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Over the last week, I've been engaged in the comments sections of several diaries on the subject of GM crops. Some of these have been "pro-GMO", while others have been "anti-GMO". I've seen some users being called "conspiracy theorists", and others being called "Monsanto shills". What I do not see is productive discussion emerging from this divide, and I hope to use this diary to address this.

First off, it is probably important for me to note that I consider myself "pro-GMO". I have several friends who are well-versed in the science, and I see great potential in addressing problems of world hunger and malnutrition. That said, I can understand concerns with the business practices of the largest biotech companies, notably the way Monsanto exploits a patent system to force dependence on their seeds.

I believe that to resolve differences in opinion among the DK community, we have to look at areas where we can all agree.

The Consumer should always be Informed and Educated when making his or her Decision

Any market-based economy can only function if the consumer fully understands their decision when performing actions of trade. For this reason, it never hurts to maximize the consumer's knowledge about what they purchase.

I support labeling, but it seems to me that system many people are going for is a simple "GM/non-GM" label, which I do not believe completely informs the consumer due to the broad range of uses of GMOs in the industry. I'm in favor of a labeling system that informs the consumer of exactly what modifications are made, along with their intended effect. Additional information should be made accessible on a relevant website for the product.

Independent and Fair Scientific research should be promoted

In addition to consumers knowing what they have in their food, they should be able to view information about what the effects are. For this reason, I think that any legislative action to label foods should also come with public funding for independent and transparent research into the effects of GM crops on yield, health, and the environment. This research cannot have conflicted interests from industries that produce GMs. The results of these studies should be accessible for the public and the scientific community.

Originally posted to MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 10:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In regards to addressing malnutrition (25+ / 0-)

    I've heard that peddled as a reason for GMO products since long before they were ever a reality. But the fact of the matter is that it is a PR move. There has been some increase in crop yields, although the drastic rise in food prices in 2008 happened when there was a record yield so growing more isn't the solution to feeding people or at least not the only one.

    The other issue that I don't see GMO supporters address is the problem of monoculture. GMOs are, and correct me here if I'm wrong, essentially clones. It would take very little for a disease to tear through a specific strand of, for example, GMO wheat. If that happened we could see famine conditions or at least food shortages.

    One of my frustrations is that GMO supporters, not you to be clear, tend to ascribe the arguments of everyone who opposes GMO to anyone who opposes it. I get accused of moving goal posts.

    Independent and Fair Scientific research should be promoted
    The big problem is figuring out how to make this a reality. A lot of people on the left don't trust science a whole lot because they've seen what happened with things like tobacco. When the industry and government agencies controlled by the industry are responsible for most of the research pertaining to the safety of GMO, as they are, then that research is suspect. The fact that former Monsanto employess are running the FDA should be a source of outrage across the spectrum of GMO supporters or opposition. But I never see supporters come out and oppose those things unless it's specifically brought up. Never.

    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

    by AoT on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 11:28:19 AM PDT

    •  They're not really usually clones (14+ / 0-)

      Although some plants essentially are - most commercial bananas are, I think I heard.  They all just have some specific gene or set of genes spliced in.  So, they're not necessarily clones any more than every person who has the genes for red hair are clones.

      But they do encourage the creation of a monoculture, by making it more likely that farmers will choose to plant that specific variant of the plant, which does lead to the possibility of a single new blight wiping out large swathes of a given crop around an area.

      The point I would have disagreed with in that first paragraph was the part about 'addressing world hunger', since I thought pretty much everyone agreed that we already produce enough food for the current world population, we just don't actually distribute it to them, but starve those who can't afford to buy it.

    •  On the nutritioin issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Kevskos, sewaneepat

      I don't think that debate is just about yields, but about plants that are modified to increase the nutritional content.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:32:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  UCS' Disingenuous "Failure To Yield" Report (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Roadbed Guy

        I covered this is comments yesterday - the Union of Concerned Scientists did a report with the wildly inflammatory title "Failure To Yield," followed by 50 pages that directly contradicted the title.

        So they're trying to make yield an issue through rhetoric even while their own data refutes them.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:47:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've seen various different reports (4+ / 0-)

          and most say that there is a larger yield but that it seems to fall again in some cases, not sure how many. But this is where that whole unbiased research comes in to play. For me, the fact that we already grow enough food to feed the world means that yield shouldn't be an issue. Nutrition is a completely different thing.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:56:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's another thing I did not mention (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pixxer, AoT, Kevskos, Catte Nappe

        I have heard about some crops modified to extend shelf life and remove natural toxins. Should these be proven to have no malicious side effects, I would be happy to promote their use in the market (with the same labeling regulations, of course).

        Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

        by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:55:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I completely agree with your diary; in fact, (16+ / 0-)

          I wrote in one comment thread this week that I could support a law requiring labeling of the form "Gene XYZZY from Butterfly genus Butterflius has been added to this plant, under the control of the YZZYX promoter, so that the gene is expressed only in roots." (and then something about the nature of the gene product, etc.)  Details about the gene and its expression, in non-scientese and scientese both, could be available on a website, and reachable via a QR code next to the GM designation. I mean, how hard is that???

          I did not support the CA legislation b/c it seemed largely to be suggesting labeling equivalent to "The Bogeyman Is In This Container!!!" Part of the argument was that seeing GM on a label could allow consumers to protect themselves. Given that (as that previous diarist so very well pointed out) GM is an almost information-free label, because it describes a technology that has been used, not a change that has been made, the only "value" of a simple "GM" label would be in scaring people. Unless you know specifically what change has been made, you know nothing about whether it might be a problem.

          As a biochemist by training, who teaches molecular cell biology, I would be remiss not to point out that the interactions inside a cell are as complex as an ecosystem - perhaps more so - so just saying "we took out a toxin, no problem" is insufficient, without a lot of cell biology and plant physiology to check on whether it is in fact a problem or not. Perhaps the plant's cells respond to low levels of that toxin by turning on another gene for a toxin that's worse, for example. Really exhaustive tests are needed for everything one tries, no matter how innocuous it may sound. That said, I am not at all "anti-GMO" - I'm more anti-oversimplification and anti-boogeyman-scares.  

          We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
          Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

          by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:20:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Natural hybrids are much more dangerous (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pixxer

            in that regard (e.g., turning off a toxin, which, btw probably happens even more by epigenetic than genetic mechanisms) - so I assume that you advocate "really exhaustive testing" for them?    

            What does that mean, in fairly exact terms?

            •  I'm intrigued by your statement that natural (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kevskos, Catte Nappe

              hybrids are probably more dangerous. Data?

              If that be true, yes, clearly exhaustive testing would be in order. Anything we've eaten successfully for millenia gets a pass. Carl Sagan, and others in the Skeptics (what is their official name?) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

              I think that there is a parallel here - the technology of transforming cells, though simple enough to be a high school biology exercise in some earlier forms, is also new enough to be still "extraordinary" in many of its applications. I think it is not inappropriate to require more aggressive testing of the fruits of this newer technology to find out what surprises we get.

              We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
              Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

              by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:59:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You stated the turning off a single gene was (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pixxer, beauchapeau, Catte Nappe

                potentially dangerous and required extensive testing.

                A natural hybrid is going to have far more than one gene disrupted - either by genetic recombination or epigenetic mechanisms.

                Basically, there's going to be a whole lot of compensating going on!  And we know virtually nothing about it.

              •  Crop Plants Are Polyploid, Massively Shuffled DNA (4+ / 0-)

                Most crop plants have 3x, 4x, 8x the number of chromosomes at some point followed by generations of deletions and recombination.

                Want to do safety testing of every new variety of sorghum, citrus, or blueberry? Hey, I'm in, let's spend as much on food safety as we do on the Air Force.  I'm all for it, because there would be work in it for me.

                There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:10:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Here's a New York Times article (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pixxer, Catte Nappe

                that amplifies on your premise that plants can upregulate toxins

                About 99.9 percent of the chemicals humans ingest are natural. The amounts of synthetic pesticide residues in plant food are insignificant compared to the amount of natural pesticides produced by plants themselves. Of all dietary pesticides that humans eat, 99.99 percent are natural: they are chemicals produced by plants to defend themselves against fungi, insects, and other animal predators.

                We have estimated that on average Americans ingest roughly 5,000 to 10,000 different natural pesticides and their breakdown products. Americans eat about 1,500 mg of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than the 0.09 mg they consume of synthetic pesticide residues.

                The logical follow through of this is that if plants are stressed by insects, they are going to produce lots of natural pesticides; if they are not (for example, if they are sprayed by synthetic pesticides) they won't.  Thus the use of synthetic pesticides can actually reduce the overall levels of pesticides that are eaten .  That's a rather counter intuitive idea to most people . . .
                •  The Case of The Poison Potato (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pixxer, Roadbed Guy, Catte Nappe

                  http://boingboing.net/...

                  This was the 1960s

                  Lenape was genetically predisposed towards producing an extraordinarily high amount of solanine, no matter what happened to it during growth and harvest. The average Russet potato, for instance, contained about 8 mg of solanine for every 100 g of potato. Lenape, on the other hand, was closer to 30 mg of toxin for every 100 g of food. That made it nicely resistant to a lot of agricultural pests. But it also explained why some of the people who were the first to eat Lenapes — most of them breeders and other professionals in the agriculture industry — ended up with severe nausea, like a fast-acting stomach bug.

                  There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                  by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 08:05:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The debate goes on (and on and on and on) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy

                    The potato story is from nearly 50 years ago. It was retold as an example in an article 20 years ago, on the debate over GMOs and labeling. The article could have been written yesterday. Not a thing being said that hasn't been said umpteen times in the recent diaries on the subject (and vice versa)

                    "Conventional plant breeding can markedly change the vitamin, nutrient and flavor content of fruit and vegetables," he said. "But biotechnology is going to be able to do that much more dramatically." Still, Benbrook believes that there is "persuasive technology and scientific arguments that support" FDA's regulatory approach. He calls the prospect of a biotechnology label on produce or other foods a "threatening scarlet letter."
                    "When you buy processed foods the ingredients are always on the label and they are not labeled just because they may be hazardous," said Rebecca Goldburg, senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund in New York. "People have all sorts of reasons to know what is in their food. And many of the reasons have to do with religious or ethical beliefs."
                    http://articles.latimes.com/...

                    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 09:40:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Other Food Plant Toxins (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy, Catte Nappe

                  Psoralens (carcinogens) - celery, carrots, figs

                  Solanine (toxic alkaloid) - potatoes, not to mention the other alkaloids from other members of the deadly nightshade family (tomato, eggplant)

                  Canavanine (amino acid analog) - cumulative insecticidal  toxin concentrated in alfalfa sprouts

                  Bean Toxins, especially fava beans
                      Tyramine which is dangerous to people on MAO
                          inhibiters
                      Isouramil, Divince - can crash the red blood cell count
                          of geneticall predisposed people

                  Corn (fungal aflotoxin) - causes liver cancer

                  Oxalic Acid - abundant in green vegetables, cause kidney stones and kidney failure.  Must also be soaked out of root crops like taro.

                  Cyanide - root crops like casava must be soaked to avoid poisoning.  Also used to be present in high levels in apricots, and is still at high levels in ornamental apricots.

                  And don't forget the dangerous drug interactions, like grapefruit juice which interferes with the metabolism of many common drugs.

                  Numerous dangerous food allergies are overwhelmingly caused by plants.  Few people go into anaphylactic shock while eating a nice New York strip steak.  

                  Also, many familiar plants have concentrated cyanide or neurotoxins in their seeds (how do we know it will stay there?)

                  There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                  by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 09:05:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The L-canavanine in alfalfa is increased in GMO (0+ / 0-)

                    varieties - it's specifically added to increase insect resistance. A case in which the GMO variety is made worse than the natural one.

                    •  I'd Need To See A Citation On That (0+ / 0-)

                      The toxicity of canavanine has been known for 40 years even though it never made it to the radar screens of sprout lovers.

                      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                      by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:32:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Here's one (0+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hidden by:
                        bernardpliers

                        http://www.aphis.usda.gov/...

                        Assessment of the results demonstrated that, with the exception of three compositional constituents (ash, canavanine, and ferulic acid), there were no statisitically significant differences in 44 of the 47 constituents statistically compared.
                        While the USDA goes on to claim that there is no health risk from the increase in canavanine, the claim cannot be substantiated via the kind of short-term studies done to date. The only way to determine the health effect is to wait until embryos affected by this new product grow up, develop hormonally-influenced cancers, and turn out to have a higher incidence of highly proliferative cancers due to an activated DMX receptor. And chances are the number of people who fall into all 3 categories will be small enough that population studies will barely show a blip - so, in all likelihood, some indeterminate number of people will die unnecessarily from having been the child of a person who ate a product whose only "benefit" is increases in the sale of a certain herbicide.

                        It's a risk people should be able to decide whether or not to take with their children's wellbeing.

                        •  Your Own Citation Says It's Lower Not Higher (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mikidee
                          The mean level of canavanine, an anti-nutri
                          ent, was significantly lower (p<0.05)
                          in
                          KK179 forage than the conventional control in
                          the combined-site analysis (Table VI-1).
                          The absolute difference in magnitude was 16.9
                          4 ppm, which is a relative difference of -
                          29.6%.
                          The part about it being engineered to have a higher canavanine content is something you cut and pasted from someone's site and apparently a hoax.

                          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                          by bernardpliers on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 06:46:26 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  The Rest Of Your Word Salad Is Just Trolling (0+ / 0-)

                          ....rising to the level of conspiracy theory, because alfalfa sprouts have always been toxic, and you're trying to give the impression that we haven't known this for at least 40 years.

                          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                          by bernardpliers on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:39:16 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Serious Question (0+ / 0-)
                  ...if plants are stressed by insects, they are going to produce lots of natural pesticides...
                  Not intended as snark: To your knowledge, how many of these natural pesticides produced by plants under predation are chlorinated hydrocarbons?

                  Aside from that, we garden organically (large veg garden, plus small fruits, and apples and pears), and use pesticides that are approved for usage under organic certification, so it's at least encouraging that we may be consuming less pesticides as a result of using (somewhat benign) pesticides.

                  Good information...

                  "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

                  by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:09:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's an interesting question (0+ / 0-)

                    While naturally occurring chlorinated hydrocarbons are ubiquitous and surprisingly abundant in nature (for example see Natural organic chlorine compounds or the  Wikipedia blurb on the topic ) I have never really associated the production of these compounds with plants.  But according to part of the Wikipedia entry, it definitely appears that they could be made by plants . .. .  for example, plants make all of the following (in bold):

                    Although rare compared to non-halogenated organic compounds, many organochlorine compounds have been isolated from natural sources ranging from bacteria to humans.[1][2] Chlorinated organic compounds are found in nearly every class of biomolecules including alkaloids, terpenes, amino acids, flavonoids, steroids, and fatty acids.[1][3] Organochlorides, including dioxins, are produced in the high temperature environment of forest fires, and dioxins have been found in the preserved ashes of lightning-ignited fires that predate synthetic dioxins.[4] In addition, a variety of simple chlorinated hydrocarbons including dichloromethane, chloroform, and carbon tetrachloride have been isolated from marine algae.[5] A majority of the chloromethane in the environment is produced naturally by biological decomposition, forest fires, and volcanoes.[6] The natural organochloride epibatidine, an alkaloid isolated from tree frogs, has potent analgesic effects and has stimulated research into new pain medication.
                    in any event, that makes it quite explicit to stay away from the tree frogs and algae!
              •  here is a link.... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pixxer, Roadbed Guy

                http://books.google.com/...

                It is on toxins in domesticated vs wild plants.  Back breeding to wild plants for desirable traits like insect resistance can introduce unforeseen problems easily.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:53:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  reality. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Anne Elk, mikidee

              the genes of EVERYTHING we eat has been extensively and massively modified.  Wheat, Rice, Corn, Barley, even exotic grains like Quinoa all started as basically grass seeds.

              Broccolli, Cauliflour, all Lettuce and Cabbage types, Kale, Spinach, and Brussel Sprouts all share a common ancestor as recent at 10,000 years ago.

              Pork, Cattle, Chickens, Sheep, Goats and horses are considerably different from their wild cousins.  Dogs vs Wolves and Cats vs. Wildcats are nothing compared to the difference between Wheat and Corn and their wild ancestors.

              the only real difference between this stuff and GM crops, is with GM Crops we have some idea what happens, as compared to the black box of traditional breeding and hybrids.  This is how anti-science anti-GM types really are: "We know what we are doing now, so it MUST be more certain to cause disaster" -- its Pre-Asimov Robots, only with food.

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

              by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 01:19:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  GMOs have never been tested ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... and never will be because FDA has declared them safe. It's too late for testing anyway now that this crap is loose because there's no way to get it back. You say you're not anti-GMO ,but rather anti-boogeyman-scares. Where are you on the right to choose what you put in your mouth?

          •  Yup (2+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Involuntary Exile, atana
            Hidden by:
            bernardpliers

            There's an awful lot that goes on within cells in response to what those cells encounter. A spokesman from the FDA testified in VT that a change of a single amino acid couldn't cause any health effects, so VT shouldn't bother to pursue labeling. (He really said that in actual testimony.) I was dumbfounded.

            So, apparently, he's never heard of phenylketonuria?

            A little digging brought up some interesting tidbits re: GMO alfalfa, which replaces L-arginine with L-canavanine. This kills the insects that eat alfalfa, but it also has a known effect in humans - specifically worsening of lupus and, in susceptible individuals, induction of lupus, according to real medical studies, not the anti-vaxer-style pseudo science: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/...

            In addition, it has not been studied to determine whether ingesting L-canavanine while pregnant can lead to absorption thereof into developing fetuses, but the implications could be dire if it does - because when it gets into human embryonic kidney cells, L-canavanine activates a particular receptor called the "dmx receptor," while the similar, but harmless amino acid L-arginine does not.  In humans, the dmx receptor plays a significant role in estrogen-sensitive cancer cell proliferation (PDF) http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/64/4/1522.full.pdf.

            So that's one tiny replacement of one amino acid for another in one crop. The replacement does cause issues with some susceptible people, and could potentially worsen some of the most common cancers in anyone exposed in utero, though the latter has never been studied and is not certain.

            The lack of long-term studies before releasing modified strains of food products into the field is essentially Russian roulette - most of the time, there won't be a round in the chamber, but there's always that one time...

            Labeling would at least let people choose whether or not to play the game. Many will simply not care, and will buy whatever is cheapest or most convenient, regardless of risks, but those who want to take a more cautious approach should be allowed the option.

            •  Phenylketonuria a different thing (0+ / 0-)

              to what the official was saying. PKU is caused by a mutation in a gene that results in a change in an amino acid in an enzyme that injures its function. The official was talking about a change in an ingested protein. I don't know if you are being intentionally misleading, but the official is generally correct.

              Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

              by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 01:52:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I know that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coquiero

                It's one example of an instance in which adding one amino acid to a food product had severe health impacts.

                The introduction of aspartame without labeling caused a huge black eye for the FDA, which is why I was stunned that the FDA's rep claimed a single amino acid change couldn't have a health effect. In people with PKU, it had very, very serious effects, which is why aspartame-containing products were eventually given warning labels.

                The mechanism of introduction into the food is secondary to the health effect. If it had been added to a food product by modifying an underlying grain to include it, it would have the exact same effect on PKU sufferers.

                •  HR For Cutting And Posting What Seems To Be A Hoax (0+ / 0-)

                  http://www.aphis.usda.gov/...

                  Canavanine levels were testing in the Monsanto alfalfa and are reported to be lower.  And I can't find anyone  besides that two sites that cutted and pasted the same thing you did.

                  There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                  by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:30:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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

                    The link I provided is from the USDA.

                    And since your comment is a response to the PKU portion of the thread, are you claiming that PKU isn't affected by phenylalanine in food?

                    •  Or are you saying (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      coquiero

                      That the Journal of Arthritis & Rheumatism is a hoax publication? Or that the Journal of Cancer research is a hoax publication?

                      I gave my citations, and copied nothing from any web sites. Where are your citations for the claim that I'm pasting from hoax sites?

                    •  Have You Fallen For The Old AGW Denier Trick ? (0+ / 0-)

                      Of citing a paper and then claiming it proves the opposite of what it really says.

                      From the USDA link.

                      The mean level of canavanine, an anti-nutri
                      ent, was significantly lower (p<0.05)
                      in
                      KK179 forage than the conventional control in
                      the combined-site analysis (Table VI-1).
                      The absolute difference in magnitude was 16.9
                      4 ppm, which is a relative difference of -
                      29.6%.
                      Plus you're claiming that Monsanto increased the level of something that is known as a human toxin for decades.

                      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                      by bernardpliers on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 06:49:03 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I respect you (0+ / 0-)

                        And have enjoyed your posts for several years. I am feeling very uncomfortable with the tone you are using in response to my comments here.

                        I snagged the wrong link. If I have time in the next few days, I'll try to dig up the right one. There is a company (apparently not monsanto) that was working on a self-protecting version of alfalfa that changed the ratio of l-canavanine. But even if the stuff never hit the market, the fact that a change in an amino acid can cause serious harm to human health is still true.

                        That is the point I am making: We know that changes in amino acids can cause severe, even deadly health effects, therefore claims to the contrary by the FDA are false.

                        The fact that it is possible for GMOs to be detrimental to human health, combined with the lack of longitudinal studies to determine if there are unexpected health effects, is the reason I favor allowing the consumer to make their own choices as to which products to buy via labeling.

                        You may disagree on labeling, but going the name-calling route isn't the most effective way to change my mind.

                •  A blanket claim is probably not warranted (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  coquiero
                  which is why I was stunned that the FDA's rep claimed a single amino acid change couldn't have a health effect.
                  considering that there are any number of counter examples - for example, a single amino acid change is responsible for sickle cell anemia.  And there are many more examples.

                  But as far as in food products (as compared to determining biochemical functions of a living cell, which like sickle cell anemia is what you are referring to) are concerned, that claim is accurate.  At least I have never seen a counter example.

            •  Hmmm That Alfalfa Smells Like Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

              Yeah, alfalfa sprouts have always been 1% canavanine, and their toxicity has been known at least 40 years.

              There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

              by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:49:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The alfalfa study you linked (0+ / 0-)

              is from the early 80s, well before GMO alfalfa (manuscript received in 1983, accepted in 1984, and published in 1985 - published online in 2005).

              Just wanted to make it clear it was not a study of GMO alfalfa.

              Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

              by mikidee on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:28:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  My guess is that lawyers couldn't figure out (0+ / 0-)

            how to write a law requiring that sort of labeling information.
            A law that says: put such-and-such text, verbatim, on the label of every product containing GMOs, is understandable to the court system. A law requiring useful scientific information would not be understandable.

            And it would be abused by the manufacturers, who would put on the label whatever "information" they thought would sell their product. They already do this with the content labeling laws, e.g. calling MSG "amino acids".

        •  Cotton Seed Oil... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          magnetics

          That was BRED via man made selection (not gene slicing) to remove the toxic and improve the cotton itself.  Same with rape seed (Canola oil).

          Look if they insert a fish gene into a tomato so it could travel from farm to market, I don't think that is natural.  But breeding a tomato do that via selection processes is OK by me.

          "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

          by doingbusinessas on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:24:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gene transfer between vastly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anne Elk

            different organisms is completely natural, for example, if you are a person, your genome contains dozens of bacterial genes (and even more viral DNA - something like 240,000,000 base pairs of that!).

            And even if it wasn't natural, so what?  Modern agriculture is far, far beyond that - even if the GMO boogeyman itself had never been invented . . .

          •  Gossypol.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            a toxin in cotton.  They wanted to remove it so plants could be eaten by animals like cows and seeds could be eaten by chickens.  Also, cotton seed oil is heat pressed to remove it.  Now they need to heat the plants to inactivate the toxin.  But getting rid of natural pest resistance can be a problem.  USDA is trying to make ricin free castor beans for the same reasons.  Castor makes a useful oil, but the seed has ricin, which needs to be heat inactivated.  It also has allergenic lectins, like most beans and legumes.  Seeds are full of proteins, some intended to thwart pests.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:01:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Have not done nutrition (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hooper

        either. Golden Rice is the only exception.  But vitamin A is easy to get in others foods such as these.   I think I'll skip any liver though.

          It just encourages rice monoculture and bad diets.  To much rice in Asian diets and to much corn in American.  Variety is much better,

        •  Let's lecture the world.... (5+ / 0-)

          on how to eat.  These diaries regularly say there is no problem with production, just distribution.  But they mean distribution of staples like rice.  In times of famine, it is food like rice that can be stored and distributed.  We have fewer nutritional deficiencies here both because we have better food distribution and because we supplement our food with vitamins like colic acid and vitamin D.  People in times of drought or flood or war lose whole crops, and rely on distributed food to make up the shortfall.  The monoculture we should worry about include tropical plantation farming for coffee and chocolate, where local folks no longer grow their diverse subsistence crops.

          In Africa, the emergency crop for Times of war is cassava.  They leave it in the ground, preventing spoilage.  It is not nutritionally dense and requires time consuming processing.  At Ohio State for over a decade they have been working to genetically engineer better cassava.  Or we could breed improved cassava.  Or breadfruit.  But these staples that can be stored are an important part of the distribution problem cavalierly waived off in these GMO diaries.  Half the tropical plant breeding challenges are making it have better characteristics for nutrition.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:16:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We cannot (0+ / 0-)

            solve these problems with science.  If there is a war people die, some directly and other indirectly.

              Science can be a good tool.  Sticking a vitamin that may or may not work in another corp is not good science, IMHO.   It is also demeaning to say they can only eat one crop because they have problems.  They rarely have them problems they were given to them.

            Keeps coming down to getting the food, and the right food, to the people when they need it.  A simple logistics problem that needs to be fixed.  The logistics are simple really, but greed. politics, i.e., humans get in the way.

            Put some packets of the favorite spices and herbs into the huge bags of rice in emergencies.  Maybe those aided can make some food that taste good like Moms, not starve and eat correctly.

            That is what I dislike about this argument.  GMO's can do all this.  There are lots of ways to do most things and simple is often the best and cheapest.

            There are other ways to deal with drought.  Current farming tech can make many droughts more problematic. Soil health is the key and dumping roundup on soil may not be the best idea unless one owns a glyphosate production facility.

            Who wants to waste time on 20 or 30 year ecological studies of a product.  Need that profit today.

          •  Maybe some enterprising (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Margd, Involuntary Exile

            railroad baron should introduce that lovely legume known as Kudzu to hold his track berms together against the elements. In not that much time the invasive nature of the vine would take over tens of millions of acres without any help from farmers whatsoever, because that's what it does.

            Kudzu leaves are high nutritional greens for humans and livestock. Cattle, goats and sheep love it, will eat all parts of the plant down to the soil line if they are not first ensnared by those same vines which are known to grow up to three feet a day and swallow everything in their path. Upon die-back in autumn kudzu produces a rich and nutrient-filled fine tilth to plow into crop fields. So long as it is sifted first for seeds. The flowers, seeds and pods are also quite tasty.

            Then there are the roots, usually at least a foot underground where seasonal wildfires can't harm them (they love fire). These are fleshy tubers often weighing several pounds, which can be processed into a starchy flour that makes fine noodles or thickener added to stews. Finally, there's those narrow flexible vines, which make very nice baskets and hats if you're crafty.

          •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

            You might also add the banana. The yellow fruit we know and love (most of us), reproduces clonally. Ugandans, for many years, have gotten up to 30% of their calories from this eminently suited tropical fruit. So the banana does not engage in sexual reproduction. If you genetically modify it, the usual concerns about "runaway genes" don't apply. However, this enormously useful and nutritious fruit is under grave threat by a fungus (Panama Disease). There are fears for the extinction of the banana as the fusarium fungus spreads into newer varieties. So this is one plant in which genetic engineering may be required in order to save a tremendously important plant, particularly in the Third World.

            Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

            by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:04:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Some of this is suspect though. (0+ / 0-)

        I know a study was done looking at GMO rice that had vitamin A or something.  THere was much rejoicing as this was a way to improve the diets of poorer asian people who mostly only could afford rice.  

        In reality, the amount of rice they would have had to eat in order to get enough of the vitamin, was way more than anyone could hope to eat, let alone afford to buy.

    •  THe other problem with "science" in this case (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Isn't just that much of the science is being done by the people who want to sell the product, but in the connection you make to tobacco.  There was a time when smoking was considered safe by the public, and science seemed to back that up.   But over time, as people used the product more and more, actual reality-based evidence started show the opposite issue.  People were getting sick.

      Part of this is because smoking rolled up tobacco leaves, as people did ages ago, is nowhere near the tobacco that goes into cigarettes.  Cigarrettes contain something like 200 chemicals over and above just the standard tobacco leaves grown in good ol' america.

      Another problem is persitent today in the food and drug system.  The current approval system doesn't just favor the business trying to sell the product, but also sees it as bad that a product be delayed to ensure property safety and studies.  Look at how many drugs are originally approved, only to get recalled later once people start getting sick.  This is because the people in charge think they need to get the product to market as quickly as possible.  The profits of the company are their primary concern, safety second.  Otherwise the burdern of proof for showing a new drug or GMO product is safe would be far higher (and take far longer) than it currently is.

      Because of this system, people inherently distrust it even if it may be perfectly fine in the long run.

    •  Forgot to mention (0+ / 0-)

      Prices shot up in 2008 for food for the same reason oil shotup.  Food commodities were put into the speculative market, along with oil, in 2008.  As such, food prices no longer directly reflect actual supply and demand.  They have shot up significantly as people who have no business getting involved in future's now meddle in the system, and have become much less transparent and much more volatile which is bad for farmers and consumers...but can be very good for traders, hedge funders, banksters, etc.

  •  Both those two changes would be excellent (8+ / 0-)

    Expect to have it fought tooth and nail.

    The GMO/not is a simple label, and it's made the simpler by the fact that you can just assume for example that conventional corn is GMO.

    The problem is that if you have to label the specific variety, they can't commingle it in distribution. That's a dealbreaker for them.

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

    by elfling on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 11:42:02 AM PDT

    •  A GMO/Not GMO label (17+ / 0-)

      would definitely address the issues that most anti-GMOers have with the technology at this point in time - when it's all about selling more environmentally destructive chemicals to chemical-based agribusiness, as well as monopolizing the seed market worldwide.

      When or if Monsanto, et al. actually do start producing GMO cultivars that address real nutritional concerns, they can add the asterisks and supplemental info on exactly what has been added.

      Right now, I just want to avoid feeding GMOs of any variety to my family. I grow organics and can buy organics (when I've got enough money to do so), but not everybody has enough money to do that. Processed food producers could buy non-GMO and offer versions of their products at similar price and gain that anti-GMO market, while still selling lots to those who don't care and don't read labels. That would be good.

      It's all about how the pro-GMO folks don't want us to get the simple information that would allow us to avoid. And now that we know the wheat is contaminated with a GMO that never got approved at all - and the North American corn seed bank is similarly contaminated - things are just looking impossible. We don't want their damned GMOs. Labeling GMO/not gives us that fair choice. Though now they'll probably have to give us a "less than X amount" qualifier on the wheat, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, etc. That's a real shame.

      •  This is my problem. (6+ / 0-)

        I am not anti-GMO per se, but the way they have been developed to increase dependence on a chemical product such as glyphosphate. BT GMOs contain poisons that indiscriminately kill insects and anyone who has had their car covered with yellow powder during pollinating season knows that pollen drifts.
        As to nutritional benefits, I would like to see evidence of the success of "golden rice" in bringing increased vitamin A to vulnerable populations. That benefit was touted by developers in Science News at the very beginning of the GMO revolution.
        There have been GMO potato varieties that use genes from one variety of potato to decrease bruising in others. This is just a shortcut around generations of selective breeding. I have no problem with that.

        You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

        by northsylvania on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:04:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To my knowledge there is no firm (6+ / 0-)

          information on how successful golden rice would be in delivering vitamin A to vulnerable populations. That's a big deal for me. The fact that we have innumerable GMOs that increase profits already developed while the product which had been pushed as the main justification for genetic modification of food speaks volumes to me as to the motivations of the companies doing the development. These companies are worried about money and only money and I don't trust their research at all.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:01:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The alternative to GMO crops that contain (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anne Elk

          Bt toxins is to spray the toxins directly on the crops.

          That actually is much worse for indiscriminatingly killing insects because the spray tends to drift all over the place.

          By contrast, if an insect, say a Monarch Butterfly is minding it's own business just eating it's natural food (milkweed?) it will never be in danger from the Bt-containing crop.  Which in not the case if the Bt was sprayed on the crop and the poor butterfly happened to be passing by at the time . . . .

          •  BT was never sprayed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sewaneepat, Joieau

            in any great quantities as far as I know. Before it was banned for home use, on account of BT GMOs and the danger of getting a resistant bug population, it was used by organic gardeners almost exclusively on brassicas to destroy cabbage moth caterpillars, and it worked quite well. Splicing genes from bacillus thuringiensis into corn, which liberates great quantities of pollen all over the countryside, including onto milkweeds, is a recipe for disaster. Not that many places in the US are miles away from a cornfield, and those that are, are undergoing drought conditions.

            You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

            by northsylvania on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 01:09:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bt was sprayed on bagworms.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, northsylvania

              Although I don't know that it was a big aerial program.  is bt banned for home use?  You can but it at Lowes online as dipel.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:37:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well, there are websites that say things like this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              northsylvania, Involuntary Exile
              Increasingly, the types of Bt being used are rare strains that are performance-enhanced or sometimes genetically engineered. The use of Bt pesticides has spread from farms and occasional homeowner use to the spraying of millions of acres every year around the world, often over large tracts of forest land or areas with large urban populations.

              The Bt strains being used are applied at rates up to one billion times the natural levels. Often, they wipe out entire families of insects in the sprayed areas. For instance, Btk, a strain used to control moth pests such as tussock and gypsy moth, kills all insects in the Lepidoptera family (moths and butterflies). Soil biota is also affected – there is evidence to show that nematodes and predator insects (that would naturally control the pest population) are depressed also.

              it could just be made up, who knows.

              etc etc

            •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Anne Elk
              Before [bt] was banned for home use
              I just did a Google search for bacillus thuringiensis and I found bt for sale right here, and several pages of links to where it can be purchased for home use.

              "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

              by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:36:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I used it on my roses but it didn't seem to work. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy

              So I switched to chemical sprays. Then I thought, "the heck with that; the caterpillars don't do too much damage." Now I just ignore them. Actually it underlines one thing about pesticides: some of the most dangerous and egregious misusers of pesticides are home gardeners.  

              Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

              by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:11:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me that (3+ / 0-)

            there is a huge difference between dusting a specific plant at a specific time when a specific insect appears (ie, dusting cabbage when you see cabbage moths) and inserting the pesticide in the genes of all plants so that it is pervasive. Sort of like the difference between prescribing a specific antibiotic when a person has a specific germ and prescribing a broad spectrum antibiotic every time someone has a sore throat or cough.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 04:16:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The pesticide isn't in the genes of all plants (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Anne Elk

              it is rather a myth that transgenes inserted in GMO crops spread throughout nature and contaminate everything.

              And it probably would be more sensible to have the Bt toxin in the plants controlled by an inducible promoter, this approach would make it less likely that pesticide resistant insects would develop.  

              •  It is in the genes of all Bt corn plants. (3+ / 0-)

                I'd be willing to bet that in a few years, Bt resistant corn ear worms will be a problem. Rootworms are already showing resistance.

                http://www.care2.com/...

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 04:53:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sure, if a single pesticide is used resistance (0+ / 0-)

                  is sure to develop.

                  A sensible approach would have dozens of different variants that were randomly (or in some way) changed from year to year and place to place to avoid resistance.

                  You know, kind of like nature does it - in this particular case, the "natural" approach IS better.    

                  What puzzles me, however, is that people are so much less afraid of natural pesticides compared to "man-made" ones (with "man-made" in quotations because sometimes females are also involved in the production process and / or because the compounds are usually just natural products slightly tweaked . . . .).

                  •  Bt is a natural pesticide so far as I know. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy, Involuntary Exile

                    For me, my concern about Bt corn is not that I don't like Bt - I think it is wonderful. It is the overuse of it that concerns me. I don't know how the different variants of Bt would work since I believe that different variants kill different larvae.

                    One reason I see for people being more concerned with manmade pesticides than natural ones is that in nature, there is often more than one active ingredient, some of which mitigate against harmful side effects of other active ingredients. I don't know that is the reason, but it is one reason I prefer natural medicines where practicable to man-made ones where one active ingredient is isolated from other components of the plant. (Obviously, that is not always practical - no one is going to inject vinca instead of vincristine for leukemia; however, people in China have been using ma huang for thousands of years for respiratory problems, yet it was only when companies began isolating the ephedra alkaloids and combining them with caffeine that cardiac events led to the banning of a perfectly good medicine when used properly.)

                    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                    by sewaneepat on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 06:34:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  You Shouldn't Be Surprised... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Involuntary Exile
                    What puzzles me, however, is that people are so much less afraid of natural pesticides compared to "man-made" ones
                    Surely you are well informed enough to know that many reports have been published about the persistence of chlorinated hydrocarbon-based pesticides and herbicides in human tissues, and their carcinogenic properties? Even though these substances have been largely phased out, chlorinated hydrocarbon 2,4-D is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and is the third most commonly used herbicide in North America.

                    "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

                    by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:47:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  One example is an anecdote and means very (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Anne Elk

                      little - I provided links for the the prevalence of natural chlorinated hydrocarbons elsewhere in the comments to this diary, for example if that is the type of chemical you are particular concerned about.  One issue is definitely the overuse of pesticides in agriculture, that is quite outrageous (as is the overuse of fertilizers, which has killed off thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico - way worse than BP's efforts, for whatever that's worth).

                      Or another way to look at what my main point was - i.e., a comparison of natural and synthetic compounds is to peruse the most toxic substances on earth - the vast majority are natural products

                      Another concern, aside from immediate toxicity is long term health consequences, such as mutagenicity (that could lead to cancer, birth defects, etc).   A pioneer in this field is Bruce Ames - whose work is described in Wikipedia:

                      Ames on synthetic carcinogens [edit]

                      Bruce Ames developed the Ames test, described in series of papers in the 1970s, which is a cheap and convenient assay for mutagens and therefore potential carcinogens. The Ames test uses the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium to test for mutagens. Previous carcinogenic testing used live animals, and are therefore expensive and time-consuming. This made animal testing impractical for use in screening on a wide scale, and reduced the number of compounds that could be tested. The Ames test is widely used as an initial screen for possible carcinogens and has been used to identify potential carcinogens previously used in commercial products,[4] and their identification led to some of those formulations, such as chemicals used in hair dye,[5] being withdrawn from commercial use. The ease with which Ames test allows widely-used chemicals to be identified as possible carcinogens made him an early hero of environmentalism.[6]

                      Subsequent work in Ames' lab involved looking at an overview of what was mutagenic or carcinogenic, and to what degree. Previously, scientists tended to only look for positive or negative results without considering the magnitude of the effect, which meant that as more and more items were shown to be potentially mutagenic, there was no system for evaluating the relative dangers. He also continued to test various natural and man-made compounds, and discovered that, despite what he and others had assumed, naturally occurring compounds were not turning out to be benign as compared to man-made ones. His continued work eventually led to his falling out of favor with many environmentalists as natural chemicals turned out to also be frequently mutagenic

                      In fact, his group systematically tested thousands of compounds and roughly the same proportion (~50/50) of both synthetic and natural chemicals were mutagenic in his assay.
                    •  Good point, Paz3 (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Roadbed Guy

                      I have argued that the steady replacement of the pretty toxic 2,4-D by glyphosate, thanks to Roundup Ready strains, is a major improvement in pesticide safety. You'd think environmentalists would be applauding the introduction of these strains. For those who don't know what 2,4-D is, think Agent Orange. It's a pretty nasty chemical. Glyphosate isn't.

                      Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

                      by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:17:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yeah, most of the egregiously toxic (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Anne Elk

                        pesticides of the WW2 era are not being used much anymore, at least not in the USA.

                        But they apparently still can be pulled out of internet searches to serve as scary boogeymen (as compared to nice cuddly boogeymen!) when the situation warrants.

                •  Well, that will solve the problem, won't it? (0+ / 0-)

                  It's like being opposed to using penicillin because of the rise of resistant bacteria. Bt-resistant insects are like DDT-resistant insects. We just move onto the next strategy.

                  Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

                  by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:13:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, your analogy is not at all apropos to my (0+ / 0-)

                    position. I oppose indiscriminate use of Bt and indiscriminate use of penicillin and that is something quite different from being opposed to using penicillin or Bt.

                    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                    by sewaneepat on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:43:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  The Bt toxins were NEVER used (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anne Elk

            as insecticides. The hard-shell 'spores' of the dormant bacterium were sprayed/dusted onto crops. When the larvae of that bacterium's target insect ingested the spore, its digestive enzymes dissolved the shell and activated the bacteria in its gut. When active - and ONLY when active - the bacteria produces the toxin. This toxin kills the insect larvae, it falls to the ground and decays, releasing the bacteria, which once again go dormant in spores as part of the soil and wait for the next time a worm/caterpillar/grub eats them.

            Bt spores have no effect whatsoever on adult insects - a monarch might not like getting so dusty, but that's it. There is no toxin on/in the spores - it's just dirt until the larval butterfly babies ingest them.

            •  I've seen you post that information before (0+ / 0-)

              (also without any links)

              Just posting it over again doesn't make it any truer.

              Here's what actually happens:

              "All Bt products, including Foray and DiPel, are produced in a similar fashion.  The Btk is grown in large enclosed fermentation tanks.  Foray and DiPel are produced using ingredients and a technology which are similar to those used to make beer or spirits.  During fermentation, the bacteria (Btk) reproduce in a pre-sterilized growth medium containing basic food sources, such as corn, potatoes, grains, etc.  After the fermentation process is complete and the bacteria are grown, the fermentation material, including the Btk, is collected.  This material becomes the basic ingredient of Foray and DiPel.  

              This basic ingredient is composed of the Btk, which is the active ingredient, and the residual fermentation growth material and water.

              So, so far we've learned that the toxin is a fermentation product, not a spore

              But wait, there's more:

              How Btk works -

              •Gypsy moth caterpillars must eat Btk for it to be effictive because it interferes with the digestion system.  The active ingredient is a crystal protein toxin formed by the bacteria. The alkaline gut and enzimes that only caterpillars have activate the toxin that kills the cells lining, stopping the caterpillar from feeding and dies withing 2 to 5 days.  This alkaline condition is not present in the stomachs of humans,birds, or fish and other animals.

              link

              So, bottom line - the toxin has already been produced by bacteria grown in a production facility someplace.  Maybe in New Jersey, maybe in south central China.  I don't really know but that's not all that germane.  What is important is that the formulation used as a pesticide DOES NOT CONSIST OF SPORES that give rise to live bacteria in the target insects' guts.

              •  I Think The Lawn Grub Treatment Is The Live Bt nt (3+ / 0-)

                There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:11:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK, that makes sense, you'd want (0+ / 0-)

                  something like a spore - which is rather inert - just to sit there all growing season waiting for a grub to come and eat it.

                  But from my Googling (which didn't turn up that application, it must be a rather niche use of Bt) the vast majority of this toxin used as a pesticide seems to be the proteinacous form.  One of the "benefits" seems to be a short half life after application, which makes sense since naked proteins usually aren't that stable (e.g., because the "environment" is full of proteases).  The spores, by contrast, would almost by definition be designed/evolved to be resistant to degradation.

              •  This is NOT the Bt (0+ / 0-)

                which has long been approved for dusting onto organic crops. You know this, I suspect.

                •  Did you read the links I gave? (0+ / 0-)

                  That's exactly what it is used for - for "dusting" crops.  In vast quantities.

                  If you're nitpicking about "organic" crops - I don't get your point,  I never claimed that is what it was being used for.

          •  Better Detailing, Please! (0+ / 0-)

            Your initial contention seems sound, but you are lacking essential specifics. Some might call that disingenuous.

            To directly spray bt, it is dissolved in water. By virtue of the weight of water, said spray will drift far less than (bt containing) pollen, pollen having evolved to drift.

            What you infer about bt spray contaminating the natural food of Monarch larva is on point, but it would not affect an (adult) Monarch 'passing by' as bt only affects moths or butterfiles in the larval (caterpillar) stage.

            "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

            by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:30:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  As a person (15+ / 0-)

        who had to patent a seed to keep it from being gobbled up by monsanto I agree. My seed is very old from a crop that is considered obsolete called a wedge pea. I offered it on the seedsavers exchange for many years. Had Monsanto actually gotten ahold of it I would no longer have been able to legally grow it even though it has been grown by my family for over 100 years.

        My problems with GMOs revolve around this sort of thing and the fact that the current federal masterplan is to encourage all the food to be grown in specific regions on huge mon cropping mechanized farms.

        This has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Agribusiness and their scientists seem to know zero about good farming practices. Because of that I really do not trust them not to screw up with this technology.

        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 Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:30:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Monsanto Made A Lot Of Enemies With Those Moves (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          onanthebarbarian, Anne Elk

          Those are business practices, not science, but it all gets tossed in the same basket.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:12:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You patented something used commercially (0+ / 0-)

          for 100 years?  Please give your patent number, if this was successful.  As I understand the patent system, this should not have been possible, since patents are intended to protect novelty.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:52:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lathyrus sativus? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mikidee

            Maybe you can patent a variety, but this seems like a variant of the patenting efforts for basmati rice.  Honestly, I have heard so many untrue things from folks opposed to GMOs, I find it hard to get to the bottom of comments like this is a blog post.  I keep reading Mona to is trying to patent common varieties of seeds and everything I know about patents ( and I teach about them in college to science entrepreneurs) tells me this is not possible.  In the sir it of open mindedness, I would like a citation to patenting of common seed varieties by Monsanto or any other biotech companies, other than bad stifled, which was shot down.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 04:04:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I thought the same thing (0+ / 0-)

            Patents have about a 17-year life. Some people seem to have the idea that patents are forever.

            Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

            by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:27:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  As an older person.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikidee

        I know some of the first GMOs developed were nutritionally complete, high lysine corn.  These genetics were given away to scientists in Mexico in the 1980s when Agrigenetics closed down and the remnants were sold to Mycogen which was eventually bought out by DowAgro.  The nutritionally complete beans were abandoned when adding the brazil nut lectins were found to risk more nut allergies in people.  The biggest problem in this is no economic advantage in nutritionally complete crops for staples, except in the developing world, where there was little seed selling.  So the little, idealistic companies like Agrigenetics or Agracetus got bought up by big chemical companies and herbicides and Bt were the main products commercialized.  

        The baby got thrown out with the bathwater in all the development.  And the antiGMO rhetoric of the left has led to stigmatization of GMOs as evil and unnatural, while not leading to real improvements in sustainable agriculture for the most food vulnerable nations.  We live in abundance while the world is at threat of overpopulation, and folks here oversimplify the problems.  Agriculture is a complex system, and systems are resistant to change.  If we add an improved seed to a system, that can make a big difference quickly.  That is the hope of GMOs and other plant breeding programs.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:29:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Enough food is grown (0+ / 0-)

          to provide a perfectly adequate diet for every human being on the planet. The failure to provide that is almost entirely a political problem and increasing the amount of food grown does nothing to address that political problem.

          Hence we see people literally starving to death in entire regions while the average populations in other regions (or just the privileged in the same regions) consume so much they become too obese to even move their bulk around.

          •  All GMO Debates Must Come Around To Complaints (0+ / 0-)

            ....that GMO are not a tool of social engineering to create the critics personal vision of utopia.

            There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

            by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:14:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not in the face of global warming. (0+ / 0-)

            Major climate changes and major expansions in the ranges of crop parasites will radically change this reality. In 50 years, we will be in tremendous trouble with respect to global crop yields.

            Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

            by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:30:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think it would (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        The parallel is with the Right to Life folks. They want an end to legal abortion. Nothing less. The anti-GMO people do not want GMO anywhere anytime. Nothing less. The labeling issue is just a tactic in a zero sum game.

        Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

        by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 02:07:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is it possible for them to tell us (6+ / 0-)

    Exactly what they did, in layman's terms?

    After all, the ways they do it can affect the food too. What process they used can be as important as what they put in.

    That being said, the least they can do is tell us what they deliberately put in, even if they can't tell us what is accidentally in there.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 12:11:57 PM PDT

    •  Partially. (7+ / 0-)

      To say exactly what they did is likely neither feasible nor partiularly informative to somebody not trained in the science. The process used to manipulate a plants genome is sufficiently far removed from the food produced that quite honestly I would not expect to see a difference in the outcome from a particular change no matter what method or vector I used to cause that change - It's the actual genetic changes that potentially alter the composition of your food.

      You could, however, probably come up with some rational categories of changes that would go a long way to addressing the need for a buyer to be properly informed. Something like this:

      Type A: Suppressing or enhancing the expression of an already existing gene.
      Type B: Replacing a gene with, or altering it to resemble an equivalent one from a different variety of the same plant species.
      Type C: Replacing a gene with or altering it to resemble one from a related plant species
      Type D: Replacing a gene with or altering it to resemble one from an unrelated plant species.
      Type E: Inserting a gene from other living organisms, not normally expressed by plants.
      Type F: Causing the expression of a novel protein not otherwise found in nature.

      Types A, B and some of type C are simply shortcuts around old-fashioned selective breeding. A good example of the sort of thing you might accomplish with these is getting the increased drought resistance of one variety into another, without also bringing over the changes that make the drought-resistant variety produce worse-tasting fruit.

      On the other hand, Bt corn would be a Type E GMO.

      Personally I wouldnt worry myself overmuch eating types A through D. I would probably draw the line at types E and F.

      •  This is a great way to label GMO's but (8+ / 0-)

        I worry that folks have already made up their mind on GMOs based on emotion, not consideration of the technology.  I am a PhD scientist and find the classification above to be accurate, but not really addressing what folks want to know about GMOs which is are they safe to consume.  I think additional safety regulation through the FDA would be a good idea too, since then companies could point to safety studies to show their products are as safe as non-GMO.

        For those of you on this board who don't want to consume GMOs, be aware this technology isn't going away and is also be used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce important molecules which are used as lifesaving drugs.  This is important technology with huge potential and frankly it disappoints me how its become  fodder for Facebook hate adds.  I dislike Monsanto's business practices, but this technology is important and has huge potential. I really urge this community to become more educated on what GMO technology is and try to evaluate based on facts.

        "Life is short, our work lasts longer" Rose Wilder Lane

        by HarpLady on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:37:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If consumers have misunderstanding (9+ / 0-)

          of the technology, I do not think it will resolve their understandings by hiding information they care about.

          Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

          by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:04:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nobody thought the masses (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrAnon, mikidee

          would use seat belts either, but sufficient education proved that they would. Some people would eat anything if it was cheap. Some would avoid all GMOs entirely. Some would educate themselves and make a rational decision, given the information.

          You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

          by northsylvania on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:08:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A big problem (addressed in a recent diary) (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Kane in CA, HarpLady, mikidee, wonmug

          is that the technology has become the target, rather than the results of the technology being under individual scrutiny. GMOs can be a boon or a disaster, but those are not mutually exclusive - they're independent, coexisting possibilities, and they always will be. Aiming at the technology is not going to work, as you point out. It's here to stay, so we'd better figure out how to determine what's happening in a GMO that is different from its also-massively-modified (by careful breeding) parent organism.

          Understanding how the technology is used, and getting the technologists to grasp the complexity of the organism's response system and how to test for a few thousand unexpected responses to what we imagined was a simple change - those are useful responses, whereas being "anti-GMO" is not. Being generically "pro-GMO" is also not terribly helpful as a response to that position! [for the record: Ph.D. in biochemistry]

          We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
          Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

          by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:34:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I fully blame the industry for this (9+ / 0-)

            And the people who were out in front of the GMO revolution constantly spread PR lies about how it would end malnutrition and hunger and then we see former Monsanto execs heading the organizations that are suppose to be regulating this stuff. People were sold a false bill of goods on this and they are entirely justified in not trusting the people who are continuing to say the same thing again and again.

            At some point there will be a rash of sicknesses linked to a GMO product and then the antis will have everything they need to push this back into the bottle, on a widespread scale at least. I've always said that using this technology with food first was a horrible idea. I hope I'm wrong about that, but if I'm not then there are going to be some real problems.

            All this is really just to say that we don't have unbiased testing that is trusted across the board, or even by a majority. That should have been the very first thing that was established. The very first.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:08:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree completely. But I think the first use of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kevskos, AoT

              transformed cells was not in food. It was to create single-celled organisms that did something like secrete insulin in huge vats, so it didn't have to be gotten from pigs at enormous cost (especially to the pigs) with very limited supply. Agree that going for food at this point is probably premature.

              We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
              Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

              by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 08:42:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  They can only be a boon (7+ / 0-)

            if the people creating them understand the pit falls of farming.

            They have been doing a very poor job of this with the F1s where they are breeding for transportation survival at the expense of nutrition and taste.

            If they don't get a handle on the actual real world out side their labs the law of unintended consiquences may be  
            really nasty.

            I for one will not eat GM corn which simply means I grow my own from saved seed. I did the chipmunk test also, they won't eat it. That tells me something is very wrong with it.

            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 Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:38:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not Anti-GE, But Anti-Greed (0+ / 0-)
            A big problem (addressed in a recent diary) is that the technology has become the target, rather than the results of the technology being under individual scrutiny. GMOs can be a boon or a disaster...
            If you believe this, then you ought to be working to repeal the laws that prevent the study of patented GE crops unless permission is given by the patent holder; this legislation also allows the patent holders to prevent publication of any unfavorable testing and studies.

            Give me any other reason aside from protecting the bottom line for this. Lacking that, greed always leads to corruption somehow; psychological science confirms that.

            Corruption is dangerous, and leads to hurting humans.

            Talk me down!

            "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

            by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 11:03:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's not making up their minds on emotion, but on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          drofx

          simple observation of corruption and greed posing as "science."

          We have no way of knowing how bad GMOs are.  We absolutely know that Monsanto is not to be trusted.  We know that the FDA is effectively a puppet which does not provide sufficient testing or oversight.

          I would suggest that the belief that GMOs are somehow beneficial for humanity is also just a belief.  I see no evidence of this, just of another piggish corporation trying to corner the market on food.  

          Just because they cry "science" must we suspend the precautionary principle?  These are not just potential poisons, not just potential self-reproducing poisons, but potential self-reproducing poisons that can possibly spread to other plants and crops.

          Extreme caution is called for.  It is not being used.

      •  Agrobacterium Transformation Of Plants Is Natural (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania, pixxer, Roadbed Guy, FG

        We tend to forget that the way we knew foreign DNA isn't that hard to put in plant cells is because it happens naturally in legumes.

        Every legume you ever ate is probably from a plant that had bacterial DNA randomly inserted into the roots, and that's been going on for 100 million years or so.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:53:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Legumes also have live bacteria living within (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bernardpliers

          their root nodules.

          I did not know that these bacteria (or their ancestors) had transfered genes into the legume genome, but that is quite plausible since our own bacterial symbionts have apparently done the same.

          •  Several Species Of Bacteria And Plants (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            There's plenty of evolutionary evidence to suggest there's a lot of this going on.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            A. tumefaciens causes crown-gall disease in plants. The disease is characterised by a tumour-like growth or gall on the infected plant, often at the junction between the root and the shoot. Tumors are incited by the conjugative transfer of a DNA segment (T-DNA) from the bacterial tumour-inducing (Ti) plasmid. The closely related species, A. rhizogenes, induces root tumors, and carries the distinct Ri (root-inducing) plasmid. Although the taxonomy of Agrobacterium is currently under revision it can be generalised that 3 biovars exist within the genus, A. tumefaciens, A. rhizogenes, and A. vitis. .....

            The plasmid T-DNA is integrated semi-randomly into the genome of the host cell,[1] and the tumor morphology genes on the T-DNA are expressed, causing the formation of a gall. The T-DNA carries genes for the biosynthetic enzymes for the production of unusual amino acids, typically octopine or nopaline. It also carries genes for the biosynthesis of the plant hormones, auxin and cytokinins), and for the biosynthesis of opines, providing a carbon and nitrogen source for the bacteria that most other micro-organisms can't use, giving Agrobacterium a selective advantage.

            There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

            by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:59:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And In This Case It's Not Inherited (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy, sewaneepat

            Just to add a little twist, the agrobacterium is infecting the plant roots and adding their DNA.  The change is not in the seed or inherited.

            But in the lab, plasmids based on the agrobacterium plasmid (minus the virulence genes)  are used to transform plant cells, and then whole plants are regenerated and bred, and those changes are inherited.

            There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

            by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:02:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Involuntary Exile

              microbiologist has know that for a long time.  We, and plants, are a bacteria transportation device.  

              Your lack of knowledge of plants does show in this argument RB guy.  Read up on plant sex.  The biggest advance of the seed plant is sex without water.  You can not do it.  

              The sperm has to have water to get to the egg.  Pollen does not.

              That is why I do not like GMO plants.  That's why hybrid plants do need to be tested carefully.  More then they are.  Some of the newer methods of making hybrids are pretty cavalier.

              I just don't like taking a cavalier attitude to how we treat the world.  No mulligans.

      •  Thank you for this well written (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        proposal. So often people react to GMOs as if it's always and only about "Franken Food."

        Could you also please explain why you

        would probably draw the line at types E and F[?]
        As HarpLady notes, what [most] people want to know is are GMOs safe - is there something fundamentally and necessarily unsafe about your Types E and F?

        TIA ...

        Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

        by mikidee on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 08:45:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it's not like people don't mix (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mikidee

          proteins from different phyla ranging all the way up to the kingdom level already while eating . ..  and they do this all the time.  For example, a mushroom onion bacon cheeseburger - there's at least 3 kingdoms right there.  Probably 4 since it is most likely contaminated with bacteria as well.

          So, by the time the food is well chewed, the proteins are going to be well mixed and as hazardous as can be (or not hazardous, as is more likely).

          Of course, the proteins might interact in deleterious ways inside the transgenic crop - but that's basically a problem for the plant, not whatever is going to eat it later.

        •  If the proper safety and testing regimes were... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mikidee

          ...already in place and the resulting crop had been through them, I wouldn't be bothered much by E or F either. However, with the current state of affairs I simply dont trust Monsanto et al enough. Hence the drawing of my personal line at the boundaries of "plants expressing plant genes."

          It's simply a matter of asking myself "ok, assuming that they are cutting corners for the sake of their bottom line, where on this spectrum would my tolerance of risk have me stop?" That's simply my own opinion, and I can't justify it in scientifically rigid terms although I will own up to the conceit that my own background in molecular biology makes it a somewhat informed opinion. Ultimately, though, it comes from the gut not the head.

    •  If they can't tell you, in plain English, (7+ / 0-)

      they don't understand it sufficiently well. [I'm a science teacher :) ]

      Or else they are intentionally obfuscating to make you think it's just something beyond your capability to understand and you shouldn' worry yer purty li'l head about it.

      We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
      Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

      by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:24:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or If Someone Can' Explain Why They're Objecting (0+ / 0-)

        ....either they don't understand it...or refused to listen even though it's been explained many times....or they have a phobia, like being afraid of clowns.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 03:38:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hilariously (5+ / 0-)

    It seems no one is interested in agreeing on this topic. :-)

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

    by elfling on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 01:49:51 PM PDT

    •  I AM interested in agreeing on it, (10+ / 0-)

      and I want to see labels. Mandated labels, like NOW. After we've got proper labeling, we can resume our quarreling.

      •  We haven't agreed on that word "proper" yet :) (7+ / 0-)

        "Genetically modified" is not a proper label b/c it reveals absolutely nothing about what has been done to the organism, and deludes people into thinking the technology itself is a problem. I would thoroughly endorse labels that described the specific genetic modification in "scientese" and also English (and Spanish and other languages if you like) and described the intent of the alteration and the known changes of function in the organism resulting from the alteration. Some of the details could, I think, reasonably be placed on a website.

        We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
        Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

        by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:39:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Total waste of label space. (0+ / 0-)

          Anybody who wants to know the 'science' that goes into GMOs can find it and probably read it without too much trouble. I am a label-reader, and a lot of the data in tiny type is totally superfluous already.

          Just designate the ingredients that are GMO with an asterisk in the simple item list, which comes in order of appearance on labels. You could add specific gene(s) as well below the ingredients list, though not that many people know what a Cry protein is. For hopelessly contaminated staple crops (like corn, and now wheat), just give us a % GMO content. The words "glyphosate resistance" would be okay too, as an indicator that the GMO content is Roundup Ready.

          Most people who want to avoid GMOs don't give a shit about the specific gene(s) or traits engineered in. They just want to know GMOs are in the food, so they can choose to avoid it. I see no legitimate reason to deny consumers this choice.

  •  All crops are genetically modified (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pixxer, Roadbed Guy, futurebird

    although the vast majority have been done so by breeding. This is mostly just a different technology

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

    by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:24:42 PM PDT

    •  Probably All Plants Contain Lots Of Foreign DNA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pixxer, Roadbed Guy

      Pretty much anywhere researchers care to look they are going to find it

      http://www.nature.com/...

         Our genome analyses of the moss Physcomitrella patens identified 57 families of nuclear genes that were acquired from prokaryotes, fungi or viruses.
      And a parasitic plant has obtained genes from its host

      http://scitechdaily.com/...

         “We found that several dozen actively transcribed genes likely originated from the flower’s host,”

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:57:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, tovan, Involuntary Exile

        I have more trust in corn modified by nature than by man who is often short sighted.

        In short my really old variety of early soy beans does not kill my bees I am not so sure about the genetically modified varieties. I like my bees.

        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 Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:43:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  they are both modified by man (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy, futurebird

          both selective breeding and direct recombinant DNA alter the genetic structure of the corn.  As for your bees, got some peer reviewed studies to back that up?

          Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:19:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Corn Is Man Made, Can Recombine DNA In Real Time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          It started as a wild grass, teosinte.  At some point the genome doubled, and most of that DNA was lost, but about 25% of the genome is duplicates from that event.  About 4% of the genes show evidence of artificial selection by man.  85% of the genome is composed of tranposable elements capable of causing high rates of DNA recombination.

          It should be pointed out that transposable elements were discovered in corn.  Any time you seen a kernel of Indian corn, think how that kernel started as a single cell which showed various colors as the kernel grew. How can the product of one cell change colors?  Aren't all those cells clones? Well the answer is intuitive but was rejected for a long time - tranposable elements are causing the DNA to recombine as the kernel grows, and you can watch it happen.  

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:26:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, logically each and everyone of those (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            futurebird

            kernels needs to be extensively and thoroughly tested before human consumption!  You know, because they contain genetic modifications and all that.

            •  You An Agent Provocateur? (0+ / 0-)
              Yes, logically each and everyone of those kernels needs to be extensively and thoroughly tested before human consumption!  You know, because they contain genetic modifications and all that.
              J/K, sort of, but insulting people is not going to do anything other than diminish your credibility.

              Condescension is almost based in insecurity...

              "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

              by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 11:30:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The thing about nature is that "nature" (0+ / 0-)

          produces by far deadlier chemicals and toxins than man knows how to do.

          Just because something is natural DOES NOT mean that it is benign (the same goes for man-made products as well, but due to a lack of knowledge, we haven't really figured out how to make really, really toxic things tot he extent that nature has).

    •  It may be a different technology (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pixxer, Kevskos

      But it is one that is fairly new. Most hybrid varieties have been in practice for decades.

      To be on the safe side, consumers should at least be informed on their decisions.

      Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

      by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:02:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   Allopolyploids - two plant species' genomes merge (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pixxer, MrAnon

        Canola, wheat, cotton

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:29:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A huge number (1000s) of crops were selected (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrAnon

        by Radiation Breeding  - that essentially compresses hundreds of generations (i.e., years) of "natural" breeding into one growing season.

        Essentially the radiation rips the plants genome to shreds, then it recombines in god only knows what way.  Sometimes it makes the plant better (think Ruby Red Grapefruit - yummy & brightly colored!).  

        These mutant crops are essentially untested, but no one ever utters a peep about them, strangely enough.  

        If genetically modified organisms are to be labeled, these should be at the top of the list!  Because the level of genetic modification is almost certainly large compared to the evil, evil GMO crops made by more precise genetic engineering methods.

        here's a link with some pictures

    •  And All Plants Contain Bacterial DNA (0+ / 0-)

      In the form of chloroplast genes that have migrated to the genome.  Chloroplasts were originally photosynthetic bacterial symbiotes that were taken up by early cells.  Chloroplasts retain their bacteria like genomes, but many of the genes have migrated to the plant cell nucleus.   How many times have plants cells acquired chloroplasts during evolution?  Four? ten?  Someone is keeping track.  

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:03:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, but that's not quite the same :) (0+ / 0-)

        I like your little stream of examples, but I think that the ctDNA in the nucleus is still just encoding ct proteins that have then to be imported back into the organelle. I did my last paper as an undergraduate on what might have driven the net transfer of mtDNA to the nucleus - that was fun (an independent study). It was also the last paper I wrote on a typewriter!

        We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
        Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

        by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:44:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Breeding is not genetic modification (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftcandid, flowerfarmer, Joieau

      It's breeding. If you don't understand the difference between selecting for phenotypes and inserting genes then you should probably read up on the subject.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:10:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You really have no idea ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i saw an old tree today

      ... what you're talking about. Genetic engineering is basically anti-nature because it crosses species lines, whereas traditional breeding doesn't. At no time over the hundreds of years of traditional corn breeding, for example, did an ear of corn acquire the DNA of Bacillus Thuringensis until genetic engineering forced the two together by using a virus to carry the BT into the corn cell.

      •  Actually, that's also not quite right (0+ / 0-)

        there are a number of interspecific hybrids among out crops, notably in berries and in some sorghum.

        However, breeding is also "anti-nature" as if there were such a thing, given how it generates very different organisms.  A chihuahua is not a wolf for example.

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 01:13:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tiring, Sorry... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile
      All crops are genetically modified although the vast majority have been done so by breeding. This is mostly just a different technology.
      Genetic engineering in a laboratory is not the same process, biologically-speaking, as natural or hand pollination that produces hybrid plants.

      Is this another case where a broad term like "GMO" has been hijacked to include lab-based genetic engineering ('GE') and thus add to confusion, and give GE proponents an opportunity in their arguments to use the plant hybridization phenomena as part of that confusion?

      Reminds me of how conservatives (no doubt prompted by Frank Luntz), began to use the term 'entitlements' to describe paid-into-benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare some years back, when in fact that term used to describe only such programs as food stamps, energy assistance, and the like. CT?

      "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

      by paz3 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 11:23:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The key is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        that this idea that "genetic modificaton" is somehow some new and creepy thing totally lacks any historical or biological understanding.  Humans have been messing around with plant genomes for thousands of years.  Recently, we've gotten a whole lot better at it is all.

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 01:15:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just look at suicides of farmers (15+ / 0-)

    who accrue monstrous debt due to how GM seed is distributed.  

    My concern is over Monsanto's wanting to control, and gain profit from, every farmer in the world.  Kudos to Europe, Japan, and Korea.

    "The will must be stronger than the skill." M. Ali

    by awhitestl on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:25:08 PM PDT

    •  That's not GMO, (5+ / 0-)

      it's Monsanto (and Bayer, Sygenta, etc.) Agribusiness is brutal and can be lethal.
      The problem with making this differentiation is that GMO is now a marker for rapacious business practice. I don't think it would be legal to have to label products with a "Monsanto Inside" sticker, though it would be nice.

      You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

      by northsylvania on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:13:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is evil business practice. It is not GMO. (4+ / 0-)

      Monsanto is absolutely a gruesome and cruel organization whose practices are beyond the pale. However, the fact that they are using this particular technology to trap farmers is not an indictment of the technology, it's an indictment of Monsanto. It is valid and reasonable to raise questions about the technology and its safety and whether it should be used, but I don't think it's useful to bring in issues of corporate skullduggery. If Monsanto didn't have this tool, they'd be figuring out other ways to trap farmers and control markets.

      What if it were illegal to patent a GMO, for example?

      Take away that issue, and then we can look at the science and whether it is being used sufficiently for good.

      We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
      Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

      by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:50:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lack Of Basic Biology Knowledge Plus Urban Legends (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alain2112, pixxer, Roadbed Guy, futurebird

    There's a lot of disinformation out there that does not rise to the level of "conspiracy theory" but are definitely urban legends.

    For example it seems like every diary mentions sterile "Terminator" seeds, which in fact were never sold.  But it's an article of faith for many people that these things are out there and that's what they are fighting.  And that story about this thing that never happened is 20 years old at this point, so who knows what the half life is?

    Besides if Terminator seeds were being sold 90% of the current controversy wouldn't even exist, and we couldn't have that, now could we?

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:31:22 PM PDT

    •  Our bottom-feeder media pushes Urban Legends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers

      & Drama.

      This is a huge factor in the ignorance and hype around this issue, as with so many others.

      The media's first duty should be to its viewers, and to informing them.

      But media corporations' first duty is to the dollar: to entertaining and arousing their viewers.

      If the media started looking at the science, and weighing theories and evidence (as Bill Moyers, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes might do, to their small segments of the audience), then we could at least start dispelling some of the urban legends and advancing towards a slightly clearer understanding of the facts of the matter.

      A lot more Americans will stay glued to the screen when it's covering scary urban legends than when it's asking the viewers to think a bit about the science. And it's cheaper and easier to put together faux-news than it is to do real reporting.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:56:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is one reason (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht

        We should have a scientific community that engages with the public and is willing to respectfully correct misconceptions.

        Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

        by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:00:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For Greenpeace (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112, Roadbed Guy

          ....to help, because they haven't done anything to educate the public in 30 years.

          This video, isn't that bad, except that "GMO" = "Everything you don't like"

          Every scary thing about GMO plants is also true about conventional agriculture.

          Rain forest getting chopped down?  GMOs!  Pesticides? GMOs! Insect resistance?  GMOs!

          The message is clear - GMOs are the only thing standing between you and Rock Candy Mountain or Utopia or immortality or perfect hair forever.  

          It's not informative, it's propaganda.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:21:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  After the Greenpeace propaganda film (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            After the Greenpeace propaganda film were a series of anti-GMO films: "The rush to apply these ideas is absolutely dangerous because we don't have a clue about the long term impacts of these manipulations are going to be."  "Now is the time to stop this technology before it's too late."  "This is about the corporate enclosure of life itself."

            These films were narrated by scientists, geneticists, farmers, and other people I trust.  The end result of watching these videos leave me thinking that no GMO plants are safe.

            If...you want to go forward, what do you do? You put [your car] in "D." When you want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in "R."...That's no coincidence.

            by AnnieS on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 08:45:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed. Daily Kos usually does better than most of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kane in CA, mikidee

          the media out there (though there are very good specialist web sites that are more purely fact/information based, over a far narrower ground). Generally, we hold facts and level-headed analysis in high esteem around these parts.

          But we do seem to dumb-down when we get caught up in an emotional pie-war, and dozens of Kossacks on either side of the divide decide that the other side are all talking out of their rear ends.

          So I appreciate this diary, which seems to be aiming for some common ground to advance the debate. Thanks, whoever you are.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:22:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What Keeps Terminator & Brazil Nut Stories Alive? (0+ / 0-)

        There's something that has kept this nonsense in active circulation for decades now, and it has come up in these diaries over and over again.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:02:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know those particular stories, though I've (0+ / 0-)

          seen the Brazil Nut mentioned.

          In general, the urban legends that live for decades do so because they tap into some vein of fear, wish or curiosity that looms large in our culture. So perhaps those stories put compelling faces on the boogiemen that many Americans suspect are coming to get us.

          You can't extinguish those irrational fears (though if Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck vanished, they might mellow down to 40% of their present high-tide). But transparency and fact-based discussions could help some of the boogiemen to vanish into the mist.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:29:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The brazil nut fiasco (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Involuntary Exile

            was highly dangerous. There are lots of people with nut allergies so serious they could die of eating a potato chip fried in peanut oil. Engineering said allergenic 'large' protein into some completely other type of food plant is asking for big trouble. But the GMO folks don't think on basic levels like the rest of us, entire cultures and subcultures for whom foods are a very large part of their being, beliefs and activities.

            For instance, an interview with an at-the-time CEO of Monsanto demonstrated that he had absolutely no clue as to why Jews, Muslims and Rastafarians (among some others) would object to pig genes in their corn or potatoes. Honestly, someone that ignorant about humans and foods shouldn't be leading a rapacious multinational gigacorp like Monsanto.

    •  It occurred to me a few comments ago that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers, Roadbed Guy, mikidee

      breeders have also produced sterile plants - for example, seedless oranges. That's really neither here nor there in the GMO argument, I just thought about it and wanted to write it down somewhere :)

      We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
      Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

      by pixxer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:53:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And bananas, of course. (0+ / 0-)

        It is possible that bananas will not survive for more than 5 to 50 more years without "GMO-type" genetic intervention . . ..

      •  Reproduction via cloning, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pixxer

        cuttings and grafting are fairly old technologies that do no harm to either the environment they're grown in or the people/animals that eat the foods. These reproductive technologies are not the same thing as genetic engineering.

        •  I know. I said it had nothing to do with the GMO (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          issue.

          The technology of grafting has been used well, from what I know of it. The technology of GMOs has the potential to be used well, too, and has been. The technology of GMOs also has the potential to generate products harmful to us or to the environment. The technology of selective breeding generally has been done with good intent, though it has produced some sad "products," like cats prone to crossed eyes, and dogs especially susceptible to arthritis, and birds that can get too heavy to walk. Those don't harm the environment, just themselves.

          Like the others, genetic engineering is a technology, not an outcome. We can all thank our lucky stars - or more relevantly our government funding agencies - that genetic engineering was well developed before HIV started its rapid spread in the human population. The understanding of, and therefore attack on, that scourge would have been much slower had it spread widely in the human population 30 years earlier. The issue is whether this technology is ready to be used on potential food sources, how we would know that, and what to do about it.

          We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
          Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

          by pixxer on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 10:47:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Several of the companies claim (0+ / 0-)

      their GM seed is sterile. If a plant that requires a pollinator gets sterile pollination it would produce no seed.

      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 Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:53:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Have Not Seen That, But I Havent Really Kept Up (0+ / 0-)

        This guy says it's a myth.

        http://www.npr.org/...

        Pollen sterile male plants are used for breeding and would be useful in the field to prevent the spread of GMO pollen, but that would be too awful for words.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:42:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Many hybrids are essentially (0+ / 0-)

        sterile as well. And entirely unpredictable in following crops, as the seeds that do manage to germinate usually end up producing one or the other variety of plant they were hybridized from. So growers generally need to purchase new seed annually, and those hybrids are indeed patented.

        What you don't see is Burpee (et al.) busy bankrupting growers and stealing their land for the unpardonable sin of saving seeds and trying to grow a crop out of them. Those crops will generally fail or not produce true, and that's punishment enough.

  •  I do not trust Monsanto. (12+ / 0-)

    They want to grow more food to make money not to feed people.  They want to make money so they will do anything to get to that goal.  As we have seen with many corporations, there is not a concern for the safety of the populace, only for the accumulation of profit.

    Everyone! Arms akimbo!

    by tobendaro on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 02:40:43 PM PDT

    •  It seems (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, AoT, tobendaro

      The largest problems people have with Monsanto have to do with the patent system regarding seeds. I think there should be significant push to reform the patent laws so that this technology is not held in the hands of profit-driven multnationals, but since this diary was on the regulation of GM crops themselves, I did not mention it.

      Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

      by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:01:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Monsanto is very irresponsible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EverGrateful, corvo, tobendaro

      Their escaped wheat in Oregon has the potential of costing wheat farmers hundreds of millions due to Monsanto's sloppy practices.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:18:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well yeah, they're a corporation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro

      as such, their number one (and perhaps only) goal is to make money.

      Legally, I think they have, or should, have an obligation to do so safely.  

      But about feeding people, not sure why or how they are obligated to care about that per se.  That's why we have McDonalds!

  •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crider, eXtina, corvo, flowerfarmer

    we also have to be very careful to be objective and not aim for any NPR approved type mushy middle.

  •  Breaking - Monsant being sued by KS farmer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo
  •  When Monsanto's own "Go To" researcher, Don (8+ / 0-)

    Huber pointed out that the GM crops have to be sprayed with RoundUp and that RoundUp destroys the healthy micro climate of the soil, destroying the beneficial and nutritional ingredients in the soil, while allowing nasty fungal growths and other "baddies" to invade the plant being grown, my mind was made up. Forever.
    Other topics we can all start debating, pro and con:

    Should Southern plantation owners be allowed to use slaves for their crops?
    Should women have the right to vote?
    Do we really need a paved road and highway system, when horses can go anywhere without using such?

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:12:16 PM PDT

  •  Agree Greenpeace Is Where It Was 30 Years Ago? (0+ / 0-)

    This conversation is exactly where it was 30 years ago, the level of public knowledge has probably hardly changed at all, the environment has gotten a lot worse, world population has doubled, nuclear fallout is still sifting down onto Tokyo, and GMOs are still the bright shiny object.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:15:32 PM PDT

    •  We're going to get labeling in the US (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flowerfarmer

      That much is inevitable.

      The entire EU requires labeling

      Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, Taiwan, Russia, India, Chile, and South Africa to name but a few.

      Time we stopped being dorks in service to corporate food tyranny. But then again that's just my opinion.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:23:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well It'll be A Financial Boost To Organic Farmers (0+ / 0-)

        Not that they would care about such things.

        But if it's the result of something as sketchy as Prop 37, there are going to be all sorts of unintended consequences for the organic food industry.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:33:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't assume we're going to get labeling here. (0+ / 0-)

        Big Ag is fighting it tooth and nail, and Big Ag has deep pockets.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:20:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But many want that 'free' trade deal with the EU (0+ / 0-)

          That's why I think Monsanto's no-label gambit is going to be over soon.

          And the result of labeling, in my opinion, will be GMOs for feeding animals, non-GMOs for feeding human beings. That's how it's working out in the countries that require labels.

          "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

          by Crider on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:57:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't worry about Tokyo. (0+ / 0-)

      The fallout plumes are still up there circling the globe and dumping on everyone everywhere.

  •  Labeling - exercise in futility. The horse is out (3+ / 0-)

    of the barn or whatever cliche works here. GMO's have gotten away from their creators. When additives like maltodextrin and enzymes grown on GMO yeasts are in almost everything, it is impossible to keep; track

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 03:29:23 PM PDT

  •  Regulation? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, mrkvica, happymisanthropy

    While I am generally "pro GMO" I have no question that GMO plants should be subject to regulation.

    The scary part is that the latest find of GMO Roundup-resistant  wheat in the wild, is that these plants were never subject to regulation because Monsanto never decided to put these plants on the market.

    The question is, can the researchers control their plants and keep them from escaping.  In this case, they could not.

     How can we regulate such research when the technology is available on Ebay, not only for plants, but for viruses.

  •  I'd say this diary is a nonstarter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, flowerfarmer

    based by the typically dismissive comments made in support of the diary.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:21:33 PM PDT

  •  Given what I've seen of food labeling practices (4+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure I'd have a lot of faith in a label, no matter what it said.

    My problem with GMOs is allowing substantial portions of the food supply to be subject to corporate patents. It probably won't be a problem in my lifetime but future generations are literally going to be captive to the whims of people who view shortages as an opportunity for profit.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:48:19 PM PDT

    •  Plant Patent Act Of 1930 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrAnon

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      1930 - Plant Patent Act established, which allowed asexual, manmade plants to receive patents.
      ...
      1954 – Plant Patent Act amended to include seeds, mutants and hybrids.[1]

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:51:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Labeling practices won't matter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      when the transgenes get into every available seed supply, which can hardly take more than 20 years.

      What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

      by happymisanthropy on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 11:06:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Labels quickly become meaningless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      For example I was living in California when they put in that law about labeling things that "were known to the state of California to cause cancer" (I can't recall the exact wording but it was something like that).

      The first time I walked into a parking garage or dry cleaners and saw warning labels on the structure stating that "These premises contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer" I was quite alarmed.   Three weeks (and thereafter) later, I didn't even notice the signs anymore - they were exceedingly silly.

  •  "yield" "health" "Environment" are the Monsanto (5+ / 0-)

    (and other corporate GMO factories) equivalent of "Clean Coal"

    It's bullshit.  Ain't going to happen under current corporate control.

    They'll mix in halibuts and whatnot as long as it makes the fruit look good on the shelf or resist toxic *-cides. But they'll never waste stockholder money on "yield" "health" and especially not on "environment."

    Maybe an underfunded govt or university lab would, but not the people who own the Dept of Agriculture.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 04:53:19 PM PDT

  •  i'm pro GMO and pro label. (0+ / 0-)

    As to the research end, it'd help if (some) activists would stop destroying research fields. Kind of hard to do any research on GM crops if the fields get destroyed (and yes, I admit it's a rare event.)

  •  Let me propose a third item (3+ / 0-)

    This may not be a source of universal agreement here, but I suspect that it reflects most of us:

    3.  Restrictions should be placed on the ability of corporations to patent basic life.  Be able to sue farmers for savings seeds as being a patent violation is way over the top of what patent protection was ever intended for.

    Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

    by TexasTom on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 06:53:27 PM PDT

    •  Seed Companies Sued Each Other w/o GMOs (0+ / 0-)

      Sued the crap outa each other for theft of intellectual property.

      If you take IP out of the seed business, then there is no seed business. Good luck the next time a new strain of smut comes along.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 07:46:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I definitely agree that patents should be revised (0+ / 0-)

      But I'm not completely sure what our ideal system would like like. I am certainly no legal expert on this matter.

      That said, I agree that there is a major problem with the way the patent system is being used by companies such as Monsanto. It causes small farmers to be dependent on the seed producers, which is especially bad for third world countries. (From what I also understand, this is a problem not unrelated to the trade advantages caused by domestic farm subsides).

      Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

      by MrAnon on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 08:55:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's A Lot Ways To Make Sterile GMO Plants (0+ / 0-)

    But we can all agree that people would try to make huge stink about sterile plants, just like they raise a big stink about nonsterile plant.  Activists should maybe work with industry just a little bit instead of demanding to have both ways and pitching an absolute fit over both scenarios.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 08:11:49 PM PDT

  •  It's too late for testing GMOs ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile

    ... and besides, MrANON, the FDA has declared GMOs safe based on promises by the biotech industry that GMOs really, really are safe. And how do you plan to test them now anyway? GMOs are the patented property of companies like Monsanto, who says on its Web site, by the way, that there is no reason for testing, and those companies have resisted independent testing since starting the GMO nightmare in the late 80s. What makes you think they will agree at this late date? And what would be the point? For good or ill there's no way to recall GMOS. Once this stuff is loose there's no getting it back – as we have just seen again in Oregon – so even if independent testing indicates bad news there's nothing we can do. Instead, MrANON, and since you're pro-GMO, why don't you try explaining the logic behind patenting an uncontrollable technology in the first place. You could start by checking in with Monsanto and asking if it is going to cover the losses of all the U.S. wheat farmers who just lost their overseas markets due to the presence of unregistered, illegal Monsanto GMOs in Oregon wheat. I already know the answer, but a pro-GMO guy needs to hear it for himself.

    •  On wheat losses (0+ / 0-)

      Although there appears to be some effect on the price of wheat due to the news of the loss of some markets for US corn after the Oregon report, nothing even close to losing any money at all appears to be happening.  The price of wheat is still historically quite high and well above costs of production.  

      Why? Because even if Japan and the EU don't buy U.S. wheat this year, they will buy it from somewhere else, which means whomever didn't get sold that wheat will have to buy it from the U.S.  Most places in the world where U.S. wheat goes don't really care about the GM legacy and mild contamination of wheat.

  •  Actually you won't get agreement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    futurebird

    Especially on this - "The Consumer should always be Informed and Educated when making his or her Decision"

    While on a broad scale, yes, more information is better, a number of science and skeptical organizations would object to labeling food as GMO.  They contend that GMO is no different than the selective breeding that has been going on in crops for thousands of years. They would contend that labeling food "GMO" is no better than labeling food "Hybrid" or "Intensively bred".

    I dont' agree with them, because I think there are safeties inherent in the slower hybridization programs that aren't there in GMO work (how would an apple ever evolve a fish gene even with selective breeding?) and that GMO's should be tested for safety, but I have these arguments with rational peopel I otherwise agree with on most issues.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 07:07:24 AM PDT

    •  What makes you think it is dangerous? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikidee, Roadbed Guy

      Real question. The more I read the less worried I am and the less I want labeling.

      •  It skips the vetting evolution provides (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        futurebird

        We know, for example, that there exist instruction on how to make the flu virus more deadly.
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

        Superdeadly viruses that evolve to kill burn out when they kill all their hosts before they can spread. There's a limiter built in to their evolution. If you kill off your hosts or outbreed your food, you die.

        I'm concerned GMO traits that super-advantage a crop have not been subject to those same pressures and natural controls and that in the field they may cause unintended consequences.  We're not great at thinking through a problem when there's a buck to be had.

         I also know there have been studies showing a rise in allergic reactions to certain crops that have been heavily GMO'd and studies refuting those studies and studies refuting those refutations, etc...  The speed with which GMO crops take over an industry means there's often little non-GMO food to contrast and compare with to determine if it's the modified crop that causes the allergy or if it's some other factor.

        Now, I know there are GMO projects underway to, for instance, create peanut crops completely devoid of any allergenic protein.  I think that's great and I encourage it. I'd like to know if it's in my food, though so i can make the call. I have two kids, one of whom is allergic to nuts, peanuts, and eggs, and the other is younger than the age when the other started expressing allergies.

        I'm not anti-GMO. There's a lot of benefit to be had.  I'm also not blankly pro-GMO, because there's a lot of stupid in business that expresses itself far too often.  I'd like to see GMO's advance but with informed consumers and appropriate scientific testing in place.

        "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

        by nightsweat on Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 11:25:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  allergies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          You could do a study with sunflower seeds and if I were a test subject I'd die. There is no labeling requirement since my allergy just isn't that common.

          Someone calculated that it'd just cost too much money to save the lives of sunflower allergy sufferers. And I think this is reasonable. I had to go on hormones for weeks due to this issue since the reaction won't always stop --ugh. The anti-allergy hormones REALLY make you gain weight. (clinically proven in human trails)

          That we would have much much much more expensive labels for an issue that can't even show one case of a person or animal reacting as violently as I do to sunflower seeds is really frustrating to watch.

          In a dose of irony sunflower oil use is on the rise because people fear transfats and also soybeans. Often it is not mentioned at all on the ingredients at all. It's mixed with other veggies oils.

          The fear of soybeans is often because... get this... they are a big GMO crop!

        •  Those aren't really instructions on how (0+ / 0-)

          to make the flu virus more deadly - it was a study testing if and how the virus could achieve the ability to become airborne (and infectious via that route).

          Having this knowledge in advance just seems to make good sense compared to being surprised and unprepared when confronted with this form of virus arising from natural sources.

  •  with water treated in a waste treatment plant... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mikidee, Roadbed Guy

    What if you went to the grocery store and everything was labeled "this produced was produced with NATURAL irrigation" or "This product was watered with water treated in a waste treatment facility"  

    I think most people would assume one was better than the other and start trying to factor this information that the government and companies have gone out of their way to share in to their purchase decision. Would that be good?

    No matter that this information is pretty irrelevant. I guess natural irrigation might mean better farming practices... but that's not even universally true.

    Buy you know I could start protesting PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!

    That would be reasonable if one could demonstare that this mattered. And that's what I'm still looking for on the GMO issues: evidence that it matters.

    This is different from evidence the Monsanto is a bad company.
    This is different from saying "we don't really know!"

    Because we do know. Tons of GMO food is eaten every day and this has gone on for years and there is no heath crisis connected to it.

    I just want some evidence. Then I'll support labels.

  •  bottom line (0+ / 0-)

    I guess the bottom line is those GMOs that are not fit for human consumption should just not be sold at all. Some plants are not fit to eat-- that isn't really new. They should not be in stores. If they are un-fit to eat ... a confusing label is the wrong response. Ban them. If it's not good enough for the people who fear GMOs why is it good enough for anyone else? I guess that's the heart of my discomfort with this.

    It's like "oh if you can't afford or don't know to avoid this thing I say is awful, well, though, at least I can avoid it" --

  •  Monsanto's greed has single-handedly destroyed GE (0+ / 0-)

    technology for food, at least outside the US. And the only reason the technology is common inside the US is because the Dubya administration made sure Americans wouldn't know about it.

  •  I don't really care about the science. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Expat Okie

    I'm suspicious of a company that lobbies through a sneak amendment to protect itself against legal consequences if, in the future, its products (GMOs) cause damage.
        Just put a label on the stuff so people don't have to buy the stuff if they don't want to. If you want to put a bunch of explanation on the label as well, fine.
        I'm more interested in not buying from Monsanto, period.

  •  It is a complicated issue. (0+ / 0-)

    I am sort of in the anti-GMO camp.  I say "sort of" because I really don't care much at this point.  My opposition is more due to the abuses of companies like monsanto and the idea that these companies can own/patent genes of living things.  I see that as a huge pandoras box that never should have been opened back when the laws changed allowing this type of behaviour.

    I am also against the never ending PR campaigns put out about how GMO is needed to feed growing populations and growing food demands.  There is no way to put it other than to say this arguement is total and complete BS.  By all accounts, we already produce more than enough food, based on calories, to end all hunger right now.  Except hunger isn't a food-availability issue, it is economic.  And nothing in the GMO system addresses the economic problems that lead to hunger.   Further, GMO crops are typically more expensive and often tied to expensive exclusive chemicals which actually drive UP crop prices and food prices.

    In fact, I actually think GMO crops are an economic problem as it increases costs for farmers who are already feeling pinched on all sides.  Do they really need increased input costs in the form of GMO seeds and/or special chemicals?  ANd if costs are going up, why would farmers WANT lower crop prices which in theory is what increased yields would bring.   Or if the goal is to lower prices enough to end hunger...who is losing tose profits?  It's the farmer, not the corporations along the way between the farm and the plate.

    And that doesn't even touch on the problem with food prices no longer having any bearing on actual global supply and demand as commodities were openend to speculative trading (along with oil) in 2008.  So even in years where supplies are high, prices can still go up because speculation isn't that well regulated or connected to reality.  

    There is also the economic costs associated with all the farmers who lose their seed because these GMOs often can't be controlled and contaminate their fields.  The courts have already reviewed that the GMo companies own the genes itself, and if your crop is contaminated, YOUR are at fault because you are in possession of something you have no right too.  These cases are happening everywhere as MOnsanto is going around suing farmers who find their crops contaminted with GMO product.

    Further, while yields have increased over time, I see little to no evidence this is from GMO crops.  If anything it is due to education and  changes in farm practice.  I see no evidence that high-yield GMO crops provide the benefits they claim.  Certainly not a high enough benefit to warrant the added costs.  But I'm willing to review any data/evidence to the contrary.

    Add to that many environmental issues caused by GMO crops (ie. increased pest and weed resistance, increased chemical usage) and I think there is a huge problem on the horizon with little to no perceivable public benefit.  The only benefit seems to be for the shareholders of the corporate GMO companies.

    And I know the science says these foods are safe, but I'm still not convinced for the most part.  I think the problem is that long term health studies should be done before anything is approved.  We were told decades ago pesticides are safe as long as we wash our food.  But now we know pesticides persist in the food regardless of washing.  We also know that studies on pesticide safety only look at individual chemicals and yet in practice, foods are exposed to many chemicals (as many as a dozen in some cases).  And even that assumes the farmers are applying the chemical exactly as the label says needs to be to be considered safe.

    Best case scenario is GMO food is safe to eat but likely drives up farmer costs, food costs, environmental problems in the name of corporate profits.  Worst case scenario is 40 years from now we find out many GMO foods are unsafe but its too late to just go back to producing food as nature originally designed.

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