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Old 01-22-2008, 04:54 PM   #41
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I don't know all the ins and outs about genetically altered food, but I do know if you keep messing with Mother Nature, she will come back and bite you in the backside. It may not be today or tomorrow, and we may not even see it in our grandchildren, but it will show up sooner or later.

Check this out: The Future of Food
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:37 AM   #42
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History is littered with the victims of stuff either the government, scientists or big business told us was safe. Asbestos was the greatest thing, thalidamyde was great for pregnant women, of course it is safe to feed ground up animals to the normally vegitarian cattle, oops BSE. The government agencies that are meant to police our food are not immune to the lobbying groups of the multi-nationals. (Stevia is not allowed to be sold as a sweetener only a food suppliment)

The possible problems with GM is that they wont show up for 20, 30, 50 years or more and by that time it will be too late. Also, maybe the things that are being altered right at this moment may be fine, but once allowed, who knows what is next.

GM crops cannot be contained, so anybody who prefers their fruit and vegetables organic will soon not be able get them due to cross contamination.

It is not just France that is against GM, the EU will not allow it. Britain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany and a few others are strongly against it, although the British government is under strong pressure to allow more GM trials.

In the end it is down to personal choice to eat or to eat, the problem is, once the genie is out of the bottle will the individual still have that choice?
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:17 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodi View Post
... GM crops cannot be contained, so anybody who prefers their fruit and vegetables organic will soon not be able get them due to cross contamination.

It is not just France that is against GM, the EU will not allow it. Britain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany and a few others are strongly against it, although the British government is under strong pressure to allow more GM trials.

In the end it is down to personal choice to eat or to eat, the problem is, once the genie is out of the bottle will the individual still have that choice?
Maybe you neglected to read GrillingFool's long, informative post from his wife, who is working on a Ph.D. in this subject. Here's part of it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrillingFool
If someone handed me a genetically engineered tomato and told me to eat it, I would, no problem. That's because your body doesn't have an alert system that blinks off and on alerting your body that it is genetically altered... your body digests it just as it does any other tomato. It doesn't recognize specific genes as foreign to the tomato. Likewise, proteins and carbohydrates are subject to the same digestive processing. (GF says: this means that on a chemical, protein, molecular, sugar, carbohydrate, etc level, the cloned item is no different from any other.. the building blocks are identical to naturally produced blocks.)

Genetically engineered foods are strenuously tested to ensure that they are the "same" as their "natural" counterparts. The metabolites are extracted from these foods and studied by mass spectrometry to ensure that there are no new compounds popping out that might be dangerous. Any changes are characterized as the intentioned changes, and otherwise, the plants are exactly the same. Otherwise, there is too much of a risk to human health and safety... and the company's litigation fund, that these products just would not make it out of research and development.

Methods of inserting and propagating genes are getting better, with many of the plants actually being sterile. There would be no chance of the genes escaping into already existing populations. Other techniques have been developed that allow the plants to propagate, but would also keep the genes from escaping by some clever genetic tricks. At this point, I wouldn't worry at all about it. These issues have been well sorted out in response to public concern.
Emphasis added by me.
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:37 PM   #44
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Call me paranoid, but the last places I consider to provide accurate and unbiased are first the government and second the manufacturer. I have never know a manufacturer to put out a product and say "yea, there maybe some problems with this, but hey buy it anyway and dont worry". If manufacturers didnt lie there wouldnt be so many lawsuits currently pending against them for covering up problems with thier products.
And governments? Well, money buys influence and the manufacturers sure have plenty of that to throw around. The word lobyist comes to mind.
Case in point: If these plants are sterile, then why is Monsanto still involved in lawsuits against neighboring farmers because Monsantos GM, and supposedly sterile crop, drifted into neighboring farmers land and Monsanto is suing THEM for not removing the crop from thier now contaminated fields. That takes aweful big cahunas (pardon my french) to do.
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:47 PM   #45
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Case in point: If these plants are sterile, then why is Monsanto still involved in lawsuits against neighboring farmers because Monsantos GM, and supposedly sterile crop, drifted into neighboring farmers land and Monsanto is suing THEM for not removing the crop from thier now contaminated fields. That takes aweful big cahunas (pardon my french) to do.
I don't know. Do you have a source for this info?
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:15 PM   #46
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I think my wife mentioned something about this as being from a while ago, before
safeguards were improved.... but could be wrong about this...
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:43 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Maverick2272 View Post
Call me paranoid, but the last places I consider to provide accurate and unbiased are first the government and second the manufacturer. I have never know a manufacturer to put out a product and say "yea, there maybe some problems with this, but hey buy it anyway and dont worry". If manufacturers didnt lie there wouldnt be so many lawsuits currently pending against them for covering up problems with thier products.
And governments? Well, money buys influence and the manufacturers sure have plenty of that to throw around. The word lobyist comes to mind ...
I didn't say to rely on manufacturers; I said the government and institutions of higher education. Lobbyists lobby politicians, not scientists. I'm not so naive as to think the system is perfect, but I think it's better than listening to people who have products to sell based on scaring the public, which in general is not very well education in science.
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:58 PM   #48
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It was on the news awhile back. Do a Google search Monsanto + lawsuits and Monsanto + Canada + lawsuits and you come up with a list of lawsuits by Monsanto against farmers in Canada and the US. They started in the mid 90's and continue to this day and are in two categories: Farmers saving seed from their crop to use the following year and organic farmers having their crops contaminated by Monsanto's GM crops. Are either possible if the GM seed is sterile? I don't know, that is what I am hoping someone can answer in a definitive way.
Also if you go to the Wikipedia web site and look up Monsanto, then go to references, you can find a list there of sources on the following subjects concerning Monsanto and GM crops:

Monsanto being sued for dumping toxic chemicals (relates to their product Roundup).
Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity.
Monsanto fined for false herbicide ads in France.
Monsanto sued for illegally importing GM seed to France.
Monsanto fined for bribing an Indonesia government official to not do environmental studies on their GM cotton crop (if its so safe, why are they afraid of having an environmental study done?).
A list of Monsanto's lobbying expenses.
And several references debating how to contain and control GM crops from spreading and contaminating neighboring fields.

The news reports I read on Monsanto and the problems with US farmers and Canadian farmers was on PBS and BBC Canada, but I cannot find a direct link to either on this subject, just references to their programs.

You can read the Wikipedia entry as well, but I take that with a grain of salt, some of the verbiage used suggested to me the writer was perhaps slanted in their views and therefore not objective.

I also did a Google search on sterile + GM + crops and got several articled debating how best to contain GM crops, but nothing that said they were sterile. And again, if they are sterile, how are farmers able to re-use seed from their crop the next year, and how is it contaminating the organic farmers fields? I can't seem to find an answer from either side that lays this question to rest. And it seems to be of large concern to the EU, and listed by them as one reason for not allowing GM crops in. So if they, after reading all available information and scientific studies, see no conclusive proof that GM crops are sterile and can be contained, why should I?

As for trusting the government, you said it yourself lobbyists lobby politicians, IE the Government. Therefore they cant be trusted to be objective. Want re-elected? limit laws designed to protect consumers and limit what we can do. Hey, I gave you tons of money to get you elected, no go over to that government watchdog agency and get them off by back.
As for scientists, ever wonder who pays for much of their research? While I am sure most are on the level, many are often funded by special interest groups. So no, just because someone is a scientist doesn't mean I should immediately assume everything they say is true.
Take for example the scientific study done by a Scottish scientist in which 33 out of 40 lab rats developed stomach lesions and died after consuming GM food. Another group of scientists then came out and reputed the first set as having been biased and influencing. So what, does that mean scientists really can be biased??? But I thought... so which set of scientist is really biased then? The first set or the second set. Both are scientists, so who do I believe now?
See, my point is nothing should ever be taken as gospel. Sometimes the best thing to do is follow the money, then see who is really calling the shots.

Like I said before, I am way more concerned about the chemicals going on and in my food, IE pesticides herbicides etc. One of the biggest problems we had growing up was having to treat our well water due to the fact that in the late 80's it became undrinkable. Why? The ground water and soil were that contaminated by all the pesticides and herbicides used by the farmers in their fields, not to mention all those chemical fertilizers. And yet, its still not illegal to use them, and they are not liable for contaminating the drinking water either.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:12 PM   #49
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I did a quick search on Google and most of what I found was either Monsanto being sued, or cases from 10 or more years ago. I don't really have time to sift through thousands of results, sorry. And I don't consider Wikipedia a reliable source for something like this, since anyone can change anything they want on that site.

Yes, I said lobbyists lobby politicians, but they don't lobby scientists, that I'm aware of. And articles on scientific topics that appear in respected professional journals are vetted by people in the same field - the study design and analysis of results are carefully reviewed to make sure they end up with valid conclusions. It's not easy to slip something past this system. And no, I don't wonder who pays for scientific research - I work at a medical school, so I have a good idea of how it gets funded

If a bunch of scientists criticize the results of one scientist, I would take the word of the bunch. Of course scientists can be biased, just like anyone else. The good ones strive not to be, and the scientific method was developed to eliminate bias as much as possible. As I said, no system is perfect, but unless one wants to just ignore the whole issue and hope it will go away, we have to set our own criteria for who and what we will believe. Different people will choose different "experts" to rely on, and that's just the way things go
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:01 PM   #50
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AGGG!!!! I had the computer on an unstable surface blocking the processor fan, it shut down on me and I lost my entire post!! Ugg.

Anyway,
I was not trying to start an argument, so I hope I have not offended anyone. If I have, I apologize. My point was simply that there is no case of one scientist saying bad while the rest say good, same with the governments and thier agencies.
Instead, I see pretty evenly divided lines between scientists, governments, manufacturers, and institutions of higher learning. So, when it is a group on one side and a group on the other, how do you judge then? Which ones do you beleive or put stock in and which ones do you choose to write off? It is easy to say "all credible scientific evidence points to this and only crackpots point to that". But this isn't the case here, and it wouldn't be the first time the scientists were wrong and the crackpots were right either.
I was also trying to just state my own opinion, which is that I do not give any more or any less weight to what governements, watchdog groups, regulartory agencies, scientists, or institutes of higher learning say over what others who have done thier own research say. IE I take ALL with a grain of salt, not just some.
One can choose to agree with what the US government, Monsanto, US scientists, and US institutes of higher learning say, or one can choose to agree with thier European counterparts. How does one choose? Myself, I also take into account other factors such as pending lawsuits, previous lawsuits, personal experience, the experience of the farmers, watchdog groups, environmental groups, Dr.s, etc.
This raises, for me, additional questions not addressed by mainstream scientists and government regulatory agencies (which again can be just as easily influences by money and special interest as anyone else).
I also do not have the time to suft thru thousands of results either, but what other choice do I have when so many are so divided on the issue? I feel the more I sift, the more I read, the more I see the better picture I get. I never said take Wikipedia at face value, I said take a look at the reference section. Big difference, and in fact I did point out that I felt the entry itself was biased. But just because the entry was not made by the USDA or a scientist or an institute of higher learning doesn't mean we should just dismiss it off-hand either. That is reckless.
And my opinion is that while I despise Monsanto for thier business practises, and do question their ability to conain thier GM crops, I cannot find any evidence that GM crops or bad health wise.
I do apologize for not referencing each and every source I read and came across on my multi-day searches, I wasn't aware it would be necessary, or that anyone else was doing it, and quite frankly would prefer each person to do as much themselves and make up thier own minds in the matter instead of relying just on the work I have done.
After all, my point was never to 'resolve' the issue of provide concrete proof either way but rather explore the methods by which we were making our decisions.
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:48 PM   #51
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Hey, Maverick. I'm not offended and I don't think this is really an argument - rather, it's a spirited discussion, which I really get into. If I only talked about stuff with people who agree with me on everything, I'd never learn anything new So no worries about that. I appreciate you explaining your point of view. I agree with GB, though - I do try to get info from several sources and see where the consensus is. Sometimes it's harder to find in some areas, but we just have to do the best we can.

As a rule, I am pretty skeptical of sites/groups/people who stand to make a profit from whatever they're saying. And since I know a fair number of medical researchers personally, I tend to trust them. The ones I've met, at least, are honestly at their core very curious people who want to understand the disease process, what causes it, and how it can be treated and/or prevented.

It's a fascinating, complex topic, to be sure
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Old 01-25-2008, 07:48 PM   #52
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Whew I am glad. I love the more spirited discussions, but am always afraid (since people can't see what you are saying only what you type) that it will get taken the wrong way or I will offend someone. I really didn't want to get too much into comparing or refuting information as I didn't want to seem like I was pointing fingers or calling someone a liar or anything, but I understand the need to provide references as well. In the future I will bookmark more so I have them ready at hand to reference.
And just so you know, it was the information and questions posted by yourself, GrillingFool, and his wife that got me searching the Internet these last few days for more information on the subject. So I thank you for that, it has gotten the wife and I looking more into this subject, and that is always a good thing in my opinion.
Until now I really hadn't given it much though outside of the flurry of lawsuits being passed back and forth between Monsanto, farmers, and organic farmers. The only frustration I had was much of the information was very confusing and often seemed to contradict each other. I am sure alot of that stems from the fact that some of what they are talking about is pretty technical, to say the least, LOL.
Some interesting things I did read are that crops currently in testing include ones that could potentionally reduce greenhouse gases? I also know they were planning ones that were naturally resistant to pesticides, but not sure if they have already released them or if it is still in trials. Hey anything that reduces reliance on pesticides and herbicides is a good thing in my book!
One thing that did kinda strike me was just how different are GM crops from none GM crops in regards to disease resistance? I thought I had heard that for the most part they were much more hardy than none GM crops and could even withstand more variances in climate than non GM crops. Is this true?
I was doing a search on that, but am having difficulty finding information specifically regarding that issue. Call me silly, but I was just having thoughts of "what would happen if a disease struck effecting only GM crops kinda along the lines of Dutch Elm Disease?"
For instance, if all the genetic modifications accidently took out a little known but very necessary resistance that caused the GM crops to die off.
How likely an event could this be? And how easily, if at all, could we bounce back from it?
Anyway, good discussion, really got my brain thinking these last couple of days, it needed the exercise anyway ;)
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Old 01-26-2008, 06:19 PM   #53
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I think, at the very least, any GM food that is sold should have a label so those opposed can avoid it. If people don't want it, they don't have to buy it. In this way, the market will decide if it is something that is accepted or rejected by consumers.

I use to do that with stuff marked Made in China. Use to be easy.

Avoiding Made in China is not so easy anymore.

Maybe it's already too late, but lets say all foods with direct genetic modification are marked as such. At this time we MAY be able to avoid them.

There will come a time, like came with China, that avoiding GM foods will not be so easy.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:28 AM   #54
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This may seem like a trivial point in comparison to the other issues that have been brought up, but does anyone have any opinions about how GM food tastes? Is there any improvement, is it bland, or can you even tell a difference?

I started reading Julia Child's masterpiece "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and she had some interesting points that argued against the use of growth hormones, but these points were entirely about how it affects the flavor of the animal. She mentioned that it takes time for the meat to mature and that an animal that reaches a marketable size in a shorter time would simply not taste as good.

Obviously, a nation that has trouble feeding its population will care far less about flavor than with preventing starvation, but for those societies that have more food than survival requires food takes on a different significance.

Anyone have an objective facts, educated opinions, or wild conjecture about this?
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:29 AM   #55
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I honestly don't know. I would imagine most of what I eat is GM, so I don't know how I would attempt to go about setting up a 'taste' test. I know that some of the best sweet corn I have had comes from the organic farmer at the farmers market we go to, but that doesn't mean it isn't GM, just a better tasting variety and I like that he didn't use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides to grow it.
He does put one caveat into his display: That while he does not use chemicals, they are bound to be present in the soil and water and therefore in trace amounts in his crops.
That is my wifes main concern on this issue, that GM crops (mainly corn she is speaking about here) due to their higher yield per plant have a greater leaching effect on the soil thus making them more dependent on chemical fertilizers. In other words her stance is not about health or taste directly but environmental impact minded. She is also very concerned about increasing mono crop practices (growing only one type of crop instead of several and rotating them from field to field each year) and unsustainable farming .
We have been going back and forth for the last couple of days without finding anything definitive either way. Anyone else have any info about this? My understand was GM corn crops have no greater leaching effect on the soil and no greater dependency on chemical fertilizers than non GM corn does. And that regardless of whether or not its GM corn or not, crop rotation is still the best practice and best for the soil and environment.
IE seems to me she (and probably myself as well among others) is confusing organic, GM, sustainable farming practices, and healthy environmental practices. I know they are all connected but at the same time separate issues. IE I could be an organic farmer using no chemicals but that doesn't mean I used non GM seed.. etc. etc.

For an interesting bit of background info look up norman borlaug - Google Search
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