Look at this image. What does it say to you?
To the eye, this says that Florida orange juice is GMO and needs labeling. No GMO oranges are used in juice making. The usual deception.
I took the time to respond to this image on the group's facebook page. It ignited an exchange where I kindly offered information about the juice used in the industry and how I'd like to see them voluntarily take down the image. This type of rhetoric coupled to their fear campaign could dissuade consumers from drinking Florida orange juice.
The problem there is that the industry has been hammered by the disease Huanglongbing, or Citrus Greening. You can read about it here. Currently 70% of trees are affected. The disease affects growth, but also yields. Fruits drop prematurely, they are smaller, misshapen and have a green tinge. The disease also affects flavors. Some experts feel that the disease may end the industry in Florida, and it now has been detected in California. Basically, there is a good chance your orange juice and fresh oranges may be gone within the decade.
A once green grove punctuated by orange spheres now decays in Central Florida after citrus greening disease.
There are biotech solutions in the works, including one that appears to have great promise. The story is outlined in a recent New York Times article by Amy Harmon. That is perhaps the inspiration of the graphic above.
However, there are no GMO oranges in production and absolutely none that contribute to fresh orange or orange juice production. End of story.
But try telling that to the person running the GMO Free Florida website. Cloaked in anonymity they can spew poisonous retorts to reasonable inquiry and request. A quick parsing of their Facebook page shows that they promulgate the same fear-based, science-free assault on perfectly fine food, now expanding to produce that does not exist in the grocery store.
Being a concerned scientist to keep the record straight, I took the time from my busy schedule to chime in.
Then the person (well, I'm guessing well nourished 20-something white guy with plenty of time on his hands) replies with a link to the APHIS website showing that GM oranges have been trialed in the state. Of course, I remind him that they are not commercially used.
Of course a kind reply to stick to science and facts works about as well here as it does in any anti-GM discussion.
Now the scientist is the one with "misinformation". Of course, anything I posted here can easily be verified by the scientific literature or even a quick call to the industry. I think the guy is in for bad times. The industry is in bad shape with greening disease and this does not help. I'm guessing that the industry will go after this guy.
This shows you the delusion here. Read the condescending words. This is what the anti-GM movement is about and I'm glad it is getting more crazy and angry.
I'm pretty much done by this point. Mom always said that arguing with an idiot only creates one thing-- two idiots.
Which is true. I think when I show these images it really helps me show the vitriol of the anti-GM movement and how they will stop at nothing, including harming a threatened industry, to achieve their low-rent terrorism.
They are manipulating and contributing to non-scientific public fear. They think that they can hold the citrus industry hostage and threaten them into not seeking transgenic solutions. I don't think that the industry wants one and would consider cultural and natural resistance first. However, after a hard look that is just not available.
We learn two things here. First, that anti-GMO activism will attempt to take down whole industries by stoking fear about their products. They will use deceptive imagery to do that.
We also learn how they treat scientists that attempt to bring science, evidence and reason to the discussion. Read how I communicate and how he reacts. His words are disrespectful, manipulative and even untrue in many cases.
Go buy some orange juice. Drink a few glasses for our industry. They are a huge employer in the Sunshine State and an important industry that is synonymous with Florida.