GMOs: If sleaze were infectious, Chipotle would be causing a pandemic

I stumbled upon this opinion piece from Forbes blog network about the rash of recent poisonings at Chipotles around the country, there was a bit made of Chipotle’s decision to deride GMOs on here as unscientific pandering, it appears that the anti-science pandering may be contributing to putting consumers at risk.

Although the crops, meats and other foods produced by modern conventional agricultural technologies may not bring to mind a sentimental Norman Rockwell painting, they are on average safer than food that reflects pandering to current fads.

And Chipotle knows it.

“We may be at a higher risk for food-borne illness outbreaks than some competitors,” the company admits in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, “due to our use of fresh produce and meats rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation.”


The anti-GMO folks are almost as bad as those who are anti-vaccine or anti-evolution.

I actively will not buy products or shop at locations that label their foods as “GMO free” or something similar. I can’t remember the last time I ate at a Chipotle because of their anti-GMO stance.


I’m looking at a bag of Russian Caravan tea I bought recently, and on it it’s proudly labelled the following:

“Gluten free” - so?
“GMO free” - so?? Its TEA
"Certified organic?" - who cares?

And then it has a windmill on it and says “we offset our emissions by buying renewable energy.” I’m not sure how that works… but I’m assuming it isn’t all for naught.

But the rest… who cares? Its just tea. I’m consuming the very few chemicals that seep from the bag. It could probably be grown in the middle of Chernobyl and I still wouldn’t get any bad stuff from it.

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I paint science deniers of all sorts with one of two brushes, one for the wackos who only know or say the one liners published in Tin Foil Hat Quarterly and a second for people with nuanced objections to the topic at hand. I’m not sure I’ve run across many in the second category related to GMOs.


Here’s a common viewpoint I’ve heard: GMOs are not inherently bad, but they’re currently under-tested for long-term health effects and overuse of roundup is killing the bees and monsanto’s pretty evil for bankrupting farmers (their “licensing agreements” are extortionary)


I suppose that should get credit for being a slightly more nuanced anti-GMO stance than the regular, even if it totally ignores the fact that we are apparently drawing a completely arbitrary line somewhere along the time scale of cultivation of crops and calling genetic modifications before that “organic” and genetic modifications after that “GMOs”.

As for Monsanto I actually get a perverse enjoyment out of beating my head on that rock, as was discussed on here previously:


I’ve never eaten at Chitpot. For some reason, I can’t seem to get past the name.


I guess I like to live dangerously, I have (not so much now due to Soylent) in the past frequented Chinese Buffets and I have eaten at Chipotle a few times and liked it. Didn’t get sick or even have any issues. I wasn’t aware of their anti-GMO stance at the time, however, but meh.


Where did the Chinese buffet comment come from? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chinese buffet that was strictly anti-GMO/all-organic/whatever. 90% of what’s there has been deep fried or pan fried, so it’s pretty hard for pathogens to survive the cooking process anyway. The really ghetto places that don’t get many customers might be a bit more of a gamble since they might have their food sitting out in the warmers all day, or might have leftovers from the previous day out still…but all the ones I eat at get their food trays emptied pretty much every 20 minutes because they have enough customers to make the food disappear.


The Chinese place near me had a bit of a kitchen fire that took the building down in record time when the fire spread to the rafters which over the course of years had become infused with grease. I love greasy Chinese food.


My problem is all the pro-GMO people seem to be exactly as uncritical as they accuse the anti-GMO people of being. Sure, studies have been done showing it’s safe… mostly by companies who want to sell GMO products.

There have also been studies showing they are not safe, but no pro-GMO people seems to care or give any weight to those studies. They seem to assume that science is magic and if a study showed something was safe, that’s a closed case.

Meanwhile look at what happened with Thalidomide, it was tested and approved as safe but a lack of knowledge meant that the scientists missed the potential affects on fetuses.

I’m not against GMO, I just question whether things have really been tested thoroughly enough and by independent entities.

If I could to study a chemical I’m trying to sell, I totally would. That’s a sensible business decision, doing controlled studies aren’t cheap. You need equipment, lots of resources.

This article in Forbes references a lot of GMO studies, including a recent one that looked at medical records of animals pre-1996 and to the present when GMO fed animals went from very few to 90-100%.

Good to know my future plans for Chernobyl Tea, Atomically Good Flavor™ have at least one future customer.


And the study comes back with “potentially deadly.”

You have two choices:

a) tell your shareholders “we spent billions on this chemical, but turns out it’s potentially deadly, so that’s down the drain.”

b) pay the scientists some more and say “ah, study it a little more, maybe you’re, you know, mistaken?”

What would you do?

  1. Report the funders to the BBB for trying to influence the study and violate the terms of agreement. Report them to the FDA for trying to conspire to cover up evidence of a tainted product.

Somehow or another nobody did that when Bayer had a tainted product that killed thousands of haemophiliacs in the third world.

Since that scandal not many “conspiracy” level violations have been seen from pharma.



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The overwhelming majority of cases that pharma has actually gone to trial for - in the last few decades - have been side effects they couldnt anticipate in their limited trial tests.

Bayer intentionally killed thousands of people, fully knowing they were selling a lethal product. They admitted explicitly that it was to make money.

That kind of vulgar suit doesn’t pop up very often. Usually its unintended consequences, not that they shouldn’t still payout to the victims and apologize. Its just not as scandalous when you realize most of “big pharma” does try to keep people healthy.


I assume that you’re referring to the factorate that they weren’t heat-treating because it wasn’t cost-effective to do so. My haemophiliac friend died of AIDS because of that, as did thousands of other haemophiliacs.

I’m really sorry to hear that. Everyone involved in that decision is a miserable excuse for a human being. They should be charged with war crimes.

Ok, but that’s part of the point. How can we be sure the testing on GMO food is comprehensive enough?

So maybe big pharma has learned to be more cautious, or gotten more heavily regulated. Do you believe GMO food producers have gotten to the same point, or are we going to have to go through a couple “Bayer” and “Thalidomide” phases first?