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

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  •  I want the labels (3+ / 0-)

    I think the consequence will be that most food companies will take the safe harbor: "This product does or may contain GMO ingredients."

    Since GMO ingredients are in about 70% of our food supply, there is no way that this proposition will eliminate them... and that's fine with me. But I think people have the right to know that they've been eating GMO food without really any notice or discussion, and I think they have the right to choose GMO-free alternatives if it is important to them. Currently, the only way to do that is to choose organic.

    I am especially distressed by the transgenic salmon that was recently approved. People eat salmon because of its healthy nutritional profile. GMO salmon doesn't have the same health advantages. People eat pacific salmon because it's from a sustainable fishery. The GMO salmon is environmentally problematic if all goes as planned, and potentially devastating to pacific salmon if it does not go as planned. We as citizens pay millions of dollars every year protecting the salmon fishery... and we would risk it so some investors can make a quick buck? Where is the benefit to the consumer here?

    And that's kind of my key point: GMO food ingredients, as currently practiced, do not benefit consumers. It may be the case that they don't harm us... I'm personally unsatisfied with the science there, but no so concerned that I buy all organic. But at the end of the day, these ingredients are not even intended to benefit the consumer... and since we eat them, we take all the risk, however large or small you think that is. We don't even get lower prices out of the deal.

    As a consumer, I want to be able to choose, whether my reasons are concerns with the safety of the technology or concerns about the effect on the environment or concerns about multinationals patenting seed.

    rBGH is disappearing from the marketplace. Why? Consumers don't want it, and dairies realized it wasn't improving their profits so much after all when all the positives and negatives added up.

    If GMOs are all great and wonderful, why aren't they thrilled to add to the label, "Proudly made with GMO ingredients"?

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:15:47 PM PDT

    •  Let's parse this: (3+ / 0-)
      rBGH is disappearing from the marketplace. Why? Consumers don't want it, and dairies realized it wasn't improving their profits so much after all when all the positives and negatives added up.

      If GMOs are all great and wonderful, why aren't they thrilled to add to the label, "Proudly made with GMO ingredients"?

      So what you're saying is, consumer disapproval drove the decline of rBGH rather than the science, so much so that it outweighed the benefits it provided dairy farmers.   And then you ask why producers don't provide "Proudly made with..." labels?   Don't you see the contradiction there?  

      As for the salmon, I'm going to have to ask where you're getting your information from, because it's not at all what's said in the FDA report on the salmon (pdf), which goes into the nutrition profile in great detail.  Based on this and your comments elsewhere, was it an article like this?  If so, I think you may not be getting the correct information.

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

      by pico on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:14:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On rBGH (2+ / 0-)

        Dairy farmers initially were attracted to it because it increased milk production.

        What they found was that it was really really expensive and that it ended up not increasing profits.

        That some dairies would pay them more to produce milk without it merely accelerated the disadoption process.

        http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/...

        It soon became clear that some dairy producers who adopted rbST began to discontinue, or disadopt, its use. One of the mains reason for disadopting was low profitability. Stefanides and Tauer (1999) and Foltz and Chang (2002) examine dairy farms in New York and Connecticut, respectively, and find no evidence that rbST use has significantly increased profits even though its use did increase milk production. In Wisconsin, Barham et al. (2004) find that the 82 percent of disadopters did so because “rbST was not cost effective” for them. McBride, Short and El-Osta (2004) show that the use of rbST has no statistically significant financial impact for dairy producers using data that are nationally representative.
        IIRC, Monsanto sold off Posilac fairly recently at a pittance.

        For my own purposes, although you cannot detect the hormone in the milk, it does clearly have detrimental health effects on the cows, and those effects in general are problematic for me to begin with and can potentially appear in the milk.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:37:22 PM PDT

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      •  The cost to dairy farmers of rBGH was so high (2+ / 0-)

        that I recall there were several thefts of big shipments of it in the central valley, maybe in 2007?

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:42:51 PM PDT

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      •  On the salmon (1+ / 0-)

        I didn't read that particular article.

        Consumers Union is not usually one to go off the deep end, though, and they are among the groups objecting to the GMO salmon being sold unlabeled.

        The particular data that I had come across was that the Omega 3/6 ratios were off and worse than from ordinary farmed Atlantic salmon (which are already kind of terrible).

        My concerns with the GM fish are twofold. I want a label. Again, I think they should be proud of their Better Living Through Chemistry if it's really a better product.

        Second, the fisheries issue is extremely worrisome given how fragile the salmon populations are already. On most California rivers, we are counting down to each individual fish, and millions of dollars are spent protecting them. The GM fish are meant to be sterile but they haven't quite managed 100%.

        If they are careful about isolating their fish, in theory it would come down to the labeling. Consumers have the right to say this isn't what they want to support with their money.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 08:12:57 AM PDT

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      •  One other issue on the salmon and fisheries (0+ / 0-)

        Obviously the first concern is that the GMO fish might escape and breed and outcompete native salmon. (Other species could be at risk as well.)

        The second concern is that it might escape and breed and interbreed with native salmon, eliminating or narrowing an already threatened genetic stock.

        The third concern is that the intense growth rate is associated with a much higher level of waste and water contamination, which might dramatically affect the ecosystems of many rivers, affecting life and water quality other than those occupying a salmon-like niche.

        In Northern California, we're currently very worried about the zebra mussel, which has wreaked havoc in the Great Lakes and is now present in southern California. They're terrible on water systems because they block pipes and valves, and requires millions of dollars annually in additional maintenance. But, they're also extremely damaging to water quality because they increase the ambient concentration of ammonia and phosphorous, and cause oxygen depletion in the water column. This can have dramatic and destabilizing effects on an entire ecosystem.  The Seneca River in NY is one place that has some significant research on this phenomenon.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:56:36 AM PDT

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    •  Do you have a source (3+ / 0-)

      for this approval? Last I read (and this was in Nature) it was still under review.

      Politics holds back animal engineers

      “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 03:49:45 PM PDT

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      •  I stand corrected (2+ / 0-)

        I had thought FDA had approved and that production was held up in the courts, but FDA has elected not to put the final stamp on the paperwork just yet.

        However, FDA did issue an opinion that indicated that they will approve, and included that there was no requirement to label this salmon, which I find inexplicable.

        And the fisheries people are furious that there's no place in the process for them to review and reject.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 08:01:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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