Dump John Stossel


Given your dedication to informing citizens of Delta County about current events and issues, it is puzzling why you continue to publish John Stossel’s deceptive column on Saturdays. Stossel is nothing but a faux-populist shill for the corporate plutocrats who continue to accrue vast fortunes at the expense of America’s middle class. Today’s column, “Eat without fear” about genetically modified crops (GMOs) is a case in point. With deception and misinformation, Stossel defends the interests of Big Agribusiness against the health of our ecosystems and people.

Let’s start with the deception. Labeling those concerned about GMOs as hysterical, Stossel cites the documentary “Seeds of Death” as warning that “eating GMOs causes holes in the GI tract and multiple organ system failure.” The deception lies in his implication that the film suggests these are consequences for humans who eat GMO food, when in fact, they describe what happens to insects that eat the crops. Indeed, no such danger exists for humans, and Stossel is correct in pointing out that there is little evidence for direct danger to humans from eating GMOs.

So what’s the big deal? Stossel’s misinformation lies in his emphasis on the safety of consuming GMOs, and their utility in reducing pesticide use. He fails to point out that the vast majority of GMO crops have actually been engineered for herbicide resistance, allowing farmers to use unprecedented quantities of broad spectrum herbicides, primarily Monsanto’s glyphosphate based Roundup.

To facilitate this use, Monsanto successfully petitioned the EPA to raise the legally accepted tolerance levels of Roundup residue in animal feed five times higher than Europe’s. Tolerance levels for Roundup residue in various fruits and vegetables have also been raised.

Worse, as a result of the excess use of Roundup, resistant “superweeds” have evolved and are now present on more than half of U.S. farms. As Roundup’s effectiveness declines, Monsanto is now engineering new crop varieties to resist even more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D, the active ingredient in the banned Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange. Monsanto is expecting a 30-fold increase in the use of 2, 4-D by the end of the decade.

Evidence now shows that increasing use of herbicides is having indirect effects on butterfly and bee populations, critical pollinators for more than two-thirds of global food crops that contribute some $20 billion to US annual agriculture production.

Now you know the whole story. I encourage the Daily Press to dump Stossel and find a new columnist who puts the health and well-being of our community ahead of the interests of the wealthy and powerful.

Brian Black