Author and GMO critic Steve Druker to speak in Asheville on Oct. 5

Attorney Steven Druker‘s 2015 book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, has been recognized as an important addition to the conversation surrounding genetically modified organisms. In 2017, Druker received the Luxembourg Prize for Environmental Peace.

Druker will speak in Asheville on Thursday, Oct. 5, 7-9 p.m., at Kenilworth Presbyterian Church, 123 Kenilworth Road. The title of Druker’s talk is “How the Health Risks of GMOs Have Been Systematically Misrepresented: An Assessment from the Perspectives of Both Biological Science and Computer Science.” The event is free; GMO-free chips and hummus donated by ROOTS Hummus will be served. A question and answer forum will follow the presentation.


From the Amazon page for Altered Genes, Twisted Truth:

Steven M. Druker is a public interest attorney who, as executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, initiated a lawsuit that forced the FDA to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods. This revealed that politically appointed administrators had covered up the warnings of their own scientists about the unusual risks of these foods and then allowed them to be marketed illegally. In organizing the suit, he assembled an unprecedented coalition of eminent scientists and religious leaders to stand with his organization as co-plaintiffs – the first time scientists had sued a federal administrative agency on the grounds that one of its policies is scientifically unsound.

He is a prominent commentator on the risks of GE foods and has served on the food safety panels at conferences held by the National Research Council and the FDA, has given lectures at numerous universities (including the Biological Laboratories at Harvard), and has met with government officials throughout the world, including the heads of food safety for France, Ireland, and Australia. In 1998, he was invited to the White House Executive Offices to discuss risks of GE crops with a task force of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. His articles on GE food have appeared in several respected publications, including The Congressional Quarterly Researcher, The Parliament Magazine, and The Financial Times. He earned his B.A. in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley (with high honors that included a special award for “Outstanding Accomplishment”) and received his Juris Doctor from the same institution (and was elected to both the Law Review and the legal honor society). in 2017 Steven was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize for Environmental Peace.

Background information on Steven Druker


About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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8 thoughts on “Author and GMO critic Steve Druker to speak in Asheville on Oct. 5

  1. Robert Howd

    quote from GMO Answers: “Druker has no formal scientific training and he presents no verifiable evidence. Druker, an anti-GMO activist attorney long affiliated with the mystic-organic food promoting and yogic-flying Maharishi movement, has an extensive history of promoting various conspiracy claims involving GMOs and alleged corporate, government and multinational institution treachery to poison the public through nefarious schemes to dupe the global scientific and medical communities into endorsing biotech foods as safe. He has stated his claims are based on guidance received through prayer, vedic science and Maharishi Vedic Psychology ( Alexander et al. 1990 ) which led him to form the Alliance for Bio-integrity in 1996 and to file suit with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking a ban on GMOs. Like co-conspiracy theorist Jeffrey Smith, Druker’s books are self-published and without any recognized scientific or peer review for accuracy of claims.”

      • Robert Howd

        “We Gotta” is an anonymous troll, specializing in accusations against scientists who favor modern agricultural technology. I’m a retired government risk assessor, with over 40 years of toxicology experience, much of it in food-related matters. I have never worked for a chemical or agricultural company, nor been paid to provide my opinions on GMO products.

    • Steven Druker

      The paragraph from GMO Answers that Robert Howd has posted contains several outright falsehoods, and it is defamatory. This is obvious from the following considerations.

      1. The assertion that my book presents “no verifiable evidence” is not merely bogus but ridiculous. In fact, the book is replete with verifiable evidence (much of it from the FDA’s own files, reports from scientific institutions such as the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada, and papers published in scientific journals); and many experts have attested its scientific and factual solidity. These experts were on the review team and carefully read the chapters to assure accuracy, which also refutes the claim that there was no scientific review of the book. For instance, David Schubert, a Professor and laboratory director at the prestigious Salk Institute of Biological Studies, has extolled the book as “incisive, insightful, and truly outstanding” ─ and as “well-reasoned and scientifically solid.” Joe Cummins, a Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario, has called it “a landmark” that “should be required reading in every university biology course.” Belinda Martineau, a molecular biologist who co-developed the first commercialized genetically engineered whole food has described it as “thorough, logical and thought-provoking” and declared that she “strongly” recommends it. The eminent biochemist and molecular biologist Stephen Naylor, who served as a professor at the Mayo Clinic for ten years, has commended it as “meticulously documented.” And John Ikerd, a Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, has called it a “great book” and stated: “The evidence is comprehensive and irrefutable; the reasoning is clear and compelling.”
      Moreover, although my book decisively documents numerous cases in which government agencies and scientist-promoters of GMOs have twisted the truth, the defamatory statement from GMO Answers fails to point out even one specific instance in which my book has done so.

      2. The accusation that I’ve been promoting “conspiracy claims” is also bogus. In fact, the word “conspiracy” does not appear in my book even once ─ nor does the word “conspire.” Although I do demonstrate that the biotech industry, a large number of scientists and scientific institutions, and several government agencies around the world have systematically misrepresented the facts in order to advance the GE food venture, I do not attempt to establish conspiratorial ties among the various actors and entities. As far as I’m concerned, establishing that the facts have been seriously misrepresented is primary ─ and more than sufficient ─ and it’s of far less importance to try to prove that it has occurred through an intricate web of conspiracy. Where there is obvious evidence of industry influence on government, I have reported it, but I have not made this phenomenon a major focus.
      Furthermore, contrary to the accusation by GMO Answers, I have not alleged that governments and corporations have engaged in “treachery to poison the public.” But I hereby assert that the authors of that accusation are clearly intent on poisoning people’s minds about me and my book ─ and have employed falsehoods in order to do so.
      By falsely branding me a conspiracy theorist, the propagandists at GMO Answers are apparently trying to deflect attention from the unpleasant realities that my book exposes.

      3. The allegation about the mystical sources of the information conveyed by my book, articles, and lectures on GMOs is also outlandish. Contrary to that allegation, I have never stated that the information was based on guidance received through prayer, vedic science, or vedic psychology. In actuality, the information is based upon extensive research of the facts, and my book provides more than 80 pages of end notes with references to the sources that back my statements up. As noted in #1 above, many scientists have attested the factual solidity of my book, and the eminent molecular biologist Stephen Naylor has commended it as “meticulously documented.”
      Thus, there is nothing mystical contained in my book (or my articles and lectures on GMOs), but it is mystifying how people who purport to possess a scientific attitude could make such an absurd allegation.
      In light of the above facts, it’s evident that Robert Howd has not actually read my book and is carelessly reproducing a defamatory piece of misinformation. I challenge him to read the book and be confronted by the compelling facts of which he is apparently still ignorant. I also challenge him to try to find any assertions of fact that he can refute with solid evidence (rather than with some unsubstantiated claim by one or another GMO proponent) and to publicly list the false statements along with the evidence that he claims refutes them. To clarify, I am referring to simple assertions about concrete facts that can be decisively falsified by solid evidence. I am not referring to the broader conclusions that I draw from the primary facts.
      Further, before he starts reading the book, I challenge him to read the article I wrote that demonstrates, using the UK’s Royal Society as a case study, how the key facts about GMOs are routinely misrepresented by their proponents. It’s available on the website of Independent Science News:
      Because Howd has been an accomplice in unjustly besmirching my reputation, he owes it to me either to acknowledge that the article is factually sound or else provide a list of any inaccurate assertions of fact he can find, with a reference to the evidence that decisively refutes the assertion. (Again, I am referring to simple assertions about concrete facts that can be decisively falsified by solid evidence.)
      He should post his response to this second challenge before I deliver my talk in Asheville on October 4th. He can then attempt to meet the more extensive challenge regarding the book after that. If he has not provided his response by November 30th, it can be reasonably assumed that he has failed to find any inaccuracies ─ or has shied away from confronting the facts the book conveys.

      • Robert Howd

        It seems to me that Stephen Druker should address his grievances against the GMO Answers description of his book and personal credentials to that website. As to any rebuttal of mine to his challenge to me above, I’d just like to ask, if Druker’s charges of fraud by FDA and food companies are so obvious, as he claims, why have his lawsuits not been more productive? It would be useful, perhaps, to read the court’s decision in the case of Alliance for Bio-Integrity v. Shalala, Sept. 29, 2000, which did not substantiate the plaintiff’s claims. In addition, it’s worth noting that one of the plaintiff’s major claims was that marketing of GMO foods (without labeling) violated his religion, so Druker’s claim above that religion is not an issue in his arguments against GMO foods is contradicted by his own actions.

    • Steven Druker

      The article that Robert Wager cites does not mention me or my book, nor does it refute any of the book’s basic points ─ even though he claims it refutes “falsehoods” that my book “pushes.” However, when Wager and I faced off on an Ontario public TV program in January 2016, it was he who issued assertions that were either false or significantly misleading. In contrast, I presented evidence-based reasons for regarding GE foods as abnormally risky and the current regulatory system as deficient; and he was unable to refute my statements with any solid evidence. An article I wrote demonstrating the multiple mistakes he made, titled “Defending GMOs by Distorting the Facts,” is posted here:
      The article also contains a link for viewing the program.

      Although Wager has apparently not yet read my book but nonetheless alleges that it pushes “falsehoods,” I issue him the same challenges I issued to Robert Dowd at the end of my refutation of the misinformation that he posted. Robert, it’s high time that you face the actual facts and deal with them in an earnest and genuinely scientific manner. Try to refute my articles and my book in the same rigorous manner that they have refuted the key claims of the GMO proponents ─ and the erroneous claims you made during our televised exchange. And if you cannot do it, then openly acknowledge the fact and admit that you were wrong in asserting that my book pushes falsehoods.

  2. Robert Howd

    So, Steven Druker must have spoken. Did anyone go? Has anyone got an opinion about the utility or veracity of his remarks?

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