Reality-Check
October 10, 2014
Testbiotech, “super-bugs” and the anti-GMO activist lie hype machine

Testbiotech, a particularly social-media savvy activist organization run by a former Greenpeace operative, shocked the world recently with yet another of its alarmist missives: MONSANTO WARNING ON NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GROWING ITS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SOYBEAN “INTACTA”. Yes, they put the headline in all capital letters, presumably for greater scare effect.

Testbiotech claims breathlessly that Brazilian scientists, in collaboration with Monsanto employees, discovered that certain pests would “develop faster and live longer” if their larvae snacked on Monsanto’s new Intacta soybeans, which are specifically developed to resist said pests.

Their press release was picked up not just by the usual activist lie hype sites but also by usually respectable media including Germany’s Handelsblatt (which sadly didn’t bother to call and ask us for a comment).

The problem with this release, as with so much of what Testbiotech spouts out, is that it isn’t true.

There is no evidence that certain pests develop faster or live longer if they feed off Intacta soybean plants.  In fact, all available evidence suggests just the opposite.  The results noted by the authors are most likely caused by differences in the background genetics of the conventional and Intacta varieties of soybean they used for their study.

Monsanto scientists did review a previous version of the paper that Testbiotech cites — but that paper did not contain the statement about Intacta which they claim that Monsanto employees co-authored.

 

 

 

Comments

    Jack
    |
    October 14, 2014
    You criticise this blog for putting their headline in capitals for a 'scare' effect, which I agree is a stupid technique appealing to the readers of lowest intelligence. Yet all of your headlines are in capitals. Go figure.
    Reply
    Brandon Mitchener
    |
    October 14, 2014
    Jack, Good catch. In fact we saw Testbiotech's missive in the form of a press release, not a blog post. As you note, our own blog is programmed to automatically convert all titles into capital letters for consistency's sake. We don't do that in our press releases. In any case we wouldn't have written a blog post just about Testbiotech's use of capitalization. It's the content that is more disturbing.
    Reply

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