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Busting GMO myths


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#1 SJS

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:36 PM

Source (I have the feeling this will look much prettier in the original than my copypaste.)

 

The technology behind the creation of GMOs makes it unsafe.

GMO_PC-illustration_01.pngFalse. The technology that creates GMOs is a tool of science. In the 1980s, the National Academy of Sciences declared that the process of genetic engineering is not inherently hazardous. “Harms are always caused by things, not by processes,” Alan McHughen says. “It’s the final product that has to be assessed [for safety]. It’s possible to use genetic engineering to introduce toxins into a food crop that doesn’t traditionally carry those toxins. But if the technology is used instead to, say, increase vitamin A in the food, then that’s probably a beneficial product.”

It’s no big deal that crop genes get into wild populations.

GMO_PC-illustration_02.pngFalse. Crop genes in the wild can cause trouble — not all the time — but on occasion. Ellstrand maintains there’s no fundamental difference between genes transferred from genetic engineering and genes that are transferred by other means, such as traditional breeding. Europe’s “weed beet” that has cost its sugar industry over a billion dollars in lost product is the result of natural hybridization between a wild beet species and (non-GMO) sugarbeet.

We need to regulate GMOs for food safety.

GMO_PC-illustration_03.pngFalse. Food safety with approved GMOs is not an issue. “We have a huge issue in food safety with lots of other things: contaminants, E. coli, salmonella, listeria, arsenic. But if genetic engineers were to develop a rice plant or a potato with, say, an increased vitamin A content that was so high it would cause a problem, it would never get on the market. There’s a very strong regulatory structure in place in the United States and that’s what they check for. We’ve been eating GMOs since the mid-‘90s — almost 20 years now — and there’s still not a single documented case of harm to humans.” McHughen says.

All GMO crops have been wonderful successes.

“We shouldn’t just arbitrarily lock away certain tools such as genetic engineering. We just have to be mindful of how we use those tools.”

Norm Ellstrand

False. Ellstrand cites the flavr savr tomato and the low-nicotine tobacco as examples. Both these products were developed commercially but were marketing failures due to a variety of reasons. They — and many other similar products — are no longer on the market. “Some advocates of biotech crops say they’re all wonderful, they’re all perfect, but they’re not,” Ellstrand says.

GMOs will ruin our existing food systems

GMO_PC-illustration_04.pngFalse. McHughen believes the production of GMOs is best way to provide food security for the planet, particularly in poorer countries. “If Europe and the United States banned GMOs outright, it probably would not cause a huge impact, apart from an increase in the price of food. (A lot of U.S. farmers would also get pretty annoyed, since 90 percent of them who can grow GMO crops do so.) Poorer countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, won’t get by without GMO technology,” McHughen says. Products such as drought-resistant seeds would provide a huge benefit to these countries.

All GMO crops create some kind of problem.

GMO_PC-illustration_05.pngFalse. Ellstrand gives the example of the genetically modified, virus-resistant Hawaiian papaya: “It not only saved the Hawaiian papaya industry but also saved the non-GMO Hawaiian organic industry by reducing the incidence of the viral disease.”

You need a label on a food product to tell you whether it contains genetically engineered products.

GMO_PC-illustration_06.pngFalse. “You just look at the label of ingredients,” Norm Ellstrand says. “If it’s not labelled organic and one or more of the ingredients include U.S.-grown corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed oil, papaya, beet sugar, or alfalfa, there’s a 90 percent or better chance that it’s genetically engineered.”

Gene transfer via genetic engineering is unnatural.

“Harms are always caused by things, not by processes.”

Alan McHughen

False. Genes naturally move between kingdoms of organisms due to viruses or bacteria, and while it’s rare, it does happen.

In Europe, GMOs aren’t allowed into the food supply.

False. It’s true that very few GMOs are cultivated by farmers in Europe. “In fact, they really only grow genetically engineered corn — and only in a few countries,” McHughen says. “However, Europeans have plenty of food in the markets that are from genetically modified plants, which are imported from abroad.”

Above all else, the controversy involving GMOs is about technology.

GMO_PC-illustration_07.pngTrue. Most anti-GMO activists won’t admit it, but their real concern is that the technology seems to be controlled by a handful of multinational corporations, McHughen says. “They don’t like the idea of something as visceral and basic as the food supply being controlled by companies. That’s a fair issue, and it’s a very good question for society to discuss,” he adds.

“Is it appropriate in our multicultural, democratic society to have the food supply controlled by a handful of companies? That it’s an opportunity for discussion that gets sidetracked by the safety issues because people are much more concerned about safety than they are about these socioeconomic issues.”

Ellstrand adds, “We’ve got a lot of problems in the world; we shouldn’t just arbitrarily lock away certain tools such as genetic engineering. We just have to be mindful of how we use those tools.”

 


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#2 Pressure/Hopenosis

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:45 PM

My ADHD doesn't approve of this thread! ;)

 

BTW are you buying all this from the same folks that don't know if eggs are bad or good?


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#3 Moving Target

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 08:03 PM

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#4 Moving Target

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 08:04 PM

return-of-the-killer-tomatoes-trailer-01



#5 fenderjazz

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 08:40 PM

While I don't like the idea of GMOs, I agree that the "science" against it is all crap.  



#6 A Rebel and a Runner

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 09:47 PM

What's not to like?  It allows us to custom-make food to be exactly what we need it to be in terms of vitamins and minerals.  It's no different than what we've been doing for millennia, except more efficiently.


labente deinde paulatim disciplina velut desidentes primo mores sequatur animo, deinde ut magis magisque lapsi sint, tum ire coeperint praecipites, donec ad haec tempora quibus nec vitia nostra nec remedia pati possumus perventum est.

 

First our declining morals slid, bit by bit, and then our very national spirit.  Then the collapse became greater and greater, and our principles began to go, until at last, it has come to this age, in which we can bear neither our crimes nor the cure for them.

 
 

#7 Windshieldfly

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:54 PM

I would think that creationists would be the biggest objectors, seein that all this GMO (and selective breeding) stuff is giving The Big G the finger.


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#8 Soddy

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:02 AM

Somebody on Twitter pointed out that many foods have artificial lemon flavoring, and all the real lemons go into furniture polish. Wha?


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#9 Mission Position

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:18 AM

GMOs are inherently dangerous, because you can't pronounce "GMO".


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#10 SJS

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:28 AM

I would think that creationists would be the biggest objectors, seein that all this GMO (and selective breeding) stuff is giving The Big G the finger.


Anti-GMO is a curious issue uniting the fundamentalist right and the crunchy progressive left. It is the true extremist issue, because it doesn't matter right or left, just extreme.

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#11 Greg

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:39 AM

As conspiracy theories go, this is one of the most curious.  The only thing that I think is valid to one degree or another is the ownership of the seeds and some of the strongarm tactics that have been reported (true or not, I don't know) of the patent-holders commandeering private farms, etc.  That part needs to be worked out, as far as I can tell.  Too many people just don't understand the science and want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Meanwhile, there is some pretty cool science at work here and how many gazillions of people starve to death every single day?  

 

The fear that GMO food brings up in some people, left and right, is kind of astonishing.  The OP is a good summary of the issues, IMO.



#12 Planet X-1

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:57 AM

As conspiracy theories go, this is one of the most curious.  The only thing that I think is valid to one degree or another is the ownership of the seeds and some of the strongarm tactics that have been reported (true or not, I don't know) of the patent-holders commandeering private farms, etc.  That part needs to be worked out, as far as I can tell.  

 

To me this is the biggest issue.  At some point, only a few companies will be controlling the food supply.  

 

I`m probably paranoid, but for every good scientist or company executive trying to help out there`s his evil twin working equally as hard...


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#13 Planet X-1

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:01 PM

GMOs are inherently dangerous, because you can't pronounce "GMO".

 

 

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#14 fenderjazz

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 02:49 PM

I would think that creationists would be the biggest objectors, seein that all this GMO (and selective breeding) stuff is giving The Big G the finger.

 

It's actually the dirty hippies that really seem to care the most about this issue.



#15 Pressure/Hopenosis

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:05 PM

It's actually the dirty hippies that really seem to care the most about this issue.

Yeah man...  That's crazy...  It needs to come from the earth man...


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#16 Planet X-1

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:59 PM

Maybe somebody needs to tell all the hippies, that thanks to science, the pot they`re smoking is like 20000 % more potent than what their mom and dad smoked.... :P


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#17 Moving Target

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:28 PM

The anti-GMO mob remind me of those Luddites who said they were going to park cars on the runway of JFK if Concorde tried to land there.



#18 Mission Position

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:44 PM

Being generall anti-GMO is one thing; it's a plague that resists all science.

 

However, being anti-corporatism, and having huge issues with the way a company like Monsanto massages the government to its own benefit, is a completely different issue. 


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#19 SJS

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 02:49 AM

Being generall anti-GMO is one thing; it's a plague that resists all science.

 

However, being anti-corporatism, and having huge issues with the way a company like Monsanto massages the government to its own benefit, is a completely different issue. 

 

With regard to your second point, the anti-GMO crowd better decide what it cares about more.  Large corporations thrive in a crony capitalist environment.  The more regs in place, such as for labeling or whatever, the more market share the big boys will claim for themselves.

 

I'm sure Monsanto plays the game all the corporations play.  But on the other hand, they aren't the MonSatan anti-GMO loonies would like for us to believe.  A lot of what you hear about them - that they make terminator seeds, that they own the whole government, that they sue farmers left and right, that they made Agent Orange - it's all pretty much outright lies or serious stretchings of the truth.


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#20 A Rebel and a Runner

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 04:04 AM

I remember following the lawsuits, and it looks like all of those were incidents where the farmers intentionally replanted Monsanto-patented seeds for a couple of years.  It's not like they just accidentally had some seeds germinate in their fields.  It was a repeat action.


labente deinde paulatim disciplina velut desidentes primo mores sequatur animo, deinde ut magis magisque lapsi sint, tum ire coeperint praecipites, donec ad haec tempora quibus nec vitia nostra nec remedia pati possumus perventum est.

 

First our declining morals slid, bit by bit, and then our very national spirit.  Then the collapse became greater and greater, and our principles began to go, until at last, it has come to this age, in which we can bear neither our crimes nor the cure for them.

 
 




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