Altered Genes: Druker’s New Book is Filled with Logical Fallacies

Book Review:

“Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public,” by Steven Druker.

The vitriolic foreword by Jane Goodall (the ethologist who spent her career studying chimpanzees) prompted me to read Steven Druker’s book. On page after page, I discovered that his discussion of genetically modified organisms provided no new insights, and were filled with false and misleading information.

Mr. Druker is riding the wave of the ongoing discussion in the lay public about genetically modified organisms. On Facebook pages, in newspapers, journals, in blogs, and other social media sites, there seems to be one group that asserts that any genetically modified organism is an unnatural beast that has no place in food. On the other side are the vast majority of scientists who know that humans have been genetically modifying our food since we began to cultivate it, and the use of molecular engineering is nothing more than a more precise way of doing the same familiar job.

Druker’s basic assumptions, as you can guess from his title, is that there is a vast conspiracy of industry that has potentially caused harm to our food source, and that science has been subverted and seduced by the process, that government oversight has been corrupted, and the public has been deceived. The book was self-published, and clearly not reviewed by a science editor (oh wait, the scientists were subverted). Druker seeks to show that there is a vast conspiracy on the part of corporations, biotechnology types, and the government to promote genetically modified foods, and he attempts to validate his points using pieces of science and a lot of assumptions(logical assumptions made by a lawyer that make no scientific sense).

Starting in the first chapters, he reveals how he was the part of a failed lawsuit and has invested much time reviewing thousands of documents. What he doesn’t share is that he was simply cherry-picking data.  In the early 1990’s scientists speaking, as scientists do, said that we need to monitor this, have appropriate studies. He took those bits of quotes and ran with them. He employed confirmation bias, seeking out bits of data that support his viewpoint. While he goes into agonizing detail in selected areas of his discussion, publications contrary to his perspective are ignored.

He mistakenly believes that when molecular engineering was first done, scientists didn’t understand the nature of what they were dealing with. The author provides a long, pedantic, and outdated view of how regulatory genes worked. My guess is that he obtained a college biology textbook sometime in the 1990’s and used that as a basis.

L-Tryptophan and Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome and GMO

Druker spends early chapters talking about the supplement L-tryptophan, which caused health problems with a disease called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). Druker is correct that a manufacturer that used bacteria that were molecularly engineered to make more L-tryptophan. In fact, most supplements used today (vitamins and amino acids) are made from genetically modified bacteria or yeast. Druker’s theorizes that the cause of EMS was from an unknown metabolite of this engineered bacteria. In spite of a search for some evidence that contaminants in the tryptophan caused EMS (including metabolites of tryptophan), none of the other agents in the supplement have been found to cause EMS.

Druker is incorrect that EMS was not present before GMO, in fact,  EMS was reported long before bacteria were genetically engineered. The syndrome called EMS was first defined in 1989 – however, there is clear histological evidence that in the 1980’s contaminated rapeseed oil caused a similar disease.  Druker cannot believe that L-tryptophan would be harmful, and states such – falling into the trap of many anti-vaccination types – that the body makes and uses many chemicals that in small amounts are useful and in large amounts can kill (like L-tryptophan and like formaldehyde).

The other issue with this argument is that 14% of the cases of EMS were not related to L-tryptophan. Excessive oral ingestion of tryptophan supplement inhibits histamine degradation by increasing formation of formate and indolyl metabolites, several of which block the degradation of histamine, thereby potentiating histamine effects. Increased histamine activity (from any source) can induce eosinophilia and myalgia symptoms. Patients with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation who do not have EMS will manifest increased sensitivity to exogenous (supplemental) tryptophan and histamine. It appears people who suffer from histamine disequilibrium  in their metabolic pathway lead  to a final common pathway for EMS syndromes.That fact escaped Druker, but he uses the “mysterious metabolite” to be the theme for the book about GMO in general. That is, since crops are engineered to produce a new protein, or make more of a specific protein, we need to test them because look what happened with L-tryptophan. Druker’s tryptophan story is incorrect, and yet throughout the book he refers to this as the basis for the view he hammers into the reader.  What Druker also fails to realize is that the new proteins made in GMO have undergone extensive tests.

The Pusztai Affair

Druker puts a lot of emphasis on two particular publications. One is by Arpad Pusztai, who did research with genetically modified potatoes at the Rowett Institute in the 1990’s. Based on feeding rats both genetically modified and non-modified potatoes, Pusztai went on the television show “World in Action” to announce that his study showed there were major issues with genetically modified potatoes. When multiple scientists examined the data, Pusztai’s conclusions were not substantiated. Specifically, experts stated there were no meaningful differences between the control and experimental groups, and the same cellular differences could be seen in both groups, and too few animals were used to allow any statistical significance. Also, the diets were protein deficient, and some rats were even fed raw potatoes, which are toxic to rats. In addition, Pusztai had some fundamental flaws in how potatoes, and all plants, are not diploid but polyploid so that potatoes you engineer might not be what you thought.

Pusztai announced the claims on television, not in a scientific forum; and while his research was published as a letter to “Lancet,” not all the reviewers agreed with its publication. Typically when one peer reviewer has issues with a publication, it does not go to press. Because Pusztai went to the press, it brought up the issue to the parliament who demanded answers.  The Royal Society, which is a group of scientists that advise the government,  was asked to look at Pusztai’s work.  When his work was sent to six scientists – all came back with severe issues and concluding that Pusztai’s conclusions DO NOT agree with his data, and they didn’t agree with his work.  In spite of this, Druker asserts that Pusztai’s work was valid, and indicates that the scientists who were against his work were against it because of what it showed, not because it was shoddy research with conclusions that could not be reached. Pusztai continues to be considered a martyr for the anti-GMO cause, and Druker feeds into that genre.

Pusztai Did Not Account For Somaclonal Variation in the Potato

When Pusztai concluded that the differences he perceived were because of the transgenic plants, what he did not understand was that the process that the plants go through  cause marked changes in the structure and the expression of genes. That process, culturing through a callus stage and then regeneration of the plant causes variation known as somaclonal variation – something plant breeders understand and Pusztai did not. This variation is terribly important for potatoes because potatoes produce glycoalkaloids that are highly toxic substances, and potato breeders understand this. Pusztai did not do a chemical analysis of the transgenic lines to look for t his, and thus the variation is more likely due to the somaclonal variation than transgenic variation. Pusztai did not use an appropriate control group in his experiment, the control potato she used had a different history than the transgenic potatoes – they did not have a culture procedure that induces a somaclonal variation. If there was a variation in his potatoes it was likely attributed to the from the culture procedure. In order to attribute deleterious effects of transgenic potatoes from a newly introduced gene he would have to make a comparison to potatoes with the same history and without the transgenic addition. This was not done.

Seralini Affair

Gilles-Eric Seralini, who was involved in feeding genetically modified corn to rats over their two-year lifespan, published the second paper that Druker quotes extensively. This was published in 2012.  Once again, Seralini, taking a cue from Pusztai,  first reported the results to news groups exclusively. The design of the study was flawed by using rats that normally develop tumors, the small sample size, and lack of reproduction of his work. The paper was retracted by the journal,because of study design and because the conclusions of the paper did not match the data in the article. Another journal re-published the paper, and Druker thinks this vindicates him; but the paper was republished without peer review.

Specific points with Seralini’s paper include: he only used 20 control rats with 200 rats in the study, and no binding between control and the experimental group. There was a large number of small sub-groups, complicating design. Cherry picking the negative results. Poor statistical analysis. There was no dose-response curve for determining a toxic effect. The effect of feeding Roudup ready maize and feeding Roudup was the same (which is hard to imagine).

In part the retraction comes with the following statement: “A more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached with this small sample size regarding the role of either NK603 or glyphosate in regards to overall mortality or tumor incidence. Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups.”

That Seralini did not allow outside comment on the paper before it was released, and released it to his select news outlets is always troublesome. But the journal retracted his paper after review of it.

Druker’s Analysis – Conspiracy Everywhere

Druker opined that these scientists were poorly treated, unjustifiably ignored, and essentially martyrs to the vast conspiracy to bring genetically modified foods to the marketplace. Druker never considers the more obvious point: that the two papers he most often refers to are the equivalent of Andrew Wakefield’s “Lancet” article about measles vaccines, or that those scientists’ papers are not considered respectable. Druker ignores the over 600 papers in peer reviewed journals showing safety and testing of GMO. Druker also ignores the obvious- neither Puztai or Seralini’s papers have ever been reproduced.

His major logical fallacy is an appeal to nature, and that everything natural is good; and he denies that genetic variation in plants, and the modification that man has done for years, is less precise than genetically inserting a gene and having it expressed. He hammers this point time after time, ignoring the obvious reality that Mother Nature has been playing genetic roulette with our food supply for years. We call this evolution.

Druker states that “New genes do not abruptly appear, nor are the internal structures of those already present routinely modified in radical ways….Even in the rare instances when a spontaneous mutation arises and is maintained in the specis gene pool, the change in the gene’s structure ordinarily occurs at just one point (only with a single base pair affected).”  The statement is blatantly false, and shows his lack of eduction in biology. Genes do go between species – and this transgenetic change has occurred in our own gut. Take the ability to digest seaweed – we don’t have the ability to digest it, but our gut bacteria does. Our gut bacteria got the gene from a marine bacteria- that was the fundamental change. Druker doesn’t understand that evolution happens not one base pair at a time, but with large changes in the genomic structures that have occurred.

Druker uses many appeals to authority in the book, repeatedly citing the discredited scientists as proof of his theme while ignoring the vast majority of scientists who have been involved in molecular biology. There are reputable scientists who have instituted their own moratorium on genetic research in the early days of molecular engineering,  and the misguided author dismisses those scientists as part of the vast conspiracy that is motivated by money placed into research and big agribusiness. He states there is no consensus to GMO, when in fact there is more of a science consensus about safety of GMO then there is about climate change (recent PEW study).

Druker uses the strawman argument throughout, such as, “Thus, GE food venture was grounded on the belief that, at their deepest level, biological organisms do not display the orderly arrangement and coordination of parts that’s commonly denoted by the term ‘organic.’”  This is not true, and as many lawyers do, he attempts to get into the motives of the scientists who did the research without asking them.

The News Media is Bought – Even Fair and Balanced

Druker continues with this conspiracy going to the news media, stating that big media is tied to agribusiness, that is tied to biotechnology, that has made the government weak and subverted it. He goes through the story of two Fox News reporters that were fired by the local news station in Tampa because of pressure placed on the station by Monsanto. What Druker doesn’t tell in the book is that this went to trail and the jury did not believe the couple’s claim that Fox News bowed to any pressure to change the news report.  Nor does Druker mention that the Florida Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in 2003.  The case involved the use of bovine growth hormone (BGH) made by Monsanto. Their report suggested milk coming from these cows was adulterated with this hormone. The facts of the case are less important than the facts about BGH: first BGH is NOT active in humans, while it may affect the cow, it does not have any biologic absorption in humans. Good journalism is reporting all the facts – nevertheless, the reporters got a Goldman Environmental Prize. The question remains: was the station in bed with Monsanto, or does one ask for two sides to the story and when Monsanto presented their side was it ignored.  While the FDA did approve BGH for increased milk production, it does not affect humans, and it is used in less than one in five cows.

Druker quotes is fellow plaintiff Dr. Phil Regal, “Phil Regal recounts that when he engaged reporters in extensive conversations, they often told him that they had ‘to be very careful’ about what they submitted because their editors ‘were very pro-biotech.’ He surmises that this is in part reflects the fact that several media companies have been acquired by massive corporations with substantial interests in sectors that would be adversely impacted by negative news about bioengineering: 

It is hard to respond to such paranoia, in an age when we have seen Watergate and a president de-throned. But I suspect what Druker is saying is that since the news reports both sides of issues, and not just his agenda, there must be a conspiracy. Case in point, with Seralini’s paper that he tried to give to the press without proper scrutiny.  The Columbia School of Journalism gave praise to science authors who questioned the “shenanigans” that Seralini tried to do.  It appears Druker would have been happier with the shenanigans, and if you don’t come on board with media you must be “bought” by the evil Monsanto corporation.

Druker even goes on to say that had the facts “..been fairly reported to the public, the GI food venture would have been brought to a stop – and probably couldn’t have continued.” He says that a dissemination was prevented – but alas, it wasn’t that a dissemination was prevented – it was in the press. What happened is that journalists do research, and when they smelled the rat of Serelini they didn’t go for the cheese. Druker goes on to say, “Although, thanks to Pusztai’s bravery, the essential information was transmitted throughout the UK, and eventually spread through Europe, the American media kept the US citizenry in the dark. And this crucial black-out, conjoined with the adroit disinformation campaign mounted by biotech advocates, has robbed the research of its rightful influence.” He neglects to point out that after the TV publicity of Puzstai, it was put through crucial tests and found to be a worthless paper.

The government is bought

Throughout the book he contends that the regulatory agencies are corrupted. I don’t know if he has read the FDA stand about genetic engineering but here it is:

While FDA regulates foods and ingredients, including foods made from GE plants, the agency neither supports GE plants based on their perceived benefits nor opposes them based on their perceived risks. FDA’s priority is to ensure that all foods, including those derived from GE plants, are safe and otherwise in compliance with the FD&C Act and applicable regulations.
However, FDA recognizes that there are diverse views among food manufacturers, the agricultural industry and the public.

And yet, Druker assumes the FDA, EPA, and USDA all are corrupted by special interests – even though they have a regulatory process and do NOT say that all GE is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Druker clearly wants the reader to believe it, and some will. But, there is no evidence to support other than Druker’s contention that if only people would read his book then they would understand.

Druker even goes so far as to say that if someone would put his book in the hands of President Obama, and he would read the book, that he would take executive action based on Druker’s book to get rid of GMO. My opinion – President Obama is a smarter and better legal mind first- and second, as a scientist – Druker’s arguments don’t hold water.

The Texas Sharpshooter, Special Pleading, and others

Special pleading is a logical fallacy of moving the goal post. When Druker says, “Obviously, when even the most rigorous tests that have been employed in the testing of a GE food are compared to the set of tests prescribed aboe, they appear dismally deficient.” I gather that he feels the bad tests of Pusztai and Serilini are ok, but that we can move the goalposts for the other tests that have been done for GMO safety.

The Texas Sharpshooter is a logical fallacy where you cherry-pick the data to fit the conclusion. Druker picked two papers that are terrible, and yet ignores the others.

Ad hominem is an attack on the character of others, or institutions- which Druker makes throughout the book, both about scientists who support GMO (which he denies there is a consensus), the government regulators, the news media, and industry.

The genetic logical fallacy, is “where something comes from defines if it is good or bad. Good stock is good.” In this case, Druker dismisses evolutionary science, and says breeding is ok, but putting and expressing a gene in a plant is not.

The Environmental Card

No anti-GMO sentiment would be complete without showing devastation of the environment by these plants, and Druker does not disappoint, but of course he cherry picks his facts.

Druker states several times that GMO uses more herbicides and more pesticides than before. This is false. Not only are lest pesticides and herbicides used, but it has improved the environmental impact, decreased carbon emissions, and decreased tillage.  For example a recent look at the environmental impact of GM crops shows that there is a reduction of pesticide spraying by 553 million kg (-8.6%) and when measured by the Environmental Impact Quotient a reduction of 19.1%. To look at the impact I will quote from their paper:

The technology has also facilitated a significant reduction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions from this cropping area, which, in 2012, was equivalent to removing 11.88 million cars from the roads.

Druker goes to length to show the problems with Roundup, stating, “And it was observed to be toxic to human cells and also to damage DNA at doses far below those used in agriculture.” First, Roudup (glyphosate) is 1/200 as toxic as caffeine (I like my coffee with cream).

Here is the proof:  Toxicity is determined by a value called LD50. LD50 is a standard measure of acute toxicity for chemicals, expressed in the milligrams (amount) of chemical  per  kilogram (body weight)  that it takes to kill fifty percent of a population of test animals. LD50 is a standard measure used to compare toxicities of compounds.

Glyphosate has a LD50 of 5600 mg/kg based on oral ingestions in rats, according to EPA assessments , placing it in Toxicity Category III. The EPA ranks chemicals in four categories, I being the most toxic and IV being the least. To compare, caffeine has a much lower LD50 of 192 mg/kg based on oral ingestions in rats. (see reference below).

Second, the study he cites was with human cell lines, which is tissue culture. Tissue culture is not an organism, but when glyphosate was checked against human and animal studies it is found to be reasonably safe. Again, one aspirin is good, a bottle is not- Druker cannot differentiate with this, but he did cherry pick data that makes it look like Roundup is a major endocrine disruptor, because it is in tissue culture- ignoring that animal studies do not show that point. Tissue culture, for example, does not have the benefit of a liver to detoxify agents. This is why Roundup is less toxic than caffeine. But compare Roundup to other herbicides, which are more toxic, and which farmers must use if they don’t have the Roundup ready crops, and the impact to the environment is less.

Druker then talks about superweeds, as if they are an issue because of GMO. Super weeds happen much like antibiotic resistance happens. The more herbicides are used, weeds grow that are resistant. Super weeds are a problem, and it is not a problem because of GMO, it is a problem that man will fight for a long time. There is no solution to our warfare on weeds, which man has had since the dawn of time. We use  herbicides, the question is which ones will we use, what is the toxicity of them, which ones will cause us harm in our food supply. GMO is not the problem with herbicide resistant weeds, but neither is “organic” farming.

Glyphosate has been linked as a possible carcinogen. The assertion that GMO is causing more Roundup is true, the question is- what is the alternative. Organic farming, as of yet, does not have the capability to produce the food to feed a hungry planet.

An Ig Nobel Prize

Even if you happen to agree with Druker’s point of view, the book is long and tiresome reading. It reads like a Supreme Court brief where the members of the Supreme Court would say, “Make it brief.”

It’s clear that a lawyer authored this manifesto. Because the fundamental truth of science is that we test things. You cannot make logic fit into biology. While I would never disagree that we should test products brought to the market, he strongly indicates these items are not tested. In fact, they are.

When I learned that this book was self-published I could see why – no editor would have allowed such long and pedantic arguments, and a science editor would have corrected many of the basic mistakes in his book.

If there is a Nobel Prize for logical fallacies, the author should be nominated. The book is a lengthy editorial, filled with some simplistic explanations of biology (many too simplistic) and factual errors. The forward by Dame Goodall gave the book its best lines – and who doesn’t like Jane Goodall and her extraordinary sense of humor?

References for L-Tryptophan

Smith MJ, and Garrett RH (2005). Review. A heretofore undisclosed crux of Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome: compromised histamine degradation. Inflammation Research 54: 435–450.

FDA, U. S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements, (February 2001) Information Paper on L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan accessed Dec 7 2008.

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 1993 Nov;5(6):802-8. Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, toxic-oil syndrome, and diffuse fasciitis with eosinophilia.
Silver RM1.

References for Pusztai’s paper

Here is his original paper:

Ewen SW and Pusztai A (1999). Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Lancet 354 :1353-1354.

In that same issue of Lancet there was a critical review of Pusztai’s methods and conclusions:

Kuiper HA, Noteborn HPJM , and Peijnenburg ACM (1999).Adequacy of methods for testing the safety of genetically modified foods.

Here is in pdf form – the Royal Society’s review of Pusztai:

Annual Review Plant Biology 59:771–812. Royal Society UK (1999) Review of data on possible toxicity of GM potatoes. file. Accessed Dec 6 2008.

References for Seralini Paper

Here is the original paper:

Séralini GE1, Clair E, Mesnage R, Gress S, Defarge N, Malatesta M, Hennequin D, de Vendômois JS.Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):4221-31. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005. Epub 2012 Sep 19.Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.

Here is the retraction notice:

Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Jan;63:244. Retraction notice to “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” [Food Chem. Toxicol. 50 (2012) 4221-4231]. Retraction of Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. [Food Chem Toxicol. 2012]

Other GMO References – Safety studies

Shokuhin Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2007 Jun;48(3):41-50.
[A 52-week feeding study of genetically modified soybeans in F344 rats]. Sakamoto Y1, Tada Y, Fukumori N, Tayama K, Ando H, Takahashi H, Kubo Y, Nagasawa A, Yano N, Yuzawa K, Ogata A, Kamimura H. <– no differences between rats fed GMO and non GMO

Toxicol Int. 2010 Jul;17(2):99-101. doi: 10.4103/0971-6580.72680.Sero-biochemical Studies in Sheep Fed with Bt Cotton Plants.
Anilkumar B1, Reddy AG, Kalakumar B, Rani MU, Anjaneyulu Y, Raghunandan T, Reddy YR, Jyothi K, Gopi KS. <In conclusion, the results of the present investigation enunciated that feeding of genetically modified (Bt) cotton plants to sheep was without detrimental effects in the biological system of sheep.

The Fate of Genetically Modified Protein from Roundup Ready Soybeans in Laying Hens1J. Ash2, C. Novak3 and S. E. Scheideler*,J Appl Poult Res (2003) 12 (2): 242-245. <-In conclusion, the digestive process of the laying hen effectively broke down the GM protein from the soybean meal portion of the diet, hence no modified protein was found in the liver, egg, or feces in this brief field trial.

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2007;144(1):29-38. Epub 2007 May 11. A proteomic study to identify soya allergens–the human response to transgenic versus non-transgenic soya samples. Batista R1, Martins I, Jeno P, Ricardo CP, Oliveira MM. <Conclusion: Soybean endogenous allergen expression does not seem to be altered after genetic modification.

Epidemiologic studies of glyphosate and non-cancer health outcomes: a review.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2011 Nov;61(2):172-84. Mink PJ1, Mandel JS, Lundin JI, Sceurman BK. <Our review found no evidence of a consistent pattern of positive associations indicating a causal relationship between any disease and exposure to glyphosate.

A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops.  Klümper W, Qaim M PLoS One. 2014 Nov 3;9(11):e111629. <-On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

Environmental impacts of genetically modified (gm) crop use 1996-2013: impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions. Brookes G, Barfoot P.GM Crops Food. 2015 Mar 11:0<-The technology has also facilitated important cuts in fuel use and tillage changes, resulting in a significant reduction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions from the GM cropping area. In 2013, this was equivalent to removing 12.4 million cars from the roads.

US Food and Drug Administration. Report on the Food and Drug Administration’s Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin. 4/23/2009. Accessed at on June 17, 2014.

Link to Columbia School of Journalism about the Serilini Paper here.

How the FDA evaluates GMO click here

GM Crops Food. 2015 Apr 3;6(2):103-33. doi: 10.1080/21645698.2015.1025193.
Environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) crop use 1996-2013: Impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions.
Brookes G1, Barfoot P.

FDA Fact sheet about Glyphosate

Comments: This paper generated lots of comments – many of them not on point about the book itself.  I have trimmed some comments off point, and most ad hominem comments. In summary – this book is about GMO and it is filled with assertions that are unproven, and does not add to the general discussion about GMO. I have supplied some references  for the comments made in the book.

I have also been threatened with a lawsuit because of my post. As a result I have beefed up the post with even more references and statements. If they want to sue because of the truth – bring it.  

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, a renowned weight loss surgeon, is a leading advocate of culinary medicine. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

Latest Comments

  1. Drogo says:

    Simpson is incorrect in his claim, “Druker is incorrect that EMS was not present before GMO, in fact, EMS
    was reported long before bacteria were genetically engineered.” Druker points out with incontrovertible evidence that the illness EMS followed the introduction of GM in the manufacture of l-tryptophan. GM was first used in manufacture in 1984 and subsequent strains were further genetically engineered to jack up tryptophan production; EMS was first reported in 1989. But the US FDA lied about when the GM was introduced in order to let GM off the hook. I wonder what else Simpson misrepresents in this review.

  2. Mike Lewinski says:

    This is a good point to dig deeper into. It still remains a mystery why one manufacturer was more associated with the disease.

    In case-control studies of EMS, LT exposure was essentially universal among cases but rare among controls. Of 6 manufacturers of LT, only LT manufactured by Showa Denko KK was clearly associated with illness. The data meet other Hill criteria for inferring a causal relationship. Consistent findings were found in multiple independently conducted studies. There was a dose-response effect, with risk of illness increasing as a function of the amount of tryptophan consumed. The extremely small p values observed in the multiple independently conducted studies effectively rule out the possibility that the tryptophan-EMS association was the result of chance.

  3. Dr. Terry Simpson says:

    The term EMS was indeed determined in 1989 – but just because we classify a disease does not mean the disease did not exist before that time. In fact, toxic oil syndrome (TOS) that affected many thousands of Spanish patients in the early 1980s, associated with adulterated rapeseed oil reveals that TOS shares many clinical and histopathological features with EMS – in fact meet the requirements for the diagnosis of EMS. A common toxic metabolite (4-aminophenol) causes the release of dangerous carbonyl species. This appears to be affecting those with the histamine deregulation syndrome I mention in the article.
    So I didn’t misrepresent anything in this article- but clearly what you don’t get is that in spite of looking for things – they didn’t find any mysterious metabolite in the bacteria producing L-tryptophan, and the FDA has again allowed this supplement to be on the shelves, and we still have cases of EMS. The answer is not in the GMO- but in the individuals who have this disease because of their histamine dysregulation pathway

  4. Dr. Terry Simpson says:

    The article clearly shows increased tryptophan – and there was one manufacturer. However, we know a lot more about t his since that 1996 article. Second- much like now, when the NY Atty General shows that there are impurities in substances sold by people who re-package supplements, what was not looked at was those re-packaged bottles to determine what was in those. What was clear was the common manufacturer of the L-tryptophan, but no one spent time examining the potential sources for the histamine induced reaction that can occur when supplements are contaminated with other sources. They looked strongly at the L-tryptophan manufacturer and found NOTHING other than the more some people took the more likely that they had EMS.

    In addition-Arthritis and Rheumatism, Vol. 35, No. 3 (March 1992) L-TRYPTOPHAN-ASSOCIATED
    JONATHAN R. HIBBS, BARBARA MITTLEMAN, PAULA HILL, and THOMAS A. MEDSGER, JR. an article showing cases that could not have been exposed to those lots of L-Tryptophan. They concluded, Although specific lots of commercial LT preparations were strongly implicated in the 1989 outbreak of EMS (24,14,15), our data suggest that the syndrome
    also occurred among persons who could not have been exposed to those lots.”

  5. Terry Simpson says:

    First there was EMS before GMO- that has long been established. The disease was defined in 1989 – that does not mean cases of a disease were not present in 1989. Second, there were cases not associated with LT – in fact 2% of one series and 14% of another series. If there are cases not associated with it- then it tells you that what you think caused it – didn’t. The article you site Mike is fairly old- we have learned a lot more since that time.
    The great thing about science- we follow it no matter where it goes. In this case, it does not support Druker, his theme, his book, his theory – so he probably ignored that data like he ignored so much other data.

  6. Mike Lewinski says:

    I’d like to better understand why Showa Denko’s LT was so strongly implicated in EMS. My understanding is that correlation has never been explained. If that’s since been resolved I’d love to see the specific reference for it. I will use more accurate information to update the Wikipedia entry for the company which has a summary consistent with my understanding:

    In the 1980s Showa Denko applied genetic engineering to the bacteria it used in the fermentation through which it manufactured tryptophan so that the bacteria would be more efficient. At the same, they also changed the technique used to purify the tryptophan. Some epidemiological studies traced an outbreak of Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS) to L-tryptophan supplied by Showa Denko. It was further hypothesized that one or more trace impurities produced during the manufacture of tryptophan may have been responsible for the EMS outbreak. The fact that the Showa Denko facility used genetically engineered bacteria to produce L-tryptophan gave rise to speculation that genetic engineering was responsible for such impurities. However, the methodology used in the initial epidemiological studies has been criticized. An alternative explanation for the 1989 EMS outbreak is that large doses of tryptophan produce metabolites which inhibit the normal degradation of histamine and excess histamine in turn has been proposed to cause EMS. Once the link between EMS and Showa Denkos tryptophan had been established, chemical analyses of the tryptophan was performed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Japanese National Institute of Hygienic Sciences to determine if any contaminants were associated with EMS. Showa Denko reportedly destroyed the GM bacterial stocks after the EMS cases began to emerge.

  7. Mike Lewinski says:

    And it may simply be that the company was aggressively marketing their product and the cause of correlation was advertising. But it seems they weren’t the only one doing so:

    After the outbreak occurred, I sent the FDA a package of ads and product literature that contained therapeutic (drug) claims for L-tryptophan. FDA attorney Mary Pendergast, who compiled a 21-page analysis of this material, concluded that at least 26 companies had made illegal claims and that many “amino acids” were still sold as dietary supplements in violation of FDA food additive and drug regulations. She also concluded that the occurrence of EMS in children might be related to the marketing of the products advertised for use in sedating children.

    At the time, it seemed outrageous that the FDA would use this case to crack down on marketing of supplements, rather than biotechnology which appeared to be the culprit. I can now accept other causes of the correlation to a strain modified with biotechnology but I haven’t seen anything persuasive.

    Other documents revealed that in 1988, Showa Denko became aware that its L–tryptophan contained impurities that were unidentified and therefore potentially harmful. The company then began using a new strain of bacteria modified from previous strains by means of biotechnology. (Bacteria were used to synthesize the L-tryptophan.) Showa Denko did not notify the FDA about the impurities or its modification of the manufacturing process. Nor did the company test the newly made product for safety in humans, even though the FDA had previously cautioned that biotechnologically modified products should be thoroughly tested before public distribution. In fact, instead of increasing filtration to remove the impurities, which would decrease the amount of L-tryptophan produced, Showa Denko continued full-speed production to meet high market demand

  8. yogiGREG says:

    As I found your amazon reveiw to be very “off-point” from the actual book I read, so did many others “reviewing” your review. Notice all other reiews got 6 stars and you none, plus @ 70 out of close to a hundred reading your review disagreed with you and several offered some very pointed and technical rebuttals. Based on what you and I have shared from last week about Seralini and what you wrote above knowing that, how can you continue to leave your post up there when it so inaccurately and does not even begin to tell the story…I am very, very disappointed in you, Doc! As to L-T, EMS–you mention a that rapeseed oil caused a “similar disease.” Tell me what rapeseed oil is, please…

    We haven’t even gotten to where we left off this afternoon…Think I want you to get straight on the whole Seralini story and put the real and correct story up…first.

  9. yogiGREG says:

    PS- I hear form pro-GMO folks and Monsanto shills in particular, that there are thousands of “peer-reviewed” studies which say GMOs are okay…yet, I have only been sent one…can you send me three, please.

  10. Terry Simpson says:

    Regarding L-tryptophan and EMS – in this article: Smith MJ, and Garrett RH (2005). Review. A heretofore undisclosed crux of Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome: compromised histamine degradation. Inflammation Research 54: 435–450.
    it was shown that genetic modification is irrelevant to EMS and that consuming large amounts of LT can cause the symptoms. In addition, LT made by different companies can cause this. I will post references in the above article – my apologies for not posting them there in the first place.

  11. Terry Simpson says:

    I have added references to the above article and expanded the studies in question. Although this is a review of the book, I add those studies to show the myth that Druker uses – many hang their hat on these two studies and yet ignore others. For simplicity I have added several studies, among a number- showing GMO safety. But this was a book review, about a book that is a slugfest to read, and based on bad data. Could you imagine science being based on two reports in the literature that have been discredited?

  12. Terry Simpson says:

    First – I don’t measure science by the popularity of the reviews, but it stands alone. Their “technical points” were mainly rehashing of their anti-GMO statements before. I added more to the post and references about Seralini – whose study is not worth the time people spend on it.

  13. yogiGREG says:

    FIRST, DOC, YOU NEED TO GET SQUARED UP and TELL THE WHOLE STORY ON the SERALINI AFFAIR UP TO THE LAST FEW DAYS – I sent you the story last week – And second, as you and I have discussed, if Seralini’s Study is “flawed,” then how can Monsanto’s Study that “politically won GRAS,” be considered “correct” or okay…Why won’t you just be candid and admit that all Seralini did was to duplicate MONSANTO’s ORIGINAL PROTOCOL…only letting it run for 4 more months and reporting all the results through that period while MONSANTO only gave the first 90 days which showed minimum tumor growth–“cherry-pickin'” the data to show the results they wanted instead of the whole story…as Seralini’s does. And what about the actions and background of the editor who did the initial retraction…?

    I still have questions from our dialogue, but we need to get of the “factual page” here, first!

  14. yogiGREG says:

    As to supporting papers, the ones you offer are old ones…and as such, SINCE a TRUE and REAL ANALYSIS and EVALUATION FRAMEWORK was Nev/er established that would “SAFELY MEASURE GMO crops” consumed as feed/food, there really aren’t any studies that truly stand-up. And, the more recent studies now coming done without “corporate constraint” are showing that “all is not well in GMO-Land.” Glysophate and the environment and on the human body via the ingestion of plants with the genes and having been sprayed…there is mounting evidence showing the direct relationship…within about another 12 months, there will be more. as i don’t currently have the list, such will be flowing my way soon and I will post here as rebuttals…EXCEPT a very recent study which is a pdf and won’t upload here. ??

  15. Terry Simpson says:

    There were many reasons for Serelini’s study to be incorrect -listed above. The whole story is – he had bad data, he didn’t want science journalists looking at it, he fed it to non science journalists first who “broke” the news. Even the journalists who then saw it said it didn’t make sense, and should never have been published. When you say framework was never established you have to say what is the framework. Each protein added has been tested, in multiple areas. Glysophate has also been looked at – it interfers with plant enzymes, humans don’t have those. When tested in people there are no studies that show significant issues – and its toxicity is 1/200 of a cup of coffee -and I am going to have another cup now.

  16. yogiGREG says:

    DOC- The real reason was GMOs by Monsanto was to “SELL MORE ROUND-UP..” Here it comes, yet another round of PROOF that the combo cocktail of GMO-Glysophate is driving illness WORLDWIDE –

    Yet, your USDA says its “too expensive” to properly test this product,” just like your FDA saying the GMOs meet GRAS when, in fact, there isn’t even an “AGREED-TO PROTOCOL” for evaluating their safety to begin with, THANKS to MONSANTO’s political buy-offs…

    FINLAND, Minn. —A new report published today in the journal Lancet Oncology says Monsanto’s Roundup is a “probable carcinogen.” The report originated from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The Organic Consumers Association issued the following statement by Ronnie Cummins,
    international director. “This latest finding, which links Monsanto’s Roundup to non-Hodgkins lymphoma
    and lung cancer is not the first to make these links, but it is one of the strongest indictments
    of glysophate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

    Monsanto has already rushed to attack this science, as they have attacked every credible
    independent scientist in the past. At what point will U.S. regulators start believing
    the scientists, instead of pandering to Monsanto?

    Glysophate is up for review this year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Now is the time for the EPA to take action and once and for all ban this dangerous chemical
    that is making people sick, and polluting our environment.

    The OCA calls on the U.S. EPA to do its job: Ban glyphosate now.”
    Roundup is the number one herbicide used in the world. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
    does not test foods for glysophate residues because it says it’s “too expensive.”

    In 2013, the EPA recently raised the allowed limits of glyphosate residue on fruits and vegetables.

    Statement on WHO’s Findings that Monsanto’s Glyphosate Is ‘Probably…’s-findings

  17. yogiGREG says:

    ANOTHER MONSANTO Nightmare Story this week; City of SAN DIEGO Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay with Carcinogenic Chemicals: Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant ‘have been found
    in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish,
    lobsters, and other marine life.

    So, how long are you going to Advocate for the Faulty Products this Company invented/produces…?

  18. Terry Simpson says:

    I am not an advocate for any company – I don’t care about the company – I care about science. As you can see above, the studies with Roundup have been examined – and it is not an issue. In terms of Lancet- they said “probable” and it did not cause mutagenesis on the AMES test or with rats. It has not had links to NHL or lung cancer. There is “oxidative stress” in animals. The NHL – when examined the relative risk is less than 3, and in fact, less than 2. Consider that a relative risk of 1 is no risk, and relative risk less is a negative correlation. The worst relative risk is 1.5. The relative risk scale is logarithmic – and we consider it positive more than 3. Smoking and lung cancer is a relative risk of 20. So, roundup is in the relative risk ratio for NHL of less than 2 in all studies – which means, it cannot be determined from background noise. We worry when it causes mutagenesis with bacteria – which it does not. So- compare that with other pesticides, and I will take Roundup every day of the week.

  19. Terry Simpson says:

    Seralini story is whole and present – he was a fraud, and his work not reproduced for a good reason, and other studies present showing it. Glysophate – well, worthy of a whole blog post on its own, and will do one eventually. Here is the thing- Druker presents nothing new, nothing noteworthy, he presents conjecture, he presents bad science, and he thinks that if only people read his book then the world would change. Badly written book, filled with logical fallacies, and not worth the read by the most ardent anti-GMO person because it adds no new insight that is worth making an argument from.

  20. TZ says:!po=96.1538. “Environmental Health Perspectives
    National Institute of Environmental Health Science
    Inconclusive Findings: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t!
    Christopher J. Portier, Lynn R. Goldman, and Bernard D. Goldstein

    Additional article information

    The environmental health literature is rife with controversial papers that evoke criticism, support, and, most importantly, a desire to better understand the findings put forth by the authors. A research article by Séralini and colleagues (Séralini et al. 2012), published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), is one such article resulting in considerable discourse (Arjó et al. 2013; Barale-Thomas 2013; Grunewald and Bury 2013; Ollivier 2013; Wagner et al. 2013; Sanders et al. 2013; Schorsch 2013; Séralini et al. 2013) and a call for new research (European Commission 2013). This is all part of the scientific process in a modern research environment. However, the retraction of the article by Séralini et al. from FCT sets a new precedent in the management of peer-reviewed publications that we believe has serious implications for environmental public health. The retraction announcement by the Editor-in-Chief specifically states, “Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology” (FCT 2013). The Editor-in-Chief also was very clear that he “found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.”

    This article (Séralini et al. 2012) has been controversial from its initial publication. We do not wish to discuss the merits of the authors’ conclusions or their implications for the commercial products in question. Those issues have been debated in the open scientific literature since the publication of the paper, and we agree with many of the critiques. However, the retraction of any paper because it is “inconclusive” has adverse implications on the integrity of the concept of the peer-review process as the critical foundation of unbiased scientific inquiry.

    The paper was peer reviewed by scientists on behalf of the FCT and published accordingly. Hence, it initially met the threshold for publication. In our opinion, there must be a different threshold for forced retraction of the paper, and we believe that this paper did not reach that threshold. The COPE guidelines for retracting articles (Committee on Publication Ethics 2009) provide four reasons for retraction: scientific misconduct/honest error, prior publication, plagiarism, or unethical research. None of these reasons apply to this particular article, and yet Elsevier, a member of COPE, chose to retract the paper.

    The nature of science is such that individual studies are rarely, if ever, conclusive. ”

  21. TZ says:

    “Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology.The peer review process is not perfect, but it does work. The journal is committed to getting the peer-review process right, and at times, expediency might be sacrificed for being as thorough as possible. The time-consuming nature is, at times, required in fairness to both the authors and readers. Likewise, the Letters to the Editor, both pro and con, serve as a post-publication peer-review. The back and forth between the readers and the author has a useful and valuable place in our scientific dialog.

    The Editor-in-Chief again commends the corresponding author for his willingness and openness in participating in this dialog. The retraction is only on the inconclusiveness of this one paper.The journal’s editorial policy will continue to review all manuscripts no matter how controversial they may be. The editorial board will continue to use this case as a reminder to be as diligent as possible in the peer review process.”

  22. TZ says:

    Double standards used to claim GMO safety Another example of selective scrutiny of study methods in order to avoid dealing with the results is a review of GMO safety studies conducted by Snell et al. (2012)[8]. In their review of 24 animal feeding trials with GM plant-derived feed, the authors noticed severe methodological shortcomings in a majority of the analysed publications, e.g. isogenic lines as controls were only used in 10 studies. However, Snell et al. used these shortcomings as arguments to dismiss those studies stating negative effects – but not those stating safety. Based on this asymmetrical, result-triggered approach, the review incorrectly concludes that no health hazards were found in 24 analysed publications.

  23. TZ says:

    Food and Chemical Toxicology, the journal which recently retracted the infamous Seralini study, also publishedfour safety assurance studies by Hammond et al.

    The feeding trial I will discuss on Sprague-Dawley rats (same rat strain as Seralini’s) by Hammond et. al. was published in 2004 and cited by Seralini, but curiously has not drawn any attention. It is the “mirror” piece of science that triggered Seralini’s investigation. The full text of the study is linked in the title. The study is a safety assessment to ensure that the Round Up Ready corn is as safe as conventional corn involving two components. Firstly, it is an evaluation of safety of the newly introduced trait, Round Up Resistance conferred by the Round Up Ready transgene (CP4 EPSPS). Secondly, it is an assessment for possible toxicity due to unintended pleiotropic effects resulting from the insertion of the transgene.

  24. TZ says:

    NEW STUDY: Glyphosate toxic to fresh water snails. Genotoxicity causes DNA damage. Per the study… “Thus, the present result indicated that the genotoxicity products at low concentration and for long time treatment showed the hazard of herbiciAbstract: Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, is the most popular herbicide used worldwide. The industry asserts it is minimally toxic to humans, but here we argue otherwise. Residues are found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. Glyphosate’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology, one of which is to detoxify xenobiotics. Thus, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Here, we show how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental addiction on man’s life.” GMO farming is a herbicide addiction.

  25. Peter Olins says:

    Excellent debunking, thanks!

    One small correction: glyphosate is not significantly metabolized by the liver, but is excreted rapidly in the urine. There are many other reasons why cultured human cells may not be a valid model for glyphosate safety, but this may not be the place to go into such detail.

    One further reference regarding the safety of the current GM crops: “An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety research” This is an exhaustive review of recent research, with a database of over 1800 references.

  26. Debbie Owen says:

    Who cares who “broke the news”? Seralini allowed open access to all his raw data, when is Monsanto going to do that?

  27. Cletus DeBunkerman says:

    This is long on opinion and short on facts.

    The Seralini study was a toxicology study that had nothing to do with cancer. The corrupt GMO pesticide industry always want to talk about the tumors. It is a simple tactic of focusing on the non issue so that discussion of the very disturbing toxicology findings will be avoided.

    There is much more to Seralini than that too. See:



    I think most people can recognize GMO pesticide industry disinformation propaganda when they see pieces like this.

    There is no scientific or medical consensus on GMO safety. The nations largest health care organization sent a newsletter to their patients. In that newsletter was An article by one of their nutritionists who explained GMOs and then told the patients to avoid them so as to not degrade their health. The health care organization had no “official” policy on GMOs because of the politics, but it cared enough about the concerns of it’s medical staff, it’s patients, and it’s bottom line to send out the warning

    There have been no long term independent studies of the health effects of GMOs on human health. Many health care organizations are recognizing that severe unexplainable symptoms that are being reported by their patients get better when GMOs are removed from their diet.

  28. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Wrong. Go ahead file a criminal complaint and get laughed out of the building. Then accuse all prosecutors of being on the take.

  29. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    TZ, you know full well that isis is not a reputable source. Take that crap to a professor at an agricultural University. And watch his reaction.

  30. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Wow, more and more isis crap. If this is true. Why isn’t this reported and proven in the U.S. where glyphosate has been used longer. Amazing how these so-called problems show up in such remote areas

  31. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    He told the truth about serralini as have many before him. You are just too hard headed to admit it.

  32. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Terry, I’ll disagree with you there. The biggest 2 clues to the fraudster’s deceit are posting pics of only test rats when controls had similar tumors and not claiming glyphosate caused the male glyphosate drinkers to live longer. All the stuff about sample size and methodology may be true. But to a farmer such as myself. The deliberate deceit is the most telling.

  33. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Still spreading the same lies with the same sources Arthur has proved incorrect. If the tumors were not important to serralini. He would not have posted the pics. Your last sentence needs sources to be discredited.

  34. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Terry, seems I remember that l-tryptophan was never removed from baby formula. Is this correct?

  35. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Mike, try googling l-tryptophan myth debunked. Or something similar. When I first learned of this I did so and found an article that referred to an impurity in Showa Denko’s product.

  36. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    And after the gish gallop of wacko sites he falls back on the shill crap. Very dumb move.

  37. Debbie Owen says:

    I don’t see Arthur posting here, where is this proof? I think you need to reread Cletus’s comment. It was a toxicology study, get it? Not cancer, but of course he posted the pics, why wouldn’t he? Everyone should be allowed to see the truth, and that is another reason to admire Dr Seralini, he has released all of his raw data, something Monsanto refuses to do.

  38. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Name some specific ones he left out that actually have some relevance. Like the misleading pictures and the longevity of the male glyphosate. And remember sample size matters. For example we know vaccines are safe not just because of studies. But because of the huge sample size of baby boomers that did not get polio and/or smallpox.

  39. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Be afraid Terry, Be very afraid. Did you know that the coffee grounds are so earth shatteringly toxic that when spread on the soil around cycads. Will kill Asian cycad scale??

  40. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Just go to the article kimbrell wrote making the incorrect accusation that g.e experts are the real science deniers. And then don’t read it again as you never do.

  41. Peter Olins says:

    Debbie, You state that “But science aside, it is common sense that tells us…”. Do you have any special insights that qualify you to dismiss the scientific evidence on this topic? If so, rather than just making the assertion, please tell us why.

  42. Peter Olins says:

    @TZ, You have posted at least nine links to to an activist website ( With all due respect, can you present any actual scientific information or logic of your own, or are you only capable of spam?

  43. Peter Olins says:

    Perhaps I missed this research: do you have any scientific evidence for the presence of glyphosate in human milk? (Please don’t give me a link to an activist website, though.) If this were true, it would be in contrast to published work on farm animals, which are often exposed to much higher levels than humans.

    Even if your claim were true, why would you be surprised? Why would you care? We are exposed to literally thousands of substances (natural and synthetic) in our diet and environment. The ability to DETECT something is not the point: the point is how inherently toxic a substance is, and how much are we exposed to.

  44. TZ says:

    Peter…The website is run and maintained by scientists, there are links to the studies…give it rest! You people post Genetic Illiteracy project links all the time! These are actual peer reviewed studies….start reading…learn!

  45. TZ says:

    January 2015, Vol.46:79–91, doi:10.1016/j.neuro.2014.12.001
    The herbicide glyphosate causes behavioral changes and alterations in dopaminergic markers in male Sprague-Dawley rat
    Isela Hernández-PlataMagda GiordanoMauricio Díaz-MuñozVerónica M. Rodríguez

    Repeated glyphosate exposure causes hypoactivity.

    Repeated glyphosate exposure decreases accumbal D1-dopamine receptors.

    Acute glyphosate exposure decreases striatal extracellular DA levels and DA release.
    Glyphosate (Glyph) is the active ingredient of several herbicide formulations. Reports of Glyph exposure in humans and animal models suggest that it may be neurotoxic. To evaluate the effects of Glyph on the nervous system, male Sprague-Dawley rats were given six intraperitoneal injections of 50, 100, or 150 mg Glyph/kg BW over 2 weeks (three injections/week). We assessed dopaminergic markers and their association with locomotor activity. Repeated exposure to Glyph caused hypoactivity immediately after each injection, and it was also apparent 2 days after the last injection in rats exposed to the highest dose. Glyph did not decrease monoamines, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), or mesencephalic TH+ cells when measured 2 or 16 days after the last Glyph injection. In contrast, Glyph decreased specific binding to D1 dopamine (DA) receptors in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) when measured 2 days after the last Glyph injection. Microdialysis experiments showed that a systemic injection of 150 mg Glyph/kg BW decreased basal extracellular DA levels and high-potassium-induced DA release in striatum. Glyph did not affect the extracellular concentrations of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid or homovanillic acid. These results indicate that repeated Glyph exposure results in hypoactivity accompanied by decreases in specific binding to D1-DA receptors in the NAcc, and that acute exposure to Glyph has evident effects on striatal DA levels. Additional experiments are necessary in order to unveil the specific targets of Glyph on dopaminergic system, and whether Glyph could be affecting other neurotransmitter systems involved in motor control.

  46. TZ says:

    A deregulation of programmed cell death mechanisms in human epidermis leads to skin pathologies. We previously showed that glyphosate, an extensively used herbicide, provoked cytotoxic effects on cultured human keratinocytes, affecting their antioxidant capacities and impairing morphological and functional cell characteristics. The aim of the present study, carried out on the human epidermal cell line HaCaT, was to examine the part of apoptosis plays in the cytotoxic effects of glyphosate and the intracellular mechanisms involved in the apoptotic events. We have conducted different incubation periods to reveal the specific events in glyphosate-induced cell death. We observed an increase in the number of early apoptotic cells at a low cytotoxicity level (15%), and then, a decrease, in favor of late apoptotic and necrotic cell rates for more severe cytotoxicity conditions. At the same time, we showed that the glyphosate-induced mitochondrial membrane potential disruption could be a cause of apoptosis in keratinocyte cultures.

  47. TZ says:

    Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely used across the world; they are commercialized in different formulations. Their residues are frequent pollutants in the environment. In addition, these herbicides are spread on most eaten transgenic plants, modified to tolerate high levels of these compounds in their cells. Up to 400 ppm of their residues are accepted in some feed. We exposed human liver HepG2 cells, a well-known model to study xenobiotic toxicity, to four different formulations and to glyphosate, which is usually tested alone in chronic in vivo regulatory studies. We measured cytotoxicity with three assays (Alamar Blue®, MTT, ToxiLight®), plus genotoxicity (comet assay), anti-estrogenic (on ERα, ERβ) and anti-androgenic effects (on AR) using gene reporter tests. We also checked androgen to estrogen conversion by aromatase activity and mRNA. All parameters were disrupted at sub-agricultural doses with all formulations within 24 h. These effects were more dependent on the formulation than on the glyphosate concentration. First, we observed a human cell endocrine disruption from 0.5 ppm on the androgen receptor in MDA-MB453-kb2 cells for the most active formulation (R400), then from 2 ppm the transcriptional activities on both estrogen receptors were also inhibited on HepG2. Aromatase transcription and activity were disrupted from 10 ppm. Cytotoxic effects started at 10 ppm with Alamar Blue assay (the most sensitive), and DNA damages at 5 ppm. A real cell impact of glyphosate-based herbicides residues in food, feed or in the environment has thus to be considered, and their classifications as carcinogens/mutagens/reprotoxics is discussed.

  48. TZ says:

    Food and Chemical Toxicology
    September 2013, Vol.59:129–136, doi:10.1016/j.fct.2013.05.057
    Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors
    Siriporn ThongprakaisangApinya ThiantanawatNuchanart RangkadilokTawit SuriyoJutamaad Satayavivad
    Glyphosate at 10−12 to 10−6 M promoted growth of T47D cells via estrogen receptors.

    Glyphosate produced the activation of ERE which can be blocked by ICI 182780.

    Glyphosate altered estrogen receptors by increasing expression ratio of ERα and ERβ.

    Glyphosate had an additive effect with genistein on ERE activation and cell growth.
    Glyphosate is an active ingredient of the most widely used herbicide and it is believed to be less toxic than other pesticides. However, several recent studies showed its potential adverse health effects to humans as it may be an endocrine disruptor. This study focuses on the effects of pure glyphosate on estrogen receptors (ERs) mediated transcriptional activity and their expressions. Glyphosate exerted proliferative effects only in human hormone-dependent breast cancer, T47D cells, but not in hormone-independent breast cancer, MDA-MB231 cells, at 10−12 to 10−6 M in estrogen withdrawal condition. The proliferative concentrations of glyphosate that induced the activation of estrogen response element (ERE) transcription activity were 5-13 fold of control in T47D-KBluc cells and this activation was inhibited by an estrogen antagonist, ICI 182780, indicating that the estrogenic activity of glyphosate was mediated via ERs. Furthermore, glyphosate also altered both ERα and β expression. These results indicated that low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used for soybean cultivation, and our results also found that there was an additive estrogenic effect between glyphosate and genistein, a phytoestrogen in soybeans. However, these additive effects of glyphosate contamination in soybeans need further animal study.

  49. Peter Olins says:

    The 2012 Seralini paper has taken on an almost zombie-like quality—a fiction that cannot be killed, and that many still want to believe in.

    Cletus, setting aside politics and speculation about motives, can you summarize in a few sentences exactly what YOU consider the most significant conclusion from the paper? Having read it several times, I still cannot tell how it slipped past the reviewers and editor.

  50. Peter Olins says:

    This study show that repeated administration of FULL-STRENGTH Roundup to rats has a biological effect. So what?

    Conclusion: don’t drink pesticides straight out of the bottle—especially if you’re a rat. Where is PETA when you need it?

  51. ILCDB2015 says:

    Oh, so you would only take a link to the pro-biotech pretending-to-be-scientific websites, as opposed to the people who went and actually did the testing?

  52. ILCDB2015 says:

    I think it is getting to the point where the “SCIENCE” issue should just be set aside. Unfortunately for SCIENCE — the biotech industry has distorted the SCIENCE to the point that it really can’t be used in an argument anymore. Let’s look at this. People have been getting sicker and sicker over the last 20 years. Why is that? Food is the main proponent to achieving good health and the industry has sold us a bunch of goods, politicians have been bought off and the pharmaceutical industry also benefited from this travesty that has been set upon us. The only way we will EVER stop this is for idiots like you to stop the constant insanity of trying to get people to believe your lies. If you are getting paid to spread this disinformation, then shame on you for being a big part of the problem. Do you have children? Grand children? Do you know anyone who is sick? I bet you do.

  53. Cletus DeBunkerman says:

    TRANSLATION: Gish gallop = any study or other valid information that doesn’t support the GMO pesticide industry agenda. GMO pesticide industry disinformation goons use this term to try and dismiss truthful information instead of dealing with information they can not refute.

  54. Cletus DeBunkerman says:

    That’s what all the corrupt GMO pesticide industry disinformation operatives say.

    It is a perfect demonstration of the FACT that the GMO pesticide industry junk pseud-science will not accept any real honest science if it conflicts with the corrupt GMO pesticide industry political agenda.

    Most people can see how Monsanto manipulated and corrupted an institution to kill some very troubling science. See:

  55. Cletus DeBunkerman says:

    Roundup caused breast cancer at part per trillion levels in vitro. It has been labeled a probable human carcinogen by The World Health Organization.

    Only a craven corrupt GMO pesticide disinformation operative would try and tell us we should consume this toxic chemical genocide agent because just a little won’t allegedly hurt us.

  56. Cletus DeBunkerman says:

    GMO pesticide industry disinformation operatives will not accept any evidence that doesn’t support the corrupt GMO pesticide industry agenda.

    I’m not trying to convince those corrupt tools of anything. I’m not interested in spending time and energy to convince goons with no intellectual intergrity.

    There is plenty of evidence and we can all see that TZ has done a great job of informing about the truth.

  57. Cletus DeBunkerman says:

    Says Who?

    Sounds like you get your opinions from the corrupt GMO pesticide industry disinformation headquarters.

  58. Dr. Terry Simpson says:

    Get the tin hat out. Science is the only mechanism that we have. Funny thing- lifespan is longer now than years ago. So yes, as we age we will be sicker. But to say science has been bought is absurd.

  59. Peter Olins says:

    Dr. Ho is a former scientist: her current writings on her website are frankly bizarre, e.g. “Could quantum coherent water account for homeopathy, more specifically, the memory of water in the form of pure EM signals originating from a DNA sequence that appears capable of ‘informing’ the synthesis of a precise replica of the original DNA sequence…” TZ do you honestly rely on this kind of website as a credible source of scientific information, or you just pulling our chain? If so, yes, you got got me.

  60. Peter Olins says:

    That was your last chance, Cletus. You do not appear to be capable of supporting your claims with scientific evidence or logic. It was wise for you to hide behind a pseudonym.

  61. Barbara E Thomas says:

    Well, after the Seralini study was published by FCT somehow a Monsanto man, Richard Goodman was installed on the editorial board of the journal. I wonder how THAT happened. Soon after that the study was retracted. Hmmmm . . . a bit suspicious. Then the paper was republished in another peer reviewed journal. Read about it here:
    But that’s not all. The chief editor at the time of the retraction has been demoted and Monsanto’s man was removed from the board. You MUST read all about it here:

  62. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Well, they did list glyphosate as an organosphosphate insecticide. That should have been a clue to cause you to cut your shill nonsense and to listen to Peter. His communicating with you is an opportunity to learn you should not pass up.

  63. Eric Bjerregaard says:

    Janey, you did not even read the review. He wrote a review of a book, The recycling of old news is done by the copy and paste gishing of tz.

  64. Peter Olins says:

    @Eric, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and to encourage them to formulate a reasoned argument or present specific information that I may be unaware of. Occasionally, this approach works and I learn something new; or it provokes ad hominem remarks which make the commenter look even more ridiculous.

  65. Peter Olins says:

    @ILCDB2015 Let’s get past the rhetoric and distractions. Do YOU have any published scientific data to support the presence of glyphosate in mother’s milk?

  66. Sally Blackmore says:

    is a widely used broad spectrum herbicide, reported to induce various
    toxic effects in non-target species, but its carcinogenic potential is
    still unknown. Here we showed the carcinogenic effects of glyphosate
    using 2-stage mouse skin
    carcinogenesis model and proteomic analysis. Carcinogenicity study
    revealed that glyphosate has tumor promoting activity. Proteomic
    analysis using 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry
    showed that 22 spots were differentially expressed (> 2 fold) on
    glyphosate, 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) and
    12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) application over untreated
    control. Among them, 9 proteins (translation elongation factor eEF-1
    alpha chain, carbonic anhydrase III, annexin II, calcyclin, fab fragment
    anti-VEGF antibody, peroxiredoxin-2, superoxide dismutase [Cu–Zn],
    stefin A3, and calgranulin-B) were common and showed similar expression
    pattern in glyphosate and TPA-treated mouse skin. These proteins are
    known to be involved in several key processes like apoptosis and
    growth-inhibition, anti-oxidant responses, etc. The up-regulation of
    calcyclin, calgranulin-B and down-regulation of superoxide dismutase
    [Cu–Zn] was further confirmed by immunoblotting, indicating that these
    proteins can be good candidate biomarkers for skin carcinogenesis
    induced by glyphosate. Altogether, these results suggested that
    glyphosate has tumor promoting potential in skin carcinogenesis and its
    mechanism seems to be similar to TPA.…/pii/S187439190900390X

  67. Terry Simpson says:

    I always thought I should keep Roundup away from my testicles. I personally think if you have a weed in your garden you pull it out, and spraying it with whatever toxic stuff you want is rather lazy and silly.

  68. Terry Simpson says:

    Somehow the discussion changed into a discussion about everything but this book review. If you have read the book and have a different comment about it – great. If you think that this is some pro-GMO piece it isn’t – what it is – a review of a bad book. Don’t make a good book based on your viewpoint.
    Finally – I wrote a piece about Roundup already on this site. If you wish to show me how it works on cells in tissue culture, or rat testis I promise I shall not use Roundup on either my testicles or on my rat brain. For those who don’t read science papers that often, note that you find caffeine has a higher toxicity on all those mediums.
    But what I want is not a debate about Roundup – no, I don’t use it. If I have a weed in my driveway I pluck it out. I find people who use Roundup to be rather lazy.
    But tell me how to grow food for our planet – what is your model for sustainability.
    Don’t use this one bad book to mean I am pro-GMO, or that I am pro-Roundup.
    Instead- give me the details about what you would do, and how.
    Organic farming – great – tell me where you get the labor, how you take care of the planet. Tell me how you will save the topsoil.

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