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Crossposted on 43rd State Blues

"The perception that everything is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don't think we fully understand the dimensions of what we're getting into." - Professor Philip James (author of the "James" report on the structure and functions of the proposed UK Food Standards Agency to oversee national food safety standards), Director of the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, on genetically engineered food.
Rowett Research Institute, The Foods Standards Agency: Covered up US study shows damage to rats from BST
There have never been any human safety studies on GMOs due to the FDA’s position that GMOs are not substantially different than their natural counterparts. Animal studies have shown potential dangers such as cancer, diabetes, intestinal disease, low birth weight, reproductive problems and other health risks, according to GMO Free Idaho.
Genetically modified foods (GM foods, or biotech foods) are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding; plant breeding, and animal breeding, and somaclonal variation. Since genetically modified food has been introduced into supermarkets, there has been much controversy as to whether it is actually safe.

Genetically modified foods were first put on the market in 1996.

Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products: soybean, corn, canola, rice, and cotton seed oil. Animal products have also been developed, although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market. In 2006 a pig was engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundworm gene. Researchers have also developed a genetically modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.

Critics, sometimes referring to genetically modified foods as "frankenfood", have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues, ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact these organisms are subject to intellectual property law.

GMO Free Idaho says that 80% of Americans don’t know that we have been eating genetically modified foods since 1996. the organization is dedicated to teaching consumers everything they need to know about GMOs so they can become part of the growing movement to label and or/ban GM foods.

The group educates the public about the impacts of genetically modified organisms, promoting local, organic, and non-GMO food producers, and works to eliminate GMOs from our food supply.

There are so many things we can all do to affect change to our food supply. From volunteering with a local action group or joining an online community to buying non-GMO foods, we can do our part to ensure that we have the right to know what we are consuming and eliminate harmful chemicals and substances from our food. Here are several things you can do to get involved:

Host or attend GMO Free Idaho presentation. Here is their events calendar. Pick a date and contact us if you want to host a presentation at your home, or attend our next presentation. To learn more about their presentations click here.

Write your Representatives. You can find out who your representatives are here, or find Idaho legislators here. Tell your reps how you feel about genetically modified foods and ask them to support labeling laws.

Write a letter to your newspaper editor. This is a great way to spread awareness and make a call to action.

Help us take action with Dennis Kucinich and the bills he has introduced that will mandate GMO labeling laws and ban the open air growth of GMOs. The bills are H.R. 3554: Genetically  Engineered Safety Actand H.R. 3553: Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act.

Join the Organic Consumers Association and the Institute for Responsible Technology to get regular updates about GMOs.

Support local, organic, and non-GMO food producers. Every dollar you spent on these types of foods and products is a vote that says no to genetically modified foods. If enough consumers reject GMO foods, food manufacturers and producers will have no choice but to appeal to consumer demand.

Book a GMO Free Idaho presentation for your school or organization. Here are some of the topics they cover:

    The process of creating genetically modified seed.
    What crops and ingredients are genetically modified.
    Corporate crimes against humanity.
    The Monsanto monopoly of our seed supply.
    The FDA’s policy of “substantial equivalence.”
    Concerns over GMO patents and cross contamination.
    Animal studies and human health concerns.
    GMO impacts on our environment.
    GMOs and the rest of the world.
    The political revolving doors and local pro-GMO legislators.
    How you can take action and eliminate GMOs from your pantry and our food supply.

GMO Free Idaho can tailor their presentation to fit your needs and also offer in home presentations and can provide non-GMO snacks under certain circumstances. Contact GMO Free Idaho if you want to host a presentation or attend their next event.

Provided Materials:

    GMO Frequently Asked Questions
    Health Risks Brochure
    Non-GMO Shopping Guide
    Dirty Dozen Guide
    Audio CD’s by Jeffery Smith
    Buy Local Guide

___

"But we realize that with any new and powerful technology with unknown, and
to some degree unknowable - by definition - effects, then there necessarily
will be an appropriate level at least, and maybe even more than that, of
public debate and public interest." - Bob Shapiro, Chief Executive of Monsanto, admitting that the effects of genetic engineering are unknown and "to some degree" unknowable (SWF News interview, San Francisco, 27 October 1998).

Originally posted to The Book Bear on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:32 AM PDT.

Poll

Are genetically modified foods safe for humans?

28%32 votes
45%51 votes
25%28 votes

| 111 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Both choice 2 and 3. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley

    As of now I'm leaning more 2 than 3, though

  •  Simple Answer: (0+ / 0-)

    NO.

    As Albert Einstein once said, and the human race still needs to learn:

    "God does not play dice with the Universe."

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:18:08 PM PDT

  •  Of Course Not, Ordinary Wheat is Toxic For Humans. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, Losty, bnasley, FG, Crider

    --Some humans, myself among them.

    It's not all that uncommon, we're beginning to learn, and for that and related reasons in civilized countries food has to have its ingredients labeled so that those of us who need to avoid wheat or soy or whatever are able to exercise the personal responsibility to do so.

    It's entirely plausible that some genetic modifications to foods stand a chance of making some foods irritating or worse to some numbers of humans.

    I'd think that biologists would be able to identify modifications that have greater and lesser chances of that.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:26:41 PM PDT

    •  Riddle me this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Book Bear, splashy

      If thee was a bag of Doritos that said 'contains genetically modified corn' and a bag next to it that said 'No GOMs' and they were selling for the same price, which one would people buy?

      The fact of GMOs is they aren't worth as much in an open and free market as non GMOs. They're just feed-grade and given the choice, people want the clean stuff.

      Monsanto's method is that they can keep their profits up by hiding the truth.

      •  But if the modification makes the product cheaper (0+ / 0-)

        to produce and your scenario plays out with the GMO containing peroduct much cheaper than the non-GMO product where is your free market then?

        I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

        by OHdog on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:32:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Alex Jones? Ha ha ha ha ha... (10+ / 0-)

    I thought that could get you banned here.

    Good source.

    The really funny part? The biggest spender on the labeling in CA is Big Quack: Joe Mercola.   http://www.kcet.org/...

    Nice allies. Nutbags and fraudsters.

    “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 Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:38:31 PM PDT

  •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mem from somerville, Kingsmeg

    "It looks like how music sounds." --My four year old nephew upon looking through a kaleidoscope for the first time

    by Mote Dai on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:11:24 PM PDT

  •  oh god, not this again. (9+ / 0-)

    There is no such thing as food that has not been genetically modified!  EVERYTHING we eat has been genetically tampered with for the last 10,000 years!

    Every Heirloom tomato, every fresh ear corn on the cob is a complete frankenstein.

    Kale, every variety of cabbage and lettuce, broccoli, cauliflour, celery, spinach -- all genetically modified from the same original wild plant.

    cows, goats, sheep, pigs -- all genetically modified from their original wild forms.  As are horses, donkeys, dogs and cats.

    Genetic modification by black box trial and error has been what humans do going back 10,000 years.  Now that we know some of the inner workings of the machine, some anti-science idiots think this is more dangerous.  We know more than the guys who created cattle by trial and error.  I think we'll do OK with it.

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:14:10 PM PDT

    •  We have inserted genes in things for 10000 years?? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr SeeMore, atana, redstella

      Here I thought that actually inserting gene sequences physically into a chromosome was highly technical and fairly recent...How did we get those genes there if they were not already present in some members of the particular plant or animal. We selected for  characteristics but I didn't know we had put human genes or toher animal or plants into non-members of those animals or plants groups.  WOW we were really smart. It is simply that we should not worry about anything scientists come up with because they never find the results that will make them rich without regard to the harm they do.

      Anti science??? Is science crafted to fit  economic interests. Label it so we can choose for ourselves. If there is no harm attributable to GMOs then let the evidence become explicit. Why the fear of labeling???   Why the push to force people to partake of something they do not feel comfortable with... Oh yeah, if we disagree we are stupid, ignorant or 'anti-science'.  No wonder so many people are becoming anti-science when science is used to claim authority to keep them from knowing what may be causing thier skin to melt or thier bowels to dissolve or so many past claims have proven to injure so many? Is it any wonder that some are rejecting claims when we have the economics of science shilling us?

      You think??? And we are supposed to accept that and not know any more then what we are told. Geesh that sounds like the authoritarian churches. What was that someone further up did: bundled vaccine deniers, fluoride, raw milk... WTF? Should some bundle disproven scientific claims to require others to remain silent and not ask questions about something new... Oh wait that is right we have been implanting gene sequences that never existed in a specific plant or animal before for 10000 years so we should just relax and let the profit takers do whatever experiment they want to us without our knowledge because gee whiz anyone who doesn't want to be experimented on without knowing whether a reaction may be tied to a particular change is stupid, foolish and ignorant.

      I have degrees in math and chemistry. I have spent my working life in labs both medical and chemical... I am so offended by the crap science being pushed to day by many groups, each claiming they are the real scientists and the others fake or junk... I was taught scientists always collect data, scientists DO not favor any use of science without cautious data from the population and scientists do not come up with a theory or idea and then simply silence those who disagree or have different data.... OK scientists are human, they need to earn a living and they have emotional prejudices so sometimes they play politics.

      I do not know if GMOs are safe or not... people authoritatively say yes of course they are because I said so and I am never wrong.  I am beginning to slant to the opposition because anything of such short period of existence (despite your 10000 year claim) that is pushed so hard based on theory and conjecture needs to be examined. If silencing is thier main tactic then something may require hiding and maybe there is a calculation of acceptable risk. Just my bias. If we can not discuss it there is something wrong... So feel free call me names and denigrate me. Geesh even new pharmaceuticals get pulled after population statistics indicate a problem. But GMOs should get a pass? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

      How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:54:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One thing we can be absolutely sure of, since (0+ / 0-)

        the supporting evidence is overwhelming, is that much of the non-GMO food people eat every day is bad for them.

        Excuse me while I go fry some non-GMO bacon.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:09:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not to pick nits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice

          but unless your bacon is organic, it ate GMO corn and GMO soy.  :-)

          Something like 80% of the US food supply contains GMOs at this point, and that all happened without any discussion or conscious assent from consumers. For what it's worth.

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

          by elfling on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:50:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You might like this (0+ / 0-)

      Michael Eisen started a different campaign:

      http://www.zazzle.com/...

      “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 Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:58:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are a few foods that haven't been (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder

      genetically modified (at least deliberately by humans, natural selection and hunting selection are another story). Most wild fish and game. A few nuts and berries qualify, Seaweed.

      So the good news is that you can have sushi as long as you scrape off the rice and veggies and then have huckleberries for dessert. Here in West Virginia you can have venison and ramps as long as you stay down wind.

    •  Maize is changed, but it never bred with bacteria (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy

      At least it didn't until the genes of Bacillus thuringiensis -- a natural insecticide that used to used (sparingly) by organic farmers -- was injected into the genome of maize ("corn") plants.

      So yeah, this technology actually is new.  I think the frankenfood scare tactics often used against GMOs are largely bullshit.  That said:  the kind of industrial agriculture that the technology represents is bad for food security, favors corporate farming over keeping farmers in much of the world productively on the land, and encourages bad agricultural practices.

      So no, this is not the same old same old.  This is new technology that has not been effectively studied or regulated, but taken advantage of bought-off regulators.

      Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

      by mbayrob on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:53:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The worst thing about GMO corn & soybeans (0+ / 0-)

        is that most of them are RoundUp Ready, meaning they've been sprayed with glyphosate. That shit is poison. I prefer not to ingest that, but your mileage may vary. I insist that GMO foods be labeled because I refuse to ingest glyphosate.

      •  Could you go do a bit of work and let us all know (0+ / 0-)

        how much of the maize genome, and of the human genome, is incorporated sequences from virus DNA?

        My quick Google says 5-8% of my code is viral in origin.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:14:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I do not agree with this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy

      Selecting the parents of a new plant or animal is not the same as inserting DNA from another lifeform. Choosing the best pea plants for breeding is still using pea plants. No where before have people inserted worm genes into pigs.

      So how do you know the effects of eating the modified plants/animals? How can you possibly know?

      Calling plant and animal selection gene modification is a confusion - it is not the same. Hybrids are not gene modification.

      Just anecdotally, I can no longer eat corn without headaches.  I know - not scientifically proved but what if many many people have the same effect? If we have been eating genetically modified food only since 1996 - how can you know it is totally safe? Especially if the industry resists any continued independent studies.

      •  I can't eat any corn except for organic corn (0+ / 0-)

        I have bad intestinal cramps if I do.

        It wasn't that way before the GM corn hit the markets. It took me a while to figure it out.

        My key beef is the same as yours, that the companies that produce these GM products refuse to let any outside scientists test it. That makes it very suspect to me. What happened to peer-reviewed?

        Women create the entire labor force.

        by splashy on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:09:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Our food supply is now 80% GMO (0+ / 0-)

        and we all know Americans are healthier than ever... :-)

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

        by elfling on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:52:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  yes, again (0+ / 0-)

      Well said.  Perhaps we should direct our suspicions toward those food processors who are ripping off all of us by peddling food that is changed beyond all recognition after it leaves the farm as being good for us.

    •  It seems odd that food companies aren't proud (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, The Book Bear

      and excited to label their products with a nice sparkly label saying, "Made with GMO ingredients!"

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

      by elfling on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:47:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not the same as genetic modification (0+ / 0-)

      GMOs are simply not the same as hybridization or selective breeding.
      With GMO, DNA from a completely foreign species is injected into the DNA of the receiving cell. No other type of breeding introduces foreign DNA.
      The process of modifying DNA alone, can cause unintended consequences. They literally us a gun to "shoot" the DNA into receiving cells. Because they cannot know if  the process was successful right away, they add antibiotic resistant marker genes. After the modification they wash the slides in antibiotics. What ever cells survive the antibiotics are considered success and are then cloned to become our seed.
      This type of modification allows scientists to cross species barriers. It has made it so cows in China are producing human milk. Jelly fish DNA was added to kittens and pigs causing their organs to glow. Fish DNA was added to tomatoes to make tomatoes that resist frost. There are rice test fields that contain human DNA for increase protein.
      Please do not confuse genetic modification and selective breeding. If it were the same, they could not patent it.

  •  That is the WRONG QUESTION (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana

    Are genetically modified plants and animals safe for the environment?  If the answer is "no", the result could be ecosystem collapse, and that is a far more serious outcome than a few deaths or illnesses resulting from eating GMO-produced food.

    •  Correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      atana

      any farmer with a 4th grade education knows the genetic diversity of our crops is what keeps us from starving.

      Every variety of every species of plant had its achellis heal each is different. This is the way nature keeps things from becomingtotaly extinct. But if 80% of an entire wheat, or corn or soybean crop is genetically identical the likelihood of massive loss sometime in the near future is probable.

      Every time I read these I read how science knows it all and any body who disagrees is stupid.In this case science is short sighted. Science is only interested in the moeny. Science has no idea how variety and diversity work because they haven't studied history nor have do they know a whole lot about farming. The real world is not in a lab what looks good on paper may not be so hot in reality.
      We are already seeing super bugs in response to GMO seed. Soon we should have a nice batch of super viruses

      Then there is the patenting,how dare they try to put a stranglehold on the source of food.

      The whole thing makes me sick because its all about greed and power.

      It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

      by PSWaterspirit on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:28:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, The Book Bear

      I believe more research is required on the safety issue. I also agree with PSWaterspirit that monocultural practices are very risky.

      My reason for wanting labeling is to allow me to be a fully informed participant in the market: I reserve the option to choose the business I buy from.

      Monsanto, and to a large extent, the others (Archer Daniels Midland, etc.) are playing serious hardball with farmers over the issue over their exercise of near monopoly control over the food marketplace.

      I choose not to support that sort of offensive behavior, and want labeling to make that choice possible.

      Lenski is a screen-nym, not my surname.

      by lenski on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:33:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've always been less concerned about (2+ / 0-)

    the safety issues than the copyright ones.  I don't like the idea that corporations can establish legally exclusive rights to the food that's grown and eaten.

    I think it was a patent that Monsanto had taken out on a genetically modified mango that alerted me to all this.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:28:37 PM PDT

    •  If people understood how much "regular" food (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mem from somerville

      is subject to the same patent law I wouldn't mind, but they don't, so I do mind.

      People also don't understand that while farmers buy seeds from, let's say, Satan, it's similar to buying software on cd from say, Apple. You get a disc, but your not really buying the disc, you're buying the software on the disc, which you swear you will not copy and use on other computers. If you want to, you agree to pay an additional fee.
      (F1 hybrids are kind of self regulating, keep those seeds and you get crappy 2nd generation plants.) GMOs usually breed true so companies get all draconian legal. Some farmers, like the rest of us, don't always like paying for things all the time so they keep seeds w/o paying the piper. Nothing high minded about that, if the seeds didn't perform, they chuck the stuff away, but it DOES work, so some try to sneak a season w/o paying.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:16:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Monsanto sues farmers with crops contaminated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Book Bear

        with pollen drifting from the GMO crop next door. That farmer's crops have been ruined for export to Europe or for sale as organic but Monsanto wins judgements against the innocent farmers for "stealing" their technology.

        I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

        by OHdog on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:50:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is only one reason they are altering our (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana

    food by inserting dubious genes. It is NOT to make the food better. It is only to make it cheaper. More money for the Corporate villains, you see.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

    by Mr SeeMore on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:17:25 PM PDT

  •  Is GMO Free Idaho a for-profit group? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    Are you associated with it?

  •  Umm... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, terrypinder, erush1345

    short answer: yes.

    Long answer: virtually all of our food is "genetically modified", unless you live off the grid in a cave.

    That being said, Monsanto is still evil, because they use abusive and coercive means to get people to buy crap that doesn't perform.  They're con artists.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:49:13 PM PDT

  •  Voted needs more research (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, the fan man

    because from what I have heard GMOs are relatively safe, but still the technology is new and it takes time to collect a definitive set of data one way or the other.

    In the main time, I remain relatively supportive of labeling. Not because I believe GMOs are harmful, but because I believe in honest labeling. Corporations, IMO, have an responsibility to tell us what they do to their food, and consumers have the right to know what is done to the food they are putting in their mouth. Just my 2 cents on the matter.

    Squidward: The noises! How are you two making those noises?

    Patrick: Well, that's easy. All you need is a box.

    SpongeBob: And...imagi~nation!

    by rexymeteorite on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:13:59 PM PDT

  •  Closed source software (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, Frank Knarf

    I've been following this issue pretty closely for more than 10 years.  I think that the evidence for a food safety issue is the weakest argument made against GMOs.

    Better issues:

    • Genetic diversity of the crops we grow.  GMOs are all about planting patented clones, usually so somebody can sell some herbicide or the other that works with it.  Given what happened to the Irish when a fungus killed off their potatoes, I'm not sure it's smart to grow huge quantities of cloned maize and soy bean plants that are engineered only to "like" particular herbicides.  And are not bred to be particularly fit for any other purpose.
    • While promoters of GMOs talk about all the wonderful things you could do (my favorite is all the talk about Wonder Rice that has better nutrition), in reality, what they sell in reality is herbicide resistance, and a little bit of abuse of engineered BT generating crops (which has effectively bred resistance to a very useful natural insecticide that organic farmers used to use).  In other words, any use that doesn't sell herbicides is a smoke screen, pretty much.
    • A small number of GMO crops with herbicide resistance genes have hybridized with their wild relatives, giving us weeds that are unusually hard to kill.  The best example I know is the plant that gives us canola oil (aka: "rape seed").
    • Patenting life has a lot of drawbacks.  If you thought the user agreement for Microsoft Windows was ridiculous, you probably have never seen the "intellectual property" agreements they make farmers sign about not saving seeds.  They give intellectual property lawyers a bad name, and given what a bad name they have already, that's saying something.

    I think the "frankenfood" scare tactics that some folks like to use is not only dishonest, it's not terribly effective.  This is mediocre technology that has been badly used and is of limited benefit.  Better plant breeds is a good idea.  And patented monoculture designed to sell Monsanto's RoundUpTM herbicide probably isn't, well, better plant breeds.  So I don't think the current GMO industry disserves much respect, and it sure as hell needs more scrutiny.

    Mitt Romney is a T-1000 sent back from the Future as a harbinger of the upcoming Robot Apocolypse.

    by mbayrob on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:41:52 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for this, it sums up the case against (0+ / 0-)

      current uses of GMO and the hysteria about food safety quite well.

      The tools themselves have potential for any number of useful and safe applications, as is the case with most of our technologies.  We are having this discussion via a network that grew out of military R&D.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:21:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Precisely (0+ / 0-)

      The purpose in creating these GMO foods is to sell herbicide and to create patent/royalty rights to seed.

      And finally, if there is any risk to the GMO foods, the consumers bear most of the risks and get none of the benefits. They haven't even been informed that they're part of the experiment.

      If GMO was being used to create more nutritious foods or other more obvious end-user benefits, I'd probably feel differently about it.

      Labeling is a pretty benign requirement. I'm not blind to the costs and difficulty of it, but it seems to me that this is in part because Monsanto (et al) has gone out of its way to make it hard to keep the streams separate. If you have to label it all, label it all. Easy peasy.

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

      by elfling on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:58:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  genetically modified not same as genetic selection (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redstella, splashy

    Inserting a new gene into an organism completely ignores epigenetics. Within the cell wall and outside of the nucleus are fragments of DNA which act as switches. This is an entirely new field of study so a lot still is unknown. But genetic modification ignores the implications entirely, making all of us unwitting ginea pigs in  a grand human experiment.

  •  voted yes (0+ / 0-)

    most of what we eat is already "modified" via artificial selection.

    I will compromise and say it should be labeled, though, so those terrified of it can avoid it. I also think bananas should be labeled as radioactive so people terrified of radiation can avoid them too. But me? I'll gladly nom down on some GMOs. Probably already do.

    pseudoscience can kill

    by terrypinder on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:37:35 AM PDT

    •  Terrified? Actually, pissed-off over patents. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rovertheoctopus, The Book Bear

      I am one of a (small? large?) number of people who are not especially concerned about the health effects of GMO: In an overall risk assessment, GMO does not rise high on my list.

      In a broader context however, these organizations have near monopoly pricing power: A single organization whose charter is to make as much money as possible for its shareholders and nothing else is a huge risk both personally and on the "macro scale".

      Lenski is a screen-nym, not my surname.

      by lenski on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:48:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We don't know. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling

    There have been all sorts of studies on the most straightforward potential risks, and they've generally panned out on the 'safe' side.  But biology is enormously complex, and microbiology and physiology is still expanding every day.  There are all sorts of mechanisms of action for the treatment of molecules that we don't understand, haven't identified.  Go through Davis' drug guide, and you'll see words like 'mechanism of action unknown'.  We know that drug A causes effect B, but we don't know how.   We know that disease C exists, but we don't know what is actually causing or making it happen faster.

    So there's a strong chance we don't even know the questions to ask, the studies to do to 'prove' that there are no long term effects of eating these new creations.  What we can say is that within the tiny window of possibility that we've examined repeatedly, they 'seem' safe for ingestion.

  •  If there were something amis I'd never believe it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, FG

    as anti GMO folks always come across as crusaders. I leave science to the scientists and when most of them seem to think one way I go with it, wether it be continental drift, global warming, or GMOs and I have to say scientists don't seem real concerned over GMOs, if that attitude shifts I'll take notice, but for now I group anti GMO folks with climate deniers.

    The theory that nature is permanently in balance has been largely discredited

    by ban nock on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:06:49 AM PDT

    •  If not the science, watch out for the economics. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, FG, rovertheoctopus

      I'm with you on the science.

      I am way more concerned over the monopoly pricing power that the GMO organizations have acquired.

      My reason for wanting labeling is to know how to avoid giving those people yet more marketplace funding to continue their practices.

      Lenski is a screen-nym, not my surname.

      by lenski on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:51:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Eat Starch Mom (0+ / 0-)


    He's just an American boy
    And he loves his machine
    No back-talk from a machine
    When was the last time a television set
    Gave you shit about who you met last night?
    No back-talk machine

    If your motor doesn't turn over smooth for you
    You don't feed it right
    Give it a little grease
    Give it a little gas

    Drive straight on through the night
    Man-made mechanical mover
    Love your machine
    You say nothing's right but natural things
    Ah, you fool
    Poison oak is a natural plant

    Why don't you put some in your food?
    Natural food
    I don't care if there's chemicals in it
    As long as my lettuce is crisp

    Preservatives might just be preserving you
    I think that's something you missed
    Ya you missed it
    Man-made mechanical mover
    I love his machine
    He's just an American boy
    And I love his machine

    Smooth moving steel
    Keep your engine warm and wet
    Be friendly to your steel
    Feed it right, your mechanical pet
    Then get behind the wheel
    Put a little starch in the old Corvette

    Then give it a feel
    Smooth moving steel, give it a feel
    Man-made mechanical mover
    It'll move faster than you can
    Vegetable lover

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:07:23 AM PDT

  •  You posted it a few days ago. Why is it up again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn, Frank Knarf

    with no changes and the same comments?

  •  I retired to 3rd World SE Asia. The problem here (0+ / 0-)

    seems to be poverty, not lack of food. But, this could change. We lose far too much food to spoilage (year-round high humidity and heat) and higher crop yields would be really helpful, so anything that helps is food that I am willing to personally try. If it is harmful, I will let you know.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:18:27 AM PDT

    •  Make sure the local authorities are not bought off (0+ / 0-)

      Anything that helps people eat better, whether it be GMO or great selective breeding is on its own, a generally good idea.

      Granting pricing power to executives whose only purpose for being is making money is a deal with the devil.

      Lenski is a screen-nym, not my surname.

      by lenski on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:54:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GMOs Myths and such (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Book Bear

    I am the Co-Founder of GMO Free Idaho. I have read through most of the comments here and I just thought I would make a few comments. There are definitely some really well versed folks here!

    GMOs are very different from selective breeding or hybridization. So different that they qualify for a patent under US Patent Law.
    Scientists introduce DNA from foreign species who have a desired trait. This is usually a virus or bacteria DNA (for GMOs currently on the market). Because they cannot know if it was successful, they add an antibiotic resistant marker gene. They wash the entire slide in antibiotics and whatever survives the process is cloned to become seed for our food supply.
    One type of GMO creates a crop that can resist dying when sprayed with Roundup, meaning farmers can spray the entire field with Roundup instead of selective spraying. The other type of crop is one that expresses its own pesticide in every cell. This means you cannot wash it off.
    With selective breeding/hybridization you can take two apple species and create new apple, two dog species creates new dog...etc.
    GM can combine two completely foreign species otherwise impossible to mix. More extreme examples are cows that produce human milk in China, human DNA in rice, jelly fish DNA in pigs and cats, spider DNA in goats, etc.
    The concerns for human safety are very much related to our lack of knowledge about the effects of these crops. We simply do not know. The FDA has not conducted human safety tests. They only review data from the producer. Monsanto has not conducted safety testing according to their website. There are no conversations going on in our country to decide if the increases in specific illnesses we have seen over the last 20 years might be related to the introduction of GMOs. Because there is no labeling in the United States, consumers do not even know it should be part of the discussion.
    BTW, over 40 countries around the world have either banned or labeled GMOs.
    The "feeding a hungry world" argument does not have merit because:
    1. The cause of most starvation in the world is poverty and lack of democracy. People who have enough money get to eat. The biotech industry isn't exactly feeding the poor. In fact, their prices on seeds are significantly higher and require a dependence on expensive chemicals. In addition the farmers are required to purchase new seed every year because of patent laws.
    2. No GMOs currently on the market are engineered to increase yield or nutrition. They are only engineered to express their own pesticide or to use in conjunction with Monsanto's Roundup.
    The other, perhaps bigger, concern is the environmental consquences. We are being exposed to significant amounts of Roundup and other chemicals required to grow these crops. The decline in bee populations are related to these chemicals and some studies indicate they could be related to GMOs themselves. Monocultures are damaging and dangerous and a couple of corporations controlling the majority of the worlds seed supply is not exactly appealing to me.
    GMOs have caused significant financial hardships for many small farmers. Farmers have lost their overseas markets due to contamination of their crop. Some other countries have a zero tolerance policy regarding GMOs. Organic growers are powerless to prevent cross contamination by wind, bees, birds etc.
    Because the corporations are only focused on the end profit results, GMOs look quite successful. But, there are many small farmers who have been bullied by the industry. Most lack the ability to fight back. It is difficult to tell what the financial impact has been as seed companies and farmers have been consumed by the big guys.
    As for us GMO folks being like climate deniers... Well, that is just not so. The scientists who have publicly backed GMOs are generally paid by the industry. The universities having lost public funding over the years have filled funding gaps with grant money from companies who have an interest in having positive data come out about GMOs. Interestingly, when you purchase GMO seeds, you must sign a contract stating that you will not use the seed for any other purposes, including research. The FDAs own researchers were ignored and silenced when they recommended additional testing on GMOs prior to approval according to FDA documents.
    Sorry to be so long winded! I love that this topic is being discussed because at the end of the day, no matter how you feel about GMOs, most people think we have a right to know about it.

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