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The Truth about Trade

RSS By: Dean Kleckner,

Dean is Chairman Emeritus of 'Truth About Trade & Technology, a nonprofit advocacy group led by a volunteer board of American farmers.

Pulling Back the Dr. Oz Green Curtain Cover-Up

Oct 25, 2012
By Tim Burrack:  Arlington, Iowa
To find the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends followed the yellow brick road, defeated a wicked witch, and pulled back a green curtain.
To see "The Dr. Oz Show," all you have to do is watch television on a weekday afternoon.
But somebody still needs to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth behind the nonsense.
At least that was my conclusion after catching an episode last week on genetically modified food. Although Dr. Oz made half-hearted gestures toward fair-minded balance, he let his program become a soapbox for wild accusations, unsubstantiated claims, and hysterical advice.
By the end, Dr. Oz was warning viewers not to eat any canola, corn, papayas, soy, or sugar beets grown in the United States because they may be products of biotechnology. His show turned into an infomercial for Proposition 37, a badly flawed anti-biotech ballot initiative that soon goes before California voters.
Dr. Oz is Mehmet Oz, a medical doctor who became a television celebrity for his guest appearances with Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, and others. Three years ago, he launched his own show and now millions of viewers tune in.
Sometimes they receive sound medical and nutritional advice. Other times, however, they hear about quack therapies such as "energy healing" or obtain instructions on using psychics to communicate with dead people. Oz is a two-time recipient of the Pigasus Award, a tongue-in-cheek prize whose purpose is to expose media frauds and junk-science peddlers.
I’m not a physician, but my advice is only to watch Dr. Oz with a heavy dose of skepticism.
I had taken a personal interest in the October 17 show because I had been invited to appear on it, and was looking forward to describing the benefits of 21st-century agriculture to a general audience.
Alas, the producers called back and said they didn’t need me. One of the iron laws of talk-show television is that you can’t be sure you’re on until you’re actually on.
Yet I still want to say my piece. People need to know the truth about biotech crops--and much of what they heard from Dr. Oz was false.
I’ve been farming in Iowa for four decades, and I’ve seen agriculture evolve in countless ways. About 15 years ago, I started to grow GM plants. I witnessed the benefits immediately as my yields went up. I grew more food on the same land and did it with fewer chemical sprays. This is sustainable agriculture at work.
The benefits became even clearer this summer, during the drought. If it wasn’t the worst dry spell I’ve endured, it was the second-worst, following the one we suffered in 1988.
That year, I eked out just 93 bushels of corn per acre. This summer, I grew about 200, even though rainfall levels were the same.
The difference between then and now is the minimum tillage methods we use and the GM crop technology we have access to. As plants, they’re stronger, healthier, and just plain more robust. Even in terrible conditions, they produce.
If we’re going to feed a hungry world, we need crops like these--not merely for farmers like me, but for growers in the developing world.
Best of all, GM foods are completely safe. They’ve been tested and retested, winning endorsements from groups as diverse as the American Medical Association and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Only cranks refuse to recognize this overwhelming consensus. Yet one of Dr. Oz’s guests talked like a conspiracy theorist, insulting the conclusions of the AMA and UNFAO as "tobacco science" and warning of "the cover-up."
Dr. Oz and other anti-biotech crusaders recently have tried to tout a European study that says GM foods cause cancer in rats. Yet they always fail to mention that mainstream scientists have debunked this study thoroughly.  Just this week, the High Court of Biotechnology which advises the French Government said the study is flawed.
Now that’s a cover-up worthy of the Wizard of Oz.
The real agenda of Dr. Oz’s show on biotech food was political. It aimed to promote California’s Prop. 37, a poorly written initiative that threatens to raise grocery-store prices, depress innovation, and pad the pockets of trial lawyers.
Upon pulling back the curtain, we discover that Dr. Oz is no wizard. He’s a charlatan.
Tim Burrack raises corn, soybeans and pork on a NE Iowa family farm.  He volunteers as a Board Member of Truth About Trade and Technology.


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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

Ric Ohge - Belmond, IA
If you look at this, but don't follow the Links and track down the Science, disputing the Science would be somewhat disingenuous:​
12:38 PM Nov 1st
Ric Ohge - Belmond, IA
As a Professor Emeritus and Farmer, I would hope you would be leading the charge to start real testing of this Technology. A little skepticism with Dr Oz isn't a problem. While I'm glad to see someone from the MSM weigh in on this issue, he tends to raise more questions than he can supply answers for, which does neither side of this fractious issue any service. The average Voter or Farmer isn't a Bio-technologist, so they NEED to rely on the "Voice of Experience", like you, to lead the way through this infighting. The real problem I raise questions about the existing technology is it's simply out-dated, as it was based on decades old understandings, conventional wisdom and science. We now know: (1) There is no "junk" DNA or RNA-shouldn't we find out what the rest of it does before we try to manipulate it's function, particularly in the light of a growing understanding that the processes in Cells, as they are in the rest of the universe, are happening on a Quantum scale? (2) Even Nanotechnology is evolving. We've now discovered that the SHAPE of a particle dictates function as well as it's inherent properties. (3) A recent experiment involving the bombardment of a strain of DNA with ions, showed that once the DNA lattice was removed, the remaining ions remained in the shape of the DNA Protein chain. (4) We can now SEE particles on a sub-atomic scale. Cern's Great Hadron Collider, which had previously isolated the Higgs-Boson Particle, has, based on that discovery, found another unexpected new particle associated with it. Insights from Science and Technology are emerging on an accelerated scale. Biotechnology IS probably an important and needed direction to move into. But with all the emerging problems, proven and/or needing to be investigated, it would be prudent for the companies like Monsanto to "mend their fences with their adversaries", get "down and dirty" once again with America's Farmers, and head back to the lab using the newest techniques, ideas and understandings to create the next generation of Bio-Tech that comes, not only with a Patent, but with full assurances it will do what we want it to without the "side effects". Maybe as importantly, at this strategic moment in History, the "Petro-Dollar" is on the skids. If we could embrace ALL "flavors" of Farming in America, once again, and make it the Economic Juggernaut it could be, it's possible we could see a "Commodity Dollar" arise to replace it, thus securing America's place Global Leadership once and for all. Such a move would eliminate such issues as Prop 37, as the public trust would be assured and issues about "Food Safety" would be simple, once again.
11:25 AM Oct 26th

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