Arguments for and against GM foods? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-04-2004, 06:46 PM
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I know very little as to why GM foods are so very, very evil. Can someone enlighten me as to why they are bad? Some of them sound a little freaky, like the fish genes in the tomato one from awhile back but if they came up with food that could grow where it won't and feed the hungry people in the world then why is that so horribly, horribly wrong? I'm not picturing headless chickens that produce 50 drumsticks here, I'm picturing higher protein rice that grows in extreme conditions like we see in Africa and is resistent to locusts. Stuff along those lines.



I see a really hysterical tone in public opposition to GM foods that make it sound like the devil's work and I would like to know exactly what the problem is here. I know many of you will know more than I do about it.



Thanks



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#2 Old 12-04-2004, 07:23 PM
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I would recommend that you read "The Food Revolution" by John Robbins. He details the arguments against GMOs at great length in the final section of the book. (This book also does a great job of advocating for veganism.) Any summary I could try to give would not do justice -- just trust me that the read is well worth it.
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#3 Old 12-04-2004, 08:39 PM
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GMO foods, within the context of the world-capitalist system, have a couple major pitfalls.

1. GMOs may be copyrighted. This allows large multinationals to, for example, create seeds that expire and/or which may not legally be reproduced and cross-bred, ensuring future profits but at the same time unduely siphoning funds from the third world and poorer farmers in the first.

2. These corporations are under heavy incentives to move their GMO products out into the world without sufficient testing. This has lead to unexpected consequences for those with food allergies and other organisms in the ecosystem of which the crops are a part.



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#4 Old 12-04-2004, 11:07 PM
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When I saw this thread title, I thought it was referring to "General Mills" of cereal fame...
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#5 Old 12-04-2004, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by April View Post

When I saw this thread title, I thought it was referring to "General Mills" of cereal fame...



I bet General Mills foods would probably qualify as genetically modified!



Seriously. Are food allergies and the probability of profit really the big factors here? Wouldn't crops that are resistent to insects help reduce dependence on pesticides which are, in my mind, a far more awful consequence of mega-agriculture?



Have their been any documented food allergy situations with the GM foods?



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#6 Old 12-05-2004, 06:48 AM
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The reason I support Genetically Modified research is mainly because of the potentials this science has for our world.
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#7 Old 12-05-2004, 11:29 AM
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What Ebola said. However, I do think such products are safe for human consumption, despite what some campaigners try to say...it's the environmental and social impact that's troublesome.
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#8 Old 12-05-2004, 01:30 PM
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>>Wouldn't crops that are resistent to insects help reduce dependence on pesticides which are, in my mind, a far more awful consequence of mega-agriculture?>>



Yup...there is the potential for good in GMO foods too...I was outlining only pitfalls 'cause, well, that's what i do.



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#9 Old 12-05-2004, 01:41 PM
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With all things thare are new you can not predict the logn term effects on teh environment, economy, and humans. That being said GM foods seem to have huge potential advantages.
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#10 Old 12-05-2004, 02:26 PM
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I'm all for using science to improve the food supply. Foods that are cheaper and easier to grow in larger quantities will prove very valuable as the population grows.



However, I am concerned about the effects of allowing artifical genes into the natural world. For example, if you modify a strain of wheat to grow 8 rows instead of just 6 or 2, what happens when it inadvertently crossbreeds with other strains of wheat or compatible wild wheat grasses? I don't know, myself, but would be concerned if the genetic modification, distorted by crossbreeding, had an impact on, say, the plants immune system that allowed a disease which hadn't been a problem in the past (because natural selection had taken care of the problem) to come back with a veangeance and wipe out 1/2 the world's wheat crops.



I, too, know very little about genetically modified foods, and maybe these sorts of issues never come up. But I am concerned, and would like to know more about the type of science involved (is it simple crossbreeding for desired traits, or something more test-tubey?).







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#11 Old 12-05-2004, 07:28 PM
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Both the pro and con sides are guilty of massive hyperbole in trying to make their points. I think that to a large extent, you have to evaluate things on a case by case basis.
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#12 Old 12-05-2004, 08:45 PM
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>>is it simple crossbreeding for desired traits, or something more test-tubey?>>



The latter would be what concerns people more. That is, we have gotten to the point where we are able to splice genetic material from one organism into another in order to induce the synthesis of a particular protein at a particular time (or in response to a particular environmental factor). eh...my understanding is rather poor though, as I am no biologist.



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#13 Old 12-05-2004, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Both the pro and con sides are guilty of massive hyperbole in trying to make their points. I think that to a large extent, you have to evaluate things on a case by case basis.



And pro or con, the fact is the genie is out of the bottle. This is a technology that isn't going away, so I agree with Kirk - we need an educated public capable of understanding when the application is worthwhile, and when it isn't.
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