The Biofortified Blog

Questions arise about upcoming “Factor GMO” study

The Factor GMO logo
The Factor GMO logo

The Factor GMO logo

Last week, Henry Rowlands at Sustainable Pulse announced the upcoming launch of a study on genetically engineered crops, which was later picked up by GM Watch. At a staggering $25 million budget, it promises to be “the largest and most comprehensive long-term experiment ever conducted on a GM food and its associated pesticide.” The press release (PDF) also claimed that the scientists involved in the study would come from a “neutral” background and not be from the biotech industry or the anti-GMO movement either. This would be a promising development, however, the announcement was short on important details, specifically, the sponsors, funding sources, and scientific expertise. “Factor GMO” didn’t even show up in search engines. However, they did say that the announcement of some of these details would occur on November 11 at The Farmers Club in London, England. So I contacted the venue to see if I could find out more information – and that’s where it got interesting. Read more ›

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2014 Frankenfood Carving and Costume Contest

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Hello everyone! Frank N. Foode™ here to make an important announcement. October 31st – celebrated both as Halloween and the birthdate of this fine blog (what a coincidence?) is just around the corner. You know what that means? Oh yes, it is time for our annual Frankenfood Carving and Costume Contest!

In previous years, you’ve all stepped up and carved yourselves some gnarly pumpkins, assorted squash, and hacked up many other bounties from the harvest. You’ve also donned scary plant-based costumes. Well it’s time to grab the knives and sewing needles for another great contest with some awesome prizes!

Here are the rules:

  • This contest is open to everyone – you need not have ever commented on the blog before the day you enter in the contest.
  • You’ve seen the scary pictures. Needles in tomatoes, and corn with sharp jaws to bite off your fingers. This is what some people imagine GMOs are like. You and I know better, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun! Take a pumpkin, squash, corn, celery, you-name-it, and carve it up into the scariest, most OMG-worthy GMO you can think of. Stitch different plants together, make a real Frankenfood!
  • OR – make yourself a costume worthy of being seen in one of those GMO protests – or a counter-protest – dressed as a plant or something related to it! It’s your choice – and either one gets you into the contest.
  • Upload a photo of your mad creation to the forum. Or upload it to our Facebook Page.
  • To give you time to upload a picture from Halloween, the contest is open until November 2nd, at midnight Pacific time in the US.
  • The Biofortified Blog’s Editors will decide on a winner and announce it within the next week.

Pick some news during the past year and make fun of it. The scarier, the funnier, the more clever – the better!

Frank-pianoPrizes

What is a contest without prizes? For our winners, you get your choice of a Frank N. Foode™ or Lanakila Papaya™ plushie sent to you, and our first place winners will get their choice of one of the books on our prize page as well. Now if we get a lot of entries, we’re going to throw in some more prizes just to make it interesting!

So go! Run out to the field and find a worthy cucurbit, grab your surgical tools (be safe!), and make us some monsters! Can you top last year’s winner?

 

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Review of “Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood”

The 2013 PLoS One article Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood is often used as evidence that genes from GMO can “transfer” into our bodies (such as in this article from Collective Evolution). In this post, I’d like to review the paper with you and discuss this nightmare-inducing scenario. Read more ›

Posted in Science Tagged with: , , , ,

Jimmy Kimmel gives GMOs the Gluten treatment

JimmyKimmelHWOFSept2012

Jimmy Kimmel jumped into the discussion of the “Gluten-free” trend, showing that many people who avoided wheat gluten did not understand what it was or why they were avoiding it. Now, Jimmy Kimmel has done the same thing with GMOs. He sent a film crew to a farmer’s market to find out if people avoided GMOs, why, and what “GMO” stood for. This is the hilarious result.

Posted in News Tagged with: ,

The day I unwittingly became a pro-science activist

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fun facts

What kinds of Fun ‘Facts’ Fester in yonder tent? Credit: Jeff Fountain

Early this September I attended the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa.  It’s an event that’s centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism.  The speakers included Joseph Mercola, Jeffrey Smith, Andrew Kimbrell, and my personal favorite pseudoscientist, Vani Hari, a.k.a. the Food Babe.  For those unfamiliar with Food Babe, she is an anti-GMO, pro-organic public figure who attacks food and agricultural companies for what are essentially harmless practices.  The reason I mention her is because she inspired me to start my own Facebook parody page called Food Hunk, which is what sort of drove my foray into ‘activism’.  Food Hunk is to Food Babe, what Stephen Colbert is to Bill O’Reilly.  I joined a community of other wonderful Food Babe critics such as Chow Babe and Science Babe, with my page being a bit of a broader commentary on fallacious ways of thinking, such as the all-too-common naturalistic fallacy.

I’ve been interested in science all of my life, but only in the last few years have I become more involved with skepticism and the idea that you don’t need to be a scientist to think like a scientist.  As usually proliferated on social media, a constant barrage of anti-GMO fear mongering flooded my Facebook feed on a daily basis. I started trying to counter these claims with sound science.  Because many of those spreading erroneous info were good friends, I felt compelled to actually know what I was talking about and inform them, instead of simply calling them out their ignorance.  I became active in various online forums devoted to exploring the issue of genetic engineering, and found myself learning from some of the best science communicators on the topic.  Upon realizing that I couldn’t learn enough, I decided to go back to school and learn about biotechnology.  I’d recently left my fifteen-year career working in the wine industry and was exploring my passion for science.  My wife found a certificate program at CCSF called Bridge to Biosciences where I am enrolled today.  I am nowhere near as educated as many of the people I correspond with about science, but I’m always trying to learn and never pretend to wield knowledge I don’t have.  In my opinion, this is one of the most important components of skepticism.  If more people only stopped pretending to know what they do not know, we wouldn’t see the blatant misinformation that so predominantly surrounds the topic of GMOs.

Recently I was in a GMO enthusiast forum, when I noticed a post from Karl at Biology Fortified.  He mentioned the Heirloom Expo and was asking if anyone from the Bay Area was going to attend.  Santa Rosa is only about an hour from where I live, and so after realizing I didn’t really have anything planned for the day I thought, “How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to introduce Food Hunk to Food Babe?”  I put on my ‘I love GMOs’ t-shirt, (carefully concealed under my sweatshirt) and hit the road to Santa Rosa. Read more ›

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Biology Fortified, Inc. is an independent, non-profit organization devoted to providing factual information and fostering discussion about issues in biology, with a particular emphasis on plant genetics and genetic engineering in agriculture. Find out more on our About page.

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