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Thursday, December 3, 2009

GMO Foods

GM foods


Just to let you all know about GMO:

GMO’s ARE A KILLER

Safety Potential human health impacts, including allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers, unknown effects Potential environmental impacts, including: unintended transfer of trans genes through cross-pollination, unknown effects on other organisms (e.g., soil microbes), and loss of flora and fauna biodiversity Access and Intellectual Property Domination of world food production by a few companies Increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries Biopiracy, or foreign exploitation of natural resources Ethics Violation of natural organisms' intrinsic values Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa Stress for animal Labeling Not mandatory in some countries (e.g., United States) Mixing GM crops with non-GM products confounds labeling attempts Society New advances may be skewed to interests of rich countries

GM foods?


Environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups,professional associations and other scientists and government officials have all raised concerns about GM foods, and criticized agribusiness for pursuing profit without concern for potential hazards, and the government for failing to exercise adequate regulatory oversight. It seems that everyone has a strong opinion about GM foods. Even the Vatican19 and the Prince of Wales have expressed their opinions. Most concerns about GM foods fall into three categories: environmental hazards, human health risks, and economic concerns.


Environmental hazards

· Un intended harm to other organisms Last year a laboratory study was published in Nature showing that pollen from B.t. corn caused high mortality rates in monarch butterfly caterpillars. Monarch caterpillars consume milkweed plants, not corn,but the fear is that if pollen from B.t. corn is blown by the wind on to milk weed plants in neighboring fields, the caterpillars could eat the pollen and perish. Although the Nature study was not conducted under natural field conditions,the results seemed to support this viewpoint. Unfortunately, B.t. toxins kill many species of insect larvae indiscriminately; it is not possible to design a.B.t. toxin that would only kill crop-damaging pests and remain harmless to all other insects. This study is being reexamined by the USDA, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other non-government research groups,and preliminary data from new studies suggests that the original study may have been flawed.This topic is the subject of acrimonious debate, and both sides of the argument are defending their data vigorously. Currently, there is no agreement about the results of these studies, and the potential risk of harm to non-target organisms will need to be evaluated further.


· Reduced effectiveness of pesticides

Just as some populations of mosquitoes developed resistance to the now-banned pesticide DDT, many people are concerned that insects will become resistant toB.t. or other crops that have been genetically-modified to produce their own pesticides.


· Gene transfer to non-target species Another concern is that crop plants engineered for herbicide tolerance and weeds will cross-breed, resulting in the transfer of the herbicide resistance genes from the crops into the weeds. These "super weeds" would then be herbicide tolerant as well. Other introduced genes may cross over in to non-modified crops planted next to GM crops. The possibility of inter breeding is shown by the defense of farmers against lawsuits filed by Monsanto. The company has filed patent infringement lawsuits against farmers who may have harvested GM crops. Monsanto claims that the farmers obtained Monsanto-licensed GM seeds from an unknown source and did not pay royalties to Monsanto. The farmers claim that their unmodified crops were cross-pollinated from someone else's GM crops planted a field or two away. More investigation is needed to resolve this issue.


There are several possible solutions to the three problems mentioned above.Genes are exchanged between plants via pollen. Two ways to ensure that non-target species will not receive introduced genes from GM plants are to create GM plants that are male sterile (do not produce pollen) or to modify the GM plant so that the pollen does not contain the introduced gene. Cross-pollination would not occur, and if harmless insects such as monarch caterpillars were to eat pollen from GM plants, the caterpillars would survive.


Another possible solution is to create buffer zones around fields of GM crops. For example, non-GM corn would be planted to surround a field of B.t. GM corn,and the non-GM corn would not be harvested. Beneficial or harmless insects would have a refuge in the non-GM corn, and insect pests could be allowed to destroy the non-GM corn and would not develop resistance to B.t. pesticides.Gene transfer to weeds and other crops would not occur because the wind-blown pollen would not travel beyond the buffer zone. Estimates of the necessary width of buffer zones range from 6 meters to 30 meters or more. This planting method may not be feasible if too much acreage is required for the buffer zones.


Human health risks

· All ergenicity Many children in the US and Europe have developed life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods. There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. A proposal to incorporate a gene from Brazil nuts into soybeans was abandoned because of the fear of causing unexpected allergic reactions. Extensive testing of GM foods may be required to avoid the possibility of harm to consumers with food allergies. Labeling of GM foods and food products will acquire new importance.


· Unknown effects on human health There is a growing concern that introducing foreign genes into food plants may have a nunexpected and negative impact on human health. A recent article published in Lancet examined the effects of GM potatoes on the digestive tract in rats. This study claimed that there were appreciable differences in the intestines of rats fed GM potatoes and rats fed unmodified potatoes. Yet critics say that this paper, like the monarch butterfly data, is flawed and does not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Moreover, the gene introduced into the potatoes was a snowdrop flower lectin, a substance known to be toxic to mammals. The scientists who created this variety of potato chose to use the lectin gene simply to test the methodology, and these potatoes were never intended for human or animal consumption. If you beleave that.


On the whole, with the exception of possible all ergenicity, scientists believe that GM foods do not present a risk to human health. But there is to much money to be made, so testing is not impotent.


Economic concerns

Bringing a GM food to market is a lengthy and costly process, and of cours eagri-biotech companies wish to ensure a profitable return on their investment. Many new plant genetic engineering technologies and GM plants have been patented, and patent infringement is a big concern of agribusiness. Yet consumer advocates are worried that patenting these new plant varieties will raise the price of seeds so high that small farmers and third world countries will not be able to afford seeds for GM crops, thus widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor. It is hoped that in a humanitarian gesture, more companies and non-profits will follow the lead of the Rockefeller Foundation and offer their products at reduced cost to impoverished nations, to make more money.


Patent enforcement may also be difficult, as the contention of the farmers that they involuntarily grew Monsanto-engineered strains when their crops were cross-pollinated shows. One way to combat possible patent infringement is to introduce a "suicide gene" into GM plants. These plants would be viable for only one growing season and would produce sterile seeds that do not germinate. Farmers would need to buy a fresh supply of seeds each year. However, this would be financially disastrous for farmers in third world countries who cannot afford to buy seed each year and traditionally set aside a portion of their harvest to plant in the next growing season. In an open letter to the public, Monsanto has pledged to abandon all research using this suicide gene technology, but has not and will distroy and or run the food market with killer GMO's.

7 comments:

Phelan said...

ok, so did they admit to it? Is that them in the bold that says some are? Just want to get things straight here. I am getting a bunch of emails from homesteaders about this, and I was just about to go do some digging myself when I saw your post.

Just seems like they sent you back another form letter.

thanks for the heads up.

Pioneer Living said...

Yes, They are in bold saying some are GMO's and some are Hybrid and yes they admited it.

Phelan said...

Well at least they are up front about it. :D

Pioneer Living said...

Yes Phelan but there website says Non-Hybrid. Also I just got a email saying that was a mistake and they did not meen to say that and don't tell anyone....LOL.I am looking into it.

fullfreezer said...

I got a similar email about the mix up. The owner stated that they do not and will never sell GMO seeds.

Happy Hermit said...

I don't know if they are trustable , first they sell GMO and Hybrid and then they sell no GMO , but they sell GMO on their site. That is frustrating. I don't trust them a moment.

Pioneer Living said...

I am looking into it and will be testing there seeds and checking on this company.

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