You are here

Using the Internet to get yourself up to speed on the half-truths of the GM crop and food lobby

The problem

Are GM (genetically modified, some prefer "GE", genetically engineered) crops and food safe? Reading the mainstream press is probably going to confuse you more than anything else. The reason for this is it's extremely hard to tell who's telling "the truth". However, use of the Internet (and a few books that you can purchase through the Internet) can help you to see through the half-truths and distortions frequently used by proponents of GM crops and food. People who oppose the introduction of GM crops and food can, of course, resort to the same kind of tactics, so it's really up to the individual to look at the evidence and come to his or her own conclusion. The information is freely available on the Internet, all I do is give a few guidelines below to help you find it.

As I write (late June 2008), Australia is slowly trying to make up its collective mind about whether to allow the introduction of GM crops. Victoria and New South Wales, for example, have ended their moratorium on the planting of GM crops, and WA is maintaining its moratorium, though a debate on whether to extend it or not is now raging in that state. A friend of mine sent me an article from the Farm Weekly and I would like to use this article as an example of pro-GM writing. I would like to show how the writer uses half-truths and distortions to make his points, and how more detailed knowledge about much of the material in the article, allowing the reader to see 'where the writer is coming from,' is quite easily available on the Internet. Since information is democracy's oxygen, it would be a good idea perhaps if Australians take a deep breath before they finally decide on whether they really want GM crops and food or not.

The writer, Peter Lee, uses quotations from Shakespeare to back up some of the arguments he makes in the article. That's fine. I know almost nothing about Shakespeare, but I think this shows that Peter is a well-educated person of the English-speaking world. He especially gives the Shakespearean quote "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." just before he launches into his main argument about "whether WA farmers should be allowed to grow GM canola." Let's have a look at Peter's argument.

Why the lack of scientific proof?

Just after the Shakespeare quote, Peter says, "There is no scientific proof that GM foods are dangerous, yet an entire industry has been built up world-wide to frighten (well-fed!) people into believing that such foods are unnatural and unsafe."

Yes, there is no scientific proof concerning whether GM foods are safe or not because the entire biotechnology industry has quite adamantly refused to do any conclusive testing on GM foods.

Yes, there is no scientific proof concerning whether GM foods are safe or not because the entire biotechnology industry has quite adamantly refused to do any conclusive testing on GM foods. Several preliminary and rigorous experiments by independent researchers on the feeding of GM foods to rats (e.g. by Arpad Pusztai and Irina Ermakova) have shown that there may be severe health impacts from the consumption of GM foods, but the biotechnology industry, whilst rebutting these experimental results has not followed up on them. The researchers who have carried out these experiments have complained of being forced to desist, through a cutting off of their funding, sudden firing, or retirement (in the case of Arpad Pusztai). The relevant books, see below, which are easily available from Internet bookstores, documentaries, such as the YouTube broadcasts here and here and The Genetic Conspiracy, and websites, e.g. ISIS (, whose director is Dr Mae Wan Ho, note several such examples. What is frightening people is what appears to be a refusal to carry out rigorous testing on the human health effects of GM foods.

A small sample of useful books:

  • Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
  • Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating
  • Mae-Wan Ho, Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare?: The Brave New World of Science and Business

The organic vs. conventional and the non-GM vs. GM analogy

Peter goes on to set up an analogy on possible similarities in the contrasts between organic and conventionally-grown food on the one hand and between non-GM food (essentially the same thing as conventionally-grown food) and GM food on the other. However, we need to look at what Peter says in a little detail to see whether his analogy is actually valid or not.

Peter says, "It is interesting to compare the attitude of these [anti-GM] believers with those who have a similar belief about organic foods and have convinced themselves that non-organic food is either unsafe or unpalatable, even though science is unable to support their beliefs."

Anyone as apparently ill-informed on agriculture as this really should not be writing a column as an "agripolitical analyst" in a farm-related newspaper. I can only suggest that Peter go to Wikipedia and enter the keywords "(Sir) Albert Howard". He will find information on Sir Albert Howard's 1940 book, An Agricultural Testament, and Lady Eve Balfour's The Living Soil. These contain information on comparative studies on the effects of eating organic food and conventionally-grown (using chemical fertilizers and pesticides) food on people. This is over half a century ago, when food, water, soil and air were nowhere near as polluted with chemicals as they are now. These books are available at no cost as electronic editions on the Internet1. I recommend anyone who is interested in food issues read them.

I was told … that GM canola will not help Japanese children's atopy (skin allergy) problems. Only when food is cooked with non-GM canola is the atopy relieved. Because the scientific tests have not been carried out, we have no way of knowing why this is, …

Closer to home, I recently visited Caralyn Lagrange, who does wonderful organic gardening near Perth, WA. Caralyn came to organic farming through breast cancer as a viable way to get good chemical-free nutrition. Her book "Gardening and Eating for Living" is a little treasure, and you can find out more about it on her website. You see, most people seem to be able to eat conventionally grown food with no apparent problems, but some people are more sensitive to the chemicals used to produce the food. I've heard of people in Japan whose lips become numb as soon as they put chemically-grown vegetables in their mouths and thus cannot survive without very conscientiously grown organic food.

With respect to the non-GM/GM canola problem, I was told by a friend who was a member of the Japanese consumer group representatives mission to WA, mentioned below, that GM canola will not help Japanese children's atopy (skin allergy) problems. Only when food is cooked with non-GM canola is the atopy relieved. Because the scientific tests have not been carried out, we have no way of knowing why this is, but we may conjecture, for example, that it is the different, possibly novel, protein content in the GM canola that is the culprit. Perhaps we'll know if anyone is ever allowed to do the tests. Of course, organic canola would be even better than the conventionally-grown non-GM canola, but it is not available in the amounts necessary. If WA canola farmers want to try their hand at producing organic canola for the Japanese market, I'm sure they will be welcomed with open arms.


Peter continues, "But organic supporters have not tried to ban the production of non-organic food, merely wishing to ensure that they have access to sufficient quantities of the food of their choice."

Yes, that's because organic farming and conventional farming has managed to coexist, for example by taking precautions (overwhelmingly on the side of the organic farmer) against the chemicals polluting organic farming lands. The seeds used in both types of farming might be the same, and there is usually no big problem with pollution from wind-blown or insect-carried pollen.

Now let's take a look at the GM/non-GM issue. The point is that the novel genes from the GM plant will pollute the non-GM varieties. When the farmer next door plants a GM crop (canola, soybeans, maize, and so on) next to your field where you have planted a non-GM variety of the same crop, your produce will almost certainly be polluted with the GM variety genes. There are two major problems with this. Firstly, depending on who you are planning to sell the produce to, the level of GM pollution in your produce may become unacceptable to the buyer. If you are trying to export non-GM canola to a Japanese consumer group, NO level of GM contamination is acceptable. 0%. At this point you have lost your market. If you are an organic farmer, there is no way, once the GM contamination is discovered, that you can sell your produce as organic. In other words, the coexistence of GM and non-GM varieties is extremely problematical. With respect to canola, this fact has already been amply demonstrated in Canada, which has been extensively contaminated with GM canola genes such that it is effectively impossible to grow non-GM canola in Canada now.

Secondly, that's just how the GM variety seed producing companies want it. In the USA and Canada, non-GM farmers have been ruined by court cases, or the threat of them, from GM seed companies simply because of the contaminated plants that have 'fortuitously' grown on their land. A well-known case is that of Percy Schmeiser, information on whom you can find with a simple web search. The actions of the companies threaten to have the effect of driving out all non-GM growers. Coexistence just doesn't seem to be possible.

In WA, the recommended buffer zone between GM and non-GM canola crops is five meters, which is supposed to be on the non-GM farmer's side of the fence, by the way. You can find references to this on the website of the the Network of Concerned Farmers. Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) recommends 600 m. Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, where concern over the commercial planting of GM crops is higher, the recommended distance is 1200 m, but it is not certain whether this distance will completely prevent contamination (cross-pollination by wind-borne pollen and so on) or not. If you type in the search words "five-metre buffer zone canola" in Google, you will see that one entry says"GM canola pollen has been found up to 26 kilometres from its source." Try putting that buffer zone on the inside of your fence. Five meters is laughable. It also comes with a caveat that the non-GM farmer "is to accept" a 0.9% contamination of his/her crop. You can find this in the pdf file of the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation report "Delivering Market Choice with GM Canola". Just type the title into Google to find the file. That's not coexistence, that's downright surrender. Surrender to what? What are the GM seed companies trying to achieve? It looks to me like they are trying to achieve nothing less than the total control of all the world's food crop seeds. They appear to be acting in a manner that would give them control of the world's food supply and an everlasting source of income from the sale of the seeds, which must be bought anew each year. This comes courtesy of the legalistic sleight of hand that allows patents on life. If that doesn't send a chill up your spine, nothing ever will.

Paying more for your food

Peter goes on to say, "More importantly, they are willing to pay extra for it [organic food], with various organizations dedicated to the production of organic food designing codes of practice to describe how this task should be performed."

Yes, people pay more for organic food because under the present economic arrangements organic food is more expensive to produce. Generally speaking, food produced on farms which run a chemical and mechanical system of farming are more efficient in terms of labour. Very few people are producing a lot of food, so relatively the labour costs are low. In organic farming, although cash inputs (chemicals, fuel and so on) are fewer, it is labour-intensive. Given the amounts of money required to live a decent life these days, i.e. wage levels, organic farmers have to charge relatively more for their produce in order to make a living. This accounts for a large proportion of the price differential between organic and conventionally produced food. There are more factors, as you can see here. (This website takes a little while to load, but you will also see here that prices of organic food include not only the cost of the food production itself, but also a range of other factors that are not captured in the price of conventionally-grown food).

However, consumers of organic food are willing to pay more because they feel that cheap food might actually turn out to be more expensive in terms of health effects. Paying a little more for food that is more likely to keep you in good health may eventually be saving you steep hospital bills.

… if the price of oil continues to rise … this may eventually result in people paying the same or less for organic produce.

Now, what will happen if the price of oil continues to rise? Chemicals are mostly produced from oil, natural gas, or coal (fossil energy resources), so the economic advantage of the cheap part of the chemical-mechanical farm that makes it so efficient (relatively cheap fuels, fertilizers and other chemicals) will be eroded. This may eventually result in people paying the same or less for organic produce.

Peter continues, "They have a regime of production, inspection and accreditation in force that allows supporters of this type of food to shop with confidence and to obtain the type of product they desire."

All very well and good and protects consumers' right to choose what they eat.

Peter then says, "It seems an eminently practical and workable system that should provide a methodology that would allow the anti-GM supporters to to obtain their needs from growers who wish to supply such produce."

Not as planned, it won't, as we have already seen above.

Proof or liability

Peter then says, "Growers of non-GM crops should be required to prove that their product is as claimed, just as organic producers also carry the onus of proof, a system that works for them because their consumers pay extra."

Peter is implying that consumers of organic food are paying higher prices for their food because of the inspection and accreditation systems necessary to prove that the food is really organic. However, as seen above, that's neither the main reason why organic food is more expensive, nor is it necessarily true that organic food will always be more expensive than conventionally produced food, or GM food for that matter. OK, so perhaps there should be some mechanism for proving that non-GM food is just what it says it is. Who should pay for the testing is something that can be argued over, since there is no system in place now. And maybe the non-GM farmer will end up having to pay for this and will pass the cost on to the consumer, who will have to pay a little more for the food.

Let's look a little closer at the difference between this and the contrast between organic and conventionally grown food. Suppose an organic farmer is growing a crop next door to a conventional farmer. The organic farmer will surely take precautions to see that his/her produce is not affected by the neighbouring farmer, but it might happen. The organic farmer might be extremely annoyed about this, depending on the seriousness of the pollution, and may lose income, but it is extremely rare that any irreversible permanent damage would be done. The organic farmer might try to sue the chemical farmer for damage, but I cannot find on the Internet any examples of this ever having occurred. Can you? Anyway, now we're not talking so much about proving that organic produce is organic as whose liability it is if pollution occurs and the farmer loses income because of that.

Peter seems to be confident that GM and non-GM crops can coexist, just as organic and conventional farming manage to coexist today. The Canadian experience shows that in the case of canola this is very doubtful. So, rather than this being a problem of who pays for testing to prove that a harvested crop is what it is said to be, since pollution is almost certain to occur (according to the GRDC, the non-GM farmer is supposed to accept 0.5% pollution of seed and 0.9% pollution of a non-GM crop anyway), who takes responsibility for the loss of income that results? Thus far, as in the example of Percy Schmeiser and many others in Canada and the USA, far from the company that manufactured the GM seed taking any responsibility for GM pollution, these companies are likely to threaten to sue the non-GM farmer for infringement of patent rights. Slowly, this is now beginning to turn around (Percy Schmeiser did eventually win a court case against Monsanto), but let's look at the nature of GM pollution when compared with the chemical pollution of an organic crop. (All farmers are, of course, concerned about cross-fertilization of crop varieties, but have learned to control it. See, for example, the Seed Savers' Network).

Once the transgenes (the new genes the biotechnology company has inserted into the DNA of the plant to give it the novel trait) enter the genome (the totality of DNA in the cell nucleus of the plant) of the non-GM plant, how can you get them out again? You cannot, and that means your seed is contaminated with the transgenes; permanent irreversible damage. So if you are a non-GM farmer who has been saving your own seeds for replanting, like Percy Schmeiser was, you might lose decades of work. You cannot plant those polluted seeds because you would be infringing a patent right if you did. The GM seed manufacturing companies do not seem to be seriously interested in preventing this problem, as we have seen with the five-metre canola buffer zone above. There's little doubt that after a number of years under a system like this only GM crops will be planted. That appears to be what the seed companies want.

Peter goes on to say, "This is where the proposal could fail, because those who believe that GM is unsafe won't pay extra for non-GM food, preferring legislation to prohibit the production of the GM variety, which allows them to get their non-GM fix on the cheap."

Quite wrong; they will pay. They are already paying because the price of oil is rising. And anyway, why should they have to pay just because the biotechnology industry wants to sell its seeds? After what you have read above, is it any surprise that some people feel they need legislation to protect their farming, their food, and their way of life?

Visit of the Japanese consumer group reps

Here, the argument shifts a little to mention the visit by a group of Japanese consumer group representatives. Peter says, "The Conservation Council has again sponsored a visit from an anti-GM group from Japan, a so-called consumer group that admits it only accounts for 4000t of WA canola per year and represents only a handful of Japan's 125 million people."

The Conservation Council of Western Australia did not 'sponsor' the visit of the group. They 'hosted' it. Perhaps Peter missed the substantial articles mentioning the group's visit and participation in the forum at Williams (June 13) on pages 4, 5, and 6 in the June 19 edition of Farm Weekly. The consumers' group representatives came of their own accord2 to ask the government and farmers of WA to extend the moratorium so that they could continue to buy non-GM canola from WA, perhaps soon to be the only place where they can obtain it in sufficient quantities.

These co-ops and organic food suppliers (representing 2.9 million Japanese consumers) do what they do to help consumers obtain the safe and nutritious food they want to eat instead of having to put up with being force-fed the chemically-produced and GM food that they do not want to eat.

Why does Peter say "a so-called consumer group"? I cannot imagine what is meant by this. They are consumer group representatives whose organizations represent 2.9 million members. These co-ops and organic food suppliers do what they do to help consumers obtain the safe and nutritious food they want to eat instead of having to put up with being force-fed the chemically-produced and GM food that they do not want to eat. The organizations represented were: The NO! GMO Campaign (closely associated with the Consumers' Union of Japan), the Green Co-op, the Kirari Cooperative Union Association, The Association to Preserve the Earth (Daichi wo Mamoru Kai), and the well-known Seikatsu Club. Unfortunately, most of the websites are in Japanese, but you will be able to see that these organizations, as well as working to provide safe and nutritious food to their members, are also social movements which work for grassroots democracy, assistance for handicapped and other socially disadvantaged people, and carry out other socially beneficial activities. Certainly not fanatics, and certainly not fanatical organizations posing as consumer groups.

Then Peter says, "They also acknowledged that most of the canola consumed in Japan was GM canola from Canada, yet they still claimed that 70pc of Japanese oppose the use of GM food!"

GM seed companies and governments are effectively cooperating to force-feed you GM food without your knowledge.

Sounds like a contradiction doesn't it? Public opinion polls show that around 60% to 75% of Japanese people do not want to eat GM foods. But the reason that they are buying and using canola oil produced from Canadian GM canola is that they don't have a choice. The Japanese food labelling system is very similar to the Australian one. There's nothing on labels to show that a food product is produced from GM crops. If you want to buy non-GM, then you have to look for the labels that say "non-GM", "GM free" and so on. So a very large number of people are eating GM foods without knowing or being aware that they are doing so. The feeling is that the governments of Australia and Japan have introduced these labelling systems because they know what would happen to purchasing behaviour if foods were labelled accurately. Looks like someone doesn't want you to enjoy your right of consumer choice. GM seed companies and governments are effectively cooperating to force-feed you GM food without your knowledge. By the time we find out what the human health problems are with these foods, it will be far, far too late to anything about it. Who will benefit from that?

A fanatical much ado about nothing?

Peter goes on to say, "The really astounding thing about the current debate is that so many seemingly rational people actually take the anti-GM fanatics seriously."

Apart from the implication that the above-mentioned consumer group representatives are "fanatics", given the potential for information democracy provided by the Internet, the really astounding thing is that pro-GM analysts like this can get articles printed in the newspaper and actually expect that some poor fools will believe them!

Finally, Peter says, "If Shakespeare was given the last word, he would probably observe that the dispute is 'much ado about nothing'."

It is quite clearly not "much ado about nothing" - it's a lot of fuss about controlling the world's food supply (and all that that implies). Perhaps more appropriately we should say, "There's no smoke without fire." If people are protesting about something, then it is just as well that we take pains to see if they have reasonable grounds for doing so. If Peter wants to refute their arguments, under our current social system, where freedom of speech is respected, he is at liberty to do so. However, if he uses terms like 'fanatics' and implicates that these people only hold their views through some form of irrational 'belief', or because their 'thinking made it so,' I would like to suggest that his readers take a long hard look at the evidence for and against before they swallow his arguments whole.


1. I couldn't locate an online version of The Living Soil although Wikipedia implies that one is to be found on To order printed version, visit the Soil Association.

2. See, also, comments posted by two of the visitors The media's responsibility and duty to report the truth about GM and Only 4000 tonnes canola per year, but ZERO contamination and a comment by another Japanese consumer Monsanto makes coexistence between GM and non-GM impossible.


This kind of misleading pro-GM propaganda that Yuki Otoko mentions is very common and is backed by government and the research sector because they have a massive vested interest in promoting GM crops.

The research sector was previously public and relied on government funding. Research is now more expensive due to the patents and intellectual property rights that replaced "common good" research incentives. The Australian government owns a lot of these patents and has strong alliances with companies such as Monsanto as the public institutes use Monsanto's patented technologies free of charge in exchange for confidential deals. GM crops are an incentive to attract corporate investment to plant breeding and for government research institutes to capitalize on their research.

That is why government and research institutes are trying to push GM crops and foods onto a reluctant population.

The public is told that GM canola has been rigorously tested and proven to be "safe" for human consumption. This is an untruth promoted by governments as the regulatory process is self regulated by the GM companies that submit the testing data to FSANZ. No testing data on canola oil was submitted which is the product that is used for human consumption. The only feeding trials submitted was for the remaining meal which is used for stock food and Monsanto found a rapid increase in liver weights of 17% after only a few weeks. This problem was ignored because stock feed escapes regulation because FSANZ has no authority over stock food. So how can canola be proven safe for human consumption when oil is not tested and meal is not regulated?

The coexistence protocols are also self regulated and the GM company makes the rules. They have decided that all the costs and liabilities should rest with the non-GM grower to try to keep GM out rather than the GM grower to keep it contained. As a result coexistence is not possible which means giving consumers a choice is not possible.

See also:

Dear Julie,

Thank you very much for your comment, which shows in more detail why and how GM crops are being promoted despite very valid concerns about health and coexistence with conventional and organic farming. It seems that despite the claims of no scientific basis for possible health problems with GM food when compared with conventionally-grown food, Monsanto already has in its own hands evidence that should lead us to be extemely cautious about long-term, large-volume consumption of GM foods.

I am a member of the group which visited WA to ask the government and the farmers to extend the moratorium on GM crops (see section in main article Visit of the Japanese consumer group reps). I met a lot of wonderful farmers in Williams and realised that we, Japanese consumers, had to keep supporting the non-GM farmers.

When I read the article written by Mr Peter Lee, I was shocked and surprised very much. Because there are many factual errors and one-sided information in it. I will point up only one thing.

As Yuki pointed out, we were not be sponsored by the Conservation Council of Western Australia. When our representatives visited Australia last October and handed over the petition, which is the letter of request to extend the state bans on commercial GM food crops, the media distorted the truth in their report that Greenpeace sponsored our visit. The same thing happened again.

Why did Mr Lee write this glaring lie? For what?

Additionally, I can not understand that the editor of Farm Weekly adopted the opinion in the paper. I think that the editor abdicated the responsibility and duty as a news organisation.

Dear Raichoh,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post your response in English to my article and to Peter Lee's article in the Farm Weekly. It is very good hear from a member of the Japanese group that visited in October and again last month to request that the moratorium on the planting of GM crops be extended.

It is indeed very sad that the media has allowed itself to be used for pro-GM propaganda in order to try to convince us that GM technology is safe and good for us when it may very well (on the basis of current evidence) in the future result in human and animal health disasters, agricultural disasters, and political disasters that will be extremely difficult to resolve, if at all. Let's all hope sanity will prevail and that things will not come to that...

The outstanding threat from GM food technology is the way it has entangled itself in the ownership of organism genes. If we allow our government to hand over control of our food and land then Australians will lose personal, local and regional economic and political independence. Once our food supply and our ability to farm is corporatised, we are only corporate serfs with no control over what we eat or what we grow. The whole concept is so inequitable and shockingly mad that it keeps me awake at night. I would have far greater respect for a politician or a scientist who abandoned parliament and research labs to protest that this domination by gene technocrats.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
home page
Copyright to the author. Please contact sheila [AT] candobetter org or the editor if you wish to make substantial reproduction or republish.

I am also a member of the group which visited WA to ask the government and the farmers to extend the moratorium on GM crops (see section in main article Visit of the Japanese consumer group reps).

After returning home, I had a chance to listen to a talk by one American farmer who grew non-GM corn and GM corn. He said that he used to grow non-GM soybeans, but he gave up growing. Because the risk of contamination by GM- genes is too high to prove the level is lower than 5%. He and we can't get reliable non-GM soybean seeds almost anywhere in America. Choice is being denied to us.

As Yuki pointed out in his comments, GM technology


cause an irreversible change. For the last few decades, the change has occurred in one country.

Now I want to say again to farmers in WA,
Please! continue to grow non-GM canola, not only for overseas consumers but also for your right to continue your agriculture.
Japanese grain consumer

The writer, Peter Lee says “ ~it only accounts for 4000t of WA canola per year~”. That's true at this time and I know those are very small amount for total production in WA. But once WA farmers start to grow GM canola, the same thing will happen as

happened with

American soy beans. It would mean that WA would not be able to produce non-GM canola any more, not even as little as 4000t per year

Now I want to say again to farmers in WA, “Please! continue to grow non-GM canola, not only for




but also for your right to continue your agriculture.”

Dear Canola,

Thank you very much for your comment - it is very good to hear from the Japanese representatives who actually took part in the mission to WA.

Canola, you are quite right. If everyone (farmers and consumers) is going to lose their right to choose how and what they plant or what they eat because of the introduction of this new technology, then it should not be introduced. Peter seems to think that coexistence of non-GM and GM crops are possible, but the evidence appears to be overwhelmingly against that.

We should also bear in mind, as pointed out above by sheila in "GM Foods and Loss of Control over the Land, we may stand to lose much more than simply our right to choose what we eat or plant. All our basic freedoms may be at stake. Perhaps Peter would like to write another article reassuring us that that is not going to happen...

It is impossible for GM and non-GM crops to co-exist. Farmers will not be neighbours anymore, they will be enemies, aided and abetted by Monsanto's lawyers. Allowing GM farming means the guy next door who wants to stay non-GM will be in constant fear of contamination. So please keep the ban.

As a consumer in Japan, who likes Australia a lot, I wish Australian farmers would respond to the nonsense in the article. "Much ado about nothing" is the wrong quote, and shows that author's ignorance of the trust needed for farmers and consumers to continue making markets work. How about "To be or not to be" or "Something is rotten in the state of Monsanto" …

"Much ado about nothing" is the wrong quote, and shows that author's ignorance of the trust needed for farmers and consumers to continue making markets work. How about "To be or not to be" or "Something is rotten in the state of Monsanto" …

Only four countries (US 53%, Argentine 18%, Brazil 11.5% and Canada 6.1%) currently farm 90% of the GM crops. The rest of the world continues to say NO THANK YOU.

I hope Australia will continue to ban GM farming.

Takeshi, thank you for your comment!

This seems strange - maybe we should be doing this in Japanese!

About your first point: I know for a fact that one of the big fears that exists in WA farming communities now is that the non-GM/GM crop issue is going to cause severe strains in the communities. Everybody is hoping it won't, but it is not hard to see that there are quite serious differences of opinion. One farmer said to me, "If we do go down the GM road, the whole community is going to have to walk down that road together." He may be right. Or they will have to come to a collective decision to remain GM-free.

You obviously know a lot more Shakespeare than I do, but I agree with you about the producers and consumers. In Japan (I think you'll agree), the best producer-consumer arrangements (which often take place in the co-operative sector) are those where the producer and the consumer know each other personally and are committed to helping each other out. Producers do their best to produce the food the consumer wants to eat, and the consumers spend the occasional weekend helping the producer in the fields. Our 'modern' farming methods ("food comes from supermarkets, doesn't it?") are not very conducive to this kind of behaviour, and to think that this could take place with GM crops seems to me to be totally laughable.

Your third point about the four large food-producing countries - sure, but why (or how) has this happened? The 'problem' seems to be with maize and soybeans. So, the really tough issue we face now (as well as canola) is the possible introduction of GM varieties of *wheat* and *rice*??

An article False dawn, GM future by Western Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert against GM may be of interest. I have just posted a comment there which points back to this article. At the moment it is awaiting moderation.

And in another name spat, US sexual assault awareness charity Take Back The Night has issued a complaint via lawyers over the new Justin Timberlake ??very sexual?? single, which bears the same name and the charity believes the single could have a detrimental effect on the charity’s online presence with Executive Director Katherine Koestner explaining: “Everyone at Take Back The Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name. Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause. We have some big concerns. For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, "‘Take Back The Night’ has a different definition. That’s not been helpful". The legal grounds for any complaint remain unclear to this blogger and for his part, Timberlake has now issued his own statement, saying he hopes this dispute can be turned into a positive, by winning the charity more attention saying ??It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause”.

Editorial comment: It's not clear to me how this post relates to the article. Perhaps another reader or the original poster could explain? - Ed

Lawyers for the two members of Pussy Riot jailed for their involvement in a protest performance in a Russian cathedral are set to take the case to Russia’s Supreme Court. Originally three members of the Russian punk outfit were jailed last August for taking part in the performance of a protest song in a Moscow church. One of the jailed women, Yekaterina Samustsev, was given a suspended sentence on appeal and freed, but Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova remained incarcerated after the appeal hearing in Gulags. More recently both were denied parole. Lawyers hope to argue in the Russian Supreme Court that the ruling that members of Pussy Riot were guilty of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' was in fact illegal, and the convictions should be reversed.

Editorial comment: The following excerpt from a Global Research article of August 2012, may help put this comment about "Pussy Riot" in context. - Ed

US is attempting to undermine and overrun the Russian political order

The US State Department has been recently exposed interfering heavily in Russian politics. From funding so-called "independent" election monitor GOLOS, who sought to write off recent elections as "stolen," to street protests led by US-funded opposition members who have been caught literally filing into the US embassy in Moscow, the US is clearly attempting to undermine and overrun the current political order in Russia. The recent "Pussy Riot" publicity stunt has also been arranged by US-funded opposition as well as fully leveraged by these organizations, their foreign sponsors, and the Western media.

The MPG is planning a launch presentation to outline its new standard, and is calling on labels, rights administrators, artists and managers, broadcasters and industry trade groups to get behind the initiative.

TMZ reports that in papers filed last month the rapper is asking for a judge to rule that Demetri and Donna Evans-Brown should be forced to stop using the phrase, as well as pay him damages and his legal costs.

I drove into Cumbria picked up 15 k underneath the noses of a few haters not everyone was … just a few …Fear no area or no human .Amen . &— Wiley (@WileyUpdates)?July 20, 2013?

Editorial comment: It's not clear to me how this post relates to the article. Perhaps another reader or the original poster could explain? - Ed