Re: Genetically Modified Nonsense

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Posted by Duffy W. on October 04, 2001 at 15:22:56:

In Reply to: Re: Genetically Modified Nonsense posted by Kim Hamilton on August 09, 2000 at 19:38:06:

Plus, another issue to remember about "organic" food is that (and I mean no offense to the HONEST growers). Technically ALL food is organic. Gasoline is organic. Beef and Fish and humans are all organic. (Definition - Organic: Containing/made up of carbon molecules)
A lot of dishonest companies sell their products (sprayed with pesticide and all), jack the price up to about 3x as much as a normal crop, and label it "organic" because it's "technically" true. There have been at least 2 companies I have heard of who were shut down for doing this.

I'm of two opinions - "If it ain't boke don't fix it" is a god rule of thumb, but with so much potential to help so many people, it's definitely worth exploring modified foods. Humans were given the ability to discover for just this reason.

: Sorry to not have replied for so long.

: You are correct. Composting is not feces - but not all composting is "complete" and thus many pathogenic bacteria can (and do) survive the process. Of the reported food poisoning cases in the United States an overwhelming proportion are due to bacterial contamination of organically produced food.

: No one is trying to hide any information from anyone. The issue of labeling foods is a matter of what is informative and accurate. The FDA has clearly stated that any genetically enhanced food that is not substantially equivalent to conventional food would need to be labelled.

: Which would label would be more accurate?:

: "Genetically enhanced to improve nutritional content and reduce the use of chemical pesticides"

: OR

: Organically grown - may contain human pathogens

: Or better yet

: Organically grown - contains higher levels of carcinogens than conventionally grown crops?

: Which do you think consumers would prefer?

: If you think this is nonsense please read an article called "Dietary pesticides 99.9% all natural" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - Vol 87, p 7777-7781, October 1990. The author is Bruce Ames, the inventor of the Ames assay for carcinogenicity and one of the most widely respected toxicologists in the world. The facts are simple: the vast majority of carcinogens that we ingest are compounds naturally produced by plants to inhibit predators. Organic crops are (despite efforts at integrated pest management) subject to greater predation by insects and fungi than are conventional grown plants. As a result they produce higher levels of alkaloids, glucosinolates, isothiocynates and phenols to mention a few. Interestingly, recent work at Iowa State University has demostrated that corn genetically enhanced to contain Bt - has lower levels of aflatoxin - one of the most potent carcinogens known to man - How can this be? Aflatoxin is produced by a fungus - Aspergillus. The fungi can only enter the plant via the holes made by corn borer. With corn genetically enhanced for insect resistance - no corn borer holes - no alfatoxin.

: With regard to your comments about Bt there are several causes for concern about how organic farmers use Bt - first it is sprayed indiscriminately resulting in the death of many non-target (read non-predatory) insects. Second farm workers who enter a Bt sprayed field within 24 hours run the risk of spore infection and respiratory disease. Eating the Bt protein in a genetically enhanced plant poses no risks what so ever to human population, that was what was anticipated with their approval and that is what has been demonstrated with over 30 million acres of Bt crops planted

: The anti-GMO crowd wants everything to be labelled so that they can continue their scare campaigns with greater effeciency.

: If you want to talk about an enormous conflict of interest it must be on the part of organic food retailers who:
: 1) Charge 3-5x more for their products;
: 2) Have the biggest profit margins in the food distribution business;
: Despite the fact that the Organic Trade Association admits that organic food is "neither safer nor more nutritous than conventionally grown food"

: At the end of the day I think we all distrust people and organizations who claim to have our best interests at heart but really have a profit motive instead. When I apply this simple rule to the genetically altered food debate the people I wind up not trusting is the organic food industry - They are purposely trying to scare people about genetically enhanced food because their business depends on scaring people about conventional food. At the end of the day if conventional food (read genetically enhanced) is able to be grown without synthetic chemical inputs - then there is no difference between organic and conventional food and the big profit margins of the organic food retailers will go up in smoke.

: When in doubt - follow the money. The organic food retail business is making more money by misleading the public than ag-biotech companies ever dreamed of making.

: As far as the extremist groups being on "my" side. Well - when I see that "golden" rice genetically enhanced to produce beta carotene could save a million third world kids per year (Time, July 31, 2000) and yet extremist groups like Greenpeace still oppose it - I am sorry but I am not in favor of killing children.

: GREENPEACE KILLS! - Let Golden Rice Grow!

: : Why is the government (at he lobbying of the giant ag corporations like Monsanto) trying to keep information from the consumer? What you say sounds good on the surface but what happens when we dig deeper?

: : Bt. Organic farmers apply it to the crop, it does it's job, it goes to market, washed off and eaten. Bt corn. It is INSIDE every cell of the plant. It goes to market, no one knows it is there, purchased, not washed off and eaten. I don't want to eat that.

: : There is a crop (sorry I can't remember whether it is soybeans or cotton) is geneticaly modified to include Bt. Unfortunatealy in some areas stink bugs find it rather appealing. Since you do not own these new seeds, only lease the right to plant them, you call Monsanto. The farmers have been told to use a strong pesticide to kill them. Sort of defeats the purpose don't you think? Now you are eating the Bt inside the food, and the residual pesticide. Great.
: : As for extremist groups, I think Monsanto (sorry guys don't mean to pick on only you) is more of an extremist group. Anything for a buck. Anything to keep their percentage of the market increasing.
: : Extremist groups are great. Groups like common cause, american civil liberties union, union of concerned scientists.... At least I know what side they are on.....mine.

: : If everything was on the up and up, all the big business would not be trying to keep everything secret. I worry when someone is hiding some thing from me "for my own good".
: : Just give me a choice O.K.

: : By the way compost is not exactly feces. Try looking at some organic gardening sites and they can explain to you the process. I think you might find it educational.

: : Check out a website
: : Some information and a couple links.
: : (Unless you work for FDA, then do not look, it might lead to logical thought)

: : I know what you are thinking.......But how does he really feel!!

: : :-)

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