It is time to call out those who use fear marketing of food. Recently ACE Bakery announced they have been “certified” by Non-GMO Project. Contrary to their belief this is not a customer choice issue but more fear based food marketing that does not serve the public good.
I appreciate you explaining your position on using the Non-GMO Project however you should be aware of the significant misleading public education they are doing on this issue. I went to their site and examined their claims “GMO Facts”
Here are a few of the false or extremely misleading statements:
1) “This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”
False. Every GE crop must demonstrate genomic stability as p[art of the extensive testing procedures prior to commercialization. If there is any “unstable” characteristics the GE product is not permitted on the market. The movement of DNA around nature is as old as life on earth. A couple of recent papers demonstrate this. Sweet potatoes have been “naturally genetically modified” http://www.pnas.org/content/112/18/5844.full.pdf http://gmopundit.blogspot.ca/2016/10/natural-gmos-part-249-parasitic-plants.html Did you know that approximately 1/3 of the human genome is made of virus like transposable elements? The more science looks for the movement of genes between species the more we find it. It is safe to say nature has a variety of methods of moving genes around. To suggest GE technology is somehow different and therefore dangerous as Non-GMO Project states, is false.
2) “Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.”
False. There are very few countries in the world that consider GE crops unsafe. This claim stems from the fact Europe and a few other countries have used GE crops as a non-tariff trade barrier excuse. Europe actually imports ~40 million tonnes of GE crops for feed each year. They just don’t let their own farmers grow them. As for the opinion of safety of GE crops these statements from the European Academies Science Advisory Council 2013 report-Planting the Future make their position very clear.
“”There is NO VALIDATED EVIDENCE that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding…There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy…It is vital that sustainable agricultural production and food security harnesses the potential of biotechnology in all its facets.” EASAC-Planting the Future report 2013
3) “The US and Canada governments, though, have approved GMO’s based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.”
All GE crops are evaluated based on International OECD/WHO food safety protocols. The suggestion any company can “game the system” of testing is completely untrue. Here is a good review of the animal testing used https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18328408 http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0278691508000884/1-s2.0-S0278691508000884-main.pdf?_tid=33e0611e-fd18-11e6-a3df-00000aab0f26&acdnat=1488219287_369f413abe3050e807b4a76a1fd90e37
From airplanes to cars to cellphones, virtually every product on the market is tested by the company that wants to sell the product. The testing protocols are dictated to the company and therefore the company has zero say on how testing is to be done. Only when the regulators are satisfied with the test results is a company allowed to commercialize their product. To suggest otherwise is fear mongering and blatantly false.
4) “high-risk crops”
According to who? Certainly not the global science community (see two attached documents on the consensus of safety of GE crops and derived foods. There is a not a single documented case of harm from consuming food derived from any GE crop. Twenty years and trillions of meals and yet the critics of this technology cannot document a single case of harm. To suggest there is some “high risk” with GE crops and derived foods is false and more fear mongering .
5) “Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use.”
This suggest only GE seeds can be patented. This is completely false. There are a great many non-GMO seeds, including certified organic seeds, that have patents. Seed development is time consuming and expensive. The company that invests in the development of seeds has every right to benefit from their investment. All patents expire and the first generation of GE seeds are now coming off patent protection. This means farmers will be able to save and re-use some of the first generation GE seeds.
6) “As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields”
Again a very misleading statement designed to generate opposition to GE crop development. In 2011 the Organic Seed Growers and trade Association sued Monsanto claiming the company sued farmers for adventitious presence of GE crops in their non-GE fields. When the court asked for evidence of such activity by Monsanto not one of the 30,000 plaintiffs could produce any. Monsanto has never sued any farmer for inadvertent GE in a non-GE field. When the court asked for evidence of harm to non-GE farmers from the spread of GE crops into their fields, again not one plaintiff came forward with evidence. The court made it clear the entire suit (and the myth propagated by Non-GMO and others) was an attempt to create a controversy where none exists. Please go to the court documents and read for yourself. http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cases/show.php?db=special&id=156
7) “As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 16 times since GMOs were introduced”
There is no debate the use of glyphosate has increased since the development of GE crops that are designed to be tolerant to it. What is missing from this is the fact the use of glyphosate has allowed farmers to greatly reduce or eliminate a variety of older, harsher herbicides. The net result is better yields, less environmental impact as glyphosate completely degrades into non-toxic compounds quickly and does not persist in the environment. Did you know glyphosate is less toxic than table salt? I would suggest you look up the environmental impact of some of the organic alternatives to glyphosate. I know you will be very surprised. The biggest benefit to Herbicide tolerant GE crops (Roundup resistance is only one) is farmers can practice no-till agriculture. This one change has brought tremendous soil conservation benefits to modern farming. We must not go back to using ploughing as a primary method of weed control.
8) “Super weeds and super bugs”
The best reference that demonstrates the falsehood is by a weed scientist http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2014/10/the-mutation-of-the-superweed/ I have not seen a single quality peer reviewed publication that has demonstrated GE crops help generate “super bugs. It is another of the many myths designed to generate fear and discomfort with GE crop technology.
9) “once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.”
This myth has been around since the 1980’s In fact GE crops are no more persistent than any other domesticated crop. A study done in 2001 and published in Nature demonstrated this very well. In the study four different GE crops were planted in 12 different locations in the UK and left alone for 10 years. The result was not one GE plant survived as natural plants out competed every single one of the GE crops. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v409/n6821/full/409682a0.html GE crops like all domesticated crops must be propagated by humans or they are outcompeted by wild plants.
I appreciate your statement in your e-mail that you support GE crops and recognize the many benefits of this technology. However when you put the Non-GMO Project label on your bread you are seen by your customers as supporting the myths and falsehoods that Non-GMO Project spreads (see above) about GE crops and derived foods. This I find unacceptable. For too long the public has been misled about GMO’s. Only when the public is given high quality information about GE crops and derived foods (not the “facts” found on the Non-GMO website) will they be able to make truly informed decisions about their food choices. As long as myths and falsehoods designed to generate fear are the basis of food choices the public is not being served well. For this reason many people who know the real science of GE crops and derived foods will continue to boycott any product that supports the Non-GMO Project and their misinformation campaign against GE crop technology.
I am always happy to explain further any aspects of GE crops and derived foods if you have any questions.
Robert Wager M.Sc.
Vancouver Island University
I received this e-mail From ACE Bakery this morning
Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us, and thank you for being a long-time fan. Please know we hear you and we 100% respect your point of view.
Since opening the first King St. store in Toronto in 1993, ACE bread has always been made with ingredients such as those you use at home: Flour, Water, Salt & Yeast.
By bearing the Non-GMO stamp on our packaging, we are simply providing awareness and transparency to our consumers that have been asking and searching for it. We recognize there are benefits to genetically modified crops, which is why we have never and will never declare any opposition to GMO science. We understand the global perspective and benefits it has provided in many cases around the world. Over the past few years, we have received numerous inquiries from our consumers asking if our ingredients were sourced from genetically engineered crops. We recently decided to take the next step of full transparency, and had our ingredients formally verified by the Non-GMO project. All our artisan breads are made with yeast, an ingredient that can be grown on genetically engineered substrates. At ACE®, we use yeast that is grown only on cane sugar.
We hope this information helps clarify the fact that we have not changed our artisan style baking process, which has been the foundation for our great tasting bread reputation, and nor are we using this Non-GMO stamp as a misleading marketing tactic. If you have any further questions or concerns, we would be thrilled to chat more. Call us (800–443–7929) any time.
Thanks again for your feedback; your point of view is important to us, and appreciate you sharing it.
We hope that you will continue to enjoy ACE® products in the future. If you share your home address with us, we would be more than delighted to send you some goodies as a token of our appreciation.
The bakers and crew at ACE Bakery®
Customer Service Representative
ACE BAKERY LIMITED
1 Hafis Rd
TEL. 416 241 3600 OR 1 800 443 7929 x316