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BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?

GUEST,Dewey 01 Sep 01 - 07:09 AM
Ugly (really unattractive) Man 01 Sep 01 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Dewey 01 Sep 01 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Dewey 01 Sep 01 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Dewey 01 Sep 01 - 08:50 AM
catspaw49 01 Sep 01 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Dewey 01 Sep 01 - 09:06 AM
Roger in Sheffield 01 Sep 01 - 09:45 AM
GUEST 01 Sep 01 - 10:36 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 01 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM
Keith A of Hertford 01 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM
gnu 01 Sep 01 - 03:09 PM
Mudlark 01 Sep 01 - 03:46 PM
toadfrog 01 Sep 01 - 04:17 PM
Gareth 01 Sep 01 - 04:26 PM
MarkS 01 Sep 01 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Boab 02 Sep 01 - 01:02 AM
Mark Cohen 02 Sep 01 - 01:21 AM
Mark Cohen 02 Sep 01 - 01:27 AM
Mark Cohen 02 Sep 01 - 01:39 AM
Peg 02 Sep 01 - 10:10 AM
Art Thieme 02 Sep 01 - 10:51 AM
Mark Cohen 02 Sep 01 - 07:42 PM
Art Thieme 02 Sep 01 - 08:22 PM
Peg 03 Sep 01 - 01:39 AM
thosp 03 Sep 01 - 01:50 AM
CarolC 03 Sep 01 - 04:25 AM
Mark Cohen 03 Sep 01 - 04:41 AM
Bagpuss 03 Sep 01 - 06:52 AM
Bagpuss 03 Sep 01 - 06:59 AM
Bagpuss 03 Sep 01 - 09:28 AM
Peg 03 Sep 01 - 11:48 AM
Art Thieme 03 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM
Indy Lass 03 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM
Roger in Sheffield 03 Sep 01 - 03:16 PM
Armen Tanzerian 03 Sep 01 - 10:21 PM
WyoWoman 03 Sep 01 - 10:51 PM
Gypsy 03 Sep 01 - 10:54 PM
CarolC 03 Sep 01 - 11:00 PM
Gypsy 03 Sep 01 - 11:01 PM
Art Thieme 04 Sep 01 - 12:01 AM
Mark Cohen 04 Sep 01 - 05:31 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 04 Sep 01 - 10:03 AM
Kim C 04 Sep 01 - 10:14 AM
CarolC 04 Sep 01 - 07:10 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 04 Sep 01 - 07:33 PM
Peg 04 Sep 01 - 10:52 PM
Mark Cohen 04 Sep 01 - 11:15 PM
Bert 04 Sep 01 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,petr 05 Sep 01 - 08:53 PM
Pelrad 05 Sep 01 - 10:25 PM

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Subject: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,Dewey
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 07:09 AM

Are biogenetic food safe? I've been hearing a lot of talk about this in the news lately. Greenpeace demanding genetic foods be labeled. The European Union refusing to import Bio-genetic U.S. Food Sources.

The concerns of genetic food patents by giant multi-national corporations, cross-pollenation concerns over experimental hybirds mixing with organic strains. Cows suplimented with growth hormons etc.

Is this concern real? I'd like to hear from anyone with ACUTAL experience and education on this (farmers, biologists etc.) The FDA doesn't seem to be too concerned. But Europe Does?

Gosh this is a puzzling issue. Don't know where I stand on this one. But I do want to learn as much as I can about it. I like everyone else have this daily need of having to get something from the supermarket to nurish my body with. It would be nice to know for certain that the product I am purchasing will not harm me in any way. Am not saying that it will or won't. Just puzzled about this, and understand very little about the process upon which the safety of this food is determined.

Dewey


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Ugly (really unattractive) Man
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 07:53 AM

Eating food will kill you.

Historical data proves that everyone who has ever eaten food has died or will die within the next 100 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,Dewey
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 08:31 AM

Firstly, people can live to 120. So that is NOT an "historical fact". Secondly if your argument is that we all will die some day. NO DAH! WE ARE ALL MORTAL.

This thread is about Bio-genetics.

Besides you major premise is false, so your minor one will not stand up to the logic test.

Your major premise shoud be, "All Humans Die" YOur minor premise, "I am human" LOGIC: therefore I will die.

We die because we are mortal, not because we eat. Try going without eating my friend and we will see just how long you live, which is the reason for this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,Dewey
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 08:43 AM

Wow Guys! This guy is suggesting longevity through starvation!


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,Dewey
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 08:50 AM

Or rather death by eating. Eating is the culprite. RIGHT!SURE IT IS! ???????


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 08:56 AM

Bio-Genetic foods are perfectly safe. I don't think there's a problem at all in the fact that my left nut has turned green, the hair on the left side of my head has fallen out, I seem to have grown another thumb, my navel has a lovely crop of rhubarb growing out of it, and my ass cheeks are pulsating at two different frequencies. A small price to pay......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,Dewey
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 09:06 AM

This thread isn't really going in the direction I anticipated. Spaw.... "Have you taken pictures of this for documentation?" Not that I would want to see them or anything if you had.

Dewey


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 09:45 AM

The first question should really be, do we need them?
If we don't then why take the risk?
The next is that its a blanket term like pesticicides or medicines; many of both are fairly safe and thoroughly useful, the odd few have terrible consequences
For me If Tony Blair says they are OK then they are OK, oh and they are gonna feed the worlds poor right???


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 10:36 AM

The GMO Talkin' Blues

GMO's, GMO's

Splice them genes and see what grows.

What that is, no one knows

But we all love them GMO's

(GMO= genetically modified organism)


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM

"...the older you get, the sooner you'll bloody well die." The development of corn from a more grass-like ancestor was genetic engineering, it just took more time. Many of the foods we have today were the result of monkeying around with selection to get better genetic results. Spaw, do you look better now than before you ate that biogenetic cat food? The main problem I see is the effect engineered goodies will have on natural species if they cross-fertilize. If the genetically engineered plants produce infertile seed, that is no problem. Man, however, as a whole shows little concern for the environment and I doubt that will change. "Eat, drink and be merry..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM

Dewey, did you want or need them. This technology is driven by big business and companies like Monsanto can manipulate mere governments.
Maybe they are safe but there are real doubts, so why take the risk?
Some experiments have shown harmful effects in rats fed Gm food but to my mind the real danger is in creating organisms with genes they could never have gained by selective breeding. Maybe the genes wont escape into wild populations and if they do maybe they wont do any harm, but is it worth the risk? This is the only world we have!


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: gnu
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 03:09 PM

The GEF's may not kill you, but those crops designed to resist disease and chemicals in the growing fields may take over those fields and subjugate retentntion or expansion of the gene pool. One company has produced a ****** that can't be killed off... even with some of the most potent defoliants known. And they supply seed under contract for one year at a time, so if you don't personally kill every and all such plants and their offspring and you don't buy the company's seed for next year's crop, they can severly fuck you in a court of law. Now, that may not kill you, but it may kill the farming industry as we know it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mudlark
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 03:46 PM

And.....the FDA doesn't seem alarmed by a lot of things that scare the hell out of me....


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: toadfrog
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 04:17 PM

The basic question is not well formulated. Very likely, some genetically modified foods are safe and others, or other potential foods are not. What is really scary is the casual way we are assured by the industry that they are all safe, and the extremely casual way they seem to go about testing them. I've heard Mr. Clinton's last Secretary of Agriculture (my memory for names is unreliable) twice on the radio, assuring everyone that this stuff was absolutely safe, and also assuring us that it's o.k. to have the industry do their own testing -- much too slow, and too expensive, to have the government do that. And that anyone who objects to genetically modified foods can go buy stuff labled "organic." Now, that I call scary! And it seems unlikely that the Republicans are going to do more than that to protect us.

Another interesting question: The purpose of genetically modifying crops is to make them Roundup Ready. Is anyone all that sure that Roundup is safe? I have heard epidemiologists say that certain cancers cluster in parts of the Midwest where certain herbicides are used. They did not specifically mention Roundup. Anybody know more about that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 04:26 PM

Agent Orange, Three Mile Island, "The Spirit of Free Enterprise" were all passed as safe.

I'd like to think that GMO's are safe but with big business pushing them I have my doubts.

Now if the brainiacs really want to do some useful Genetic Modification, lets have a dog that eats grass, and pee's creosote.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: MarkS
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 05:47 PM

Just wonder how far a given foodstuff has to be modified to be part of the controversy? The ear of corn I ate last night was nowhere near what this foodstuff looked like years ago, likewise for the other items on the menu.
Seems like anything we can grow or buy today is a far cry from its earlier versions. Modifications have been going on for years, so I wonder why the current round of modifications evoke so much worry today.
Whats the difference?

Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:02 AM

GM foods? I think it is extremely unlikely that they will harm anyone eating them----BUT, the culivation of this crap is going to cause accelerated devastation in the environment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:21 AM

Dewey, to get back to your original question, Here are a couple of well-documented discussions of genetically modified foods: click here and here. The source of these articles, The Environmental Research Foundation, while it certainly has a bias against the agricultural-industrial complex, does its homework as far as reviewing the scientific literature. And I used to own an organic orchard, so I'll admit that I tend to share that bias--but I'm impressed with their thoroughness and lack of hysteria.

There are "hidden costs" to the widespread use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). For example, one of the currently "popular" genetically modified crops turns out to produce a substance that is toxic to insects which feed on the crop and are part of the local food chain/ecosystem, and nobody knows what effect that will have on the overall viability of the system (sorry, I can't recall the specifics).

And while it may be true in one sense that all of agriculture is a result of "genetic modification", there is a difference between cross-breeding and hybridizing plants on the one hand, and inserting alien genes into an organism's chromosomes on the other.

If you want more information about this, I'd recommend getting a free email subscription to "Rachel's Environment and Health Newsletter", which you can do through the Environmental Research Federation link above. It's an eye-opener.

One of the problems with talking about this stuff to people is that you very quickly start to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist. The problem is, companies like Monsanto really HAVE been trying to take over the world's food production, with the help of the US Government. The hopeful news, as documented in the two articles linked above, is that US farmers are starting to cut back on planting GMO crops, because the worldwide demand is going down, not up -- in fact, non-modified crops in some markets now command a premium price.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:27 AM

Sorry, I screwed up the links to the articles. Try here and here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:39 AM

One more then I'll stop! This is what I was originally looking for, it's kind of a primer on genetic engineering from the same source. It makes several important points, such as that adding genes from plant A into plant B may induce a serious or fatal reaction in a person who is highly allergic to A but thought he was eating B. Or, that if we make a plant produce a particular gene product, it will be expressed by ALL parts of a plant, not just the part we're interested in modifying--and we have no idea what the consequences will be. (In that respect,we're not nearly as smart as plants!)

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Peg
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 10:10 AM

NO. It goes against nature. We are doing way too many things that go against nature. That is why we are headed for hell in a handbasket.

Perhaps that sounds simple-minded; see other threads about similar topics in which I am a bit more loquacious and specific than I am capable of being at the moment...


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 10:51 AM

By increasing longevity, we have created an epidemic of Alzheimer's disease. Living longer is/probably the sole reason we have that disease. When people died in their fifties very few cases were around.

Should we quit trying to find ways to extend the human life so we can all live to 100 ? I doubt it.

Sure, we create problems for ourselves sometimes. Then we try to find cures for Alzheimers and all the other things we've inadvertantly and/or purposely done for and/or to ourselves.

Know this: If it can be done, it will be done. That is God's and/or Nature's will. Fate's way too. What will be, will be. If it's not acceptable now, it will and/or might be that in a few years. There were moral and/or religious objections to post mortem disection in the 19th and the early parts of the 20th centuries that rivaled the arguments over using fetus remains for stem cell research. That created a huge business for grave robbers.

If not now, we will do it later.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 07:42 PM

Art, the technology for killing immense numbers of people, via chemical and biological weapons, is being "improved" in laboratories around the world, but there are presently "moral objections" to genocide and mass murder in most cultures. Would you be opposed to laws and other social efforts to prevent the development and use of that technology? Or should we all just resolve to die peacefully when somebody attacks our city with anthrax or nerve gas, because it's "nature's will" and "if it can happen it will happen"? Sorry, I understand your argument, but I just don't buy it.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 08:22 PM

Mark,

I agree with you. We've got to be careful.

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Peg
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 01:39 AM

I dunno know that Alzheimers is due only to increasing numbers of septagenarians...isn't there a theory that increased exposure to aluminum might be a factor? (since abnormally large deposits of aluminum have been found in the brains of soem Alzheimers patients at autopsy)

And it affects roughly HALF the aged populaion; and does indeed affect some people as early as their 50s. Did it affect HALF the old agers who were in the over-70 bracket 25 or 30 years ago? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: thosp
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 01:50 AM

try this blueclicketything for more on gmo's

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 04:25 AM

We've seen so many instances in which humans interfere in natural processes without carefully thinking things through. For instance, all of the species of plants and animals that have been artificially introduced into systems in which they have no natural enemies, to the detriment of native species.

Kudzu in the southern US, rabbits and predatory mammals in Australia, purple loosestrife in the northeastern part of the US, the Japanese beetle in the US, the Norway rat in the US... the list is vast. And the cost to economies to try to control these species is also vast.

A pest is any species that occurs where it should not occur, and that causes problems as a result. GMOs are essentially new species. There is no place in nature where they belong. They are no different than any other introduced species. Introduced species tend to escape cultivation. Sometimes they don't cause problems. But when they do cause problems, these problems are often spectacular.

This is a reality with which we have been dealing, to our detriment and great frustration, for many years. It's a bit beyond me to understand why we have not yet learned our lesson in this regard.

The Norway rat...

Came into...United States in 1775... Wild Norway rats destroy about 300 million to 2 billion dollars' worth of farm products yearly in United States and 20 million dollars' worth in Canada. Our worst pest.

--Fieldbook of Natural History (second edition), by E. Lawrence Palmer and H. Seymour Fowler

This book was printed in 1975, so the numbers are rather dated. My guess is that they would be much higher in today's dollars. We don't know what the result will be of GMO species escaping cultivation. However, considering our prior experiences, I'm at a loss to understand why we wouldn't want to exercise the utmost caution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 04:41 AM

Thosp, that's a great site. I'd forgotten that Greenpeace was active in this area. CarolC, you make a very good point. Here in Hawaii we're currently fighting several introduced species, including Miconia (which could become the kudzu of the islands) and working diligently to prevent the introduction of the brown tree snake, which has already devastated Guam.

Many native Hawaiian bird species are now extinct as a result of predation by mongoose, which were introduced in the 19th century as a sure-fire cure for the islands' rat problem. The one thing those brilliant planners didn't take into account was that mongoose are active during the day, unlike rats, which are nocturnal creatures. So the mongoose, not finding any rats scurrying about, gorged on eggs. Bye bye, birdie!

However, as my references and thosp's references point out, GMO's are perfectly capable of doing damage even if they stay where they're supposed to.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:52 AM

I think it is unlikely that there are risks associated with all food which have had genetic modification. After all we have been tampering with genetics for thousands of years through selective breeding. It is more likely that there will be some GM foods which have unintended side effects of trying to manipulate a single gene - therefore we should proceed with due caution and not with the hysteria that tends to be blown up around this issue. Another real concern is that modified genes for pest resistance etc may find their way into weeds, making weeds much more difficult to kill in future.

I think the green lobby have made a mistake by turning their understandable concern about certain areas into a blanket approach of all genetically modified foods are bad. By buying into the hysteria rather than concentrating on the specific concerns they are possibly going to prevent a huge amount of good that this sort of technology could do.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:59 AM

And just a side point - someone mentioned earlier about everyone that has ever eaten food has died.

There are more people alive today than have lived and died in the past. Therefore over 50% of people born have not died. Therefore I have more than a 50% chance of not dying. Woo-hooo!!! I might be immortal!!!!!!!

;-)

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:28 AM

On a related issue, scientists have announced that they are in a position to release genetically modified mosquitoes that will spread the new gene around the wild population that could completely eradicate malaria within decades. Not all of this type of science is being done by greedy multi-nationals.

And (correct me if I wrong), I believe that genetically modified organisms have been used in food production for some time. Any of you who eat vegetarian cheese, the rennit (sp?) used in the process usually comes from an animal source, but for vegetarian cheese they have engineered an organism to produce it - I can't remember if it is a bacterium or a fungus.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Peg
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 11:48 AM

Carol C, good point!

I will add Australian native melaleuca trees (known as tea tree) to the list of environmental transplants that now act as thugs...they were brought to Florida not long ago and have spread so insidiously in the Everglades they must be BURNED to stop them spreading...


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM

Folks, I'm not saying that the things you mention aren't bad (probably). I'm just noting that if it can be done, some genius or moron will do it. Then we'll just have to live (or die) with it.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Indy Lass
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM

Art, why the defeatest attitude? Basically you're right, but we have to fight these snake-oil corporate scientist types who are trying to manipulate nature so their own biological developments will make them profits, (where I personally think God didn't want them to meddle).


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 03:16 PM

Bagpuss one of my early arguments against GM was, why don't they use the technology for some greater good like preventing Malaria, River Blindness and the like
So now they may have done it I hope it works as it should and saves lives
I note though that they had little success trying to modify the parasite itself and had to move instead to the mosquito which is afterall only the carrier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 10:21 PM

Well, now, I used to take what I thought was a purely scientific line on these things. It was certainly easy to laugh at those who feared radiating food -- as if those little gamma rays could somehow stay "alive" in the food.

But this one is a little more complicated. Yes, humans have been genetically engineering food crops for eons, but they were limited to the genes within a species. (Never took biology, so don't dun me for incorrect nomenclature.) What happens when you sneak the gene from a worm into the genetic structure of a lima bean? Or a fish gene goes into a corn seed? And then we ingest lots of the resulting plant. I don't feel confident enough to say, "Nothing. Shut up and eat it."


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 10:51 PM

Yeah, I think this one is a real can of worms--genetically altered, of course. For one thing, we just don't know what's likely to happen. But a far greater concern is the fact that the world more and more is being owned, lock, stock and barrel, by about five corporations -- and pretty soon they'll merge -- and they're going to end up controlling every aspect of our lives, down to the food we eat -- and to the point that we can't even opt out of eating theirs and choose eating our own. The gm crops do spill over at an alarming rate and mix up with regular crops, which sounds like the gm producers polluting the non-gm crops to me. However a recent court ruling here in the U.S. stated that a farmer whose crops were pollinated by the gm crop had to pay the CORPORATION a user's fee for using its PATENTED material.

So we have corporations patenting food crops, which then infect (I don't think there's a better word for it) our ordinary crops and then we have to pay a royalty for using their material. And if we try to keep our crops pure and organic, but happen to be downwind of one of their fields, it's OUR problem if their crops get mixed up with ours?

Doesn't the idea of having to go back to the corporation and buy seed each year, unable to grow our own, sound like a big-ass problem? It sure does to me.

I'm grateful that there's such a groundswell of support now for community supported agriculture, in which we eat locally grown organic produce, support family farms and come in under the radar of the corporate uberlords. The important thing is to take the time to find out who the local producers in your area are, and to support them as much as possible. I've joined a coop (again, for the first time since 1978) and all my produce right now is locally grown and certified organic. I'm hoping to freeze and dry enough for the winter so I can continue this, and to grow some of my own salad stuff in my little greenhouse. I've found a local farmer who raises animals humanely and pastures them in actual grass and I'm buying all my meat, eggs and poultry from him -- at a slightly higher cost per pound, but at significantly healthier conditions for myself and the animals.

These are exceedingly serious issues. As some of you who've gotten to know me over the past several years here know, I'm not prone to conspiracy theories nor to being an alarmist, but I think this is one of those lines we need to draw in the sand and stand steady on. The issues of how our food is produced -- from the way farm animals are being turned into chemical/antibiotic dumps and are being tortured their entire lives for our juicy burgers, to the corporate takeover of the most basic of agricultural processes, we're in line for a lot of trouble.

I say refuse 'em at every turn. Power to the people.

ww


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Gypsy
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 10:54 PM

Well, here's a point that few people notice. We make our living from the soil, so i feel somewhat qualified to form an opinion. If i can't save my seed (which can be contaminated from other farms) i must buy it, right? Year after year. So, the upshot is, the nation/continent/world food supply is in the hands of a very few people. Now, how comfortable do you feel with that? It won't be today, or even tomorrow, but how about in the next decade? Think about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 11:00 PM

WW, do you know whether or not the court ruling in which the farmer was ordered to pay the corporation the user's fee is being appealed?


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Gypsy
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 11:01 PM

WyoWoman, am an idiot, should've read your post. You expressed far more eloquently than i did!


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 12:01 AM

I do not think my stated positions are in any way a defeatest attitude as indicated by one post here. If anything, my attitude is one of a realist. Folks, do what you will. For me, it's all a gas---. I am constantly amazed at the passing panoramas unfolded before me. Good or bad. Right or wrong. Stupid or brilliant. (Yes, for sure, some of it IS just plain stupid.) Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Whenever I start to feel the least bit self important, I think of all the dirt that never did get a chance to sit up and look around."

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 05:31 AM

Armen, the problem with taking a "scientific" stand on some of these issues is that you only know what you read, and you may not be getting all the answers. If you're interested, I could show you quite a few carefully constructed studies by reputable scientists documenting that irradiating food actually can make it dangerous to eat. Of course the food itself doesn't become radioactive, but the gamma rays cause changes that have adverse health consequences. The problem is, those studies have not well publicized, and they haven't been followed up adequately, because researchers have a hard time getting funding for such studies. Now, I would object to food irradiation even if the food were absolutely safe, for a number of reasons that don't need to be crept into here. The point is that even if you take the stand that you are going to base your opinions strictly on "science", you may have incomplete information--especially on an issue that has so much big money riding on it.

But I completely agree with your second point--it's exactly why saying "we've been genetically modifying food for thousands of years" is not a valid argument for the safety of this kind of genetic manipulation.

WW, nicely said. It's interesting that the worldwide market is rejecting GMO's in a big way. I don't think it's because all these Europeans are suddenly turning into sprout- and tofu-munching organic hippies. Rather, it seems that they're using common sense, figuring out that nobody knows whether this stuff is harmful or not...AND THEIR FOODS ARE LABELED, SO THEY HAVE A CHOICE! Whereas in the good old US of A, our government has seen fit to keep its citizens in the dark, and not require labeling of foods that contain GMOs. But perhaps a few thousand well-placed letters to Congressmen and Senators could change that....

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:03 AM

To answer tho original question-probably not.
Any UK Catters that wish to avoid GM foods should consider shopping at Iceland Frozen Food, they will not stock GM food.(I have no connection with this company whatsoever, I just shop there).


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:14 AM

Aren't navel oranges a genetically modified food? And that corn that has white and yellow kernels on the same ear?

People have been experimenting with hybrids for a long time. Sometimes, hybrids appear on their own with a little help from our friends the insects and birds.

I agree, though, that this is an issue that can be developed for something good, or for something greedy. I guess it depends on who's minding the store.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 07:10 PM

There is an extremely big difference between organisms being genetically modified through selective breeding and hybridization, and organisms being genetically modified by gene splicing. People have repeatedly tried to point this out on this thread, but their efforts seem to be going unnoticed.

I am not expert enough to be able to give detailed reasons why this is. Perhaps someone who is more well versed in this science could give an easy to understand, but thorough explanation of the two processes and how potential hazards of gene splicing differ from any considerations about selective breeding and hybridization.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 07:33 PM

The Times have published some interesting articles on this subject, I don't know it their website is searchable though.Could be worth a try for anyone intersted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Peg
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:52 PM

Wyo Woman; you GO girl! Excellent post!

Carol C: thank you pointing out the difference between hybridization (which has indeed been around for a long time) and gene-splicing...

no fish-tomato-grapes for me!

peg


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 11:15 PM

By the way, in case anyone is interested in researching this further, the title of this thread is a misnomer. You can find information by searching on "Genetically Modified Organisms", or "genetic engineering", or, more generally, "bioengineering".

Just found a fascinating paper, by the way, from the Union of Concerned Scientists. They filed a report with the US Dept. of Agriculture concerning a variety of squash developed by the Upjohn Company (makers of pharmaceuticals) which is resistant to certain viruses. The USDA issued a report saying there were no potential adverse environmental consequences from this type of squash, and it should be available commercially without limitation. The UCS pointed out that the USDA report was based on faulty logic and bad science, and simply ignored many studies, including some of the USDA's own reports, which said there were significant potential problems.

Unfortunately, this is the situation we're now in, as I alluded to above, where politics has co-opted science. When I was a high school biology student, we learned about the Russian biologist Lysenko, whose irrational genetic theories were championed by the Soviet government to such an extent that Soviet genetics research became the laughingstock of the world scientific community. We're getting close.

CarolC, thanks again for pointing this out again. I think there may have been something about this in the movie "Songcatcher". Has anybody seen it?

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Bert
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 11:35 PM

Safe? For whom? If you're a Monarch Butterfly they are certaily NOT safe.

ONE of the things that they do, is to allow plants to generate their own insecticides (Which is why they are killing the butterflies). How about sprinkling a good helping of pyrethrins on your next meal?

Note: pyrethrins are natural insectides that are being used in place of the much more benign (to humans) DDT.

Now just what is the reasoning behind keeping this stuff secret? Don't you, as a consumer want to be able to find out what's in your food? I wonder why the scientists don't want you to find out.

Let us know what you are selling us and we can maybe make an informed decision on whether we want to buy or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 08:53 PM

yes & no Have you eaten genetically modified food? probably most people have, without their knowledge. a certain type of genetically modified corn did not pass FDA approval and was supposedly only to be used to feed livestock - but when Friends of the Earth (an environmental watchdog organization) went shopping for products containing corn they found samples of it in a number dozens of products around the world (some farmer somewhere decided to sell it as regular corn) This specific corn had some allergens which would be irritating to insects (as well as humans). It is now "out there" and you cant recall it like a faulty tire. YOu cant recall a virus, either, all the talk above 'we have been genetically modifying species for thousands of years' is beside the point (we have only been changing species through selective breeding and not gene splicing through cross-species pollination. THERE IS NO WAY IN NATURE TO CROSS A FISH WITH A STRAWBERRY but the idea has been proposed (although not implemented) to take genes which allows fish to live in below freezing temperatures under arctic ice and put it into strawberry or tomato crops so they survive low temperatures.

The act of gene-splicing is by no means completely accurate - it is more like a shotgun blast of genes and hope that some of them will take. The problem is that most DNA (something like 90% is genetic material along for the ride that serves no purpose for the living organism and can contain viruses). Who can say what will happen?

Is gene modification always necessary? Monsanto has taken BT (an insecticide naturally occuring in the soil, discovered by the Japanese a hundred years ago - and by the way used on organic farms (as it is a completely natural substance)) and spliced it into corn, thereby producing a corn that is resistant to corn eating insects. THe drawback is that it also kills Monarch butterflies (this was in fact the one spark that got the American public up in arms on the GMO issue) the other problem is that the BT corn is in fact laden with way too much insectide that stays in the soil. and after a number of generations will result in a large population of SUPER pests (insects resistant to BT). This is something that probably would occur anyway but by doing so MONSANTO has decreased the usefulness of BT for everyone by decades.

THere is no evidence that BT-corn Is harmful to humans, on the other hand and certain gmo's may in fact be useful for developing nations which grow crops in poor soil, and if say a sweet potato can give a much better yield in poor soil and thrive without heavy use of chemical fertilizers.

ITs quite possible that there are many positive possibilites with genetics - ie. treatment of diseases or possibly growing organs for transplant with ones own dna in a pig. (which may be a rather scary but intriguing idea as well)

Its certainly good to be informed (NOVA on pbs recently ran an excellent documentary on GMOs) and not have blind faith in Science, remember DDT, Thalidomide, etc.

THe case mentioned above, may have been the (Canadian)Saskatchewan farmer sued by MOnsanto for growing genetical modified soybeans on his property that were patented by MONsanto. His defense was that the gmo seeds blew in and that he could not help it, whereas Monsanto claimed that he used the seed without paying as there was (allegedly far more than would blow in by chance) they had sampled his crops supposedly. The farmer lost the case, and had the support of many environmental organizations but is now bankrupt, and Im not sure if it will be appealed.

Monsanto had announced (earlier this year) that it will not market its so-called 'terminator' seed, that would require farmers to buy new seed each year. At the same time it is experimenting with gmo's that will take firefly genes to grow tomatoes that glow in the dark.

in short my view is that I would be cautious, gmo food is already out there and cannot be recalled (something like 25% of soybean products contain gmo soybeans. AT the very least products should be labelled if they contain gmo's (the industry is fighting this and with some valid points as well, the fact is that even organic farms may be contaminated with gmo foods.) petr


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Subject: RE: BS: Are Bio-genetic foods safe?
From: Pelrad
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 10:25 PM

I think people, particularly those out to make billions of dollars, don't research enough before they leap into changing the environment. Chain reactions can have severe results.

As someone with allergies to common foods such as wheat, dairy, soy and potatoes, the idea of genetically altered food worries me. Considering that I already have to shop mainly in high-priced "health food" stores and skip 95% of the regular grocery store fare, I foresee that my food choices are going to be restricted even more. This may seem an illogical conclusion to draw, but really, all we "allergic" people need is to develop allergies to some food that becomes the main sustenance crop, and there will be nothing left to eat. The population's food choices are already too restricted.


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