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To GMO or Not To GMO
Hypatia
So, you've all probably noticed for quite sometime now the 'issue' of GMO foods and the controversy about whether or not food products in the US should be labeled to disclose GMO ingredients.

I have to say, I'm a bit confused about the safety of these foods. Nearly everything I read about studies indicate they are safe. On the other hand, as with most things, I also read things that claim the opposite. I'm not convinced they are unsafe, but neither do I feel confident they are not.

The main thing for me is that I absolutely do want a requirement that our food labels include information about whether there are GMO ingredients. I think people should be able to know and decide for themselves whether they want to consume those foods.

It's the same with the horse meat issue: some people want to eat horse meat, others do not. But that isn't even the main issue - it's the fact that I don't want to purchase and consume foods that tell me they are one thing - beef, for example, and then it turns out there is a high percentage - or even ANY - horse meat in it (or who knows what else, instead of horse meat - it could be dog or cat, etc.).

I'd like to know what our members think about it all.

*ETA - I was appalled that California had the opportunity to implement said requirement on food labels and said 'No'!

Here's a Bill Maher video addressing the issue:

 
JohnH
In case anyone cares I voted for the GMO labeling. The defeat of the proposition (I will not bother to look up the number) shows that a well organized and financed television campaign can use misinformation to defeat even an innocuous proposition. The basic campaign was that it would be too costly to producers and suppliers. As if a few words on a label or a few words on a produce sign would cost a whole ton of money. They were afraid people might not buy GMO products.

As a practical matter I do not think that GMO's are dangerous to humans. I don't think that the minor restructuring of the genetic makeup could be harming.

What is apparently harming, from reports I have read is that the use of GMO's has led to a significant increase in the use of herbicides. This increase in the use of herbicides has led to increased water pollution and an increase in herbicide resistant weeds. GMO's are more an ecological problem than a human consumption problem.

I was somewhat amused by the fact that with 80% of the soybeans produced in the US being GMO's what all those tofu eating, soy milk drinking puritans would think when they found out what they were eating.
 
seeker
Most of what I've read suggests GMO's are safe but with all of the disinformation being put out I can see why people are unwilling to take any chances. The effort by Corporate America of using paid consultants to support whatever cause they choose to back has had the result of making most people wary of any scientific endorsement.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
seeker, you raise an excellent point. Much biological research is funded by various organizations which have a stake in the outcome, and as such should be carefully looked at. After all how often do pharmaceutical companies get caught funding research that finds erroneous results that are in their own self interest. I would also say that since GMO's are relatively new the long term effects can not possible be understood.

I will stand by my statement that from what I have read the immediate effects on humans are not significant. I will also stand by my statement that there are observable immediate detrimental effects on the environment.
 
Theory_Execution
From my understanding, the current regular breed of many crops has left them in a terrible situation where pests are concerned - and what GMO aims to do is combine naturally occuring anti-pest properties of one plant with another.

I doubt there is any immediate risk to people/animals eating them.

As for labeling all products as to whether they contain GMO, how can you know? All it takes is a bit of cross pollenisation, a stray seed-stuff making its way to your farm and you are growing GMO amongst your own crop.

My gripe with it comes down to patent law - the true spanner in the works of all technological development.
 
seeker
I agree TE, the us of patent law by corporations like Monsanto have had the effect of destroying the small farmer.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
TE, You are correct that there has been cross pollination between GMO and non GMO plants, in fact Monsanto has successfully sued farmers who inadvertently collected seeds for the next years crop that had been pollinated by a nearby GMO field.

I am somewhat happy this tread was bumped. I am in Washington state now and there is a ballot proposition here that calls for labeling of GMO products. Food industry representatives are using the same deceptive anti labeling campaign they did in California. Basically that the labeling would put a costly burden on farmers, processors and sellers. So representatives of organization with feel good names like family farmers of Washington (I made that up but it is not to far from the truth) sadly announce that they cannot afford the cost of this law. So patently false an idea that anybody who thinks for more than 30 seconds about this notion knows it is false. The public still bought it in California and probably will in Washington.
 
Theory_Execution
The congressional time could better be spent with doing away with patent law than forcing a small company to trace if their flour has came from a farm using seed tinkered with by a company.

Your average re-formed ham has 6 or so different animals in it - how are you to trace grain if it comes from several different sources, through several different distributors.

And as you point out, where would a company stand if they were utterly convinced their product was non-GMO and it was later discovered that there was a trace - there are no health risks, but the supplier would face very serious legal challenge.
 
Hypatia
JohnH wrote:

TE, You are correct that there has been cross pollination between GMO and non GMO plants, in fact Monsanto has successfully sued farmers who inadvertently collected seeds for the next years crop that had been pollinated by a nearby GMO field.

I am somewhat happy this tread was bumped. I am in Washington state now and there is a ballot proposition here that calls for labeling of GMO products. Food industry representatives are using the same deceptive anti labeling campaign they did in California. Basically that the labeling would put a costly burden on farmers, processors and sellers. So representatives of organization with feel good names like family farmers of Washington (I made that up but it is not to far from the truth) sadly announce that they cannot afford the cost of this law. So patently false an idea that anybody who thinks for more than 30 seconds about this notion knows it is false. The public still bought it in California and probably will in Washington.


I'd heard about Monsanto suing farmers regarding the cross pollination thing and was appalled and a bit distressed for them about it. What b.s.

As for the re-labeling of products, I can see how initially that could be a hardship, but in a way I think it's only a partially valid complaint in light of how frequently product packaging is changed to inform of us how 'new and improved' a product is. There seems to be plenty of money for those gimmicks, but not for something like this. Very self-serving, selective 'reasoning' I think. I think that for the sake of people being able to be informed up front about the ingredients in the food they're consuming, in order to decide for themselves best they're able to, having a reasonable time frame for re-labeling could be a workable thing for companies, though the fact that 'reasonable' would still have to be defined and the fact that these companies will still have more than enough $$$$ to have their complaint seen as legitimate still exists.

And the point has been well made here about the question of who is it, exactly, that is funding the research and testing of, well, anything that is researched and tested. That's another long standing question that looks as if it will remain just that.
 
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