GMOs and the unscientific “Substantial Equivalents” policy

Dear Brian,
Thank you for directing attention to the “Substantial Equivalent” policy matter.  To me, it is at the crux of the problems.  It is so ironic to have GMO proponents continually dog our efforts to de-escalate from the dangerous Chem/Ag/GMOs cycle and systems by making demands for our “science” on why we think things need to change.  These multi-national corporations, who were granted the ability to own genetic material, have made sure few unbiased studies can be completed AND their real position is “we managed to convince policy makers over two decades ago that our products were safe simply by “calling it good” – ie Substantial Equivalents.
Yesterday I got some printmaking studio time and did a painting of that title “Substantial Equivalents”.  It visually conjectures the issue using an ear of natural corn and an ear of gmo corn along side a picture of a woman standing next to a blow-up doll!  This is what I think about their “substantial equivalents” !!!!   It is crude but true – a blow up doll is not a woman, and gmo foods are not whole, natural foods!  The slogan “GMO: Goddess Mightily Offended” can be taken as a warning that many people see through the rhetoric and lies of the GMO food industry and those who shop, cook and prepare foods are seeking products that are untainted and free of disturbing questions about their nutritional value, their contribution to environmental degradation, and their long term health effects, especially for the region’s and planet’s children.  We who oppose GMO and its ilk are gearing up to play hardball – no more Ms. Nice Guy!  For too long we have suffered the scientific speculation and misrepresentations, as history has proven what “science” tells us is “safe”  ten or twenty years later is discovered to be patently untrue! (X-Rays, DDT, smoking, etc). The most compelling arguments for banning gmos are in how far across the line “science” has gone to achieve uniformity, monoculture, power and profit through unnatural and unloving means.  Our natural seeds and systems are a better future and can feed the world just fine, given the generosity to work out political and distribution issues and move forward in peace without intervention from aggressive, corporate and governmental forces bent on “playing God”.
The comments and responses to your article are all focusing on the arguments and details of the “science”. My hope is that left-brainers will put on their collective intellectual thinking caps and get down to the LEGALITY, HUMANITY, MORALITY AND INTEGRITY of these issues.  The real argument should be “how do to we reverse the “substantial equivalent” platform?  It is surprising to me that anti-trust and class action suits have not been launched at undoing this pernicious and nonsensical standard.  As the world hurtles forward on this very weak and bad premise of accelerating the production of trans-species food and seed modification, and further pollutes the planet with the toxic soup of chemicals to foster a system inferior to what nature has already evolved for us, I see human folly of the highest order with devastating future consequences.
When people of good sense finally open their eyes to the tragedy of gmo and all that it represents, I hope it is not too late.  You ask great and powerful questions about the absence of outcry from the farming and food industries here in Southern Oregon.
The March against Monsanto in Medford organizing group, Families for Food Freedom, and the Chamber of Commons will be working hard to get the information out and catalyze action on May 25th (March gathering at 11 am at Vogel Plaza, Central Ave. and West Main in Medford, Oregon).  Also since GMO Free Jackson County has a list of 400 food-related supporters, perhaps its time to send them a detailed overview of exactly how bad GMO is.  Your compilation video of key points from over two dozen documentaries is filled with compelling and well-documented information.  Can copies of that be sent out or posted on line so viewers can get the intense version offered in a manageable crash course in the dangers and documented downside to health, environment and the economy that your work provided to those working on defeating GMOs in our region?
Catie Faryl
Chamber of Commons and championsofthecommons  on facebook
(541) 535-1854
From: Realtidbits Comment Reply <> To: Sent: Monday, May 6, 2013 5:42 PM Subject: Re: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR |


(2 Previous Replies)      Latest Reply
BrianComnes Let’s put it this way , isn’t the science that really counts the one that is in control of the release of GMOs into the market place? That is what controls what we grow and eat. All the rest is mere quibbling and strutting by advocates of either “side”.  So can ANYBODY explain to me the science that underscores the current doctrine that governs the release of GMO food in the U.S.  known as substantial equivalence (SE)?  Go ahead, convince me..make me less skeptical. The policy of substantial equivalence  is merely a  trade and commerce policy from 1992 from the OECD, an international  trade association. It was promulgated by then VP Dan Quayle and made USDA/FDA policy by none other than Mike Taylor (a revolving door Monsanto exec who is still with us today) and its sole motivation was to “reduce regulations” or provide “regulatory relief” and get US biotech products to market quicker.  Scientists within FDA and USDA at the time put up a stink, but they were ignored by the Monsanto folks who had captured the agency at a policy level.. As a result the USDA set up policies that only producer-funded short term studies were required and if Monsanto says it safe, then it safe because it is substantially equivalent. – some science there    (Hey a healthy cow and one with BSE-mad cow are substantially equivalent, are they both safe?)
Now combine that policy with the fact that GMOs are proprietary trade secrets and independent scientists can not get access to the materials or only with censoring nondisclosure restrictions.  What that leads to is perverted science because there are no independent verifiable studies of which PG  Economics or other PR firms are shining examples .”For a decade,” protested Scientific American editors in 2009, GMO companies “have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research,” so “it is impossible to verify that  genetically modified crops perform as advertised.”
As for the pesticide usage data, WSU’s Benbrook 20 year study,  recently updated, pretty much put to bed the earlier Barfoot/Brooks (PG Economics) study which people like the Farm Bureau insist “proves” their point of view.
And finally are over 110 farms in the Rogue Valley so clueless about their own future that they would sign a written statement supporting a GMO crop ban? Seems unlikely. How many GMO growers are there here? All I meet are Farm Bureau lobbyists and one guy who grows some GMO corn in JOSPEHINE County. And those 300 restaurants, businesses  and organizations including three Granges, are they clueless too?