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FDA won't allow food to be labeled GMO free

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  • #16
    What is that difference? It isn't obvious. They are two methods which can accomplish similar results. Said another way: given that insecticidal traits develop naturally in plants, it is 100% possible that corn with insecticidal traits can be selectively bred. We have made stranger changes to domesticated organisms through selective breeding. Since we can reach the same result using either method, and especially given that when handed a modified plant sample experts cannot conclusively say whether the change was made through selective breeding or another DNA modification method, it isn't clear why you single out one technique. It's just another way to do what humans have been doing since the dawn of agriculture.

    You can point out a few examples of feral "GMO" organisms but we've got 10,000 years of feral GMO plants and animals, from feral pigs to grains gone wild. Labeling "GMO" food isn't going to stop that from happening.

    Also... Technically, the insects aren't selectively breeding (in the sense meant when humans modify other organisms). Resistance to common toxins is survival positive. Those insects which can survive the common toxins known as pesticides are more likely to live long enough to reproduce. This is akin to what happened with a significant strain of humans with lactase persistence, which (judging by how pervasive it is - up to 95% in some populations) is apparently extremely survival positive. This phenomenon does not require or involve selective breeding per se.

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    • #17
      Huge difference and if you want to try and split hairs you can. GMO refers to that, stuff that has been manipulated and artificially had genes injected or removed in a test tube, wheat even though it has been eradicated, etc is not considered GMO.

      You may want to argue it is safe, makes no difference but that does not change the definition of what makes a GMO product.

      As to safety a slowly evolved crop will adapt and change to its environment, it may have short term failings but the stronger plants will survive. Breading insecticide into a plant is not healthy....but on the other hand grains don't really want to be eaten which is one of the reasons they are so unhealthy.

      Bad working the selective bad wording...more survival of the fittest.
      Last edited by Dirlot; 11-20-2012, 08:58 PM.
      Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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      Don't forget to play!

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      • #18
        Him, I guess I go back to how my (maybe simplistic) mind works. Selective breeding isn't always perfect when we intentionally do it to "improve" something. But since it takes place over time, both the producer and the consumer of the product have time to stop the process before the product is no longer recognizeable or before they've "improved" it to the point of uselessness.

        Some things we've "improved" to crap:

        -Something like 25% of dogs bred for show are so inbred, they have chronic deformities or weaknesses.
        -Most store bought tomatoes are pretty lame.
        -The turkeys many of us will eat on Thursday have been bred for white meat to the point they can barely walk, and most of them are sterile.

        Still, the dogs are dogs, and continued inbreeding in a line or breed will eventually result in dogs unfit for show or perhaps even many still births. I'm not sure how far the tomato growers will go, but I rarely buy those pink little domestic blobs anymore. Turkeys? Not anymore for me, and the same logic re: dogs bred for show, applies.

        So your point about selective breeding, particularly when it's not "selected" by the organism itself is well taken. And until about six months ago, I would have agreed with you totally that GMO is just a label to some sped up form of natural selection.

        But GMOs are not being done to the preservation of anything except profit. We had some kind of blight here in the US in I think the 70s where our wheat crop was pretty devastated and had to be bailed out by some other country's wheat (you might google that since my brain is fuzzy on specifics). We are growing one type of corn. Mexico grows over 20 types of corn. Want to guess what happens if/when our one corn gets hit with something Roundup doesn't kill? In fact, this type of genetic modification leaves us vulnerable imo.

        And when all is said and done, it hasn't been proven that this type of modification won't hurt us. The drug companies are almost as powerful as agribusiness, but we make them go through rigorous trials before we put a new drug on the market. Even when potential users of that drug are so desperate that they'd volunteer to take it experimentally. Yet we don't demand a shred of proof that these instant GMOs aren't harmful.

        I read somewhere that some other countries want to see what GMOs do to American children over the next ten years before they allow them into their food supply. And I guess that's where I stand. So, I will err on the conservative side in this. Let others risk their health eating GMOs.

        Also there is no doubt in my mind that if a company is sure that its product is wholesome, they'd want that product listed on the label. And they wouldn't spend billions of dollars to prevent other companies from stating that their products are (in this case) GMO-free.

        It's BGH all over again. So, really, google GMO and see the differences and potential problems. I did and it convinced me that I want to stay away from these products and the animals that eat them.

        Sorry if I rambled.

        *edited for wording*
        Last edited by JoanieL; 11-21-2012, 03:51 AM.
        "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

        B*tch-lite

        Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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        • #19
          To me it comes back to three points:

          1) If experts, handed a sample of a clearly changed organism, cannot determine whether that change was accomplished through laboratory DNA modification or through selective breeding, requiring labels for one but not the other makes no sense and is likely to mislead consumers.

          2) If the problem isn't actually the laboratory nature of the changes, but the change itself, labeling laboratory-made changes is actively misleading. It gives people a scapegoat ("GMO") without addressing the real problem - tinkering with organisms for our own benefit.

          3) If the problem isn't change, or laboratory change, but your dislike of business practices, and GMO labeling is just a way to strike back at corporate agribusiness, you really need to look at your choice of target. There is nothing inherently corporate agribusiness about GMO. Universities, non-profits, and individuals all have access to those techniques. It isn't common today because it is new, but eventually it will be no more "corporate" than yeast. See groups like: Genspace

          Personally, I'm skeptical about human-induced change/control. Humans consistently overestimate their ability to control other organisms (everything, really). However, I also think there is a first-world problem issue with this discussion. As wealthy (by world standards) 1st worlders we have the luxury of worrying about how a plant was modified. For people dying of malnutrition, people beset by drought and crop blights, the fact is that they need the food and the "maybe" risks you can cite for "GMO" really don't compare to the "happening right-the-bleep-now" risks they are dying from every day. Legitimizing "maybe" fears will result in more deaths from the "certainly" problems people face today.

          If you accept that humans can/should change our domesticated plants and animals to deal with changing threats/needs (new insect/fungus traits, climate change, improved understanding of nutrition, etc.) then faster methods are better for mankind. Rather than having to wait 10 years for a blight-resistant strain to develop, while people are dying or suffering the effects of malnutrition, you can make the same change in a year and save lives. A win for mankind.

          I know I'm bucking conventional wisdom but that's my take.
          Last edited by Him; 11-21-2012, 05:09 AM.

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          • #20
            1) If experts, handed a sample of a clearly changed organism, cannot determine whether that change was accomplished through laboratory DNA modification or through selective breeding, requiring labels for one but not the other makes no sense and is likely to mislead consumers.
            I agree with that, but that wasn't the impression I got when I read about GMOs and how they are created.

            I also think that with any modification comes "side effects" that we don't know about until many years later. DDT might be an example. We killed the bugs.... and anything that ate them.

            Bucking conventional wisdom is good!, and the whole primal approach does that. Fat is good vs fat is bad. Don't eat grains vs six servings per day. Spurts of heavy exercise vs chronic cardio and endless reps.

            I'd like to see GMOs labelled, but if with that, foods that are not in their original or heritage form need to be labelled also, then ok.

            Warning this tomato tastes like shit. It's DNA has not been altered in a lab, however, the nutrition has gone down 45% from its ancestors' because we've bred it to hold up to trucking it 2000 miles to grocer.
            "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

            B*tch-lite

            Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
              I also think that with any modification comes "side effects" that we don't know about until many years later. DDT might be an example. We killed the bugs.... and anything that ate them.
              and then we stopped using DDT and pressured others to do the same and a million + people a year started dying of malaria. Quite a side effect.

              I think, honestly, for many primal folks and other food conscious people it is a consumer issue. They straight up do not like Monsanto. I can't say I blame them, I am not a huge fan either, but lets call it what it is. If I can breed X trait into wheat over years and generations or I can do the same in a lab in a much shorter time, what is the real difference? None that I see. The issue starts when you have things like roundup ready soy beans, which are purposely bred for a certain weed killer, owned by a certain company, which then uses shady dealing to screw over farmers. It is the practices the businesses us not so much the products themselves that I take issue with.

              All that said, I would not be opposed to better labelling. Though, how many original or heritage forms are left? Do you include selectively bred products in the original catagory leaving only lab modified foods for other labeling or are any products with some human interference labeled as modified?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Him View Post
                Aren't basically all current-day agricultural products genetically modified?
                There is a difference between breeding plants to produce traits and inserting genetic material from other species into the DNA of the plant. Generally it's done not to make the food better but to make it more profitably, more dependent on pesticides or so that it has "suicide seeds" or so that it ships or stores better. Things of that nature that don't make the food taste better or more healthful for my body or the environment. GMO doesn't make the food supply safer, more bountiful, more secure from disaster or anything. It simply feeds profits.

                Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
                But GMOs are not being done to the preservation of anything except profit. We had some kind of blight here in the US in I think the 70s where our wheat crop was pretty devastated and had to be bailed out by some other country's wheat (you might google that since my brain is fuzzy on specifics). We are growing one type of corn. Mexico grows over 20 types of corn. Want to guess what happens if/when our one corn gets hit with something Roundup doesn't kill? In fact, this type of genetic modification leaves us vulnerable imo.

                And when all is said and done, it hasn't been proven that this type of modification won't hurt us. The drug companies are almost as powerful as agribusiness, but we make them go through rigorous trials before we put a new drug on the market. Even when potential users of that drug are so desperate that they'd volunteer to take it experimentally. Yet we don't demand a shred of proof that these instant GMOs aren't harmful.

                I read somewhere that some other countries want to see what GMOs do to American children over the next ten years before they allow them into their food supply. And I guess that's where I stand. So, I will err on the conservative side in this. Let others risk their health eating GMOs.

                Also there is no doubt in my mind that if a company is sure that its product is wholesome, they'd want that product listed on the label. And they wouldn't spend billions of dollars to prevent other companies from stating that their products are (in this case) GMO-free.
                Exactly. And they have not been required to prove that their products are completely safe before releasing them to the environment and to the food supply.

                I don't care if YOU want to eat GMO foods, but I do not and I would like to have the choice to vote with my wallet. All I'm asking for is information. I'm not trying to prevent people who want to eat GMO products from eating them.

                I think that Joel Salatin has a lot to offer on this topic. He does everything the opposite of how industrial agriculture does it and he produces more food per acre than any industrial farm. All without GMO, monocrops, pesticides and with a goal toward zero waste. That's the way of the future. His methods are what is going to save us from starvation, not Monsanto's.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Him View Post
                  To me it comes back to three points:

                  1) If experts, handed a sample of a clearly changed organism, cannot determine whether that change was accomplished through laboratory DNA modification or through selective breeding, requiring labels for one but not the other makes no sense and is likely to mislead consumers.

                  2) If the problem isn't actually the laboratory nature of the changes, but the change itself, labeling laboratory-made changes is actively misleading. It gives people a scapegoat ("GMO") without addressing the real problem - tinkering with organisms for our own benefit.

                  3) If the problem isn't change, or laboratory change, but your dislike of business practices, and GMO labeling is just a way to strike back at corporate agribusiness, you really need to look at your choice of target. There is nothing inherently corporate agribusiness about GMO. Universities, non-profits, and individuals all have access to those techniques. It isn't common today because it is new, but eventually it will be no more "corporate" than yeast. See groups like: Genspace

                  Personally, I'm skeptical about human-induced change/control. Humans consistently overestimate their ability to control other organisms (everything, really). However, I also think there is a first-world problem issue with this discussion. As wealthy (by world standards) 1st worlders we have the luxury of worrying about how a plant was modified. For people dying of malnutrition, people beset by drought and crop blights, the fact is that they need the food and the "maybe" risks you can cite for "GMO" really don't compare to the "happening right-the-bleep-now" risks they are dying from every day. Legitimizing "maybe" fears will result in more deaths from the "certainly" problems people face today.

                  If you accept that humans can/should change our domesticated plants and animals to deal with changing threats/needs (new insect/fungus traits, climate change, improved understanding of nutrition, etc.) then faster methods are better for mankind. Rather than having to wait 10 years for a blight-resistant strain to develop, while people are dying or suffering the effects of malnutrition, you can make the same change in a year and save lives. A win for mankind.

                  I know I'm bucking conventional wisdom but that's my take.
                  1) Experts can detect if DNA is inserted into organism.

                  2) See above, and add selective breading is very very different from GMO.

                  3) There is everything inherently corporate agribusiness about GMO. Monsato creates Terminator Seeds so farmers have to buy seed each year, rather than relying on last years crop which survived selectively. My understanding they have also sued farmers if Monsato's pollen enters a farmer's field for patent infringement etc. It is big big bushiness.

                  4) There is a program underfoot to store natural seeds for the future if/when GMO goes belly up. The problem is those will have lost generations of selective breading and so may not be ready for what ever new environment they are placed in. With seeds and evolutionary change slow and steady is the way to go.
                  Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
                  PS
                  Don't forget to play!

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                  • #24
                    ... Experts can detect if DNA is inserted into organism.
                    As I understand it: Only if they have a specific sequence they are looking for. If sequence X is normally found in organism A and not normally found in organisms B, they can say that a sample of B with an X sequence likely got that sequence from A. In the case of plants, natural transfer is unlikely (though in the broader world DNA moves around all the time) so they can assert with high probability that humans moved the DNA. If they suspect that sequence X is being inserted into other organisms they can look for that. That's not the same as detecting that DNA in general, any DNA, is been inserted into the DNA of another organism.

                    I agree that agribusiness does some very dumb and short-sighted things. I don't think they should. However, labeling GMO doesn't solve that problem, and the big problems (monocultures, non-propagating species, etc) are old problems that started with selective breeding, long LONG before anyone even knew of the existence of DNA.
                    Last edited by Him; 11-21-2012, 08:42 AM.

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                    • #25
                      sb, thank you for pointing me toward Joel Salatin. He's a hoot and a half. (I mean that in a very good way.)
                      "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                      B*tch-lite

                      Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        What I got out of the article...

                        You can't say non-gmo, but it says nothing about saying these strawberries don't come from gmo plants. Or the cows from which this milk has been collected have not been treated with hormones.

                        So... Be less vague, no problem... Yet.
                        "All of God's creatures have a natural habitat... my dinner plate." -Me

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