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'We are not a science experiment' (10 photos)

Monday, May 26, 2014   by: Donna Hopper

Rallies and protests happened across the globe Saturday during the world-wide March Against Monsanto as concerned citizens demanded the immediate boycott of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In Sault Ste. Marie, approximately 50 protesters met at Clergue Park and marched to Queen Street to rally in front of the office of MP Bryan Hayes.

Participants included Sault Green Party candidate Kara Flannigan and Libertarian candidate Austin Williams.

Monsanto is one of the world's leading producers of GMOs and herbicides (Roundup).

Numerous concerns surround Monsanto's products and business practices, including its impact on environmental and public health, food security, local agriculture sustainability, and biodiversity.

Research suggests that GMOs have contributed to the decline in the world's bee population and can result in serious health issues in humans, including infertility and birth defects.

Tami Monroe Canal, who founded March Against Monsanto in an effort to protect her children, stated in a recent news release: “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. [March Against Monsanto] supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”

It was suggested at Saturday's March Against Monsanto that the first and easiest step to halting Monsanto's monopoly over the food supply is to buy from local producers, support organic suppliers, and boycott any product that uses GMOs.

In Canada, the food label 'organic' must always indicate the certifier that inspected and authorized the product to validate its organic designation.

When purchasing produce, the product look up (PLU) sticker plays and important role for consumers.

If a product PLU code is a four digit number beginning with 3 or 4, the product was grown conventionally (example: 4011).

If the PLU is a five digit number starting with 9, the produce was grown organically (example: 94011).

If the five-digit PLU begins with 8, the produce is genetically modified. (example: 84011).

In the Algoma district, consumers have a number of options to shop local, including a variety of farmers markets, including:

Algoma Farmers' Market
Roberta Bondar Pavilion
June to October
Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wednesday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Mill Market
35 Canal Drive
Starting in June
Wednesday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Johnson Farmers' Market
Desbarats Community Centre
June to September
Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To learn more about Algoma-produced products, click here.

For more information about March Against Monsanto, click here.

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
seen_your 5/27/2014 4:10:58 AM Report

This is a thought I have been pondering for a while in my head.

Is it possible that the declining bee populations in the world have anything to do with GMO plants? Maybe by altering the plants to better suit our needs we have taken out something the bee needs for its immune system? Perhaps that is why this virus is causing such devastation amongst bee colonies. Any thoughts?
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 8:36:57 AM Report

Thanks for a story on this, Donna

seen your, I don't think GMOs can help the bees but I believe their decline has more to do with interruption of low frequency magnetic fields they use to get around by EMF leakage from wireless tech. We've rendered them blind, basically.

links later on
seen_your 5/27/2014 9:30:36 AM Report

I doubt that, although what you are saying may indeed be happening, it does not explain the virus afflicting them. Being blind does not make your immune system lower as far as I know.
seen_your 5/27/2014 9:31:51 AM Report

Still I will look into what you have said, maybe the bees are getting a double whammy????
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 9:40:24 AM Report

The virus to which you refer...Colony Collapse Disorder, or something else?
Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 10:08:54 AM Report

GMOs don't have anything to do with bee population collapses. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been found to be caused by a mixture of three factors: poor nutrition in the bees, pesticide exposure (specifically neonicotinoids), and pathogens/diseases.


Contrary to these protester's claims, GMOs are not dangerous foods. Engineered food crops have been approved in Canada for some 25-30 years now, and the majority of prepared foods available contain some portion of GM ingredients.

Because the World's first foray into the field of genetic engineering in the 90s was fraught with such massive legal problems (caused by Monsanto), the whole issue has left a horribly bitter taste in society's mouths. Part of this was caused by Monsanto holding what are called sleeper patents; and their exploitation of outdated technological laws. Google sleeper patents.

Ultimately, it is the grossly outdated Canadian laws regarding biotechnology, patents, and novel genetic organisms that cause so many problems, not the safety of the genetically modified foods themselves.

Political and ecological forces around such large technological investments, such as a GM organism, are so uncontrollable that the laws themselves are not able to accommodate an issue with such a complex Nature. This is the start and and of the problem with GM foods.
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 10:16:22 AM Report

ehcadroj, so in spite of monsantos billions spent lobbying their governments, countries such as Mexico and everyone in the EU among others have banned GM foods because....?

I implore you to keep feeding your family their (totally safe)poison.
seen_your 5/27/2014 10:26:32 AM Report

Poor nutrition in the bees? Sure sounds like that has something to do with GMO to me. The plants are the food source correct? I'm sorry but I think I am onto something here.
seen_your 5/27/2014 10:29:34 AM Report

@ignorantnortherner... CCD that is correct, thank you.
Also I think YOU might be onto something as well with the interference thing, you have inspired me to do more research and that is a good thing, you are not what your name suggests.
seen_your 5/27/2014 10:32:03 AM Report

@Ehcadroj you can show me government stats all you want, I never believe them, not so long as we live in a system that allows LOBBYISTS to make decisions in the country.
Koss 5/27/2014 10:34:47 AM Report

Social protests to raise awareness is great. But if you really want to make a difference put your money where your mouth is. Buy your foods from local farmers or better yet grow your own food with seeds from not GM.
seen_your 5/27/2014 10:41:18 AM Report

@Koss you are bang on imo. I grow food but I feel I should mention that it can be difficult to find non-GMO seeds for specific plants these days. Also if you are planting do not plant next to anyone who grows GMO's as they can cross breed into your plants via pollination. If you try and sell that crop, and someone discovers it is crossed with a GMO variety, you can be criminally charged. This is because Monsanto and others have a patent, therefore you cannot sell GMO food without their approval.
Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 10:58:45 AM Report

@IgnorantNortherner: Like I said in my post if you bothered to read it, this is a political issue not a scientific one. The science, a.k.a. the tried and tested evidence is that eating plant products that come from a genetically modified source does not affect human health. There's no difference health-wise between a GM carrot and a non-GM carrot. The differences comes from how the carrots are grown, yes. This means that a genetically modified carrot that is organically produced is entirely reasonable and safe to eat.

And to address your snotty retort about safe poisons, your cup of coffee has 500 known carcinogens in it and its totally safe.

@seen_your: If you bothered to look at that link I graciously provided, you'll have noticed that the book was produced by non-profit scientists for the responsible and sustainable use of pesticides. And better yet, they have already done the research for you, collating 5+ years of study into one handy publication. That document is not a list of statistics but rather a comprehensive overview of what has been found, to date, about the factors that cause colony collapse disorder. If you want to do real research into an issue, stay as far away as you can from websites like motherjones; they far too often present only the extreme left side of an issue, and 95% of the time the truth is actually in the boring middle.

And again @Seen_your: If you read that link, you'll have found out that the pollen and nectar produced by the plants contain the pesticides which the bees are affected by. It's the pesticide, not the GM-nature of the crops that is killing the bees. When compacted with the concurrent issues of viral/disease load and monoculture food sources (which are presenting pesticides), colony collapse occurs. It's not because the plants are genetically modified.
Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 11:05:15 AM Report

and seen_your, you're right about the cross-pollination legal trap. IMO, that's the single reason GM crops are such a complicated issue. Outdated patent laws from the 80s essentially predating the technology they're trying to govern, combined with no laws addressing self-replicating units that wind pollinate is THE recipe for disaster. It's why the laws need to change, not the technology.
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 11:18:48 AM Report

ehcadroj, above you stated GMOs are safe, offering only that they've been approved and in the food supply for some time now as your (total lack of) proof...and then you go on to admit there are entirely unsafe foods, like coffee, that are legal and sold everywhere. that it's been around has nothing to do w its safety. Neither does its nutritional content.
seen_your 5/27/2014 11:51:11 AM Report


You may or may not be right, we will soon find out as most of the EU has apparently banned the use of what they call "bee harming pesticides". I guess if the virus continues in Europe we will know there is more to do than just pesticides. If it stops then we have our cure.

You make the assumption I did not read that link, (which I did),it seems like it was put together by well intentioned people. However I will give you three reasons why I have doubt about pesticides being the problem(or at least the only problem). You may or may not agree.

#1 Pesticides/herbicides have been in use for quiet some time now, yet CCD has never been a serious problem until recently. There have been isolated cases in the past but nothing like right now.

#2 The use of pesticides/herbicides has had a dramatic decrease in this country, yet the cases of CCD are on the rise. (They use to spray for weeds every summer here in the Sault when I was a kid!!!)

#3 Back in the day they used far more powerful chemicals than today, (DDT anyone??) and there was not the cases of CCD as now.

From what I have read, pathogens, parasites, management stresses, and environmental stresses are all having a major impact. Perhaps there is no one culprit but a factor of many. I am pleased that pesticide/herbicide use is declining, I see that as a good thing. Even you must admit, however, that it would not hurt to have a look at GMO's to see if they are a contributing factor as well. As far as I know, no such research has been done.

I do not claim to be right, I do not accuse you of being wrong. Quiet frankly I don't know. I asked a question and started off a healthy debate, imo this is a good thing. We are talking about it and that is the first step to solving the problem would you not agree?
seen_your 5/27/2014 11:52:33 AM Report

Apologies for my grammar and spelling, I admit I was a lousy English student.
seen_your 5/27/2014 11:56:50 AM Report

Also I have never heard of this motherjones thing you refer to (another assumption of yours). My ideas come from my own mind.

I was a machinist a while back, first thing they taught me was,

Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 12:15:15 PM Report


My coffee comment was addressing your dishonest juxtasposition of a political issue (why did EU and mexico ban GMs) against an issue of health (feeding my family GM products) with the implicit assumption that one causes the other. In this instance they do not.

My rebuttal to that was to offer you the evidence that GM canola has been approved for growth and human consumption in Canada since approximately 1992-93. So my ballparking was off by 5 years and its been in Canada for 22 instead of 25-30; so what? If there was an actual problem with the GM product millions of people would have been affected enough over those 20 years to have noticed some significant effect that is non-debatable enough to have the GM crop outright burned in their fields. Compare GMOs with the recent lead paint issues and consider the speed of the government's reaction. Consider how much effort is put into having the product out of the hands of the public. How are GMOs different? When you think about GMOs and lead paint what is the distinction? In the case of GMOs nothing has happened. It must mean that this one large evidence shows that they are safe.

And this entire scenario I just described is of course happening after all of the testing done before the crop was even planted to ensure safety and to get government approval.

And I never said coffee was unsafe, billions of people drink it everyday all over the world. I facetiously made that comment to try bring to light your own view on the matter of food safety.

On the issue of proof, how much do you want, and at what level of detail do you need it? If I gave it to you would you even read it, should I even care? Are you brave enough to accept the notion that you're under-read regarding this issue, or that you're too unwilling to open your beliefs to change.

There are problems with how GMOs are handled, and these problem arise from a political and legal standpoint, not from the health and safety of the GMO itself.
seen_your 5/27/2014 12:23:19 PM Report

Personally I can't say if they are a healthy or not, I just think they taste terrible compared to what comes out of my garden. However, I believe that has to with over farming and using fertilizer to replenish the soil on industry farms. They should be rotating crops and using plants such as alfalfa and clover to replenish the nutrients.
Mousie 5/27/2014 12:27:30 PM Report

I've started trying to buy organic when I can, but I'm on a fixed income and the price of most organic produce is beyond my means. For example, 3 organic tomatoes at Rome's rang in at over $8. They were just average-sized, too. I had to tell the cashier to cancel them. I'm going to check out the Farmer's Markets, but maybe the producers of organic food should consider lowering the prices so more of us can afford them.
seen_your 5/27/2014 12:39:08 PM Report

8 bucks for three tomatoes??? Yikes.
Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 12:45:23 PM Report

@seen_your: I understand what you mean; however, in my 20 some years utilizing internet message boards comments either start at base passion and get built into reasonable stances, or start reasonable and devolve into a debase argument about how many babies Hitler had with your mom. I'm glad this is the former and not the latter.

The CCD pesticides in question are neonicotinoids, and most of their problems stems from an exponential expansion in their use in the mid 2000s. A type of "victim of their own success" scenario; by being good at what they do (killing things to improve crop yeilds) they are phasing themselves out of such widespread use (they killed too many things). Regulation politics aside.

There really hasn't been a decrease in the use of pesticides. Today farmers use better pesticides, more specific to the pest disease or animal. In the case of the neonicotinoids they're a general insecticide applied in a general manner. A lot of this has to do with the scale of size of modern agricultural practices; the two aren't linked to GMOs.

And I agree with you, from what I've read and from what I know how Nature works there usually isn't one culprit, but a factor of many.

I too am pleased that pesticide/herbicide use is declining, it is a good thing, it implies better resource management; smarter farming.

I agree too that it would not hurt to look at the contributions of GMO crops to things like adverse health or ecology. Those studies have been done. They have been done since ~1985, and they are done for every new chemical, product, crop, and organism that can be bought or sold in the Western world, GMOs included.

I link you a Forbes article because 90% of actual science articles are behind a big paywall; but if you google scholar GMOs you can read the abstracts. They give a decent overview if you read enough.
seen_your 5/27/2014 1:08:45 PM Report


Had a good laugh bout the Hitler and my mom thing, to my knowledge my mother wasn't born yet but hey maybe Hitler got away, I don't know. If anything in the past I was just guilty as anyone for lowering myself to the teenage brain when it comes to a debate so I know what you are saying.

I am getting older and my teeth hurt so I think it has taken the bite away from me so to speak *laughs

I have to disagree about pesticides being more in use, as that might be true on farms but definitely not for the country as a whole. I am no longer allowed to use certain chemicals on my land when in the past it was more of a wild west scenario. Also you don't see much (if any) of the spraying going around town as in the past. As far as I know that is true for most cities in Ontario at least.

I am interested in these new pesticides you speak of, because, if they came into use in the mid 2000's as you say, then that collaborates with the farmer noticing the massive die off in colonies around 2006. Will be a strong read fer sure, however, if you notice my first post was at 4 am this morning before I went to work. So I should really get to bed.

It is okay to be proven wrong on something, it just means you have increased your own intelligence.

Great Convo guys, keep it up!

Frio 5/27/2014 1:19:59 PM Report

According to the 100 year industrial history of Monsanto why would anybody trust them to be telling the truth about their lab created GMO's and food crop safety? 1901, Saccharin, artifical sweetner made from coal tar for Coca Cola and the food industry, 1920's- PCB's, 1940's -DDT, 1950's,-petroleum based fertilizers that rob soil of its natural fertility,
1960's Dioxins and Agent Orange, 1970's-Roundup weed killer, 1970's -Aspertame, chemical sweetner, 1980's -rBGH growth hormone to force dairy cattle to produce more milk.. See anything but deadly chemicals and poisons that Monsanto has been involved in unleashing onto the world and into the environment? Later banned products, Saccharin, DDT, PCB's and of questionable safety, all the rest.
bulletcards 5/27/2014 2:11:45 PM Report

it's easy to protest the food when your not hungry. self important, pretentious citizens of 1st world countries. let's see what the starving people of the world have to say on the subject. Eat dirt or eat GMO food? i think they will take the food
bulletcards 5/27/2014 2:15:30 PM Report

further more for the record... food has been modified for centuries. selective breeding/planting
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 2:20:19 PM Report

ehcadroj, you express your thoughts coherently enough that I'd read whatever you link and I try my best to always keep an open mind, but on the GMO issue I've spent at least a couple hundred hours researching and reading the journals and I'm less than convinced of their safety so it would take quite a bit to convince me otherwise.

Again, the fact that they've been on the market for twenty years and have yet to be banned IS NOT proof of their safety. You were being facetious about the coffee comment, fine, but you weren't lying in that they contain a ton of garbage humans would be better off never consuming. You could say they're not bad enough to kill you or that the benefits outweigh the cons but you're still left consuming hundreds of known poisons which obviously will have some negative effect over time.

The GMOs on the market today hardly resemble the ones one the market twenty years ago. They contain different genes and resistances and the GMO marketshare for corn, canola and soy is over 95% whereas twenty years ago it was under 1% so it's not really fair to suggest they've been in the food supply to the same degree for two decades.

Furthermore, I think you have the science background to understand how easily any gene coding for say, Bt toxin, can be passed into your gut bacteria which will be producing said toxin in your gut for the rest of your life.

As Frio notes we're also dealing with probably the shadiest company in the history of the world. They deserve extra scrutiny at this point, imo.

It's a monopoly on the world's food supply we're talking about! They want every seed sown to be a 'Terminator seed' that doesn't produce viable seeds and requires you to buy from Monsanto each and every year for every plant you grow. Kind of seems like humanity would be getting the short end of the stick...
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 2:25:05 PM Report

bullet, the starving citizens of the world will never be able to afford to PAY monsanto for the seeds this year or any other so it really doesn't help them at all. There will be millions of more starving because of them.

Selective breeding is in no way similar to extracting a bacterial gene that say codes for a toxin that kills insects, attaching it to nano particles of gold and firing it your target plant genome until something sticks and then hoping the target plant isn't so messed up genetically that you can't grow a producing plant from it.

Why should I have to pay a company to grow my own food?
Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 3:50:52 PM Report


See, I'm arguing that the fact that GMOs have been on the market for twenty years and have yet to be banned IS ONE proof of their safety. Is it an explicit proof? In a sense, yes, but for our conversation No, only a randomized animal study or better ( human intervention, etc.) can be an explicit proof.

Has a randomized double blind placebo trial been done on a GMO food? None to my knowledge, but I would be willing to bet a coke that if there is one it turns up vague results like a regular vs organic foods study does. However, you don't need that level of rigor to prove safe for consumption in a GMO.

The coffee example is true, there are 500 known carcinogens in a brew. Sunlight causes cancer, but also helps our body fight it through Vit D production. My point is most poisons work in a dose dependent manner - meaning you can be exposed to a poison without any noticable ill effects, provided your body can handle it's metabolism; there is a threshold for most everything, that exposure cause no observable adverse effects. Some classes of chemical are different, but they're not being discussed here; GMOs are, and to a lesser extent pesticides.

And I never said "that they contain a ton of garbage humans would be better off never consuming." In fact I wouldn't argue this point period. If forced I would take a stance for these compounds exerting a hormesis effect, depending on whats being talked about.

With a market share of 95% that's even more of a reason attesting to their safety - if 30+ million people are consuming these crops then where are the purported ill effects that anti-GMO advocates have been clamoring for? Serious question.

And if a bacteria picked up a BT toxin gene from your food, and was capable of expressing it, and was capable of maintaining a colony in your gut, you'd probably be dead before you even knew that was what happened. But who has been making what express BT toxin in food sources?

Yes I agree with Monsanto being a self-serving and manipulative monopolistic corporate entity that could be classified as Machiavellian at best. That does not make GMOs bad, or unhealthy, or dangerous to the public. Monsanto does not hold a patent on GMOs. A GMO can be made to address a significant problem for the betterment of the environment, like UoGuelph's Enviropig. Society at large has been exposed to the bad side of this technology before it was exposed to the good.

Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 3:53:08 PM Report

@IgnorantNortherner: Unless you make 100% of your farm equipment, you already pay upwards of 5 companies to grow your own food.
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 4:56:46 PM Report

"Has a randomized double blind placebo trial been done on a GMO food?"

Exactly--not to my knowledge either. When your stated goal is a monopoly of the world's food supply this is the least you can do, don't you think? I understand how expensive the study would be to carry out for two or three decades (which is the amount of time you'd have to run it before concluding there is no danger, in my mind) and this is probably why it hasn't happened yet in addition to how hard it would be to just feed ppl GM food for that long...

...but nothing even close to our ideal study has taken place. Nothing long term at all, to my knowledge. Nothing more than twenty eight days with some rats!

I equated '500 known carcinogens' to 'a ton of garbage humans would be better off never consuming' and it doesn't seem that crazy to me. You can take the hormesis stance that a certain level of carcinogens carries benefits (are you a radiation hormesis proponent, btw?) but I do not believe they outweigh the cons. Because something will not kill you today does not mean it will not contribute to an early death ie. not safe

In regards to their increasing market share you kind of dodged my point that they started under 1% so it's not really fair to suggest the amount of GMOs consumed by Canadians or the risk to them today is comparable to what it was twenty years ago. Only in the last couple years have they become widespread enough to possibly draw some conclusions regarding our GMO population and those populations of other countries that never allowed GMO crops and that won't be for years.

I am not against genetic modification...just in our food supply until you can prove conclusively each product is safe.

Already we are seeing insects resistant to Bt toxin so what does Monsanto do? They up the expression levels and add in new toxin genes with the old ones (gene pyramiding) so you now have a new product and you can't make the same conclusions about its safety as you could for the old one....if you had ever run a proper long term study in the first place.

If you didn't feed pigs corn and soy (because it's the cheapest?) there wouldn't be a need for Enviropig. It just seems like a cop out to doing things the right (read natural) way....but I will concede there are potentially tremendous benefits to genetic engineering for mankind but that never seems to pay the bills.

If everything Monsanto has created up to now has been pure evil then when Monsanto comes out with a new GMO food I will suspect it of being pure evil until proven otherwise.

As far as the farming thing goes, if I'm just farming for my family I don't need any of that. If we're farming for the town, sure, we're paying companies for their equipment and we're paying BigOil every day unless we're making our own diesel but that mostly one time cost is entirely different than relying on ONE company to offer their seeds at a price you can (hopefully) afford or you will starve and you have to play that game every season. It just doesn't make sense from any standpoint other than theirs.
Ehcadroj 5/27/2014 5:35:38 PM Report

Well Northerner, today has been a fun exercise, but my workday is at an end and I'm going home. I learned a long time ago to limit internet debates to a single frame of reference, and our GMO talk is limited to work.

Officially, my stance is that genetic engineering of non-food organisms is 30 years behind in the economy solely because of Monsanto, and I consider their corporate conquest to be the penumbra of human evil. However, just because Coke makes cola doesn't mean I don't enjoy pop.

Radiation hormesis in the form of sunlight, yes, I'm a proponent of because for Nature to not co-opt a source of energy that literally everything alive has been exposed to since being alive was possible is more far-fetch'd than anything, IMO. To not adapt a benefit to such an abundance is not Natural, even if its excesses are lethal.

Regarding market share, if GMOs remained at under 10% your position would hold more sway against my stance; however, by rapidly increasing market shares to literal domination would only serve to accelerate any short-comings with the GM crops as a food source in the general population.

No one can conclusively prove anything. Doing the studies would be nice, but you would need 200 million to do it right; anything short of the perfect study will be wasted money regarding this issue.

To put it bluntly, you can't feed 5 billion people doing it the way nature intended unless they eat each other; I know we have 7+billion now and its projected to reach 15 in the next 1/4 century, but people still starve. The Enviropig is a complex solution to a
complex problem whose cause won't be going away (industrial farming).

The issue isn't as extreme as it is; just very rusted.
IgnorantNortherner 5/27/2014 7:12:59 PM Report

Yeah, a fun exercise in futility, eh? I kid, I kid. At least we can agree about how evil Monsanto is. Chalk up another W, boys!

I suppose sunlight qualifies as radiation hormesis (VitD is a truly wonderful thing), but some people argue radioactive material is good for you, so, say living downwind from a nuclear reactor or ingesting a little plutonium would be a good idea which seems pretty crazy...

...but yeah, hope to see you around more often!
MYPOINT 5/28/2014 12:07:09 PM Report

It seems our only hope is to contact Capt. Kirk of the Enterprise - he will have the answer << said jokingly so take a frigging pill if you are upset at this comment.

As always, this is only my opinion :)
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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