This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.
There was a brief glimmer of hope that Dr. Oz had changed. In response to criticism that received national attention, the dangerous, money-grubbing quack who makes a mockery of medical science and pollutes our national airwaves issued a press release stating that he has hired Dr. Michael Crupain, who will be “responsible for researching and vetting scripts, evaluating expert guests, ordering and editing medical animations and overseeing liaisons with the show’s Medical Advisory Board. He will also lead efforts to enhance the show’s ongoing dialogue with the medical community.”
That job description is essentially for a fact-checker. Finally, facts matter to Dr. Oz. Right?
Well, no. Dr. Michael Crupain, as it turns out, is an anti-GMO activist. And he has made a name for himself at Consumer Reports by spreading misinformation about agriculture and biotechnology.
In 2011, he penned this diatribe against GMOs that is one untruthful statement after another. To support his claims, he relies on the “research” of junk science organizations, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and other organic food advocacy groups. Thus, he ends up regurgitating the same myths that organic foodies use to support their very expensive, albeit science-free, lifestyles.
For instance, Dr. Crupain says that GMOs don’t improve yields. That is wrong; they do. (A meta-analysis in PLoS ONE suggests crop yields are up 22%.)
He says that GMOs aren’t good for farmers. That is wrong; they are. (Farmers willingly and eagerly buy GMOs because their profits skyrocket. The same meta-analysis concludes that profits are up 68%.)
He says that GMOs increase the use of pesticides. According to some research, that is true, but it is incredibly misleading. The term “pesticides” consists of both herbicides (which are relatively harmless) and insecticides (which are relatively toxic). While overall pesticide use is up in the U.S., the use of toxic insecticides is down. And that’s a big win for the environment. (The PLoS ONE meta-analysis had contradictory data; it concluded that overall global pesticide use was down 37%.)
In fact, a separate, massive review in the journal Critical Review of Biotechnology, which examined all aspects of GMOs, concluded that the technology posed no threat to human health or the environment.
When Dr. Crupain is not attacking biotech, he is engaging in chemophobia. For an article in Consumer Reports, Dr. Crupain said, “We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis.” Oh no, not chemicals! (Dihydrogen monoxide and ascorbic acid, you’re on notice.)
Unfortunately, it appears as if Dr. Oz’s “fact-checker” is just a clone. We could call him Mini-Oz.
Source: Klümper W, Qaim M (2014) A Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops. PLoS ONE 9(11): e111629. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111629