January 5, 2014 http://www.nomorefakenews.com
In this article, I raise important questions about the Non-GMO Project and its famous butterfly seal of approval on food products.
The Non-GMO Project is, by far, the largest testing program of its kind in North America. For example, Whole Foods has submitted thousands of its products for verification, so their stores can display the Project seals.
What does the seal actually say?
The butterfly seal literally reads: “NON-GMO Project VERIFIED.”
I haven’t changed the capital letters or the lower-case letters. So I’ll ask: which words do your eyes go to? The words in all-caps?
Read only the words in all-caps. What do you get? “NON-GMO VERIFIED.”
That suggests the product in question contains no GMOs, doesn’t it?
But this is not the case, as I’ll show in a minute.
The seal’s message is actually: “The Non-GMO Project is verifying…something. What is that something?
The Project is verifying that its standard has been met—and, as it turns out, that standard is not “non-GMO product” or “GMO-free.”
Through the use of capital letters, the consumer could very well believe the product he’s bought has been tested and the results show there are no GMOs.
But here, in fact, is an excerpt from a statement on the Project’s own website:
“Are products bearing the ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ seal GMO free? Unfortunately, ‘GMO free’ and similar claims are not legally or scientifically defensible due to limitations of testing methodology. In addition, the risk of contamination to seeds, crops, ingredients and products is too high to reliably claim that a product is ‘GMO free’. The Project’s claim offers a true statement acknowledging the reality of contamination risk, but assuring the shopper that the product in question is in compliance with the Project’s rigorous standard. The website url is included as part of the Seal to ensure that there is transparency for consumers who want to learn more about our verification. While the Non-GMO Project’s verification seal is not a ‘GMO free’ claim, it is trustworthy, defensible, transparent, and North America’s only independent verification for products made according to best practices for GMO avoidance.”
In my opinion, the seal conveys one thing, and the website conveys another.
Furthermore, in the Project’s own website statement, which I’ve just quoted, they mention the word “contamination.” They explain that this is one of the reasons they can’t assert “GMO free” on any product. But what does “contamination” mean? It certainly indicates “gene drift,” doesn’t it? And also a transfer of genes during shipping or processing?
Drift takes Monsanto’s genes, which have been inserted into certain food crops, and spreads them on the wind to other food crops for which they weren’t intended.
The Non-GMO Project can’t identify them after they’ve drifted? The Project must have access to the full list of biotech genes and their makeup, in order to do accurate testing of food products at all. So if one of those genes ends up in the “wrong” food plant, the Project can’t find it?
If that’s true, then people who buy products with the Project butterfly seal could, in fact, be getting products containing all sorts of “drifted genes” that haven’t been noticed or identified.
Two other points. As far as I can discover by searching the Project’s website, I see no mention of testing for toxic pesticides or herbicides. Remember, the absence of GMOs in a food product doesn’t automatically mean that product is pesticide-free. These dangerous chemicals are sprayed on huge numbers of crops that contain no GMOs. (Note: I’m not suggesting that the Non-GMO Project is misleading the consumer re pesticides; I’m simply stating the consumer should know that food products holding the butterfly seal can contain these chemicals.)
And finally, the Project states it uses labs that do “quantitative PCR testing,” in order to look for GMOs. The PCR is a very sensitive procedure. It is prone to technician errors.
Under the surface of wide acceptance of the PCR technique, there is a significant controversy about whether the test can detect the amount of material it is looking for, rather than the mere presence of that material.
This is relevant to the Non-GMO Project’s stated function of discovering the percentage of foreign genetic material in any given food sample it examines. Can the Project really achieve this “quantification” on a reliable and regular basis?
On this issue, three scientists with knowledge of PCR have commented to me about the test, off the record, with the following: a) quantifying or determining the amount of a substance you’ve tested for and found is not readily doable; b) accurately quantifying very small amounts of a substance you’re looking for is probably not attainable; and c) the whole PCR process is fraught with the potential for error.
In 1996, journalist John Lauritsen interviewed Kary Mullis. Lauritsen quoted Mullis as saying: “Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.” Oxymoron means “contradictory, incongruous.”
Mullis isn’t just anybody. He is the inventor of PCR and won the 1993 Nobel Prize for it.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at http://www.nomorefakenews.com