Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The GMO Labeling House of Cards

The ballot initiative will greet voting Californians next election day that will allow them to vote on labels for foods containing transgenic materials (or that derived from protoplast fusions).  Over the next few days I'm going to go through the actual verbiage of the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

When I read this I see two things:

1.  People are going to vote for, and likely approve a feel-good act that nobody has read.
2.  There is no way that if approved, it will survive court challenges.  It is not based on facts, so evidence presented in a challenge of constitutionality will unveil that there is no merit to the Act.

Check out paragraphs (a) and (b).  Count the instances of false or misleading information. Keep in mind that this is the rationale, justification and significance of the Act.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows: 

(a)  California consumers have the right to know whether the foods they purchase were produced using genetic engineering.  Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or 
environmental consequences. 

(b)  Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods. Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new t oxicants and health concerns.

What did you find?  Let's examine the claims one by one.

1. Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. 
Like what?  Define "often".   There is no evidence to support this statement as it would apply to human or environmental health. 

2. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. 
False. Manipulating sequences is a tremendously precise process.  Constructs assembled for insertion are invariably sequenced for accuracy.  The site of integration into the host genome is easily determined using a variety of techniques from TAIL-PCR to whole-genome sequencing and comparison to reference genomes.  It is a precise process.  

3. The results are not always predictable or controllable
Well nothing is always predictable or controllable.  Except for people telling me that I work for Monsanto. But I digress.

The science behind transgenics is based on a prediction and then a test.  The test results are usually consistent with the prediction (e.g. insertion of the cry1A gene will produce the CRY1A protein). If it is not, then the item developed is DOA and not commercialized.  The results are predictable, and if they are not, then the strategy is revisited until it is.

4. and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences. 
There is no evidence to support this claim, other than development of resistance to chemicals, but that is not a trangenic-specific problem.  Some plants, like canola, have escaped farms are are reproducing in the wild, but there is no environmental impact as of yet.

5. Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods.
Like what?  Any risks do not exceed those presented by traditional breeding or even by natural movement of mobile DNA elements like transposons. Who are the "governments scientists"?  What about the other 99.9% of scientists? 

6.  Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new toxicants and health concerns.
Like what?  There is no evidence that a transgenic plant has produced a "toxicant".  There are many examples of how toxic substances are produced by plants naturally, or in hybrids obtained through conventional breeding.   

So the basic foundation of this Act is a complete sham.  There is no factual basis underlying its justification and as such should not be voted for.  It is possible to get people to sign petitions to outlaw dihydrogen monoxide.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3erdgVVTw   That's just good old water!  But if you make it sound scary, you can get the unsophisticated to sign on.

More to come on this important topic!   Just wait 'til the last line of this Act!  It will blow you away!


Timberati said...

I have little doubt that the proposition will pass. The fact that we've here have had state legislators try to get AquaBounty's GE salmon labeled. With a mix of gut reaction and facts Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) tried to rescue all us Californians by introducing Assembly Bill 88 (AB 88)-The Consumer’s Right to Know Act. Huffman disagreed with the FDA (after all, what did they know about food safety?). He proposed labeling GE salmon to warn consumers because, “Without labeling, consumers may unknowingly purchase genetically engineered salmon in spite of lingering concerns.”

So, it's not facts that will stop this proposition requiring labels for GM/GE foods. Rather, it's the public's "lingering concerns" that will cause its passage.

Kevin M. Folta said...

@Timberati- I agree. It is not about science, it is about belief. The public had lingering concerns about witches at one time too.

Thought +Food said...

Thanks for this as well as the illuminating post on GM. I specially liked your comment at no 4 about nothing being certain other than the fact that an anyone trying to talk reality must be working for Monsanto!

TaVe said...

"governments scientists"
Maybe they majored in political science.

Christine Eubanks said...

"California consumers have the right to know whether the foods they purchase were produced using genetic engineering."

Yes, California I think applied the mandatory labeling of GMO products.

Dr. Ena said...

As with any new technology, it is impossible to say there are no concerns. I will list just a couple.
1.The possibility of genetically engineered organisms introducing engineered genes into wild populations. The ability of genetically engineered organisms to escape and reproduce in the natural environment, especially if they are more successful at reproduction than their natural counterparts. For example, it is possible that if transgenic salmon with genes engineered to accelerate growth were released into the natural environment, they could compete more successfully for food and mates than wild salmon.
By creating transgenic plants and animals with genes from other species, or by removing or "turning off" genes, an organism is produced to grow bigger and more rapidly. There is a probability that a few new proteins expressed when genes are inserted from another species may trigger allergic or hypersensitive reactions in a small, but unknown, percentage of people. The potential for allergenicity is difficult to gauge, however, since it can only be detected once a person is exposed and experiences a reaction. While a reaction will be recognizable, as it is with well-known allergens like peanuts and shellfish, the uncertainty surrounding new proteins and potential impact on consumers who may be allergic.

2.The projected increase in total amounts of toxic herbicides in the environment, the food and water supply.

Your anti-GMO crowd are anti-science meme is getting very old, Kevin. You are not the only scientist in the world, and you certainly don't strike me with your brilliance nearly as much as your flagrant pro-GMO myopic bias.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dear Dr. Ena,

Can we start at the end? The anti-GMO "meme" being anti-science is spot on, right up there with anti-climate change, anti-vaccine, anti-we-landed on the moon, anti-Obama birth certificate.

All defy evidence. Scientific evidence of the highest stringency.

Pardon me if I get nasty in regards to your last line. It is not my usual tact, but I'll submit that if you see my points as more myopic than brilliant, it might be your evidence threshold that is at fault.

All of your points are well taken. However all come from "what if" rather than "here is". Science and technology can't move forward on fears and imaginary problems. We need to work with evidence. Evidence is the key word.

Let's talk about point 2. Do you think there really is an increase in pesticides and herbicides because of GM crops? Please provide some evidence on that, from peer review please, not from a website.

Also, do you believe adding one gene of known function will cause allergies more than 40,000, 30,000 of which are undescribed functionally?

I think you were a little unpleasant with me in your comment and I really see your arguments as simple and easily answered. Let's just talk here... throw me your best argument against GM foods.

Let's go from there and make progress. Kevin

Dr. Ena said...

Certainly dear Kevin. Lets talk--within the limits of a blog allowing 4K characters/post, and time constraints ( "biotech" being a hobby/ social + environmental justice issue) of running a business full time for a living.

>>>However all come from "what if" rather than "here is".<<< not true, right off the bat.
1.You contributed on the berkley blog--no doubt you saw the citations to several studies. No?

Please respond to the posted studies.
2. Even if you were correct and it was all "what if's"--please list the benefits to me as a conscious medical consumer of participating in the experiment ( without obtaining consent, by the way) warranting the risk.

The citations re. increase of herbicides are most convenient to find within the comments @APHIS docket 2010-0103 such as http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0103-5859 Mortensen, DAhttp://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0103-5915, Egan J.F et al

Thanks much,

Dr. Ena

Dr. Ena said...


Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr. Ena, I'll leave a quick note just to acknowledge your post-- crazy busy at the moment but will absolutely check out what you sent and respond accordingly. Thank you for providing the links. Kevin

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr. Ena,

Let's start with the two Malatesta papers, 2002 and 2005. First, our medical school and university does not subscribe to Eur. J. Histology. If you would be so kind to send me your copy I'd appreciate it. kevinfolta at gmail.com.

On the 2002 study, I've gone through it briefly and would love to hear your thoughts before proceeding.

First, do you find this to be compelling evidence of GMO harm?

Does the evidence presented in this paper merit bans on transgenic crops?

What do you think are the strengths and limitations of the work?

Finally, if you were an editor for a medium/low-impact medical journal (1-3 IF), would you accept or reject this work?

What questions would you ask the authors to answer before it could be published?

I think I know how I'd handle this one and will happily explain. I'm just curious if this is something you consider strong evidence and quality science.

Thanks for your time on this. I'm looking forward to your response and discussing further. Thank you.

Dr. Ena said...

Hi Kevin.

I'll have to plead busy vet hospital (4th of july and all), and return to elaborate more fully next week.

Given that gmo soy is eaten by billions of people and animals, the evidence is intriguing enough to warrant replication by an INDEPENDENT SCIENTIST, unaffiliated with biotech firms.

I will have to dig up the actual paper, as one can't draw solid conclusions without reading the entire text. Not sure it is kosher with copyright laws for me to send you the article. I know its a bummer, but can you purchase it and read it?

I am a clinician -not an editor of a scientific journal. It would be a mistake for me to overstep my qualifications and make comments an experienced editor should make. Don't you think?

Suffice it to say, that the labeling initiative in Cali has no language in it banning GMOs. Banning would be appropriate and likely prudent (given the number of "hugry" lawyer squads, if statistically significant reversible histologic changes were found in gastrointestinal or hepatic or pancreatic tissues --especially, if some of the changes described are irreversible.

Have a great weekend.
Will catch up with you next week.
Be well.

Dr. Ena said...

Oops, before I go--Malatesta is quite prolific of a scientific author in the field of hisotchemistry. His work has been published by quite a few different editors of different journals--search PubMed, it is easy and free.
This one describes changes in the pancreas of mice fed GMOs-- it is free. The pancreas, in case you don't know it, makes digestive enzymes, breaks down bacterial RNA and makes other useful things like insulin.

Ok, gotta run. See you.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Hi Dr. Ena,

Take your time, we won't solve this overnight (probably). I have the 2002 paper. I don't have the 2005 one. It is completely allowable for us to distribute PDFs of journal articles for not-for-profit use. Please forward the 2005 one, I'd be glad to look at it.

With respect to my asking for your editorial decision, you certainly have implied that this is a high-quality report worthy of consideration. I'm just curious about your critical scientific evaluation.

I have read the paper critically and can tell you that as an editor, I would not have accepted it. That's why it is in a journal few people can access. There are several fundamental flaws (one huge one), overstepping data and interpretations that should not have been allowed.

That's fine. It is what it is, and maybe is a good starting point for further study.

So why didn't this group do further study? Most importantly, if they have defined legitimate phenomenology, what is the MECHANISM behind it? Here we are a decade later and these important (to the anti-Gm movement) pieces of critical evidence never grow or advance. Insert red flag here.

Overall, it is what it is. One thing it is not-- proof of anything. It also is not a reason to mandate labels or change laws.

However, as always, I can be swayed by a different view of the work, as I could have missed something.

Thanks Dr. Ena. Have a good weekend too. Kevin

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr. Ena,
Okay, let's not move the goalpost here. You cited three reports on the page you referred me to, implying these reports as high evidence of GMO harm.

2002 paper- Not good, whole thing should have been thrown out for a fundamental reason. I can talk about this later, but I'd love to know your critical evaluation of this work, since you see it as substantial evidence.

2005 paper, I can't access, but if you send me your copy I'll go through it.

We can talk about the pancreas paper etc, but let's start with your best evidence first, then proceed.

I'm not going to get into the Gish Gallop on this. Give me your best, airtight evidence of harm and we'll examine it critically. If it stands up to scientific scrutiny then that's great.

But there is a reason that these are not in Science and Nature.


Dr. Ena said...

Just a quickie Kevin.

I am struck by your lack of humility. What exact qualifications do you possess to edit a paper in a histochemistry journal, again?

As far as his articles not being in Nature, there is a reason for that. The resons were described by Nature itself---> http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090902/pdf/461027a.pdfscribed

See ya.

Dr. Ena said...

GM crops: Battlefield
Papers suggesting that biotech crops might harm the environment attract a hail of abuse from other scientists. Emily Waltz asks if the critics fight fair.
Emily Waltz

Published online 2 September 2009 | Nature461, 27-32 (2009) | doi:10.1038/461027a
News Feature

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr. Ena,

I have mountains of humility. I freely admit that I know very little, but I do know how to read a science paper. 25 years of doing it. The fundamental flaw is so egregious!

It does not take training in histochemistry to critically evaluate this work. Of course, if you read this paper you would see that there is no histochemistry, but cellular biology and morphology.

What I do know is the importance of proper controls. I can tell you without any sacrifice of humility that this paper lacks a fundamental control needed to make the claims it makes.

I want to see YOUR level of understanding. I want you to demonstrate YOUR deep critical analysis of this work as a pinnacle of hard evidence demonstrating conclusive harm from GM soy.

As I mentioned before, tell me your interpretations of the strengths and weaknesses. Do you feel controls are appropriate? Numbers of subjects? Biological significance of differences observed? I'm leading you right to it!

Most of all, do the results fit an interpretation of GM harm? How do you know that the differences are not an improvement? (not that it matters because the comparisons between GM/non-gm are not valid).

I'd be specific, but I don't want to engage in a game where I have to debunk everything just to be told that I'm not qualified to be a debunker.

Instead, I'd rather get your critical assessment. You brought it up. You posted it as high, solid evidence of GM harm. Convince me. I'll listen.

Be nice! If you knew me personally you'd never question my humility. I'm pretty proud of that.

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr. Ena,

Since I've spent so much time with this paper I'll dedicate an entire blog to the debunking.

You are invited to contribute your interpretations of the data and appropriateness of controls, and conformation to animal-testing standards.

We can demonstrate together how this research gem you presented is or is not a compelling case for GM danger.

Thanks. I'll get it going this week. Once posted I'll let you know and I'll integrate your analysis.


Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr.Ena, sorry, I forgot to comment on the Rosi-Marshal issue (Battlefield). Two points. The report is interesting but suffers from similar tragic discrepancies as the mouse reports you feel are so compelling.

Let's assume they got it right.

1. Where are any follow up studies since 2007?

2. The response they got is not confined to their study. Science is an ongoing comparison of evidence. There are things I study that the field just HATES. Findings are contrary to accepted principles. That means we have to work harder and answer criticisms, not whine about our work being criticized.

We listen to critics, let them help design our next steps. We do the hard work to forward our science.

I've listened to people at meetings say that my models are wrong. Cool. I show them data that suggest otherwise.

That is what Rosi-Marshal needs to do too.

Big claims need big evidence, and if you don't have it....

Thanks. kf

Dr. Ena said...


Hope you had a great weekend.
Here are my Cliffs Notes of the 2002 paper, as you requested.

Dr. Malatesta raised a control group of pregnant mice on a standard rat chow containing 14% soybeans and the experimental GMO group on the same standard rat chow with the exception of the soybeans being Roundup Ready, glyphosate tolerant and probably sprayed with glyphosate soybeans. 24 progeny of these litters were likewise fed respective diets (12 in control group and 12 GMO fed) and hepatocytes from the right liver lobes were analyzed after 1, 2, 5, or 8months of this diet post weaning.

Conventional and electron microscopy (Figures 2, 3) revealed differences in neat photographic images. He observed that the nuclei of mice fed GMOs for 2, 5, 8 months were irregular (Figure 2: to my eyes the nucleus margin looks “indented”) and the nucleoli appeared “less compact” Irregular nuclear membranes represent an increase in metabolic rate. Increased nuclear -cytoplasmic interface might increase molecular trafficking between the nucleus and cytoplasm.
Nuclear perimeter was calculated using simple geometry of a circle area and circumference. (AREA=pi x R squared; CIRCUMFERENCE=2 r x pi) to derive an Index of Irregularity.
A software program was used to measure areas of cellular structures-nuclei, cytoplasm and nucleoli including fibrillar centers (FC) dense fibrillar component (DFC) & granular components (GC) -representing the structural components involved in RNA transcription and processing. Nuclear pore (indicators of molecular trafficking) density per nuclear membrane was counted.
See Table I: measurements of FC area, GC percentage were found to be Lower and DFC and pore density Higher in GMO-fed mice compared to controls. Literature suggests that an increase in metabolic rate is associated with increases of small FCs and increases in DFC area.
He performed immunocytochemistry by “staining” snRNP (snurps), spliceosome assembly factor SC-35, and fibrillarin (imaging DFC) with gold-conjugated monoclonal antibodies. In order to quantitate splicing the density of gold stain was then measured in 15 random EM images and expressed as number of gold grains per square micrometer. See Table II Quantitative immune-labeling revealed stronger labeling in GM-fed mice livers indicative of increased splicing factors
He measured liver enzymes: AST, ALT, LDH and GGT—the tests we routinely perform on our patients, which interestingly were found to be within normal limits. Since he did not observe changes in the cytoplasm, he concluded that GM food influences nuclear features of hepatocytes but did not speculate on the mechanism. Since Round Up Ready soy is treated with glyphosate with adjuvants, I don’t know why or how he would be expected to know which component is causing nuclear modification.

Debunk away :-)

Dr. Ena said...

I find it funny that you and I both are into educating people about science and GMOS, and use gambling as a metaphor on our respective blogs. Mine is called: "Nutrition...Russian Roulette?"

Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr Ena, Thanks for playing along and keeping this discussion scientific. I do appreciate that.

Your assessment is spot on. There is no reason to question the techniques or results. I am convinced that Malatesta and his/her group are technically competent.

Here are the main problems. First, the diet. I was hoping you'd catch this. The experimental group ate GM soy containing the bacterial EPSPS gene. The control group was given the same diet with WILD soy. That's comparing Glycine max vs. Glycine soja. The valid comparison would be the same soy without the transgene. All comparisons are invalid without the proper control.

Comparing improved to wild soy is like comparing apples to elephants. Cultivated soy has higher protein, higher fatty acid content, and massive differences in isoflavones and phytic acid. There are huge mineral differences too. There are loads of references on this so I won't list here.

Any of these factors are most likely the basis could easily lend to changes observed.

-The report does not measure how much food each set of animals ate. This too could affect results.

- There were three mice used for each time point, an extremely small number. Good for a first report and a good place to narrow windows for the next study with a larger N, but can't be conclusive.

- Other symptoms associated with "increased metabolic rate". Is that a bad thing? A good thing? I think if the GM experimental set had indicators of lower metabolic rate that would be held up as bad too.

Differences in metabolic indicators are likely associated with the differences in phytonutrient content in wild vs cultivated soybean and not the transgene. It could be the transgene, but the experiment does not test that.

So if we consider this a test of trangenic glycine max vs glycine soja and accept the differences noted, what is the biological significance? They don't go into associated physiology or disease presentation consistent with the phenomenon. As noted, the liver enzymes don't change, but that's not too surprising.

Finally, I do appreciate your critical thinking on use of round-up and breaking it down to glyphosate and adjuvants. There is usually no herbicide residues on soybeans as they never are sprayed when flowering. It is almost always during emergence and early establishment.

So to summarize, the data are probably just fine but neglect a needed control. Comparing two species with completely different spectra of nutrients and anti-nutrients is much more likely to contribute to differences observed.

The authors conclude that they need to next test mechanism. I give them high marks for this statement. It is the important next step once you have defined WHEN the phenomenon occurs and what it looks like. Then you ask HOW.

This was a decade ago, and that important next step goes unanswered. Could it be that the differences seen were just background from inadequate controls?

That's what it looks like to me.

So thanks for your analysis, and I look forward to your rebuttal of my analysis here.

Thanks Dr. Ena

*** The other point is that you consume, no matter how careful you are, billions of copies of bacterial EPSPS every day. A little extra from some gm soy is not likely going to make any difference even if it was the causal agent.

Dr. Ena said...

Hi Kevin.

Thank you, but I don't believe that "wild soy" means glycine soja. I believe it means cultivated soybeams withOUT EPSPS as in Not genetically modified.

There are other articles using this language. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16119037

I agree with your point that using isogenic soy would be better, but I disagree that it invalidates the findings. Moreover it would require cooperation from the likes of Dow and Monsanto and likely was not do-able. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/business/20crop.html

We are in agreement that it would have been better to have an N=>3

If I was Queen of the world, I would request that biotech firms fund a study replicating this one, with a higher N + isogenic soy; as well as Malatesta's group 2005 and 2008 study.

After all, Real science thrives on replicating interesting results.
Don't you think?

I don't think that the increased metabolic rate is a good thing.

>>>At present, we do not know which could be the factor(s)
present in the GM soybean capable of inducing such modi-
fications. The changes of regucalcin as well as of other
differentially expressed liver proteins observed in the present
study are comparable to that reported after exposure of
several xenobiotics (Yamaguchi et al. 2002; Pastorelli et al.
2006; Wei et al. 2008), thus suggesting the involvement of
similar pathways activated in response to differgent toxic
compounds. The soybean used in this study has been treated in the Weld with the herbicide Roundup; although
the treatment conditions used were not specified by the
manufacturer, it is worth considering the possible presence
in the chow of traces of glyphosate (Granby et al. 2003),
i.e. the active ingredient of the herbicide Roundup to which
the soybean has been rendered tolerant (Padgette et al.
1995). It has been demonstrated that Roundup slows down
transcription (Marc et al. 2005), interferes with estrogen
synthesis (Richard et al. 2005) and depresses respiratory
activity (Peixoto 2005), inducing alterations of the mitochondria
inner membrane (Szarek et al. 2000). Although
the respiratory activity of mitochondria declines during
ageing (Schmucker 1990), in GM-fed old mice such a
decrease appeared to be significantly more pronounced than
in controls. Again, this phenomenon becomes evident only
in aged animals: in fact, measurements performed on 8 and
12-month-old mice revealed no modification of mitochondrial
membrane length (unpublished results). At present, no data are available on the effects of this
GM-containing diet on old male mice, but microscopical
observations on livers of 3-month-old male mice (unpublished
results) revealed a situation comparable to that found
in females of the same age (Malatesta et al. 2002a), thus
suggesting a limited influence of the gender on the effects
of this GM soybean. On the other hand, the comparison of
the features of hepatocytes from young and old GM-fed
female mice seems indicate the occurrence of cumulative
long-term eVects: GM soybean would first enhance liver
metabolism, and this prolonged activation may then accelerate
the ageing process with increased expression of senescent

Histochem Cell Biol (2008) 130:967–977
DOI 10.1007/s00418-008-0476-x
A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modiWed
soybean: effects on liver ageing
Manuela Malatesta · Federica Boraldi · Giulia Annovi ·
Beatrice Baldelli · SeraWna Battistelli ·
Marco Biggiogera · Daniela Quaglino



Thanks very much for playing :)


Kevin M. Folta said...

Dr. Ena,

I totally disagree that "wild soybean" is the same as the transgenic backgound without the transgene. If that was the case, it would be clearly stated. Wild soybean is not the same. That's such a deal breaker right of the bat.

I suppose I could contact Maltesta and ask.

If they have the transgenic line, they should be able to get the isogenic line. Since they don't give a firm cultivar name or seed ID, we don't know if it is a Mon/dow/whatever product, or home made.

Impossible to replicate the study.

Cool that you see the problem with small N.

One note on further studies. If the data are compelling, further studies with bigger N's and better controls are performed. If not by Malatesta's group, then someone. If the results are inconclusive or negative, then it is not published. So follow up studies may have been done and didn't support the hypothesis. We'll never know.

Maybe I'll ask about that too.

I'll look at the 2008 study you posted.

Today I just got done responding to peer review on a paper I submitted last month. Excellent reviews in that they were extremely critical. They tore the work apart.

So I have a choice, I can do more experiments to see if conclusions are supported and go to the good journal, or take my data as-is and publish elsewhere with assumptions.

We're all held to very high standards for publication. As my doctoral thesis advisor said, "Stuff stays in print a long time".

This report by Malatesta is not any different. Until those controls are clarified, we can't put any stock in the results, other than they are suggestive and merit further investigation.

They are not sufficient to make conclusions or change public policy.

Thanks again, and I'll look at that 2008 one tonight.

Kim said...

First, just wanted to say this is a great blog, Kevin!

This is fascinating post and I appreciated reading through both yours and Dr. Ena's comments.

I live in California (originally from Hawaii by the way!...just read your Kauai post) and would like to be as informed (based on real scientific evidence) before I cast my vote. Thank you for this discussion...though I suppose there is no definitive answer on this issue?

Just curious, Kevin...if you lived in California, how would you vote on this issue?

For me, one of the reasons I am not totally against GMOs is that I believe that this transgenic technology is what allows us to feed our huge population, so it is not all bad. But, I do fear that in the wrong hands, some pretty awful results can occur...like true Frankenfoods. I mean, who will determine what's a "moral and just" use of this technology? And who can we trust to oversee this process?...With all the harmful additives our government has approved for use in our processed foods today, I find it hard to trust our government to truly look out for the average consumer and our kids. I'm still undecided on the issue...

Would appreciate any more thoughts you might have on this before my family votes. Thanks!