View Full Version : Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Jan 3rd, 2005, 12:37 PM
I highly recommend the book, Seeds of Deception written by Jeffrey M Smith especially for any Americans interested in the GMO debate. Mr. Smith has written a fascinating yet terrifying book covering everything from the lack of testing of GMO foods to the flip-flopping of lawyers between the major corporations like Monsanto to high-ranking positions in the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in order to get GM technology approved. Scientists who have spoken out against genetic modification have been systematically silenced, their careers destroyed and their research thrown away. How is anyone to know the real truth if the government is hiding it???
I have that book. I heard the man who wrote the book as he came into our local food store, talk about it & promoting his book.
Jan 4th, 2005, 06:02 AM
I really don't need convincing, the GM thing (along with any type of 'cloning') scares the **** out of me. What I need to know, is, what can I do about this???
To me, the best thing to do is avoid any foods that come from the US, as just about all their soybeans are GM, and it goes into just about everything. Also, check out the ingredients listing on whatever you buy in packets, especially avoiding 'soy protein'.
There are also lists available giving the items that are GM. Greenpeace has a "True Food Guide: How to shop GE-Free". In addition to the Greenpeace listing, the listing of foods that are either GM, or containing animal products, is available at http://www.bryngollie.com - which is possible to print out on two A4 pages. It is E Numbers - Click on Printable List (on the left column).
Jan 4th, 2005, 06:54 AM
I do try to always do the above, Eve, but what we can we do in protest about this issue, to show our concern outwardly?
Jan 5th, 2005, 06:03 AM
Hi PFC, in a way it is like how we boycott the meat, dairy, fish, and egg industries, by being vegan. Eventually manufacturers had to provide food such as soymilk that contains no dairy, and imitation egg powders and tofus. Perhaps the same will apply to GMOs, when supermarkets see that people are not buying GM foods, they stop purchasing goods containing GM ingredients, then Monsanto will give up - as indeed that company has given up in some areas.
Jan 11th, 2005, 07:29 AM
I see that Syngenta, the global gene giant that ranks first in agrochemicals and third in seeds, has a patent pending in 115 countries that, if approved, would give it a multi-genome monopoly over at least 40 plant species. Meanwhile the ETC Group (pronounced "et cetera") has written to the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) demanding that the patents be rejected. The ETC Group reveals that Syngenta's public image as the "nice" multinational belies its actual activities, as it is muscling its way toward control of dozens of plant species. If Syngenta is granted this patent, it will make Monsanto look like Santa Claus!
According to a study prepared by Dr Paul Oldham at Lancaster University (UK), the scope of Sygenta’s massive patent application is virtually limitless. Its claims extend to key gene sequences of 23 major food crops annexed to the FAO Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Dr. Oldham's analysis is available at http://www.cesagen.lancs.ac.uk/docs/genomics-final.doc
They never give up searching for more and more profits do they?
Feb 7th, 2005, 07:53 AM
In the Health Crusader newsletter, there's a link to an interesting report:
Feb 12th, 2005, 07:25 AM
Remember Percy Schmeiser? He's the Canadian farmer who was sued by Monsanto for patent infringement when the company's patented, ge canola seed invaded his farm - unwanted and unwelcome. A victim of genetic pollution and a champion of Farmers' Rights, Schmeiser courageously fought Monsanto all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court.
Percy spoke today at a UN meeting in Bangkok - harshly criticizing his government's efforts to promote commercialization of Terminator seeds (plants genetically-modified to render seeds sterile at harvest time).
A Canadian government proposal to unleash Terminator was leaked to the
ETC Group on the first day of a UN meeting in Bangkok, February 7-11. The news stunned farmers' organizations, govt delegations, and civil society worldwide. Ottawa's instructions to the Canadian delegation in Bangkok called for an all-out push for field-testing and commercialisation of sterile seed technologies, effectively un-doing the precautionary, de facto moratorium on Terminator seeds adopted by governments in 1998. Even worse, the Canadian delegation was instructed to "block consensus" by govts attending the meeting if it didn't get its way. This does not bode well for the G8 meeting of world leaders in July in Scotland where Canada will propose to introduce nanotechnology on the G-8 agenda.
Canada hasn't been working alone in Bangkok. The UN meeting was crawling with representatives from the biotech industry including Monsanto, Delta & Pine Land, Crop Life International, PHARMA (pharmaceutical manufacturers), the International Seed Federation and more - who lobbied against current restrictions on development of suicide seeds. New Zealand and Australia also backed the position of industry and Canada, while a fleet of US govt representatives observed from the sidelines. (The US govt is not
a Party to the Biodiversity Convention.)
But disaster was averted due to key interventions by the govts of Norway, Sweden, Austria, the European Community, Cuba, Peru and Liberia, on behalf of the African Group. These govts managed to delete the most offensive wording. The final text and recommendations reaffirm earlier decisions, amounting to a continuing, but fragile, de facto moratorium on Terminator. The issue now bounces to another CBD advisory body (the Working Group on 8(j)) in March 2006.
Feb 21st, 2005, 10:45 PM
If, on the other hand, there are traces of GE soya, or GE rice, then I definitely wouldn't eat it, even though that may also be vegan.
I must hijack this topic temporarily to reply to this -
"Any intentional use of GM ingredients at any level must be labelled. But there is no need for small amounts of GM ingredients (below 0.9% for approved GM varieties and 0.5% for unapproved GM varieties that have received a favourable assessment from an EC scientific committee) that are accidentally present in a food to be labelled."
(http://www.food.gov.uk/gmfoods/gm_labelling - 9th February 2005)
I also had found a page about a week ago which had an exposee of processed food products, which showed that the majority contained "accidental" GM ingredients within the above limitations on quantity - which implies to me that the big companies have more accidents than poor fortune alone would account for.
If i find that page again (i had another look for it just now, but can;t find it) then I'll post it up for all to see.
Foods prepared from GM ingredients, additives and processing aids, but sold unlabelled at the point of sale for immediate consumption - e.g. restaurants, hotels and take-aways - are also exempt from labelling requirements.
Stuff like cheese, flesh or eggs which contain GMOs (ie via the contaminated food which the animal was fed) don;t need to be labelled, neither does vegetarian cheese produced using the most common (GM-ed) vegetarian enzymes.
But, obviously vegans don;t need to worry about that
- the above link outlines the regulations comprehensively
It seems that the only true way to rely on corporations and food industries to provide food while avoiding eating GM stuff is to but organic produce and prepare and cook the food at home, rather than buying convenience food or eating out.
Of course though, this is everyone's personal gamble to make.
Feb 21st, 2005, 10:58 PM
I don't know a lot about GMOs - they seem kind of scary.
Feb 23rd, 2005, 01:46 AM
Less than one percent GMO is not all that 'microscopic', especially if it is a food that one eats frequently, and there is no ruling about labelling yet. Although there are plenty of products that say "GM-free", I've yet to see a label that states there are GMOs present. The labelling restrictions are apparently coming into force this year, next year, sometime ...
Feb 23rd, 2005, 01:51 AM
Does anyone know how fruit and veg is affected by gmo?
Feb 23rd, 2005, 10:38 PM
I am not entirely sure about the numbers of GMO's growing in Australia - I know that the South Australian Gov't has approved a 'not for sale" crop planting in SA which basically means that the pollen is a free element and the seed will be sold to farmers once the moratorium is lifted.
Round up (glysophate - a weedicide) ready soy crops are showing not only that they don't have a greater production but because they are tolerant of roundup - more is being released onto the crop and there are already glysophate resistant weeds that have the same effect on the crop as before in reducing maximum yeild. There is an associated reduction in soil biota as the roundup levels are increased, making the soil less fertile and requiring greater artificial fertilisation.
On the otherhand they are trialing a rice that has narcissus genes and a few others that concentrates iron and has co-factors for increased absorbtion - this is to be grown in poorer countries that suffer iron deficiency. I am not sure how the trial has gone so far.
Feb 24th, 2005, 04:19 AM
Syngenta's "stay ripe" banana is genetically engineered to ripen slowly. A GMO papaya is a fruit already available on grocers' stands, and GM squash is also already on store shelves. Still in the product pipeline is a GMO tomato engineered with a yeast gene to improve juice quality, and scientists are also tinkering with strawberries, lettuce and other fruits and vegetables.
"There is a lot of stuff out there," said Lisa Dry, a spokeswoman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Syngenta's efforts to introduce its transgenic wheat are expected to meet problems as anti-biotech groups are lined up against the product. Syngenta halted field trials in Germany recently after biotech activists destroyed the firm's test plots there.
Here's another url on the topic. http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/multimedia/download/1/544204/0/364
Feb 24th, 2005, 11:06 PM
For a detailed summary about GM technology. Green Peace Genetic Modification Campaign. (http://www.truefood.org.au/downloads/ge_crudeoldfashioned.pdf)
Mar 14th, 2005, 05:29 AM
Dr Mae-Wan Ho and Prof Joe Cummins of the Institute For Science in Society call for an urgent regulatory review of the most widely used herbicide, glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine), known commercially as Roundup (Monsanto) in the light of new scientific evidence. New research findings raise serious concerns over its safety, and should be sending shockwaves through proponents of GM crops made tolerant to the herbicide, which now account for 75% of all GM crops in the world.
Worse still, the most common formulation of the herbicide is even more toxic than the herbicide by itself, and is made by the same biotech giant that created the herbicide tolerant GM crops. Broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate has been frequently used both on crops and non-crops areas world-wide since it was introduced in the 1970s. Roundup is a combination of glyphosate with other chemicals including a surfactant (detergent) polyoxyethyleneamine that enhance the spreading of the spray droplets on the leaves of plants. The use of Roundup has increased in countries growing Roundup- tolerant GM crops created by Monsanto.
Mar 15th, 2005, 06:19 AM
Last night my DNA was being amplified in the lab.
For a prac we use the same technique that is used in identifying DNA found at the scene of a crime. In this prac, tiny swabs of cheek lining cells were used and extracted so that the DNA comes out of the cell and it can be mixed with a polymerase (a DNA replicating enzyme) from a deep sea bacteria. The section of the DNA we are looking at is from the smallest chromosome (No. 21). It's pretty cool stuff.
We are also modifying bacteria by inserting a few sections of DNA into viable bacteria cells and seeing how they grow on antibiotic treated plates. The ones we inserted antibiotic resistance into will grow and hopefully next week we will be able to seperate pure cultures.
I once was told about how scientists put anitbiotic resistance into bacteria to identify them and now I understand why. It seems like a crazy thing to do but it is perfectly understandable now and not going to release some horror into the world that has antibiotic resistance. Rather glad that one is cleared up :) !!!
Mar 15th, 2005, 07:47 AM
Don't know the point of your posting, veganblue, does it have any relevance to Roundup?
Mar 15th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Don't know the point of your posting, veganblue, does it have any relevance to Roundup?
Sorry Eve, I am posting in the GMO thread about GMO's that we are making as part of our practical.
The bacterium we are using is now a genetically modified organism as we inserted the DNA sequence coding for amphocillin resistance to be able to determine that we are creating a pure culture.
The GMO debate is marred by poor understanding of the terms and proceedures that take place in the field of genetics as well as in day to day living.
The linked article (http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/organo/glyphosate.htm) you might find interesting. It is well referrenced and basically says that the use of Round-up Ready soy will only lead to increased use of the herbicide and weeds with glysophate resistance.
Of particular interest is the point that RR soy should not be grown in the middle east due to the risk of gene flow.
Mar 16th, 2005, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the article; I read it a few years ago and found it most valuable. You'd think it would be obvious that if RR doesn't affect the GE crops farmers are growing, that they will saturate the land that contains other crops. In other words, the outcome is that they use more RR than ever before.
Mar 28th, 2005, 09:54 AM
For some information about the high iron rice that I keep going on about, I just found a link. (http://www.biotech-info.net/golden.html)
The news didn't look very good back then but they have not only created an improved version, they have released the rights to the work they have done - so that any lab can work on it - opposite to Monsanto.
The idea is that the rice is higher in iron and beta-carotenes which improves absorbtion and hopefully will assist poorer communities.
This was on the news today so I will post if I hear anything further.
Mar 28th, 2005, 10:03 AM
BBC News GM golden rice boosts vitamin A (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4386933.stm)
New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7196&feedId=online-news_rss20)
Medical News Today - extensive article (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=21864)
an alternative point of view...
Mar 28th, 2005, 10:17 AM
Environmental Science and Technology online (http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2005/feb/tech/pt_gmplant.html)
Technology News – February 9, 2005
GM plant field-tested for enhanced soil remediation
For many years, scientists have used plants along with bulldozers and earthmovers to clean up toxic waste sites. New research posted to ES&T’s ASAP website (es049035f) reports the first field trial of a genetically modified (GM) plant used to remediate contaminated soils.
The GM mustards were much larger and healthier than wild-type plants grown in selenium-contaminated soil.
“People have known about phytoremediation and how to genetically modify plants, but this is the first time anyone has brought these two together,” says study author Norman Terry, a professor of plant and microbial biology with the University of California, Berkeley.
Lena Q. Ma, a professor of biogeochemistry of trace metals at the University of Florida, says that this paper pushes the boundaries of phytoremediation research. Her lab discovered a fern that naturally hyperaccumulates arsenic (Nature 2001, 409, 579), and she adds that genetic modification of wild plants is the next logical step.
Apr 8th, 2005, 08:50 AM
Yes the fish in the strawberries is well known, in fact my son sometimes wears a t-shirt that shows a piece of fruit with a fish through the middle!
Apr 9th, 2005, 08:52 AM
There are other less drastic things going on too, but to me it all seems totally pointless. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the food was perfectly okay before GM. Why bother? It really does seem like 'playing god' to me. xxx.
As part of university and also in part representing animal interests (on the quiet) I attended a young farmers forum that discussed GM technology as part of the days sessions.
What was very interesting was that the farmers were not adverse to the technology on the whole. They are keen since gene sequencing is used in tracing changes in breeding crosses, whereas GM offers the opportunity to bring in gene sequences from other species; in this case an antarctic grass that can resist extreme dryness. This characteristic is being researched to develop a barley that can withstand long periods of drought and be used in farming otherwise arid lands.
The more I learn about it, the more I wonder what the fuss is about.
In Australia we have Bt cotton which is a GMO. The leaves express a protein that therefore kills insects that eat too much of the leaf. This crop does not require the vast amounts of pesticides that non-GM cotton currently requires. As far as I know, there is no toxin produced in the actual cotton fibres.
There seems to be a great deal of hype surrounding this debate; and a lot of it doesn't bear up under the weight of scrutiny.
It was suggested that Greenpeace (being a corporate body formed and paid to wage environmental activist campaigns) is using and feeding the fear of GM technology as a fund raising exercise!
I like a *lot* of what Greenpeace does, but I wonder about the truth in this matter.
Apr 9th, 2005, 09:04 AM
Bt corn and monarch butterflies (http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/br/btcorn/index.html#bt1)
Bt corn and mycotoxins (http://www.whybiotech.com/index.asp?id=4213) There are futher links at the end of this article.
I seem to remember a big uproar about threats to the Monarch butterfiles but is seems that the fear is unfounded.
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