Sunday, July 19, 2015

Munich is Not by Florida; Soy is Not High in Formaldehyde

If you developed a computer program that integrated internet data to predict the location of Munich, and the program told you it was squarely in the Gulf of Mexico, right off Florida, it does not mean that Munich is in the Gulf of Mexico, right off of Florida. 

It means that your program, your assumptions, or your input data are wrong. These things are quite testable. 

When you decide to not challenge those data, but instead publish a map showing that Munich is squarely in the Gulf of Mexico, opposing all other data and the claims of millions of rather dry Germans, it does not mean that you are brilliant.  It means you have absolutely no clue, or more likely, have some reason you want a major German metropolis to be a two-hour boat ride from Tampa.  

When you are the map publisher that actually prints the deceptive map, what does that say about your integrity as a reliable information source?  



If your computer algorithm predicts a major European city is closer to The Everglades than the Alps,  you might reconsider your program, the input data, or your competence as a programmer. By all means, don't publish the map, or lots of well meaning drunks will drown looking for Oktoberfest.


New "Research"


I looked at this steaming deuce of a paper last week and hoped that it would just be ignored.  But alas, a dozen emails later, and a few "Ha-toldya" twitter comments and now I actually have to waste time noting why the paper is just about as awful as they get.  Biased, conflicted authors want an outcome and develop a computer algorithm to produce it, and it does not disappoint.  

How to Scare Parents

If you wanted to design an experimental outcome that was scare parents and influence  political decisions, it might be effective to find something dangerous in their food.  What plant metabolite would you suggest?  Of the tens of thousands that occur in plants, nobody is going to freak out if you over-produce eugenol (the stuff that smells like clove oil) or ascorbic acid (vitamin C).  You need something scary, something evil-- formaldehyde! 

Formaldehyde!  Of course!  This takes us back to the famously debunked fake data in the Stunning Corn Comparison, where they claim to have found formaldehyde and glyphosate levels through the roof!  So this new prediction validates and verifies that fake data in the soil test chart.


Systems Biology

Let's visit the paper by Ayyadurai and Deonikar, published in Agricultural Sciences, a journal I've never heard of, and a journal with no actual impact factor.  The publisher is Scientific Research, which is on the 2014 list of predatory publishers

The work, entitled,  "Do GMOs Accumulate Formaldehyde and Disrupt Molecular Systems Equilibria? Systems Biology May Provide Answers" was recently published, and one look is all you need to see agenda and bias, and a new dookie in the collection of peer-reviewed (by what peer I don't possibly know) journal papers that will be held up as conclusive evidence against agricultural biotechnology. 

How does systems biology work?  It is a computational approach where a series of inputs, usually data from published work that are matched in silico to generate new hypotheses. It is a way to make predictions based on integrating existing data, and then statistically deriving a likelihood that the predictions may be correct.  The predictions can then be tested and the systems approach validated. 

Now when a systems model does not match what we know, it says that the model is wrong. If the model puts Munich in the Gulf of Mexico, it says STOP, rethink the input data, assumptions or the algorithm itself.   If I'm the scientist, I don't publish that flawed model, I go back to the drawing board, look at my inputs and assumptions and start over. 

But It Says Formaldehyde.... 

This outcome is likely exactly what the authors wanted to see, and allowed them to publish a verbose, poorly-written, goofy paper that serves an important political purpose to advance at least one of the author's interests.  More on that later. 

The bottom line is, corn is probably the most biochemically dissected plants in terms of composition. Soy too. There is no evidence ever published or otherwise reported in a legit place that shows a difference in formaldehyde between GM and non-GM varieties of anything. These authors could have tested their prediction, and maybe they did, but there is no evidence of formaldehyde ever reported.  

Munich is not in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Brief Scholarly Review

The paper would have been rejected out of hand because the writing is awful, the conclusions overstep the data, and the data come from inputs that are not reported and apparently do not come from peer-reviewed sources.

1.  The writing is pure rhetoric, the first line stating that safety is a "contentious issue" when safety of transgenic crops has been well established for two decades. Constantly referring to "GMOs" is meaningless.  It is not a scientifically precise term, and any transgenic organism should be studied on the merits of the gene and the organism it is in.  Are GMO microbes making insulin equivalent to cotton making Bt proteins?  No.

2.  It is unclear what data were used for input and where they came from.  They cite "pubmed/google searches" and list their search terms in Appendix A. 

3.  What organisms, what were the transgenes, what tissues and what conditions were used in the input data?  Not terribly clear. My guess is that they actually used the numbers from the Stunning Corn Comparison.  

4.  I want a sandwich, so I'm not going to keep going.  Bottom line is, they make a computational prediction and it is WRONG.  There are no data that support their conclusion, nor do they attempt to present any. 


What is the Purpose of this Work? 

First, what do we know about International Center for Integrative Systems?  Certainly sounds impressive!  Turns out it is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, surprise, started by the lead author.  They have a variety of projects, including one that seeks to define standards for raw and organic food.  A little poking around the website and the agenda is showing.  


The International Center for Integrative Systems may have a little conflict of interest, as they also promote foods that are not GMO. 

The International Center for Integrative Systems seems like a well-financed woo factory. Read this. Yep, no conflict of interest in outcomes that harm safe technology and can bring in the donations! 

The lead author is Shiva Ayyadurai, a guy that claims to have invented email and has a rather checkered history.  He's married to actress Fran Drescher (aka Bobbi Flekman) a staunch anti-GMO activist who has appeared in many venues stating her anti-GMO beliefs. (Note. I always liked Fran Drescher. She survived a rather nasty bout with cancer, she always was great in interviews, and while I never was a fan of her on prime-time television, I did feel bad when she was ill, but she's off-the-rails goofy now)

Could this simply be someone tied to the anti-GMO movement putting something appearing scientific and complicated with no sound biological conclusions into the public science space?  

Ding! Circle gets the square. 


Should Scientists Point Out These Journals/Publishers? 

When predatory publishers, or journals with such lax standards allow such things to pollute peer-reviewed space, shouldn't there be some repercussions?  They are confusing the legitimate dialog, getting used by activists to put faux data with strong conclusions into an important conversation. 

I think it is time that we make visible the publishers that manufacture the map placing Munich in the Gulf of Mexico, without ever asking someone to take a look first. 

Going forward, can we all agree never to publish in Agricultural Sciences or any of the journals from the publisher Scientific Research?  If they have to tell us it is scientific research, it probably isn't.   








Thursday, July 9, 2015

Repeat a Lie Often Enough...

It was Nazi guy and photographic sour-puss Joe Goebbels that might have said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."  Nobody really knows for sure that it was The Goebbler, and ironically this quotation has been ascribed to everyone from Hitler to Martha Stewart. 

It does encapsulate the phenomenon spawned by the 2011, long-debunked paper by Aris and LeBlanc, claiming to detect the BT protein (presumably from transgenic crops, but that control was never done) in fetuses and pregnant mothers. There have been a number of brilliant discussions of why this work is not credible, posted here, here, here. here and here.  I even discussed it here

One of them is from New Zealand and the other from a French dude, two classes typically not immediately disqualified as corporate lackeys. 

But those facts don't get in the way of GMO Free USA, a group that latches on to any report it can manipulate, regardless of its authenticity or scientific rigor. 

Despite all of the well-constructed criticisms, they still promote the work as conclusive evidence of transgenic crop harm. Isn't that deceptive?  



Why hasn't further research been done?  Because the first research was trash. No reputable scientist would waste their time and wreck their reputation chasing this nonsense. 


Again, this is the attempt to persuade the middle, frighten mothers away from perfectly safe food by using such imagery and (now well-debunked) claims.  

That should mean something.  If Aris and LeBlanc's claims were real, they would have published the follow up in 2012, maybe two more in 2013, and by now would have a complete dossier of how these proteins moved from corn to fetus, and how the corn consumed was different than the BT used on organic crops.  We'd know if there were biological consequences too. Other research groups would repeat and expand the study from the crop science and human health side. 

But when the first work was incredibly flawed and over-interpreted, its death on the science vine is precisely consistent with the typical resting place for work that should have been more carefully reviewed and never published.  The paper could have been published, but should have said, "No clear evidence of Bt using this method."  That's what the data presented tell us. 

Since it was published as an alarmist, over-interpreted work, it now is dead to scientists, but alive and screaming in activist circles, where people believe first, and ask hard science questions, well, never.  


And what does the internet say?  On sensationalist websites science takes a back seat to vivid imagery of poisoned babies, where the intention is to frighten mothers away from perfectly safe food.  


It pains me to write another blog on this antiquated, long-debunked nonsense.  However, it keeps popping up, just like every election cycle when some group of brainstems feels it necessary to introduce a bill to teach creationism and our 6000 year-old planet in science class. 

Some fantasies last a long time.  Worse, they still are used to trick others.  Goebbels knew that propaganda was an important tool, that continued repetition of a falsehood had the potential to cement the lie in common vernacular.  GMO Free USA and others know that. Dr. Chuck Benbrook even reported the "umbilical cord" findings in a testimony to the Pennsylvanian House of Representatives Ag Committee on October 6, 2014. 

Why do people still believe it?  It reinforces what they want to believe, that safe biotechnology, used for almost 20 years now, is somehow harming us.  They exploit the vivid imagery of poisoned babies to emotionally propagate that falsehood, and hopefully scare mothers, with often limited food resources, away from safe and affordable food. 

Shame. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

High Roads

Over the last few years you'll find that a substantial number of my twitter posts are followed by the objections of a certain veterinarian from from Long Beach, CA.  I'm not naming her here because I don't want anyone searching for her professional or business information to find this page. This is an appeal to others to take a high road in dealing with her, and if possible, to not engage with her. 

Why is it a problem?  

She comments on my blog posts. She slams me on her blog. She systematically checks all of my tweets and chimes in on a large number of them, using fallacy to negate key points. She has dug for, and has broadcasted personal financial information, obtainable because I am a public scientist, then she claims I'm paid by Monsanto and not a public scientist.  She's endlessly tries to tarnish my reputation as an independent voice of science, as an expert in genomics and someone that can faithfully interpret the literature for the general public.  

I'm comfortable to make these statements because her words are proudly part of her public persona, placed daily into various venues for all to see. She uses her real name and defends her positions, which is admirable. You can scroll backwards through her timelines and bask in the vitriol. I keep a file of several hundred screen shots of angry and defamatory posts she's made about me and other scientists. 



A little sample of the nasty comments I've saved over the years. 
I'd rather keep it all private for now.


One side of me would love to post the whole set of screenshots.  I've been told that her comments cross lines and are legally actionable. I've asked her nicely if she could refrain from commenting on just about every post, and that does nothing. It just keeps coming. 

Still, I sit on my little treasure of anger nuggets. They really should never see the light of day, but it is an ace in the hole in case she ever starts creeping me out with facts about my wife's business again. 

*****

When I visited Long Beach, CA in 2014 I invited her to lunch. It was mega weird, but we ultimately had a nice chat, and it was a positive visit. I toured her clinic and answered all of her questions. My point was a simple one-- to try to build a personal connection with this person that finds it necessary to endlessly chastise me and harm my reputation.  Maybe if she saw a real person, and understood how damaging false claims are to a public scientist's reputation, they might stop.

That's what this discussion needs.  Fewer all-caps, softer tone, evidence-based content... and buying someone a breakfast burrito.


Even if it doesn't work. 

And before you scramble into the bowels of the internet and shove my own words in my face, yes, I know that I have been less-than-cordial on a few occasions.  That's partially why I'm writing this. It hurts me to be like that, and I do tend to apologize when I cross that line. I know how much it hurts, and I understand that it is not how we should treat each other. 

Most of all, as stewards of science and purveyors of evidence, we must follow the truth, and do not need to operate like that.

*****

About six months ago I got an email from someone with an attached screencap.  I don't remember what it was, but it was some dirt about her that someone scrounged from somewhere on the web, and he/she was so excited to blow it up in a public forum in an act of retaliation.  True, false, manufactured, whatever, it was not important.  That's not the way to correct this situation.  I suggested that their quest to smear her end immediately, and it did, as far as I'm aware. 

I'm glad.  I know what it is like to have people trying to damage my reputation, and I don't wish that on anyone. Even cranky people.

I have a list of people that have tried to get me in hot water at my university. I also have false and defamatory statements made by Dr. Don M. Huber in a certified letter to my superiors.  I have a letter from another sorta-academic that reported a simple misunderstanding right to my boss, complete with legal threats. Ultimately it was a simple explanation, something relatively minor, and I was quick to deliver an appropriate apology. 

I know what it is like to have people spread bad information about me and try to harm me professionally. 

That said, I'm disappointed in the fact that her business website has now become the target of those that disagree with her about non-business issues.  Her business facebook page has become a wall for an agriculture debate.  I even posted something there about how she treats me, and when I realized it was her business page, I deleted the comments. 

If you are reading this and you are disappointed in her approach, please take the high road.  Refrain from angry retaliation in social media- especially in ways that would harm her business or her professional reputation. I have no reason to doubt that she's probably good at what she does, and people that care for animals automatically get points in my book. 

The best alternative is to block her from commenting.  I didn't do that because I wanted to monitor what she was saying about me and others.  However, at this point I've blocked her from Twitter, I will not reverse that action. 

She has not been blocked from my blogs because I am critical of the blogs that remove my comments.  However, I think a policy change is probably going to happen soon, probably right after she chimes in after this posting about what an asshole I am. 

And I did invent, and she inspired, the hashtag #blockthewhackjob, and have used it on her at least a few times.  I'll own that, but I won't use it again. 

My request is that we take a high road.  No matter how much it hurts, let's do it.  Don't try to harm her business.  Don't argue with her.  

Replace #blockthewhackjob with #highroad 

It is disappointing to see where this has gone and I'm sorry for my lapses.  I have to remember that the folks we need to convince are not the people like her.  They are the folks in the middle that are also repulsed by her message and approach.  Why would we adopt that? 

Let's let the science do the talking, take the high road, and move forward.  Block, ignore, whatever -- but don't get down to that level.  Let's lead by example.  Who knows, she might be our best future convert. 






Saturday, June 27, 2015

Celebrating a Failure, That Really Was a Success

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. -- Wayne Gretzky



Back in 2012, the activist group Take the Flour Back was settled on destroying a science experiment.  The trial was set on an English hillside near Rothamstead Research Institute, rows of wheat specially genetically engineered to produce a natural plant compound (E-beta-farnesene) that faithfully repelled aphids in lab experiments.  Certainly plants protect themselves with natural compounds from insect pests, and engineering in a compound that repels pests but has no effect on humans would be a great innovation. Such approaches have been tremendous environmental successes in corn and cotton.

After pleading on You Tube, scientists convinced the activists to not destroy the crop, and to let the trial progress to completion. Public pressure was palpable, and the to-be vandals saw the potential backlash of their actions. 

The trial would proceed, and would-be crop crushers went back to hackeysack and glassblowing. 

Turn the clock ahead two years. The data are in, the experiment is over.  The results show that the approach does not produce a significant reduction in aphids in a field setting. 

What does the media say? 


The anti-GMO media empire is dancing in the streets, as a solution to limit insecticides has not provided sufficient data of efficacy. 

In these media outlets the trial is called a "failure" and a "waste".  My Twitter feed also erupted with posts rubbing my biotech friendly nose in the outcome of the trials. True to form, it exhibits that these folks know absolutely nothing about how science works.


Time to celebrate!  A couple of incoherent caveman rants seem to bask in the excitement that a public test of an insecticide alternative did not produce desired results. 


Actually, the experiment was an outstanding success

Why?  It answered the question.  A hypothesis was tested, and the data did not support it.  That is how science works.  It only is a failure if the data were noisy or the experimental design was bad.  Ask Seralini how that works. 

Experimental trails are not failures if the outcomes are reliable.  The only failed experiments are those that are never done, or those that are done poorly so they must be repeated.  A solid answer is a good outcome, even if it does not support the hypothesis. It just means the method needs to improve, or it suffers from insurmountable technical drawbacks.  

It could also mean that the complexity of the problem was under thought. That happens to me all the time. In my lab, a surprise negative outcome is a good thing, as it means there's more thinking to be done.   

The aphid-resistant wheat is a major win for the research group, as it says that they now need to rethink the approach, that the methods were insufficient to translate what was seen in the lab to a field setting.  That's good to know. 

Off to Plan B. 

Notice how scientists and activists interpret a negative result.  The writer at Daily Mail referred to Rothamstead's words glossing over the reality. 


This is how science works.  We take baby steps, demonstrate that a concept works in the lab, then take it to the field.  Field experiments subject even the best experimental system to a new level of noise and variables, real-life inputs that challenge the models obtained from controlled environment studies. 

It was not a failure.  Solid results are solid results, and sadly these did not support a hypothesis that the plant could produce the repellent. 

But wait!  I seem to recall the endless screams that experiments just generate fake data and that scientists can't be trusted.  They get the results they want, and that independent research is just a corporate proxy.  Where are those voices now? 

Congratulations to the scientists at Rothamstead Research Institute. The experiment turned out to be several experiments in one.  Outside of your original proposal we learned:

1.  That scientists can speak to a concerned public and change the discourse.

2.  That the public needs more help in understanding how science works.

3.  That activists are so set against a technology that a negative outcome by a public lab (not a company) is celebrated, even though the purpose was to limit environmental impact of farming. 

I applaud your efforts, and this is one small step for a lab, one giant leap for science. On to Plan B.  Somewhere around Plan F we'll have a solution, but we'll have to go through B, C, D, and E first. Congratulations and thank you for defining the first step. 






Monday, June 22, 2015

Opinion As Fact: When Our Media Loses Its Filter

It is dangerous to scream fire in a crowded theater, when no fire is present.  So why would the Naples Daily News possibly print an inflammatory alarmist story on agricultural biotechnology (in the article referring to “GMOs”) that presented patently false information and opinion, instead of sound science?  The photo below leads the health section of the paper.  It is another familiar attempt to scare a curious public away from perfectly good food. 


From an activist webite?  Nope!  From the front page of the health section of a Florida newspaper.
Again, the line between science and fiction is crossed, and made to look like investigative journalism. 

The words of Kelly Farrell are a veiled advertisement for Jeffrey Smith, a non-scientist that runs a business manufacturing fear around the world’s safest and most highly-regulated food products.  To a public scientist like me, it was a profound disappointment to see such nonsense in a health-associated story.  The information presented is not from journals- it is from websites. There is no inquiry with leading scientists- just opinions from documentarians and others that clearly do not understand science.  The one journal citation presented is based on an opinion article in a low-end journal that espouses an opinion counter to the scientific evidence, the vast scientific consensus and our leading scientific organizations.

"Experts and physicians"?  Authority-heavy claims without legitimacy decorate the pseudo-news.


Our food supply has never been safer, more abundant, or diverse.  Agricultural biotechnology has been a boon to the 300,000 farmers that elect to use it.  The technology has safely decreased insecticide use, limited tilling, and allowed a switch to low-toxicity herbicides with limited environmental impact.  The technology saved the Hawaiian papaya industry, and stands to rescue millions from malnutrition.

There has not been one single illness, not one, related to these technologies in almost two decades of use. I cringe that the physicians interviewed reject evidence-based science.

The shameful fear-based article in the Naples Daily News is an activist rant, not news or good information. Even in the first tables the author claims that milk and salmon are transgenic, when there are no transgenic cows, and a transgenic salmon (that could be of tremendous benefit) has sadly been in testing and deregulation for over 20 years.
Not only is it not news, it is not true.  Naples Daily News fails to filter out an activist rant that does not even get the fundamentals correct.


If Ms. Farrell can’t get even the basic facts straight and relies on guidance from a profiting author rather than impartial scientists, then why present this as health news?  


Worse, how does politically-motivated opinion posing as news affect farmers in our state?  Not far from Naples, orange trees are dying from a disease that recombinant DNA technology may safely fix. Trials are underway now.   Why would we want to limit the farmer's safe toolbox?  This kind of false information is a pathetic excuse for journalism, and it has numerous harms that are easily seen.

I took the time to contact the paper, with a gentle note the editor.  I offered to craft a scientific response and a reflection of the literature as a guest columnist.  I did not even receive a response. 

Naples Daily News made a critical error, and screamed fire in a crowded theater, a theater populated with the world’s poor, American farmers, all consumers, and an environment that needs helpful, safe, scientific solutions. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Folta News, Standing By for Fallout

I have not been writing much because I've been traveling and writing more than usual, and then also fired up a new podcast. The last two weeks have been truly difference makers. However, when you make a difference, you have to start looking over your shoulder.

1.  Biotech Literacy Project Bootcamp 2 - Davis, CA.

This was a closed, invite-only meeting that allowed scientists, journalists and others to meet and discuss how we can be better communicators with the public. Again, I learned a lot, and I'm amazed at how much we are learning about talking to non-scientists about science. 

2.  Podcast with Joe Rogan

Going in I was not sure how this would break, but Joe and I had a nice conversation that really frames how this discussion needs to go.  It needs to depart from the tired, baseless discussions of Indian suicides and terminator genes, and focus on traits and innovations that can't be used.  These have a daily body count. 

I received literally hundreds (I copied every one) of emails, tweets and facebook messages stating that the podcast flipped perceptions by 180 degrees. I received about 20 angry ones.  That is an unprecedented ratio-- just about inverted. 



3.  Podcast with Cara Santa Maria

                                     

Cara and I tied up some loose ends and it was fun. Again, lots of great notes and plenty of positive feedback from social media.  Many notes about how it changed someone's thinking. 




4.  New podcast launched

A new podcast discussing biotechnology in a scientific and even-handed way was posted today.  I posted Talking Biotech (www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com) where I'll have weekly conversations with guests and answer public questions from Twitter. 

BEWARE.

One week of solid gains and good traction was quite fulfilling, as it shows that we are learning how to speak to public audiences. 

However, today the number of angry, evil, and even harassing communications is stepping up.  

Watch for a fresh round of discrediting smear.  I can smell it brewing. 



Friday, June 12, 2015

Glyphosate and Gut Bacteria

I've been wanting to write this blog for a long time, and now I'm glad I didn't until now.

There is a groundswell of outcry against the herbicide glyphosate, the stuff that has the acute toxicity as a sip of your favorite beer.  If you listen to the anti-GM activists, it causes everything from autism to Alzheimers, to allergies, to cancer, to celiac disease, and a dozen other ailments. 

Of course, none of been demonstrated experimentally.  It is easier and more fun to just make up goofy talk. 

I do get a lot of email about this lately and an article published from Natural Society (red flag here) brings one issue to the fore-- It is not toxic to humans, but it is toxic to the bacteria in the gut.

It has even become the basis of a class-action lawsuit, claiming that the manufacturers, well, one manufacturer that these goons especially don't like, did not provide a warning label on the package about toxicity to human gut bacteria.  

Matthew Phillips is an attorney that is suing Monsanto in California over this issue.  He's claiming a conspiratorial media blackout, a coordinated removal of information fromWikipedia, and other claims the unaware commonly make. 

Philips forgets one important fact -- unless you're chugging from the bottle, you're not exposed to much glyphosate. 

Just like Seneff, Smith, Huber and all of the other doomsdayers somehow forget to realize, there is somewhere between zero and next to zero residue in food.  If there's nothing there, then it can't affect you.

Of course, most of these folks are likely subscribers to homeopathy, a belief that the more dilute something becomes, the more powerful it gets, so I see why their knickers are twisted. 

What does the literature say?  There are a number of reports that describe glyphosate residues on crops.  Arregui et al. (2003) show that soybeans treated multiple times a year have between 0.1 to 1.8 mg/kg glyphosate on fresh soybeans. Duke et al., (2003) detect from 0.10 to 3 mg/kg on fresh soybeans, and the higher number is a clear outlier in the dataset. 

At these levels a likely acute lethal dose of soybeans would be more than 100,000 kg of soybeans, or 1000 x my body weight in raw soy.

Gag me with a spoon.

But what about those poor bacteria?  The math just does not work. Shehata et al. (2013) look at the effect on beneficial and pathogenic bacteria from chickens.  The results show that some bacteria are inhibited, but the thresholds for inhibition are 0.150 mg/ml.  That's about what you'd take in if you ate between 100g and 1 kg fresh soy, and concentrated it into a test tube. Imagine that diluted in the body and spread out among the entire intestine... 

At the high end of 1.8 mg/kg, if you ate a 100 g of soybeans (raw, as an processing will dilute out glyphosate even more) you'd take in 0.18 mg. Work has been done to understand the pharmacokinetics of glyphosate metabolism and excretion, and yes, it does accumulate most in the small intestine (Williams et al., 2003).  However, this is about 60% of the dose (the rest goes in urine), and that leaves the body via the feces within 72 hours. 

But are those tiny amounts likely to cause catastrophic changes in bacterial flora?  Not so much.  Of course, Natural Society authors claim, "it could demolish gut health."

To conclude, the authors of these "gut health" papers make a big leap.  Farmers use glyphosate on fields, fields contain food, food goes to the consumer, therefore consumers are eating glyphosate!  They simply lack the sophistication to understand how little is used, how little remains in crops, how little is detected in food, and how much is actually in the intestine.

Oops.

I'll give them credit for one thing-- it is at least a plausible hypothesis.  Now they actually have to find some data to support their claims.  If this was true, you'd be able to find plenty of glyphosate in a dookie, and I can't say that I've seen that evidence.