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Biotech Science

Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn 766

jenningsthecat writes "A study published in December 2009 in the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that three varieties of Monsanto genetically-modified corn caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs of rats. One of the corn varieties was designed to tolerate broad-spectrum herbicides, (so-called 'Roundup-ready' corn), while the other two contain bacteria-derived proteins that have insecticide properties. The study made use of Monsanto's own raw data. Quoting from the study's 'Conclusions' section: 'Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.' Given the very high prevalence of corn in processed foods, this could be a real ticking time bomb. And with food manufacturers not being required by law to declare GMO content, I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether. Pass the puffed rice and pour me a glass of fizzy water!"
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Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn

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  • by pyster ( 670298 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:26AM (#30749502)
    Corn is in every-fucken-thing. You cant avoid it.
  • by snowgirl ( 978879 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:27AM (#30749510) Journal

    what's most disturbing about this is forbes magazine just named monsanto company of the year. []

    "Company of the year" has everything to do with business model, and not the quality of the product offered.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:29AM (#30749528) Journal

    Monsanto did the research in 2000 and 2001, and obviously knew the outcome. So how did they manage to suppress the data and results for 8 years?

    The invisible hand of the free market made the data and research invisible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:32AM (#30749556)

    We need less government regulation, not more. Let the free market decide what is good for us. Just think how many people would have died if we had lost all that corn to pests!

  • Riddle me this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:33AM (#30749562) Journal

    All you "free market" enthusiasts out there, answer this question for me:

    How would the unencumbered "free market" handle a problem like this? Especially since none of us who eat corn are actually direct customers of Monsanto's GM corn?

    Tell us how getting government out of business is going to prevent a little thing like people dying from organ failure for eating Monsanto's frankencorn?

  • by gnud ( 934243 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:34AM (#30749578)
    you see people would rather have a toothless "small government"
  • by ocularsinister ( 774024 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:35AM (#30749582)
    I may be wrong here, but I think the current discussions regarding GMO are an 'all or nothing' approach - in other words, you can grow any GMO crop or GMO crops are all banned. This doesn't make sense to me - some GMO crops may be fine, others not so. In particular, I think some GMO should be banned, full stop:
    • broad-spectrum herbicide tolerant species should be allowed ever: this is giving the farmer instructions to completely soak the countryside with lethal chemicals (and who is to say the rats were sick because of the GMO or the herbicide?)
    • Genes that produce sterile crops: This is putting our food security at risk, if your business model can't cope with this - tough, find another model or another business - food security comes first.

    There may be others, but those spring to mind...

  • by janek78 ( 861508 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:37AM (#30749608) Homepage

    We knew that insecticides are harmful. Now we have a GM crop that instead of being sprayed with them actually makes them. Is it a surprise that it's harmful? If you make a crop that produces cyanide, it's going to be poisonous.

    This is not really related to GM technology (although TFA does not rule out mutagenic properties of the GM transformation process), rather content of toxic substances.

  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:37AM (#30749612) Journal


    The kind of "duh" think that I'm thinking about here is that, if this corn produces these insecticide-like chemicals, one should have to show that it is non-toxic in humans...

    That's the key: the problem is not the fact that this plant was genetically modified, but rather the specific proteins that it was engineered to produce.

    This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thepooh81 ( 1606041 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:40AM (#30749638)

    We probably wouldn't have had the government subsidized corn so much that it turned into our main source of food.

  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:41AM (#30749644) Journal

    Under eight years of a Republican President nothing was done that might get in the way of businesses making money, and it probably started a lot sooner than that.

    So... one year under a Democratic president with a Democratic congress exactly how many corporate abuses have been curtailed?

    If you believe that any substantial difference exists between the two parties you are nothing more than a useful idiot.

  • Wary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by methano ( 519830 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:43AM (#30749656)
    You know what? I don't believe this research is right. It may be correct and we're gonna learn of an interesting mechanism whereby this implementation actually allows a protein to avoid the digestive system and make it's way straight into the bloodstream. That would really be cool. But from what I know of the mechanisms of digestion and what types of molecules get through the whole process, I just don't believe this conclusion is correct. I suspect that it's bogus or a statistical fluke. As I said, there may be something here but my first inclination is to suspect something is wrong. Research has shown many mutually exclusive things to be "true" and so one has to have a mechanism that throws up a "bogus flag". This article does.

    So I'm gonna call bogus for now.
  • Politics of GMO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:45AM (#30749670)
    This demonstrates the European objection to GMO. It is not, as the manufacturers would like to suggest, a Luddite fear of new technology. It is a growing perception that there is no proper oversight of GMO development. In the US, the NIH acts as a counter to the pharmaceutical companies and does a lot of fundamental research. The GMO companies are perceived as being able to carry out inadequate trials, and not make their seeds and research sufficiently available to genuine independent researchers to ensure that the result is properly evaluated. (In the UK, the chief cheerleader for Monsanto is George Bush's pal Tony Blair, which goes a lot of the way to explain our concern. He's lied to us so often that now anything he promotes is immediately seen as being evil.)

    During the 19th century the issue was contaminated food produced by the new breed of large processed food manufacturers: in the early 20th it was the meat packing industry. Now it's Monsanto. In the first two cases it turned out industry was unfit to regulate itself, and bribery of Government officials was rife. But nowadays we regard processed food manufacturers as mostly benign (well, except for the junk food industry), and nobody worries about tinned meat. Regulation in the end was good for the industry. Monsanto needs to stop pissing on anyone who suggests it isn't perfect, and start to come clean. It would be in its long term benefit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:48AM (#30749700)

    I think I'll do my best to avoid corn altogether

    If anyone has ever read The Omnivore's Dilemma [], you'll realize that in American culture, the only way to stay away from GMO corn is to stay completely away from processed foods - I'm not sure about the Organic brands.

    But you just know that the GMO corn makers are just going to take the cigarette companies' play book and stall any legitimate inquiries and just poo-poo any facts and studies that that show their product in an unfavorable light..

  • by flitty ( 981864 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:49AM (#30749710)

    This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

    And the distinction is unnecessary if you just make sure the food is safe for long term use.

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:51AM (#30749728) Journal

    That's the key: the problem is not the fact that this plant was genetically modified, but rather the specific proteins that it was engineered to produce.

    This distinction will be lost on millions of reactionaries.

    Sad that this was modded down because, unfortunately, it's true. The call will be "GM food kills", not "research has shown that some proteins that can be grown in highly modified corn caused organ damage in laboratory rats."

    Actually, it sounds like the system worked to me.

  • we need GMO foods (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chichilalescu ( 1647065 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:53AM (#30749744) Homepage Journal

    like it or not.
    you can choose between keeping the human population to a constant (and already there are a lot of starving people), or change something to the food we eat.
    I didn't do any research on the issue, but if a biologist says he wants funding to make food that grows faster and easier, I think he should get that funding. I would gladly have society give up on "new clothes every season, or you're a caveman/woman/person/thingie" and put more money into this kind of research.
    but i'm just a geeky hippie, so i don't get a say in this.
    on the other hand, if there are alternatives to gmo foods, let me know.

  • by rhsanborn ( 773855 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:54AM (#30749746)
    It sounds like that may be a possibility, but just as much as it may be a possibility that it's the corn itself. Other researchers need to replicate these results and do a couple of controls to try and isolate just the pesticides, just Monsanto corn, etc.
  • MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schnablebg ( 678930 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:54AM (#30749748)

    This is exactly right. The reason GMO corn exists and is widespread is that the gov't has incentivized corn production so much that it is practical to grow huge fields of it. This crop monoculture results in the excessive need of pesticides, hence the requirement of "Roundup-ready" crops in the first place.

  • by locallyunscene ( 1000523 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:55AM (#30749754)
    but WTF Monsanto, FDA. This is bad for EVERYBODY. Especially considering Americans eat more corn than anyone on Earth, ever(except maybe the Hopi).

    This is why you can't let lobbying continue as is. I don't think this out-and-out corruption through bribery, but I'd bet my bottom dollar Monsanto spent a lot of money wispering into ears that GMO posed no health risk and was a forgone conclusion. Hell, they didn't even need to check their own data, what could possibly go wrong? Besides that's the FDA's job right? Meanwhile the FDA hears all about how Monsanto wouldn't let any GMO through that would hurt their consumers. Of course they know the technology better, and their own analysis should be thorough enough to allow for FDA approval.

    I'll take a Department of Redundancy Department that does its goddamn job over a regulatory body that doesn't.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:56AM (#30749764)

    I don't know enough about toxicity studies to analyze this too closely but then as I read it, there is some "fishy" stuff going on.. First off, though - these researchers did not set up these studies. They used lawyers to get data from some of these companies or something like that- it's kind of vague. I have NEVER seen a study where you report like you did the research but you actually didn't. You are just trying to take the numbers and draw your own conclusion.
    They say in one part: "The most fundamental point to bear in mind from the outset is that a sample size of 10 for biochemical parameters measured two times in 90 days is largely insufficient to ensure an acceptable degree of power to the statistical analysis performed and presented by Monsanto. " They say that because they think Monsanto shouldn't say the corn is safe - but then they (these researchers) are using that same "Insufficient" data to say it's unsafe. That's the way this whole paper is- it just doesn't jive together.

    They also note that the control corn fed the rats in these studies was not similar enough to the GM variety to be good controls.

    OK - then why are they using these data at all - why not do their OWN study???!!! I"ll tell you why - because they found a way to skew this data for their own purposes. How can you pick apart an experimental design and then use that data and say YOUR conclusions are valid. This is insulting and I still do not believe this can be a legitimate journal (although I can't find much on it online).

  • by o'reor ( 581921 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:58AM (#30749790) Journal
    FDA and Monsanto ? Mind the revolving door [] on your way out...
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:01AM (#30749816)

    here is some "fishy" stuff going on.. First off, though - these researchers did not set up these studies. They used lawyers to get data from some of these companies or something like that- it's kind of vague.

          Granted such a study is not scientific and has no merit per se. However this type of thing might be enough to get a real group of scientists interested in setting up a real, controlled study. After all science is all about asking questions and getting answers. There might be a valid question. So now someone will look for a reliable, reproducible answer.

    I have NEVER seen a study where you report like you did the research but you actually didn't.

          Tobacco companies claiming that smoking is "safe" circa 1970's and 80's?

  • by vvaduva ( 859950 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:03AM (#30749840)

    They do it through lawsuits. They are a very litigious company as they sue their own customers for failing to disclose harvest data and seed information. Since they patended certain varieties of soybeans and corn, you cannot keep seed from one year to the next. Also, a neighboring farmer who has his own non-Monstanto crops contaminated by Monstanto crops are also being sued and asked to prove themselves innocent.

    It's a travesty. I am not opposed to GM foods by any means, but this company's approach to solving problems with their products is completely unreasonable. A class-action suit seems to be the only answer.

  • by Truekaiser ( 724672 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:03AM (#30749842)

    but due to monsanto's lobbying, they get to have their cake and eat it too. they lobby that their gm corn is 'different' enough that it requires patent protection, BUT they then turn around and lobby the fda(or have their former employee's that work there) declare it no different then normal corn so it gets the 'generally assumed as safe' status meaning it is exempt from special regulation and is treated by the fda as non-gma corn.

    Selective breeding though is a different process, they took a already existing trait and only let the seeds from the plants that had it germinat, if the trait produced something else they did not want they either tried to select against it or started over. gm corn is taking a gene from a completely different organism, in this case gene's from Bactria that gained resistance to their weed killer or from a organism that produces natural(as in not artificially produced) insecticide and shoot it into the genome of the corn or another plant with micro gold spheres as well as chemical's that not only turn the gene on but smash the switch that turns the gene on and off in the on position.

  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jinjuku ( 762364 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:06AM (#30749876)
    And when your 'Organic Only' store is carrying a hybrid/cross breed that occurred in nature (that no one is testing for) you still have consumed a GMO crop.

    People, please you need to understand what the end game is in all of this...
  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cartzworth ( 709639 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:06AM (#30749878) Journal
    Correct. The free market assumes perfect access to information (information wants to be free, no?). We just got more information on this product. Thus we can make decisions based on this new information (it gets "priced in"). We then return to an equilibrium after the use of this GM corn falls in disfavor. Of course, I'd also like to see more studies confirming this before any conclusions are drawn. How about a simple comparison of how widespread this GM corn is, when it was released, and national rates of organ failure over a long period of time?
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:08AM (#30749886) Homepage

    Centuries of selective breeding by it's very nature also includes centuries
    of testing on humans. The pace and nature of the tinkering is such that
    everything is self-governing and self-correcting. Once you have a megacorp
    that can buy entire national governments and generally push everyone else
    accelerating the process you really have very little to keep the process from
    running amok.

    Earth is a production system with no backups.

  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vvaduva ( 859950 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:08AM (#30749892)

    Yeah, I was out sick during that meeting where Monstanto's board of directors issued the "we need to kill all our customers" directive.

    This thing called "the legal system," where someone could sue someone else for damages, trespassing, etc. is amazing from what I hear. People from everywhere can come in, fill out paperwork and ask for these things called "damages," but hell..what do I know? I am just a free market enthusiast.

  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:08AM (#30749898) the president's actions in 2009 is responsible for information remaining hidden from 2000 through 2008? For crying out loud, he didn't even make US Senate until 2004. But yes, I suppose the corruption of a member of the Illionois Senate has its reach all the way down into the state of Missouri (where Monsanto is based). Or maybe Obama has a time machine.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:12AM (#30749936) Homepage Journal

    One of the main goals of corporations is to make sure owners, stockholders, and employees don't have personal liability. Who do you put in jail?

    We're still in the age of no personal accountability due to the last administration. I don't see Obama doing all that much to untie that knot.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:13AM (#30749964) Homepage

    Yes. We need less "government regulation". That way anyone that feels that they have been wronged by Monsanto can just form a nice lynch mob and start hanging senior executives.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:15AM (#30749978)

    But how am I going to be SCARED of GM corn if it's due to something else?

    Big science-y words like "genetic" and "nuclear" are supposed to scare the pants off me for no reason!! You can't take that away from me, it's all I have!

  • Re:Wary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PeterM from Berkeley ( 15510 ) <{petermardahl} {at} {}> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:18AM (#30750008) Journal


        Somehow the Bt toxin makes its way through the bug's digestive system to kill it. Why is it so unbelievable that some of the toxin makes it through a human's digestive system?


  • by wall0159 ( 881759 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:23AM (#30750076)

    Maybe these "reactionaries" aren't as ill-informed as you think. Maybe at least some of them are aware that in an ideal world, with ethical and moral corporations performing proper testing on products prior to release (and with unbiased, independent regulatory bodies ensuring proper standards are met), there would be little to fear in GM foods. Maybe they aren't that naive...

    Nah, I'm sure they're just a bunch of ignorant, tree-hugging hippies.

  • Good 'ol Monsanto (Score:4, Insightful)

    by revlayle ( 964221 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:30AM (#30750136) Homepage
    They want to own food and the IPs for any GMOs they make and them force them into countries an markets. While i usually try to avoid hype documentaries, I do recommend watching "Food, Inc." as a starting insight into the evil of Monsanto (as well as the meat industry) - maybe biased but still a GOOD watch. The find a French documentary (usually it is subtitled or dubbed) called "The World According to Monsanto" for more details on the companies practices. Remember, before food, they created Agent Orange (as well as all the other "rainbow" Agent herbicides). Because of these shows, I have tried to buy my food from local source, and try to buy (unsuccessfully) in season (when i do buy out of season, I try Whole Foods, dunno if they are THAT better, but the one in Tulsa is good) - all my meat comes from a local butcher now and local livestock feed in conventional ways.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:32AM (#30750164) Homepage

    Yes you can, you actually have to put forth effort.

    Dont buy products with it in it. My lettuce and fresh veggies dont have it, my meat does not have it, The flour I bake with does not have it.

    It means switching from Insta-fake-food they sell in a box to actually getting off your butt and cooking.

    Your general health will increase nearly 3 fold if you do.

  • by rmccoy ( 318169 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:33AM (#30750176)


    I'm not worried about the process of genetically modifying food anymore than I am using nuclear energy for power. In both cases, I'm worried about how these tools are used by the corporations that are centered on short-term profit.

    GM is an accelerated version of what happens in nature. We need it to feed our billions. Unfortunately, lack of corporate imagination and long-term thinking might produce a backlash that makes it untenable for years.

  • by tacarat ( 696339 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:36AM (#30750214) Journal

    There are safe GM foods that have been feeding people for hundreds of years, but it only takes one to go wrong that will cause even the safe GM foods to banned.

    I think the issue is that the old fashion way of genetic modification, or selective breeding, is more tried, true and gradual. Gene splicing and such, however, has more potential for "now that's interesting" events. Given that we're always finding new things that are good or bad in our foods, this is an understandable concern.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:42AM (#30750296)

    "There are safe GM foods that have been feeding people for hundreds of years"

    What GM food for hundreds of years?

    It's kind of hard when GM foods require genetic knowledge that is not hundreds of years old and medical techniques that are only decades old, along with specific genetic information that is likewise only decades old.

    So I call "bollocks" on your statement there.

    Just like the rest of your rant against the people.

    And bt is organic WHEN PRODUCED BY THE NATURAL ORGANISM!!! Not fecking plants.

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:44AM (#30750326)

    You are actually claiming that the US government is small and toothless.....


    Remember when you ask the big government to do what you want, that may be great for you, until they start doing what you don't want.

  • Re:Politics of GMO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DeadCatX2 ( 950953 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:45AM (#30750328) Journal

    It is a growing perception that there is no proper oversight of GMO development.

    Maybe if people would stop freaking out about the idea of GM food, we could have a rational discussion about what kind of oversight is appropriate. Instead, everyone panics, labels GM food the devil, and the debate is snuffed out.

    There's this stuff called Golden Rice, it's rice that has a Vitamin A gene. It will help lots of Chinese kids stop going blind. Maybe those researchers should study whether that rice kills rats.

  • Food, Inc. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tresstatus ( 260408 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:46AM (#30750344)
    Nothing that Monsanto does comes as a surprise to anyone who has seen "Food, Inc.". []

    the problem with GMO crops is that they can't be contained. a farmer doesn't have to plant monsanto's corn or soy beans for them to start growing in their fields.

    and to anyone who says "i will just avoid eating corn and corn products".... good luck. almost every product in the grocery store either contains corn or ate corn.
  • by evilbessie ( 873633 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:47AM (#30750354)

    Mostly as Scotch comes from Scotland (if it doesn't it's not Scotch but some other whisk(e)y), and in the UK and Europe as a whole we are not fans of GMOs made in labs so if you are drinking Scotch I would guess there is hardly any GMOs if any at all.

  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@fredshom[ ]rg ['e.o' in gap]> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:54AM (#30750474) Homepage

    GM is an accelerated version of what happens in nature.

    No it's not. It's the artificial manipulation of a genotype to get a desired trait by means that are not very well understood but that mostly work although their consequences are not very well grasped.

    We need it to feed our billions.

    No we don't. Crop rotation and the use of better seeds works much better and with far less pesticides and other toxic chemicals, notably in emerging markets.

    However, a certain company won't get as rich if we go that way...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:00AM (#30750566)

    But selective breeding is an entirely different beast than the GMO process. Selective breeding allows corn to vary according to the "natural" laws of the corn itself. In GMO corn, companies have actually found a way to break down the barriers that the corn would naturally have to prevent the type of variation introduced. The DNA is altered in such a way that could NEVER happen naturally even after 1,000 years of naturally occurring variation. This at the least is a major cause for concern. Even more concerning is that so little research has been done on the effects of various GMO foods on the human body. Maybe it just gives us more gas. But even, then it would be nice to know.

  • by cyberfunk2 ( 656339 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:01AM (#30750582)

    If you actually read the journal article, all you will find is a LOT of criticism of Monsanto's statistical methodology (which may be valid), but very little (if any) of any actual evidence of toxicity.

    Basically , they claim (which may be correct): Monsanto didn't do their studies properly! They should've used more rats, for longer, and with more measured parameters !

    And THEN they turn around and claim... even though the study is statistically unsound (according to their own argument), we're going to draw some conclusions that are weak to begin with, even within the weak frame of this supposedly faulty study !

    It just doesn't make much sense.... from a professional scientists' standpoint (mine), this amounts to a lot of hemming and hawing about experimental methods, but absolutely nothing in the way of conclusions !

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:03AM (#30750624)
    My concern, which doesn't appear to have been raised yet, is this shit blows around in the wind and cross-breeds with non-GMO corn. I'm guessing nobody has any idea how badly this has happened yet. This stuff could be ending up in our food, making the most important and second largest cash crop (after marijuana) in the US poisonous to consumers. I wonder why that doesn't sit well with me.
  • Re:distinction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vegiVamp ( 518171 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:05AM (#30750662) Homepage
    Ooo. Now there's an interesting angle for a terrorist to take. Are seeds forbidden on airplanes already ?
  • by mary_will_grow ( 466638 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:14AM (#30750790)

    So "The System Worked", uhh, how?

    1. If you RTFA you'd see that Greenpeace lawyers had to go to great lengths and fight a mess of court battles to get at the data that shows this problem.
    2. This corn is out in the food supply, and its not impossible that cross-pollination/etc is causing it to spread to other food sources.
    3. I have no way of determining in the supermarket if either of these 3 varieties, or varieties which include these proteins, are present in the package of corn I'm about to buy.

    You GM fanboys are fighting a straw-man. Folks like me don't hate the idea. I'd like to end world hunger. I'd like my car to run off sugar made from some superplant. What I don't want is some corporation like Monsanto to have no oversight, conflicts of interest all around (HELLO? They _fought_ the release of this information. They'd rather you die from liver disease than see a negative impact on their profits. Why the hell are you coming to their defense?) poisoning our food supply because they didn't want to spend the money or the effort to do it RIGHT.

    Doesn't it bug you that all those left wing GM-hating nutjobs were RIGHT? This is _exactly_ what we feared would happen. Its not the idea of GM we hate. Its Monsanto. And You. And all the other idiots who don't take a second to think about what MIGHT happen if poor oversight is mixed with singleminded financial motivation.

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:18AM (#30750842)

    I have to call bullshit on this. It's dodging the question. "We wouldn't have to deal with this problem because this would never have happened under a free market system!" Suuuure. You can't see a situation where a monoculture could develop in a free market system? That's just IMPOSSIBLE, huh?
    The government subsidies may have encouraged a monoculture, but that's beside the point. The GM crops improve yield. Why would that have not been a success in a pure free market?

  • by Will.Woodhull ( 1038600 ) <> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:29AM (#30750992) Homepage Journal

    Actually, it sounds like the system worked to me.

    And if you learn next year that you have some liver damage consistent with the Monsanto Syndrome, will you still feel the same way?

    Since I have a mild intolerance to high fructose corn syrup (it, or something closely associated with it, contributes to my exercise induced asthma attacks which in turn make my bicycling much less fun), for several years I have been scanning ingredients labels for the word "corn". Some kind of processed corn is used in a surprisingly wide variety of foods, and is often near the top of the ingredients list. In the USA, much of this comes from the huge acreages of Monsanto owned agribusiness farms that would be growing one of Monsanto's GM corns, which would then be processed through one of Monsanto's operations before being sold in railroad tanker lots to Kraft, General Foods, Coca Cola, Kellog, Pepsi, Tyson, Little Debby, Hostess, etc. Fortunately the problem that I know about is limited to just HFCS so I don't avoid all corn products and can still eat a lot of stuff from the shelves of Safeway. I'm just pickier about which brands of hamburger relish, salsa, and crackers I buy.

    But if there is anything unhealthy about Monsanto's corn operations, it could potentially affect all USA citizens who were not zealous in avoiding corn (because of severe allergies). That would probably be more than 90% of the USA population. Considering the size of the potential public health problem, I don't think there is sufficient oversight of Monsanto's operations, including its GM corn.

    BTW, Monsanto gets a nice chunk of cash from the Federal Guvmint as a subsidy for growing corn. Although to be fair it should be noted that through their lobbying and campaign contributions they do return a lot of that to the political process....

  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alinabi ( 464689 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:29AM (#30751000)

    Yes, people would stop eating GM corn products. And GM wheat products. And GM soy products. And meat and dairy products from cattle fed with GM feed. But that's ok, 'cuz Monsanto can just GM the people, so they can survive through photosynthesis.

    I don't know about you, but once my liver and kidneys have been damaged by a defective product, there is no redress civil courts can provide. Lynching the Monsanto executives wouldn't make me feel any better either.

  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WalkingBear ( 555474 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:36AM (#30751094) Homepage Journal

    In a pure free market system, the most valuable item on a company's portfolio is it's reputation. A company deliberately misleading the consumers of their product would quickly find themselves without consumers.

    How do the consumers find out? I answer that by pointing you to the very top of this discussion. Either someone inside the company lets it out (wikileaks?), a competitor takes a good look at the product (normal business practice: study your competition) and lets the word out, or some other curious person looks at their food and says "um, something's fishy here".

    Word gets out and that companies reputation goes into the toilet. No one would sell their product because no one would want to buy it. Their competitors would, rightly, expound greatly upon such a scandal.

    It's a self correcting problem.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:38AM (#30751110) Journal

    Selective breeding is not the same thing as modern genetic modification. Mendel wasn't putting bacterial genes into corn. We've had thousands of years of testing selective breeding. We have had a decade or so of testing bacteria protein laced corn and other genetically modified foods. See the difference? The damn hippies were right: we should have tested this stuff more.

  • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:38AM (#30751112)

    Corn has always been GM. That's how corn was made in the first place, corn is not naturally occurring. I felt this went along with your "GM corn" comment.. :p

  • by Artuir ( 1226648 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:42AM (#30751182)

    Isn't the entire goal of crossbreeding or selective breeding to alter the genetics of the result in cases like these?

    How is that not genetic engineering? It would seem to me it's just a crude form of a control method for doing just that.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:47AM (#30751280) Homepage Journal

    It';s not a study it;s a meta study. Not even a well written meta study.

    After seeing some odd conclusions, and logical fallacies I decided to look up the authors. Yeah, huge anti-GM proponents.

    So what we have is a metastudy - which are always questionable. They have a use, but it's a very narrow band use.

    We have authors who are heavily biased.

    All the data has been cherry picked.

    This shows nothing. Please come back with good data.

    For the record, I am pro good studies and scientific facts. Even when they may slay a sacred cow.

  • by TeXMaster ( 593524 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:54AM (#30751392)

    "This is _exactly_ what we feared would happen."

    And what "_exactly_" is that, exactly? Do you really think they want to kill humans?

    It's more like they don't care, to the point of criminally trying to withold the information that proves that their products are health hazards.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:56AM (#30751432)

    Your comment comes closest to what I also think about this issue. I am a rabid environmentalist and I have great hopes for genetic engineering. I'd be sad if we screwed it up as we did with nuclear fission - where a couple of greedy institutions didn't take universally understood precautions, and thus ruined a good thing for everyone.

    And while I have great hope for GM crops, I have zero faith in the moral integrity of Monsanto. They very well could be what ruins the promise of GM for two generations.

    The reason why, as an environmentalist, I support GM research is because it allows for a given area of land to feed more people. It's that simple: The more productive are our crops, the more of the Earth we can keep as wilderness. If we insist on using low-yield crops, we simply have to suck it up that more of the planet will be covered with agriculture. Because I want to keep as much wilderness as possible, while still keeping our population fed, the land we do cultivate should produce at its maximum. Many fellow environmentalists fail to understand that their insistence on low-yield agricultural species amounts to a demand to plow under huge swaths of what is now nature.

    Having said that, I of course want the GM crops to be certifiably safe for consumers and for the environment. Businesses that rely on GM should want the same, because if they get caught with their pants down like the nuclear industry did, they're fucked. Sadly, I have no faith that Monsanto understands this. If they really have been selling a toxic product and knew this, no amount of government connections will save their asses. I wouldn't mind seeing them go down. But with them would go the whole GM industry, because people don't make distinctions like the ones you made. For example, many people still think that all nuclear plants are functionally copies of Chernobyl. If GM gets taken out, we would lose one of our most important tools for the prevention of environmental destruction.

    We should realize that Monsanto GM crops are really the first products of an industry in its infancy. They are the equivalent of Netscape 1.0. We didn't give up on the internet just because the early browsers had serious defects. We fixed the defects and kept going. That's what we need to do with GM. But first and foremost, we need scientific openness in quickly discovering the defects, before they hurt people and cause a backlash.

  • by Demonantis ( 1340557 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:01PM (#30751504)
    They don't care as long as it does not cut into their profits. That is all they are concerned about. The way you ask it makes it sound like they are selling guns knowing full outright that they will be used to commit crimes of terror. They are going out of the way to kill people. Whats interesting is that we don't know as much as we want to think we know about GMOs. It is all a lot of hand waving.
  • by StuartHankins ( 1020819 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:03PM (#30751538)
    They seem more concerned with profits than the effects of their decisions on humans.

    So maybe their goal isn't to kill humans, but if it's a side effect of a profitable product, they don't seem to care. Fighting the release of the information just makes it look like a cover-up.

    Haven't we all seen movies where some misguided soul creates a monster, which has to be dealt with by some third party? Ergo this.
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:15PM (#30751722)

    I read the article too and took away exactly the same conclusions. I also thought it was interesting that they can't isolate the effects of the corn itself from the effects of whatever the corn was treated with. (They mentioned that the signs of toxicity are reminiscent of something that could be a reaction to a pesticide.) That might be worth doing in a future study, and wouldn't be hard: You just grow the corn in a test field and don't spray it at all, and compare its effects to the corn that was grown the conventional way.

    So come on, people. This shit is important, and lab rats aren't that expensive. Let's go already!

  • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:16PM (#30751732) Journal

    you are correct.
    hybridizing is genetic engineering at its most basic level. However, it is inherently safer as mother nature puts limits on how far you can go before you fail to get offspring (corn + poison ivy), or the offspring is sterile (horse + zebra).

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:19PM (#30751768) Journal

    You can't crossbreed fish so they glow in the dark

    No, you just have to keep feeding them that radium each morning.

  • need a new word (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:25PM (#30751838) Homepage Journal

    I've seen this a lot on this site (unfortunately). Luddite is tossed around as a swear word to ridicule those who don't understand or see any benefits of modern tech. The opposite exists but we don't have a single word for it, people who automatically trust any new tech to be safe, without any evidence that it is safe, other than the inventor's and corporation's word for it. There's a word used that is close, but doesn't specify "as regards newer tech", that is a "pollyanna". We really need a new word for those who blindly "trust" but never "verify" all new high tech advances.

    This issue with some of the GM corn mods has been known for years now, and dismissed by the big business sycophants/pollyannas. The largest misconception I have seen is equating *cross species modification* with naturally occurring or man made same species hybrids. These get equated all the freaking time by alleged tech savvy people as the excuse to just "trust". The "tech pollyannas" knee jerk automatically trust, based on a starting point of falsehood belief. It's just as loony and stupid as being a luddite based on erroneous or even zero knowledge of the subject.

    I am a farmer and I will say I do NOT trust corporate big ag business (nor ag college academia that relies on the same big business for funding and has tame scientists in and out of the same big business) to be self regulating as to safety concerns nor do I trust the governmental regulators because of the revolving door "jobs" aspect that occur. (exactly the same as occurs with Wall Street/Federal Reserve/Treasury/SEC revolving door jobs). There's WAY too much money involved for there not to be corruption. Just human nature. Just because some person has many letters next to their name, or some official government title, is not any guarantee they are trustworthy as to being non corrupt or "bought off". They are just as likely or not as likely as anyone else, and as the currency units involved go up in number..we should take closer and closer looks as to this trust and verify business.

      It would be nice to trust the system, but I can't the way it is set up now.

    Here's an interesting video on this food subject, on how much trust we should place in huge global ag business and regulations as they exist now. []

    Look at software code. A chunk can be written, looked at, have other people look at it, vetted..few months later they missed something and there is an 0-day.
    Well, that can be patched.

    Can't say the same thing for food stuff once it is planted all over. Won't be any patches once it is out in the wild and air pollination starts spreading it. We are already seeing some of the first minor examples with canola/rapeseed "superweeds". Just wait until there are major examples.

    It isn't a matter of if, it is a matter of when. There will be a hugemongous "whoops..heh heh heh, guess we missed that" excuse mumbling major screwup, by guys in black suits and white lab coats at some news conference, with the global food supply. This corn might be it, who knows, but it is coming.

  • by moeinvt ( 851793 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:29PM (#30751886)

    "Selective breeding is nothing but a very slow primitive form of genetic engineering."

    The "very slow" part is what completely differentiates selective breeding and natural evolutionary processes from genetic engineering. All of the genetic differences you see in something like dogs occurred very gradually, and with some degree of harmony with the ecosystem. Introducing these GMOs is basically bypassing thousands of years of evolution, and going off on a tangent that would have a minuscule probability of ever occurring, even through selective breeding. I think that's a very important distinction when we're talking about the potential health and environmental impacts of these things.

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:30PM (#30751906)
    Selective breeding is certainly well tried and gradual, but "true" is misleading. All you are doing is leading evolution in a direction of your choosing, rather than allowing natural selection to take its course. But you're right in that no amount of evolutionary genetic recombination would result in the spontaneous production of Bt toxin in our lifetime.

    It's worth noting that this is entirely different from the so-called "Roundup Ready" crops which by definition encourage the farmer to use potentially toxic doses of the herbicide. Bt toxin is a pesticide, and the degree of its expression in GM crops is not yet entirely predictable.

    When I first started studying biotechnology 10 years ago, Roundup was commonly regarded as being no more toxic than coffee. We have since learned otherwise, and Monsanto's crude sledgehammer approach to farming practice has gone a long way towards discrediting the biotechnology industry in general.
  • by Syntroxis ( 564739 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:42PM (#30752094)
    So true about the corporatists. The corporation can do no wrong. Look at the suicide gene which has been developed in many food crops developed by Monsanto and other seed giants. "...Through natural pollination, their crop may now become partially pollinated by Monsanto's GM corn through no fault of their own. Now they are selling GM food without their knowledge. Furthermore, the crop seed that they may be holding bad to plant for next years crop may be completely sterile, which would have a devastating effect on the following years crop for that small farmer...." ahref= []>
    Corporations like Monsanto are suing small farmers all over: "The odds are clearly stacked against the farmer: Monsanto has an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers. The largest recorded judgment made thus far in favor of Monsanto as a result of a farmer lawsuit is $3,052,800.00. Total recorded judgments granted to Monsanto for lawsuits amount to $15,253,602.82. Farmers have paid a mean of $412,259.54 for cases with recorded judgments". ahref='s_Legal_Battles_against_Farmersrel=url2html-26299 []'s_Legal_Battles_against_Farmers>
    Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag and GMO has crossed over into non-gmo strains.
  • by geekprime ( 969454 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:53PM (#30752282)

    I'm sorry,

    There is NO WAY that I am going to accept the assertion that "selective breeding" is the same process as "gene splicing".
    Nor will anyone else that is not trying to reassure someone that gene splicing is not dangerous.

    It is pretty obvious that there are (this time at least) unintended reactions AND that we apparently cannot trust Monsanto to fully test and disclose before selling and feeding us their experiments.

  • by Rich.Miller.6 ( 1602871 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @01:29PM (#30752928)

    With a corporation, it isn't a matter of wanting to kill humans. It is simply a matter of accounting.

    If the cost of killing humans is much less than the expected profit, then it is the corporation's duty to kill humans, since it is the corporation's duty to maximize profits for the shareholders. That's the whole purpose of a corporation, to maximize profits for the shareholders.

    You are being ironic, I hope. The idea that "corporations exist solely to maximize shareholder value" isn't a Given Truth - it's just another idea about how society can organize a (big) part of its activities. As such, it should be evaluated like any other idea: see what it leads to. One direct consequence is the argument that if something is legal and maximizes return to shareholders, a corporation has a fiduciary duty to do it. This argument was made in defense of British ships participating in the slave trade until 1807, even though chattel slavery was declared unlawful in England in 1772 and Scotland in 1776, and slavery itself in 1799. Another consequence is the idea that corporations have no social obligations - that maximizing shareholder return is required, regardless of other consequences such as, say, global economic meltdown and huge government transfers of money to banks and Wall St. firms during the last year or so.

    These aren't the only ways for corporations to behave, nor do they appear socially desirable. Here's a reference for those interested in examining this further: []

    Books such as Marjorie Kelly's The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy already point out the inhumane way corporations have departed from serving the public, even though the roots of corporate duty were in the public good. Maximizing returns to shareholders was the obsession at Enron and Andersen

  • The point is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sean.peters ( 568334 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @01:35PM (#30753010) Homepage
    ... that these compounds are known to be toxic to various other organisms. Rather than blindly trust the company who's making a profit selling the stuff, perhaps we ought to test whether they're toxic to us too. Sure, insects are different from humans. But rats are considerably closer to us in their anatomy and physiology, and it looks like there's evidence that it's harmful to them too. And your response is that we should just take Monsanto's word that there's nothing to see here?
  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @01:54PM (#30753306)

    There is - you have to sign a technology agreement.

    In addition, if you don't buy Monsanto corn, you are likely to be investigated. If your field is even partially pollinated by Roundup Ready® corn, and it's probably a virtual certainty by now, they'll set the lawyers on you. Since Monsanto can afford more lawyers than you, and your farm is likely to represent your family livelihood, most people cave in and settle out of court rather than lose their family inheritance. And I'm willing to bet that some of them start buying Monsanto just to avoid it happening again... maybe it even gets written into the settlements.

    That's right, Monsanto now makes money out of farmers for NOT buying Monsanto products. The best thing for them about this business model is that it spreads itself - literally, with pollen - across national borders, regardless of consent or trade agreement.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @02:22PM (#30753670) Homepage Journal

    Simple difference, do you EAT mosquito dunks? Sprayed on food is one thing. Food is washed before eating. Grown IN food is another. Cow manure is organic, but I don't eat it.

  • Re:distinction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davebooth ( 101350 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @02:47PM (#30754062)
    Well, I DO have a background in genetics and to be honest I probably wouldnt need a sequencing machine to create something evil.

    Give me the enzymes and nucleotide stocks, some e coli and some M13 bacteriophage. a couple glass plates and some acrylamide I'm quite capable of sequencing without one, thank you very much!

    Not that much sequencing would be required, Monsanto have already done that work and have kindly provided a template with a known target sequence (the gene for the thuringensis toxin) already under the control of a highly active promoter. So lets start our hypothetical experiment with a sample of BT corn.

    Ideally we'd look for a single-peptide toxin and recent research has provided a much "better" payload than either ricin or any other plant or bacterially derived peptide toxin and again much of the required preliminary work has already been done. We're going to replace the gene for thuringensis toxin with PRP and make sure, by site directed mutagenesis, which requires the same reagents and skills as sequencing, that as many as possible of the polymorphisms that encourage the refolding of this protein into the PRP-Sc form are present. Sure it will take time and persistence, but the techniques are no challenge.

    Theres your upwind "pollen bomb." Mad Corn Disease, anyone?

  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @02:51PM (#30754132)
    Declining to comment on the silly lynching plan... You've got no chance in hell winning a law suit. There is no way to PROVE the corn is what caused your liver failure w/e. It damages millions of people just a little bit. Like second hand smoke.... Or factory/power plant pollution... I can't go sue the local steel plant because I have asthma.. though it was likely a huge contributor.

    What you would do if you got enough mad people is force a law to be made that shut them down.... Which is somehow socialist/evil. And no longer a 'free market'.

    Capitalism is a great and powerful force. Competition is an amazing thing that makes companies very efficient. The goal should be for the government to point this power and wield it. That way the companies work to our advantage not against us for their own advantage. Set rules and frameworks in which capitalism can prosper in a way advantaging the populace, Simple.
  • by Favonius Cornelius ( 1691688 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @02:53PM (#30754148)

    Under eight years of a Republican President nothing was done that might get in the way of businesses making money, and it probably started a lot sooner than that.

    So... one year under a Democratic president with a Democratic congress exactly how many corporate abuses have been curtailed?

    If you believe that any substantial difference exists between the two parties you are nothing more than a useful idiot.

    Poor comparison. In those 8 years Bush and co. had plenty of time to do things, Obama has had *1* strife filled year to fix the entire earth. I think those who expect change in a few months or a year are an idiot. Republican politicians are corrupt people who have lost their souls.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @04:33PM (#30755706)

    Selective breeding is not the same thing as modern genetic modification.

    Why? Give me enough time and I can use selective breeding to make corn that sings. It's called evolution.

    Mendel wasn't putting bacterial genes into corn.

    No, but they're still there. Horizontal gene transfer happens all the time. No big deal. If you but the Bacillus thuringiensis on corn long enough, you will eventually have Bt corn.

    The damn hippies were right: we should have tested this stuff more.

    Two trillion [] GMO meals served and no one has ever been proven to have been hurt in any way by one. So this study comes along, who cares? I've got a study saying vaccines cause autism, one that proves homeopathy works, and another that disproves evolution. You can't believe everything that comes you way, especially with such a highly politicized subject such as this. Could they be right? Maybe. But until more evidence comes my way, much more, like a causative agent for starters, I don't buy it.

  • by waterford0069 ( 580760 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @04:38PM (#30755774) Homepage
    Actually many bread recipes include oil. Canola oil in many such cases would be an acceptable form of oil. In any case, a typo-get over it.

    You are right, Canola is a specific cultivar of rapeseed and its name was chosen to make it more market friendly.

    Toxicity is generally a matter of how much, not a yes/no. Your garden variety tomato contains lots of compounds (if taken in sufficient doses) will make you sick or kill you. In principal, you could use selective breeding to create a tomato that was so full of them that they are in effect toxic/poisonous.

    Now perhaps you are talking about a novel toxin in the plant. Well we know, that through natural random mutations, eventually some of your field of tomato plants will develop a mutation that that produces a toxin that is harmful to its pests, but not to the plant it self. Through the wonders of natural selection (or we could use artificial selection) and sexual reproduction (and more random mutations) the gene that produces this toxin will get amplified to the point that it becomes very toxic to the pest, but not to the plant.

    It takes a long time, it may take many individual plants, and (if you are using artificial selection) it may be very expensive, but it can happen.

    Or do you reject the facts of evolution and centuries of plant breeding.
  • Re:Riddle me this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @04:46PM (#30755904) Journal

    People from everywhere can come in, fill out paperwork and ask for these things called "damages"

    What amount of damages could redress damaged organs that may prove to be impossible to replace? What about life?

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @05:22PM (#30756436)

    How is patent encumbered food products a win for environmentalism? And you're talking about how silly anti-GMO fever is in an article saying how some of these products may actually be harmful?

  • Re:need a new word (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:09PM (#30758696)


    The opposite of paranoia.

    The belief that everyone is out to help you.

  • sort of (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:28PM (#30759616) Homepage Journal

    Usually pointy haired bosses are mid level though. These big decisions are made by the muckety mucks at the top.

    I think that if it can be proved that research studies were obfuscated to hide the negative, or fudged..purely for economic gain, or that an official regulator used their authority position to further that shady goal, that it should be treated as a crime against humanity, like attempted genocide, along those levels. As in major criminal felony, not some white collar BS civil matter where they might get some joke fine either.

    There are normal accidental mistakes, then there are deliberate decisions made to go ahead and issue some governmental stamp of approval and then produce and sell something that they know has questionable and dangerous traits. The latter non accidental occurrence should be a serious criminal violation. And repeated occurrences within the same corporation should result in a corporate death sentence, disallowal of corporate charter, declaring all outstanding stock to be worthless and untradeable. If they can do it to poor people with normal crimes, "three strikes" laws, they should apply the same thing to corporations. Three major criminal foulups-out ya go, dissolved, physical plant and other assets seized and auctioned off.

    "Maximizing shareholder value" should not be the only criteria for allowing corporate charters. Just screw that and that mindset and belief. I like what the original design had, corporations had to prove to be of the public benefit to retain their charters. Now it is..they can do anything crooked sleazy or illegal they want and if they can afford to eat the fines if they are caught..they keep doing it. Nuts. Whack a few dozen of the top infringers down. Shareholders would *finally* get the message that they better be watching over their employees conduct a little better, that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and with profits come duties and responsibilities.

      And with that, we need some whistleblower protections with big sharp teeth in them. It's still a joke and lower level employees in government and business are still afraid of getting the word out on malfeasance and unethical or illegal behavior they are aware of. That should just not be.

VMS must die!