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View Diary: Bill to Mandate GMO Research for Africa/S. Asia Passes Unanimously (51 comments)

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  •  disagreed, mem (4+ / 0-)

    I think nations in Africa have no trouble with yeild, it is the fact that they cannot afford water, fertilizer and any of the other benefits that Multi-national Big Ag and Bio Ag companies enjoy.

    Fact is, Africa is some of the most fertile land in the world.

    When the natural resources of Africa (Gold, silver, diamonds, oil, uranium) are sold for beans and Africans are paid slave wages, that is why there is rampant starvation, because there is rampant poverty

    And, IMHO, anything that helps Bio Ag and Chen Ag is not helping solve the problem (poverty,hunger), it is helping to save the profit.

    Seriously, when does anything pass in the Senate unanimously without being a total screw job on the public?

    •  So, why not try to create a crop that can grow (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with less water? Or without fertilizer? Or a plant whose seed includes fertilizer?

      it is the fact that they cannot afford water, fertilizer and any of the other benefits that Multi-national Big Ag and Bio Ag companies enjoy.

      •  nature worked great for 10 billion years (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, Hardhat Democrat, marina

        Africa did not begin to starve until imperialism invaded it.

        What we have today is no longer the imperialism of nations, but the imperialism of multi-national organizations and free trade.

        Look at the Codex Alimentarius Commission, or read about the WTO, WHO and the IMF. If they are working for the greater good, why do things keep going from Bad to Worse?

        •  What a data-free crock. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karenc, Elise

          nature worked great for 10 billion years

          I saw a study the other day that showed in times of environmental stress plants shake up their genomes:  

          Genome Duplication May Have Helped Plants Survive Mass Extinction  But that was only 60 million years ago.  

          Also, you have no idea about the millennia of famine in Africa.  There are plenty of problems with imperialism, but to pretend there was never a food scarcity problem in prehistory is ridiculous.

          Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

          by mem from somerville on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 11:53:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do not deal in absolutes (0+ / 0-)

            and that makes me open to any and all debates.

            I do not claim total knowledge of all issues, but, common sense (which you certainly do not lack) helps me make unbiased and informed decisions.

            The fact is there have been NO clincial studies on the long term effects GM foods have on human beings, but the facts are out on studies of lab rats and here is some.

            GM Soy and Allergies Soy allergies jumped 50% in the U.K. just after GM soy was introduced.2 If GM soy was the cause, it may be due to several things. The GM protein that makes Roundup Ready Soy resistant to the herbicide does not have a history of safe use in humans and may be an allergen. In fact, sections of its amino acid sequence are identical to known allergens.3 A portion of the transgene from ingested GM soybeans, along with the promoter that switches it on, transfers into human gut bacteria during ingestion.4 The fact that the transformed bacteria survives applications of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, suggests that the transgene continues to produce the Roundup Ready protein. If true, then long after people stop eating GM soy they may be constantly exposed to its potentially allergenic protein, which is being created within their gut. (This protein may be made more allergenic due to misfolding, attached molecular chains, or rearrangement of unstable transgenes, but there is insufficient data to support or rule out these possibilities

   who's headline reads: Climate Change is not a spectator sport

                When people argue against scrutinizing GM foods, they are unknowingly parroting the same lines used by CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS.

                I can only encourage you to do some research for yourself, and to draw your own conclusions.

            •  I went looking for that soy allergy data (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karenc, Elise

              if you have a peer-reviewed source I'd love to see it.  I couldn't find it. All I could find was a company that made its money giving allergy tests...hmmm....


              Optimum Health Resource Laboratories (formerly York Nutritional Laboratories)...

              Smells like someone making money from your fears to me....

              How come Marian Nestle says this about GM foods:

              As I argued in my book, Safe Food, in 2003, the big problem with genetically modified foods is not whether the foods are safe to eat.

              And here's what Obama's newly appointed and celebrated Kathleen Merrigan has to say:

              Would I feed my young children genetically modified (GM) food? Yes. I'm sure that I already have.

              Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

              by mem from somerville on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 12:15:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the problem with peer reviewed sources (0+ / 0-)

                is that nine out of ten times the people reviewing the info are paid consultants of the Big Ag industry.

                I think there is a lot to fear from both sides of the argument. That is why the facts are needed. Unfortunately, the facts are often skewed, but, that is where research comes in.

                It is also revealing to take a look at how the three executive agencies that are primarily responsible for GMOs operate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, oversees GMO foods. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deals with GMO pesticides. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administers GMO plant testing in the field. All three operate only under their own legislation and none of their efforts are coordinated. The USDA relies on the Plant Pest Act, which narrowly defines plant pests and does not include all the processes or organisms currently used in genetic engineering. Permits for field tests are obtained from APHIS through a simple notification process, after which they are deregulated. There are only bare standards for biological containment of the field test and no provisions for evaluating certain ecological risks. APHIS can require an environmental assessment if the applicant indicates one might be required. A study of over 8,000 field test results submitted to the USDA showed that not one resulted in an environmental assessment.

                The FDA uses the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to review GMOs. The substantial equivalence doctrine fits nicely with FDA logic. It goes like this: any "novel" substances in food must be tested and perhaps labeled. However, if something can be "generally regarded as safe" (GRAS), as most conventional foods are, then they are exempt. Since GMOs are "substantially equivalent" to conventional food, they are considered GRAS and thus they do not require testing or labels. The EPA makes some effort to deal with the environmental impacts of GMOs. It regulates GMO pesticides (primarily the Bt crops) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA operates under the assumption that Bt is safe, even though GMO Bt has been shown to have detrimental impacts on soil micro-organisms and beneficial insect populations. The EPA recommendations and permit requirements, such as its Insect Resistance Management Plans for farmers, which are supposed to slow down the development of resistance to Bt, are not adequate to the task.

                Here is an example of how this regulatory patchwork plays out in the field: In April 2003, the EPA announced that a company growing experimental GMO corn in Hawaii had finally satisfied the agency’s regulatory requirements. The company, Pioneer Hi-Bred, had been fined for permit violations in 2002 and was ordered to test and report its findings to the EPA to ensure that their experimental corn did not contaminate nearby fields. When the company failed to report on its testing, in direct violation of its agreement with EPA, it was fined again. Later, after acquiring and reviewing the test findings, the EPA said it was satisfied that the company was in compliance. But did that mean there was no contamination? No, there was. But it involved fields that were regulated by the USDA, so the EPA was not concerned about that. For their part, the USDA had no comment, saying it was investigating. Meanwhile, the company has asked neighboring farmers on the island not to plant any of the crops that Pioneer is using in its experiments, as a way of avoiding cross-contamination.  

                By Claire Hope Cummings, M.A., J.D

                I wish I could provide links for peer reviewed studies that support my arguement, but, unfortunately, I do not have the resources that Big Ag/Bio Ag/Chem Ag has to fund such studies.

                Which again makes me ask, why was it so important to Chem Ag to lobby Michelle Obama about her organic garden?

                If it is good enough for the First Family, why not the rest of us?

                •  Ah, more made up stuff (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  karenc, Elise, docstymie

                  is that nine out of ten times the people reviewing the info are paid consultants of the Big Ag industry.

                  Got data on that?  

                  The question in this bill is should we: "include research on biotechnological advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including genetically modified technology."

                  I say it is something we should do because it can help farmers produce local foods for their neighbors with lower needs for pesticides and higher yields.

                  That has nothing to do with Michelle's garden. In fact, many people think the best way to go is to use GM crops with organic practices.  That seems like a great idea to me.

                  Could Frankenfoods be good for the environment?

                  Given the potential of these products to reduce the environmental impact of farming, it's ironic that traditional advocates for sustainable agriculture have led a successful campaign to blacklist GMOs irrespective of their applications. At the very least, they might treat them as legitimate ethical and scientific matters deserving of a fair public hearing. Such a hearing, I would venture, would not only please farmers who were truly concerned about sustainability, but it would provide the rest of us—those of us who do not grow food for the world but only think about it—a more accurate source of scientific information than the back of a miso jar.

                  Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

                  by mem from somerville on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 12:45:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  organic crops no pesticide (0+ / 0-)

                    seems like it is good enough for The Obama's

                    please explain why it is not good enough for the rest of us.

                    Yeild is not the problem, neither is pests.

                    Poverty and hunger resulting form Multi-national corporate imperialism seem like the obvious answers to me.

                    Oh, and then there is this

                    In a study released in October 2006 by Russian scientists, pregnant and lactating rats fed GM-soy had over 50% of their babies die by 3 weeks old! The surviving offspring were 1/2 the size of the same-age rat babies from moms who ate normal soy.


                    I wish I had more conclusive evidence to hand you on the fly, but, as previously stated, I am still trying to raise the MILLIONS of dollars to fund my own peer reviewed study.

                    Meanwhile, there has been precious little independent research on GMOs and health. As Nancy Scola showed in a Gristmill post early this year, public funding for agriculture research has largely dried up, and Monsanto and other big agribusiness firms have filled the void, funneling fat grants to willing researchers.

                    But independent study of GMOs hasn't ended completely. The government of Austria recently released the results of a long-term study showing that mice fed GM corn had lower birth rates and fewer offspring than their control-group peers.

                    From the Daily Mail:


                    The Austrian scientists performed several long-term feeding trials with laboratory mice over a course of 20 weeks. One of the studies was a so-called reproductive assessment by continuous breeding (RACB) trial, in which the same parent generation gave birth to several litters of baby mice. The parents were fed either with a diet containing 33 percent of GM maize, a hybrid of Monsanto's MON 810 and another variety, and a normal feed mix. The team found changes that were 'statistically significant' in the third and fourth litters produced by the mice given a GM diet. There were fewer offspring, while the young mice were smaller. Prof Zentek said there was a direct link between the changes seen and the GM diet.

           - environmental news and commentary

                    •  That Austrian data was dreadful. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      karenc, Elise, MinistryOfTruth

                      I read that report--the whole thing.  It wasn't peer reviewed and several of the data points and conclusions completely contradict what activists are saying that it did.  

                      Did you read it?  One day someone posted a diary on it here and we shredded it.  But the person was so embarrassed that they deleted the diary so I would hate to reconstruct the whole thing...maybe I can find the comment thread.

                      The junk science or misuse of data that comes out of this field and used by activists is nothing short of climate deniers making up shit.  

                      You are absolutely free to not use pesticide.  I don't know why you keep saying that.

                      Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

                      by mem from somerville on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 01:58:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  big favor! (0+ / 0-)

                        I am NOT a scientist, just a citizen with an intense sense of curiosity and a lot of free time (unemployed)

                        Please point me to unbiased factual evidence of long term safety exams of GMO's done on human beings.

                        I would really appreciate it.

                        Thanks for the educating and stimulating dialogue.


    •  What part of freely available (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karenc, Elise

      is confusing you?

      Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

      by mem from somerville on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 11:09:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not confused, just ardently disagreeing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions," the scientists wrote in a statement submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The E.P.A. is seeking public comments for scientific meetings it will hold next week on biotech crops.

        The statement will probably give support to critics of biotech crops, like environmental groups, who have long complained that the crops have not been studied thoroughly enough and could have unintended health and environmental consequences.

        The researchers, 26 corn-insect specialists, withheld their names because they feared being cut off from research by the companies. But several of them agreed in interviews to have their names used.
        The problem, the scientists say, is that farmers and other buyers of genetically engineered seeds have to sign an agreement meant to ensure that growers honor company patent rights and environmental regulations. But the agreements also prohibit growing the crops for research purposes.

            Address poverty in africa, and these problems disappear.

            Address GMO's in Africa, and every Big Ag, Bio Ag Multi-Ntaional Corporation on Eart  holds out it's hands.

            Is this not another instance (such as Wall St or Big Auto ) of giving money to Corporations to invest, rather than giving it directly to people who need food, water and good paying jobs?

            I wonder why Big Ag/Chem Ag felt so threatened by Michelle Obama's organic garden?

        •  So you don't want researchers (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karenc, Elise

          to be able to work with local farmers in Africa to improve their yields and reliance on pesticides?  

          I guess we'll have to disagree. Ardently.

          Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

          by mem from somerville on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 11:45:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I want researchers to work with farmers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I just believe that the fundamental problem is NOT crop yeilds and pesticides, but rather Multi-national free trade imperialism that takes the valuable natural resources of third world nations and pays individuals in Slave Wages, thus resulting in hunger and poverty.

            Our free trade supply side economics creates the problem (poverty,hunger) and then proposes the cure (BigAg/BioAg/ChemAG)

            Monsanto owns 95% of all GMO seeds. Who else benefits here?

            Next up, Genetically modified and patented pigs

          •  That is absolutely not what he said (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jbdigriz, Hardhat Democrat

            But the fact remains that the #1 reason for starvation is poverty--people can't afford to buy food, so farmers can't afford to grow it. All the crop research on Earth will not change that.

            Also, it's completely disingenuous to equate working with local farmers to improve yields and reliance with anything GMO. A team of people from Iowa State and UNI could do that without the assistance of any large corporations.

            [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

            by oldjohnbrown on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 11:52:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What? (0+ / 0-)

            Before, I was willing to grant you the benefit of the doubt.  But now it's absolutely clear that you're a shill for the companies that you "claim" to be "against"...

            "Researchers" do not equal GM.  I'd point out how, but it's obvious where your loyalties lie.  And I do mean to stress the word "lie".

            Thanks for this quote, though.  Bookmarked!


            •  What are you talking about? (0+ / 1-)
              Recommended by:
              Hidden by:
              Hardhat Democrat

              You are seriously unhinged. I don't even understand this sentence:

              "Researchers" do not equal GM.  

              What does that even mean?  

              Are you familiar with this bill at all?  There's research all over it.  

              I had to come back and look at this post because I wanted to write to Senator Kerry and see if this "mandates" GMOs.  So I forwarded it to his office for clarification.  You might want to clarify this before they come by.  

              Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

              by mem from somerville on Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 05:40:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  In other words (3+ / 0-)

          rather than teaching the African countries to fish, they're simply throwing them fish year after year.

          Yes, it's free. For now. It's great PR, too.

          But the simple fact is that the ability to grow food has hardly ever been the problem. The problem is the ability to afford food.

          Besides, if the QA and testing on these products is as dubious as it seems to be, and there are studies showing liver damage and lesions when GMO foods are fed to mice (see comments above), then these are hardly better than nothing and far, far worse than  normally bred crops.

          [F]or too many, the cruelty of our system is part of its appeal. - eightlivesleft

          by oldjohnbrown on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 11:46:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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