As noted in past posts, the tentacles of progressive environmentalism and fear-mongering against genetically modified organisms reach deep into the universe of religious shareholder activism. In fact, the connection between Green America and shareholder groups As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility reads like a tin-eared version of “Dem Bones” wherein the connective tissue is mutual involvement with US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment and Ceres.
Knowledge of the complicated interrelationships of these investment groups prompted your writer to open an email from Green America’s Anna Meyer this past week. Ms. Meyer fears the world might actually feed GMO-derived nourishment to its pets:
Last week we celebrated a victory for consumers when Mars, maker of M&Ms and Skittles, announced it would remove artificial colors from all of its human foods. This shows that Mars is a company that listens to what its customers want.
Now we must tell Mars to deepen its commitment to sustainability by offering non-GMO human and pet food products.
Mars is the largest candy manufacturer in the US and the second largest in pet food sales. Popular Mars products that may contain GMOs include M&Ms, Snickers, and its pet food lines, including Iams, Eukanuba, and Whiskas.
In the US, 92% of our corn and 94% of our soybeans are genetically modified. As most candies and pet foods contain these ingredients, it’s highly likely we are eating GMOs and feeding them to our pets GMOs [sic] as well.
Let Mars know that our furry friends deserve non-GMO foods too. Ask Mars to offer non-GMO options for our pets! …
Join us in encouraging Mars to deepen its commitment to sustainability this Valentine’s Day by offering non-GMO candies and pet foods!
You really can’t make this stuff up, dear readers. Following a link from the email to the Green America website, GMO Inside, the anti-GMO rant continues with seriously misleading rhetoric:
GMOs have never been proven safe for consumption. GMOs are designed to go hand-in-hand with harmful pesticides, such as glyphosate (Roundup), 2,4-D, and dicamba. This has created superbugs and superweeds, immune to these chemicals, that in turn need heavier and more toxic herbicide application, polluting vital soil and water resources. Additionally, the World Health Organization recently designated glyphosate and 2,4-D as probable carcinogens.
Sounds scary, doesn’t it? But much like the creepy dancing skeletons in “Dem Bones” it simply can’t withstand scientific scrutiny. Let’s examine the WHO claims against glyphosate, shall we? The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer did indeed warn of glyphosate’s potential carcinogenic properties in a March 2015 report. The IARC classified glyphosates in Group 2A:
Group 2A means that the agent is probably carcinogenic to humans. This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations (called chance, bias, or confounding) could not be ruled out. This category is also used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and strong data on how the agent causes cancer.
Not entirely compelling verification, is it? Remember, IARC is the same agency that declared red meat another probable carcinogen. Nor does “limited evidence” withstand scrutiny when compared to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and The European Food Safety Administration. The EFSA reported in 2013:
EFSA and the EU Member States have finalised the re-assessment of glyphosate, a chemical that is used widely in pesticides. The report concludes that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and proposes a new safety measure that will tighten the control of glyphosate residues in food. The conclusion will be used by the European Commission in deciding whether or not to keep glyphosate on the EU list of approved active substances, and by EU Member States to re-assess the safety of pesticide products containing glyphosate that are used in their territories.
And the EPA assessed in 2013:
5. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. Based on the lack of evidence of carcinogenicity in two adequate rodent carcinogenicity studies, glyphosate is not expected to pose a cancer risk to humans. 6. Determination of safety. Based on these risk assessments, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to glyphosate residues.
If the EPA and EFSA determine glyphosates safe for your writer and his immediate family, it follows such pesticides also pose insignificant harm to his two beloved shelter dogs.
Immigration is always a controversial subject. Catholic social teaching maintains that there is a right to migrate. But what does this mean, especially in societies saturated in “rights-talk”? This monograph explains the nature, origins and limits of the right to migrate, and illustrates some of its policy-implications.