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This isn’t a leak. It isn’t a timid flow. It’s a flood. I’m talking about the criticism of Monsanto’s so-called science of genetically-engineered food.
For the past 20 years, independent researchers have been attacking Monsanto science in various ways, and finally the NY Times has joined the crowd.
But it’s the way Mark Bittman, lead food columnist for the Times magazine, does it that really the crashes the whole GMO delusion. Writing in his April 2 column, “Why Do G.M.O.’s Need Protection?”, Bittman leads with this:
“Genetic engineering in agriculture has disappointed many people who once had hopes for it.”
As in: the party’s over, turn out the lights.
Bittman explains: “…genetic engineering, or, more properly, transgenic engineering – in which a gene, usually from another species of plant, bacterium or animal, is inserted into a plant in the hope of positively changing its nature – has been disappointing.”
As if this weren’t enough, Bittman spells it out more specifically: “In the nearly 20 years of applied use of G.E. in agriculture there have been two notable ‘successes,’ along with a few less notable ones. These are crops resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (Monsanto develops both the seeds and the herbicide to which they’re resistant) and crops that contain their own insecticide. The first have already failed, as so-called superweeds have developed resistance to Roundup, and the second are showing signs of failing, as insects are able to develop resistance to the inserted Bt toxin — originally a bacterial toxin — faster than new crop variations can be generated.”
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Bittman goes on to write that superweed resistance was a foregone conclusion; scientists understood, from the earliest days of GMOs, that spraying generations of these weeds with Roundup would give us exactly what we have today: failure of the technology to prevent what it was designed to prevent. The weeds wouldn’t die out. They would retool and thrive.
“The result is that the biggest crisis in monocrop agriculture – something like 90 percent of all soybeans and 70 percent of corn is grown using Roundup Ready seed – lies in glyphosate’s inability to any longer provide total or even predictable control, because around a dozen weed species have developed resistance to it.” Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup.
Just as the weeds developed resistance and immunity to the herbicide, insects that were supposed to be killed by the toxin engineered into Monsanto’s BT crops are also surviving.
Five years ago, it would have been unthinkable that the NY Times would print such a complete rejection of GMO plant technology. Now, it’s “well, everybody knows.”
The Times sees no point in holding back any longer.
Of course, if it were a newspaper with any real courage, it would launch a whole series of front-page pieces on this enormous failure, and the gigantic fraud that lies behind it. Then the Times might actually see its readership improve.