A Conversation for Frankenstein (Genetically Modified) Foods

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 1

Taipan - Jack of Hearts

Consider this :

All living organisms, are born/created, live/exist, and eventually die. It is likely - unless you subscribe to the idea of 'the creator' - that on decomposition, all the atoms in the body are then released to create new organisms. (Buddhists and re-incarnationists will already know this, of course). This may take some time, however.

The point being, that, if all atoms are made up from other recycled atoms, then gm is simply an extension of this.

For all the people who believe, that's fair enough, but this form of manipulation should not be carried out by people, consider the effect that people have already had on the environment, the benefits and deficits. Without them, humans, as we are now, would probably not exist.

I, for one, believe that humans have already interferred drastically with evolutionary concepts by being the only organisms to directly configure the environment for their specific use, rather than being guided/modified by the natural state of affairs.

But then, that's just me.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 2


- The point being, that, if all atoms are made up from other recycled
- atoms, then gm is simply an extension of this.

That's where reductionism gets you, y'see? A living organism is more than the some of it's atomic parts and any modification to the code that describes such organisms could have dramatic consequences.

That is why this kind of thing must be explored very carefully and that is why we need lots of carefully controlled field trials and that is why the tree hugging dickheads that are destroying todays field trials must be stopped.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 3


YAY destroy the tree hugging hippies!
genetic engineering has been going on in some form or other for years - short wheat etc. People put too much emphasis on putting genes from one species into another. true, that does happen, but a lot of it is just tweaking whats already there.
And why are people calling for all GM related produce to be labeled? Where is there any genetic information in Soya oil for example? Look at the chemical makeup of the oil, it is the same regardless of which soys plant it came from, and there is no DNA in it at all, so why label it! people are so thick!


GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 4

Taipan - Jack of Hearts

Probably the same 'tree hugging dickheads' who earlier in the year decided to free the 'cute little minks' from a scientifically controlled environment back to their natural habitat. Outcome : most of the other animals living in that environment were stripped of their life by the released 'cute little minks'. Now, to me, this is short sighted thinking, and I do agree that gm experiments should be undertaken to determine it's real effect, but that doesn't alter my views re : 'reductionism'.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 5


The labelling issue is an interesting one because it presupposes that the labelled product has been through it's trials and deemed safe. If that's really is the case (and I'd hope so) then the safety of the product depends on the quality of the tests carried out.

I have no problem with labelling, people should be able to choose what they eat. Those choices, though, would be made easier by a scientifically literate public in a climate of informed, reasoned debate unhindered by a news media sensationalising every single step of the way.

The soya oil is extracted from soya beans.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 6


i know that the soya oil is extracted from the soya beans, but the chemical formula of the oil does not change if the beans have been modified or not!

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 7


It does if the modified gene is in the gene complex for synthesising the chemicals in the oil.

A reason for labelling GM foods...

Post 8


There is one possible reason for labelling GM foods... as genes for proteins are crossed between species, it's possible that the proteins causing, for example, peanut allergy could find their way into a wide range of products... hence, it could be a good idea for anyone with extreme allergies to avoid GM foods.

AFAIK, there are precautions being taken to guard against the problem mention above... but if I could die from a few molecules of peanut protein, I'm not sure I'd be that trusting...

I entirely agree with the comments about the tree-hugging... um... persons. Anyone who is so blinded by their so-called love for nature as to cause detrimental effects to the nature they supposedly love is... well, completely daft.

Personally, I'd feel a little daft carrying out a night-time raid on a field of wheat that I believed threatened the entire future of the universe itself... but maybe that's just me.

As for the bit about atoms getting around a lot... there are some extremely disgusting statistics to that effect, which I shall not even make an attempt to quote or look up... however the chances are that every particle in your body has at some point been part of several thousands other people, lots of plants, animals, etc... *shrug* you can't spend all your life thinking about such things. Well, you could... but it would be a bit of a waste, really.


Post 9

Taipan - Jack of Hearts

Maybe some people would see it as a waste to think about anything else? You know, the hermit types who live in caves on top of extreme mountains. Besides, isn't thinking about such things just another aspect of philosphy?

From what you say about every part of your body being a part of everything else, surely this is just another explanation of re-incarnation, which is an ancient belief in many systems of belief.

Following this then, haven't all these Buddhists that are often scoffed at for this belief been more advanced than many people realised?

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 10


No they weren't. The ALF and their kind who did the mink releasing had nothing to do with the anti GM protests, which were co-ordinated by environmental groups, not animal rights extremists.

I am in full support of the current anit trials protests, not because I do not want trials of GM crops, I do, but because not enough measures had been taken to avoid cross pollination with crops in fields nearby.

Scientific trials are absolutely necessary, although the American public seems to be perfectly happy eating GM foods that have not been tested at all.

The mink releases were astonishingly stupid, and in my view were an act of environmental terrorism, rather than environmental protest.

Monsanto's going down...

Post 11


FULL STORY TEXT FROM http://www.guardian.co.uk

Paul Brown and John Vidal
Wednesday August 25, 1999

Europe's biggest bank has advised the world's largest investors to sell their shares in
leading companies involved in the development of genetically modified organisms because
consumers do not want to buy their products.
In a report sent to several thousand of the world's large institutional investors,
including British pension funds, Deutsche Bank says that "growing negative sentiment" is
creating problems for the leading companies, including Monsanto and Novartis.

"We note that Monsanto has spent more than $1.5m (#1m) to persuade English consumers of
the rectitude of their position, but alas, to no avail. Monsanto is little match for
Prince Charles, an anti-GMO advocate, when it comes to sensitivity for the English
people's desires," says the report.

"More broadly speaking, it appears the food companies, retailers, grain processors, and
governments are sending a signal to the seed producers that 'we are not ready for GMOs'."

Since the report was circulated to investors, shares in companies named have fallen
against a rising trend in stock markets generally and the frenzy to takeover seed
companies has stopped. In the six months to yesterday Monsanto's stocks had fallen 11%,
and Delta & Pine, a seed company that owns the terminator gene, which Monsanto is taking
over, has lost 18% of its value.

The Deutsche Bank's Washington analysts, Frank Mitsch and Jennifer Mitchell, say it is
nine months since they first voiced their concerns that the biotech industry was "going
the way of the nuclear industry in this country, but we count ourselves surprised at how
rapidly this forecast appears to be playing out.

"Domestic concerns regarding ag-biotechnology are clearly on the rise. For the most part,
though, it has not gotten the attention of the ordinary US citizen, but when it does -
look out."

Deutsche Bank's first research report entitled GMOs Are Dead, said: "We predict that
GMOs, once perceived as a bull case for this sector, will now be perceived as a pariah.

"The message is a scary one - increasingly, GMOs are, or in our opinion, becoming a
liability to farmers," it adds. Non-GMO grains were already gaining a premium price which
would, if the trend continued, far outweigh any economic benefit in growing GMOs.

The latest report, published last month under the heading Ag Biotech: Thanks, But No
Thanks, says: "GMOs are being demonised by their opponents. What food manufacturer will
'take a bullet' for GMO corn in the face of such controversy?"

GM grains would have to be sold at a discount. "Farmers who planted (Monsanto's) Roundup
Ready soya could end up regretting it."

It could become an "earnings nightmare" for Pioneer Hi-Bred (a company due to be taken
over by the chemicals giant DuPont) and for Monsanto which is buying Delta & Pine, a
stock, the bank says, not worth holding on to.

The concerns of European consumers are real, concludes the report. "European consumers
have recently been through the mad cow crisis, the French Aids-tainted blood crisis, the
Dutch pig plague crisis, the Belgium chicken dioxin crisis, the Belgian Coca-Cola crisis,
etc. Therefore hearing from unsophisticated Americans that their fears are unfounded may
not be the best way of proceeding."

The report is a serious embarrassment to the Labour party because its pension fund has
large investments in two leading GM companies, AstraZeneca and Novartis, both of which
are reportedly considering selling their GM divisions after years of heavy investments
but few returns.

Following European uproar over the crops, there has been a significant official cooling
in the US. The US government and the biotech industry are preparing for a consumer and
media backlash and the agriculture secretary, Dan Glickman, has told companies not to
take consumers for granted.

The report coincides with growing official unease about claims made for GM crops. With
the market for GM in Europe contracting as food processors turn their back on the
products, Mr Glickman warned farmers they could be left with unwanted crops, and that
small farmers could become "serfs on the land".

Recent US government research has shown that GM crops of maize, soya and cotton do not
automatically produce greater yields or lower use of pesticides.

Sue Mayer of Genewatch said: "This shows the global impact of the concerns of pressure
groups on this issue."

**The Revolution will not be Televised**
..but you can buy the video in woollies..


Post 12


Just because the atoms are the same doesn't mean the people are the same... *shrug* personally I think Buddhism is one of the least obviously flawed religions, currently it's at the bottom of the list of religions I dislike smiley - smiley.

And you're right, it's not necessarily a waste of time, philosophically speaking, to spend your life thinking about something like this... however, personally, I think it's more beneficial to move onto something else when you've done all the thinking you're likely to do on a subject.

Another nice statistic... any water you drink has passed through many millions of people before you smiley - smiley.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 13


Do you consider the systematic destruction of GM trial crops an effective protest when this, as I heard this morning, may well lead to the locations of future trials being kept secret? I want to know what's going on.

Monsanto's going down...

Post 14


- The latest report, published last month under the heading Ag Biotech: Thanks, But No
- Thanks, says: "GMOs are being demonised by their opponents. What food manufacturer will
- 'take a bullet' for GMO corn in the face of such controversy?"

Hurrah! Another victory for the hysterical dissemination of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Makes me proud to be literate.


Post 15


And any steak/salad/soya bean you eat contains a minute portion of your great, great, great, great, great grand parents. smiley - smiley That's one in the eye for any vegans out there.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 16


Such violent protests rarely solve anything... not where scientific debate would do instead, anyhow.


All this GM food stuff annoys me almost as much as the stuff about evolution being taken out of the curriculum in some American states...


You know, I think that out of all of science fiction Douglas Addams is the only person who shows people as they really are... completely useless most of the time.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 17


I agree with you that testing should be in the open and in the eye of public scrutiny. I think the protests have been effective in highlighting the inadequacies of some of the test procedures and test locations. They would lose my support if they continued destroying crops just for the sake of it.

However, when it comes down to it, the GM Manufacturers are designing crops which will increase their profit margins, not crops which will feed the worlds poor. Everyone apart from Monsanto has stated that the introduction of GMOs in developing countries will exacerbate food shortages, not relieve them.

And besides, any location won't stay secret for long smiley - winkeye

Monsanto's going down...

Post 18


Fancy another one?
What happens when governments start using biotechnology to fight their "wars".

Pot-eating fungus raises mutation fears

Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday July 28, 1999

Florida environmentalists voiced their anxiety yesterday about government plans to start testing a new marijuana-eating fungus as a possible weapon against the drug plantations hidden among the state's famous swamps.
The fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, was cultivated in the laboratories of a Montana bio-engineering firm, and is designed to attack marijuana while leaving other plants untouched. But ecologists are concerned that it might mutate if sprayed on the fertile wetlands.

Florida's newly appointed "drug tsar", Jim McDonough, stressed that no decision had been taken so far to use the fungus, but expressed optimism that it would pass safety tests.

"Is it safe and does it work? I've heard some of the top scientists in the country say 'Yes'," Mr McDonough said.

But Florida's environmental protection secretary, David Struhs, wrote to Mr McDonough warning him of the dangers of the pot-killing fungus.

"Fusarium species are capable of evolving rapidly," he wrote. "Mutagenicity [the tendency to mutate] is by far the most disturbing factor in attempting to use a Fusarium species as a bio-herbicide."

Mr Struhs said controlling the species was "difficult if not impossible" in Florida's hothouse climate, and it could lead to disease in crops like tomatoes, peppers and corn.

In the past Florida's drug-busters have braved alligators and snakes by wading through the swamps because marijuana growers often make their plantations impossible to spot from the air by sowing them among corn and tomato vines.

Last year the state managed to destroy more than 55,000 plants with a street value of $55m (#35m).

But the authorities believe that that represents a small percentage of the total annual crop, and there is pressure from the state's mainly Republican politicians to find new weapons.

The US has spent $14m researching biological-weapons which could be used against poppy, coca and marijuana plants, but the findings are shrouded in secrecy.

US officials denied recent accusations by Peruvian farmers that the Drug Enforcement Administration used a fungus to destroy coca plants in the war against cocaine.

The farmers said the fungus had spread to banana, tangerine and other food crops.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 19


Sooo... you're saying that because these companies are seeking increased profits, it's okay to destroy their work and disrupt scientific tests?

I'm not sure what an economist would say about this... but I'm fairly certain that cheaper food production benefits the whole economy, even if the reduction in prices isn't passed onto the consumer... because it *is* passed onto the people employed by the company, the suppliers of everything used in producing the food, etc.

You might be right about a secret location not staying secret for long... then again, lots and lots of things have successfully been kept from the public, it's just that we don't know about them yet smiley - smiley.

GM Foods - what Real diference would they make

Post 20


- They would lose my support if they continued destroying crops just for the sake of it.

So you say, but then...

- And besides, any location won't stay secret for long smiley - winkeye

...back to urban (OK, rural) terrorist jingoism.

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