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 Post subject: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:06 pm 
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I'm in the UK where we've largely resisted the introduction of GM Food. However, every few months we get bombarded with propaganda as to why GM food is 'good' and why we should embrace it. Usually this takes the form of tugging at the heart strings, telling us how GM food will 'feed the world' and will lower farming costs etc

The most recent pro message is from a new head scientific office in the European parliament who sites the US as an example to us Europeans as a country that has embraced GM food and we should follow suit

I just wondered as to how you folks who live (and eat!) in the US now feel about GM food, is it to be embraced or resisted?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:46 pm 
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US residents, according to public opinion polls, remain unaware for the most part about the extent to which GMOs are used in producing foods that we eat. For example, around 70% of food in the US that is not certified organic is thought to contain GM materials of some kind. When asked in a survey done in 2008, the largest group of people thought that around 10% of what they ate may contain GM materials.

In the beginning of biotechnology research, when there were no GMOs which were used as food or commercially available yet, the US and the approach of many European countries were more the same, since there was a feeling of caution surrounding the scientists' work. There was also a voluntary set of guidelines adopted by the scientists which was drawn up at the Asliomar conference. In a few decades after that when scientists were beginning to work for food companies to develop improved strains for commercial cultivation and sale, these guidelines were still the main force of regulation in the US for what can be used and done in the realm of biotechnology, but they now have little teeth and are voluntary only. The EU now has a strong regulatory system and tracks products grown, imported and for sale so that the GM foods there are known and labelled, giving consumers a different perspective. The US does not have any way to separate GM foods from conventional crops in processing plants and shipping, so the only way to try to avoid eating them is to buy all organic foods, which does not guarantee lack of contamination either. After the Asliomar guidelines have become somewhat obsolete, the EU and US have gone in different directions, but in policy decisions now being made in the EU there is a push to relax the safety requirements a bit, which may be why they are trying to make consumers more accepting.

I am in the final editing process on my thesis on the subject, titled "US Public Policy Regarding Genetically Modified Foods", so maybe you can read it if you want to learn more. If you are interested, pm me. There's a chapter devoted to developing an understanding of the differences of perceptions of GM foods in the US and EU, as well as a separate chapter focusing on Japan, but what I found out from all of this is that the areas have widely different forms of advertising resulting in disparities in how much consumers know about what they are eating and how much of a threat it may be. This is also why you may see this shift in advertising in the UK as more and more farmland is sown with GMOs and the companies need more consumers to purchase such goods. Since we do not have a labelling policy in the US which requires people to disclose which products are made with GM goods it is easier for people to buy them without thinking about it too much, since it seems normal, or not a threat. One is conditioned to think that if something is a threat to their health it would not be in every food product, so not labelling the foods makes it easier for people to swallow, hah.

Sorry if this isn't well said or something, I have a lot to say on the subject sometimes so I can ramble.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:47 pm 
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Resisted! Don't do it! We have enough food to feed everyone in the world, the problem is food distribution which is something GMO's cannot help with. I feel like GMO's are more of a business/money maker thing than technology to actually help people. Companies can own a patent on a GM seed and therefore own it. Since seeds scatter around to other areas, if it lands on another farmers land and it grows, it can be seen as stealing seeds. I think they talked about it on the documentary Food, Inc. We also don't know that much about GMO's and some of the stuff that we do know about it points that it can potentially be dangerous at the very least, to our health (look up Monsanto and GM corn). Another problem with GMO's is that, say, they genetically modify a corn plant to resist a certain type of insect, that insect can, over time, grow accustomed to it and begin to harm the plant again.

I lean towards the negative when it comes to GMO's but I also think that we need more information about them in order to really understand the impact that they will have. I don't like the idea of diving into something that we don't understand very well.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:13 pm 
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Plus, as far as the feeding the world aspect goes. GM foods may make it less likely that we will be able to have a sustainable food supply for the growing population. GM foods are often grown over large stretches of land in the US and other nations which cultivate GMOs for food, and this leaves little room for other strains of plants to grow. This means that if we have strange weather patterns like we have been we only have plants to eat that will not withstand the difficulties, and therefore, less food supply. Also, GMOs moslty have a terminator gene put in them which in theory is a good thing, since it prevents the spread of GMO DNA to other local plants, but it also does not allow people to plant seeds they save from plants, so for farmers in poor areas or who do not have resources to get more seeds each year, there is a smaller chance for food security, since they cannot save seeds to plant next season. Many GMOs also require expensive fertilizers to grow, and these fertilizers are mostly made from petrochemicals. There has not been an increased yield between GMOs and conventional crops grown in similar conditions. The GMOs may be resistant to Bt toxin in the case of corn, or cold resistant in the case of tomatoes, but they do not produce more food, making that argument useless. They cost the world more resources than conventional plants well suited to the environment in which they are to be grown.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Seeds of Deception is a really good book about GM Food. The author debunks the "feed the world" idea very quickly. First in many areas GMO seeds are less productive than local seeds that have developed for the environment (see India with BTCotton and the farmer suicides) and often the right genes aren't expressed so they still need pesticides to be added. Second, especially with things like "golden rice" that was supposed to add Vit.A to third world diets, the rice ends up far more expensive and less effective than just giving kids vitamin A. GM food is a huge, well-funded scam by companies like Monsanto that are looking to control the world seed supply, and that is expressed in the oppression of small scale farmers etc.

Seriously worth reading if you have any doubts as to the issues with GM: http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Home/index.cfm

Definitely a big educated no.

And as Mr Shankly says (quite frankly) its not waste its distribution. There was a TED talk about how we could feed everyone on the planet if we could cut our food waste by 1/3 and distribute it to the areas that need it. And in many areas GM food is being grown in poor countries and sold for export, so it actually ends up taking food from poor countries, especially if (as in India with BT Cotton) the crops have a tendency to fail more than local seed would.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:39 pm 
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I think you have to distinguish between Monsanto's business practices, mono-crops, etc. and the technology itself.

Mr. Shankly wrote:
Resisted! Don't do it! We have enough food to feed everyone in the world, the problem is food distribution which is something GMO's cannot help with.

What about engineering crops to prevent post-harvest deterioration?


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:17 pm 
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I was just speaking in regaurds to the current situation. I am not saying that all biotechnology should be abandoned, or that it holds no improvements that may be used in the future. The biotechnology industry in the United States is run largely by Monsanto and others, many of you are probably familiar with Cargill and the like. Since these companies are for profit and allowed to submit their own test results to the EPA, FDA and USDA to show that they are safe, it is not likely that the products are the most useful to all people on the earth, or the solution. If we are talking about GMOs outside of context of the companies that sell the seeds that the foods we eat are grown from, we have an entirely different conversation. One that is harder to fathom and with many more possibilities.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:02 am 
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So, we (Europeans) are getting emotional over the subject?!

http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/1526/gm-debate-in-europe-based-on-emotion-not-evidence

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:16 am 
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Whilst it is true that people starving is a case of distribution rather than not having enough food in the world is it not more valuable to create crops which can be grown in places suffering from droughts (for example) than to send food to them? Kind of along the lines of "give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for life".

And again, whilst golden rice may have not been a huge success the idea behind it is still fantastic. The posibility to increase nutrients in staple crops can only be a good thing, not to mention posibilities of creating foods which have been engineered to produce vaccines (for instance bananas have been engineered to contain a Hep B vaccine, which does away with the need for cold storage of the vaccine and doesn't require trained staff to administer it). These things may be a little way off yet but I think GM food is a very exciting prospect.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:28 am 
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Chipmunk wrote:
I think you have to distinguish between Monsanto's business practices, mono-crops, etc. and the technology itself.

Thank you! I think one problem about this debate is that as soon as the word "GMO" is uttered, two things are automatically said that make the whole discussion turn into a headache:
-Monsanto is EVIL (which I don't debate) and we are all going to die because of GMO....
and
-we've been manipulating genetics for thousands of years. Nobody has a conniption about seedless tangerines.

I am not sure we can draw a line easily between "good" and "bad" manipulation. But going back to waaaaaay before Mendel, we've been selectively breeding.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:34 am 
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Yeah, I've very against patenting seeds. I think GMO could probably use more study. And I'm in favor of labeling food in general. But I'm sort of indifferent about GMO itself.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:01 am 
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Apparently I spoke too soon about moderation, as I got this in my mailbox this morning.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-ki ... hare_ended
Quote:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently deciding whether or not to approve an application by Dow Chemical for its controversial genetically engineered corn variety that is resistant to the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D, one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange.

Today, the USDA extended the public comment period on this issue until the end of April 2012,....

Dow's "Agent Orange" corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use--and our exposure to this toxic herbicide--yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the serious harm to human health, the environment, or neighboring farms.


I am active in the Agent Orange legacy community (my father died as a direct result of his exposure in Vietnam and all of his children including myself have various issues as a result of his exposure, but we are the lucky ones: there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have to deal with the horrible aftereffects of this chemical every day, and generations will be effected) and this makes me sick. In this case though it is not the GM thing that is the issue, it is the fact that the corn is/will be GM so that this type of chemical can be widely used....

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:47 am 
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Quote:
I just wondered as to how you folks who live (and eat!) in the US now feel about GM food, is it to be embraced or resisted?


I think they should be embraced. Im to tired to respond to the comments past the OP right now but Ive written about my support for GE food from a vegan perspective here: Frankenfood Fears and on labeling here: GMO Labeling

other GE positive vegans have written some good pieces as well
The IRRI – Conducting Genetic Modification We Can All Support by Vegan Skeptic
Alexey Surov and GM Soy – A Recurrent Tale Against GM Foods by Vegan Skeptic
You Say Tomahto, I Say Flavr Savr by Dave D
Vegan GMO Redux by Dave D
Frankenfood- a talk given by Kevin Folta to a joint gathering of Chicago Skeptics & Vegan Chicago

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:52 am 
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mollyjade wrote:
Yeah, I've very against patenting seeds. I think GMO could probably use more study. And I'm in favor of labeling food in general. But I'm sort of indifferent about GMO itself.


variety protection rights and patents are not new or unique to GMOs, Ive got issue with IP law myself but in biotech patents allow scientists to control the product of their labor and not have it stolen by a bigger company. While it protects Monsanto, it also protects small research firms and universities, given the rise in smaller scale biotech in Africa this will be important so that they see the economic benefits of innovation.
All that said Im pretty positive about open source biotech work and would like more funding and growth in that area.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:44 pm 
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Quote:
(see India with BTCotton and the farmer suicides)

Bt cotton yields are not lower as you claim in India. Bt cotton has been a success in India and around the world.

Bt Cotton in India: Field Trial Results and Economic Projections
Quote:
The performance of Bt cotton in India is analyzed on the basis of field trial data from 2001. The amounts of pesticides applied during the trials were reduced to one-third of what was used in conventional cotton, while––under severe pest pressure––yield gains were 80%.

Can GM-Technologies Help the Poor? The Impact of Bt Cotton in Makhathini Flats, KwaZulu-Natal
Quote:
The results of a two-year survey of smallholders in Makhathini Flats, KwaZulu-Natal show that farmers who adopted Bt cotton in 1999–2000 benefited according to all the measures used. Higher yields and lower chemical costs outweighed higher seed costs, giving higher gross margins.

Economic Impact of Genetically Modified Cotton in India
Quote:
The research compares the performance of more than 9,000 Bt and non-Bt cotton farm plots in Maharashtra over the 2002 and 2003 growing seasons. Results show that Bt cotton varieties have had a significant positive impact on average yields and on the economic performance of cotton growers.

Farm-Level Economic Performance of Genetically Modified Cotton in Maharashtra, India
Quote:
compares the performance of over 9,000 Bt and non-Bt cotton farm plots in Maharashtra over the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Results show that since their commercial release in 2002, Bt cotton varieties have had a significant positive impact on average yields

Five years of Bt cotton in China & the benefits continue
Quote:
...Based on surveys of hundreds of farmers in the Yellow River cotton-growing region in
northern China in 1999, 2000 and 2001, over 4 million smallholders have been able to increase yield per
hectare, and reduce pesticide costs, time spent spraying dangerous pesticides, and illnesses due to
pesticide poisoning
...

Impact of Bt Cotton in China
Quote:
A sample of 283 cotton farmers in Northern China was surveyed...Farmers that used cotton engineered to produce the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin substantially reduced the use of pesticide without reducing the output/ha or quality of cotton. This resulted in substantial economic benefits for small farmers...Farmers using Bt cotton reported fewer pesticide poisonings than those using conventional cotton.

Bt Cotton Benefits, Costs, and Impacts in China
Quote:
Our survey data on yields and econometric analyses indicate that the adoption of Bt cotton continued to increase output per hectare in 2000 and 2001 and that the yield gains extended to all provinces in our sample. More importantly, Bt cotton farmers also increased their incomes by reducing their use of pesticides and labor inputs. Finally, survey data show that Bt cotton continues to have positive environmental impacts by reducing pesticide use. Additionally, we provide evidence that farmers have fewer health problems because of reduced pesticide use.

Benefits from Bt Cotton Use by Smallholder Farmers in South Africa
Quote:
Results suggest that Bt cotton had higher yields than non-Bt varieties and generated greater revenue. Seed costs for Bt cotton were double those of non-Bt, although pesticide costs were lower. On balance, the gross margins (revenue - costs) of Bt growers were higher than those of non-Bt growers.

Bt cotton and pesticide use in Argentina: economic and environmental effects
Quote:
Based on farm survey data, it is shown that the technology reduces application rates of toxic chemicals by 50 per cent, while significantly increasing yields

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:49 pm 
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As for you claims about farmer suicides some how being cause by BT cotton or GM crops, this is one of the most offensive pieces of propaganda coming from anti-gmo activists and it is utterly false as detailed below.

Spoiler: show
Quote:
One response I receive when discussing genetic engineering is "What about the increasing number of farmers committing suicide in India". The claim is that Indian farmers are "committing suicide on a mass scale" and that this is primarily the fault of the failure of genetically engineered crops, Bt cotton in particular. So we really have two main claims here to examine. First, are farmer suicides in India on the rise significantly and secondly, if so what is the cause.

According to data from India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) during 1996-2007 yearly farmers' suicides increased from 13,622 to 17,060, a growth rate of 2.5%, suicides among the whole population rose from 95,829 to 118,112 in 1997-2006, a 2.4% increase. Between 1991 and 2001 Indian had an annual population growth rate of 1.93%. From the data we can see that while there has been an increase in farmer suicides it is modest and is not significantly greater than the rise in suicide in the general population. Even as India grows increasingly urbanized, farmer suicides remain around 15% but with a decreasing trend that will hopefully continue. The claim that there has been a dramatic increase in farmer suicides is not supported by the data.

So far the case against Bt cotton has been based largely on a perceived correlation, but simple correlation does not equal causation so we must dig deeper. That is exactly what the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) did in their 2008 study titled Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: Reviewing the Evidence. The IFPRI concluded that Bt cotton was not to blame and may have actually lead to a reduction in the expected number of suicides saying, "the reported share of farmer suicides has in fact been decreasing." I highly recommend you read the full study. In the discussion section they report,
Quote:
...our analysis is sufficiently well documented to discredit the possibility of a naïve direct causal or reciprocal relationship between Bt cotton and farmer suicides. First, adopting Bt cotton is not a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides in India. It is estimated that about 1 million farmers have planted Bt cotton, whereas a cumulative total of 90,000 farmers are reported to have committed suicide between 2002 (year of the commercialization of Bt cotton) and 2007. More important, the trend in farmer suicides in India appears to have slowed down since the year when Bt cotton was introduced, which would certainly not have happened if Bt cotton were responsible for increasing farmer suicides. Second, the adoption of Bt cotton is not, nor has it ever been, a necessary condition for farmer suicides in India. Farmer suicides occurred in various states of India long before the introduction of Bt cotton.

One of the oft-pointed to hotspots for farmer suicides in India is the state of Maharashtra, a major cotton producer. Suicide rates there are quite high and this has been blamed on Bt cotton production yet suicide rates in neighboring Gujarat, another major cotton producer, are far lower. Oneproposed relevant difference is that farmers in Maharashtra must sell their cotton to the Maharashtra State Cotton Monopoly Procurement Scheme and are barred from selling it out of state even when they can get better prices and often must pay bribes to receive favorable grading of their cotton and thus get a good price. Farmers in Gujarat on the other hand have access to more open markets and have been able to achieve bountiful yields and profits.

An investigation titled Farmers Suicide: Facts and Possible Policy Interventions, published in 2006, found that the suicides are not "confined to one district, One state or one particular crop" and "while indebtedness was rampant, there was little clarity" pointing out that each suicide was a unique occurrence with complex confounding factors such as lack of personal and institutional support, mental illness, family problems, medical issues, and other financial expenses.

Now that we have examined the alleged connection between Bt cotton and farmer suicides lets turn our eye to Bt cotton itself. Developed using genes from a common soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt cotton produces Cry proteins which affects certain insects, though not humans or most non-target insects. Its mechanism of action is explained fairly simplyhere. Even before genetically engineered crops B. thuringiensis was used to make insecticides and is still commonly used as a topical spray in conventional and organic agriculture, but topical spraying can have disadvantages, it can increase input cost and must be applied in large amount. Some other issues with topical application include reduced effectiveness from rapid degradation in the presence of UV radiation and lack of protection for the roots and interior of the plant. Modern Bt cotton is more targeted, can reduce input cost, increase yields, and reduce environmental and human health impact from chemical insecticides. There is good evidence that growing Bt cotton might be saving many lives through reduced incidences of pesticide poisoning. Is pest resistance an issue we need to worry about? Yes, but it an not just an issue related to GMOs but to all agriculture. Use of topically sprayed Bt preparations in non-GM agriculture has led to the Diamondback Moth being the first insect to evolve Bt resistance in the field. Abandoning genetic engineering will not solve agricultural problems with resistant insects. What is needed is better management schemes, one such method is to provide refuges for susceptible insects.

There are also claims that Bt cotton is poisoning livestock in India. The most oft-cited sources I see are reports of sheep and cattle that allegedly died after consuming Bt cotton. It should be noted that the reports are anecdotal and toxicologists haven't pointed the finger at the Bt cotton itself, instead nitrate, gossypol, or pesticide poisoning were ruled the most likely culprits. Such deaths are also not isolated to GM fields and livestock poisonings have occurred before the introduction of GM crops.

Cotton is important to India both as a source of fiber for their massive textile industry and as a source of edible oil. Even before Bt cotton was legally introduced, engineered seeds were reportedly spreading from farmer to farmer on the black market. Farmer were willing to risk prosecution and are still are willing to pay the much higher price for Bt cotton seed year after year because of the benefits they see. A study from The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India found that 93% of Bt cotton farmers were satisfied with the end result. Individual cases of crop failure may have many causes other than failure of Bt cotton itself, inclement weather, planting of fraudulent seeds, or planting of lower quality second generation mixed Bt seed that is not approved.

Possibly the strangest claim about Bt cotton is that it is the cause of Morgellons disease, a condition characterized by a crawling sensation on the skin and open sores often with fibers protruding. There is no known cause of Morgellon's but the best evidence* points to it being psychosomatic in nature and that the fibers are from the environment, clothes, furniture, ect. Therapy for stress and in some cases psychiatric medication appears to be the most promising treatment. Adverse reactions to Bt seem quite rare as there appears to have only been 2 reports regarding Bt to the EPA, one person was found to have a previous diagnosed illness and the other was found to have allergies to other constituents of the Bt spray. There just is no good evidence to connect Bt cotton and Morgellons or any widespread allergic reaction, in the end Bt cotton is safer than the inputs used for non-Bt cotton.

Ultimately the focus on genetically engineered crops as the primary cause of suicide in India is overly simplistic and unsupported by the data.

Further Reading:Frankenfood Fears My previous post on the subjectFarmer Suicides in India by Anastasia Bodnar
P. Sainath and Farmers' Suicides in India by Siddhartha Shome
Persistent Narratives: Why is the “Failure of Bt Cotton in India” Story Still with Us? by Ron Herring
Bt cotton now helps to avoid several million cases of pesticide poisoning in India every year by GMO Pundit
Morgellons by Steven Novella
Morgellons by Sarah
Still more evidence that Morgellons disease is most likely delusional parasitosis, 2012 edition

*UPDATE 1/30/12: The CDC has recently released the most comprehensive study on Morgellons to date. The conclusion states, "No common underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified, similar to more commonly recognized conditions such as delusional infestation."

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:49 pm 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
mollyjade wrote:
Yeah, I've very against patenting seeds. I think GMO could probably use more study. And I'm in favor of labeling food in general. But I'm sort of indifferent about GMO itself.


variety protection rights and patents are not new or unique to GMOs, Ive got issue with IP law myself but in biotech patents allow scientists to control the product of their labor and not have it stolen by a bigger company. While it protects Monsanto, it also protects small research firms and universities, given the rise in smaller scale biotech in Africa this will be important so that they see the economic benefits of innovation.
All that said Im pretty positive about open source biotech work and would like more funding and growth in that area.

I should have said specifically that I'm against not allowing farmers to seed save and producing terminator seeds. Whether or not it's legal, it's unethical.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:02 pm 
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Quote:
I should have said specifically that I'm against not allowing farmers to seed save and producing terminator seeds. Whether or not it's legal, it's unethical.


We then you will be pleased to hear that terminator seed (GURT) was NEVER commercialized. This is another myth spread by activists. There is NO terminator seed on the market, the political pressure against it (rather than scientific evidence) was to great.
As for saving seed, generally farmers can't save seed anyway. Its physically possible to grow 2nd generation GMO seed (despite what some activists say) but the problem is that the trait may not be present in many of the offspring, resulting in diminished performance after a few generations and undue poor reflection on the brand image. In fact this is happening in some countries where some farmers buy GMO seed is sold on the black market, many times people are ripped off by gettign mixed seed or 2 or 3rd generation seed.
Even before GMOs, most farmers couldnt save seed as the hybrids they were growing dont breed true and seed must be bought anew each season as well.
Farmers make the choice to buy a particular brand of seed and abide by the contract. If they want to save seed then they can go with heirloom varieties, they already have that choice.

I actually wish GURT was in use in some applications, it would have actually been a useful tool to control spread of crops in test fields.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:17 pm 
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torque, on the agent orange issue.
The GE crops you are talking about will not being using "agent orange" rather they will be using one ingredient 2,4-D (which is already is widespread use and not highly toxic).
The danger from Agent Orange came from the dioxin which was actually an unwanted result of rushed production of the other half of another main ingredient in Agent Orange, 2,4,5-T.
2,4,5-T can be produced in a more careful way where the dioxin levels are so low as to be of little or no concern but the military demanded a rushed production.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:41 pm 
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vegetable_assassin wrote:
Also, GMOs moslty have a terminator gene put in them...

no, this is false, terminator technology was never commercialized and is not in use. The fact that anti-gmo organizations and activists still push this as a scare point and make false claims that it is currently in use shows that they are either not as educated on the subject as they like others to believe, rather gaining their information in an anti-gmo echo-chamber or they just don't care about accuracy.


Quote:
Many GMOs also require expensive fertilizers to grow, and these fertilizers are mostly made from petrochemicals.

Um, fertilizer use isn't unique to GMOs and you actually can grow GE crops without fertilizer, their yield will just suffer as with conventional crops. If you wanted to you could grown GE crops with manure or green manure even, but farmers tend to make input choices based on economic factors and synthetics can be more efficient for many.

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There has not been an increased yield between GMOs and conventional crops grown in similar conditions.

This is false as well, see my previous post about BT cotton with numerous references to yield benifit
also see here for more info


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The GMOs may be resistant to Bt toxin in the case of corn, or cold resistant in the case of tomatoes, but they do not produce more food, making that argument useless.

actually as shown above and in previosu post they do produce more be acre and there is great potential for water efficient crops, better nutrient uptake from soil (less inputs), and crops that can actually be irrigated with seawater (how frigging cool is that?)
Also those Flavr-savr tomatoes havnt been on the market for a decade, they just didn't do well with consumers. Though the trait did seem to show a benefit in reducing crop loss which would mean more tomatoes per acre on average. The idea hasn't been abandoned though, scientist are working on at least a few similar projects including a tomato with a yeast gene that will extend shelf life saving food, money , and reducing methane out put from rotting food which can be bad for climate change.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:53 pm 
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SkepticalVegan, thanks for providing all this info. It's going to take a long time to go through all of it. I've found it surprisingly hard to find much information about GM that isn't either hugely biased or really shallow. Hence my general ambivalence about it. Even sources that are usually great, like Marion Nestle, don't engage with actual information much.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:13 pm 
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chools wrote:
I just wondered as to how you folks who live (and eat!) in the US now feel about GM food, is it to be embraced or resisted?


i watched The Future of Foods a few years back and it scared the crepe outta me. now we buy organic non-gmo foods whenever we can (which is probably 90% of the time) and we've joined an organic CSA for our produce during the summer months. we make a point to avoid gmo stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:20 pm 
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mollyjade wrote:
SkepticalVegan, thanks for providing all this info. It's going to take a long time to go through all of it. I've found it surprisingly hard to find much information about GM that isn't either hugely biased or really shallow. Hence my general ambivalence about it. Even sources that are usually great, like Marion Nestle, don't engage with actual information much.


Then please consider reading the blog Biofortified, its a great resources with many practicing and student scientists writing about biotech and dispelling myths. Many of the authors are usually really good about responding to comments and there is even a forum attached to the site for more discussion and questions.
maybe a starting point
Why I’m not pro-GMO (in the way anti-GMO people think)

also GMO Compass is good resource

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:51 am 
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Thanks for all your replies, as I thought (hoped!) vegans are a pretty discerning lot when it comes to food

For the moment the UK remains GMO free but I know that there has been a big push from the US Government for us to adopt it, this came to light under a Freedom of Information request that showed the Bush administration putting pressure on the UK to allow GM companies to produce and sell GM food. A similar push was made to mainland Europe. Ironically the US in recent times has started importing more European food because it is GMO free!

We're also lucky in the UK that our food labelling is pretty good, the exception is that of bread whereby all sorts of nasties can be used under the general label of 'improvers'

Personally I don't want to eat GM food and have a fear that once the genie is out of the bottle then it will get mixed with non-GM food and the only route will be organic which will also be compromised

However, it's all about money. At the moment Monsanto pushes big glossy brochures into our schools to let pupils know as to how friendly and cuddly GMO food is and how we should like it, and also lobbies politicians and governments

At the end of the day you can't eat money but I suppose there are some in business who just don't care!

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:09 am 
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