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Linda_Owl's avatar

I am wondering if my fellow Flutherites realize the extent of the GMOs that are already in our food?

Asked by Linda_Owl (7738points) September 21st, 2012

Just think about it, all of the vegetable oils that you buy (unless you have a source for organic vegetable oil) are made from Canola Oil that has been genetically modified to blow-up the stomachs of any insects foolish enough to try to eat them & most of these oils also contain Soy Oil that has also been genetically modified to do the same thing. These GMOs come directly thru & contaminate our bodies, causing food allergies & cancer & causes damage to our internal organs. And if the various animals that we eat (cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, & sheep) are fed grain that has been genetically modified, this also comes directly thru into our bodies & contaminates us. This affects the eggs that the chickens lay & if dairy cows are also fed grain that has been genetically modified, when we drink the milk that comes from these cows, the GMOs come thru & contaminates our bodies. The bread that we buy is made with genetically modified Canola Oil & Soy Oils, & a lot of the grains have also been genetically modified. There does not seem to be any way to escape these GMOs & science has shown (independent science studies because Monsanto & Dow Chemical have stated that it does not see any value in doing science studies) that the GMOs are causing cancer & stomach ailments & food allergies. The animals that are being fed these GMO grains are getting sick & are dying slowly (depending on the size of the animal). So the farmers & ranchers are selling these animals for slaughter & they go directly into our food chain.

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25 Answers

DWW25921's avatar

The problem is ignorance and apathy. Most people don’t know and don’t care to. You’re right though, it is a serious problem. As long as the big chemical companies keep lining the pockets of our senators and congressmen it won’t change. In fact, I see it getting much worse.

People tend to buy what’s on sale or cheap. The cheap food is usually not actually a food product. Have you ever dumped synthetic margarine by an ant mound? Not only does it not melt, insects won’t eat it. It’s pretty telling when a bug doesn’t want to eat our food.

Subjects like this one are one of the reasons I’m a registered independent. Let’s say that the republicans and democrats are a couple of cars. For years they worked ok, they both took a lot of people where they want to go. Now, they’re obsolete. They’re really not working all that well. They whine and complain about the other pile of rust in the driveway and never look at their own broken fender.

That just to say, we need a change in this country. An absolute reorganization. Lest be honest, does it really matter who wins this election? The other side will be so opposed to anything the winner does do you think anything, including fixing our food supply, will ever get done? I have no confidence in our government to fix this or any major issue for that matter. I honestly wish I could be more optimistic.

Anyway, it’s a good, thought provoking question. I have a solution, don’t vote for the people that get their pockets lined by chemical companies! Thanks for the insight.

Fred931's avatar

I had no idea that this was such a problem.

Our family often buys organic when the product is something pretty much straight from a farm, like deli items. But what about things like snack food, etc.? How is it possible to tell for products like restaurant food, candies, and so on whether or not GMOs are involved somewhere along the production chain?

Not much else I can say because, obviously, I don’t know much about the subject.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Well, I have been spending some time on the computer recently & tracking down the companies that make the things that I buy on a regular basis & contacting them to see if they contain GMOs & most of them do. Then I have told these various companies that I am going to try to find other products that do not contain the GMOs & all of these companies have contacted me in return & said that they would notify their Marketing Depts. to let them know about my decision to no longer by their products due to the presence of the GMOs.

Qingu's avatar

Cite scientific studies that show GMO’s cause cancer, stomach ailments, and food allergies.

I am a science editor; I often deal with agricultural subjects. I know of absolutely no such studies.

I think GMO’s should be labeled, but I find a lot of the hyperventilating about them to be rather ignorant. There is nothing inherently wrong with GMO’s; every single food you eat has had its genes highly modified by selective breeding. And more importantly, GMO’s are the only way we are going to be able to achieve widespread sustainable agriculture.

There are problems associated with GMO’s (especially Monsanto’s patenting and tie-ins with Roundup). But I think @Linda_Owl‘s statements are completely ridiculous.

Fred931's avatar

Totally with @Qingu . I can find a couple news articles about it and then some, iduno, hippie-conspiracy-theorist pages about it, but other than that nothing to back up how bad it actually is.

Like I said, I’m mostly observing.

DWW25921's avatar

@Qingu I’m not against or for anyone. I am searching for facts and the facts I find tend to side with Linda_Owl on this one. If you have some conflicting information I would be open to reading it.

I too am only looking for the facts. The fact is, I have seen studies all over the internet. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, I realize. However, too much of anything is never a good thing. The fact that these chemicals are in our food supply troubles me. There seems to be a scientific consensus that GMO’s are bad. Is there not a scientific consensus about the theory of evolution? I fail to see the difference in validity.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Also this link (then click on GMO Facts)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I came across an AP article yesterday that linked GMOs and higher incidences of cancer, early deaths, and lower birth weights in mice. I think it was a reputable study. I can dig it up.

Qingu's avatar

@Linda_Owl, your first source involves the pesticide. It does not implicate GMO’s. Nobody is arguing that Roundup is healthy. It’s a poison.

The second link does not specify (at least not as far as I can tell) the numbers between pure GM corn diet and GM corn + pesticide. And as the source notes, the study is very small.

Neither of those sources is, of course, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. They did not cite a scientific journal in which the science was published. (Not saying it wasn’t, just that it didn’t say).

@DWW25921, your sources are also not scientific journals. They are largely activist websites and from what I can tell are rather shoddy scientific reporters.

Your first source cites nothing in a peer-reviewed journal as far as I can tell.

Your second source cites a study (a survey of 19 studies) but completely misrepresents its conclusion. Here is the conclusion of the study:

The 90-day-long tests are insufficient to evaluate chronic toxicity, and the signs highlighted in the kidneys and livers could be the onset of chronic diseases. However, no minimal length for the tests is yet obligatory for any of the GMOs cultivated on a large scale, and this is socially unacceptable in terms of consumer health protection. We are suggesting that the studies should be improved and prolonged, as well as being made compulsory, and that the sexual hormones should be assessed too, and moreover, reproductive and multigenerational studies ought to be conducted too.

More importantly, these 19 studies explicitly say the crops in question were modified so that they can be treated with or produce a pesticide! (see what I wrote to Linda Owl above.)

Your third source is about the high cost of GMO seeds. I agree! Monsanto are greedy bastards. This is unrelated to the points I was contesting, however.

Your fourth source is the same as your second source.

Qingu's avatar

I just want to be clear about the difference between pesticides and GMOs.

Pesticides are poisons. They are widely used in modern agriculture. Monsanto (and probably other companies) sell a very popular pesticide called Roundup. They also sell crops that are genetically engineered specifically so that they work with Roundup. This makes lots of $$$ for Monsanto, and it makes it easy for farmers to grow crops without having to worry about pests.

Now, it’s one thing to say you want to avoid chemical pesticides. I agree! This is one reason I try to buy organic food. Organic food is not legally allowed to be sprayed with chemical pesticides.

It’s one thing to say you want to avoid Monsanto GMO crops specifically. Monsanto GMO crops are engineered to work with their pesticides. Monsanto is also a horrible and exploitative company.

It’s a completely different thing to say you want to avoid all GMO’s. There are GMO crops that have nothing to do with Roundup or other pesticides. There are GMO crops that are engineered specifically so that they don’t have to be sprayed with chemical poisons. GMO is a tool—just like selective breeding, which is how every crop ever grown was made, is a tool. You can selectively breed crops to work with pesticides, or you can GMO them. Like other tools, GMO can be used for good or evil.

DWW25921's avatar

@Qingu I guess I’m not very good at this! :) I tried. Hey, If I ever need a lawyer I’ll know who to call! Just one quick question, why is it so important to you that GMO’s aren’t harmful? I mean, too much of anything is bad, right?

philosopher's avatar

I try to buy as much organic or natural food as possible. I shop at Trader Joe ‘s and Stop and Shop. I read labels.
Monsanto is using us as their experiment. No one has done long term studies on GM food. Both parties support Monsanto.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@DWW25921 GMO is also breeding for certain traits. We did that all the time on our farm selecting certain traits in the bulls we picked for AI for the cows. Making a plant able to survive Roundup is completely different. The pollen from some of those plants is toxic to some plants and insects.

Qingu's avatar

@DWW25921, it’s important to me for two reasons. One is that a lot of the anti-GMO stuff I read is just not true. It misrepresents science, and I think it’s very important—especially with matters of public policy—to approach things factually.

Second, I don’t see a way to sustainably feed 7 billion + people without GMOs. I am not pro-industrial agriculture. It’s environmentally harmful and in any case it’s based on fossil fuels which will run out. Organic food is a step in the right direction, but it’s not clear at all that organic farming can feed all the world’s people. If we can use GMO tech to breed crops that can be grown without ff-based pestcides and fertilizers, we should. And knee-jerk opposition to GMOs prevents this from happening.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know enough about the subject to say whether the end result of GMOs will be beneficial or detrimental to the world as a whole. I’ll leave that to scientists and time to determine.

As far as whether they will be beneficial or detrimental to me, that is, should I be worried about eating them… to be honest, I couldn’t care less. Plenty of the shit I eat, drink, or smoke is well documented to be bad for me… and it doesn’t stop me from doing any of it. Something is going to kill me, some day. I intend to enjoy my life in the meantime, and not worry about stuff like this.

LuckyGuy's avatar

GMOs might harm us. But starvation and food shortages definitely will.
Until we start controlling population, there will be more mouths to feed from fewer acres of arable land.
Modern farming techniques and GMOs have increased crop yields to levels unthinkable just 40 years ago. Food prices are low and in some countries, rather than starvation, obesity is the major health issue.

DWW25921's avatar

@Qingu There’s plenty of farmland all over the world not being used. I know there’s a lot of people too, but even in my state there are empty fields everywhere. How do we make it beneficial for people to use their land? I’ve seen photos of the African tundra, the steps of Russia and every time I see these things I think to myself; Where are the crops? There are literally millions of square miles of land all over the world that is just simply sitting there.

Is it that people don’t want to farm or is it they don’t know how? How do we encourage farming while at the same time not flooding the market with goods so it’s still a profitable venture? There are folks at flea markets here with small family farms that make an absolute killing selling regional vegetables. How do we step that sort of thing up?

Genetically modifying things to boost production may do just that but is it really all that beneficial when the culture we live in won’t bother to plant the crops in the first place unless there’s a huge profit margin? What about the cost of these seeds? How do we make it worth it to people?

elbanditoroso's avatar

So what? genetic modification has been going on for 6000 years – ever since mankind figured out that they could cultivate instead of hunt for food. In ancient times that put different types of corn next to each other and they genetically modified (through hybridization).

The only substantial between what is done today and what was done 5000 years ago is the methods (using chemistry labs instead of letting the wind blow).

What do you think cattle breeding is all about> Genetic modification to breed the strongest, most fecund, most meat-laden (or milk laden) cow. Same with horse breeding – choosing the best genes for the best horses.

Or look at wine – cross cultivation of grapes for the best grapes on the best vines for the best tasting wine.

All of this folderol about GMO is alarmism at its craven worst. Scare tactics.

Seek's avatar

I’m with @augustlan – I’ll eat an organic banana because it tastes better, and I buy fair trade Organic coffee because I know it directly benefits the people working on the coffee plantation, but srsly, people need to get over it. We wouldn’t have bok choy or brussels sprouts if someone hadn’t genetically modified the wild cabbage plant.

Qingu's avatar

@DWW25921, I’m not sure there’s actually that much unused farmland in the grand scheme of things.

And I definitely don’t think there’s any simple answer to the problem. I mean this is arguably the problem that has faced humanity throughout its history. So many factors go into it: total world population, the state of the world market economy, local geography, local cultures, local government and corruption, living standards, demand for luxury items like meat (which drives up prices of grain since that’s what cows eat), energy consumption and sources, and in a few years climate change.

In America, at least in the city where I live, there’s high demand for farmer’s market stuff, which is basically a small luxury. In other places people are too poor to bother with that stuff, or they simply don’t prioritize locally grown artisinal produce—or they live in the mountains or the middle of nowhere. You certainly can’t transplant this system to modern-day sub-Saharan Africa. In some places of the world people still practice subsistence farming. So I’m not sure it’s possible to “make it worth it” to everyone—agriculture will always probably be geographically heterogenous to some degree.

My point here is that if we are going to work to improve agriculture and make it more sustainable on a global scale, we really shouldn’t be handicapping our toolkit to do so with some uninformed ideological objection to GMO tech.

dabbler's avatar

“crops that are engineered specifically so that they don’t have to be sprayed with chemical poisons” Those GMO crops don’t have to be sprayed with poison because they make their own pesticides.
And the lucky consumer gets to eat that.

Qingu's avatar

@dabbler, some GMO’s are altered to produce Bt proteins as a pesticide. The same proteins are also used to control pests in organic farming, though.

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