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Why do people hate genetically modified food?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by onix, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. onix

    onix Senior member

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    I agree. For the record, as co-op member myself, I know that there are many reasons for co-op. In particular, I can make cheese out of my non-Pasteurized milk.
     
  2. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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  3. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    Awesome! We cannot retail raw milk here.
     
  4. Cold Iron

    Cold Iron Senior member

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    Yes. And no. And if I wanted milk in the 70's I just went down to the bulk tank and dipped it out. In fact it was one of my chores every 2 days. NY was second in dairy production only to Wi. until those happy cows in Ca. took over. [​IMG]

    We do not live in just a local community any more when it comes to food, damn I can't believe I just said that. But today the first ship of the season is headed to Duluth now that the ice is almost out and will be heading out soon with wheat. And many more will follow to deliver it all around the world. When the US government decided to subsidise corn for ethanol production they screwed corn prices up so bad that prices rose all around the world. Mexico City had riots because people couldn't afford to eat anymore. Because of GMO new crops have already been developed that can grow where they never could before increasing food production around the world. A new strain of corn was released last year that can grow in dry areas that it never could before including West of the Missouri River. I am not in favor of risking the health and well being of Americans to feed the rest of the world. I also believe we shouldn't ignore them either, but they should be paying us back too.

    From a scientific standpoint it is no different from the selective breeding we have been doing all along. One of my neighbors is a PhD in Genetics and Chemistry and we have had several talks about it. Down to the molecular level. With my background I have a pretty good understanding of it. He is now a professor and gets bombarded by facility and students alike about it. If he was still in research he would have a bias, but he isn't. Then again most people have a bias of one type or another.

    People fear what they don't know or understand. They also have a bias that influences them without facts or evidence. And often have knee jerk responses like this:
    I could answer 2-5 but it would be a waste of time. As far as 1 and 6 I declare bullshit. You can not taste or tell the difference in a blind taste test so that isn't even a subjective response. It is a false one.
     
  5. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    1 person likes this.
  6. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    ^^^^


    I yearn for that strawberry.
     
  7. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    As a wine guy, gome, I'm sure that you would enjoy and appreciate it. Go to Japan if ever you can.

    This little piece of street food, a roasted yam, was also fabulous:

    [​IMG]


    ~ H
     
  8. nateo

    nateo Member

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    The "conventional" method of producing new varieties of commercial crops today frequently involves bombarding seeds with radiation to produce mutations.They then select and cross-breed the plants they like. Even new "organic" varieties are developed this way. I really don't see how GMO is worse.
     
  9. Cold Iron

    Cold Iron Senior member

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    You do realize that there are NO GMO Strawberries commercially grown anywhere in the world don't you? So you still have not done a side by side comparison. Funny that you should bring up the Strawberry because the anti GMO crowd always uses it and so many false emails have circulated the internet about it that Strawberry farms have had to start defending themselves and posting information on their websites to set the facts straight,such as this producer in Fl: http://www.wishfarms.com/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos-explained/

    Maybe the reason it tasted so good to you is that Japan uses human waste as a fertilizer? I used to pull in there a lot from the mid 70's till 83 then spent the next 15 years in the Med, Gulf and North Atlantic. I personally never really cared for the food in Japan that much, produce or not. And have access to so many Strawberry farms where I live that I have not had a "bad" Strawberry in many years. And that applies to any place where I have lived in the US. Many large grocery store chains use imported strawberries and greenhouse grown when out of season.

    What Cary Grant said makes sense to me and I agree, one thing he did not mention is to eat local produce and in season, which I do. But Americans want everything all the time.
     
  10. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Yes, I am aware that there are no GMO strawberries. There are not that many GMO fruits (one papaya, and some citrus at least I am aware of). I am not an anti-GMO crazy, however, so I was not aware that there is some viral thing about GMO strawberries. My contention is more that the farming industry does not have my desires at heart, therefore they are likely to prioritize their desires (profit) at the expense of mine, especially when they get a new toy that will make it oh so much easier. So while you are correct that I have not done a side-by-side GMO and not, my comparison was not intended to be -- it was intended to be product of U.S. industrial farming v. other. The strawberry is an example of that -- not that its a bad strawberry, just that it is a shadow of what it could be, c.f. the tomato controversy. I agree that wanting everything all the time is completely wrong, and also eat local and seasonally as much as possible.

    I'm sorry you did not care much for Japanese food; cuisine is one thing, but I'm really unclear how anyone could not be stunned by the produce. Human waste? That was a traditional practice in much of Asia (probably everywhere at one time or another), and I really don't care all that much. But I don't think it is very prevalent in modern Japan.

    ~ H
     
  11. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    this is my major issue, the other one is that I am not sure that we know all possible ramifications, for instance, we have been using plastics for 50 years, and it seems that certain chemicals in plastics can mimic human hormones and can impact people, especially children's development. we are playing with things that we don't understand all the ways it can impact the environment.

    that said, I don't think that we should cut out genetically modified foods completely, I just think we should be careful in how we use them. honestly, without some of the ways we have modified agricultural products in the past 50 years we couldn't feed anywhere near as many people as we feed now.
     
  12. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Indeed. Witness Norman Borlaug. How many millions of lives were saved by dwarf wheat?
     
  13. onix

    onix Senior member

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    But this is not a problem of GMO alone. It applies to everything. For example, we have been eating wild fish since the beginning of humanity, but not until the 1950s we learned that some fish such as tuna has a high level of mercury which is also harmful for children's development. So why does GMO get singled out for side effect that has not been proven/shown? Simply because it's a bit more advanced and people don't understand it very well?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  14. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    Could be the straw the broke the camels back. Enough is enough as it were.
     
  15. hendrix

    hendrix Senior member

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    Yes, this is my only issue with the way industry utilises GM.

    I'm a research scientist and work with genetically modified organisms and perform mutagenesis frequently. It can be tested, it can be safe, and it can lead to excellent gains in yield, taste, viability etc etc. So I have no problems with it as a concept.

    Take a look at grapes. I'm not sure what it's like in the US, but most of the grapes we eat are those big fat commercial grapes. The way they get them that big is very simple; each cell essentially has 4 copies of its genome. The cells are larger, the grapes are larger and look more plump and juicy.

    There are many ways to also enhance the sugar production. Sweeter grapes, yay!

    Except when you taste a small, nice organic grape you realise that it's so full of complex flavours and aromas that are simply not present in the industrially grown ones. If the measure for how well a scientist has done his job is the glucose production or the size of the grape or other easily quantifiable measures then there is a risk of losing the complexities of flavour. I suppose this is where art and science need to be aware of each other.

    Of course, this is not an issue exclusive to GM.

    Most people drink shitty mass produced beer that tastes like carbonated water, with as little complexity as possible. For every litre of artfully crafted beer there's 1000L of heineken produced.

    I guess there may end up being scientists who recognise this and work towards adding interest and things beyond simple quantifiable measures to commercial food.
     
    2 people like this.
  16. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    Excellent post, Hendrix.
     
  17. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    There's actually been a lot of work on studying the genes of heirloom tomatoes to understand why they taste so much better than modern tomatoes. I'm sure there's interest in producing GMO variants with all the flavor of classic heirlooms but the durability and ease of growing of moderns.
     
  18. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    This is starting to remind me of an old business motto that goes, "Cheap, fast, high quality. Pick which two you want." It seems much of GMO is trading off some positive attributes at the cost of others.
     
  19. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    why should agriculture be different than other businesses? serious question.

    there have been a lot of claims about this, but i haven't seen any evidence that has stood up to inspection. there are a lot of issues behind colony collapse disorder ... drought, pests, chemicals, overwork, supplemental feed, neonicotinoid pesticides ... probably all of them.

    No, not necessarily. In citrus, for example, most seedless fruit comes from varieties that are self-sterile, but which can be cross-pollinated quite easily by other citrus varieties, meaning there must be sufficient space between the plantings to prevent pollen from drifting. It's quite easy to find seedless and seeded examples of the same variety. Seedlessness is a varietal issue with some fruits, such as watermelons, where the fruits have been bred to have three sets of chromosomes, which prevents seed development.

    and the acid is quite powerful, too, huh?

    this is one of the essential arguments against GMO, but I don't find it valid because it's criticizing the way the technique is used rather than the technique itself. And, as goes with your strawberry example, Mendelian genetics hasn't done such a hot job either. The reality is, strawberries are supposed to be a very fragile 6-week fruit. You can look at the fact that we have berries all-year-round that can be shipped from California to New York as a good thing or a bad thing.

    this is it exactly. we're very lucky that we live in a time when we have a choice: we can buy fruit that has great flavor (by picky shopping at farmers markets, etc.), and we can also buy fruit at a low enough cost that almost everyone can afford it. But it's really hard to have both in the same piece of fruit.
     
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  20. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    FG- I never said they should. I was notorious in my non-profit industry for pushing the bottom line. I could have worded that sentence better; my point was I feel driving the use of GMO exclusively for the sake of shareholders at the expense of the sanctity of our food chain I find abhorrent. There are better ways to pick a peach.

    As to bees- it is likely a combo of all. We're friends with the woman here at he U. That is the leading expert on CCD... GMO's are playing a role but are not the only culprit. We always want to find one cause to very problem, sometimes it's the combined result of many mistakes, and we should fix all of them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013

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