The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Don't Eat Soil

The anti-GMO blogosphere is alight with the most lazy case of scientific fraud I've ever seen.

This started in March when Zen Honeycutt at Moms Across America made this blog post. She claimed to have a "stunning report" demonstrating a nutritional difference between GMO and non-GMO corn, and that:
These are exactly the deficiencies in a human being that lead to susceptibility to sickness, disorders and cancer.
This bizarre claim is backed up by the (false) explanation that:
Glyphosate draws out the vital nutrients of living things.
The post also claims that:
Formaldehyde showed to be toxic in ingestion to animals. This corn has 200X that!
Scary, right? Well, turns out, this "stunning report" was published in an advertisement produced by ProfitPro® to peddle their ManurePlus™ product. They were using false advertising to scare farmers into signing up for their program.

How do I know the data in this ad is false?
  1. It has nothing to do with the nutritional contents of corn! The analysis compares soil samples from two adjacent fields. See footnote 1 on the original document, posted by Zen Honeycutt.
  2. Not convinced by #1? The percent "Organic matter" for both GMO and non-GMO corn is under 3%. Whatever they are measuring, it isn't the body of a plant, which is, by definition, 100% organic matter! Clearly, this table is taken from a soil report.
  3. The GMO numbers have been tampered with by blindly lowering all the numbers. The (unintentional) result is that some quantities, which represent the percent value of something called Base Saturation, don't add up to 100%. This is undeniable proof of forgery.
  4. The report measures "Anaerobic biology" in parts per million (ppm), which makes no sense. Anaerobic organisms are identified by growing them in liquid culture. There is no method for measuring the mass fraction of living Anaerobic organisms in a soil sample. This line was obviously added by someone who did not pass High School chemistry (or biology).
  5. The comically low Cation Exchange Capacity has clearly been lowered to make the GMO soil appear impoverished. The fraudster was so lazy, they used the value 3 meq per 100g, a value typical of sand. Farmers don't grow corn in sand.
  6. The report boasts an impossible formaldehyde concentration of 200 ppm in the GMO soil. Formaldehyde does not accumulate alkaline soil, because it is broken down by the Cannizzaro reaction. The report shows the GMO pH to be 7.5 (alkaline), which is incompatible with such a huge amount of formaldehyde.
  7. The lazy hoaxer was not feeling particularly creative when faking the "Available Energy" of GMO corn at 100 ┬ÁS, which is precisely the recommended minimum value.
  8. Only one of the numbers has three significant digits. There are no error bars. Real science doesn't look like this. It's a fake!

GMO corn has the same nutritional value as non-GMO corn. Glyphosate does not draw out vital nutrients. There is no formaldehyde in GMO corn.

Zen Honeycutt was fooled. ProfitPro sells cow shit with bullshit. GMO corn is not going to hurt you.

But eating farm soil might hurt you. Don't eat soil.


  1. Thanks for making me aware of this dis-info. I added your info to the post.

    1. Hello We are Anonymous DFW

      seems we have the same motivation, exposing Zen Honeycutt. Please look at all our evidence and help us join in the fight. The rabbit hole goes deep on this one.

      go to

      Read>>> MAA and Anonymous, Zen and Anonymous,
      Zen Honeycutt, Bio-Rad, Connecting the dots, Hypocrisy.

      This is why we question Zen Honeycutt

      Guys truth be told we fight for our rights and when zen refused to honor all our rights we fought back, for you. We found her husband was attached to bio-rad, which not only sold but worked on the genetic modification of the seeds, from there we noticed her speeches about pandas virus (her claim is its caused by gmo's) and wouldn't you know bio-rad the same company zen honeycutts husband, Todd honeycutt works for is also involved in throat cultures for the pandas virus. You wonder why we fight the opposition, she has a husband close to monsanto and the same virus she is promoting because of gmo's has her husband company bio-rad attached. We have more to uncover so stay tuned..

      Contact us at:


  2. It is a report, not a scientific study, a test run by farmers looking for corn without glyphosate in it, which is more than the Monsanto has done. If you contest it, ask Monsanto to publish their own findings. WHY do you think they had the EPA raise the level of glyphosate from 6.6 to 13 ppm ( exactly what is in this report) just months before this was posted? Why do you thin kthey got the "Monsanto Protection Act" pushed through so they couldn't be sued from harm? I get you want facts...but tell people that a test some farmes did is a lie only hurts people's stand for their health. Mom always says " It's better to be safe than sorry!' We choose safe. Go ahead and eat toxic corn if you want be we kindly ask you not to say other people who post things that disagree with your opinion as liars or fools. I don't think your mother would approve of that!

    1. Zen Honeycutt, They have published their own findings Zen. They have frequently, and the difference is they actually publish their results.

      I would love a copy of this report as none of us have any idea how this study was conducted.

      You outright lied. This doesn't show that GMO corn is toxic, and for that matter, the publishers should be held for libel for literally making shit UP.

    2. Zen, I never accused you, yourself, of being a lair. Rather, you've been lied to by the likes of Howard Vlieger. I don't blame you for that.

      Still, you are the most precious and grandiose of fools. Despite glaring evidence, you insist that this "report" (I never called it a "study") is about corn.

      It's not about corn. It's about soil and fertilizer. It implies nothing about the nutrition or toxicitiy of GMO corn. That's not my opinion. That's a fact.

      As for the EPA, they have not changed the glyphosate tolerance for corn grain since 2002. It is still only 1 ppm! I don't know where you got the number 6.6 from.


      P.S.: My mom "liked" this post on Facebook, so there.

    3. Incidentally, I have no problem with you using the precautionary principle, and avoiding corn. That's your prerogative. It can also be a healthy choice, if you replace corn (high in starch) with leafy greens! :)

      However, so long as your inaccurate words continue to frighten and mislead my loved ones, you not hear the end of me. I will continue to dispel ignorance with careful research.

      That's kind of my thing!

  3. I've been talking with a representative of ProfitPro, who insists this is "an analysis of the corn, itself, and not the soil."

    They say that "the analysis was conducted by an independent, outsourced major food company at the request of one of our growers".

    Looks like they were tricked by this lazy fake, too!

    Hopefully, they will do the right thing, remove the content from their website, and offer an explanation for the retraction.

  4. FYI, the 'advertisement' link above is a 404. However, at the ProfitPro website [ ] is this statement, fwiw:

    ProfitPro GMO Disclaimer

    The study “2012 Nutritional Analysis – Comparison of GMO Corn versus Non-GMO Corn” was an analysis of corn itself and not the soil. The analysis was conducted by an independent, outsourced, major food company at the request of one of our growers, and the results were then provided to that grower, who, in turn, made available a copy of the analysis to ProfitPro. The food company purchased the corn from the grower at a substantial premium over market because of the quality of his non-GMO corn.

    This information was intended for our customers only.

    ProfitPro did not give permission for any other web site to use or publish the study.
    Additional side-by-side studies will be conducted this coming year.

    1. Thanks for the update, Margaret!

      I find it baffling that they're sticking to their story that the analysis was performed on corn, not soil. Since when does organic corn have less than 3% organic matter, and only 60 ppm Carbon? Bet that corn tastes like... dirt.

      Not to mention that Cation Exchange Capacity, ERGS, Brix, and Base Saturation are all tests performed on soil.

  5. "Independent, outsourced, major food company"...I'm sorry--what?

    Just give the name. I'd love to know which laboratory/company is willing to put their name next to these results. If they're not willing to put their name next to it, they have no business publishing it/giving it out.

    The laboratory won't come forward, ProfitPro won't name them, and Zen Honeycutt scours the internet for every blog that's covering this event and comments to defend this stupid report. She has the nerve to come and comment on other people's websites, but REMOVES OTHER PEOPLE'S POSTS FROM HER OWN WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGES.

    Shameless hypocrite.

  6. This is a great synopsis. Thanks! This is a soil sample. 1% Brix? 3% organic matter? You nailed it.

    The other day I left a note on a website's comments and offered to pay to replicate the results. I was contacted by Dr Maewan Ho, a person with quite an anti-GMO background. She has agreed to repeat these trials. Apparently Vlieger and Huber are on board too.

    With the help of maize scientists we have designed an experiment. In my proposal, samples will be collected and randomized, then sent to at least two analytical labs. ALL statistical treatments, methods, etc will be finalized up front. ALL of the people involved must agree to be authors on the publication.

    We need to move on this because it is corn season... I'm waiting for them to report to me the procedures used and the corn hybrid types. We can't go forward until we have this.

    I'm still not sure how to measure "Anaerobic biology" in corn kernels.

    I'm planning to pay for this personally. This is a money-where-your-mouth-is moment.

    And Zen Honeycutt... I have strong opinions about her. I dared to speak on her website as a public academic scientist, explaining mechanisms and biological concentrations of these materials.

    She deleted my comments and shut down discussion. The only thing that gets in the way of her insane, lying, fear-mongering agenda are facts.

    1. Hey Kevin, Sorry I'm so late to this discussion. I'm impressed that you heard from Mae Won Ho - she has been a kind of science "bigfoot" to me as I search for anything she has ever published that makes her an expert. I started doing plant molecular biology research in 1976 and, for a while, was aware of everyone on the planet who published in that field and I had never heard of her. Have you made any progress on your quest for some data? I'd love to volunteer to work as a tech on the project at my own expense - are you anywhere near Missouri? I have to admit that the table posted in the "Moms against Monsanto" blog looked very impressive. The table,I mean, not the data. The data look impossible, even for a soil test frankly. The scarce elements on the GMO side, if it were soil, would not be capable of supporting anything besides lichen growth. Good luck in getting the corn to work with.

  7. I have recently engaged in the GMO debate. People have very odd views of toxicity and what it actually means to humans. I often ask people that if you discovered that although eating GMOs was actually toxic but a thousand times less damaging than drinking alcohol, would they consider the cost savings of buying GMO food worth it?

    Anyways I find it interesting that as evil as Monsanto apparently is, they are pretty transparent about everything, even the things people don't like. However, let me call them 'big organic', seem to be much more reluctant of doing real studies or having studies done that they can misrepresent such as the one study that was testing the affect of round-up traces on GMO food and not GMO food directly.

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  9. Here's a little post-mordem on this whole situation. I posted something about the data being fake on Mae-Wan Ho's website. I also posted that I'd personally pay to replicate the experiment if done correctly. They were all for it... until we talked about details, independent replicates and authorship...

    One of the Marching Moms even admitted that the data were probably not real but they didn't care. Nice.

    If you look around the web the bogus data that Zen Honeycutt and other promote still are being used to fuel fears and smear good technology. Very very sad.

  10. I had a similar experience, Kevin!

    I contacted ProfitPro, pointed out some examples from the report that didn't make sense.
    So, they replied with a trimmed down version, simply omitting those lines from the table!

    They still use this slimmed down (but just as phoney) table in their advertising:

    1. That's pretty shocking. What reason do we have to believe the rest of their data?

    2. None, whatsoever! The rest of the data is also obviously from soil.

      Here's what's in the organic (non-GMO) corn: Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and sulfur, each less than 114 ppm. Wow, sounds like that organic corn is nutritionally dead! It's also got over 6,000 ppm calcium, so, it must be pretty crunchy. Kind of like.... soil?