Skip to main content

There are reasons why some people oppose food labeling for GMO foods.  In this diary I analyze their rationales.  I attempt to explain, why, in addition to the fact that the opponents of labeling haven't got a truthful nor rational reason for not labeling, why it is important that the pro-labeling forces win this fight.  I also include suggestions for engaging the enemy.

 

                         WHY DO I SUPPORT GMO LABELING?

       Private Industry, the Medical Profession, and the Federal Government present almost convincing arguments for the non-labeling of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods.   If what they are saying is true, there is no reason whatsoever to avoid GMO foods, let alone label them.  First, what are GMO's?

   

  According to www.dictionary.reference.com/browse/, GMO is the abbreviation for genetically modified organism. "A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there."  The World Health Organization defines GMO as "organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally."  According to Wikepedia  "The first GMOs were bacteria in 1973..."
   GMO s are not the result of cross pollination or hybridization.  

      So why not label foods for human consumption grown or raised with GMOs?  In short, the following are four objections or rationales that GMO proponents hold in objecting to GMO labeling:

  1) there is no valid scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful to human health
  (2) GMO crops make better use of limited resources
  (3) labeling would result in widespread panic
  (4) labeling would raise the expense of food for growers and consumers

 I will respond to each of these claims.  

    Rationale 1.  Those promoting GMOs claim that there is no scientific evidence that GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are harmful to human health.

My Response.  Since I am not a scientist, there is nothing to be gained from trying to argue this point.  The scientist is always going to sound more convincing than the non-scientist.  What I question is the claim that GMOs (even those not developed yet) have no negative effects on human health.  Period.  This is not a valid scientific nor logical statement.  True science postulates theories.  When most scientists agree with a theory based on the presented physical evidence, the theory is considered to be valid based on the present available data.  A scientific theory is never considered immutable or unchangeable for the rest of time.  Why?  Because new valid data may be uncovered in the future which might contradict the present available data.  When that happens, what was considered a valid scientific theory is invalidated.  For example, at one time the planet Earth was theorized to be flat.  When evidence was presented that the world was actually round, the Flat Earth theory was invalidated.

        In the 1940's, DDT was considered the best thing since buttered toast.  Less than 40 years later its use was banned in this country due to a public outcry that saved the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine  Falcon from extinction.

      Pre-1960 theory: Artificial food colorings derived from coal tar are inert substances that will not interact with physical bodies.  Red Dye #1 was banned in 1960 as a suspected carcinogen.

      Based on scientific testing, it was theorized that the following prescription drugs were safe for general use:  MERIDIA (banned 2010), ZELNOAM (banned 2007), TEQUIN (banned 2006),  BEXTRA (banned 2005), VIOXX (banned 2004), BAYCOL (banned 2001), PROPOLSIA (banned 2000), REZULIN (banned 2000), RAXAR (banned 1999), REDUX (banned 1997), AVANDIA (use restricted 2010).  These are the marketed drugs deemed unsafe for unrestricted use from just 1997-2010 by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Scientists theorizing that a chemical or biological agent is safe for human consumption, won't prevent that agent from harming you.  The same is true of GMOs.

      The claim that GMOs are perfectly harmless is based on the available scientific research published in scientific journals.  Can that published GMO research be trusted?  An article in the August, 2009 issue of Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/...) explains that big agrotech companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta  require the purchasers of genetically modified seeds to sign an agreement that prohibits the seeds from being used for independent research.

"Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects."
       According to this article, research on genetically engineered seeds, presumably those supplied to scientists by the seed companies, has been published.   But only those studies approved by the seed companies are published in peer-reviewed journals.  I suspect that the researcher is required to agree not to publish findings until and unless the seed company approves the research.  If there are any independent researchers reading this, please tell us what you know about this.

        This peer-reviewed research approved by the seed companies as well as research from the companies' own scientists is what the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) uses to determine if GMOs are safe.  Who in the FDA makes those determinations?  Check out the article at

http://www.globalresearch.ca/....

It documents the various high-ranking Monsanto employees that have been appointed to positions of responsibility in the FDA and the Department of Agriculture by Presidents Clinton and Obama.

One example is described  by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA)   (http://www.organicconsumers.org/...).  Margaret Miller, a Monsanto researcher, contributed to a research report on a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone for the FDA.  Shortly before the report was submitted to the FDA, Miller was hired by the FDA.  Her first job was to review the same report.  The artificial hormone was subsequently approved by the FDA.  The FDA official who decided milk produced from cows given the hormone would not have to be labeled was a former Monsanto lawyer.

   In an article entitled "Critics Slam Obama For 'Protecting' Monsanto" by Lindsey Boerma, CBS News (March 28, 2013) (http://www.cbsnews.com/...), it was reported that a provision was surreptitiously included in a 2013 budget bill which

"protects genetically modified seeds from litigation suits over health risks posed by the crops' consumption."
 That should have read "protects the manufacturer" (one of which is Monsanto).  If Monsanto is so convinced that GMOs are safe, I can't help wondering why they would be worried about losing law suits.  In their defense, it is costly even for a multi-billion dollar international corporation to defend itself in court.  On the other hand, I can't imagine Congress taking away the right of American citizens to sue car companies that decide to suppress information about safety defects rather than issuing prompt recalls.

  m> For some problems there is a scientific solution.  There is also a sensible solution.  They aren't always the same.                                                         Richard Geiger Rationale 2.  The GMO backers claim that Genetically Modified crops make better use of the limited resources of land, water and fertilizer.

      My Response: In fact, all physical resources on the planet are limited.  The intended implication is that there is not enough land, water and fertilizer to feed everyone on the planet.  But actually, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization ((FAO) of the United Nations (www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/),

"one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally."
That amounts to 1.3 billion tons annually.  On October 21, 2013 the FAO Director-General Jose' Grozianoda Silva said,
"If we reduce food loss and waste to zero it would give us additional food to feed two billion people."
According to FAO 1.15 billion of the earth's people were undernourished from 2011-2013.  So, if all food loss and waste were prevented, there would be more than enough food produced to feed everyone.  It follows that there must be enough land, water and fertilizer to produce more than enough food to feed everyone.   The problem of undernourishment is not due to limited resources.  It is due to other factors involving distribution, preservation, pricing, etc.

      There would be more arable (suitable for planting) land, particularly in this country, if the same class that is making millions from GMOs had  not made millions more by constructing shopping malls and housing projects on perfectly fertile farm land all over this country.  (According to American Farmland Trust  at www.farmland.org/resources/fote/ between 1982 and 2007, 45,404,300 acres of U.S. agricultural land was converted to developed uses.)

       There would be more fresh water if everyone would stop wasting it.  There would be more water available for agriculture in North America if 90% of the wetlands in the U.S. and Canada had not been drained and converted to other uses (source - FAO).  The drought conditions we are experiencing world-wide is probably the result of the increased rate of global warming.  The increased rate of Global Warming (climate change) is due mostly to the combustion of  fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas).  Instead of building oil pipelines all over the country, perhaps we should build water pipelines between areas of the country that are prone to flooding and those areas stricken with drought.   It would happen if someone could figure out how to make millions in profit from doing it.  According to the U.N. (www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts/) the U.S. throws away 30% of all the food it produces.  The largest human use of water is agriculture.  An estimated 50% of the water used to produce this wasted food is itself wasted.

      Human produced chemical fertilizers would not be necessary if we did not throw so much yard waste/nutrient-rich food/food waste/animal and human waste into landfills instead of converting it to fertilizer.   If the population continues to increase, there may indeed be resource shortages.   If GMOs are perfectly safe and cheap and good for the environment, fewer people will die from starvation.  The more people that survive to child-bearing age, the faster the world population will increase. Feeding the hungry does not solve the other problems resulting from overpopulation.

      The big agrochemical companies also claim that GMOs decrease the need for pesticides.  That is because they can genetically engineer the seed to produce pesticides that are lethal to specific insect pests.  So while GMO food may have less chemical pesticide residue on it, the pesticide is in some of the GMO food that we consume. There are also reports of  "Super Pests", insects that have developed an immunity to the genetically engineered pesticides in specific GMO crops.

      Then there is the problem of Superweeds.  Superweeds are a dozen species of weeds that have developed an immunity to Monsanto's Rodeo Roundup herbicide.  They are tougher and bigger than their non-genetically modified relatives.  They have been known to damage farm equipment.   Of course, they also deprive the crop of needed moisture and nutrients.  To control Superweeds farmers use stronger combinations of herbicides.  (www.ucsusas.org/news/press_release/superweeds-overrun-farmlands...)

Rationale 3.  Proponents of GMOs claim that letting people know which foods contain GMOs would result in widespread panic.

      My Response:  I am aware of no research that suggests that the level of concern most Americans have for their health would rise to the level of panic due to food labeling.   An article at www.labelshechart.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/05/about-60-percent-pay-attention-to-nutrition-facts/ by Dr. Sanjay Gupta refers to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that found that only 43.8 % of people pay attention to health claims on food labels.

       I read the ingredients on all food I purchase.  I don't like consuming any man-made chemicals not found in nature.  If food can be produced without artificial colors, flavors and preservatives , then these things do not add to the nutritive value of the food and are unnecessary.  Why should we have to ingest things in our food that Nature never intended?  These artificial chemicals allegedly cause no harm but are listed.  To not list GMOs because they allegedly cause no harm is contradictory and senseless.

Rationale 4. GMO supporters claim that labeling would result in economic hardship for consumers as well as growers.

      My Response:  That claim, I suspect, is not based on the expense of writing "This food contains GMOs" on each food label.  I suspect it is more likely that the supporters of GMOs fear that people will opt to buy products without that disclosure statement.  Let's face it. People aren't going to suddenly eat less if GMO labeling is required.  So the problem for GMO backers, growers and users is that their products may be less in demand.  But that is good news for food manufacturers that don't use Genetically Engineered ingredients.  Their products will be more in demand.  The last time I checked we are still supposed to have a free market system in the United States.  That would seem to preclude certain companies from gaining advantages over other companies through government legislation.

      According to the Organic Consumers Organization (OCA), members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association spent about $68 million just to defeat GMO labeling ballot initiatives in California (Prop 37) and Washington State (I-522).  They tried the same thing in Vermont but failed.  I have read that they plan on challenging the Vermont law in court.

      The Grocery Manufacturers Association has introduced a bill (HR 4432) in Congress that would block states from enacting GE food labeling laws.  It would give the FDA the exclusive power to decide if a GE food should be labeled.  If the FDA deems the product safe, the manufacturer will not have to label it as a GMO.  (http://beta.congress.gov/...). If the FDA deems it dangerous, they would probably not allow it to be sold in this country.  If this law passes, it will deprive consumers of their right to know what they are eating.

        In regard to the claim that GMOs make products more affordable, according to www.justlabelit.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/science...,superweeds (which require more herbicide to kill) have increased the cost of growing cotton from between $50-$75/hectare a few years ago to $370/hectare.  Growing soybeans in Illinois used to cost $25/hectare.  That has increased to $160/hectare.  That extra cost has been passed on to consumers.

        I think it's ironic that to avoid GMO consumption without labeling, the alternative is to eat organic.  Organic produce, unless one grows it oneself, is more expensive than non-organic.  The irony is that people who are profiting the most from GMOs are the same people who can more easily afford to purchase organically grown food.

        Another related fact is that when GMO pollen blows into an organic farm and pollinates the organic crop, that crop can not be sold as organic.  This factor decreases the available supply of organic produce, as well as doing economic damage to the organic farm.

        Monsanto's ambition is not limited to America.  An article from Rueters announced a plan coordinated by the Obama Administration for companies like Monsanto to invest billions of dollars to "improve" agriculture in Africa.  Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, a policy think tank, said,

"The problem is all this is based on large-scale commercial agriculture. Who does it benefit? All of these things are supporting the formation of large-scale commercial agriculture, which will hurt small farmers. They could spend far less but focus on providing credit facilities, ensuring open markets and ensuring the rights of small holder farmers."
(http://www.reuters.com/...)

      This grand plan for Africa will result in wealthy landowners raising large GMO mono crops.
                                     IN CONCLUSION
So, where does that leave us?    We have a large multi-billion dollar multi-national company, Monsanto, that virtually controls the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture making false, misleading and unsupportable claims in order to keep profiting from ts patented seeds and agro-chemicals.

The objective of Monsanto, many believe, is to control human life on the planet. He who controls the food supply, controls life.  If and when the majority of farmers on earth are all raising GMO produce, they will be completely dependent on Monsanto or a similar company, not only for the seeds for each growing season but also for the chemical fertilizers/herbicides that are designed to work with those particular seeds.

     The issue is a simple one.  Should people have a right to know if the food they are eating contains GMOs or has been produced through means of genetic engineering?  Sixty -four countries, including members of the European Union,

"enforce consumer 'right to know' laws for GE foods"
according to the Center for Food Safety  (http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/... international-labeling-laws).

       I compare this issue to skydiving.  An imperfect analogy but the best I've got at the moment.

Some people are not meant to skydive.  They may have an intuition about it.  Sky-diving enthusiasts will never understand those people.  They will insist your chances of not suffering any ill-effects are 99.5% or whatever.  If I were to force someone who is not meant to skydive, to do it because the danger is miniscule, I would be violating their basic rights.

       Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association wants to coerce people into eating food whose genes have been artificially manipulated by banning mandatory GMO labeling.  This is abusive and a violation of human rights.

       I would feel the same way if the FDA approved adding sawdust from rare tropical forest trees to processed foods as a fiber supplement.  Even if the FDA deemed it safe to eat, I would remain morally bound to boycott that food.  I could not do that if the food containing the offensive ingredient was not labeled as such.  People who don't care, have a right to not know what is in the food they eat.  All they have to do is not listen to the information and not read food labels.  People who do care should likewise have the right to know what the food they eat contains.

       Is this the most pressing problem today?  Probably not, by itself.  It is, however, one aspect of a very serious problem that the main stream media chooses to ignore.  That problem is sometimes called Plutocracy.  Others prefer the term Oligarchy.  It boils down to those with the greatest wealth getting wealthier by means of controlling the government, while those with the least wealth and power get poorer and more powerless.

       I support people's right to know what's in their food.  I favor the labeling of every man-made substance not found in Nature that is in or on the food we eat. "

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing".
                                 Edmund Burke

                           WHAT HAVE I DONE ABOUT IT?
     There are people who, upon reading and understanding the issue will claim they can't do anything about the problem.  So, this is what I have done.
     There is a pledge at Causes.com sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to boycott the companies that belong to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).  I have taken that pledge.  I also listed the most popular companies and some of the brands familiar to me in a Daily Kos diary. This way the reader can contribute to the boycott even if he/she can't sign the pledge.

       I have published other diaries concerning GMOs on Daily Kos.    

       I wrote "GMO Opinionated Fact Sheet" and "GMOs and Human Rights", made about 140 copies of each so far and have been passing/mailing them to others.  I also sent them to each of my State and Federal congressional representatives and to Mrs. Obama.  I am also in the process of e-mailing the companies on the above-mentioned list whose products I have previously purchased to let them know why I will no longer be using those products.  Examples follow:

To: Colgate-Palmolive

I have been using nothing but Ajax for Dishes since the 1970s when Consumer Reports found that it was the most economical product for its use. I have been buying Colgate toothpaste for several years now for myself and lately for my significant other as well.  I am sorry to have to inform you that I will not be buying these nor any other Colgate-Palmolive products henceforth.  Your membership in the  Grocery Manufacturer's Association supports that organization's efforts to deprive Americans of their right to know what is in the food they purchase.  I appreciate the quality of your products, but I choose not to help finance the effort to deprive my fellow citizens of their right to know.  I will also be encouraging others to boycott Colgate-Palmolive products unless and until you terminate your membership in GMA and support GMO labeling.

To: Pepsi Co.

I contacted you a few weeks ago about GMOs.  I have yet to hear back with any answer, reasonable or otherwise.  I want to inform you that even though I used to buy several Pepsis every week and used to eat Quaker Oats and even Frito-Lays on occasion, I will no longer be purchasing your products and will be encouraging others to boycott as well.  Since you spent $4.8 million to help defeat GMO food labeling voter initiatives in California and Washington,you do not deserve the support of those whose rights you would deprive.  If you decide to renounce your membership in the Grocery Manufacturer's Association and publicly support GMO food labeling, let me know.  I still am thirsting for a pepsi.

To: Coca-Cola Co.

I am very disappointed that your company spent $3.2 million to help defeat GMO food labeling voter initiatives in Washington and California.  I will no longer be contributing to your financial ability to take away the right of American citizens to know what is in their food. No more Coke or Minute Maid fruit juice for me and mine.  I will encourage others to boycott your products as well.  Should you decide to renounce the Grocery Manufacturer's Association and publicly support mandatory GMO labeling, please let me know.  I'm going to miss my Minute Maid.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  #1 Monsanto et al demand you sign an end user (12+ / 0-)

    agreement. This totally precludes any research that is unflattering to the big 3 being published in any reputable peer reviewed journal.

    I am not a scientist, there is nothing to be gained from trying to argue this point.
    How can anyone argue a point that cant be made, there are no papers published by a reputable journal that are even unflattering to Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta. If they dont like the results, they own the research and they wont allow it to see the light of day.

    That is the true singular issue here, we dont know if GMO foods are putting human health at risk.

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:37:37 PM PDT

    •  You could replace GMO (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, Munchkn, Yoda54

      with global warming and sound just like a Republican. Congrats!

      •   To Le Champignon (0+ / 0-)

        Thought-provoking comment.  If we were both Republicans and I said that the claim that GMOs are harmless to human health and the environment is only a theory, you would probably tell me I sound just like a Democrat.  
        What a true Republican would not do or say:
        1. Defend the individual's right to know over the interests of large corporations.
        2. Be critical of the Federal Government hiring "ex"-Monsanto employees to work in the FDA and Department of Agriculture.
        3. Debunk Monsanto's claims that GMOs are necessary because of resource shortages.
        4. Debunk the idea that GMOs are good for the world's economy (as opposed to Monsanto's economy).
        5. Call attention to the state of our Plutocracy.
        Come to think of it, most Democrats would not do or say this stuff either.  Maybe I sound just like an Independent.

  •  thanks for this thoughtful diary on (11+ / 0-)

    what can be a contentious issue.  

    I applaud the advancement of science, and there are many benefits from gene-splicing technology.  

    On the other hand, deciding that GMO foods are the same as their non-GMO parents and so don't need to be tested was simply bad science on the part of an FDA that was, and is, run largely by former Monsanto employees, lawyers and lobbyists, some of whom end up working for Monsanto again after their stint at FDA or Agriculture.

    Can you say regulatory capture?

    DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

    by Kay Observer2 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:56:53 PM PDT

  •  When you have evidence that any GMO food is (4+ / 0-)

    hazardous to our health, then you can argue for labeling. Otherwise, your argument is equivalent to arguing in favor of banning all new drugs because they might turn out to be more dangerous than the FDA is aware of upon approval.

    •  If independent research was allowed (7+ / 0-)

      I might agree.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:53:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  nonsense (10+ / 0-)

      i guess if you're reading from the Monsanto Pro-GMO Talking Points dictionary, labeling = banning, but in normal English that's not so.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:52:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We label organic (5+ / 0-)

      so what is the problem.

      This is a free market economy we decide with our dollars, the only possible reason NOT to label is they are afraid of losing market share and in the end, customers for their seed .

      Why, pray tell, should we have national laws that do not allow independent testing and they can put it in our food with out us knowing.  It looks like they are hiding something whether they are or are not.

      If it is benign  independant testing would prove that and then we wouldn't be having this discussion.

      I am avoiding 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 Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 09:26:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, and that / those labeling efforts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikidee

        are essentially a meaningless marketing ploy (on several levels, in fact!)

        •  to: Roadbed Guy on the "meaningless marketing ploy (0+ / 0-)

          Do you deliberately try to leave vague and indirect comments that no one but you apparently understands?  It has occurred to me that Organic growers and sellers might profit from an absence of GMO labeling.  Organic being the only practical alternative.  There are a number of GMA companies that have bought organic brands as a matter of fact.  I am boycotting those brands, of course, because of the companies that now own them.  Those companies stand to profit either way from an absence of  mandatory GMO labeling.  Most people will continue to buy their non-organic products as they do now.  Those who object to the lack of labeling will have no alternative but to buy organic products.
                   If mandatory GMO labeling becomes the law of the land, and I have a choice between buying a quality non-organic, non-GMO  product and an organic product, I will probably choose the cheaper product.  The cheaper product is probably going to be the non-organic one.  So if you think the Organic Growers Association is motivated to help Vermont defend its labeling law in court against the GMA in order to increase market share, well you may be right.  But I doubt it is going to work.

      •  What are the organic labeling standards in the US? (0+ / 0-)

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:03:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Complete BS argument. Equating arguing for labe... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kay Observer2

      Complete BS argument. Equating arguing for labeling with banning makes no sense whatsoever. None. It's a stone's throw away from word salad.

    •  To mskitty (0+ / 0-)

      Apples and Oranges.  We have a choice as to whether we take a drug or not.  Plus drug ingredients -active and inactive- accompany the drug - both prescription and over-the counter.  Plus the possible side-effects, and other possible dangers are public knowledge.
           Nor did I once suggest that GMOs should be banned.   We should have as much right to know what we are ingesting in our food as we do when we ingest drugs.  Do you work for Monsanto?

      •  The following is listed under DONT'S fwiw: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikidee, Kay Observer2
        15. Unfounded accusations of being paid hacks or zombies
        Charging that a commenter is a paid troll or formerly banned user is a great way to delegitimize a user, and is particularly problematic against new users or those who seldom participate. As noted above, extraordinary claims should require evidence. People are too quick to jump to the conclusion that "the only reason anyone would disagree with me is because they're being paid" and such claims are toxic to debate and are as such, now banned.

        On the other hand, people are REALLY good at sniffing out zombies. So if you think you've got a live one, drop a note to the Help Desk with your supporting evidence and we'll be more quick to research and act on it than if you just leave comments in a thread that we might miss.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Perhaps you simply haven't read the rules, so you get the benefit of the doubt from me on this one (though others may disagree).

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 11:30:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lancet last published a negative GMO study (0+ / 0-)

      in what year?

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:02:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do you reduce food waste? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch, mikidee

    You don't offer any plan to do so. Your point #2 is doing what politicians often do: instead of answering the question being asked you answer a completely unrelated question. I actually don't have any problems with labeling. But you go beyond that to demonize any attempts to improve agriculture. And btw superweeds have nothing to do with GMOs. They are created by application of pesticides to non-GMO crops as well and predate GMOs by many years.

    •  To FG (0+ / 0-)

      I'll leave the plan to reduce food waste to someone more qualified.  Perhaps yourself.  Hint: it would probably involve preservation and distribution.  While you're working on that, we could also use a plan to reduce the world's population.
        To point #2:  There are technical arguments that experts could discuss as to why GMOs do not make better use of limited resources.  I am not an expert in that area.  The first point I am trying to make is that, in regard to making better use of limited resources, there are alternatives to GMOs. That is not what someone with Monsanto stock would be willing to consider.  The second point is that although resources may be limited, there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone already.  So don't use food shortage as an excuse to take away my right to know what is in my food.  

  •  Any time I see something that begins with "I am (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Justanothernyer

    not a scientist", I start thinking of Christine O'Donnell, for some reason.

    Let me, for a moment, present the other side of "if it's not natural, it might be a problem" argument. Which would seem to be, by the logic presented here: "If it's natural, it's good for you".

    I present, for your inspection, henbane and hemlock, common "natural" plants. For further reading, try http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Like tapioca? Great. We've learned, over centuries, how to get rid of the cyanide that would otherwise render it poisonous. Would you like a warning label on tapioca pudding that says the original plants are poisonous and if careful preparation had not been followed, the stuff might kill you? Go for it.

    Can we have labelling on "natural" peaches that says it's probably not a good idea to soak a bunch of the pits in water for a few days and then drink the water? Lots of seeds contain cyanide, though mostly not in concentrations that will do harm, but you could put a warning label on apples, if that would make you feel better.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:09:35 PM PDT

    •  I see your point, if taken only on the basis of (3+ / 0-)

      "natural."  Peanuts are natural, also.  But, some people have an allergy to them that will kill them if only a small amount is ingested.  So,with a LOT of effort, as much or more effort than with GMO labeling, finally it was mandated that if the candy bar had peanuts in it, it had to be labeled.  That took decades to get passed, because people's health and safety wasn't a concern.  Go figure.

      •  Quite true, although the really hard part was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kay Observer2

        getting the labeling on those things that might have been inadvertently contaminated by peanut trace in production machinery.

        I wasn't arguing against labeling, only against the quality of the arguments being used in the diary.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:51:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  TO: serendipityisabitch (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kay Observer2

      I was expecting this argument.  Almonds contain cyanide.  I believe its part of Vitamin B-16 (Laetrile?) which some believe kills cancer cells.  I eat them every day.
      Excuse me if I was not specific enough.

      I don't like consuming any man-made chemicals not found in nature.  If food can be produced without artificial colors, flavors and preservatives , then these things do not add to the nutritive value of the food and are unnecessary.  Why should we have to ingest things in our food that Nature never intended?
      As far as "if it's natural , it's good for you", your words, not mine.  Nor does my diary claim that man-made things not found in nature must be unhealthful.  If you ask who I trust more - the genetic engineer or Mother Nature, you probably know the answer.
      You seem to have missed the point.   No multi-billion dollar international corporation is spending millions of dollars trying to suppress our right to know how tapioca is made nor our right to know the danger of drinking peach pit water. The rich and powerful are doing that in regard to our right to know which foods contain GMOs.
      •  "that Nature never intended" is such a wonderful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikidee

        statement. It presumes so much about evolution, and biological processes, and the anima of the world, and...

        Personally, I would like to see Monsanto broken up. But you do more harm than good with this type or argument, which both brings a Creationist bias into an area where it certainly does not belong, and draws a correlary between "man made" and "unnatural".

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 11:05:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   TO: serendipityisabitch (0+ / 0-)

          Wow! You certainly are good at finding fault.  I guess you don't believe there is a "natural order".   I believe there is.  And that it would exist even if there were no human beings on the planet Earth.  As far as Creationist bias - what is that?  I don't believe a God created the physical Universe.  Period.  So I don't believe Nature has anything to do with Creation.  Maybe your criticism is too advanced for me to comprehend.

          •  When you assign "intent" to a process, essentially (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mikidee

            anthropomorphising it, you are edging into Creationist territory, if not into Creationist theology. Just as your preference for using "belief" in a situation that can be empirically tested tends to.

            I don't "believe" in a "natural order", any more than I "believe" in gravity. The world is there to be seen and thought about, without having to resort to belief. And we are part of that world. Our cities and technology may have some distinct separation from the "natural" state of the world, or they may not. I'm inclined to think that they don't, even though I think we're helping to destroy our habitat in many ways, and would like to see that change.

            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

            by serendipityisabitch on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 01:59:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  anthropomorphising nature (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              serendipityisabitch

              Fascinating possibility.  I must think on that.  Although I doubt it will change my mind about labeling GMOs.

              •  I'm not against labeling, if there's any accurate (0+ / 0-)

                way to do it. My best guess is that it would require something like what comes along with prescription medication, maybe on the web for download, rather than trying to actually put it on the packaging.

                I'm just trying to shake up your arguments a bit, because I see them as vast oversimplifications to a complex and nuanced area that in fact has some solid science behind it that is against them.

                At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                by serendipityisabitch on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:25:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I have no objection to labeling…. (7+ / 0-)

    And I certainly am no fan of Monsanto. I believe their actions are a net negative for human society. Monsanto's drive to lock down the food supply via bad patent law precedents and restrictive contracts is nothing more than a blatant attempt to gain monopoly control of our food supply.

    That being said, I have a problem with the examples you chose to effectively say we should not trust scientific opinion because it has been wrong in the past.

    There's this thing about science - it DOES get things wrong from time to time. But…

    When the evidence becomes clear, science admits it and moves on from that new understanding. Dealing with error and lack of data is one of the things science is equipped to do, when done the way it should be. And, it still remains the best tool we have for things like this.

    The safety of GMO food should be a separate issue from Monsanto, and the remedy is not to attack science but rather to demand that science be allowed free access to the data and follow it where it leads. Monsanto may have every reason in the world to push GMOs for profit - all the more reason for Monsanto to be required to open up.

    This isn't about science per se as it is about corporate bad behavior and science corrupted by the profit motive. Let's make that clear.

    And the truth of the matter is that GMO technology may be vital in a world where we not only have diminishing resources and a a growing population, but the disruptions of climate change as well. We're going to need it, so let's focus on doing it right rather than blindly opposing it.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:30:54 PM PDT

    •  Here, here. +1 (10+ / 0-)

      Independent research on GMO's hasnt happened because it isnt allowed. Monsanto, Pioneer & Syngenta require signing of an end user agreement just to purchase their GMO seeds, and that precludes any serious peer reviewed work.

      - all the more reason for Monsanto to be required to open up.
      Agreed. And the dairy bypasses this very important issue.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:46:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? No independent research has been done? (0+ / 0-)

        By anyone? Ever? Because it's "not allowed"?  Yikes!

        So that means we should ignore the studies listed here, right?

        And we should likewise ignore [PDF WARNING] a decade of EU-funded GMO research, right?

        Stop with the hyperbole.

        “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

        by mikidee on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 11:56:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From UR link: 1 of 126 studies published by Lancet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kay Observer2

          From your link.

          http://www.biofortified.org/...

          And one of those 2 is a study on methodology, not on actual GMO food crops.

          Since then 1999, Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta require end user agreements, if you dont start with Seed from the manufacturer, the "Chain of Custody" doesnt extend from manufacturer to researcher.

          The EU is different, the regulatory environment is the reverse of the US, where you are guilty until proven innocent.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I haven't studied the science (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, xaxnar

      but I worry GMOs are going to be our equivalent to anti-vaccination folly. Certainly the "it's not natural" objection is silly.

      On the other hand, if we ever get independent reviews, maybe some of these concoctions are dangerous (there's no reason they should all be safe or unsafe).

      •  TO: xaxnar, Roger Fox, and Andrew Lazarus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kay Observer2

        You make it sound like I am anti-science.  I must admit, I am not a religious believer in Science.  It has blessed us in many ways.  Time will tell if its curses will be the end of us.

            I was trying to avoid the scientific argument of safe/unsafe GMOs.  I think Monsanto is using that argument to justify its opposition to GMO labeling.  The issue I wish to focus on is LABELING.  Why does everyone think that there is one and only one reason to label GMOs?  Have you all been brainwashed by Monsanto?  The question is, should we have the right to know which foods contain GMOs?  This is not a question of banning GMOs.   This is not a question of whether or not unnatural ingredients are intrinsically harmful.  This is not a question of whether or not Monsanto should be more open.
              Some people don't care what goes into their bodies.  I understand that.  Someday they may decide to care, however.  When that day comes, perhaps they may care that a multi-billion dollar corporation denied them the right to know what is in and/or on the food they are eating.

  •  GMOs (6+ / 0-)

    If I understand GMOs, the genetic modifications change as soon as pests and weeds adapt.  By the time it is peer reviewed and the modification fully tested, the genetics of that seed may have changed again.  It would be like constantly chasing your tail, even if allowed to do research with Monsanto el.al's permission.

    It's been awhile since I researched GMOs.  This was before countries in Europe began to ban the importation of GMOs.  At that time, if memory serves, there was already a significant amount of anecdotal evidence that they were harmful and triggered, if not caused, several diseases in humans.  What I found then was enough for me to swear off GMOs whenever possible.  If they are, in fact, harmless, then there was no harm in avoiding them.  But, if they ARE harmful, I dogged a bullet.

    It is ironic to me that we claim to be a free society, and a democracy, and want to take the show on the road to the middle east.  But, if anything threatens a corporation's rape and pillage of the earth, or it's profits, there is suddenly some kind of gag legislation.  Another notable example is don't disclose contents of fracking water.  I see USA leaning more towards something that definitely isn't a democracy.

    Anyway, my point is that there used to be enough widely available information about GMOs to cause considerable concern about them, even on the CDC's website.  In looking for them now, they seem to have been taken off the internet.  They would still be there in a free and open society.

    Also, straining my memory banks, can't remember specifics: a repository of seeds was begun in Europe without GMOs so we'd have good seeds when the day comes that GMOs are proved to be dangerous to our health.  Enough are concerned about them everywhere.  If they are so harmless and cheap, you'd think countries wouldn't  be banning them.  Maybe they have information we aren't allowed to have?  Or do they just have more concern for their citizens.

    Thanks for your wonderful reasoning on this issue.  Please keep it high on the list by blogging as much as possible.  Although my comment is lengthy, I see some opposing viewpoints, so I wanted to let you know that I agree 1,000,000,000 % and appreciate your efforts, especially what I can do . . . boycott.  Thanks!

    •  Yes, just like any plant . . . (0+ / 0-)
      If I understand GMOs, the genetic modifications change as soon as pests and weeds adapt.
      •  The problem isn't evolution as you suggest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rgantibully

        There is medical precedent for the concern with GMOs.  For example Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, also food allergies.  In Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, the body identifies wheat or gluten as a pathogen.  The body launches an immune response.  The physical effects may not be felt right away, like within a few hours of eating a sandwich, but not be felt for a couple days.  With chronic exposure, the body's immune response is at a heightened state at all times causing a variety of non-specific symptoms like fatigue, bloating, or low-grade temps, mildly itchy skin, etc.  The body is under considerable stress.

        With GMO's the same thing can happen.  If not to the population at large, then certainly a subset.  You may not have trouble with this year's corn crop, but next year's that has been modified again, your body may be identifying as a pathogen causing you just not to feel right.  But since doctors aren't looking for things like this, you'll just go for extended periods of time feeling less than you usually do, fatigue, headaches, and other non-specific symptoms, or more full blown diseases.

        Your comment suggests that you haven't done much research on this.  I encourage you to do so.

        •  Perhaps my research just was based (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serendipityisabitch

          on different sources than yours.

          But in any event, conflating gluten allergies with GMOs is a new strategy (at least to me!) so kudos on the creativity used to think that one up!!

          •  Not creative, just the facts, sir. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rgantibully

            I can respect your skeptical viewpoint, but I was trying to explain why GMOs may be a concern, and that there is a comparison to be made in that generally considered safe foods may not be safe for all people, that in some people, like gluten sensitivities, GMOs may pose a risk.

            If you've done research, as you say, and drawn conclusions, then please state it.  

            It doesn't advance your argument just to dismiss my comments for being "creative" and suggesting my reasoning is flawed with an apparent disdainful tone.  A slam does more to harm your argument than giving specifics to back up your skepticism.

            •  There is no "GMO" wheat on the market (0+ / 0-)

              for human consumption - so all the allergens that are harming people in that crop developed naturally.

              That is, at some point the human immune system chanced to become alerted to one protein in wheat (gluten) - of course, there's the same situation afoot with (totally natural!) peanuts.

              So what you seem to be worried about is that the newly-expressed protein in a GMO crop will suffer a mutation and instantly become a human mutagen.  I'm curious why you think that there's any greater chance of that happening than for any of the other 10,000 proteins in the corn, soybean, or whatever other crop is under discussion?   Seriously, there is absolutely no scientific basis for that to happen . . especially in light of the wheat and peanut examples that actually work to disprove the premise that you seem to be advocating.

              •  You are quite right (0+ / 0-)

                I haven't done an extensive research of various proteins and how they might/could/would mutate under different conditions for all grains available to man or beast.   Does that invalidate my comparison?  I guess that's up to each individual to decide.

                I do note, however, the plants mutate gradually, over many generations.  They don't do it in one growing season as with a GMO.  Whatever difficulty each mutation may be to human consumption for all plants consumed, I don't think anyone could say.  

                As for the argument that

                all the allergens that are harming people in that crop (wheat) developed naturally.
                There are some theories that the difficulty with wheat in some individuals is based on their far ancestors who did not have wheat as a food source, so their bodies never developed the necessary enzymes to digest them.  The same theory could be extrapolated about GMOs.

                There have also been theories that potatoes cause some forms of arthritis.  This was observed when cows that ate potatoes developed arthritis while those in the same herd who didn't eat the potatoes, didn't develop arthritis.  So, do all potatoes cause arthritis in people?  Well, that would be silly to suggest, wouldn't it!

                My point:  Neither you nor I can make broad-based claims.  Not ALL grain proteins will hurt ALL people.  Some will, some won't.  If we take the 10,000 proteins you mentioned here:

                I'm curious why you think that there's any greater chance of that happening than for any of the other 10,000 proteins in the corn, soybean, or whatever other crop is under discussion?  
                and not be able to give a rational argument one way or another for all 10,000 proteins and all the possible mutations they may go through.  ALL proteins will not cause problems.  ALL mutations are not bad.  ALL 10,000 proteins will not cause mutations that affect the specific body that consumes it.  

                But, some may.

                •  This makes no sense: (0+ / 0-)
                  I do note, however, the plants mutate gradually, over many generations.  They don't do it in one growing season as with a GMO.
                  There is no scientific basis for you premise that a GMO plant will experience a higher mutation rate than any other plant.  None whatsoever.  Or to look it another way, the the newly inserted gene within the plant will experience a higher mutation rate than any of the plant's other genes

                  Anyways, let's try to put some numbers to your concerns.  I looked it up and a soybean has about 66,000 genes.  IOW, 66,000 "chances" that any single protein will become mutated during a generation in such a way that causes a human allergen to be created (and in the process render soybeans to become similar to wheat or peanuts in that respect).

                  The chance of that happening must be infinitesimally small, considering that it's never happened despite a huge number of soybeans being grown.  In particular, using ballpark numbers - there are 200,000,000 acres of soybeans grown per acre with 100,000 plants per acre, and let's say they've been grown for 100 years (actually, longer, but at lower numbers).  That's 2,000,000,000,000,000 plant generations being grown w/o a human allergen arising.

                  That means that the chance of a human allergen arising in the 66,000 genes is less than 132,000,000,000,000,000,000 (i.e., one in 132 quintillion).  Therefore, adding one gene to a soybean statistically increases the odds of a human allergen arising by random mutation by no more than this amount.  An amount, btw, that is for all intents and purposes equal to zero

                  •  Apples to oranges (0+ / 0-)

                    You are comparing natural spontaneous mutations of a small percentage of plants to a single parent crop of GMOs.  It's not a good comparison.

                    If the parent plant is the one that causes problems in some individuals, then whatever random mutations occur by a small percentage of plants in that crop as a whole is moot.

                    You're saying I don't want to label oranges (GMOs) that develop two stems when we're talking about all oranges (GMOs).  You're comparing random spontaneous mutations with deliberate gene changes of the parent plants.

                    In nature, if there's a mutation that is weak (for whatever reason, example: kills the bees that pollinate it), the mutation dies off.  In GMOs, this is never given the chance to happen.

                    •  OK, I have no freakin' idea what you're (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mikidee

                      getting at, e.g, with this:

                      You're comparing random spontaneous mutations with deliberate gene changes of the parent plants.
                      The "deliberate gene changes of the parent plants" are known - and safe.  That is, allergens are NOT being spliced into crops.  So, when the first generation of GMO seeds are planted in the fields, they do NOT contain human allergens.    

                      Further, the site of insertion of the spliced gene is characterized to ensure that other genes are not harmed.   IOW, a "pristine" gene is inserted into a precisely known site in the parent plant's chromosome and from then on is subject to exactly the same dynamics as all of the other (in the case of soybeans) 66,000 other genes.   Which is to say that yeah, that particular gene has some vanishingly small chance of mutating into a harmful gene, but then again, so does each and every other gene.  

                      It's quite frankly a highly bizarre thing to be worried about

                      •  That's what we're debating (0+ / 0-)
                        deliberate gene changes of the parent plants" are known - and safe.
                        That's the entire issue in a nutshell.  Pro-GMO labeling says that isn't necessarily so.  Those against GMO labeling squwak this mantra ad finim.
                        GMO seeds are planted in the fields, they do NOT contain human allergens.
                        Same response as above.

                        I say the following as an observation, dispassionately, not in anyway as a criticism; an observation only.

                        You began by attempting a personal attack, which I believe I only pointed it out and didn't become embroiled in a flaming war.  When that didn't work to shut me down, you start arguing minutia, ignoring the broader question of should  GMOs be labeled and are they harmful?  In another post you argued over the definition of "GMO." These strategies are presumably that if you can get someone side-tracking in the minutia, then you believe you've "won" the argument, dazzling us with your brilliance, as the saying goes.  All this drives to reveal a weakness in your actual knowledge of GMO's and both sides of the debate.

                        I will end here.  I don't want to debate genetics with you.  Not because I couldn't, but because I don't want to.  

                        Thank you for a spirited and interesting debate.  It gave me a chance to exercise my debating muscles.

                      •  since GMO foods do not have to be tested, (0+ / 0-)

                        what is your basis for saying they are safe?

                        When the gene for a toxin that humans have not eaten in the past is inserted into sweet corn for human consumption, what is the basis for saying it will not be harmful and will not trigger allergies?

                        DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                        by Kay Observer2 on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 03:07:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  This is complete bullshit (0+ / 0-)
                          When the gene for a toxin that humans have not eaten in the past
                          Do you have any idea what "humans have eaten in the past?"

                          Seriously, if it exists in nature, chances are that humans have eaten it in the past.

                          For example, there are probably at least 5,000 species that humans routinely eat, with (conservatively) 20,000 genes each.

                          or, at least 100,000,000 (100 million genes and their resultant gene products).

                          The bottom line is that it's a really safe bet that humans have eaten * everything * that's in modern GMO crops "in the past"

                          •  Are you under the impression (0+ / 0-)

                            that only genes from food sources are used in GMO foods?  Please do some research before you dismiss other people's data as "complete bullshit."  

                            The  genes used in Monsanto's new sweet corn come from soil bacteria, which earlier humans had no way of isolating and concentrating -- so no, they have never been part of human food in the past.

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:41:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You seriously think that people haven't (0+ / 0-)

                            eaten soil bacteria before?

                            Really??  You're just fucking with me, right?

                            In any event, in the case of the "soil bacteria" gene - Bt I"m presuming is what you're referring to, Bt itself has been used as a pesticide so in this case, people have * definitely * eaten it!!

                          •  I missed that unit in history, (0+ / 0-)

                            So tell me how humans would have eaten anything more than a few individual bacteria that would not have survived long in their stomachs? Certainly not long enough to produce significant amounts of bt toxin.

                            And how far back in our evolution did we start actually eating bt toxin.  Its been sprayed ON corn for years, but not on the part we eat.  Now, in the GMO corn, its produced in the kernels themselves. So tell me, what levels of bt toxin have been shown to be safe?  New medicines have to be tested & shown to be safe.  Surely bt toxin has been tested before we're expected to feed it to our children...

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:12:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There's an entirely multi-billion dollar (0+ / 0-)

                            (and not completely debunked) industry  based exactly on this NOT being true (hint: google "probiotics"):

                            So tell me how humans would have eaten anything more than a few individual bacteria that would not have survived long in their stomachs?
                            Here's one story in that vein - how bacteria containing genes needed to digest seaweed piggybacked their way into the human gut of populations that eat the aforesaid seaweed (conveniently enough!).

                            And yet you're trying to claim that this type of thing doesn't happen.

                            Strange strange stuff

                            Even stranger if you are in all seriosity suggesting that each gene/protein found in food sources needs to be tested for safety before that food is consumed . ..

                          •  I should have specified bt bacteria. (0+ / 0-)

                            I didn't think I needed to, since that was the specific type of bacteria we were discussing. So, again, how would humans have ingested large amounts of bt toxin prior to gene-splicing technology?

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:55:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By eating crops doused with Bt toxin (0+ / 0-)

                            something that has been done since 1920 . . .. (maybe earlier)

                            btw, if you're not an insect (that have mid-gut receptors targeted by this toxin) Bt toxin is NOT going to harm you.

                            Basically what will happen is that, like all proteins, it will be digested and the resulting amino acids will provide you with nourishment.  Especially if you're a steadfast holdout of the Atkins diet craze.

                          •  each gene/protein not naturally (0+ / 0-)

                            occurring in traditional human foods DOES need to be tested.  Why should new additives not be tested, just because they got there through gene splicing? Why should we be their Guinea pigs? Even new combinations of natural proteins have turned out to be problems in some cases, e.g., Aspartame crosses the blood-brain barrier and is psychotropic for some people.

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:34:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  To put some dates on your queries (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:
                            Kay Observer2
                            And how far back in our evolution did we start actually eating bt toxin.
                            Farmers started to use Bt as a pesticide in 1920. France soon started to make commericialized spore based formulations called Sporine in 1938. Sporine, at the time was used primarly to kill flour moths.

                            link

                            It's also kinda interesting (and definitely at least a tad ironic) that in it's non-GMO form, Bt  toxin is widely lauded as an "organic" pesticide (insofar as it is 'natural' I suppose).  

                            It is rather (actually, highly!) amusing how in one iteration this substance is the very spawn of the devil but in another the very same chemical substance is widely praised by the very same anti-science nutcases.

                          •  hide rated for ad hominem n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:50:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  How so? (0+ / 0-)

                            Actual information shames you, so you try to hide it?

                            Yeah, whatever.

                          •  no, my dear, even if it's hidden (0+ / 0-)

                            I can still see it and check out the link, which I will do when I have a few minutes. But you know it won't be hidden by 1 hide rate. You just like insulting me because I disagree with you.

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:42:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It is fall down funny, however, that you (0+ / 0-)

                            must have self-identified yourself with the last paragraph.

                            Because I know I did not do that.

                            It's like what the Bible says along the lines of "the wicked flee even when no one pursueth"

                          •  yeah, right. I'm arguing against bt, (0+ / 0-)

                            and you call such people "anti-science nutcases" but you didn't mean me. Sure.

                            DEMs believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people. GOP believes corporations are the people. -- @TuxcedoCat

                            by Kay Observer2 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:17:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Changes by GE genes (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Kay Observer2

                        Does anyone know with 100% certainty that inserting a specific GE gene into a chromosome never alters the function or whatever of the other genes in that chromosome?  I'm sure there is probably no published research to support this possibility.  The question is, are we sure it's impossible?

                  •  Also occurs to me that you are saying (0+ / 0-)

                    if the original soybean (using your example) doesn't cause problems, then no mutation will, either.  I suggest that this is a false premise.

                    •  I accept that idea that in theory a soybean (0+ / 0-)

                      plant could become mutated in such a way that would cause a problem.

                      The good news is that a sufficient number of soybean plants have been grown on this planet over the years to estimate how often such problems will occur.

                      And the estimate - with the numbers provided above (and if you see any errors in the numbers, I'll happily correct and re-calculate - for example one website said that there are actually 130,000 soybean plants grown per acre, not the 100,000 I used . . . ) shows that the probably of a harmful mutation in soybeans (or anything routinely eaten by people, for that matter) arising by chance is virtually zero.  

                      So while your premise is technically accurate, it is statistically nothing to worry about.  

                    •  Hey, my bad (0+ / 0-)

                      don't know what I was thinking, there of course are soy allergies!

                      Which means I can now go back and put actually boundary conditions to the back of the envelope calculations I give above.

                      Of course, these are natually-occurring soy allergies, not particularly germane to GMO soy, but still, it should be fun . ..

                  •  Roadbed Guy (0+ / 0-)

                    Interesting discussion.  I'm not a scientist so I may not understand what you are saying.  It sounds like you are talking about the possibility of a human engineered gene mutating in soybeans.  Could it mutate in one generation? If it did would the same mutation occur at the same time in all plants in the same crop?  Or to all of that variety of GE soybean plants everywhere at the same time?  If it did and it was a Monsanto gene, would that not be the end of it?  How would the mutation be passed on since the seed from the mutated crop could not legally be replanted?  Or maybe the mutated gene would be in the pollen?

            •  To Yoda 54 re: reply to Roadbed Guy (0+ / 0-)

              Hear, hear! Excellent response.  Also your observations are quite interesting and sound logical to me.

      •  Modifications arent passed to daughter plant (0+ / 0-)

        cause their isnt a daughter plant IIRC.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:07:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  to Yoda54 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kay Observer2

      It's always nice to hear a supporting opinion. Thanks much.
      I heartily agree that our freedom is being taken away by the rich and powerful.

  •  In this case . . . . (0+ / 0-)
    The World Health Organization defines GMO as "organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally."
    two arguments could be made:

    1)  Since the methods used to construct "GMO" organisms come from nature, they are all natural - hence nothing would ever be labeled.

    2) Or second, the thousands of crops created by non-natural radiation / chemical mutation breeding all qualify under this definition - thus, a very large proportion of plant based foods would qualify / require labeling.  And once that is that case, people pretty much stop paying attention.

    •  I think your argument is with the WHO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rgantibully

      and their definition of a GMO.  It isn't an argument against labeling, however.

      •  My argument is that considering that (0+ / 0-)

        different organizations have different definitions, whose is going to be used?

        This seems to be a totally fundamental issue to be decided upfront, or everything instantly dissolves into chaos.

    •  To Roadbed Guy (0+ / 0-)

      I know of only about  six crops that have been approved for GM.  Where do you come up with "thousands"?
      And how do you get "the methods used to construct 'GMO' organisms come from nature" from "altered in a way that does not occur naturally"?
        Also, how is "non-natural radiation" a  method that comes from nature?

      •  There are two issues here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        i.e., the two points I listed are separate things.

        I guess I didn't explain well.

        Point number 1, this one:

        1)  Since the methods used to construct "GMO" organisms come from nature, they are all natural - hence nothing would ever be labeled.
        refers to the most widespread definition of GMOs (of which Wikipedia lists a dozen or so) - however this definition conflicts with the "non-natural" requirement insofar as the "tools" used to construct GMOs are basically all naturally occurring (e.g., restriction enzymes, reverse transcriptases, DNA polymerases, ligases, etc.  But yet the proposal is to label these crops as GMOs.

        OK, fair enough.  But in that case the very numerous "mutation bred" crops that suffer much greater, non-natural genetic modification also SHOULD be labeled, which is my second point from above:

        2) Or second, the thousands of crops created by non-natural radiation / chemical mutation breeding all qualify under this definition - thus, a very large proportion of plant based foods would qualify / require labeling.  And once that is that case, people pretty much stop paying attention.
        There are literally thousands of these crops

        which this blurb argues should be regulated with equal stringency as "real" GMOs, which for all intents and purposed they are.

        Basically, my point is that ALL of these crops need to be labeled, or none of them (either option is fine with me!) but not a small fraction based on somebody's random, irrational fears.

  •  Irish Potato Famine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamieG from Md, rgantibully, Yoda54

      was caused by most of the plantings being the same type.
       Single generation, non evolving, non adapting to climate, seeds WILL FAIL. It was caused by blight, spores like pollen that spread. There is such a thing as wind.
       I'm old enough to remember when Henry Waxman passed legislation to have food packages labeled with what ingredients were in them.
       We have a right to know what ingredients, GMO's DNA, are in the food we are buying.
       WE are NOT going back to "twinkies filled with chalk!"
       Just so you GMO ADvocates TOTALLY get my drift:
                            "twinkies filled with chalk!"
                       as you push and push and push
       I'm old enough to remember "Oh agent orange is completely harmless."

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:54:21 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site