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GMO [split from Home Cooking]


what about GMO keeps you away?

  1. You can do your own research, but many people (including me) prefer not to put chemicals, artificial substances, processed foods or GMO foods in their bodies daily.

    Here is a well written article for a start, if you haven't read much about it: http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/S...

    15 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      why is there an assumption of ignorance on my part when i ask you a question.

      you now list 4 very different things by way of explanation. you put chemicals in your body to survive. all food is chemicals. so that means little to me.

      i'm not sure what you mean by processed, as everything but raw food is processed.

      artificial? such as?

      but i'm asking you what is wrong with GMO as a whole class. e.g. corn used to be a small grained plant. over centuries we modified their genes, yet i assume you eat corn, and find it to be a not artificial unprocessed food.

      now i'm sure some GMO foods may well be harmful. many most likely are not.
      i think it is best to take this on an item by item basis, rather than replace science with faith based beliefs.

      1. re: thew

        Hi thew ... certainly everyone's view should be treated with respect here, no matter how much we may differ in our views!

        ... but I would point out there is a difference between cross pollination (which has been done for centuries) and genetic modification (which in the scheme of human life is a new science for which long term effects are not diffinitive).

        1. re: CocoTO

          but in both cases we are modifying the genetic structure of something, no?

          1. re: thew

            I believe there is a world of difference. On the one hand nature actively takes part in the modification process (and which IMO keeps in "natural") vs. an approach where DNA is added or removed to make plants behave in a way that nature didn't intend. That is why I am, at a bare minimum, strongly and firmly on the side of transparent labelling - that way until the science is more definitive, we can all exercise our right to choose what we put in and on our bodies.

            1. re: CocoTO

              1) nature does not INTEND anything. there is no one there to have intent.

              2) we are not separate from nature - if a beehive is natural, or a beaver dam, so are the things we create

              3) i agree with labeling - but i also understand the hesitancy to do so - in a world where people cannot distinguish between untested potential problems and proof of harm

              1. re: thew

                Indeed, mutations in nature are accidental. The beneficial ones survive. The fact that we can now do it in a lab doesn't make it more diabolical. Farmers and breeders have been cross-breeding crops and livestock for centuries. Even Larry Forgione's original and iconic "free-range" chickens started out with a lot of cross-breeding to achieve the desired qualities in the end product.

            2. re: thew

              by definition, gmos are organisms modified with genetic material *from another type of organism*-- there is no way for a trout to successfully reproduce with a tomato, or a stalk of corn, for example, but that is exactly what type of "crossing" is going on to produce patented gm organisms. this is obviously a different ball of wax than conventional hybrids, crossing, and selective breeding.

              1. re: soupkitten

                ok. but so what? where is the inherent problem with that?

          2. re: thew

            You asked what about GMO that keeps you away. I answered.

            1. re: sedimental

              no you didn't. you told me that i could do my own research, assumed i had no knowledge, and posted a link.

              1. re: thew

                Actually, I said that I am concerned with what goes in my body, and I prefer to not put certain things in my body on a daily basis (GMO is included). I *also* am concerned separately, with the GMO effects on the planet (the link details this).

                1. re: sedimental

                  ad i'm asking what about GMO as a general class, as opposed this or that specific GMO item, makes it something you do not want in your body?

                  i see a lot of buzzwords often, then seem pretty meaningless - to me. chemicals - what does that mean, as everything is chemicals. processed food? cooking is processing, so what does that mean? but those are separate question than what is wrong with GMO as a concept?

                  1. re: thew

                    As a general "I don't want it in my body" concept...it is genetically altered food by people that have no care or concern for me. This is about money and not health or altruism. It could have unintended consequences for heath problems and studies are showing problems already. I try not to eat things I think are a problem.

                    Food is too important to health to "monkey with". If anyone is to monkey with it- I'll do it myself *and* I want to know about it. I prefer food to be in it's purist form when I eat it or cook with it. I prefer it not to have chemicals in it or on it (pesticides, preservatives, food colorings, etc.). I don't buy much processed food and I don't eat alot of it on a daily basis. This is why I pass up 98 percent of the food on the grocery shelves.

                    I don't trust others to alter my food, then not tell me, then have me eat it.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      yes - monsanto wants to make money. as did the people who sold aspirin, anti-biotics, and everything else. that does not mean the invention of Penicillin had no value for saving lives because a pharmaceutical firm sees a way to profit from it. when i was 18 i wanted people to do the right thing for the right reason. at 50 i see enlightened self interest is probably the best i can hope for, so i want them to the right thing, whatever their reasons. So if the reason monsanto alieviates hunger in sub saharan africa is altrustic or profit driven, does not matter to me nearly as much as the development of foods to feed staving children in arid areas. if monsanto creates a crop that stop pesticides from leeching into the water table i do not care if they are doing for the bottom line,

                      and i am not saying it should be done without telling you. im all for extensive testing on a case by case basis.

                      i have yet to see one of these oft mentioned studies that shows all GMO are necessarily a health risk. if you show me one i will happily change my tune.

          3. re: sedimental

            Your linked article claims it is largely based on a book by Jeffrey M. Smith. Why should we trust him and his claims. From what saw in a few minutes of web search, he sounds like a one-man band operating out of a mail box address in small Iowa town. One source claimed he has no academic credentials, though he did teach swing dance professionally. I don't know if that is true, but I would like to see some evidence that he (and his followers) can follow the full range of scientific research. It is very easy to be selective, highlighting only the studies that support your position.

            The first quote in the article is from the 'American Academy of Environmental Medicine'. Who are they?
            They are not a recognized medical specialty

            And about those 41 footnotes - how many are independent citations? From what kinds of sources (besides Smith's book


            Near the end of the article is strong claim that GE was the cause of an epidemic associated with L-tryptophan, "The source of contaminants was almost certainly the genetic engineering process used in its production" citing a Smith source.
            Here's are different view of that case (from the largest food science professional organization)

          4. GMO foods including oils have been tested extensively on animals and proven to cause all kinds of nasty problems and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Try infertility, cancer, organ damage, weird diseases like Morgellons (google it). This is the reason why GMO foods are banned in Europe. Yes Banned! There are other places in the world that have a ban on GMO's too. We live in the USA where $$ over rules almost all reason, more and more it seems. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/art...

            11 Replies
            1. re: Taterbugruns

              Just commenting on this once:

              1. There is no scientific proof that GMO foods are dangerous (to the consumer). Please, cite an article from a reputable journal if you know otherwise. (One can say anything in book, movie or online.)

              2. Europe has a different approach in their system. Over here, it's "Prove this is dangerous." Over there, it's "Prove this is safe." Neither system is right/wrong and both have their merits. Saying that something is banned in x isn't a powerful argument. For example, I can say that cinnamon (cassia, the common kinds sold here) is banned in Germany.

              1. re: ediblover


                use common sense for goodness sake!! It is self explanatory,just take a few moments and think about it.


                this is just the tip of the iceberg, the corp food industry owns lots of scientists but it matters not because there is overwhelming evidence on GMO foods. And most people who take the time to really think about what a GMO food really is and how it reacts with the human body. Well it isn't complicated, it's obvious.

                1. re: Taterbugruns

                  my view of a site like mercola is as suspect as a site like monsanto on the other side of the argument. they are not unbiased in their viewpoint.

                  suspicion is not evidence. common sense is not science

                  1. re: Taterbugruns

                    I didn't realize that Mercola was a "reputable journal".

                    1. re: jgg13

                      This all boils down to "my guy with an agenda says this...." While the jury may still be out (there's no way to "prove" things as being safe) there's no reliable evidence of dangers, just a lot of fearmongering.

                  2. re: ediblover

                    given what's at stake, I for one prefer the European model ... prove to me it's safe. And I too believe there are some early troubling signs, not to mention the cross contamination impact that is occurring on other unintended plant life, both cultivated and in the wild. But my main objection to GMO advocates is that they actively lobby against the labeling of food stuffs to identify it as GMO produce ... why should I not be able to make my own choice easily ... if GMO is so safe, why not agree to label it as such?

                    1. re: CocoTO

                      i agree - label them. as to why not label them, this thread makes it clear - to some people fear is is enough so they would not buy the product carrying the label, regardless if it was actually safe or not

                      1. re: thew

                        so are you really advocating keeping the consumer in the dark because they might not buy the product if they knew what was in it? That is the worst reason for not having transparent labelling ... or did I misunderstand you?

                        1. re: CocoTO

                          you misunderstood me, as i clearly stated exactly the opposite: "i agree - label them..."

                    2. re: ediblover

                      there most definitely is scientific proof that GMO foods are harmful. this is my last comment on this subject. Go ahead and enjoy your GMO foods, have at it for goodness sake. I don't want anything to do with it and I know that more and more evidence of the harm caused by GMO foods is soon to come. There are many studies....I won't provide them for you if you care then go for it, if you don't???http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agricu...

                      1. re: Taterbugruns

                        the link you provide lists POTENTIAL risks from GMO foods. That is not the same as actual proven dangers. By all means test. test test test and test again. but because there is potential for danger is not the same thing as proof of harmfulness.

                  3. Nothing. Better living through science.

                    That said, Monsanto is an evil company

                    1. I used to work for an organic certification agency and have seen/heard many GMO horror stories. It totally changed the way I eat and grow food. These superb short videos are excellent educational tools on factory farming, sustainability, etc. Will try to locate actual GMO info that is staggering (having been to many international conferences). Also click on "Learn About the Issues" for brief info on pesticides, cloning, antibiotics, etc.


                      1. Nothing. It seems to be an anti-science view point to be against this. As shown above, if there was any real evidence of negative effects, you'd think it would be easy to point them out. It also seems to be anti-human too, because we could feed so many more starving people.

                        52 Replies
                        1. re: kwjd

                          My dad's death of cancer was linked by several oncologists to the GMO pesticide spray he used on the farm. That is enough proof for me!

                          1. re: chefathome

                            what exactly is a 'GMO pesticide spray'?

                            1. re: paulj

                              I'm assuming he's talking about stuff like Roundup. If so, I'm pretty skeptical about the claim, there are the usual "might", "could be", "linked to" but I'm not personally aware of anything hard enough such that MDs would actually tell a patient that it was the cause (and unless someone has something oddly specific, I'm usually skeptical of "this was the cause" claims in general)

                              1. re: paulj

                                Sorry about that - I was very unclear. I meant a pesticide spray for his GMO crops. If he had not planted GMO (or GE) crops he would not have used the spray. That really got me involved in the organic movement.

                                I can definitely see both sides, though; the world hunger thing really gets me, too.

                                Info on pesticides and GMOs...http://www.bewellbuzz.com/general/tru...

                                1. re: chefathome

                                  Couple of things:

                                  - He'd have been spraying pesticide either way, the genetic modifications are so that particular plant can withstand the 'cide.

                                  - The link you post doesn't really show any causal link between GMO and cancer, heck it even says "Comparative studies on the toxic residues in foods from such crops have not yet been done."

                                  I work in the cancer research field. I'm far from expert, and there are lots of things that I don't know on this topic. That said, I've never come across anything that really seemed remotely solid to me when it comes to GMO stuff.

                              2. re: chefathome

                                and if that is the case that pesticide should be banned. but to ban all GMO because of one product? it's like saying tobacco caused my dad's cancer so we should ban everything grown on a farm....

                                edit - because i did not see the follow up post.

                                that's even more ridiculous - he used a product that was NOT a GMO that gave him cancer, so it means GMOs are dangerous? another over the top analogy:
                                my mom was hit by a car while going to buy strawberries - so strawberries are dangerous.

                                1. re: thew

                                  The pesticide itself was non GMO but the fact remains he grew GMO crops which he sprayed. Had he been organic he would not have used the sprays (seeping through his skin, unfortunately). I know my logic sounds strange, I confess. I'm not saying to ban everything GMO at all. Although I do not agree with GMOs for all kinds of reasons I guess my stance would be to ban pesticides which has already been done in some countries. Sorry for not separating the GMO and pesticide issue; they can be linked but also separate.

                                  1. re: chefathome

                                    But he wasn't organic before starting use GMO crops, was he?

                                    Which type(s) of cancer is associated with absorption of chemicals through the skin?

                                    1. re: chefathome

                                      You know, there's an enormous middle ground between organic & GMO

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        anyone who argues that there isn't proof, well there isn't proof that GMO are safe in fact the evidence weighs to the opposite. Can you feed GMO foods knowingly to your children without regret, even though there is no "proof" that they are safe. I can't and I won't. I try to grow as much of my own food as possible but that is a real luxury. I live in the fertile (and glorious) Willamette Valley of Oregon and I am lucky enough to have enough land to grow my own garden. Even if there is a decision not to label GMO, god forbid. My family will live on what we grow and the trade that we already do with local farmers that we know and trust. I won't let my daughter be a lab rat of sorts for Corporations that produce GMO foods, etc.

                                        1. re: Taterbugruns

                                          i don't want my son to be a lab rat for corporations either. but i also do not want children to starve in arid regions where my fear prevented development of a crop that could feed them.

                                          if we were debating whether or not research the internal combustion engine 150 years ago arguments like the unforeseen pollution, the number of traffic deaths, the use of airplanes for war,etc etc etc might well have had us all still in a world where 99% die within 10 miles of where they were born, in a world where the need for muscle power in agriculture almost ensure slavery or serfdom of some sort, where there was no food out of season, no exotic ingredients, no vacations to jamaica, and no ambulances or quick delivery of medicine.

                                          1. re: thew

                                            all I can say is good luck! I am don't agree with any of your arguments. I just hope your son doesn't come home one day and ask you why you would feed him something that made him infertile when you were aware it was completely banned on an entire continent and suspected (according to your argument) in the very least to be unsafe by millions upon millions of people and agencies, governments, scientists. What are you going to do then...give him that argument about how you were thinking of the world and how much of a better place it is thanks to GMO foods which are produced solely because they bring a higher margin to corporate food giants. They are not concerned about starving people, what a joke!

                                            1. re: Taterbugruns

                                              I hope you aren't serving your kids (particularly daughters) any beverages that were stored in plastic bottles ....

                                              Look, unless someone wants to be like the unabomber and live in a Montana shack, we can't avoid all potential pitfalls of modern times. Most of these things are overly hyped up, you can't live in fear.

                                              1. re: Taterbugruns

                                                How is his son going to know he's infertile, and that the cause was certain foods he ate at home? Who's going to tell him that?

                                                1. re: Taterbugruns

                                                  excuse me. i said that GMO foods need to be tested on a case by case basis, not that all of them should just be out there with no concern for consequence.

                                                  my point is that there may be harmful consequences or some, and benefit from others. thats the way of the world.

                                                  i have yet to see convincing scientific evidence that the very process of GMO absolutely causes harm. which is what you are claiming.

                                                  1. re: Taterbugruns

                                                    You know Taterbugruns, American's -as overweight, diabetic and sick as many are...epidemically- still line up for the McRib, still purchase cartloads of highly processed foods, Crisco still sells gallons. Meanwhile, our kids are acquiring allergies at epidemic proportions, attention deficit problems are increasing,etc.
                                                    But, for goodness sake....unless someone *proves* to me all this stuff is bad....let's not use any common sense. Some government "official" will need to ban it before they stop consuming it. It is a free country and a free choice (thank goodness). So, It is probably best to just inform and educate. Argument doesn't do anything.

                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                      yes I know, I didn't start out arguing, only responded to the arguments of others, where I live, I don't personally know anyone who buys crisco, or eats McRibs. We shop at farmers markets as much as possible and buy NON- GMO products or grow our own, give it another five years, GMO will be banned in the USA as well, I guarantee it. Things are changing fast!
                                                      If you feel good about eating GMO, for goodness sakes...go FOR IT!!! But I will NOT!!!

                                                      1. re: Taterbugruns

                                                        Oh, I know. These threads can quickly turn into weird little "quasi-scientific" debates by non scientists with bits and pieces of accurate information. Then they are locked!!! LOL
                                                        As far as GMO- I believe the risk is not worth any potential reward and we have such a strong history for screwing up our food chain. It seems like we never learn from our mistakes - and there are so many mistakes!
                                                        We all vote with our feet and our dollars matter.

                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                          "by non scientists"

                                                          Some people in this thread actually work in science labs, just sayin'

                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                            Yes, I used to as well. Now, my 20 year old daughter works in a lab too. She feeds mice drugs and records how stoned they get. Working in a lab isn't relative. She wouldn't have much to add to this conversation.
                                                            If there is a GMO researcher here- it would be great to hear from them on this topic. But Chowhound is a foodie site, not a scientific networking site. That was my point.

                                                          2. re: sedimental

                                                            I agree with your summary. re: sedimental

                                                        2. re: sedimental

                                                          I asked this question of Taterbugruns, but they did not reply. If you'er so up about this stuff, are you allowing your children to consume beverages that were packaged in plastic containers?

                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                            i thought that plastic bottle thing was an urban myth. or are you trying to make a point here? '-)

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              If there is a point- I would like to know what it is ;)

                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                It ain't a myth. Plastic and xenoestrogens are real, it caused problems with estrogen based breast cancer research not too many years ago - for instance, look at PMID 16882715. I know from first hand knowledge that they had to switch to using glass from plastic as the latter was throwing off results.

                                                                Now, what long term effects does this imply for humans? That's much more up in the air, just like all the other stuff that sedimental & crew are on about.

                                                                The reality is that if someone is afraid of something potentially having a negative effect on the human body, one can always find *something* to defend their cause (for instance, read up on the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide (http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html)

                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                  why are you changing the subject, we are talking about GMO's here?? Start a new thread on Plastics and NO we do not drink from plastic, we have 5 stage reverse osmosis water system. Now, get back to the subject at hand or start a new thread. I mean it really comes off like some of you just want to pointlessly argue?? Are you just bored or angry? I mean come on....

                                                                  1. re: Taterbugruns

                                                                    I made my point in my last paragraph. People who are whining about GMO being potentially unsafe despite no hard evidence to the contrary are no different than people whining about all sorts of other things being potentially unsafe.

                                                                    As I noted, people can find bits and pieces for just about anything being potentially unsafe. Until someone can show a *real* causal link for something, they're just being jackwagons.

                                                                  2. re: jgg13

                                                                    Good information jgg13.
                                                                    Even more reason to try to eat unaltered, whole foods and process them yourself as much as possible. I am sure there are many harmful things the general public will find out about next year, and the year after that, etc.

                                                                    The only hedge against this is try to be a food purist as much as possible and everything in moderation. If you do that, you won't be at the whim (or mercy) of corporations or governments telling you what they think you need to hear.

                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                      How do you protect yourself from the whim of what NGOs and activists of every strip think you need to hear? Just because a group (or web site) bills itself as a consumer protection group and has no corporate or government funding, does that mean that their claims about GMOs are correct?

                                                                      Pure motives don't always result in accurate results. It can be even worse if the group has hidden motives. The supposed link between vaccines and autism, pushed by some vocal non-government groups, was recently shown to be based on fraudulent research by a UK doctor in the pay of lawyers seeking sue pharmaceuticals.

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        You protect yourself by eating foods that are as unaltered as possible. You cook instead of eating at restaurants all the time. You shop smartly at places that honor labeling and support informed consumers. You eat things in moderation and pay closer attention to your daily foods than your occasional foods. Those would be the minimum things anyone could do.

                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                          The 'unaltered as possible' idea may be fine as general philosophy of life, but I don't it can be shown to give the longest life.

                                                                          Nixtamalization of corn is one form of processing that proved to be beneficial a century ago. How should governments (or health organizations) address localized iodine deficiencies without some sort of food alteration or addition?
                                                                          You, as a relatively wealthy American, probably can eat a diverse and nutritious diet with a minimum of 'altered' foods, but that isn't necessarily the case world wide.

                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                            You asked how you could protect yourself from incorrect claims. I answered with my opinion. Maybe we should stay on topic (GMO) before they just shut the thread down because people are arguing for nothing.

                                                                        2. re: paulj

                                                                          To take it a step further when questioning one's sources - that autism thing led to a *massive* war on wikipedia, where the vaccine-autism supporters kept screwing around with the system. It even led to massive IP block bans (in some cases whole ISPs were blocked for short periods of time). A coworker of mine was one of the vigilantes trying to defend wikipedia in their wake, it was truly fascinating.

                                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                                            fascinating i'm sure, but nothing to do with the topic, or the site (food).

                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                              It certainly *does* have something to do with the topic - as sedimental started posting dubious links to support their position. Paulj pointed out that one shouldn't always trust the motives of groups behind these random links to be pure & unbiased.

                                                                              Further, there's a strong analogy (IMO) between the anti-vaccine crowd and the anti-GMO crowd, and their tactics are similar. Showing how the former managed to hoodwinked otherwise reasonable people might help followers of the latter group to see the light.

                                                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                                                I posted one link and it is not "dubious" at all. It sites all kinds of research on this topic ( 41 notations) for anyone to go look up the articles, books, journal publications, etc from all over the world - for themselves. You are just being argumentative for no reason now.
                                                                                If you believe that one should not do any research for themselves and just eat whatever is in front of them..."let the chips fall where they may"...then fine. It is a valid stance. Some folks eat daily at McDonalds and validate that for themselves. Point taken.

                                                                                But, I don't understand why you are on this thread, posting things about research and health issues then. You sound like you don't care one way or the other - the chips will fall. Why do you care, that other people "really do care" more about this issue than you? Do you have anything of value to add to the discussion other than to tell them they shouldn't care and just let the chips fall?

                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                  I do care because people who go around spouting half cocked theories and potential mistruths can have a negative impact on the world around them that's far worse than whatever cause they're fighting against. I apologize for touching on the autism thing again - but consider the possible outcome where people cease vaccinating their children and imagine what that'd do to our society.

                                                                                  As I just said to soupkitten, I'm willing to have my mind changed. Point me to real journal articles that cite statistically sound causal (nor correlative) evidence of harm in humans, I'll pull the articles & read them. If all that can be provided are studies in mice or in vitro and correlative studies, well - that's no better than most of the other scare junk out there.

                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                    Well, half cocked theories, as always, are in the eye of the beholder. We have all believed "solid research" from respected sources- for years -that only turned out to be completely wrong! I mean *completely* wrong. Medical and food research is especially suspect and has an especially poor track record.

                                                                                    I don't believe *for a minute* that YOU (or anyone) somehow can corner the market on "truthful" research or can tell what is half cocked. If you can- you will be the first person in history that has been able to do that. But you are entitled to your opinion that it is half cocked. This is why "scientific proof" has nothing to do with the actual safety of things in medicine or food.

                                                                                    In my opinion, common sense, moderation, philosophy of purity of the food chain and supply is much more important.

                                                                                    It is not my intention in this thread to change anyones mind. I look to threads like these to inform me and inspire me....not to use it for quasi-scientific debate. I truly have no desire to change your mind about anything. I hope more people will post links or share information about GE and GMO issues here. We can all make up our own minds.

                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                      Like I said, feel free to post articles from actual, scientific, peer reviewed journals detailing causal links to deleterious effects for humans in a sound, statistical manner. Once again I make no claim that said articles do not exist, simply that I've yet to see one, particularly in this thread.

                                                                                      And yes, you're correct - the track record is poor. Perhaps it is observation bias on my part but in my experience the "oops! sorry guys, we were wrong!" as it applies to food & other things that we ingest mainly come from the sky is falling crowd who claim that XYZ is harmful and must be avoided (random and admittedly anecdotal example: saccharin)

                                                                                  2. re: sedimental

                                                                                    You cite to an article with a biased agenda, No more or less biased than those in favor of GMO's, perhaps, but still biased. The fact that it cites 41 sources is meaningless if they're not accurately reflected in the article. That's why "peer review" is important because you can't just pick and choose sources and draw conclusions. You need similarly-qualified experts to evaluate whether what you're saying is accurate.

                                                                                  3. re: jgg13

                                                                                    if you want people to "see the light," you may want to give actual evidence, rather than making vague statements and trying to change the subject at every opportunity. talking about some mommies who were misled about the possible causes of their own kids' condition/disabilities is not only a really cheap shot, it just confuses the current discussion. why not try to keep a level-headed conversation going, instead of going with this emotional hot button tactic of yours?

                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                      As I stated earlier in the thread, it's impossible to prove something to be 100% safe or any other absolute - one would have to control for every single possible input and particularly with a science as dirty as biology that's just not feasible for anyone.

                                                                                      The onus is on people who want to show something is unsafe. Show it, prove it, provide peer reviewed research with strong p-values that demonstrate a causal (not correlative) link between GMO food and harm to humans. If it exists, that's cool, I'm willing to have my mind changed.

                                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                                        I'll need to revist this on monday when i can access more journals, but I just did a quick scan on pubmed looking at GMO safety studies. The one that was both a) interesting and b) accessible to me at this point was:

                                                                                        The takeaway is that we don't really know. Monsanto showed no problems in their study, but Monsanto is also an evil company who would be willing to screw us - yet there's not really any independent voice showing problems either. I think that's a fair statement.

                                                                            2. re: sedimental

                                                                              Eating "unaltered, whole foods" doesn't even grant you a guaranteed bill of health. I agree with the "everything in moderation", but beyond that, I don't much agree. Everything causes cancer & body decay. The few moments I spent typing this message help push me towards cancer.

                                                                              For every "potentially harmful" vector one worries about, there are thousands of others - one of the reasons I brought up the plastic was to show that there are always going to be things one never realizes nor thinks about. Just live life and let the chips fall as they may.

                                                                        3. re: jgg13

                                                                          My children are grown now. I never bought them drinks in plastic when they were at home (1980's to 1990's), but that was for recycling reasons. I am not sure why you think I know something about plastic bottles, I really don't know much about that.

                                                                    2. re: thew

                                                                      " i also do not want children to starve in arid regions where my fear prevented development of a crop that could feed them."

                                                                      Thew, what;'s your evidence that Monsanto's GMO are actually alleviating world hunger?

                                                                      I know they are working on making seeds which are sterile, so farmers will not be able to save seed year to year, but instead will have to buy new seeds each year. This seems just the opposite of any kind of solution to the hunger crisis.

                                                                      For someone who is so skeptical, you seem remarkably credulous about Monsanto's claims about the benign effects of its products. What's your argument, analysis, proof, or even factual justification that the invention of GMOs feeds more people more nutritious food and/or decreases deaths from malnutrition/starvation?

                                                                      1. re: femmevox

                                                                        i've said before i'm not a big fan of monsanto. but monsanto is not the whole of GMO technology.

                                                                        when i was young i wanted people to do the right thing for the right reason. now i want them to do the right thing, and i care less about why. it will be the profit motive that makes companies go green, move to space, or feed the starving. i'm ok with that.

                                                                    3. re: Taterbugruns

                                                                      It's a hell of a lot easier to prove the negative claim than the positive - for the former you only need to find one chink in the armor, while for the latter you need to show for every single input, the system performs as expected. For something like "is GMO food safe", that's nigh on impossible and a stupid requirement.

                                                                  3. re: chefathome

                                                                    not only are they not linked - one of the greatest promises of GMO will be plants that need less pesticide to survive

                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                      "round up, tm," specifically, has been shown to double the incidence of cancer, not only in agricultural workers, but rural residents generally. so it's linked.

                                                                      gmos are commonly bred to produce their own toxic pesticides (BT), first of all. . . so just because in some cases there is less pesticide *applied* to a gmo crop does not mean that there is less pesticide involved with gmo farming. various unforseen consequences can emerge, for example colony collapse (honeybee decline).

                                                                      as to the "promise" of gmo crops, the only "promise" they've really come thru on is the promise to make their ceos and shareholders boatloads of money. gmo crops have a high rate of total failure, especially in changing climate conditions. there is a problem with advocating gmo crops in third world countries-- crop failure, small farmer debt, the fact that farmers do not own the crops they grow-- all of these have led to economic, environmental, and humanitarian catastrophes, such as the over 200,000 indian farmers who have committed suicide over debts from buying gmo seed, the required purchases of specialized pesticides and other ag inputs, and then the resulting gmo crop failures. the article that follows is quite long but you don't want to miss the charts and study analysis toward the end:


                                                                      sustainable agriculture has proven itself to be the best, most productive (not by just a little, by 80% better yields than conventional), most profitable for the average farmer, model for third world nations-- not giant corporate owned fields of gmos, united states style. sustainable methods also require less ag inputs and critically, less water, than gmo production. if you are concerned about feeding the world and protecting the environment, might want to look at the real global picture of gmos vs sustainable ag.


                                                                      in the meantime, gmo foods should be labeled in the marketplace. european consumers have voted with their wallets, and overwhelmingly against gmos. surveys have shown that american consumers (85%-95%) want labeling so that they can make their own choices on gmo consumption.

                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                        i agree with much of what you say. by all means label. but the fact that europeans, without any hard scientific proof chose something based on fear is not scientific evidence. it is marketing evidence.

                                                                        if a plant produces pesticides (as many do) then fewer harmful chemicals are washing into our water supply

                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                          "if a plant produces pesticides (as many do) then fewer harmful chemicals are washing into our water supply"

                                                                          unfortunately, that's not true at all. gmo crops *increase* pesticide use. roundup ready gmo crops have begat the famous roundup resistant "super weeds" and pesticide resistant insects which require progressively more and more pesticide and herbicide applications.


                                                                          again, if harmful toxins in the water supply is your concern, gmos are exacerbating the problem. organic and/or sustainable farming methods are better agricultural models for water stewardship.

                                                            2. Wait a minute.

                                                              You're supposed to stay away from GMO foods?

                                                              1. "what about GMO keeps you away?"

                                                                Keeping away from GMOs is getting more difficult. On the most basic level, what makes me suspect of GMOs is that I am, by nature, rather conservative in approach to new. I would rather wait forty years or more to see the long term effects of drugs, tech innovations, etc. Call me a luddite, that's fine. I'm not going to participate as much as I can, in some of the larger human experiments on the planet. I try to opt out if I have a choice. I recognize that I don't always have this choice, and sometimes, I am sure, unwittingly participate.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                                  Yes. I bet if labeled, people will opt out. But, if not, at least some of us will have a choice instead of being duped into buying food we normally would not buy.

                                                                  1. re: amyzan

                                                                    40 years ago with respect to tech innovations is a long time :) 40 years ago I was interacting with a computer via punch cards and continuous paper printouts. Seatbelts and smog controls were still novelties.

                                                                    I can't offhand think of food technologies that were considered novel or controversial in the 70s that are commonly accepted.

                                                                  2. Something that's sort of been glossed over in this discussion is that GMOs or GM Foods have greatly increased our global food supply.

                                                                    Whether you eat GMO or not, it is almost undeniable that without GMO the price of foods and the level of malnutrition in the world would be dramatically effected, for the worse.

                                                                    While many of those here who choose to eschew and bash GMOs for all of their supposed evils, there are many parts of the world that have benefited from the increased production and use of GMO in the food supply.

                                                                    Maybe down the road some 50 or 60 years later, we will learn conclusively that GMOs are as toxic as DDT, but for those in the world today that are struggling to either (1) find enough food to meet minimum daily caloric requirements and/or (2) find enough money to pay for enough food to meet minimum daily caloric requirements, GMOs are definitely a boon.

                                                                    Before you slam someone for choosing GMOs for GM foods, try and appreciate the Hobson choice of (1) malnutrition or starvation versus (2) eating

                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      okay. . .gmos have not increased the global food supply. gmos do not live up to the "promise" of increased yields. even the usda says that gmo crops do not increase potential yields and may even decrease yields. the increased food supply globally has been largely through conventional non gmo selective breeding.

                                                                      gmos *have* led to environmental problems, decreased crop yields, there were those 37 dead and 5000 sick people (human beings) in the us. . . and gmo crops failed spectacularly in the third world, leading to increased starvation, poverty, and economic and food insecurity. south africa, argentina, india, kenya, for some examples. . . without gmos many poor and hungry people would be able to eat in these countries, many farmers would be able to achieve economic independence, many third world countries would not be dependent on foreign aid to feed their populations, and hundreds of thousands of people wouldn't have died. btw in third world countries, organic agricultural methods can double and even triple the crop yields of conventional ag. 300% crop yield would seem to be a better bet than 100% crop yield with a high chance for total crop failure, expensive inputs, no? when we're trying to feed people?

                                                                      i don't know where you are pulling the ideas you're putting forth in your post from, but i don't think they are real facts. "GMOs are definitely a boon" is certainly debatable, when other production methods can *actually* increase food production in impoverished nations, rather than what we've seen happen with gmo crops.

                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                        Here's a pretty balanced look at GMO and GM Foods. That's the ass where I'm "pulling the ideas" from.


                                                                        And you say,

                                                                        "when other production methods can *actually* increase food production in impoverished nations, rather than what we've seen happen with gmo crops."

                                                                        ... and those "other production methods" are what, exactly?

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          thanks for the link. can i point out a few things? the author is a biotechnologist. it isn't balanced, it's more than 10 years old, it isn't peer reviewed, and her "conclusion" has more to do with the "promise" of biotech, and not the reality of what has actually transpired. looks like a piece that was written to obtain funding. for biotech projects. (imo)

                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                            I'm not sure why Ipse ain't allowed to pull a link out of their butt considering the other links that have flown around this thread. I didn't see you tooling on sedimental's links for not being peer reviewed.

                                                                            1. re: soupkitten


                                                                              You still haven't answered my question ... what are the other production methods that can increase food production in impoverished nations that you speak of?

                                                                              Of course, the article I linked to isn't foolproof, but neither are any of your sources. Can we just lay down our swords and admit that there is absolutely no definitive proof or evidence on either side of this debate?

                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                there is no definitive proof that gmos are safe, or that they increase crop yields.

                                                                                there *is* ample proof that gmos do not increase crop yields, yet they require more chemical inputs, water, etc. resources that increasingly, small farmers and the planet cannot support. meanwhile the risks of gmos are very daunting. i will list a few: increased pesticide use, water shortages, superweeds, pesticide resistant insects, monocropping/loss of genetic diversity, colony collapse, contaminated foodstuff, crop failures in the poorest parts of the world triggering starvation and instability which in turn requires international food, humanitarian, and military aid. . . how about the studies linking gmos to organ failure in lab mammals, or the horizontal gene transfer from gmos to the gut bacteria in humans and livestock animals, resulting in antibiotic resistant bacterial strains in animals and humans? needless to say this is very concerning to medical scientists trying to head off antibiotic resistant ecoli, mrsa, and other antibiotic resistant illnesses. i just don't think any of these problems are small potatoes, or that the scientists, agronomists, medical professionals or the general public who are concerned about any of these issues are idiots for not "jumping on the bandwagon" of biotech, when the gmos have *failed to produce,* despite receiving enormous funding and other resources. . . that's all.

                                                                                meanwhile conventional breeding has done the lion's share of *actual* crop yield increases. compare the success of uganda's sweet potato program (conventional ag scientists), developing disease resistant, environmentally viable new varieties-- to the gmo sweet potato in kenya, another complete failure. despite the kenyan gmo project getting much better monsanto-backed funding, the conventional ag scientists in uganda have produced the superior varieties that are actually producing crops and feeding people in the region. another important difference with the ugandan sweet potatoes: the farmers who produce the crops actually own them, and they can freely engage in trade to feed their neighbors and help their region and their country economically. they can save tubers to begin next year's crop and over time, enable their farms to become economically stable and profitable. with the gmo crop, the crop is technically owned by monsanto, and the company can control where, if and how the crop is traded-- and an important patent protection of gmos, commonly called the "terminator gene" makes the tubers or seeds infertile, so the farmer is bound to purchase the expensive seed and inputs from monsanto anew each year, keeping the farmer indebted and insecure, and money flowing to monsanto and out of the impoverished third world. for me, this type of exploitation is not acceptable, and we can see the devastating results in the farmer suicides in india. the loss of 1/3 the rural population, the resulting poverty, displacement, etc. will be felt for generations. for me, it just isn't an academic debate when hundreds of thousands of people are dying. that's my response to the op: "what about GMO keeps you away?"

                                                                                i feel like this is one of those "echo chamber" threads where if anyone doesn't agree w the op they are personally attacked. i didn't want to get into a google battle with dueling links, just to state my own position. since you've asked, however, i will assume your interest is genuine, or at least there may be someone else reading who might be interested. so here are a couple of articles on the (surprising, to some) agricultural success that can be achieved using low-input sustainable and organic farming methods. the benefits include much higher crop yields, higher income for the farmer, low carbon footprint and other environmental benefits, water conservation, and others. u.n. study and from a major u.s. agricultural university, so obviously a bunch of delusional luddite wingnuts. ha ha, joke ;-P have a nice night Ipse.



                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                  My understanding is that the food crisis is not a crisis of production, but of distribution, and of focusing on cash crops for export rather than on food crops for local use.

                                                                                  There is already enough food produced to feed the planet. It's that people don't have money to buy it,. There's a weird disconnect where countries where people are starving amy still be exporting agricultural products.

                                                                                  The real challenge if we're serious about ending world hunger is examining (and, if necessary, altering) distribution systems. But that's subtle, complex, difficult, and political.

                                                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                                                              Is I-SIS your main source of information?

                                                                              Earlier this evening I posted a link that questioned whether those '37 dead' were actually the result of a GMO.

                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                how many people died in the 1st decade of the internal combustion engine? in the 1st century of the internal combustion engine?

                                                                                more than 37. more than 5000 have health problems related to the internal combustion engine.

                                                                                but cars and planes have still made the world a better place.

                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                  Here's the problem with saying 37 people died (and others sickened) from GMOs. That staistic was pulled from a 1989 incident related to possible contamination in a tryptophan supplement from a "helath food" store.

                                                                                  Here's an article with a little bit of spin but it still fairly states "WE WILL PROBABLY never know if genetic engineering was to blame for EMS".


                                                                                  So relying on an incident from 20 years ago with a tenuous (at best) link to possible GMO problems is a little disingenuous.

                                                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                                                    and even if a GM food did cause the deaths , that does not delegitimate all GMO, just that one. I'm waiting for an answer as to why GMO as a concept is wrong, not this or that organism

                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                      One argument against GMOs that is pretty compelling, although not always accurate in my opinion, is the threat that it would accidentally lead to an outbreak of an uncontrollable species of plant, animal, bacteria, etc. that would forever endanger our food and crop supply.

                                                                                      You just never know what kind of Genie you'll get when you pop open the bottle ...

                                                                                      Humans may be smart enough to alter genes, but not necessarily to control them.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                        i agree that's a danger. and i do not pretend to ignore the danger. but i refuse to not progress just because there is risk. there is also reward.

                                                                                        1. re: thew


                                                                                          But that danger -- letting the "genie out of the bottle" risk as I like to call it -- is the only one that has any resonance with me vis-a-vis GMOs, or any type genetic engineering.

                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                            i get it. which is why research is needed. not abandonment of the technology

                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                              But some would argue that's impossible.

                                                                                              In other words, by simply researching it you are in essence unleashing a technology to which no one can be confident that they can control.

                                                                                              The risks far outweigh any possible benefits.

                                                                                              Who knows, maybe someday those naysayers will be proven right. Who knows.

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                going back to my analogy with the internal combustion engine. it has had a huge effect on the world, positive and negative. most unforeseen on both sides.
                                                                                                countless deaths. pollution. the political power of oil producing nations. the tax revenue from roads. the elimination of slavery as a need for agriculture. the invention of suburbs. ambulances. international vacations. warplanes. an outlet for loners to earn a living hauling stuff.


                                                                                                if all we focused on was that there would be this awful pollution, and loads of traffic deaths, we might still be living in the 19th century

                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                  streets full of horses and horse drawn vehicles had their own awful pollution, and not a few deaths caused by falls and run away horses.

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    non GMO crops get blight and molds that kill populations

                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                            Not every innovation constitutes progress, however. Take thalidomide...

                                                                                            As a citizen, it's your right and your power to consider and decide which products/innovations coming out of R and D are genuine progress, and which are a wrong turning, and to lobby and behave accordingly.

                                                                                            1. re: femmevox

                                                                                              i agree. but i have not seen anything to convince me GMO tech as a whole is not worth exploring.

                                                                                              1. re: femmevox

                                                                                                i agree. but thalidomide would be analogous to one bad GMO crop. No modern medicine would be the analogy to no GMO tech at all.

                                                                                  2. This Colorado State site about Transgenic Crops is less agenda driven than some of the links that have posted in this thread. Unfortunately it isn't complete, and hasn't been updated since 2004.


                                                                                    1. Is it... Is it over yet? Fact is, we don't know (either way) and it'll probably be decades before we have a really good idea. I think a lot of the frustration comes from those that claim that they know for certain, when they can't. It's fine to follow what you believe, but spreading incorrect information is dangerous.

                                                                                      A negative I do have on modified crops, and I think most would agree, is that they have diluted flavor. Most of the focus on creating larger, visually appealing, nutritional and resilient crops. That's good and all, and really the way that they've been traditionally bred, but larger means more water without keeping the same ratio of flavor.

                                                                                      1. There is an enormous amount of misinformation going around in this thread, and I see this a lot on this site and others like it. Rather than reply to individual posts, here are some general things that it gets really frustrating to hear repeated over and over.

                                                                                        First off, there is simply no valid empirical evidence against GMO foods as a whole. None. Zero. There has never been a single study done that showed any danger in any way from the genetic modification of food crops. No one has ever gotten ill or died in the United States with any GMO foods linked as the source of the problem.

                                                                                        Beyond the complete lack of evidence, there is no scientifically rational reason to believe any of these things people are afraid of could happen. This fearmongering is the stuff of science fiction. How is modifying one protein in an organism, or moving one protein from an organism into another organism, going to cause cancer in a human being? That's not how cancer works. It's really frustratingly ridiculous to hear people make this claim. The fact that anyone who has graduated high school has such a poor grasp of the way biology functions is flat out upsetting.

                                                                                        The only way a GMO food could be directly harmful to the consumer is if the GMO organism was intentionally made to produce toxic or carcinogenic substances. Theoretically, we could make broccoli carcinogenic by inserting some tobacco proteins into its gene sequence. Luckily, we don't live in a James Bond movie. There is no SPECTRE organization with its Dr. Julius No concocting ridiculous plots against humanity.

                                                                                        One might then ask, well, couldn't genetically modifying soy accidentally force it to produce arsenic? The short answer is no, again, that's just not how biology works. At its core, just like physics and all the other sciences, biology is math. Occasionally the numbers do strange things, but they're still predictably strange. It would be very difficult to get soy to be harmful to humans even if that was your intent. It's very, very unlikely to happen by accident.

                                                                                        Well what if it does happen by accident, one might ask? It will get caught in testing. The testing requirements for GMO food are exponentially more severe than for any other food in the United States. Generally, the company producing the food product does five separate series of tests, each to determine separate outcomes. These are followed up with government testing. A third party, usually a major university laboratory, is then usually brought on as an outside consultant.

                                                                                        But what about long term effects, one might ask. How can they predict those? Because we do a full analysis of every single chemical contained in the food. If there are any chemicals that we do not understand the long term effects of on the human body already, we call for further testing. Of course, since the raw materials are all things we understand to begin with, and unexpected results are an extreme rarity, this has absolutely never happened. Every single GMO crop that has gotten past its own company's testing in the United States has behaved exactly as predicted.

                                                                                        So then why has Europe banned them, you ask? First off, Europe hasn't. Europe is a landmass, a subcontinent, and these tend not to have wills or issue edicts. There are bans in place by the EU and several individual Western European nations. The reason for this is simply that the EU and its constituent nations do not have food regulation agencies whose mission statement charges them with consumer safety as a primary concern. Their primary concern is the protection of the European agricultural industry, which they typically interpret to mean the protection of European culinary and agricultural heritage. They ban just about anything new. However, all of those countries, and the EU itself, still put large amounts of money into research and development of new GMO crops intended for use in the Third World, the purity of whose food customs they could not care any less about.

                                                                                        So then if the Europeans are worried about the purity of their food systems, then this whole worry about GMOs as an invasive species must be valid, right? No, not even a little bit. To start with, think about the US agricultural system for a moment. The whole system is predicted upon taking land that isn't particularly good for much else, and irrigating and fertilizing the hell out of it until high yield edibles will grow in it. Where are these GMO crops going to invade? And why exactly would GMO soy be more invasive than regular old soy? It's the same species, if our concern is for the environment, one variety will not be more pernicious than another.

                                                                                        If cross pollination to non-gmo crops is the concern, then rest assured, it's not a terribly valid one. There are very few big farms out there that produce their own seed. They buy seed from farms specifically producing seed. Monsanto isn't putting any of its seed fields anywhere near anyone else's seed fields. Doing so would not only mar the purity of their GMO seeds, it would effectively give the other seed farm more expensive seeds without paying the licensing fee. They know how to protect their product, and are doing so in a remarkably efficient manner. There is, as yet, no evidence of any extensive cross pollination with GMO crops, and there is no valid reason to suspect this will become a concern.

                                                                                        As to the debate over whether this is just as natural as older methods of breeding, or grafting, it's a whole separate issue, however, it is still perfectly natural. There are millions of organisms in nature that modify, very intentionally, their own genetic sequences, or those of other animals. There is a school of thought that says this is how the process of evolution began, that this was the precursor to sexual reproduction. Regardless, it is very definitely how viruses function. Just like anything else, humans aren't doing something that is new to nature. Nothing is new to nature.

                                                                                        Also, GMO doesn't imply that the modified sequence came from another organism. More often than not, it implies that certain genes are directly modified, which is usually put into laymen's terms as "switched on" or "switched off." In some cases, it also implies that a new gene sequence was entirely fabricated. Designer genes are a fairly recent development in the biology, but they're definitely the future of GMOs.

                                                                                        I'm sure there are other points I missed, but, in general, don't look to science to justify your fear of GMOs. If you don't want to eat them, don't, but you don't need to justify that decision. I don't eat them, but there is no scientific reason for this. I just don't like Big Ag, and refuse to support it. But 99% of the crap that people pretend is science when it comes to food just makes actual biologists slap their heads and say, "No, that's just not how biology works at all."

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: gadfly

                                                                                          Thank you gadfly.

                                                                                          That was not only helpful, but very instructive.

                                                                                          Thanks again.

                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                              We should have a UFC style pit match between gadfly and soupkitten. I'll take gadfly ...

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                at least i know the difference between "predicted" and "predicated."

                                                                                                perhaps some posters here don't know that the european bans on gmos (germany etc) have nothing to do with the real or hypothetical effects of gmos on human health? gmos are banned in these nations because of their environmental havoc. the poster above argues long and hard based on a completely incorrect, fabricated conclusion about science-based governmental regulation of gmos. "they ban just about anything new" ? really? what a nuanced analysis. can we expand on that notion with real examples?

                                                                                                gotta hand it to this poster for refuting pressing concerns about gmos i didn't realize i had. the fantasy james bond villain is an especially nice touch. i for one was sure it was either dr. no, or goldfinger, releasing arsenic tainted gmo wheat to all the baguette bakeries in paris. . . now millions of people can rest peacefully, knowing that double-oh-seven got their back, and forget all about the *actual* issues with gmos. next, please ;-P

                                                                                          1. I think where this thread goes wrong are from the folks who are trying to put so much stalk in scientific research that they lose the forest through the trees. This is too new to have any conclusive research about long term effects, unintended consequences or dangerousness to health. Like many other food/health research, you can't look at the minutia and be accurate. It is a whole system issue. That is why so much of our research comes to faulty conclusions in this area.
                                                                                            Google wars are silly. This is about chowhounds opinions on eating GE foods and why. No one should be repeatedly attacked for sharing their opinion about them on this thread. Some of the earlier posts just got silly.

                                                                                            31 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                              GMOs are not new. I worked on them shortly after finishing my thesis work four decades ago. They have been widely used in worldwide food supply for more than a decade and a half. Additionally, there is little indication that long term observational data is any more useful than initial predictive data. And the idea that you can't look at the fine details in research and draw accurate conclusions is entirely counter to every principle of modern science. If you don't trust science, that's fine, just don't try to pretend it can be used to support your arguments.

                                                                                              1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                Sorry, selectively used in a limited way for a little over ten years is *new*. Brand spanking new in the greater scheme of things! There is certainly not enough information to consider them perfectly safe and a wise move. You absolutely cannot draw conclusions that make sense from the fine details of research. If that were the case, we would still be thinking that trans fats were perfectly safe, eggs will give us heart attacks, coffee and wine should be avoided for good health, low fat margarine is healthier than butter, etc. Now with the pregnant and eating tuna issue...would you trust the "research" that says you can eat up to 12 oz of tuna per week and your baby "shouldn't" have brain damage??? Really?

                                                                                                There are THOUSANDS of examples where research science on food/health issues are wrong, wrong, wrong. Time and time again. There are many reasons why it is so incredibly unreliable in this area (but that is another thread) and some of the *larger* scale research would be utterly laughable- if it didn't harm people. Look at how we studied heart disease and made diet recommendations based on those studies. Geez... too bad we only studied men and forgot to study WOMEN. Oooops..sorry ladies.

                                                                                                I am not against research, I have done my fair share in grad school, but food/health research is not to be trusted on that level or that quickly. The jury is out once again on the cholesterol in food vs blood cholesterol level -as well as the development of serious food allergies. We think we have figured these things out a "decade" ago....then...nope, we didn't. People are getting sick of the "it's now bad/good for you this year" approach to food that they are starting to just use their own common sense first. We need to read and listen to science- but for goodness sake, we can't give it utter control.

                                                                                                We can't risk being so wrong on this level IMO.

                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                  Okay, how about 20 years? GMO tobacco and tomatoes were being grown 20 years ago (and the falsely-referenced "GMO kills 37 people" incident happened in 1989). In another 20 years people will still be saying it's "too new" because you can never "prove" it's safe. Just like with microwave technology and Teflon there will be people spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about "unproven" technology.

                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                      the wheel isn't proven to be safe in all situations either.

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        And stainless steel, cast iron, plastics, glazed earthenware, unglazed earthenware...

                                                                                                      2. re: ferret

                                                                                                        No way. Not the same at all. You have a choice to either use a microwave or Teflon!

                                                                                                        This is about permanently altering our food supply. This is about ignoring multiple studies that are showing problems with GMO's -but the mighty dollar is trying to collect- and tell us not to be concerned about feeding our children genetically altered foods. Although, they freely admit- there are NO long term studies and the studies that have been done are completely biased, superficial, and have various conclusions and there have been no human clinical trials of GMO foods. Period. Mice studies are not looking positive and certainly not harmless what-so-ever. Who is going to sign up their kid to participate in that study? Not me.

                                                                                                        Our children have record numbers of a food allergies right now. Some are life threatening allergies, this is a new thing, it is becoming epidemic....schools and day care centers are at their wits end. There has been a radical change in this generation. So, no, 20 years is not enough to experiment on the next generation.

                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                          If your issue is choice, then why isn't labeling and regulation a workable solution, in your view?

                                                                                                          And the food allergy increase scare, and the idea it creates that there is some radical change in this generation, come from a totally myopic examination of the issue. It's akin to becoming alarmed that no one ever dies of "natural causes" anymore.

                                                                                                          1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                            Well, that is not what the allergists are saying. So, we will have to disagree.

                                                                                                            If I were more comfortable with the safety and wisdom of it (cost/benefit analysis) then labeling would be fine. I am not sold on it at all, therefore labeling is akin to putting a bandage on a broken arm. It is not enough.

                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                              Please point me to these allergists who are saying otherwise. I know quite a number who would be very interested to hear this new information that has managed not to make it to any major health journal.

                                                                                                              Please elaborate on that last simile, and exactly what cost/benefit analysis you are talking about. What is unsafe or unwise about labeling, and how is it worse than the choice to use or not use teflon, which is not labeled.

                                                                                                        2. re: ferret

                                                                                                          That's funny, because the other day I opened up the mail and there's a pamphlet in there, from Pueblo, Colorado.

                                                                                                          And it's addressed to deet13 Jr. And it's entitled, "Do you know what the
                                                                                                          GMO's are doing to our soil?"

                                                                                                        3. re: sedimental

                                                                                                          The examples you cite do not help your point. The data on trans fats has always indicated a danger. Modern science has always understood both that mercury and other heavy metals are poisonous, and that tuna and other fish contain these. Coffee and wine weren't ever denounced by the scientific community, which has long recognized the value of antioxidants. These were all established fact very shortly after the application of modern scientific analysis to nutrition began in earnest, well before I even started my undergraduate work in the late 1950's.

                                                                                                          The problem your examples point out is the way that the media and nutritionists have misused the otherwise valuable data our research has provided. Nutrition alarmists may have swung back and forth over the issue of eggs, but the scientific community has not. The numbers haven't changed, and the jury has never been out on cholesterol absorption. The only jury that's out is which spin the media will choose to put on it this year. Your average large egg contains 6+ grams of protein, and 180+ grams of cholesterol. The average human needs about 50 grams of protein a day, and should aim lower than 300 grams of cholesterol. Nothing about these facts has changed even slightly in the 5+ decades I've studied biology. But you can distort the numbers to say what you want, and that pendulum has swung back and forth quite a few times in that same period. The failure of the public to utilize the data presented does not indicate a flaw in the scientific analysis. More than anything else, it indicates a flaw in wholesale alarmism, such as that displayed by the wholesale rejection of genetic modification.

                                                                                                          While the dangerous component of tuna has always been obvious, there is no data to support the idea that all GMOs implicitly contain a dangerous element. If I take rice and modify it to produce higher levels of beta carotene, and then I analyze that in a lab and find that the only substantive difference between this rice and normal rice is a higher level of beta carotene, why is it dangerous? These are the projects that the anti-GMO crowd is destroying. This is why the anti-GMO viewpoint inspires such an adverse reaction among so many in the scientific community. It's not easy to work on nutrition issues in the Third World, watching people of all ages die, not of starvation, but of diseases caused by insufficient access to vital nutrients, come up with a workable first step on the path to a solution, and then have a bunch of privileged first world alarmists get your work scrapped because they're afraid of some intangible danger this rice might cause.

                                                                                                          There is no long history of our research proving wrong over the long term, and I'll never understand where the public at large gains this perception. The US regulatory agencies have a fantastic record in protecting the public. The same cannot be said for the European regulatory agencies which people are, for some reason, placing their trust in for the GMO issue. They have failed time and time again to protect the public, and have shown a steadfast refusal to follow the guidance of their scientific communities. The GMO issue is no exception to this. Most of the best research work in GMO crops is still being done in the EU and Switzerland, because the scientific community there understand the amazing promise of these foods. The opportunity for abuse is very real, but throwing out the baby with the bathwater has never been the rational approach to life.

                                                                                                          1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                            I believe you are completely wrong so we will just have to disagree.

                                                                                                            Research in food and health connections are funded with an agenda much of the time in this country. If you don't believe that, and think that it's just about nutritionists and media getting it wrong "all by their lonesome", then I am not sure what else I can say about it.

                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                              And there's another view that just doesn't have any support in the facts. Yes, sham studies are done by interest groups all the time (just like the ones decrying GMOs, coincidentally), but these are no ever accepted by the scientific community. They do not appear in any of the dozens of well respected journals that have examined all of these issues for over four decades. And they account for a nearly infinitesimally small proportion of the available studies. I don't know where people come up with this myth. No one who conducts or examines research for a living believes this to be true, because there isn't any evidence to support this claim.

                                                                                                              And you can certainly disagree, and continue to assert that something like rice with an elevated level of beta carotene is more dangerous than regular rice simply because it was genetically modified to be more nutritious, but this is going to put you in a category of people who think the moon landing was faked, global warming is a sham, and the Earth is only 5000 years old.

                                                                                                              1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                                Well, I am sorry to hear that anyone not sharing your views about food, health and science is considered a conspiracy theorist weirdo. That is just too narrow minded for me.

                                                                                                                This subject is akin to serious issues like nuclear weapons or capitol punishment- in that unintended consequences are heavy, individual scientific research is only a small portion of the issue when evaluating it, cost/benefit analysis will be weighed differently by different people and not everyone's values are the same. There may not even be absolutes that make sense to everyone. This does not mean that people on the other side of the fence from you are idiots, Luddites, uneducated, paranoid, uninformed, or conspiracy theorists. That is a shame if that is where you go when others disagree with you.

                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                  When you drop "nuclear weapons or capital punishment" into your argument you don't make a case for "fair & balanced." Suggesting it's life threatening is fearmongering at its worst.

                                                                                                                  The problem on "your side" of the argument is that you're convinced it's bad but we just haven't found a way to prove it or test for it. I have a family member who self-diagnoses herself and has been at various times gluten-intolerant, lactose intolerant, has had lupus, chronic fatigue, etc. When the doctors tell her that she's fine she's just convinced that their test are flawed.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                    Sorry about your relative.

                                                                                                                    I am not actually "arguing anything". I have been stating why I hold the position I do. I am not trying to convince anyone. I disagree that my opinions are wrong. I have already said that upthread.

                                                                                                                    I was using those two very serious issues as a reference as to how there are always two sides to a coin and the more serious the issue- the more a "bigger picture" comes into play. If we were talking about a hair product that might cause split ends...well...go for it... try it anyway!

                                                                                                                    In my value system, food supply issues are as important as *anything*. Maybe not to you. That is okay, but my values are not wrong, they are mine.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                      When you try to buttress opinion with authority it's argument - maybe not in the classic raising-your-voice sense but in the discourse sense.

                                                                                                                      So "GMO is not for me, I choose not to try things I don't understand" is opinion.

                                                                                                                      "GMO is potentially harmful and here's why:" is argument.

                                                                                                                      You are seeking a standard of proof that doesn't exist. It may well be that people develop prostate cancer (as a random example) from protracted exposure to organic tomatoes. Really. It's possible. It can't be tested but you can't disprove it either. It makes just as much sense as anything else and if you post it on the Internet and get other people to buy into it then it becomes the new mantra.

                                                                                                                      It's of no concern or consequence to me what anyone else chooses to eat or avoid. I truly am a "live and let live" person. It just sets me off when people then rely on random scribblings of irresponsible 3rd parties to buttress their beliefs.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                        This sums up my argument in this thread pretty exactly.

                                                                                                                  2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                    that is not what gadfly said.

                                                                                                                    no one has said it is impossible for there to be hrmful outcomes from some GMOs. almost everyone on this side of the discussion has called for more research and testing on the case by case level.

                                                                                                                    your side of the discussion however is not claiming that GMorganism a is bad or GMorganism B is dangerous, but that the entire concept of the GMO technology is dangerous. ANd that just is not the case. If you re claiming that it is impossible to make a safe GMO i have seen nothing to suggest such a widesweeping conclusion

                                                                                                                    I'm with you - test to the point of redundancy. label for utmost transparency. Err on the side of caution. But not with Wipe out a promising science because of fear.

                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                      Thanks, that is what I was trying to say, phrased much better than I am capable of phrasing it.

                                                                                                                    2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                      I apologize if I'm coming off as calling you a conspiracy theorist weirdo, luddite, or any of these things. I do not believe this to be the case, and I applaud the fact that you care so much about food issues. Food safety and nutrition have been my life's work, or at least the last half century of it, and it is always nice to see people take these issues so seriously. What I'm saying is that I find one facet of one of your viewpoints to be as critically flawed as thinking the Earth is flat.

                                                                                                                      To say that GMOs are categorically dangerous is to say that it is not possible to create safe, healthy GMO crops (and, implicitly, medications, livestock, etc.). This is categorically false. There are probably dozens out there that I could argue as being safe, but one in particular is irrefutably so. The various versions of the genetically modified strain of rice patented as Golden Rice have been subjected to countless tests in the last decade, all of which has proven irrefutably the safety of the crop. Its detractors have come up with ludicrous argument after ludicrous argument to stop its implementation, and its creators at the non-profit Swiss Institute of Plant Sciences, men who have dedicated their lives to humanitarian work, and stand to gain absolutely nothing from the widespread planting of their creation (they should win a Nobel Prize, but never will) have painstakingly answered every objection, even those with no rational validity.

                                                                                                                      The earliest version of this rice differs chemically from normal rice in exactly one substantial way: it contains more beta-carotene. Later versions are more substantially altered, containing improved quantities of other nutrients, but, again, no deleterious elements not present in every non-GMO variety of rice. The potential for harm from this crop does not exist. The potential for good is enormous, though even its creators will admit that it is only a first step.

                                                                                                                      There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who are malnourished, not through a lack of calories, but through a lack of key dietary nutrients. Are there other ways to solve this problem? Sure. As others have pointed out, small scale sustainable agriculture can adequately feed the world. Unfortunately, this is not a politically tenable solution. Even if it was, and we launched such an effort today, creating the necessary infrastructure would take years, and probably decades, and the cost would be astronomically high. By the time any such project was completed, hundreds of millions more human beings will die of easily preventable malnourishment. The funding for Golden Rice is in place, and has been for nearly a decade. It's ready for implementation, and could be on plates throughout the Third World by the end of the year.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                                        Well, again, we see the Golden Rice issue differently.

                                                                                                                        Even the World Health Organization does not support Golden Rice. Maybe they are a bunch of "flat -earthers" too? Certainly, they are not turning a blind eye to starvation - but this is not the right path, IMO.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                          Can you point me to an article about the World Health Organization opposing Golden Rice? TIA.

                                                                                                                          1. re: reatard

                                                                                                                            I really don't want to get into "google wars". I read about it somewhere before, but I just googled and got this: "Tough Lessons From Golden Rice" by
                                                                                                                            Martin Enserink. It is a "pro-Golden Rice" article. I am sure that is not where I initially read it though. Use google if you cant find it, it should pop up.

                                                                                                                            It said this:

                                                                                                                            Those results didn't convince the skeptics. Real-world studies are still lacking, says WHO malnutrition expert Francesco Branca, noting that it's unclear how many people will plant, buy, and eat golden rice. He says giving out supplements, fortifying existing foods with vitamin A, and teaching people to grow carrots or certain leafy vegetables are, for now, more promising ways to fight the problem.

                                                                                                                            I am not "arguing"by using that quote, just pointing out that you don't have to be considered a "nut ball" to not accept GE at this point in time. That was my point.

                                                                                                                            I am not convinced this discussion is "riveting" anymore. I shall sign off and leave it to others to give their views as I think it is getting circular and stale now. The mods will certainly shut it down soon for this very reason- and I think this kind of discussion has value. Maybe someone else has a new perspective?

                                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                              I did search for your claim the WHO is anti golden rice and found nothing so I was hoping you could cite a source.

                                                                                                                              I don't have a dog in this fight so I was hoping for more sources of information.

                                                                                                                              1. re: reatard

                                                                                                                                Well, I hope I steered you in the right direction. My memory is not always the best for where I read what!

                                                                                                                              2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                but that quote does not say it is harmful - he says that people will not use it, thus it won't have the desired effect.

                                                                                                                            2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                              Again, it's not an issue of starvation, it's an issue of malnutrition, neither of which is primarily the purview of the World Health Organization. While it would not surprise me for the WHO to take a stance against any GMO, as it is primarily a political organization, subject to the whims of the controlling member states, not a scientific body, I don't believe this to be accurate. Can you provide some evidence towards this claim?

                                                                                                                              The way I remember it, 11 years ago when the groundwork on the initial phase of Golden Rice was completed, Dr. Jorgen Schlunt, then a high ranking official in the WHO's food safety division, made a comment that he'd like to see extensive testing done before it was implemented. Five years later, 6 years ago, testing concluded, with no potential risk factors identified. The WHO then helped to broker agreements between the patent holders and a number of Third World Nations to give these nations free access to Golden Rice. I doubt they would have participated in brokering this deal if they objected to the product. Beyond that the research for the Golden Rice project was funded almost entirely by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller foundation is also one of the four or five major funding sources for the WHO.

                                                                                                                              How do you see the Golden Rice issue?

                                                                                                                              1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                                                See above post. That opinion might be a few years old- but not 11 years old- I wouldn't think?

                                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                  No, that quote is only a few years old, but it's also not saying that Golden Rice poses any danger. He's simply saying that, until we see Golden Rice produce real world results, which it clearly can't do until it's planted in the real world, fresh vegetables are the more proven solution. This isn't the place to argue why the second part of his statement is not only terribly unrealistic, but not scientifically viable. It's very clear, however, that he isn't expressing even remote concerns about the safety of this particular GMO.

                                                                                                            2. Summary of a study on Bt cotton in India

                                                                                                              New Findings in India's Bt Cotton Controversy: Good for the Field, Bad for the Farm?

                                                                                                              "It has also brought a quickening of technological change and undecipherability, which is the real underlying problem."

                                                                                                              Or in my words, Bt cotton has improved yields for farmers who can adapt quickly to changing technology. But makes farm management more difficult for others. GMOs are not unique in this regard.

                                                                                                              1. I didn't have time to read all the posts, but nothing about GMO keeps me away. People have been breeding plants and animals to select for desirable genetics for millenia.

                                                                                                                GMO has nothing to do with unhealthy food additives (not that all FAs are unhealthy), or carcinogenic pesticides, unsustainable farming, raw food movements, or anything like that. Somehow, probably through scientific illiteracy, it has all been grouped together.

                                                                                                                1. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.