertilizers. Hence, even organic crops are heavily dependent on synthetically fixed nitrogen.

  • First Officer
  • First Officer
  • Cammy

    I didn’t miss the point. I get the point. My point is that GMO advocates want to plant GMO crops in third world countries – not here (think Golden rice). Our GMO crops primarily go to feed for animals as well as processed foods like Frosted Flakes and Pringles. The answer isn’t just airlifting a bunch of boxes of crackers or Kale to countries suffering from warn torn conditions, and poor farming conditions. Of course I’m all for donating any extra crops/foods to 3rd world countries. Remember countries are increasingly suspicious of our food supplies due to GMO contamination.

  • Cammy

    Right. And increasingly Monsanto is bullying countries into placing centers for GMO “research” like in Mexico by giving them monetary incentives. Even when they know Mexico is opposed to GMO corn.

  • John Zohn

    Yes, I saw that only California outlawed Rotenone. I wasn’t concerned about that point, I was just tired of Sterling and his disinformation campaign saying just about everyday, that Organic uses 3 to 5 times the quantity of applications that GMO and conventional farming uses which is pure BS. But if you research the things that Sterling says you notice that he repeats a whole lot of industry propaganda and then says any article that doesn’t glorify GMOs is essentially organic industry lies.

  • Warren Lauzon

    This is a really dumb article. So I am supposed to send what is left of my half eaten burger and two week old celery stalks to Bangladesh or what? He totally fails to explain why there is so much waste, or how to divert any of that waste to places that need it, or where most of that waste occurs.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Oh lordy.. not that stupid Indian suicide thing again. That has been disproven so many times that it is almost a joke when it still comes up.

  • fetai46

    I was in agreement with the second part of your statement, but this is ridiculous, can you explain how exactly does organic farming lead to the overusage of pesticides? doesn’t make any sense., I think the reason that most are so against Organic farming is that it is more labour intensive. Permaculture could be one way forward, if given a chance.

  • Warren Lauzon

    “..Farmers have been expressing concern about how Roundup is affecting their soil..” – Have they really? I can find very little to back up your claim. Nearly all of the opposition comes from armchair farmers, not real ones.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Weeds are pests. Roundup kills weeds. Roundup is a pesticide. Bugs are pests. Malathion kills bugs. Malathion is a pesticide.

  • Warren Lauzon

    “..According to estimates by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 40 per cent of India’s fresh fruit and vegetables – worth an annual $8.3bn or so – perishes before reaching consumers. Each year, some 21m metric tonnes of wheat, especially grain – an amount almost equal to Australia’s total annual production – rots in India because of improper storage in the custody of the government-controlled Food Corporation of India..”.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Nobody is forcing anyone to use GMO seeds.

  • fetai46

    You are so right, I speak as someone who has nearly lost my life and my memory, due to the misuse of chemicals, what is happening in the US and around the world is truly frightening, we are poisoning the next generation and our land. I live in Ireland, I hope I am dead before this beautiful country is destroyed by the ignorance.of some within and beyond the EU.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Sheesh.. an anti-vacciner also.

  • Warren Lauzon

    No, I usually try to stay away from books of myths and fairy tales like that.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Sounds to me like all of your “studying” has consisted only of hitting up the anti-science and anti-GMO sites.

  • healthierplanet

    “Organic farming uses several times more pesticides per acre than conventional farming does. ” ?? – Source Please!

    “turning more wildlife into farmland.” ?? – Source Please!
    You seem more educated on Conventional Farming than Organic Farming.
    And keep repeating the same things, but with no reasonable scientific explanation of how you came to these conclusions.
    (I am even questioning if you work for one of these pesticide companies)
    …So I’m not going to go back and forth because it’s no use, and will just go on forever. HOWEVER, I would really like to read the scientific research on these two claims you are making.

  • Miles Stockdale

    The research in Mexico is on hybrids, not GMOs. But who cares about the truth when you have an ideology to spread right?

  • Miles Stockdale

    Gardening will never feed more than a tiny percentage of the world’s populations. In general larger farms are more efficient than smaller ones; they are the ones that feed the world, and that will only increase in the future. People don’t buy computers, phones or cars that were manufactured in a local family business. Farming is different, but still this desire for our food to be produced by some poor local small farmers is based on a bunch of myths, irrational fears, and logical fallacies.

  • I’m so sorry for what has happened to you. So many people around me die of cancer and the children are all messed up. When I grew up it was rare to see a child with problems of any kind. I never saw an autistic child until I was a young adult and raising children of my own. Now it’s everywhere and if it isn’t full blown autism, it’s behaviors that are strange, learning disabilities, or dietary problems that are incredibly difficult to manage. Yet there is only denial and no open minded inquiry into the relationship between environmental changes like vaccines and/or toxins and the problems we are seeing increasing exponentially.

  • Oil is a different beast than medicine or vaccines or GMO. Oil manages to get its way without scientists on their side. Monsanto controls via political agencies such as the EPA. They send someone to Washington D.C. that works to change policy in their favor. Then they return to their corporate position at the company and proceed with their new directives.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Again, I don’t care about your anecdotes.

    Science has never denied that vaccine injuries happen. The Cutter laboratories incident in 1955 is well known. The position, based on mountains of evidence, is that the risks of vaccines are extremely low, and the benefits exceeds those small risks by several orders of magnitude.

    As to your bogus history lesson, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was actually set up because pharmaceutical companies were pulling out of vaccine manufacturing due to the multiple large lawsuits won against drug companies after the bogus DPT scare. The VICP was actually set up to protect vaccine makers, which would ensure a stable vaccine supply, while also ensuring that people who may have been injured by vaccines are compensated, but stopped sympathetic juries from awarding large sums of money to people even though their injury was often not linked vaccines.

  • They do fund many university science programs and I am told that scientists who contract to work in these programs are not allowed to publish their findings without the permission of the university. If they do, they will be stampeded by lawyers into oblivion. Chances are good that there is a body of evidence out there, but we may not be able to access it. The scientists that go into hiding, that give interviews in the shadows . . . what have they to gain by whistleblowing? Again I ask you that question. Here’s one internet article you can sample on this subject, but I have read this same sort of thing from many different sources:

  • Just in case you don’t take the time to read it, a student speaks out about how they were advised not to pursue organic farming studies, but to instead study something Monsanto would fund. . . . It’s called the “golden rule”. Those with the gold, rule.

  • John Zohn

    He can’t do it. He probably heard it on some corporate GMO propaganda website like Jon Entine’s Genetic Literacy Project but knows if he actually posts the article it will be so easily debunked it would defeat the purpose and then he wouldn’t be able to repeat it every day.

  • I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m pro proven safe vaccines.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Yes, I understand that is how your conspiracy mind works, but there is simply no evidence for your claim.

    Throughout the university system there are thousands of scientists who have relevant expertise. They have no incentive to side with Monsanto, and many are very anti-corporate. They do side with the science because they actually understand it and they think the claims from people like you are embarrassing. There is a massive scientific consensus on this issue, and that consensus has nothing to do with Monsanto, and everything to do with a dispassionate evaluate of the overwhelming evidence.

  • Organic farmers are not necessarily poor or that small, but they are not humongous, farming thousands of acres either. A couple hundred acres works nicely. There are what we have always called “truck farmers” here. They have very large gardens and sell their food in booths in town. They do a good business every year and I often stop by and pick out a melon or some tomatoes. All locally grown stuff even if not organic. At least they don’t have to gas it and truck it across country. I lived for many years in the produce capitol of the USA. . the Imperial Valley. Farming is something I’ve lived very close to most of my life. When the helicopters would spray the fields I would always get a headache that day (Sunday – they spray Sundays because the workers are not in the fields that day only) There are so many kids with birth defects and autism in those areas of the country where they spray so much. We moved back to the midwest in 04. I have close friends and neighbors who farm thousands of acres and do a great job of it. But I won’t eat their food. They are all very sickly too. I have other friends and neighbors who eat organically and are very healthy, so I pick healthy, thanks. We live in farm country with fields on every side. The farm equipment is so wide it takes up a two lane road. The harvest is going on right now. We all talk corn and beans and hay. We grow hay ourselves which is a great crop. No plowing. No pesticides. No fertilizers. It’s like a large lawn that gets mowed twice a year. I love it. And I’ve been around farmers for all these years and watched how it has evolved. More is not always better. The food produced years ago was good quality food even if there was less of it. Now we have too much and it’s poor quality.

  • If the DPT (diptheria, pertussis, tetanus) scare was bogus, why is it no longer the DPT but is now the DTAP (diptheria, tetanus, attenuated pertussis)or the TDaP with much better results??? My daughter had a serious reaction to her first DPT at six months of age (she was too ill to receive any vaccines until that age and then a pediatrician forced me to give it to her against my better judgement by threatening to turn me in to child protective services). Sure enough she reacted. She was never given DPT again but only received Td’s. It was obvious that they suspected the pertussis was the problem since they omitted that component. She never reacted to the Td.

  • The wonderful doctor insisted I vaccinate her yet he refused to give her an AIDS test first because he didn’t want to stigmatize her. ??? My concern was that if she was compromised, the vaccines could be lethal. She was from an adverse birth situation, born to a long time heroin addict, very sick from withdrawals and monthly bouts of bronchiolitis. During this particular visit, she was free of fever and signs of infection so he decided to force it on her. She developed a fever of 104 within an hour of injection and began to vibrate like she had been plugged into 220 with this fever surge. Her lips and fingernails turned blue and she was unresponsive with her eyes open and not seeing. She was also crying that strange brain cry that children who react or have brain injury do. Thankfully I had refused to even put her down after she was vaccinated. Most parents go home and put the baby to bed but I had heard that story so many times that I had a morbid fear of it, so I went to a gift shop that was owned by my friend and just walked around holding her. She was asleep in my arms when the reaction began showing itself. If I had left her in bed, who knows what would have happened to her little brain. Fortunately I was able to get antiemetic down her with a dropper and reduce her raging fever immediately. I called the stupid doctor who had promised to remain available to me if I let him vaccinate her. He was out to lunch but his nurse advised me through the reaction. I just had a bad feeling about it and was very fearful she might react. She was a frail baby and needed more time to mature before being vaccinated. I had watched her react to smaller dosages of other medications she had been prescribed. If a doctor gave me a dosage, I would reduce it to one third first to see how she tolerated it. Sometimes even that reduced dosage would cause problems for her.

  • John Zohn

    Decreased pesticide usage in GMO crops is more industry BS Sterling. This is the conclusion of scientific research by the Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University. “Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%. The magnitude of increases in herbicide use on herbicide-resistant hectares has dwarfed the reduction in insecticide use on Bt crops over the past 16 years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”
    I can post other scientific studies if you’re going to say this one is invalid.

  • John Zohn

    Ian, the term pesticide is generic applies to all of the “substances meant for attracting, seducing, destroying, or mitigating any pest” here are most of them: herbicide, insecticide, insect growth regulator, nematicide, termiticide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, predacide and bactericide

  • John Zohn

    Ian, the term pesticide is generic applies to all of the “substances meant for attracting, seducing, destroying, or mitigating any pest” here are most of them: herbicide, insecticide, insect growth regulator, nematicide, termiticide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, predacide and bactericide

  • Warren Lauzon

    And of course, like GMO’s, none are proven safe.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Herbicides, insecticides, piscicides, and others are all pesticides. The latter is the umbrella term.

    Also, back up the rest of your comment with a source. Scientific paper published in a peer review journal, if you please.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    The pesticides that organic farming is restricted to using are largely inferior and don’t last as long, which means they must be reapplied every few weeks. This leads to more pesticide application in total.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So they actually have specific numbers of per acre usage of glyphosate? Considering actual usage with the bags is less than 36 ounces per acre, resulting in one drop spread out over several square feet.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Why was it replaced by a newer vaccine? Because of the widespread scare that was caused by a study that has since been largely discredited. In the 1970s, the prominent Dr. Wilson put out a paper linking 36 patients with brain damage to the DPT vaccine. A scare ensued and many lawsuits based on poor evidence. However, as scientists began to study the issue they found that the cases disappeared under scrutiny. Dr. Wilson himself admits that his paper has not stood up to scrutiny. Several of his patients were found to have never had the vaccines at all. Several others had their symptoms start before the vaccine, and others that he claimed had brain damage were/are actually neurologically fine. In the end only 3 of the 36 cases hold up as possibly caused by the vaccine. However, during the time between when the scare was started and when the study was discredited, the inflated risks were accepted as likely and the vaccine was switched over to a new version.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Yes, on the USDA site.

  • Warren Lauzon

    From the USDA site: “..In 2007, roughly 877 million pounds of active ingredients were applied to U.S. cropland at a cost of roughly $7.9 billion. In comparison, in 1980, roughly 1.1 billion pounds of active ingredients were applied at a cost of roughly $7.1 billion (in inflation-adjusted dollars). During 1980-2007 the aggregate quantity of pesticides applied in the U.S. declined at an average rate of 0.6 percent per year, while inflation-adjusted expenditures increased 0.6 percent per year. The prices paid by agricultural producers for fuel, seed, fertilizer, and labor increased roughly twice as fast as the prices paid for pesticides during this period..”.

  • Miles Stockdale

    Oh I read it. It is laughable. An unnamed student was advised by her supervisor not to pursue organic farming studies. The article is as bogus as everything else Jill Richardson writes.

    It is true that if I just decided to research “X” then chances are good I would not receive funding for it, for the simple reason that most proposals get turned down for grants, and my research should be closely related to my supervisor’s work.

  • If I’m not mistaken, scientists are people – homo sapiens. My conspiracy mind has learned at great expense emotionally for me how people operate. They are never dispassionate when it comes to money or power.

    If scientific statistics are in conflict with my direct observation, I’m going with my direct observation. I’ve been a mother and a nurse too long to not trust my instincts. The scientific community is sometimes the last group to embrace truths that are self evident to other groups. Your track record goes before you. Science has it’s place and I am fond of it, but it is subject to all the same influences and faults that other groups are. It is riddled with bias, competition, pride, and stubborn refusal to entertain new ideas. It is subject to corruption and there is plenty of evidence to prove that.

    At this point in the game to deny that vaccinations can cause incredible damage to susceptible children, and that it’s natural and intelligent for parents to be highly suspicious of all the comforting statistics in the face of all the tragic realities, speaks of a mind that either lives in denial or has other reasons to avoid the truth.

  • Exactly. The waste that I’m most aware of is grocers having to dump outdated food or restaurants having to dump the days prepared food. We have to waste food in order to feed safely. Anything we return to the ground is not wasted. So maybe we just need to compost that waste???

    Well, another place I see incredible waste is in the school cafeterias. Most kids drink their chocolate milk, scarf down a handful of fries and dump the rest. If kids brought their lunch from home and had their mother to answer to, there would be a lot less waste and a lot healthier kids, not to mention all the money saved for the school system – but that would be a huge black eye for the commercial food service industry.

  • I think our senses are quite reliable in most cases. I can tell you from experience that organic food TASTES much better and many times has much better texture than non-organically grown food. I operated a produce buying club for three years and we ordered both organic and non-organic produce. The customers almost always began to drift toward organic eating because they began to prefer the taste. An example was organic bananas. Non-organic also means that product is sprayed not only with pesticides but also with hormones to cause them to ripen more quickly. The organic bananas stayed green and fresh much longer and their texture and taste was far superior. If you put two batches of bananas on your counter, the non-organics over ripen in short order (3-5 days) The organics would last more like 7-10 and still be very edible. Whenever we got a batch of bananas that were not organic, the customers would be so disappointed because their own bodies taught them to prefer the organic produce. This ran true for apples, greens, cucumbers, berries, and a lot of other fresh produce product. We found also that many customers who were unwilling to pay the extra cost for organic initially began to order more and more of it despite the cost differences.

  • Oh Miles. . . .get over it. Why would we need an ideology? We are just fighting for our health and our right to know and even grow what we are eating. Talk about conspiracy theories. . .

  • Now that is propaganda pure and simple. The third world countries are not denied anything useful by forgoing the GMO unproven route. It can benefit by the age old proven safe methods while you work out the kinks in your unnecessary programs. Look closely at the most healthful populations and how they sustain themselves. . . . . the ones that have NO record of cancer and who live the longest most vital lives on the planet???? Do they eat commercially grown food? Nope. And they allow NO pesticides or chemicals brought in to their land. . . just one example are the Hunza. They grow their food, they eat less not more, they are less aggressive so they lead peaceful healthy lives. However, if they leave their homeland and eat the foods we eat, they fall prey to the same diseases we do. They do drink mineral rich glacier water and they eat apricot pits as well. But it can’t be just their genes. It’s their very pure diet – oh , also very low in meat. Just a bit of chicken, eggs, and goatmilk. Their grains are millet and buckwheat only.

  • Nobody forced South Americans to switch from nursing their babies to using baby formula either. . . . but it happened didn’t it? Because advertising is so clever and preys upon the third world. Too bad the formula companies didn’t think about the fact the people would use tainted water to mix the formula and kill their kids. Same scenario with GMO seeds. . . nobody has to force anything at first.

  • Would GMO fix that? Not. Oh, unless you can engineer live food that won’t rot. Maybe stick a cardboard gene in it? Well it tastes like cardboard anyway. . . . . Or maybe take all the living nutrients out of it? Oh yea, we already did that.

  • Right. . . like respond to advertising and promises of companies who want to monopolize their seed market. Just like the mothers wanted to give their babies the magic formulas to make their babies smarter in China???

  • Warren Lauzon

    You are apparently not aware that much or most of that Hunza diet thing is a myth, taken from a trip report by some 1920’s British traveler. And they don’t really eat apricot pits, nor do they live to 130 as some goofy sites have stated.

  • Warren Lauzon

    You changed the topic. The subject is food waste, not GMO’s.

  • The Hunza people are world renowned and known by many more than the original people who visited them.  Many have studied them.  I read about them from several different sources.  There are other groups in Japan and in South America who enjoy similar health and longevity benefits if you can’t believe the Hunza are real.  But if you want to learn about this ethnic group of Pakistan, just google it.  Numerous sites are available with very modern researchers to expound on their diet and longevity.

  • Warren Lauzon

    I been seeing myths like that for decades from all over the world. The problem is that the sources are nearly always tainted or biased, and in many cases based only on rumors and hearsay evidence. And despite some claims on some sites, I have never seen any actual proof that they live 120+ years old, among other claims.

  • What I have read about them seems entirely believable.  No claims of living far past 100 but what they do say is that they remain very vital into their 90’s. It seems people who live in relative isolation and often times at high elevations seem to enjoy amazing vitality and health. Their food supply is very local and their genetics probably remain very pure.  Not too many immigrants to the high Himalayas.

  • biotech shill for hire

    I have a question: how can I become a hired biotech shill? I really need
    the money. I know enough of the main talking points that I could easily
    argue for them as well as I could against them. It’s all a matter of
    rhetoric and appearing the most authoritative and open-minded to win
    people over, no?

    There is no evidence that GMOs are safe, there is merely a lack of evidence that GMOs are explicitly harmful. Nevertheless, the GMO “debate” is nothing more than a red herring.

    The truest potential for harm comes from the patented herbicides glyphosate and 2,4-D that the patented GM crops are designed to resist. Everyone knows that real crop resilience comes from artificially-selected and crossbred grain strains; GMO is just a way to take something that was already effective and freely available, proprietize it, brand it and sell it back to people for greater profit.

    * Glyphosate linked to celiac (I know, it’s controversial because the study writers aren’t playing for the right team)

    * Glyphosate inhibits shikimate pathway

    Since the shikimate pathway is important for bacteria, and celiac is associated with a low diversity of healthy/beneficial gut flora, there is reason to believe that glyphosate is a contributing factor to the decline of probiotic life in the digestive tract that happen to be useful for digesting wheat, in the case of celiac.

    Again, if anyone needs a seasoned shill, contact me. I only ask for an 80k starting salary and to work remotely.

  • My point was that GMO is not the answer to food waste. You can’t outproduce bad practices of storage. GMO advocates argue that it’s the answer to food shortages and we need GMO’s to “feed the world”. Production doesn’t seem to be the major malfunction.

  • AgrSci1

    Rotenone does not harm the soil (an amuzing phrase often used). It is very effective at killing fish which obviously didnot bother the organic crowd for many years.

  • AgriSci1

    Most people promoting organic crop production are very idealistic and completely ignorant about crop production. In many cases, organic farming is worse for
    the environment. Just a couple things to think about. Organic farmers cannot use
    herbicides for weed control so they rely on tillage. This causes more erosion which results in more sediment in our streams which can damage aquatic environments.
    Contrary to the claims, yields from organic productions are much lower than with conventional production. Therefore, more land has to be farmed and taken away from wildlife to produce the same amount of crops as with conventional production. Also, since organic production does not allow the uses of inorganic nitrogen, the land is often rotated into a legume crop just to build N. This is good, but removes more land from production and will again result in more environmentally sensitive land being farmed.

    Be aware that organic farmers do use pesticides approved for their use. It is amusing that the pesticides conventional farmers use are organic molecules that will degrade, but some of the pesticides used by organic farmers (iron sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate) are inorganic molecules and could be in the environment for years. (But don’t worry, they won’t harm you. Unlike organic fanatics, I’ll be honest about the real risks involved.) I believe that many organic crop production rules also allow the use of nicotine-insecticides. That’s like forcing cute innocent insects to smoke cigarettes.

    The bottom-line, in most ways, organic production is worse for the environment than conventional cropping practices. The supporters of organic foods need to obtain a better understanding of agriculture before they espouse on topics about which they are completely ignorant.

    One parting thought, as the desire for biofuels (ethanol) increases, the need for higher yields will also increase. That will require the cultivation of even more sensitive acres to produce low yielding organic crops. Or, maybe we should just increase our use of fossil fuels.

  • AgriSci1