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View Diary: Prop 37: two alternative viewpoints (79 comments)

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  •  Thanks for Putting this Together (6+ / 0-)

    I'm still on the fence on this one, and disappointed that the arguments on each side didn't address what I thought were key questions.

    Neither side addressed the claim, or is it a fact, that GMO labeling is the law in a number of other countries and the parade of horribles pushed by the No on 37 camp haven't come to pass.  Practical experience of other places with similar laws would seem to be pretty key when we talk about possible unintended side effects.  What's the story?

    In terms of magnitude, I've gotten the impression that the 800 pound gorilla in GMO products is increased resistance to herbicides.  Engineering for color and other things may exist, but in terms of market share I got the impression that the big deal in GMOs is Monsanto selling herbicide resistant seeds and then selling more of the herbicide the seeds are resistant to.  That may all be well and good, but the average consumer has not been genetically engineered to be resistant to increased herbicides in the food chain.  Is the real issue the concern about herbicides used as a result of the GMO products, not the GMOs themselves?

    •  I'm not sure about boophus, but (6+ / 0-)

      the reason I didn't address the other countries issue is because after reading up on them I don't think it's relevant to our situation.  These are decisions based mostly on politics and ideology.  Europe, for example, has a stronger sense of local protectionism when it comes to agriculture, and the hostility to GM there has led to fairly frequent vandalism of not only crops themselves, but also of research.   We've had relatively little of that here (I can think of one case in Hawai'i involving papaya, but that's all off the top of my head.)  

      As far as unintended side effects go, the GM labeling in Europe has apparently correlated with higher grocery prices overall, but there's debate about whether there's causation, and whether it's applicable in the U.S. context.  Jill Richardson, for example, thinks that American consumers will act differently (no offense to Jill, who I know in person, but her argument rests entirely on this assumption.)   So as far as unintended consequences go, this is a plausible scenario.

      On the second issue, it would seem you wanted to regulate herbicides rather than GMO.   What does the GMO label tell you about the incidence of herbicides in crops that haven't been engineered to resist them?  Nothing at all, I'm afraid.

      (Also keep in mind that pat of butter tried to keep us to five paragraphs or so to prevent the dreaded TL;DR.)

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:06:28 PM PDT

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    •  Well, the EU has these laws (5+ / 0-)

      and has very high food prices, and has had difficulty providing its own feed for animals. So they have to import a lot of GMOs from us and from South America.

      They had to change their laws recently because feed was getting problematic:

      The Commission, industry and exporting countries argue the 0.1% threshold is needed to avoid a repeat of supply disruptions in 2009, when US soy shipments to Europe were blocked after tiny quantities of unapproved GM material were found in some cargoes.

      The limit "addresses the current uncertainty EU operators face when placing on the market feed based on imports of raw materials from third countries," the Commission said in a statement.

      The EU imported more than 51 million tonnes of animal feed last year, worth almost €15 billion euros, according to Commission trade statistics. About half was GM soy from Brazil and Argentina developed by US biotech company Monsanto.

      “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

      by mem from somerville on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:33:26 PM PDT

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    •  Do you know (5+ / 0-)

      about the conventional herbicide-resistant plants? Like Clearfield? Not one of those products will be labeled with this initiative.

      And a strange consequence of this law will also be more of that conventionally bred HR tolerance. I'm already seeing some.  Firm developing non-GMO herbicide-resistant varieties. Again, unaffected by this label.

      And that's part of what's wrong with this: aiming at GMO is aiming at the wrong target then. If you hate herbicides, label those.

      “I apologise ...for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation --@ProfBrianCox

      by mem from somerville on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:42:32 PM PDT

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