Genetic Modified food awareness

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Fighting GM food producing corps and their massive lobby and PR budgets is going to take a long freaking while. In the meantime be informed & browse the list of GM foods to avoid.

I think I'd need to see more independent and unbiased studies and writings before being convinced on the true dangers. I tend to be skeptical of "dangers" touted by journalists or groups whose mandates are furthered by claiming that the statements are perfectly true.

I struggle to find much of that independence and unbiasness. I'm sure that a lot of that skepticism just comes from how my mind works and my profession (independent auditor).

I'm certainly not saying that these foods necessarily shouldn't be avoided... I'm just cautioning on fear-mongering gone wild causing us to unquestioningly believe all the alleged facts and claimed dangers and going too far with being careful to the detriment of other more important things.

I agree completely. I don't know where the website gets their money from, but at the base of it are two books for sale, "Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette" by Jeffrey M. Smith. I reserved Genetic Roulete at the Library and plan to read it before I completely hit the panic button.
I mean, we always hear the argument "What are they saying is bad for us now?? They said coffee was bad for us, then good for us, and bad for us again..!" that's usually me saying it.

I've also heard much of the same conclusions on the "Deconstructing Dinner" podcast and they're independant radio in the Kootenays. So I guess the bottom line is we all should all make our own conclusions and walk into the grocery store with our eyes wide open...

The Omnivore's Dilemma
Massive Feed Lot for cows, Kansas

My girlfriend is reading the Omnivore's Dilemma and once in a while reads it aloud and since I was at my laptop this time I jotted down what she was reading:

On this gigantic bovine feed lot in Kansas, 50 tons of corn per hour is processed to fill 8 1/2 miles of trough.
- GMO corn, steamed, crushed to flakes
- beef tallow (fat from dead cows) from nearby slaughter houses
- molasses & urea (nitrogen source from natural gas)
-liquid vitamins
-synthetic estrogen
-anti-biotics tylosin & rumensin (most of the antibiotics sold in America today is used animal feed)
- alfalfa and silage (fermented fodder made from grass crops including maize or sorghum) for roughage.

It has been demonstrated that corn fed beef is more unhealthy than grass fed beef due to lack of omega 3's and meat is higher in saturated fat.
The FDA's 1997 ban on feeding ruminant (cows, sheep) protein to ruminants has an exception for fat or blood. Also ok is feather meal and chicken litter (bedding, feces and discarded bits of feed) and chicken, fish and pig meal is also acceptable. Bovine meat and and bone meal that used to be fed to cows now goes to chickens, pigs and fish. The argument is 'protein is protein and fat is fat, no matter where it comes from.'
The cows get sick on this diet, they are meant to eat forage, not grain. For instance bloat is common, the answer for that is to force a hose down the esophagus to relieve the pressure. The cows scratch at their bellies and eat dirt, looking for relief and ranchers patrol the lot constantly on the lookout for sick cows. 15 - 30% of the cows routinely have abscessed livers at the slaughter house and the percentage at some pens runs as high as 70%. The veterinarian at one feed lot (he is there or on call 24/7) said that "if you gave these cows grass and space, I would be out of a job" I guess the fact that these are fattened on this diet so quick and they live only 16 to 18 months birth to slaughter is a mercy when they are pretty much processed alive into patties. The manure is so toxic with hormones, heavy metals, phosphorus and nitrogen that farmers can't use it on crops. It ends up in huge lagoons and downstream. Scientists have found fish and amphibians exhibiting strange sex characteristics in waterways downstream.

It is a very interesting read if you get the chance.

e-coli was first seen in 1980, a new strain of common intestinal bacteria that thrives in feedlot cattle, 40 percent of which carry it in their gut. Most microbes in the gut of a cow that find thier way into our food get killed off by te strong acids in our stomachs. The acid of a con-fed feedlot steer is nearly as acidic as our own and in this new, man-made environment new acid-resistant strains of e. coli have evolved.

if they were to feed the cows grass or hay only a few days prior to slaugter, they will reduce the percentage of acid-resistant e. coli by as much as 80 percent... but the cattle industry and the USDA consider this wildly impractical. Instead they use irradiation to try to sterilize the manure getting into the meat.

see link for more info :)

"I tend to be skeptical of "dangers" touted by journalists or groups whose mandates are
furthered by claiming that the statements are perfectly true."

Mort:

A journalists' mandate is to uncover facts and discern truth from falsehood. Media outlets
have legal departments to ensure that erroneous information and errors are avoided. If you
are looking for unbiased information, I don't know who else you are going to go to. The
manufacturers of GM foods? The activists opposing them? The government? I'd be fascinated
to know what sources you generally access for unbiased information and would encourage you
to post them for us all to use.

Anyway if you were looking for reasons to dissemble, I'd suggest the GMO multi-nationals
have a lot more at stake than some Nelson rabble-rousers promoting food security and better
nutrition.

well, peer reviewed scientific journals are at least a little better than Op Ed pieces, but still undoubtedly have the potential to be biased. I get most of my info from the New Scientist, and Mort, don't feel bad, I have a PhD in genetics and still am not convinced what is safe to eat. There is alot of bias in the media when it comes to GMOs (almost all against), perhaps not on purpose but due to a lack of scientific understanding, for example with the Bt Corn fiasco.
Headlines across the world reported that "GM corn kills monarch butterflies", when in fact, the genetically modified Bt corn produces a miniscule amount of Bt toxin compared to what organic farmers have been spraying on their crops for years. Since Bt is naturally produced from bacteria it is considered organic. The corn was engineered to produce a small amount of this protein so that the corn doesn't have to be continually sprayed. However, when scientists grew Monarch butterfly larvae in very large amounts of Bt toxin, the larvae, not surprisingly, died. In actuality, the Monarch larvae never comes in contact with the Bt Corn, only the adult butterfly, and this has been shown to be perfectly safe. However, this study was reported by the media as "Bt Corn kills butterflies" and 10 years later, protesters are still dressing up like dead butterflies.

"A journalists' mandate is to uncover facts and discern truth from falsehood. Media outlets have legal departments to ensure that erroneous information and errors are avoided."

Well, maybe I have been overly critical of the National Enquirer all these years.

Yes I agree that science is the best source. I haven't heard about the butterflies but the bad thing about Bt corn is that the derivatives of it is in EVERYTHING.. Every facet of our food system is saturated with it. Our bodies are saturated with it. We feed it to pigs, chickens, cows and even fish then we eat them. Almost everything in the store has it on the ingredient list.

Grow more and more and MORE is the mantra and the price of corn (and farmer's profit) keeps going down and they have to search for new markets and products for this franken corn. (they're trying to convert Mexican farms now) And here we feed GMO corn direct to our families. who really knows about the long term effects? Since that Bt corn protein is derived from bacteria, it is theoretically possible, or at least not proven otherwise, that it can break down and combine with natural bacteria in human digestive systems (what they elegantly refer to as "gut flora") and following it's genetic code start again producing this "minimal amount" of pesticide inside our bodies?

This is just scratching the surface of the problem. We need to get corn out of our diets, (not the "on the cob" variety) and TOTALLY re-think our food system. The beauty of it is that we as consumers can make the choices that make the proper products popular. Organic corn is already worth more than the frankenstein variety and some farmers are swicthing to it, in defiance of Monsanto and Cargill.

The fact that these and other genetic shortcuts have been for years ushered into production without our knowledge or proper Scientific review or even our awareness so we can choose another product is, at the very least, troubling.

"Well, maybe I have been overly critical of the National Enquirer all these years."

As far as newspapers go, the Enquirer has a pretty good track record of breaking stories that turn
out to be true and won't be touched by other more fearful outlets. Because they focus on stars
and other people with deep wallets, their stories have to be reasonably well vetted before
publication, rather than face constant lawsuits.

I suppose it would be nice if they covered the GMO beat, but I can't imagine an expose of
Monsanto or General Mills being the kind of thing Safeway et al wants shoppers seeing in the
checkout line anymore than they'd be handing out free stuff on Buy Nothing Day.

Bt is not going to hurt people. The toxin is specific to particular insects (if it's going to kill a caterpillar, it won't kill a grasshopper, etc) because it binds to receptors found only in the guts of those insects. Those receptors aren't found in our guts, or anywhere else in our bodies, so it is completely safe for us.

Check out the link below for more information.

Please don't take this as my acceptance/endorsement of genetically modifying our food chain, but rather just a shot of science in the arm.

If you wanted to get all freaked out, you could go down the road of our gut flora somehow managing to incorporate the gene for the Bt crystal into their DNA (fairly unlikely, but certainly not impossible), then having it mutate (likely) into something that would attach to receptors we DO have in our guts (fairly unlikely, but again, not impossible), then yes, there would be adverse effects. And the longer we eat Bt corn, the higher the probability gets. Even from corn on the cob.

I hate to tell you this Sultan, but the bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis already lives in your gut, and pumps out Bt. It is a safe, soil plant and gut dwelling bacteria.
And DNA is destroyed pretty much when it hits your saliva, so thank god, or eating cows would cause us to incorporate cow genes into our cells by that theory....
I have alot of concerns over GMOs, but one on them is not genetic mutations.

Mortakai. The whole unbias thing. I don't believe you will ever find something unbiased. However, what you can do is just sit and listen and ask questions... Understand that people have a bias, listen to them see their point of view (It doesn't mean you have to believe them); however, it is a point of view. Look at the facts and where they got it from and how (IE: Look at the methodology of the research, look at the procedure, etc...). If it is accurate, remember how the research is done, how it happened, and keep your eyes open for other points of view that discredits or credits it... Do the same if it discredits it...

The other one is keep talking and listening to other people ask them questions about their field and what they know about the topic your interested in. Get acquainted to it... Understand, what current research is going on in the field... Conversation is another method of getting information...

Long and the short of things. There is never any unbiased points of view. The way to counter this is look at it from all different biases and go from there. I dunno, this has always been enough for me. If I am interested in a topic I become aware of it.

Read journal articles ask questions, blah, blah, blah...

I hope this helps.

I'm really glad that we have some educated opinions weigh in on GM on the forum. In bringing this up I want to distance myself from the 'freaked out' protesters and the "I just read a book/website and now I'm a expert" crowd. I have heard much the same story from several sources already so it's shaping up enough to convince me. Thank y'all for your input, IN and Sarah... I don't like relying on Op/Ed pieces either like you say and to hear your informed opinions calm some hyperbole yet echo some misgivings is very helpful.

My 'beef' (ha ha) isn't with genetics or science, but more with Agri business. They are getting away with a lot and some of it is seriously Evil.

For instance, and this is hearsay from the book, (readsay?) but the Native American people have been farming corn for hundreds of years and through selective breeding have developed their own pest-resistant strain that is still used today in Mexico using traditional methods. The price of corn has dropped so much over the years which is hurting them, too. Thier way of life is threatened but it's still not fast enough for Mon(ster)santo. They are flying over these heritage crops and sprinkling Bt corn on them. Now this is one of those "c'mon! as if!" moments but these are the same guys who sue farmers for re-using seed and bio-engineer Terminater(tm) seeds to protect their market share, not to mention trying to tax rain water in Bolivia so I don't put it past them to stoop so low. I'm a pacifist but this makes my blood boil, it's one of those Bruce Cockburn "If I had a rocket launcher, some sonofabitch would surely die" moments.

This pulls me closer to the Dead Butterfly! people so let's just boil it down to say I don't trust the mega companies and their massive lobby budget to have our best interests at heart. Forewarned is four armed, or something like that... ha ha cheers

Re Bolivia, do you mean the "Aguas del Tunari" incident? I ask just because I don't think Monsanto was involved in that area. Maybe you're thinking of Bechtel in that example?

Not to say that Monsanto is an upstanding global citizen. They have managed to set some unsettling legal precedents in many places.

damn. someone's paying attention. Yes, it was some other megacorp on that one, I don't recall which. I threw in the water one because I like giving examples in threes and another Monsanto crime didn't jump to mind right away due to brainlock, not for lack of examples...

It's certainly an interesting discussion to be had, though. Thanks for bringing up the book; I put myself into the queue for it on the VPL website. Though likely once I've worked myself down from number 62 in the queue I'll have forgotten all about this thread, it's interesting nonetheless.

Fortunately I've transferred another book of similar topic (whose name eludes me at the moment) to my local branch, so I won't go wanting for a (hopefully) informative read.

Don't get me wrong, I think Monsanto is evil, sterile seeds are evil, and RoundUp Ready (Tm) crops are evil (am I even allowed to say that name without getting sued?).
I'm just saying that the technology in itself is safe for your health. I am a thousand times more worried about the massive amounts of herbicide that they douse on RoundUp Ready crops than I am about the transgene itself.
I guess I think there's a huge difference between engineering crops so that they can withstand extremely large amounts of herbicide only to improve yield, and say, creating a strain of rice that produces vitamin A, and thus preventing almost 1 million children in Asia from going blind annually. If only the UN had exclusive rights to this technology, but they don't. Big business has no interest in producing healthier crops, or crops that can be grown in desert conditions in Africa- their bottom line will always be increasing yield, and creating a dependence on their product.
As an aside, did you know in 10 years the "natural" banana will be gone, and all that will be available will be the GMO ones? (The "natural" banana has lost most of its chromosomes and is thus very susceptible to disease). Can you imagine a tournament without bananas?
good convo guys.

oh I keep coming back to this issue... again and again because I keep reading stuff that ticks me off. I have to research this stuff because the gate-keepers in charge of the food supply can't be fricken bothered to protect our health.

2004: Record profits for the large agri-business companies, the ones that supply inputs (chemical fertilizers, GM seeds) to and buy commodities from the agriculture industry.

2004 - Worst year on record for NET farmer income.

2008 - My spouse develops a serious allergy/sensitivity and associated asthma to dairy products, severly curtailing her athletic and Ulty pursuits. Our family doctor referred us to an allergy "specialist" who ran some tests, confirmed that something was wrong but shrugged his shoulders and said "maybe try to avoid dairy?" Not to bore you with other steps and frustrations with medical science we have encountered. We are now on a very long waiting list to see a naturopath.

2009 - we discover she feels great when eating sprouted grain bread or heritage grain cereal, as opposed to "normal" wheat products. (Possible gluten sensitivity?) We are now both on the "Thrive" diet which is plant based in an attempt to re-claim our basic right to health.

is there a connection? Maybe not directly...

GMO's are out there since 1997. Allergies to soy jumped 50% in the UK soon after. There are NO studies or measures going on about effects on humans. Who wants to fund that sort of research? I want to but I can't afford it. I read recently that Doctors are only influenced by peer-reviewed and scientific based research papers. well, NOBODY is doing the research!!

I never even heard of celiac disease until this year. Obesity is epidemic. Behaviour problems in schools. Coca-cola machines in schools funding school programs that we won't pay for.

You know what research does get funded? I think you can guess. One of them is new strains of wheat. WTF do we need new strains of wheat? We literally built Canada on Red Fife wheat which is hardy, pest-resistant and adaptable to different regions and it tastes better and is lower in gluten yet, whoa nelly! it's not as commercially viable on a large scale so hey bottom line $$$ let's DO MORE RESEARCH..!

This is all conjecture but we are CONVINCED that there is something wrong with the food. I don't care what it is. Antibiotics, biotics, GMO, poly-unsaturated fat, soy lecithin, rgbh, red dye #7, processed white flour, fricken GM corn in 90% of everthing consumable but I AM "FED UP".

We are buying and eating local, organic and non gmo, joining a community garden and when I get anything bigger than an ulty end-zone of property I'm planting HERITAGE tomatoes on it..
I am taking time out of my day to suggest you do the same. or at least get informed about what you are eating. Then chow down to your hearts content.

thanks for reading my frustrated rant.

On a happier note, my spouse can now run in the sun without needing a puffer. so F**K YOU AGRI-BUSINESS!!

GE "Roundup Ready" sugar beets court case won by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustic vs. USDA/Monsanto. This would be good news except for that we just keep fishing the puck out of the net instead of trading for a new goalie. CFS won a similar lawsuit in 2007, recalling RR alfalfa.

Unfortunately the ruling came down not before over half of the sugar beets planted in the last two years were of the USDA rubber-stamped Monsanto frankenbeet variety.

GE ingredients are not labelled. Sugar in almost all processed food comes from sugar beets or cane sugar (which is another abomination, coming from abhorrant conditions on sugar cane plantations)

Forget going to scary movies. Just shine the light at the supply chain from where any one of our products in our consumerist society originates.