HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods

Doctormhl1 Feb 25, 2014 05:26 AM

What is your attitude toward genetically modified foods?
Are you confident ithey are safe?
Is it accepable to alter "Mother Nature"?
Do you even care?
Do you trust the science or do you worry there may there be long term "frankenstein" consequences?

  1. h
    Harters Feb 25, 2014 06:15 AM

    Where I am in the world, they are not permitted in parts of the country. I hope that continues and extends, although my government is under pressure from the mainly American-owned agri-chem business to alter the law. I hope the government tells the likes of Monsanto to just fuck off. But I suspect they won't.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters
      Tripeler Feb 25, 2014 06:30 AM

      In Japan, where I live, quite a number of food processors proudly state "non-GMO" on ingredient lists, and overall most Japanese consumers are very wary of GMO foodstuffs.

      1. re: Tripeler
        ferret Feb 25, 2014 08:44 AM

        They "proudly state" it because they believe consumers will respond to it, not because there are known dangers that they're avoiding. It's not like it means "cancer-free" or "healthy", it's just a marketing tool that they believe will help sell the product.

    2. Karl S Feb 25, 2014 06:49 AM

      My main concern about GMO crops is their potentially sterlising effect on nearby wild-pollinated non-GMO crops. That would be actionable harm to farmers of the non-GMO crops, and one potentially effective path to remediation would involved the certification of a class action litigation (particularly if insurers have had to pay those farmers).

      Other than that, there's far too much pseudo-science nattering on the issue.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Karl S
        Enigma3 Feb 25, 2014 09:05 AM

        So far, courts have consistently found in Monsanto's favor when their GMO seed contaminates organic fields.

        1. re: Enigma3
          westsidegal Mar 1, 2014 07:56 AM

          and even on other issues regarding their products.
          after all, a supreme court justice, Clarence Thomas used to work for them and now doesn't recuse himself from judging cases to which they are a party.

        2. re: Karl S
          westsidegal Feb 25, 2014 09:07 AM

          i believe that the government has taken steps to protect Monsanto from any sort of responsibility for it's actions.
          there is an unholy alliance of cooperation between the US government and Monsanto so that Monsanto has been granted judicial shields, whereas the farmers that are resisting GMOs are not, in any way, being afforded protection.
          watch the movie, FOOD, INC.
          to get an idea about how this is going down.
          i believe it can be viewed on netflix

          1. re: Karl S
            GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 09:32 AM

            Here's a link to a document from the USDA/APHIS which illustrates how the concern you raise here is considered by the regulatory body:


            1. re: Karl S
              GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 09:35 AM

              Here's a link to a related document which refutes the assertion that courts always rule in favor of Monsanto:


            2. g
              GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 06:49 AM

              Genetic modification can occur by means of natural processes, traditional selective breeding, or engineering. Presumably you mean only the last.

              Genetic Engineering is a process, not the product. Whether the product of GE is safe depends on what proteins are produced by the GE organism. Harmful proteins can also be introduced by selective breeding or by natural processes. The National Academies of Science have determined that the risk of GE organisms being harmful is no different than for new varieties of organisms produced in other ways.

              To answer your questions directly:

              My attitude toward GE foods is positive. GE has enabled food producers to produce more food with less reliance on poisons, which is a great benefit.

              I am confident that any GE food product which has been tested and approved for human consumption is as safe as a food product developed by traditional methods.

              Humans have been altering "Mother Nature" throughout the history of civilization. This is what defines civilization and separates civilized humans from their hunter-gatherer forebears.

              I do not care if an ingredient in food I consumed was developed by GE or not. I do care that food producers are trying to produce more and better food with less reliance on poisonous pesticides and I support it.

              I trust scientists far more than any of the self-anointed watchdog groups of ill-informed laymen who promote fear of genetic engineering.

              There are long term consequences to many human activities, some of which are worth worrying about far more than GE. Frankenstein's monster did not lead to long term consequences, so is not a good analogy. I wonder whether you have read the book.

              18 Replies
              1. re: GH1618
                slacker1 Feb 25, 2014 08:57 AM

                I must take issue with much of what you say.

                First, your assertion that fewer poisons are used in GE crops is not borne out by the facts. Reference: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpo...

                Second, the safety of GMOs cannot and should not be inferred from two decades of use. The fact that some scientists cannot determine any risks does not confer safety.

                Third, those promoting the production of GMOs are the ones that are most opposed to the labeling of same. In and of itself, that should raise a few red flags.

                Fourth, as a former organic farmer, I really have difficulty in turning over our food supply and means of production to corporate interests. Agriculture has always been local and personal. The never-ending push to bigger and more centralized is a great impediment to the ability of peoples to provide for their own needs, using their own wisdom and inputs. Check the rate of debt suicide in India pursuant to the use of corporate GMO crops.

                Fifth, while the fictional character of Frankenstein's monster did not in the book lead to long term consequences, the existence of the book and of the notion that we can potentially mess with the natural world with impunity, can and has led to many unintended consequences.

                1. re: slacker1
                  westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 10:55 PM

                  slacker: here is another cite that backs up (confirms) your fact:

                  GMO crops have led to an increase in use of pesticides and herbicides. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, February 2014.

                  1. re: westsidegal
                    GH1618 Mar 1, 2014 10:45 AM

                    Pesticide use has increased because of the great success of glyphosate as a herbicide (herbicides are pesticides). The important fact which you neglect to mention is that the usage of persistent organic pesticides, which are far more harmful, is way down. Some have been banned entirely, the best known being DDT and 2,4,5-T, for example.

                    1. re: GH1618
                      paulj Mar 1, 2014 11:46 AM

                      The market report on glyphosate that I linked earlier said that the use of generic glyphosate (it is no longer a sole Monsanto product) is increasing in other countries (like China and India), but that there is a move in the USA (and presumably also Europe) toward 'integrated weed management'.

                      " the combination of multiple management tools to reduce a pest population to an acceptable level while preserving the quality of existing habitat, water, and other natural resources"

                2. re: GH1618
                  DonShirer Feb 25, 2014 07:07 PM

                  I'm sorry, Mother Jones is not a scientifically reviewed publication. GMO opponents usually quote unreliable sources and make unsubstantiated charges. GH has summarized the situation well. If you want to boost organic farming, you must also take into account some of its problems. For instance, see:

                  I am sympathetic to the plight of small farmers, but the world population may have already exceeded the ability of small farms to feed it.

                  1. re: DonShirer
                    Pookipichu Feb 26, 2014 07:07 AM

                    "I am sympathetic to the plight of small farmers, but the world population may have already exceeded the ability of small farms to feed it."

                    That's actually a very misleading statement. One of the "hidden" issues that is rarely discussed is how much food is wasted in this country and around the world, how much overconsumption there is in the developed nations (i.e. eating more food than necessary to maintain a healthy body weight). We don't need GMOs to produce enough food.


                    1. re: Pookipichu
                      PotatoHouse Feb 28, 2014 04:04 PM

                      And don't forget the fact that our benevolent government actually PAYS FARMERS NOT TO FARM!!!

                      1. re: PotatoHouse
                        paulj Feb 28, 2014 04:52 PM

                        What's wrong with that? Farming is a risky business. If the farmers plant a lot, and harvest is good, supply exceeds demand, and prices drop. If the harvest is poor, prices are high, but the farmers have little to sell. Either way they could end up in debt. Debt will put the little guy out of business a whole lot sooner than the big well financed corporation.

                        1. re: paulj
                          PotatoHouse Feb 28, 2014 05:42 PM

                          But are you looking at it as it relates to Pookipichu's statement, "I am sympathetic to the plight of small farmers, but the world population may have already exceeded the ability of small farms to feed it." and the ridiculous absurdity of our government sending literally billions of dollars in foreign aid to starving countries while paying farmers millions NOT to grow crops?

                          1. re: PotatoHouse
                            paulj Feb 28, 2014 10:15 PM

                            Direct food aid is great in emergency situations, including refugee camps. But it is not good long term help when hunger is the result of poverty.

                            Article about problems caused by cheap food imports and abundant food aid.

                    2. re: DonShirer
                      slacker1 Feb 26, 2014 08:52 AM

                      You are right; Mother Jones is not a reviewed publication, but the article I cited was based on such a paper. It presented the findings in a form accessible to us common folk, who don't have access to journals behind pay walls.

                      Second, your article is very narrow in scope. It deals with greenhouses in Israel. The author states that the comparison was between conventional and organic methods of production, but I don't see where the organic certification of those operators is cited. There are many that can claim to be organic, but have not fulfilled the necessary certifications to really be so. This is particularly true in the USA where almost anyone can claim to be organic, while not coming anywhere near. Also, the references cited in the article seem to me to be highly one sided in favour of GMOs, which in turn suggests that the publication is a greenwash operation.

                      1. re: slacker1
                        ferret Feb 26, 2014 10:41 AM

                        Here's a more recent take on GMOs (re: misplaced alarmism) from Mother Jones:


                      2. re: DonShirer
                        westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 11:00 PM

                        DonShirer: your conjecture on this subject is not borne out by the World Health Organization's study which came out this month.

                        maybe you should take a little time to look at the research. it would be a lot easier for you if you would actually avail yourself of any of the many solid compilations that are around instead of turning up your nose at them. anyway, here is the primary cite:

                        Small-Scale, organic farming needed to feed the world. U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Wake Up Before It Is Too Late, December 2013

                      3. re: GH1618
                        ElsieB Feb 28, 2014 11:03 AM

                        "I trust scientists far more than any of the self-anointed watchdog groups of ill-informed laymen who promote fear of genetic engineering."
                        I believe you must be referring to corporately owned scientists as many many independent scientists are not allowed to do research on monsanto's 'products'. Nor do many scientists buy into the safety of GM foods - Scientists usually like to have lots of independent verifications - there are no independent studies of GM foods.
                        From my point of view, Anti-labeling of any foods is extremely suspicious.

                        1. re: ElsieB
                          Ridge Feb 28, 2014 11:43 AM

                          If you ask any university trained plant scientist with absolutely no connections to Monsanto or other corporations, the overwhelming majority are pro GMO just as the majority of climate scientists believe in Global warming. People on the right don't believe the climate scientists and people on the left don't believe the plant scientists about GMOs.

                          Forgetting about Monsanto etc., GMO simply is taking a gene from one organism and sticking it into the genome of a different one. Unless the gene you splice is dangerous (and there are dangerous genes, for example the genes that produce ricin in castor) the technology is not inherently dangerous.

                          Look humans have been genetically modifying plants for a long time. It's in our blood. You are not going to find corn or cauliflower in the wild. GMO is just the newest tool people are using.

                          Should it be labeled? I believe so. People should be educated so they understand the technology and then decide for themselves.

                          Should people be questioning the current GMO crops? Yes. But don't lump GMO with Monsanto and turn GMO into a bogie man.

                          1. re: ElsieB
                            GH1618 Feb 28, 2014 05:04 PM

                            Food products are rarely labeled as to variety. There are some exceptions, such as fresh apples. App,esauce is not labeled as to the variety of apples contained therein. A GMO is just a variety. I'm sure the variety of GMO seed is labeled when sold to a farmer. He is the one who needs to know.

                            1. re: GH1618
                              Ridge Feb 28, 2014 05:33 PM

                              Yes but labeling and educating people would diffuse the controversy.

                              1. re: GH1618
                                sedimental Feb 28, 2014 11:32 PM

                                GMO is not "just a variety". There are far, far, more issues to the GMO controversy..
                                If you believe this whole issue is over "just another variety", then it is crystal clear why you can't get beyond your own canned assertions on this subject.

                          2. w
                            wadejay26 Feb 25, 2014 06:53 AM

                            Not worried at all.

                            1. s
                              sedimental Feb 25, 2014 07:51 AM

                              I am not convinced they are safe.
                              I am not convinced going down the GMO path is wise or necessary.
                              I care.
                              I am thoroughly convinced Monsanto wants us to believe otherwise.
                              I am thoroughly convinced Monsanto is dangerous.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sedimental
                                Ttrockwood Feb 25, 2014 08:34 PM

                                I concur on all points, with the addition that i conscienciously avoid GMO foods as much as possible because i do not want my $ to support them, or the monopoly of Montsano and their ethically questionable business.

                                I also very strongly believe GMO foods should be labeled as such so that the consumer can make their own choice.

                              2. j
                                JTPhilly Feb 25, 2014 08:12 AM

                                I am not so worried about the health effects of consuming them but I am worried about their ultimate effect on the environment and on agriculture and ecosystems. I think we are going down a dangerous path.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JTPhilly
                                  ferret Feb 25, 2014 08:41 AM

                                  That's essentially the issue. The alarmism about dangerous "frankenfood" is misplaced. The real concern is more environmental.

                                2. westsidegal Feb 25, 2014 09:01 AM

                                  i avoid them whenever possible.
                                  even if they were safe, the purpose of most of them is to alter crops so that the crops can survive tremendous amounts of pesticides being applied to them--amounts so great that they would otherwise KILL THE CROPS.
                                  (i.e. "Roundup Ready" GMOs).
                                  this means that the issue is not just whether or not the GMO is safe, the ADDITIONAL issue is whether consumption of the amount of Roundup that the GMO enables is safe.
                                  although i tend to trust "science," i don't trust Monsanto and i am suspicious of their "science."

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    carolinadawg Feb 25, 2014 09:10 AM

                                    Pesticides don't kill plants. And Roundup isn't a pesticide.

                                    1. re: carolinadawg
                                      GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 09:48 AM

                                      Roundup is a herbicide used to kill weeds. The APHIS refers to weeds as "plant pests," so weed-killers are pesticides.

                                      1. re: GH1618
                                        carolinadawg Feb 25, 2014 10:39 AM

                                        I know what Roundup is, thanks. A pesticide kills bugs and an herbicide kills plants.

                                      2. re: carolinadawg
                                        westsidegal Feb 26, 2014 02:09 PM

                                        carolinadawg: so what?
                                        my meaning was perfectly clear.
                                        you understood what i was saying 100%.
                                        my point holds.

                                      3. re: westsidegal
                                        GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 09:12 AM

                                        Isee your point, but it isn't necessary to trust Monsanto. The question is whether and to what extent you trust the government regulatory bodies (EPA, FDA, and USDA in the US) which have jurisdiction over the safety of this technology.

                                        1. re: GH1618
                                          Enigma3 Feb 25, 2014 09:49 AM

                                          I don't trust governmental agencies at all. It is yet another revolving door between big business and those agencies.

                                          1. re: GH1618
                                            westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 08:22 AM

                                            gh1618: the answer is NO

                                        2. i
                                          INDIANRIVERFL Feb 25, 2014 09:03 AM

                                          The battle to improve food crops has been going on for about 10,000 years.

                                          I equate the ranting about the effects GMO has on the human body with cell phones causing brain tumors, high power lines cause ADHD, and aluminum cooking pans cause Alzheimers.

                                          Not to mention copper bracelets from certain native tribes cure rheumatism, pyramids enhance body energy, and super diluted chemicals will cure any ailment.

                                          On the other hand, I had a neighbor with the effects of thalidomide and subsisting on only 1 food source did not do the Irish much good after the blight crossed the ocean. So I feel that caution is warranted, but not to the point of paralysis.

                                          What cost our existence? Between 30 and 40 thousand people lose their lives in auto accidents each year in the USA. This is acceptable. One kid has a reaction to peanut butter, and the entire school system bans any nut products. To include those brought from home.

                                          Of course there will be long term consequences. Just remember that Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster. And the ancient Greeks new all about Pandora, I mean Frankenstein, just as we do. But my crystal ball is pretty foggy. And I tend to have greater trust in those with a scientific foundation than I do those without.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                            nedh Feb 25, 2014 10:37 AM

                                            Your comparison of car accidents and banning peanuts at schools doesn't quite fit. People don't die from the presence of cars. Some children can't tolerate the presence of peanuts. If banning peanuts prevents a child from dying, then it's reasonable.

                                            1. re: nedh
                                              INDIANRIVERFL Feb 25, 2014 11:17 AM

                                              No it is not reasonable. Enter the law of unintended consequences. For students in elementary school who forgot their lunch money, as Dear Daughter did a number of times, the cafeteria staff would give them PB&J sandwiches so they would have something for lunch. They had something in their stomachs and got through the day.

                                              With the banning of nut products halfway through her 6th grade, the students had to beg with others at the table. There was no viable alternative that could be given to the kids without the shortfall being noted.

                                              Under the threat of a lawsuit, kids ended up going hungry. Lots of discussion with the school board, but the parents or guardians were doing good in many instances getting the lunch money each day, let alone paying ahead or coming in from work to replace lost brown bags.

                                              I applaud caution, but not to the point were it becomes a detriment to empirical data and the decision making based there on to the greater good.

                                              This is not to say that I would require a person or society to utilize the technology.

                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                cowboyardee Feb 25, 2014 11:23 AM

                                                Why not just feed the children... something else?

                                                That's not an unintended consequence. It's a bullshit excuse for cutting a program.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                  INDIANRIVERFL Feb 25, 2014 11:34 AM

                                                  Wasn't a program. The staff was sneaking food to the kids. With a wink from admin.

                                                  What is that saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?

                                                2. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                  gourmanda Feb 25, 2014 01:49 PM

                                                  Not that I'm a big fan of nut bans or PB&J for that matter (blech), but why couldn't they just use the jelly? Or an apple?

                                                  I agree with cowboy...just an excuse.

                                              2. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                BobbieSue Feb 26, 2014 05:02 AM

                                                I understand the frustration with the peanut butter bans, but at the same time, what if it were your child with that issue?

                                              3. e
                                                Enigma3 Feb 25, 2014 09:35 AM

                                                Again, I do not have a problem with GMO foods that increase yield. That is the way it all started, but big agra has turned left since then.

                                                This article I have posted before is a summary of where we are at with Roundup (glyphosate) that has been "implanted" into the seed. The latest news is that approximately 75% of soil and water samples taken in this country now show the presence of Roundup.

                                                Monsanto has spent untold millions attempting to quash independent studies on Roundup in the USA and to prevent GMO food labeling.

                                                This is the best summary of glyphosate I have found on the internet. Written by 2 Phd's, it is long, exhaustive and contains numerous citations to other studies. A typical scientific article.

                                                Now, after perusing this, consider why we have not been told what chemicals are used in fracking. And just what the hell is going on in our atmosphere with atmospheric geoengineering. The governor of Oregon just the other day called for the Feds to come clean with "chemtrails". There's a subject that will spook you.


                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: Enigma3
                                                  Pookipichu Feb 25, 2014 09:38 AM

                                                  +1 the denial about fracking chemical toxicity and danger is mind-boggling. Money corrupts and people are willing to distort truth for money.

                                                  1. re: Enigma3
                                                    paulj Feb 26, 2014 12:36 AM

                                                    Your 2 Phd's seem to be experts in holistic health, with papers on acupuncture, subtle energy medicines, and highly diluted solutions of DNA.


                                                    Are they also your experts on chemtrails?

                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                      Enigma3 Feb 26, 2014 12:50 PM

                                                      The article is clearly a collation of the extant studies on glyphosate. They don't need to be experts on glyphosate, just know how to gather all the known information into a well presented article. the source for the article is ISIS, a British organization concerned for your health.

                                                      Chemtrails is another subject in itself which very few people have heard of. Don't mess with mother nature. Or the soil used to grow the food I eat

                                                    2. re: Enigma3
                                                      JayL Feb 26, 2014 10:43 PM

                                                      Please understand...no seed has ever been "implanted" with Roundup.

                                                      1. re: JayL
                                                        paulj Feb 26, 2014 11:15 PM

                                                        I don't think Enigma3 is interested in your understanding :(


                                                        1. re: JayL
                                                          tcamp Feb 27, 2014 09:27 AM

                                                          Those who believe that Roundup has actually been implanted into seeds in order to convey resistance to the herbicide probably aren't much focused on the science end of things.

                                                          1. re: tcamp
                                                            Pookipichu Feb 27, 2014 09:39 AM

                                                            :) I believe that if media fulfilled their responsibility of helping to educate the masses on important issues vs. entertainment, more people would have a better grasp of the science of Roundup resistant seeds. That being said, you don't need to understand the science of fire to know that it can be dangerous. Someone who understands the concept of combustion vs. gift from Prometheus would reach the the same conclusion regarding the wisdom of putting your hand in a flame.

                                                            1. re: Pookipichu
                                                              GH1618 Feb 27, 2014 10:47 AM

                                                              People know the danger of fire because they have experienced it, directly or indirectly. Nobody has suffered any acute harm from an approved genetically engineered food.

                                                              1. re: GH1618
                                                                Pookipichu Feb 27, 2014 10:52 AM

                                                                We're addressing different points. I am addressing the ability of people to have an inkling that something is dangerous without understanding the underlying science of it, your post really does not respond to mine and I do not say that with any snark.

                                                                1. re: GH1618
                                                                  westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 07:51 AM

                                                                  just to add to the discussion
                                                                  here are just a couple of articles that have come out so far this month.
                                                                  how far back would you like me to go?

                                                                  1) Monsanto’s Roundup linked to fatal, chronic kidney disease. Article in Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, February 2014

                                                                  2) Monsanto’s Roundup persists in soil and water. U.S. Geological Survey report in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, February 2014

                                                                  3)GMO crops have led to an increase in use of pesticides and herbicides. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, February 2014.

                                                                  4) Pesticides are more dangerous than we thought. Article in BioMed Research International, February 2014

                                                                  5)Small-Scale, organic farming needed to feed the world. U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Wake Up Before It Is Too Late, December 2013

                                                                  6) Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 2125-2147; doi:10.3390/ijerph110202125
                                                                  Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka?

                                                                  7) Environmental Health News

                                                                  Pesticides may be more dangerous than testing reveals, study finds
                                                                  Feb 11, 2014

                                                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                                                    paulj Feb 28, 2014 10:02 AM

                                                                    Global market report on glyphosate

                                                                  2. re: GH1618
                                                                    westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 10:40 PM

                                                                    gh1618: there is no logical reason to think that danger must be "acute" to be harmful.

                                                                    the "fire" discussion is an obvious false equivalency

                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                      GH1618 Mar 1, 2014 10:46 AM

                                                                      True, and that was my point. For once we agree.

                                                          2. g
                                                            GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 10:09 AM

                                                            Here's a link to the technical fact sheet on glyphosate (Roundup) from the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University:


                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: GH1618
                                                              GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 11:01 AM

                                                              And for those who don't know what a "pesticide" is, note the name of this group and the fact that they include herbicides within their purview.

                                                            2. cowboyardee Feb 25, 2014 11:12 AM

                                                              Even putting aside health and environmental concerns, the economic effects of GMOs are bad enough that I would prefer to avoid them (which would be easier if they were labeled... which they would be if Monsanto did not already own your elected representatives and regulatory bodies). Minimizing crop diversity and giving up worldwide seed production to a monopolistic multinational corporation with no record of holding itself to any ethical standards whatsoever does not strike me as a wise choice.

                                                              Rather than drumming up old points, here is a prior thread on the issue:

                                                              Though it's not specifically about GMOs, I'd like to emphasize this post by pookipichu, which explains why and how corporations repeatedly get away with poisoning millions of people, manage to keep the profits while avoiding any liability from their actions, and drum up just enough of a smokescreen that their critics are dismissed as tinfoil-hat weirdos until it's too late:

                                                              1. Pipenta Feb 25, 2014 11:25 AM

                                                                Above and beyond the safety of the food itself, the plants are modified to withstand herbicide applications. So where you have GMO crops, you have fields being systematically drenched with poison. So, as Joon Boolay (see below) would say, that's not good.


                                                                12 Replies
                                                                1. re: Pipenta
                                                                  GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 05:53 PM

                                                                  Herbicides were widely used before GM crops, and some of them were far more toxic than glyphosate. Roundup is among the least toxic herbicides (less toxic than table salt), and one of the most effective. It is not necessary to "drench" fields with glyphosate to apply an effective dose. Such usage would be contrary to label instructions and would not be cost effective. You seem to be exaggerating for dramatic effect.

                                                                  Relative Toxicity of Herbicides to Mammals:


                                                                  My view is that one need not exaggerate when the facts are on one's side.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618
                                                                    gourmanda Feb 26, 2014 04:59 AM

                                                                    "Relative" to what and define "almost nontoxic".

                                                                    1. re: gourmanda
                                                                      GH1618 Feb 27, 2014 09:03 AM

                                                                      In the chart to which I linked, "relative" means that one herbicide (or class of herbicides) is compared to another. "Almost nontoxic" is just the name for the class next to the "nontoxic" class.

                                                                  2. re: Pipenta
                                                                    JayL Feb 26, 2014 10:45 PM

                                                                    "Drenched" is a scare term. Fields are not drenched with poison.

                                                                    As I've said before...I'm not advocating GMOs...I'm simply trying to dispel some misinformation.

                                                                    1. re: JayL
                                                                      sedimental Feb 27, 2014 08:38 AM

                                                                      'Cuz...."lightly sprinkled with poison" sounds so much safer..... ;)

                                                                      1. re: sedimental
                                                                        Ridge Feb 27, 2014 09:47 AM

                                                                        In a perfect world everything would be organic and no chemicals would be used. I buy organic because I can afford to. But lots of people can't afford to. Sadly we have to use chemicals to feed the worlds population. And since we do "lightly sprinkled with poison" is safer as is the use of less toxic chemicals.

                                                                        1. re: sedimental
                                                                          westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 07:53 AM

                                                                          they wouldn't need to have created GMO at all if all they wanted to do was "lightly" sprinkle our food with poisons that persist . . . .

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                            tcamp Feb 28, 2014 08:57 AM

                                                                            The dangers of pesticides/herbicides is a different topic than concerns about GMOs. The Roundup ready seeds may be unacceptable to many but I don't see how that relates to the safety of GMO foods in general.

                                                                            Examples such as the Golden Rice I mentioned above and the pineapple modified in HI to be blush colored are GMOs designed to solve, in one case, a nutritional deficiency and, in the other case, a desire to sell more pineapples to consumers. Nothing to do with pesticides.

                                                                            1. re: tcamp
                                                                              Pookipichu Feb 28, 2014 09:00 AM

                                                                              Golden rice isn't what people are talking about in this thread, that's like saying people who don't want nuclear waste in their backyard are complaining about dental x-rays.

                                                                              1. re: Pookipichu
                                                                                tcamp Feb 28, 2014 09:04 AM

                                                                                The OP asked "what is your attitude towards genetically modified foods."

                                                                                I'm a fan of organic and minimal use of pesticides. I'm suspicious of GMOs created mainly to enable more use of pesticides and of those that result in sterile seeds. But that isn't the totality nor the full potential of GMO.

                                                                                1. re: tcamp
                                                                                  Pookipichu Feb 28, 2014 09:29 AM

                                                                                  In this entire thread, 99% is about Roundup resistant seeds from Monsanto. I'll be the first to say then, I have no issue with golden rice or rennet, etc. I take issue with profit driven gmo's that ignore negative environmental impact, e.g.encouraging use of proprietary toxins, cross-pollination, etc..

                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu
                                                                                    tcamp Feb 28, 2014 09:42 AM

                                                                                    No disagreement here. Unfortunately, based on what I see on myriad websites, many people have not separated the two issues - profit driven gmo products with negative impact on the environment and farmers versus the science of genetically modified seeds. Hence the "seeds injected with roundup" type of comments.

                                                                    2. j
                                                                      JoeBabbitt Feb 25, 2014 01:26 PM

                                                                      GMOs are pretty widespread in all the variants GH mentioned. My issue with it is that it's all done to increase profit. Not to increase flavor, nutritional value or anything good for the consumer.

                                                                      If somebody made a better tasting tomato I'd be for it. I'm opposed to sacrificing flavor because a certain tomato ships better.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JoeBabbitt
                                                                        GH1618 Feb 25, 2014 05:34 PM

                                                                        Increasing flavor and increasing profit are not necessarily incompatible, but a food producer must make a profit. The first GE product introduced in the US was the Flavr Savr tomato, which was designed to be a better tasting tomato because it could be vine-ripened rather than artificially ripened with ethylene. Reportedly, this tomato was well-received but unprofitable. Here is a link to an article on the subject:


                                                                        1. re: GH1618
                                                                          Ridge Feb 26, 2014 07:36 AM

                                                                          The problem with flavor savor was that the tomato variety they started with was not particularly flavorful. So it did not taste good enough to warrant getting excited about.

                                                                        2. re: JoeBabbitt
                                                                          tcamp Feb 27, 2014 09:22 AM

                                                                          As GH says, increasing flavor or nutrition can go hand in hand with increased profit. I think the controversy of golden rice, which is modified to include beta-carotene (vitamin A), is interesting for instance, discussed here:


                                                                        3. MamasCooking Feb 25, 2014 10:54 PM

                                                                          Monsanto taking over the world worries me much more than their GMO's.

                                                                          1. b
                                                                            BobbieSue Feb 26, 2014 05:06 AM

                                                                            I think the American consumer has a right to know which foods are genetically modified.

                                                                            If GMO foods are so innocent, why is there such a strong lobby in Washington against labeling such foods?

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: BobbieSue
                                                                              ferret Feb 26, 2014 05:36 AM

                                                                              That's really not an effective argument. Drawing attention to any product risks lost sales, so it's not surprising that there's resistance to labeling. It doesn't automatically follow that resistance to labeling means actual danger.

                                                                              1. re: ferret
                                                                                MGZ Feb 26, 2014 06:28 AM

                                                                                "It doesn't automatically follow that resistance to labeling means actual danger."

                                                                                It does mean actual danger to manufacturers through lost profits and lost power. Whether the products are dangerous to humans, animals, the economy, society, etc. should be up to consumers to decide until there have been generations of research to guide the sciences. (Ironically, we allow kooky parents to decide whether their kids should be allowed to be taught evolution.)

                                                                                There may be no fire, but the lobbyists are certainly blowing great clouds of smoke.

                                                                            2. f
                                                                              Fydeaux Feb 26, 2014 06:08 AM

                                                                              I have a lot of mixed emotions about this. I was one who protested the Vietnam War in the 60s & 70s, and believed that if the chemical companies that made napalm would half as much into food science, hunger could be eliminated. Now that they have gone into food science, the results dont please anyone.

                                                                              And the entire career of Luther Burbank was essentially genetic engineering, without which I would not have had the delicious mashed potatos I had with dinner last night.

                                                                              As is usually the case, the people who have the strongest feelings on the subject are likely to simply discount anything that doesnt support their own positions. The facts are going to be found somewhere in the middle.

                                                                              So while my own preference is for foods more naturally grown, and I have no issue with labeling of GMO products, I dont particularly fear them, and I dont call for their elimination.

                                                                              1. r
                                                                                Ridge Feb 26, 2014 12:04 PM

                                                                                It's a complex issue and I encourage everyone to educate themselves and look at BOTH sides of the issue. My opinion is that GMOs have gotten a bad rap because of their association in people's minds with Monsanto, a company many people are suspicious of (and rightfully so given their history). I am troubled by what I see as a knee jerk response to GMOs. It's almost fashionable to say you are against them. I am more concerned about farm subsidies that encourage farmers to grow corn instead of nutritious vegetables. I am more concerned about sugar which is more of a danger to human health than GMOs. I am more concerned about uncontrolled population growth that is a much greater threat to the environment than GMOs. But population control is not as sexy an issue as GMOs. On he whole the GMO controversy is a distraction.

                                                                                1. r
                                                                                  Raffles Feb 26, 2014 01:05 PM

                                                                                  My honey bees do not like to forage in fields that have been sprayed with Roundup... they get bored with a diet of just corn pollen which is only available for a short time in the summer.
                                                                                  Their cousins, the Monarch Butterflies of Mexico, also complained about the lack of milkweed along the edges of the fields...
                                                                                  I tried to ask them how they felt about the use of pesticides but they were dead.....

                                                                                  I know , a simplification of a complex problem, too many people and not enough resources, we are pretty dumb for such a smart species...

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    Jerseygirl111 Feb 26, 2014 08:32 PM

                                                                                    ^^^^^^ Munching popcorn, waiting for the fireworks!

                                                                                    1. g
                                                                                      GH1618 Feb 27, 2014 06:51 AM

                                                                                      The possible effects on honeybees is one area of real concern. Agriculture researchers are aware of this and are looking at the problem. It isn't as simple as saying that GE crops generally are harmful to bees or not, but of what are the effects of each particular type of GE crop, what are the effects of each particular pesticide, and what are the alternatives. Here is a balanced overview of the subject from eXtension, a consortium of Land-Grant Universities:


                                                                                      1. e
                                                                                        emu48 Feb 27, 2014 11:03 AM

                                                                                        I don't think we know yet whether GMO foods are safe. Or whether some are and others aren't. But I don't trust the USDA and Monsanto to tell me the truth. The problem is compounded by the miserable state of science education in the United States. It's evident from reading the comments here that quite a few people don't understand the difference between hybridizing and the new technology of implanting genes.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: emu48
                                                                                          GH1618 Feb 27, 2014 11:22 AM

                                                                                          A more important consideration is whether you trust the National Academies, and if not, why not.

                                                                                          For example:


                                                                                          1. re: emu48
                                                                                            westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 10:00 PM

                                                                                            gee, emu48, can't imagine why you'd feel that way. . . .
                                                                                            MONSANTO JOB
                                                                                            GOVERNMENT JOB
                                                                                            name: Toby Moffett
                                                                                            monsanto job: Monsanto Consultant
                                                                                            government job: US Congessman D-CT

                                                                                            name: Dennis DeConcini
                                                                                            monsanto job: Monsanto Legal Counsel
                                                                                            government job: US Senator D-AZ

                                                                                            name: Margaret Miller
                                                                                            Monsanto job: Chemical Lab Supervisor
                                                                                            Government job: Dep. Dir. FDA, HFS Bush Sr, Clinton

                                                                                            name: Marcia Hale
                                                                                            Monsanto job: Director, Int'l Govt. Affairs White House Senior Staff Clinton

                                                                                            name: Mickey Kantor
                                                                                            monsanto job: Board Member
                                                                                            government job: Sec. of Commerce Clinton

                                                                                            name: Virginia Weldon
                                                                                            monsanto job: VP, Public Policy WH-Appt to CSA, Gore's SDR Clinton

                                                                                            name: Josh King
                                                                                            monsanto job: Director, Int'l Govt. Affairs
                                                                                            government job: White House Communications Clinton

                                                                                            name: David Beler
                                                                                            monsanto job: VP, Gov't & Public Affairs
                                                                                            government job: Gore's Chief Dom. Polcy Advisor

                                                                                            name: Carol Tucker-Foreman
                                                                                            monsanto job: Monsanto Lobbyist
                                                                                            government job: WH-Appointed Consumer Adv Clinton

                                                                                            name: Linda Fisher
                                                                                            monsanto job: VP, Gov't & Public Affairs
                                                                                            government job: Deputy Admin EPA Clinton,

                                                                                            name: Lidia Watrud
                                                                                            monsanto job: Manager, New Technologies
                                                                                            government jobs: USDA, EPA Clinton,
                                                                                            Bush, Obama

                                                                                            name: Michael Taylor
                                                                                            monsanto job: VP, Public Policy
                                                                                            government job: Dep. Commiss. FDA Obama

                                                                                            Hilary Clinton
                                                                                            Rose Law Firm, Monsanto Counsel
                                                                                            US Senator,
                                                                                            Secretary of State

                                                                                            name Roger Beachy
                                                                                            monsanto job: Director, Monsanto Danforth Center
                                                                                            government job: Director USDA NIFA Obama

                                                                                            name:Islam Siddiqui
                                                                                            monsanto job: Monsanto Lobbyist
                                                                                            government job: Ag Negotiator Trade Rep Obama
                                                                                            and on and on and on

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                              sedimental Feb 28, 2014 11:41 PM

                                                                                              Yes, yes, yes.

                                                                                              Some folks are sheep. Some are not. Some are puppets.

                                                                                              Critical thinking is necessary and underutilized, not just on this subject.

                                                                                              Reading and thinking about an issue is of more value than repeating scientific studies funded by corporate or political interests.

                                                                                              It is rare that critical thinking prevails on subjects like this. "Just follow the party line..... it will be okay".

                                                                                          2. MGZ Feb 28, 2014 10:36 AM

                                                                                            Leaving aside the fact that the over-concentration of wealth is a clear detriment to the basic fabric of society - think Marie Antoinette or the Ukraine, and that corporate influence can prevent the actualization of any sort of democratic government implied by the US Constitution, until the pro-GMO folks can provide peer reviewed studies that modified crops and their consequences will not cause human health problems three or four generations from now, we are entitled to be suspicious of what we are being sold. If you have any belief in the propriety of the "free market", why not let consumers have the necessary information to make decisions that will enable the "invisible hand"?

                                                                                            Ultimately, I'm sorry if some of us are a bit untrusting of massive, global corporations driven by share price concerns or the flaccid agencies of the federal government who are subject to deteriorating budgets and the whims of corrupt Congressional leaders. At bottom, no pro-GMO position can change the foregoing - give up!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: MGZ
                                                                                              sedimental Feb 28, 2014 11:44 PM

                                                                                              Wow... You sound like big corporate Ag might not have our best interest at heart......

                                                                                              1. re: sedimental
                                                                                                MGZ Mar 1, 2014 04:49 AM

                                                                                                I my life, I've formed corporations, reorganized corporations, defended corporations, sued corporations, and even benefitted from their largesse.

                                                                                                Moreover, I've drank with politicians, broken bread with 'em, smoked weed with 'em, given money to 'em, been buttonholed by 'em while holding my breath so as to avoid the stench while ignoring the fact that they were staring at my associate's ass, represented 'em, helped their kids get jobs, and, on a few regrettable occasions, even voted for 'em.

                                                                                                All that being said, I NEVER trusted either. If you opened a half-priced, cryovac packaged chicken, and your entire house reeked with the funk of rotting flesh, or you were engulfed by the ammonia smell coming from a bag of "fresh" shrimp, would you feed such foulness to your loved ones?

                                                                                            2. k
                                                                                              kagemusha49 Feb 28, 2014 03:07 PM

                                                                                              GM crops are a heck of a lot safer than other farming practices. Here are two examples.
                                                                                              1) Intensive factory farming has led to types of flu that are species jumpers and can lead to pandemics
                                                                                              2) Overuse of antibiotics in animals leads to resistant bacteria.
                                                                                              OTOH GM has been practiced by farmers for centuries.

                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                                westsidegal Feb 28, 2014 10:22 PM

                                                                                                kagemusha49: you don't appear to have knowledge of much of the information out there but, despite that, you feel confident in issuing your broad brush opinions as though they are facts. . . . .

                                                                                                here is what some scientific bodies are saying about the dangers of GMOs (which, btw, are VERY DIFFERENT from anything that was being produced "by farmers for centuries")

                                                                                                The World Health Organization:

                                                                                                "Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods."

                                                                                                The American Medical Association:

                                                                                                "(4) Our AMA supports mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments of bioengineered foods and encourages: (a) development and validation of additional techniques for the detection and/or assessment of unintended effects; (b) continued use of methods to detect substantive changes in nutrient or toxicant levels in bioengineered foods as part of a substantial equivalence evaluation; (c) development and use of alternative transformation technologies to avoid utilization of antibiotic resistance markers that code for clinically relevant antibiotics, where feasible; and (d) that priority should be given to basic research in food allergenicity to support the development of improved methods for identifying potential allergens. The FDA is urged to remain alert to new data on the health consequences of bioengineered foods and update its regulatory policies accordingly."

                                                                                                The U.S. National Academy of Sciences:

                                                                                                The products of genetic engineering “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.”

                                                                                                then there is this:
                                                                                                "Ignoring potential non-target detrimental side effects of any chemical, especially one used as heavily as glyphosate [Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide], may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious.

                                                                                                To do so might well compromise not only agricultural sustainability, but also the health and well-being of animals and humans."

                                                                                                Johal, G.S. and D.M. Huber. Glyphosate effects on diseases of plants. 2009. European Journal of Agronomy 31:144-152

                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                  kagemusha49 Mar 1, 2014 03:02 AM

                                                                                                  So your idea of rebutting the facts in my post is to ignore completely the two points (labelled 1 and 2) that I made. That's very skillful of you. Amazingly, two idiots joined in and recommended your rebuttal. When I rebut somebody, I don't cite scads of irrelevant garbage, I address the key points made by the person whose argument I am rebutting. And I do it briefly and on point. Moreover I don't just simply cut and paste what others have written.

                                                                                                  Now back to the two points I made:-
                                                                                                  1) Do you disagree with the assertion that intensive farming has been a major factor in the development of species jumping diseases? I'm thinking of that avian flu that originated in China a few years ago - very lethal with the potential to cause hundreds of millions of deaths.

                                                                                                  2) Do you disagree with the assertion that the wholesale feeding of antibiotics to cattle has led to antibiotic resistant bacteria? No problem there is there?

                                                                                                  I consider these risks to be far greater than the risk from GM foods. As I said, farmers have been doing GM for centuries via selective breeding and grafting.

                                                                                                  1. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                                    MGZ Mar 1, 2014 04:57 AM

                                                                                                    I guess my only question would be, if playing football on I-95 is dangerous, and playing basketball on The 101 is dangerous, does it mean that playing soccer on "Main Street" is inherently safe?

                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                      kagemusha49 Mar 1, 2014 11:19 AM

                                                                                                      Nothing in this life is inherently safe as there are no absolutes. However, as I've already said, GM food is far safer than a couple of other farming practices that, one day, will lead to a devastating pandemic. I think the outrage and efforts would be better directed there.

                                                                                                    2. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                                      JayL Mar 1, 2014 05:13 AM

                                                                                                      Hybrids, selective breeding, and grafting are not the same as genetically modifying plant proteins.

                                                                                                      1. re: JayL
                                                                                                        kagemusha49 Mar 1, 2014 11:22 AM

                                                                                                        I have to disagree there. They both involve genetic modification. The only difference is the designer now has more effective tools for targeting the modifications.

                                                                                                        1. re: JayL
                                                                                                          GH1618 Mar 1, 2014 11:29 AM

                                                                                                          New proteins can be introduced by conventional breeding. That has been one concern raised with modern wheat — that it contains a protein not found in earlier wheat which may be harmful to some degree.

                                                                                                        2. re: kagemusha49
                                                                                                          westsidegal Mar 1, 2014 07:49 AM

                                                                                                          to answer your questions:
                                                                                                          i completely concur with mgz's post and his/her logic.

                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                            kagemusha49 Mar 1, 2014 11:22 AM

                                                                                                            So, once again, you avoid the questions.

                                                                                                    Show Hidden Posts