Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » So what is up with GMOs?

   
Author Topic: So what is up with GMOs?
lem
Member
Member # 6914

 - posted      Profile for lem           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Someone close to me is getting super involved in this whole GMO craze. She stopped eating GMO foods and is wanting me to sign a petition requesting congress to enact a law to force labeling of GMO foods.

In the petition:

quote:
Did you know that genetically engineered foods are unlabeled, inadequately tested, and most Americans are eating them every day?

Did you know that they have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions in people; to sickness, sterility and fatalities in livestock; and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals?

And did you know that 91% of Americans support labeling of genetically engineered foods?

We have a right to know what's in our food.

The last time I thought about anything remotely similar to this was an episode of Penn & Teller's BS.

My first two links I clicked on to learn more are here...
quote:
Last month’s study out of France that said genetically modified corn and a related herbicide caused organ damage, tumors, and early death among rats broke too many rules and should be dismissed as “of insufficient scientific quality,” the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says.
quote:
And now in a major push-back against the study out of the University of Caen, EFSA says there are just too many shortcomings to consider the work to be scientifically sound.
and here.


Here is a quote of Kucinich found at the end of the article:
quote:
In 1992 the Food and Drug Administration decided that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the functional equivalent of conventional foods. They arrived at this decision without testing GMOs for allergenicity, toxicity, anti-biotic resistance and functional characteristics. As a result hundreds of millions of acres of GMO crops were planted in America without the knowledge or consent of the American people: no safety testing and no long term health studies.

The FDA has received over a million comments from citizens demanding labeling of GMOs. Ninety percent of Americans agree. So, why no labeling? I’ll give you one reason: The influence and the corruption of the political process by Monsanto. Monsanto has been a prime mover in GMO technology, a multi-million dollar GMO lobby here and a major political contributor.

There is a chance that Monsanto’s grip will be broken in California where a GMO labeling initiative is on the ballot. And here in Congress, my legislation HR 3553 will provide for a national labeling law. Americans have a right to know if their food is genetically engineered. It’s time for labeling and for people to know how their food is being produced.

How do the good people of Hatrack feel about GMO foods? I am really curious about the opinions of the scientists among us and those who follow our food supply.

Thanks.

Posts: 2445 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sure there are GMO foods that are problematic, but there's nothing fundamentally weirder about them than regular food and I think people are overreacting.
Posts: 4105 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
King of Men
Member
Member # 6684

 - posted      Profile for King of Men   Email King of Men         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Everything we eat, up to and including deep-fried babies in green jello, is "genetically modified" by thousands of years of selective breeding. This is just anti-technological hysteria because some modification happens to be done in a lab with a pipette, rather than on a farm with a sledgehammer, as God no doubt intended.
Posts: 10592 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Darth_Mauve
Member
Member # 4709

 - posted      Profile for Darth_Mauve   Email Darth_Mauve         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
GMO foods should be OK for everyone, no different than non-Genetically changed foods.

The science should be with eating GMO foods.

But the science has not been done.

Mainly because those who could do the science don't see an upside in doing the science. At best it will taint the idea of GMO as natural--since it had to be tested. At worst, they will find something wrong with the food, no matter how minor, and that will wreck the whole industry as people panic over it.

Still, I don't see why we shouldn't have foods that were genetically modified labeled as such. Not labeling them makes it appear the companies are trying to hide something, while labeling them leads to a better informed consumer. Besides, once labeled its easier and cheaper for others to do the science.
The big question is which genes will get

Posts: 1862 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
GMO's represent a legitimate issue in terms of agricorp and agricultural regulation, because stuff like terminator seeds is the dumb shortsighted height of idiocy in the name of profit, but the absolute vast majority of anti-GMO fears are rooted in the same sort of scienceophobe mentality that gives us crap like anti-vaccination
Posts: 14152 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stone_Wolf_
Member
Member # 8299

 - posted      Profile for Stone_Wolf_   Email Stone_Wolf_         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was going to comment, but everything I was going say got said.
Posts: 5081 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Everything we eat, up to and including deep-fried babies in green jello, is "genetically modified" by thousands of years of selective breeding. This is just anti-technological hysteria because some modification happens to be done in a lab with a pipette, rather than on a farm with a sledgehammer, as God no doubt intended.

If it weren't probably against the TOS I would make a bot to quote this post every five minutes until we had 1,000 pages filled only with this post.

That's how much I agree with it.

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Darth, what's the historical cutoff for labeling GMOs? How long ago does it need to have been engineered?

Like, do we need to label cows? What about corn? We should probably label corn, right?

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Darth_Mauve
Member
Member # 4709

 - posted      Profile for Darth_Mauve   Email Darth_Mauve         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I understand that the over reaction to the fear that GMO's will create some Frankenstein monster food is not very likely.

Still, the secret to a working market system is a well informed consumer. "Buyer beware" can not work when the buyer is purposefully kept in the dark about what they are buying.

There are two ways to modify genetics. One way is to do it through what we have come to know as "farming" and selective breeding.

The second way is to use science and pick which genes to modify in order to get a desired result.

The fear is that we don't have as great a knowledge of what those genes do as we are led to believe. People are afraid of unexpected consequences. They have occurred in other scientifically proven safe items--Cigarettes, Leaded Gasoline, Cocaine, LSD.

Using the slower breeding programs allows time for most unintended consequences to become visible. (the breeding of higher sugar concentrations in corn has had the unintended consequences of increasing rates of diabetes).

What do we need to label? Food that we digest. Don't label the cows but label the milk, cheese, dairy products and beef products.

Historical cutoffs? I don't see why we need a cut off. But I don't think just labeling something GMO is a good idea. Labeling it with what genes were altered to what genes is my suggested idea.

Posts: 1862 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just so I'm clear, I meant all cows and all corn, since both are the result of extensive genetic modification through selective breeding in the ancient world.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like the idea in your last paragraph though. [Smile]
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Like seriously anti GMO hysteria ranks near to last in valid crises to pay attention to. There's probably better examples, but the whole movement is pressed forth and held by hippie nutters

YO un-gmo selective breeding was responsible for way worse effects on our food, like the blanding and de-vitamanizing of stuff like tomatoes bro

Posts: 14152 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I might want to boycott the terminal seeds and some of those practices because I believe they do harm to farmers. So in that aspect, I would not mind some increased labeling. Not because of health or anything.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rawrain
Member
Member # 12414

 - posted      Profile for Rawrain   Email Rawrain         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, you can look at this in two ways.
1. Genetically Modified foods are potentially dangerous (unlikely, but hey it's a concern)
or
2. GMO food companies abuse the legal system to put farmers who do not use GMO seeds out of business and thus control all food that we eat.

#2 is contrary a serious and real threat, according to law, the companies that manufacture the GMO seeds OWN them all, using this they frequently take farmers who do not use GMO seeds to court and claim they are using their seeds, whether they are or not, the whole point is to drag the legal process on and break the farmers bank.

Remember peeps - hard time explaining myself..

I do believe I watched a documentary about this called "Food Inc." which covered a variety of other interesting things, it has been removed from Netflix it seems, interesting. (this could be the wrong documentary, I watched a lot of them.)

Posts: 461 | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aros
Member
Member # 4873

 - posted      Profile for Aros           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
These are the references to GMO toxicity:

http://www.snopes.com/food/tainted/monsantocorn.asp
http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/overview.html#safe

And then on Wikipedia:
There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops is safe enough to eat.[2][4][28][29] In 2012, the American Association for the Advancement of Science stated "Foods containing ingredients from genetically modified (GM) crops pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques."[30] The American Medical Association, the National Academies of Sciences and the Royal Society of Medicine have stated that no adverse health effects on the human population related to GM food have been reported and/or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.[3][7][8] The European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation 2010 report on GMOs noted that "The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies."[31] A 2004 report by Working Group 1 of the ENTRANSFOOD project, a group of scientists funded by the European Commission to identify prerequisites for introducing agricultural biotechnology products in a way that is largely acceptable to European society,[32] concluded that "the combination of existing test methods provides a sound test-regime to assess the safety of GM crops."[33]

I can't wait until we can grow meat in giant vats without having to kill animals.

Posts: 1204 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Darth, what's the historical cutoff for labeling GMOs? How long ago does it need to have been engineered?
Is this supposed to be a rhetorical question?

Let's say 20 years. Long enough to detect any health issues potentially caused by this.

Honestly such a question sounds like the utterly nonsensical argument "Since there doesn't exist a 'natural' cutoff, all of them being arbitrary to a lesser or greater extent, we shall somehow treat this as an argument against such a labelling existing at all!"

On my part I oppose deceit and dishonesty. It shouldn't be labelled *because* it's unhealthy, it should be labelled because some people are *concerned* it may be unhealthy. To override their objections by *hiding* the fact of the GM nature of the thing is deceit and deception -- no matter whether you believe you are on the right or not.

Companies should just make GM food *more* healthy than average, and then the labelling will be serving as an advertisement.

Posts: 669 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aros
Member
Member # 4873

 - posted      Profile for Aros           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is stupid.

Take Monsanto corn, for example, the source of a lot of the controversy. They swapped out a protein to make it bug resistant. It isn't a NEW protein, after all; it just doesn't naturally exist in the corn. We have tons of studies that show that the protein is safe for humans. What's the problem?

Now, if they start introducing new compounds into the food, and said compounds are untested, there might be a cause for concern.

I think that mouth-breathers and conspiracy theory nutjobs are just worried that eating modified genetic material might cause people to mutate themselves. Or that they might be eating some new, untested compounds. No . . . science doesn't work that way.

Posts: 1204 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
What's the problem?
What's the problem with so labelling them?

The smart people, like you and me, will be enjoying their GM food. And the stupid people, like the "conspiracy theory nutjobs" will be paying heavier prices for their non-GM food.

And everyone will be able to choose.

Posts: 669 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rawrain
Member
Member # 12414

 - posted      Profile for Rawrain   Email Rawrain         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
This is stupid.

Take Monsanto corn, for example, the source of a lot of the controversy. They swapped out a protein to make it bug resistant. It isn't a NEW protein, after all; it just doesn't naturally exist in the corn. We have tons of studies that show that the protein is safe for humans. What's the problem?

Now, if they start introducing new compounds into the food, and said compounds are untested, there might be a cause for concern.

I think that mouth-breathers and conspiracy theory nutjobs are just worried that eating modified genetic material might cause people to mutate themselves. Or that they might be eating some new, untested compounds. No . . . science doesn't work that way.

And because of that simple change, Monsanto owns almost all of the corn that exists in the world, and what little unmodified corn left that exists are being lawfully attacked by Monsanto.

I myself will look past the potential health concerns, but this monopoly I will not stand for.

Posts: 461 | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aros
Member
Member # 4873

 - posted      Profile for Aros           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
They don't own the corn. Farmers are still making money. They're making more money, in fact, or they wouldn't be using the seed. Monsanto is just one of the major providers of seed. If people want to buy their seeds, that's on them. If someone creates a new drug that everyone uses, are they not entitled to a patent?

And how are they lawfully attacking unmodified corn?

Posts: 1204 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rawrain
Member
Member # 12414

 - posted      Profile for Rawrain   Email Rawrain         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
DuPont and Monsanto have the farmers in a form of legal indentured servitude, I am incapable of explaining it, but just because of that doesn't make your argument correct, go find a farmer with a massive plot of land with corn growing on it and ask THEM, about the process.

Winning an argument on a forum doesn't change the fact life is full of monopolies and we have the power as a WHOLE to stop them.

Posts: 461 | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you're incapable of explaining something, that is a persuasive indicator that you do not understand it.

That's okay, by the way. You don't have to understand everything, and it's fine if the plight(?) of American farmers is low on your list of priorities.

But asserting that it's nonetheless true is an irrational approach. Why is it true? Because someone explained it persuasively to you? Not persuasively enough for you to retain any of the information, clearly. That doesn't bode well...

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
He's not incapable of explaining it, he is unable to explain it. Perhaps he says "incapable," as some subtle appeal to authority? I agree with Dan on this: if you can't explain something, you should be more cautious in accepting it.

This is not to say that all things you accept must appeal to your common sense, but you should be able to explain anything in reasonable terms if you believe it to be true.

Posts: 9562 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rawrain:
DuPont and Monsanto have the farmers in a form of legal indentured servitude, I am incapable of explaining it, but just because of that doesn't make your argument correct, go find a farmer with a massive plot of land with corn growing on it and ask THEM, about the process.

Yo we have farmland being managed by monsanto. It's not indentured servitude, they just offer the highest returns and a practical regional monopsony and production lock with all the best equipment and we're soulless sellouts who like fat stacks of cash instead of haplessly anemic cattle farming returns.

half of what you are (probably) saying (if you did understand what you were saying well enough to actually be able to describe it) is probably true about monsanto, they are a gigantic buttlord of a company and they in and of themselves stand as a monumental testament of the folly of expecting industries to regulate themselves for the betterment of all — you might as well say that DeBeers' monopolistic unrestrained capitalism really enhances quality of life for diamond miners and keeps diamond prices efficient For You™ — but if you are going to make an argument against monsanto it has to be a reasoned and informed one. You can't just spit out "indentured servitude," you need to know, in informed terms and with an understanding of agricultural systems, exactly what it is that they are doing, and what about that is the most worth approaching. Terminator genes represent a very excellent example of the perversions of profit motive and something which should not in any way exist, for instance.

Posts: 14152 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rawrain
Member
Member # 12414

 - posted      Profile for Rawrain   Email Rawrain         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The knowledge is there, I'm just incapable of explaining it, I've read lots of details on this, and by lots I mean as much as about 6 hours of rough discussion and documentaries can provide, I just can't pull up my memories on command.. watching me tell most any story of my childhood has solid 5 minute pauses just to grasp at what I had forgotten, ADD sucks. Period.

What knowledge I retain is that Monsanto is a bad company, and by some means they do bad things to farmers who don't cooperate with them by using the court systems.. this much I know and to try and explain more is too much of a headache.

As an added note, corn has little nutritional value, don't waste cash on it... buy broccoli instead :3

Posts: 461 | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Do you appreciate the reasons why someone would call what you say less than reliable if you are unwilling or unable to explain why you are saying it?
Posts: 9562 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok if you say it is an ADD issue, I will take it at face value and not give you crap about it, I can see that being totally understandable. But if you can't express the position, is there any source you have that can express what you're getting at?
Posts: 14152 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My biggest concern with unlabeled GMO ingredients is food allergies. To give an example, say a seed company modifies barley by introducing a wheat protein. Wheat is perfectly safe, people have been eating it for millennia. But a consumer who has a wheat allergy suddenly starts reacting to barley. She doesn't know if she's developed a barley allergy, or if the new reaction is due to the modification. And even if she knows that wheat-modified barley exists, she has no way of being sure to only by barley without the wheat protein, because nothing is labeled.

I think many of the anti-GMO argument are bogus, but I still think it should be labelled, for the small percentage of people for whom it really will matter.

Related anecdote: I used to cook fairly regularly for a friend with a severe pork allergy. Guess what the "natural flavorings" in a major brand of turkey bacon are? Chopped bacon.

Labels matter.

Posts: 9793 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rawrain
Member
Member # 12414

 - posted      Profile for Rawrain   Email Rawrain         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Labels are deliberately misleading for instance,

Partially hydrogenated soybean oil this is done so that MSG is in the food product but isn't on the label. I have little against MSG, unless it's being used to make inferior ingredients taste better.

Even if it was required to adjust the labels accordingly it's only a matter of time before these companies use exploits to put them back into the food,

Posts: 461 | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
An informed consumer, of course, is well aware that "natural flavors" included in a vast array of consumer products contain glutamic acids, which are very similar to MSG. But then, the actually informed consumer understands that glutamic acids are pervasive in nature, and not actually particularly unhealthy or particularly dangerous, except in ridiculously large amounts (5 times the lethal dose of table salt- which is more than a person can physically ingest without a concerted effort).

Nobody wants to find out that parmesan cheese, soy (and soy sauce), mushrooms, tomatoes, oranges, apples, rice, milk and a gazillion other foods contain free glutamate in significant amounts. Because that would spoil the illusion that there is some special sauce in Chinese food that makes you feel crumby, and it isn't just that you've eaten a bunch of salt and sugar instead of a healthy meal.

I find it funny, if maddening, that people obsess over things like MSG (which has no major health downsides), and GMOs, but not over the marketing of sugar-laden foods to children, which are much more seriously pernicious. Why do we pick the most complicated, least actually important issues over the simplest, most important ones?

Posts: 9562 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can explain one of the Monsanto tactics. They sell corn to a farmer. Next door farmer chooses not to buy monsanto corn. While that farmer did not plant any Monsanto corn, the nature of agriculture means that some small portion of the crop will contain Monsanto corn. Genetic testing is extremely sensitive so Monsanto can prove that at least one ear of the corn came from their seeds. So they sue the farmer. Legal battle, small guy versus big company.

Next issue, terminator seeds. Long term, corn has lower profit because you have to buy the seeds every harvest. Short term it is better deal. Yes the farmers make the choice but t is a questionable tactic.

Other general area of concern, monoculture. HAving a large amount of our food from one source is a risk.

Changing standards is another problem. Initial rules for the anti bug corn were well researched and safe. People decided to cut corners and modified the rules. Those modifications are not safe. I am thinking of the buffer zone issues specifically. So, then they notice resistance issues popping up.

Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Ok if you say it is an ADD issue, I will take it at face value and not give you crap about it, I can see that being totally understandable.

It's okay, I'll still give you crap, Rawrain. [Big Grin]

If you want to make excuses to yourself, that's fine. That's your prerogative. But what's the point of discussing it, then? You're not giving us anything to discuss. Just vague meaningless assertions with no arguments to back them up.


quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
My biggest concern with unlabeled GMO ingredients is food allergies. To give an example, say a seed company modifies barley by introducing a wheat protein. Wheat is perfectly safe, people have been eating it for millennia. But a consumer who has a wheat allergy suddenly starts reacting to barley. She doesn't know if she's developed a barley allergy, or if the new reaction is due to the modification. And even if she knows that wheat-modified barley exists, she has no way of being sure to only by barley without the wheat protein, because nothing is labeled.

I think many of the anti-GMO argument are bogus, but I still think it should be labelled, for the small percentage of people for whom it really will matter.

Yeah, this is a reasonable fear. [Smile]

It turns out, GMO companies are also concerned about this. That's why they test their products, and no GMO released has ever been proven to generate allergic reactions based on the spliced plants.

As an example, I read several years ago about a company that spliced brazil nuts into soybeans to improve their nutritional content. They found the soybeans triggered allergic reactions, so they discontinued production.

quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
I can explain one of the Monsanto tactics. They sell corn to a farmer. Next door farmer chooses not to buy monsanto corn. While that farmer did not plant any Monsanto corn, the nature of agriculture means that some small portion of the crop will contain Monsanto corn. Genetic testing is extremely sensitive so Monsanto can prove that at least one ear of the corn came from their seeds. So they sue the farmer. Legal battle, small guy versus big company.

Not exactly, no. There was a high profile case a few years back that was sort of like this... except it took place after the "small guy" had noticed some plants were Roundup Resistant and specifically killed all of his crop but those, then reseeded his field using those crops.

In other words, he realized that he had inadvertently gotten Monsanto seeds and did everything he could to breed them and use them exclusively, without buying them or paying any licensing fees.

There were similar cases, too. But none played out the way you described here. And in cases where they found someone using the seeds totally unknowingly and by accident (like a sharecropper) they dropped charges.

Monsanto isn't actually that litigious. A dozen or two suits a year, according to NPR. If they sued every farmer who got a few accidental seeds, it would be a lot more than that.

They can be aggressive about defending their patent, the same as Apple and any other big, innovative company that makes most of its money off its patents. But they're not actually monsters.

quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:

Next issue, terminator seeds. Long term, corn has lower profit because you have to buy the seeds every harvest. Short term it is better deal. Yes the farmers make the choice but t is a questionable tactic.

As an aside, Monsanto doesn't actually do "terminator" seeds.

But regardless, terminator seeds aren't the devil, either. They're a reasonable way to protect the IP of the seeds themselves. And they completely prevent the GM bugaboo of the 80s/90s, which was GM seeds overwhelming all other crops, obliterating all biodiversity, and running rampant.

Can't happen with terminator seeds. I haven't heard much about that one lately, though.

quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:

Other general area of concern, monoculture. HAving a large amount of our food from one source is a risk.

Monoculture is a risk regardless of GM products. And with GM products, which can be designed to be resistant to disease and other problems, monoculture is fundamentally less risky, isn't it?
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
On monoculture- I am uncomfortable with the huge percentage of our food that's reliant on corn in general. And that is just reliance on one species. So, no that is not just a concern with gmo for me but an overall concern. However, being designed to be resistant does not reassure me because those plants are also interacting with the environment and the environment is evolving to attack those plants. They are coevolving. Which is why I was concerned to read that they were changing the rules on things like barrier areas and percent lethality without providing new research to show the lower levels were acceptable. The initial rules seemed well researched and reasonable. The new practices seem sloppy and inefficient to me.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RivalOfTheRose
Member
Member # 11535

 - posted      Profile for RivalOfTheRose           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.amazon.com/Denialism-Irrational-Thinking-Scientific-Threatens/dp/B003JTHRFU/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355237109&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=denialsm

Talks about GMO's, medicine, autism/vaccines, debunking irrational popular thinking using scientific evidence. A good quick read.

Posts: 398 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm amused to see how many contradictory positions can be held by the same supporters of the GM companies.

First, it was supposedly that *genetical modification* (through selective breeding) has been commonplace since centuries, so why start labelling it *now*?

But at the same time, genetical modification is such a unique special process, that these companies supposedly deserve to have *patents* on the particular genetical modifications when there never existed any patents for the results of all that "selective breeding".

So what isn't worthy of a mere *label*, is supposedly worthy of a whole *patent*.

Or to put it in a different context that makes the whole travesty make sense: mega-corporations have the supposed right not just to know who uses their creations but to demand money from them -- mere *consumers* don't have the right to that knowledge, they must surrender their money blindfolded.

Crooks and villians, conspirators and hypocrites. And oh how the supposed progressives dance to the tune of the corn industry, instead of caring a tiny bit about *consumer rights*.

Posts: 669 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
I'm amused to see how many contradictory positions can be held by the same supporters of the GM companies.

First, it was supposedly that *genetical modification* (through selective breeding) has been commonplace since centuries, so why start labelling it *now*?

But at the same time, genetical modification is such a unique special process, that these companies supposedly deserve to have *patents* on the particular genetical modifications when there never existed any patents for the results of all that "selective breeding".

So what isn't worthy of a mere *label*, is supposedly worthy of a whole *patent*.

Or to put it in a different context that makes the whole travesty make sense: mega-corporations have the supposed right not just to know who uses their creations but to demand money from them -- mere *consumers* don't have the right to that knowledge, they must surrender their money blindfolded.

Crooks and villians, conspirators and hypocrites. And oh how the supposed progressives dance to the tune of the corn industry, instead of caring a tiny bit about *consumer rights*.

Did you just call me a progressive?

I love progress, but I'm definitely not a progressive.

Anyway, this supposed contradiction of yours doesn't make much sense. For one thing, the patents are on the seeds, which are indeed "labeled" when farmers buy them. But the yields, the food that ends up on your table, isn't patented in any meaningful way. So there's no contradiction if they aren't labeled. Sorry.

On top of that, my objection to, say, the terrible attempt in my home state to "label" GMOs involved added regulations, stupid exceptions, even stupider anti-technology-minded rules (like, it would have forbidden marketing GMO foods as "natural," [Roll Eyes] ), and lots of potential for litigation (against farmers, by the way, not just the big scary eeeevil corporations.)

This isn't unusual. Calls to label GMOs tend to go hand in hand with ignorant, anti-technology hysteria. So most proposals to this effect are pretty poorly thought out.

I'm not inherently opposed to labeling GMOs as such, if it were done in a less obnoxious, expensive and paternalistic way.

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
For one thing, the patents are on the seeds,
No, the patents are on the "genetic traits". There are therefore infringing plants according to Monsanto.

Effectively there's a very strong focus on saying "mine, mine, MINE" and insisting on the importance of knowing it's GM until it reaches the consumer upon which point there's seemingly no longer any interest in so proclaiming it.

quote:
Calls to label GMOs tend to go hand in hand with ignorant, anti-technology hysteria.
Abolitionism went hand-in-hand with ignorant Christianity but that doesn't meant abolitionists weren't right.

Ignorance is battled with knowledge - which means clear and unambiguous labelling.

Attempt to sneak around and deceive people helps give *cause* to anti-technology hysteria.

[ December 11, 2012, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

Posts: 669 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PSI Teleport
Member
Member # 5545

 - posted      Profile for PSI Teleport   Email PSI Teleport         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My experience with GMOs so far is this:

Liberals think dumb Christians hate GMOs because they aren't "natural." (We're playing God with our food.)

Christian right-wingers think dumb liberals hate them because they aren't "natural." (We're effing with nature.)

Who actually gets up in arms about GMOs? In my experience, it's random guys in the grocery store who want an excuse to start a conversation with a girl and think insulting her shopping cart contents is a smart way to do that.

In other words, dumb people of all political and religious worldviews.

Posts: 6327 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Aris, I noticed the edit, and I respect you for your choice. [Smile]

I agree that labeling is a good idea in broad terms. But I'm wary of the specific implementation attempts made so far.

Also, if you're implying that resistance to labeling attempts is what gave rise to hysterical labeling attempts... Yeah, that looks a little circular, but more importantly it doesn't jive with history.

Anti-technology, anti-prosperity, anti-science attitudes have been around way longer than GMO companies have, after all.

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I agree that labeling is a good idea in broad terms. But I'm wary of the specific implementation attempts made so far.

Agree completely.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aris Katsaris
Member
Member # 4596

 - posted      Profile for Aris Katsaris   Email Aris Katsaris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Aris, I noticed the edit, and I respect you for your choice.
Yeah, apologies. I am too often rude and uncharitable in my initial comments; I edit them towards greater civility if I realize this quickly enough.
Posts: 669 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jake
Member
Member # 206

 - posted      Profile for Jake           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
My experience with GMOs so far is this:

Liberals think dumb Christians hate GMOs because they aren't "natural." (We're playing God with our food.)

I am on the emailing list for the farmer through whom I get unpasturized milk. I haven't had enough contact with him to know how bright he is, but he can't shut up about how Christian he is, and often sends out messages railing against GMOs precisely because we're playing god with our food. He used the genetic modification of corn as a specific example of us messing with God's perfect creation, which was just hilarious. I was going to paste the text of it into this post, but apparently I deleted the email.

[ December 12, 2012, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: Jake ]

Posts: 997 | Registered: Jul 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Quibble with your phrasing: how vocal someone is about their ________ is not an accurate measure of how _____ they are.
Posts: 9793 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jake
Member
Member # 206

 - posted      Profile for Jake           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good point. Edited.
Posts: 997 | Registered: Jul 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dana that took me a while to parse.

Are you referring to Jake calling the farmer guy very Christian? As in, he may be very vocally Christian but that's not the same as very Christian?

If not, I still failed to parse it. [Frown]

Broadly I agree with your assessment though, PSI.

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dkw
Member
Member # 3264

 - posted      Profile for dkw   Email dkw         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dan, you got it.
Posts: 9793 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aros
Member
Member # 4873

 - posted      Profile for Aros           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Saw this article and it reminded me of the GM food discussion. Superb.

Essentially, one of the leading anti-GM food peeps flipped to the dark side and addressed the farming conference at Oxford. A few comments:

• I’d assumed that it would increase the use of chemicals. It turned out that pest-resistant cotton and maize needed less insecticide.

• I’d assumed that g.m. benefited only the big companies. It turned out that billions of dollars of benefits were accruing to farmers needing fewer inputs.

• I’d assumed that Terminator Technology was robbing farmers of the right to save seed. It turned out that hybrids did that long ago, and that Terminator never happened.


http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/01/whats-changing-minds-on-gmos.html?mbid=gnep&google_editors_picks=true

Posts: 1204 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
steven
Member
Member # 8099

 - posted      Profile for steven   Email steven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
My experience with GMOs so far is this:

Liberals think dumb Christians hate GMOs because they aren't "natural." (We're playing God with our food.)

I am on the emailing list for the farmer through whom I get unpasturized milk. I haven't had enough contact with him to know how bright he is, but he can't shut up about how Christian he is, and often sends out messages railing against GMOs precisely because we're playing god with our food. He used the genetic modification of corn as a specific example of us messing with God's perfect creation, which was just hilarious. I was going to paste the text of it into this post, but apparently I deleted the email.
The natural foods community includes fruitcakes and fools of all types. It used to worry me, until I realized that common sense and wisdom in one area of life (or even in one area of nutrition) does not really have high correlation with other areas.
Posts: 3257 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
steven
Member
Member # 8099

 - posted      Profile for steven   Email steven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think GMOs are no huge deal...I think people are much better off focusing on WHAT they eat instead of whether or not it's a GMO.

I don't think it's foolish to be very careful about the changes we make in organisms, though. I ALSO think that GMOs should be labelled, with a web address showing EXACTLY what changes were made, in clear language. People have a right to know what they're being sold and fed.

Posts: 3257 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2