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GM Foods
Posted: 23 June 2013 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I think all cars should display a huge sign saying ‘May cause fatal injuries,’ just like the cigarette packs in Canada. And just like the cigarette packs it should also show photos of people dying from car accidents.

Good idea George but how about a proviso? TEXTING while driving a dangerous vehicle will cause fatal injuries! And there’s a (I would say plethora but my IQ isn’t high enough grin) whole bunch a pictures to prove it!


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Posted: 23 June 2013 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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macgyver - 22 June 2013 12:50 PM
TromboneAndrew - 22 June 2013 08:18 AM

But farmers sometimes do not actually have the option to use plain old un-patented seed stock. Monsanto is engaging in the good old-fashioned American business practice of legal monopolistic shenanigans, and part of that (from what I understand) is that when they can, they include in contracts to seed distributors that they are not allowed to carry non-Monsanto seeds. Somewhat like how you never see restaurants like McDonald’s never carry both Pepsi and Coke products. Except Monsanto doesn’t have a competitor like Pepsi has Coke. I think that much of the social backlash against GMO has to do with the public perception of their business practices, rather than the alleged unviability of the foods, which just becomes an excuse.

Do we know for sure that this is true and not just folk lore? Living in a metropolitan area I dont really know any farmers. Are you saying you know for sure that farmers can not find non-patented seed stock if they want? I would think you could order just about anything you want even if its not available at the local supplier. Monsanto might control some local retailers but they can’t control the internet. Couldn’t a farmer just order a delivery from an online supplier?  And if you really wanted to go that route, once you planted a crop you could put aside a percentage of your field for growing next years seed stock and for every year from then on without violating any patent laws. If I am missing something here let me know. When it comes to the day to day running of a family farm I am completely ignorant.

I guess it is the case for some: http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/monsanto-gmo-roundup-ready-seeds-patents-food-prices/

Moreover, Monsanto’s patented seeds didn’t achieve their present ubiquity through farmer choice alone: The company’s expansionary policies of acquisition and licensing, as well as a shift in public university research from conventional seed breeding to biotech applications, have left many farmers unable to find high-quality non-GM seed.

A quick Google search also turns up info on people aggressively saving their own seeds, being unable to easily find good quality seeds commercially, and taking great pains to avoid cross-pollination with Monsanto-owned crops, out of fear of getting sued over patent infringement due to natural processes.

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Posted: 23 June 2013 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’m not fully convinced. That link is to an opinion piece where the author makes no illusions about where his sympathies lie and only makes a passing reference to farmers occasionally having difficulty finding non-GM seeds without citing any source to back up that claim. It maybe true but the author is a dubious source and I would be hesitant to come to any conclusion based on his word alone.

I think the Supreme Court was correct in their decision as farms it went. This particular farmer did violate the agreement he signed and not only used seed he didn’t purchase from Monsanto but used GM seed without paying them for it.

I think ther may be future cases which will need to address Monsantos practice of going after farmers who inadvertently use seed that was accidentally cross pollinated. As more and more land is planted with this seed it will become very difficult for farmers to prevent cross pollination. Courts will have to give the benefit of the doubt to the farmer at some point and I expect they will. It’s reasonable for Monsanto to be given the right to protect their innovation but not to the extent that it becomes impossible for farmers to plant nonGMO crops even when they have never signed an agreement with Monsanto.

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Posted: 23 June 2013 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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macgyver - 21 June 2013 03:22 PM
Occam. - 21 June 2013 02:23 PM

The ones I’ve seen haven’t modified the chemical composition of the food, so I’m not worried about eating them.  Other uses seem to be to block crop losses by insects and weed crowding. 

However, I don’t like companies like Monsanto patenting them, then selling seeds that grow well but have a hidden gene that makes the next generation far less productive so farmers have to keep buying rather than using their own seeds for the next season.  A variation of this is if the farmer uses his seeds that still contain last year’s patented genes, the company can sue him.  I’d prefer to see far more patent restrictions on the supplying companies.

Another problem is when genes transfer to other plants so the standard weed killers no longer work on them. 

Occam

In all fairness to Monsanto they did do the research, took the risk, and spent a lot of money to create these crops. In some ways this is not unlike the problem the music industry faces when digital music hit the scene. If you don’t protect your product then everyone can make copies and you lose your entire investment. Monsanto has every right to prevent the farmer from taking seeds from these plants and using them for next years crop.

Keep in mind the farmer always has the option to use plain old un-patented seed stock if he wants to and he won’t have this issue. Its a bit disingenuous to want the latest invention but complain about having to pay the price.

Amazingly enough, back before we had GM crops, seed producers had to spend all kinds of money to develop new crops (which often took years to produce results), taking a lot of risk, and with no way of protecting the final result.  When it hit the market, their competitors would simply buy the seeds, and in a year or two, be offering the same crop, yet they still managed to turn a profit.

If you pick up enough seed catalogs, you’ll quickly notice that almost all of them are nearly identical, not only in terms of the seeds they offer, but the photos and ad copy accompanying each photo.  This is because most of your seed suppliers have been subjected to the same consolidation that has happened in other industries.  This limits your sources of independent suppliers, and even some of the independent suppliers have run into issues where their crops have been contaminated by crops produced by other companies.

GM crops aren’t necessarily evil, but a lot of the ones that have been developed are the product of short term thinking, and failing to understand evolution.  In China, they genetically engineer cotton plants to be resistant to weevils, this led to an explosion of other pests that were normally kept in check by weevils, so the crop losses worked out to be about the same, rather than lower.

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Posted: 25 June 2013 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Not to beat a dead horse, but here’s something that came into another discussion group. Things I didn’t know.


The scientific monthly magazine, Scientific American, August 2009 reveals the shocking and alarming reality behind the proliferation of GMO products throughout the food chain of the planet since 1994. There are no independent scientific studies published in any reputed scientific journal in the world for one simple reason. It is impossible to independently verify that GMO crops such as Monsanto Roundup Ready Soybeans or MON8110 GMO maize perform as the company claims, or that, as the company also claims, that they have no harmful side effects because the GMO companies forbid such tests!

That’s right. As a precondition to buy seeds, either to plant for crops or to use in research study, Monsanto and the gene giant companies must first sign an End User Agreement with the company. For the past decade, the period when the greatest proliferation of GMO seeds in agriculture has taken place, Monsanto, Pioneer (DuPont) and Syngenta require anyone buying their GMO seeds to sign an agreement that explicitly forbids that the seeds be used for any independent research. Scientists are prohibited from testing a seed to explore under what conditions it flourishes or even fails. They cannot compare any characteristics of the GMO seed with any other GMO or non-GMO seeds from another company. Most alarming, they are prohibited from examining whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended side-effects either in the environment or in animals or humans.

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Posted: 25 June 2013 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Lois, I agree that these companies may be acting in a heavy handed fashion but this is a unique situation. Once someone is allowed to study or copy their product the company is likely to suffer a large loss of their investment. I don’t have a copy of the 2009 Scientific American edition you are referring to. Was this an actual article written by one of their staff writers or a paid advertisement? At any rate you need to keep two things in mind. Farmers don’t do any significant level of research, scientists do, so limiting how much an end user can tinker with your product does not really impair research on that product. The FDA and EPA have jurisdiction over these products and they are unencumbered by the end user agreement that the farmers sign. They can and do monitor these products for safety. Also remember that growers and seed manufacturers still develop new varieties of plants using the old method of GM and no one requires or is asking for any similar testing or study of those products.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/Biotechnology/ucm346030.htm

As far as any research on the effectiveness of these modifications, I am again not sure how much research would be done by end users anyway. They are farmers not scientists and while they might be able to do this sort of study its not their job. Consider this though. No one is going to know or stop a farmer from running a little study on an acre or two of his own land if he wants to test out the benefits. If his little study showed there was no benefit to the new plants he would stop using them. I would think that pretty soon other farmers either through a similar process or just through gut feeling might notice the GMO plants didn’t have any advantage and would stop paying a premium to use them also. Its a bit of the “emperors new clothes”. If there isn’t anything there eventually its going to become apparent to everyone.

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Posted: 25 June 2013 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Except that the article never mentions anything about “harmful side effects.” It talks about scientists not being allowed to verify if the crops may have any “unintended environmental effects.” Don’t make stuff up, Lois.

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Posted: 25 June 2013 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Maybe I should add that the “unintended environmental effects” are mentioned in reference to the use of the agricultural land. But I understand, it doesn’t sound as scary as Lois’s “harmful side effects.”

[ Edited: 25 June 2013 05:03 AM by George ]
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Posted: 21 November 2013 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I know this has nothing to do with G.M. food, but I was in Costco today and was given a sample of a probiotic yogurt drink.  I took a sip of it and realized from the taste, that I’d far prefer an ANTI-biotic yogurt drink.  smile

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Posted: 22 November 2013 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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George - 23 June 2013 07:03 AM

I think all cars should display a huge sign saying ‘May cause fatal injuries,’ just like the cigarette packs in Canada. And just like the cigarette packs it should also show photos of people dying from car accidents.

Probiotics are the new antioxidants, a great marketing ploy that has very little basis in science. Get out your wallets.

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