Proposition 37, the ballot measure mandating the labeling of genetically modified food that is also known as the “right to know” initiative, is narrowly running ahead of the opposition, according to the latest opinion polls.
But even if the measure goes down — and it’s the target of a $35-million publicity attack by agricultural and food industry interests — the campaign behind it will mark an important milestone in politics: the deployment of weapons-grade junk science.
But where science is at the heart of a campaign, as it is for Proposition 37, the promotion of manifestly shoddy research is especially shameful.
The research in question is a paper published a few weeks ago by a team led by French biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini. Its findings were explosive: Laboratory rats fed for up to two years on genetically modified corn of a type widely used in the U.S. developed huge, grotesque tumors.
The paper claimed to be “the first detailed documentation of long-term deleterious effects arising from the consumption” of the corn.
Public ignorance can be a powerful weapon in the hands of people brandishing research carrying the veneer of credibility. Yes, Seralini’s paper was published in a “peer-reviewed” journal, but that doesn’t make it indisputable. Peer reviews are known to fail, and it’s not uncommon — and becoming less uncommon — for published papers to be retracted when their data are shown to be unreliable.
We’ve posted on the Seralini’s paper and its flaws. Also pointed out to me was a horrendous video that connected pesticides to Agent Orange and is more anti-corporation than anything else. NO one is poisoning our food supply. If that were true, wouldn’t we all be dead or sick instead of living longer than ever before? The push for Proposition 37 is fueled by propaganda, pure and simple, because that works. People don’t know the rest of the story and they aren’t very willing to find out what it would be like if we didn’t have chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and scientific advancements that allow us to grow more and better food to feed the HUGE population that exists.
Tip: Molly Hodgdon