GMO food

olpea(zone 6 KS)July 30, 2013

On this forum, there's been a lot of discussion on of GM food. The following article showed up on the Apple-Crop listserv a few days ago. I thought the NYT article interesting.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Race to Save the Orange

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Wow. Well Olpea, what do you think?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:26PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

All the foods we eat are genetically modified. In fact some of our own DNA is derived from virus DNA. Yet people won't eat an orange if it had a single virus gene for greening resistance. I guess they'd rather drink orange flavored corn fructose.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:41PM
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    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:27PM
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This one's also worth a read:

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic agriculture - Affluent Narcissism?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:21PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Wow. Well Olpea, what do you think?"

Whether one likes GMOs or not, I think they will become more prevalent in the future, out of necessity.

Eventually citrus greening will spread everywhere. Unless people want to give up eating/drinking citrus, it's going to be GM citrus.

I expect the same thing to happen to stone fruits. Eventually plum pox will spread everywhere (including the U.S.). Canada has already given up on eradication of the disease and is focusing on containment (A selfish decsion IMO. Canada is not being a good neighbor in this regard.)

The issue of plum pox with stone fruits is somewhat different than citrus greening in that w/ plum pox there are some stone fruits that have some natural resistance to the virus. Still, GM makes a lot of sense as a solution for plum pox because, as I understand it, a protective gene can be inserted in current stone fruit varieties, so that those varieties can still be grown with new resistance to plum pox, whereas only using varieties with some natural resistance against the disease would cause us to loose much of the progress mankind has put into stone fruit breeding. In essence we would lose most of the improved cultivars.

Many new pressures exist today (pests and otherwise) that will force us to more GMOs.

The one wild card in all of this is that if one GMO causes some significant unforeseen damage to the environment or humans, the backlash could be extensive enough to shut the science down completely (I'm thinking of something akin to the Adromina Strain novel.) Barring that, the use of GM crops will increase.

Unfortunately, the organic movement is rapidly approaching a crisis (whether they know it or not). It looks like GM is the only real technology that will save the citrus industry. Likewise I believe the stone fruit industry will be forced to look to GM as the best solution to plum pox. Spotted Wing Drosophila is going to kick our arses when it comes to cherry and berry production (it's just a matter of time). I spoke with a commercial peach grower the other day who was saying some commercial berry growers are spraying every three days to keep the maggots out of their berries. Organic controls aren't strong enough for this pest.

I don't necessarily have a lot of optimism being a conventional grower of fruit, and I'm not at all against organically grown food, but to be an organic grower of fruit right now does not look promising at all.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:01PM
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alan haigh

I don't blame people for being alarmed about GMO's. I'm just a lot more alarmed about the prospects of feeding the planet in the face of a rising Asian population of meat eaters (very inefficient food source) and uncertain climate. GMO's are potentially far to useful to shun, IMO.

If we could count on the Gov. to competently oversee the safety issues involved I'd feel even more sanguine about the incorporation of GMO's.

I thought BT corn was a bad idea- good only for short term profits. Sound pest control methods involve rotating pesticides to slow resistance development. Now BT will be worthless for everyone trying to grow corn near where this corn was grown.

Corporations are only going to be concerned with short term profits but they have way too much influence over our government, in my opinion. Capitalism is a great system but it needs policing.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Olpea, that is a mouthful and a thoughtful post. What are the berries being sprayed with?

The SWD is here in RI and attacking the raspberries, and strawberries. I get an email a week with the local count from the Univ of RI head of Hort. We're all spraying for it. Though, I am a tiny home grower compared to the likes of your land and commercial orchards, I still want to grow my own fruit, because it just tastes better. I really don't care about the the hours of work, I really enjoy the result when it happens. All of this news is simply not good. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 7:58PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

i personally have no initial fears of eating something with a spinach protein inserted into it...a lot more then a crop with a roundup gene ...

Its still going to be awhile before your orange juice is GMO.

I do agree that as humans continue to destroy the planet, with population shooting to 10 billion, we'll have to do everything and anything to produce food. Throw in this crazy weather, and low stockpiles of grains...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:02PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"What are the berries being sprayed with? "

Some of the pyrethroids like Mustang Max, Brigade, etc. have a 1 day PHI on berries. The guy I spoke with said the berry orchards were spraying one side while their pickers were on the other. He said crews come through every night to pick up fallen fruit to try to reduce pest pressure.

I have to admit his comments left me a little unsettled.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:02PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


Another reason why the Israel and other desert dwellers have the upper hand..if things get bad...just let everything die and come back in a few years and start over... I say move production to the Sahara desert and ship in water...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Andromeda Strain, Crichton named it for the Andromeda Galaxy.

Not surprising about the SWD; I use various tricks and methods to reduce the impact on my backyard harvest, but I have seen no flies in the local U-pick fields.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:12PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Another possibility is to move fruit growing indoors, like Fruitnut. While it could add cost, it also takes some of the bite out of weather-related issues. This article describes this development in China, for peaches.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peaches from greenhouse

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:26AM
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For at least the 10th time, all I ask for is that all GMO food to be labelled as such. Let people vote with their dollars. Those that don't care or prefer GMO food can have at it, and those that don't want it can skip it. Regardless of how you feel about the subject, isn't it better to have the option of knowing what you are buying?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:59AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

GMO will be the future for the good,.. but man still makes a fuss with many opponents,...slowing down the progress.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:03AM
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I agree with mr clint. The very least they can do i label...

I think it depends on what they do with GMO and how they do it. Papaya was saved due to GMO tech. They are thinking of using GMO banana for the same reason. The only thing is it wont stop the problem - monoculture of the same genetic line (im talkin banana). Its known to be part of the problem which is causing the disease in banana, and also all but wiped out the "gros mIchele" banana you older folks may remember eating in the 50s or 60s.

The problem I have is with the roundup ready GMO. I see this more of a money making gimmick then helpful. Recent longer term studies have also shown that there may be lasting effects in mammals as well (not with GMO in general, im talkin round up ready gmo). THis is what most people seem to think about when you mention GMO. Again, round up ready strains are due to farmers not wanting anything but their crops (again, usually blocks of monoculture with try to force succession into overdrive) It also just seems to be a big business plan rather then helping farmers (again, in regards to round up ready/monsanto crops, not GMO in general).

The real problem IMO, is the fact that even though many GMO crops are labeled as "infertile" or "seedless" or "pollenless" this does not mean completely. GMO grains have escaped cultivation. There have been many law suits on monantos behalf for "copyright" because gmo genes have showed up in non GMO crops as well. There needs to be more studies done on how much damage, if any that gmo pollen can cause on non gmo crops and that industry. You also cannot save monsanto seeds.

I also wouldt be surprised if the definition of GMO was changed. You can in theory apply it to cross breeding plants, as well as synthetic crosses and work on the genome in labs. The vast majority of people seem to think of GMO as foods worked on in labs and having non plant or non species genes implanted into its genome.

I think they can be used for our benefit, and even natures benefit. The problem is that there seem to be many pressing problems with our food crops. Namely citrus and banana at the moment. This also makes GMO research and implementation seem a bit rushed. Like these quotes from monantos own site:

"Thus, there is no need to undertake lifetime animal cancer studies for GM foods that contain new DNA, RNA, and proteins with well-characterized functions"

"Why aren’t you running human clinical trials on GM crops?
Because existing food crops are recognized as safe, the logical starting point for safety assessment of a GM food is to ask “what’s different?”"

How do you know they are safe without running clinical trials? There have been some done, some which I have posted before, in which the scientists needed a court order to get what little clinical data monanto had to compare. All legitamate longer term studies now have found some discrepancies, but all agree there needs to be way more long term studies in regards to round up ready GMO. I have not heard of such problems with GMO crops like papaya.

To me, using GMO is like a bandaid for trying to cover the damage that modern day agriculture causes. The problem is people are either unwilling to change, or there is not enough evidence to suggest other ways of farming.

Has anyone seen the new study showing that type of rizobia that can attatch itself to any seed or root system, therefore letting the plant take in atmospheric nitrogen, like a legume? I think that has more impact then GMO food at the moment.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:31AM
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"The guy I spoke with said the berry orchards were spraying one side while their pickers were on the other. "

Holy cow!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:41AM
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On my way to the local farmers market last weekend,a guy was out trying to enlist people for support.He was from WashPIRG or the Washington Public Interest Research Group.
One of their goals is to get GMO's labeled on food containers.
I signed up for a small monthly donation.I've included a link to the website.Maybe there's something like it in your state. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: WashPIRG

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:45PM
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There is, of course, the proven fact that pigs on GMO food have much higher rates of digestive tract inflammation (about 30%). We had a thread in the Organic Gardening about 3 weeks ago. Granted, they would be inflamed with conventional soybeans and corn, because these are foods not even fit for pigs, but their chance of inflammation would be 10-15%.

To me the emphasis on GMO is misplaced. We have sent billions of tons of P down rivers and into the sea, and now we are looking at peak P. We have not even begun to use the most efficient and ubiquitous and nutritious type of meat, insects and larvae. We continue to create communities which are exceptionally unsuitable for urban agriculture. We have no permaculture to speak of.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 10:09PM
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"To me the emphasis on GMO is misplaced".

Its been sold as a cure all for farming - but then again cocaine was sold as a "cure all" for people........ Again, I see some great steps forward with GMO, but as you mentioned glib, its still the same story - same agriculture same problems.

There are some cities that are doing some forest gardens. Seattle is one, and I believe vancouver is another. There are quite a decent number of them in california. There is a permaculture community there which seems to work quite well.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 8:10AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

"There is, of course, the proven fact that pigs on GMO food have much higher rates of digestive tract inflammation (about 30%)."

That's the conclusion of one particular study, but critics have raised some red flags with regard to the study's methodology. This article at Food Safety News provides a good overview of the debate:

...and these three blog posts highlight a multitude of issues with the study:

GMO pigs study -- more junk science

Please note that I'm not looking to debate the merits of this study -- read the study, read the critics, and come to your own conclusions. I'm merely pointing out that it's far (very, very far) from an open and shut case.

This post was edited by shazaam on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 10:26

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:52AM
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