Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Healthy Debate

I posted the following link on my face crack page: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/10/peru-passes-monumental-ten-year-ban-on-genetically-engineered-foods/#.T16Ry9UILxg.facebook

And the following debate ensued. I concur with Health in the sense that I think you should know why you do or do not agree with something. Here are some of our view's about GMO and if they are safe, what trouble they cause, and what can be done about them.

  • Dan Isaacs Just FYI, almost everything you eat has been genetically engineered. it's all been selectively bred. GMO just accelerates the process.

    The issue isn't GMO, it's that Monsanto thinks they can own everything.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark I think you are confusing hybrid with GMO.
    14 hours ago · · 1
  • Cherie N Kevin Schenker There's a big difference between genetically altering corn and breeding cattle to eliminate a bad temperment or horns for safety reasons. just saying...
    14 hours ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs Well, no, there isn't. Its a difference of speed. But the process and concepts are the same. Genetic engineering just accelerates the process.

    I'm not sure why this is a problem, outside of Monsanto's evil business practices.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark let's get the genetics person involved as his opinion would probably be less biased and more scientific than mine. Heath Aaron Smith can you weigh in your opinion on this?
    14 hours ago · · 1
  • Joseph Ruckman Hybrids can not be bred to generate their own pesticides. GMOs are genetically modified plants which do just that. They are NOT the same.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Dan Isaacs Joe, you could selectively breed specimens that showed resistance. it would just take hundreds of generations to get it right through selective breeding. GE just accelerates the process.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark Let me first say that my educational level is a GED, and my background is in business. With that said, my understanding is that you are somewhat correct Joseph, but they can be modified to do more than be pesticide residence. The difference between a hybrid and a gmo (in the plant world) is open pollination. Genetically modified is GENERALLY (Although not always) when you take the dna of one species and "inject" it into another. I believe, and again, this is just my understanding and my not be scientifically correct, that you have to "trick" the first organism into accepting the dna from the other. So often times a virus or a protien is used to attach the "second dna" too. This can not be done naturally no matter how much cross breeding or evolution takes place. Therefore, GMO has to be done by a scientist, it can not be done by natural evolution or open pollination cross breeding.
    13 hours ago · · 1
  • Lucinda Clark And yes you could selectively do that Dan. However, that would not be Genetically modified as you are not say, crossing a cow with a fish. However, again, hopefully Heath Aaron Smith will weigh in here, as this is his background.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Joseph Ruckman Dan - Joe is the one who stepped in when Curly & Shemp died. I'm Joseph.

    I'm not talking about resistance. GMO corn actually generates its own pesticide which in turn leaches into the ground and contaminates the water supply.
    13 hours ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs My apologies, Joseph.

    It's true, they can do unintended things. They should be tested before they are allowed to be sold. They need to be regulated. But we need a heavily funded FDA to do that.

    Lucinda, you've described the process accurately. Viruses are often used as the mechanism. What I said was that the thing that's happening is the same thing that happens when you selectively breed organisms.

    I think cross-pollination of crops is a concern. The byproducts are a concern (Bt specifically). And Monsanto is a concern. But there is nothing inherently wrong with GMO.

    I would still prefer to eat food that is grown locally with as few pesticides as possible. But I recognize that we can't feed 7,8,9 Billion people without using genetics to accelerate large-scale farming.

    I also recognize that Monsanto operates somewhere beyond the law, and ought not be trusted to do the right thing.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark I think the other thing is that just because it hypothetically "could" doesn't mean that it would.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Joseph Ruckman I don't trust the FDA to do the right thing either. Monsanto has both parties in their pocket and the FDA gives them free reign regardless of which party is in power.
    13 hours ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs Sadly, you're right about the political realities. Though that's not a problem with the science. most of the hysteria around GMO is just that, hysteria.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Heath Aaron Smith Hey guys, I actually totally agree with Dan here. Both on his views of Monsanto, which I have problems with and his views on GMO. I generally would say that GMO foods are as safe as anything else you could eat and maybe more safe if pesticides and hormones aren't being applied. That is really my biggest concern. Golden rice in east and southeast Asia has been genetically modified to include genes from several species to completely incorporate an entirely new biosynthetic pathway to express carotinoids so the children in these countries aren't dying from malnutrition in the hundreds of millions. GMO has saved hundreds of millions of lives to date and if there is a small chance of recombination with an indiginous species (a nearly negligble risk in my opinion) then you would have to weigh the pros and cons. If you are an environmental purist and would choose that over human life then I can't begrudge you too much because I think the human race is fucking this planet pretty hard right now, but I am more of a humanist than that. In the end, from my own experience with genetic research, and what I have learned....I think it's pretty darn reasonably safe. But to each there own. A good debate is never a bad thing as long as people are educated about it. :-)
    43 minutes ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs I like you, Heath. :)
    40 minutes ago · · 1
  • Heath Aaron Smith Glad I could join in Dan. :-) Thanks for the invite to the discussion Lucy!
    35 minutes ago · · 1
  • Lucinda Clark My major issue with GMO is not actually health, it is social. Being on the "front lines" of food distribution and how the logistics/ economics of the food chain work, I believe the issue is increasing yield as gmos aim to do. It is economics and logistics. Should a farmer plant an entire acre of tomatoes, where would they sell it? With row crops there is a market, they can take it directly to the elevator. It also stores and transports with a long shelf life. All this is great, BUT the issue is that it would take much less fossil fuel and yield greater nutritional value if that field was indeed planted with tomatoes. The next issue would be, how in the world do we get that tomato to starving people? That's just logistics. However, instead of solving these economic and logistical issues we are throwing GMOs at it as a way to "fix" the hunger crisis. And although, I respect your educated view point that they are safe, there is no actual way to tell what the fall out is until it happens. (Again though, this is not my main concern). Monsanto's practices combined with the fact that we are not focusing on the real issues of food sovereignty. Furthermore, to ask our farmers to plant non gmos without a market in place is to ask them to commit financial suicide, in many situations, as the price of land and inputs increase. Therefore, we are taking away from them their ability to farm as they desire and forcing them to buy into Monsanto crap. The solution? Create a market for food that doesn't have to be modified to eat. Set up the logistics to get it from point a to point b. Shameless plug here, but I know it can be done because that IS what I do with my businesses. But you can't change the world overnight.
  • Lucinda Clark ‎*is NOT increasing yield as gmo's intend to do.
  • Dan Isaacs There are other economic issues as well, Lucinda. namely, the degree to which speculation is tolerated by regulators. Most of the cost increases for commodities is a result of rampant speculation in commodities markets.

    A good book to read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griftopia
    Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking Am...See More
    14 minutes ago · · 1 ·

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