Next week in Rome, world leaders will gather to discuss how to fix the food system amid one of the worst hunger crises in recent times. According to a new United Nations report on hunger, more than 2.37 billion people did not have adequate access to food in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in food systems that were already failing to meet the needs of so many people.
Rather than addressing systemic solutions for hunger and poverty, however, leaders of the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit are ignoring human rights and pushing to expand genetic engineering and commodity crop monocultures that are deepening the crises and also not feeding the world, according to hundreds of groups that are boycotting next week’s events and organizing a counter summit.
All this context is missing from a 7,000 plus word promotional article for genetically engineered foods published this week in the New York Times Magazine. Jennifer Kahn reports that, “overblown fears have turned the public against genetically modified food” even though the “potential benefits have never been greater.” She concludes: We should all just learn to love GMOs.
Kahn leads the “narrative program” at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Her narrative about GMOs hews closely to agrichemical industry talking points: were it not for “fear mongering” consumers and governments insisting on transparency and safety checks, they claim, GMO technology could fulfill its “potential.” But Kahn missed decades of evidence showing that GMO crops have failed to deliver on the kinds of promises upon which she hung her story. We describe some of these examples below.
Kahn also missed concerns about increasing corporate control of seeds, privatization of seed stock, and concentration of corporate power at the center of the GMO debate. U.S. and European agrichemical companies are exerting pressure on countries in the Global South to accept patented seeds, despite massive resistance in those countries. For informative reporting on that topic, see Renee Alexander and Simran Sethi’s article on how Mexico’s plan to phase out glyphosate and GMO corn imports “could reverse years of damage from U.S. trade policy.” See also Daniel Maingi’s reporting on how patent-protected biotechnologies are shaping Kenya’s food ecosystem. Corporations are “effectively controlling what food ecosystems emerge once a country decides to rely on biotech-gene seeds,” Maingi reports.
Kahn also missed evidence from the scientific literature about the off-target effects of CRISPR “gene editing” techniques. Plans to introduce CRISPR-engineered “hornless cattle” to Brazil were scrapped after a U.S. government researcher discovered that the cows had two antibiotic-resistance genes that weren’t supposed to be there. The company’s researchers had missed the problem in their own study. The incident highlights the importance of independent safety reviews, and provides another example of overhyped promises. The cows were the “poster animals of the gene-editing revolution,” MIT Technology Review reported, until the “major screw-up in their DNA” came to light.
Genetic engineering, including genome-editing, “has unpredictable outcomes,” says Michael Antoniou, a molecular geneticist at King’s College in London. “You basically need to conduct a long term feeding trial in animals and see what happens … and that’s just not going on anywhere in the world for regulatory purposes, at all.”
A more honest conversation
Kahn, a journalism professor, also relied heavily on a discredited source. She quoted at length Mark Lynas, a writer who has made many inaccurate claims about GMOs and pesticides, according to scientists and food policy experts who have written detailed critiques of his work. We have compiled the critiques of Lynas here. He is a fellow with the Cornell Alliance for Science, a public relations campaign funded by the Gates Foundation to convince other countries, particularly in Africa, to accept GMO seeds and foods. In a recent Scientific American article, African food movement leaders asked Bill Gates to “stop telling Africans what kind of agriculture Africans need.”
The public deserves a more honest conversation about GMOs – one that digs deeper than industry spin and examines critical issues of corporate power, neocolonialism and food sovereignty. “The complex nature of GMOs calls for a new conversation,” UC Berkeley scholar Maywa Montenegro wrote in 2015. “An honest discussion of genetically modified organisms must move beyond narrow concepts of human health to the wider social and environmental impacts of engineered crops.”
The need is more relevant today than ever. Instead, corporations, investors and donors pitching techno-food and industrial farming are dominating food policy negotiations. As Montenegro and her colleagues wrote last month, powerful actors have commandeered the UN Food Systems Summit “not only to promote a technology-driven approach to food systems, but also to fragment global food security governance and create institutions more amenable to the demands of agribusiness.”
GMOs: a long history of failed promises
For 30 years, agrichemical companies have hyped genetic engineering as the solution to hunger, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Again and again, the technology has failed to live up to promises. Here are some examples.
- Genetically engineered “golden rice,” hailed as the answer to Vitamin A deficiency for 25 years, is “is nowhere near production” and “may be shelved,” reported Crispin Maslog in SciDevNet in May. Questions of environmental and nutritional safety persist.
- Drought resistant genetically engineered maize has failed to deliver after a decade of trials in Africa. Yet Bayer and the Gates Foundation continue to push the project as a solution for hunger, reports the African Centre for Biodiversity.
- Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt cotton failed to deliver the same quality of cotton as traditional varieties in Burkina Faso. Despite the failure, the project was for years hailed as a success across Africa. Researchers found that “success narrative” was built on faulty data generated by Monsanto.
- A review of 20 years of data on Bt cotton in India found the GMO cotton did not increase yields. Although it initially reduced the need for pesticides, insects became resistant and “farmers now spend more on pesticides today than before the introduction of Bt.”
- A 2020 study in African Affairs found that nearly 30 years of strategic and well-funded efforts to bring GMOs to Africa have so far yielded very little.
- An extensive examination by the New York Times based on 20 years of data found that “genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides,” Danny Hakim reported in 2016.
- See also reporting on how dicamba drift from GMO farms damaged crops in 25 US states; insect-resistant and herbicide-resistant GMO crops are failing to work as pests evolve around them; and Bayer is now forging ahead with new GMO crops resistant to five herbicides.
For more information, see our list of critiques of GMOs in the Global South, and the Gates Foundation’s interventions in African food systems. Sign up for the USRTK newsletter for weekly updates on our investigations.
American Patriots Uniting to Fight Tyranny from, Well, Everywhere
We’re building a new conservative news network. Based on responses from fellow patriots, we’re heading in the right direction.
It may be hard to believe based on what we’re seeing around the nation today, but there are many reasons to be hopeful. First and foremost, the false narrative that most of America hates traditional values or the foundations of our nation are finally being proven false. Despite the best efforts of globalists and Neo-Marxists, patriotic Americans are starting to unify in droves. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can barely muster a half-filled auditorium to deliver his message to the scant few watching CNN and the paid shills in the “crowd.”
The “silent majority” that drove Donald Trump to victory in 2016 and 2020 (yes, he won by a landslide but was robbed along with the American people) is finally starting to realize we cannot stay silent any longer. We used to win with our votes, but those are being stolen. We used to win with truth, but the radical left and their agents in mainstream media, Big Tech, and academia are building a post-truth society to drown out reality. Today, we are waking up to the realization that only through direct action and fearlessly spreading the truth can we overcome the nefarious forces working against us.
We are proud to be working our way up to the tip of the conservative media spear. Our network is growing. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Truth. Based. Media.
- Freedom First Network
- Based Underground
- Uncanceled News
- American Conservative Movement
- Conservative Playbook
- Our Gold Guy
Some of our content is spread across all of these sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $2200-$7800 per month. May, 2021, for example, was amazing and we almost broke even. June, revenue was sluggish at best and we had to make up a big difference out of our pockets. But we’re not just trying to get out of the red. If and when we start getting enough contributions to expand, we will do just that. Very few get into journalism to try to get rich and we’re definitely not among those who do. Our success is driven by spreading the truth, profitable or not.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
Time is short. As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going. Our promise is this: We will never sell out America. If that means we’re going to struggle for a while or even indefinitely, so be it. Integrity first. Truth first. America first.
Thank you and God Bless,
One Sick Day Proves We Need More Voices in Truthful Media
On October 19, I was sick. It crossed my mind that I had finally gotten the ‘rona, but my wife’s cream of chicken soup and a few extra hours of sleep into mid-afternoon had be back up and running after a sleepless night before.
When I finally stumbled over to my computer in the evening, I was met with a deluge of concern from readers. They asked what had happened as only one article had been posted that day. Generally, we post between 10-20 daily between all of the sites, not included curated and aggregated content. Seeing that we’d only posted my super-early morning article before taking the rest of the day off had readers assuming the worst.
We have a wonderful and talented group of writers who volunteer their time for the sites and their readers. Sharing their amazing perspectives has always been a blessing to us because we cannot afford to hire anyone at this time. But having great writers is meaningless if we don’t have great editors, or at least one additional. My wife helps me read and edit stories from time to time, but I’m a one-man show when it comes to getting the stories posted.
Whenever I highlight our desperate need for donations, I note that we do not receive money from Google ads even though most in conservative media are beholden. I often ambiguously note that the money donated will help us grow. Today, I’m highlighting a specific need. We must get an editor to help take some of the load and to expand on our mission of spreading the truth to the world. One sick day proved that.
The great news is that there is no shortage of people who CAN help. I am emailed variations of resumes every week by people who are much smarter than I am. As much as I’d love to hire some of them, we simply cannot. That takes money and as blessed as we’ve been to receive donations and collect ad money (though not from Google or Facebook), we have still fallen short.
Those who have the means, PLEASE consider donating. We have the standard Giving Fuel option and people can donate through PayPal. We are also diving into what we believe is extremely disruptive technology at LetsGo.finance, the world’s first major donation portal for crypto. I’ll be talking a lot more about them in the near future. Those who prefer Bitcoin can send to my address here: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
We can get the voices out there and we’re willing to shine a spotlight on new talent. We just need the resources to make it happen. If you can help, we would be extremely grateful.
Thank you and God bless!
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JD Rucker – EIC