View Full Version : Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

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Apr 22nd, 2004, 05:20 PM
globesetter Posted: Mar 1 2004, 09:45 AM

Looks like the food supply is degenerating even further...


Jun 23rd, 2004, 03:18 PM
sorry for such a long post, but i just found this article (its from 2001 though). does anyone know much about GMOs? whose food to avoid, etc.? thanks!

: ) crystal

GMOs Are Found in
Morningstar Farms Products
By MELINDA FULMER, Times Staff Writer
March 8, 2001

New laboratory tests have found that veggie burgers and meat-free corn dogs made by natural foods brand Morningstar Farms contain genetically modified soy and the controversial genetically altered feed corn, StarLink, that has not been approved for human consumption.

The tests, commissioned by the activist group Greenpeace, highlight the difficulty that even natural foods companies are having in assuring customers that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients.

Kellogg Co., which bought Morningstar's parent company, Worthington Foods, in late 1999, had told customers in a string of letters and e-mails about its conversion to a soy protein that is not produced through biotechnology. Its productswere not labeled as GMO-free, however.

Kellogg's own tests confirmed recently that the soy protein it received from its suppliers was genetically altered.

"This was an isolated incident," said Chris Ervin, a Kellogg spokeswoman. "It was a case of a supplier not providing ingredients to our specifications."

Kellogg executives have yet to decide whether to recall any of the products. But they have contacted the Food and Drug Administration, which recalled hundreds of StarLink-tainted products last year and are submitting products to an independent laboratory to be tested for the controversial corn.

FDA officials say they have insufficient information to decide whether to recall the products or investigate Kellogg's claims.

One of the tests, conducted by Fairfield, Iowa-based Genetic ID, indicated that 1% or less of the corn in Morningstar's corn dogs is of the StarLink variety, which was approved in animal feed but never for humans for fear that the slow-digesting proteins might cause allergic reactions.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said less than 1% of the corn set to be sold to farmers this spring contained StarLink corn seed, and the government has offered to buy that seed to keep it off the market.

Industry analysts say they don't think Kellogg is trying to mislead customers, but is simply struggling along with most other food companies to police its supply chain.

"A lot of the industry would like to go GMO-free and use some kind of insignia on their label, but today they don't have complete assurance down the [supply] chain," said Grant Ferrier, editor of San Diego-based Nutrition Business Journal.

Still, a Greenpeace official questioned how vigilant Kellogg has been in conducting testing or pressuring its suppliers to screen out genetically modified ingredients.

In another report Greenpeace commissioned from RHM Technologies in Britain, a biochemist estimated that 50% of the soy in the sample of Morningstar Harvest Burgers was of the Roundup Ready variety, a genetically modified soybean that is resistant to a popular weed killer.

"It's very hard to explain 50% of the soy [in a product] being genetically engineered as just a slip up," said Charles Margulis, who heads Greenpeace's genetic engineering campaign. "This seems to be a company that just doesn't care."

Jun 23rd, 2004, 03:20 PM
i found out a little bit...


Jun 23rd, 2004, 05:43 PM
thats a good list ravelston, shame it doesn't seem to cover uk companies. anyone know of a similar one?

Jun 23rd, 2004, 05:51 PM
check this link out. i think it's only in the uk


: ) crystal

Jul 26th, 2004, 08:50 AM
France's most notorious anti-GM campaigner, José Bové, and up to 1,500 protesters tore up a field of experimental maize yesterday, launching a new wave of action against trials of transgenic corn. Mr Bové risks returning to prison for up to five years, just a year after his last stretch, and could face a £50,000 fine.

About 15 police officers watched the protest in Haute-Garonne, south of Toulouse, but were under orders to only monitor the event. Mr Bové said the protest had been motivated by the government's "deafness" on GM crops. "They must change their position because 70% of French people disagree," he told Le Journal du Dimanche, warning that yesterday's action was just the beginning.

DontJustDoSomething, SitThere
Jul 27th, 2004, 04:17 PM
Interesting. Where do you find these kinds of news?

Oct 19th, 2004, 07:29 PM
I've just read this on the UK Vegan Society website and wondered what you thought.

The Vegan Society's Policy on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

On 13th June 1999, the Vegan Society Council reviewed the Society's GMO policy and adopted the following position with regards to genetically

In keeping with its vegan ethic, the Vegan Society is totally against the use of animal genes or animal substances in the development and production of GMOs.
The Vegan Society believes that all foods that contain, may contain, or have involved GMOs should be clearly labelled.

In addition any product must also meet the Society's Criteria for Vegan Food . Products carrying the Society's trademark can contain GMOs, but must be clearly labelled.

But then.

Products that are licensed to carry the Society's trademark or which are listed in the Animal Free Shopper must meet the Society's animal free criteria; i.e. vegan products must, as far as is possible and practical, be entirely free from animal involvement

Does this make sense ? Is it right to give approval to products which contain gmo ingredients ?

Oct 20th, 2004, 08:24 AM
Possibly the vegan-approved products that must be labelled may well refer to GMOs where there are no animal involvement, eg canola oil, cotton, etc.

Oct 20th, 2004, 10:21 AM
i don't agree with GM, but i suppose if the Vegan Society is only looking at the animal involvement and not the ecological concerns they can still approve GM if no animals have been used in development. as they are calling for all GM products to be labelled it would be down to the individual to choose whether they wish to buy GM or not.

i guess the Vegan Society don't want to get into the political debate about GM, but as there is so much secrecy surrounding the whole GM industry i'd be surprised if they could get much reliable info about any of the products. there are often stories in the newspapers about vegetables/grains grown with animal genes to make them 'better' in some way, but surely these are just for publicity and they would not release such sensitive info to people like the Vegan Society? also i don't know for sure, but i suspect many GMOs have been tested on animals to find out if they're harmful, which obviously the Vegan Society would not approve. would the scientists really be willing to disclose this sort of information, when their 'patented' crops are such closely guarded secrets? :confused:

Oct 21st, 2004, 12:53 PM
I certainly avoid GM as best I can, but I've had discussions with vegans who insist that they're not interested in this matter, and say they have enough on their plate avoiding animal products in their lives. On another on-line vegan/veggie forum, that I no longer go to, I used to trawl newspapers from UK, US, Europe, etc, and post on the forum, environmental news that I'd gathered. But whereas an item from someone about their kitten would attract lots of posters to share experiences, the GM or other enviro news was completely ignored. Oh well, can't win 'em all. :)

Northern Lights
Oct 21st, 2004, 01:07 PM
I certainly avoid GM as best I can, but I've had discussions with vegans who insist that they're not interested in this matter, and say they have enough on their plate avoiding animal products in their lives.

Eve, I find that very scary!

From a vegan point of view I agree that the society needs to be labeling GM products that are animal free/ cruelty free. Them not taking a stand against GM is fine (IMHO) since they are a vegan society.

HOWEVER, GM are an issue to think about, research and make decisions about, and to think people said they had 'enough on their plate avoiding animal products'? Hello? Does that mean they'd continue drinking tap water after a warning is issued about contaminant levels being high? They'd continue using flour from a bag that they open and find bugs in? I don't think they'd do that.

It sounds to me like the onmi statement of "Don't tell me what's in it, I just wanna enjoy my dinner..."


Oct 21st, 2004, 02:36 PM
gert, for me, you cannot be totally against animal stuffs being in GMO goods and then say its ok per se (if no animal 'additives') and they will still allow use of the logo that as long as the GMO goods are labelled. :confused:

for me, my veganism incorporates looking after others, my surroundings, my plant etc - into which GMO goods do not sit at all, containing animal bits in them or not.

too much sitting on the fence done. having an opinion does not necessarily make it a political statement (although of coure, it may fall into one of the politcal camps) and the more statements are made against wrongdoing, the braver folk can be to stand up for what they feel is right or wrong, the more politcal voices may listen.

rant over :)

Oct 21st, 2004, 02:48 PM
I hate the thought of polluted or tampered food or drink ending up in mine, or anyone else's bodies.
For me it is part of being Vegan to care about the Planet as a whole, and the consequences of what we are doing to it.

Oct 21st, 2004, 02:56 PM
I hate the thought of polluted or tampered food or drink ending up in mine, or anyone else's bodies.
For me it is part of being Vegan to care about the Planet as a whole, and the consequences of what we are doing to it.


Oct 21st, 2004, 03:33 PM
Genetic modification in itself is not a problem- as I see it - but the intention behind and the reasons for modifying organisms and the whole frightening and stupid process of patenting genes does really worry me. Could there be a day where you have to apply for a license to reproduce based upon the genetherapy you have recieved so that the company that pateneted the gene does not therefore own your children because they contain a modified gene?
In that scenario it is almost Shakespearian where to get the 'pound of flesh' I would demand that they take only what is owed - the modified gene - but must not spill one drop of 'blood' to get that which they seem to demand is rightfully there's...
This could be applied to roundup ready crops that are contaminated by pollen drift. As for the danger of the crops themselves...if you insert a toxin into a plant to act as a deterrent to pests - you may find that it is also a deterrent to people and is no longer fit for consumption. In the meanwhile that gene for that toxin is making it's way around the countryside on the jet stream winds as well as in the guts of bees and other insect - and interestingly - in the genomes of bacteria. Bacteria have interesting DNA that can 'pickup' fragments of DNA in its environment and incorporate it into its own. Bacteria multiply rapidly and are also predated upon by viruses that also have overly social gene sharing habits. New inclusions that have a negative effect on the organism or virus particle - but those that have no effect or even a benefit will survive and multiply. Who is going to be brave enough to say there is no possibility that there will be a catastrophe as a result of the kinds of organisms that are currently being released?

The motivation is the key; the companies funding this kind of research are looking at greater ways of making more money - that's what they are there for and there is no limitations on their activity - so long as it is kept out of the public eye... Genetic modification has been occuring for over a decade in the labs and has been occuring possibly since DNA molecules were formed. HIV is a gene modifying virus and there are a lot of them around; it is not that genetic modification is bad - it is merely a tool. The question really lies in are we responsible enough as a society to use it wisely. I would suggest that there is not enough evidence to say that we are.

Humans have a very limited scope of values that is short term and does not consider all biota. We depend on the living systems for our continued survival and, I fear, are far too willing to put them at dire risk. Isn't it time we learnt that we need to know how to fix it before we break it, and until we do, don't break it in the first place....

Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:56 AM
The point is that GE has not been in use or tested long enough to know what are the long-term results of, eg, eating foods containing GE ingredients. Look at the present James Hardie case in the courts where many working people are still suffering long-term effects and facing painful deaths because of handling asbestos products. Canada is still exporting asbestos to developing countries, the way tobacco is pushed in those same countries. Who knows what will happen to young children in the future, who today are eating GM products, simply because their parents are unaware of consequences, governments couldn't care less, and Monsanto and other multinationals are focussed on the almighty dollar.

Oct 22nd, 2004, 10:51 AM
I think this is an issue that is of interest to at least a few and maybe worth reviving. Some starter topics;

What is it about a GMO that you wouldn't want to eat it?

Are there any circumstances where GM is worthwhile?

Would you consider wearing a product that was made from GMO's - for example a plant the instead of producing just cellulose, produced silkworm silk fibres?

What is your opinion on flu vaccines developed via GM technology?

Would you eat a GM fruit if it contained B12?

Remember, the technology is currently well within the reach of science now.

Oct 22nd, 2004, 12:23 PM
Personally, I like my food to be as 'near to natural' as possible, so, regardless of any safety arguments, I just wouldn't feel good about eating GM foods.
Also, I feel that genetically modifying food is the first step on the downward ladder - an experiment on the way towards genetically modifying everything else from 'Dolly' the Sheep to human clones.
It just gives me the Creeps. :eek:
I am not a lover of vaccines, but am interested - you mention the GM 'flu vaccine - would that cut out any animal suffering do you know?

Oct 22nd, 2004, 02:05 PM
I am uncertain of the safety of GMOs. I'd rather eat foods as nature intended, organic and vegan.

Oct 22nd, 2004, 02:56 PM
Personally, I like my food to be as 'near to natural' as possible, so, regardless of any safety arguments, I just wouldn't feel good about eating GM foods.
Also, I feel that genetically modifying food is the first step on the downward ladder - an experiment on the way towards genetically modifying everything else from 'Dolly' the Sheep to human clones.
It just gives me the Creeps. :eek:
I am not a lover of vaccines, but am interested - you mention the GM 'flu vaccine - would that cut out any animal suffering do you know?

I would be interested to know how natural is defined. It leads to the question are human's natural? No species has a static genome as it is constantly under 'attack' from radiation, rare errors in translation within the cell, viral attacks and environmental pollutants - both man made and naturally occuring.

Genetic modification requires funding - scientists don't tinker for the hell of it - very often anyway - and funding comes at a particular motivation. Governments has that sort of money - but so do corporations and if there is a dollar in it they will pursue it and powerfully defend their right to use it. It would suggest again that the technology is not inherently bad - just the ways that we use it are terribly dubious - as to benefit in the long term to all.

Flu vaccines? I am not sure about the role of animals in their production, but vaccines could be produced for the destruction of the 'bird flu' virus. The best remedy for bird flu virus would be to end the intensive farming which provides a fertile ground for the development of diseases. We would all be in support for an end to this attrocity.

The main vegan objection to GM in foods is the requirement for testing on animals. The most thorough test that ensures the safety of a food (for a particular animal) is a generational test where the animal is not only tested but also offspring. It is a condition of our society that anything that is developed is to be shown as clean as possible without risk to human health. There is the corresponding fear of litigation. It will be nice when the full circle comes around and we realise that the old ways were often better.

Oct 22nd, 2004, 04:32 PM
Unfortunately it's impossible now to buy certain foods, especially corn products, that are COMPLETELY free of GMOs. They aren't growing these crops in a plastic bubble, the seeds, pollen, or whatever it is, travels via wind down the road to the "organic" farm and then contaminates it.

Oct 22nd, 2004, 05:24 PM
Yes, *if* Organic farms are next to GMO farms there is nearly guaranteed cross-pollination.

Another great reason to buy locally when possible (besides the sustainablility, the eco-friendly aspects of buying locally and so on) is so you can find out which farms are growing next to or close to Non-Organic and GMO farms.

In fact, Monsanto has been in the practice of buying out land next to non-GMO and Organic farms, planting their GMO crops then *suing* the organic farms (and winning) to close out organic farmers and produce, being that the GMO's are *patented* and the have the "rights" to their frankenfoods which have made their way via cross-pollination into the Organic and Non-Gmo foods...

We don't eat any corn or corn-derivative product that is not organic. We make most of our food at home (99%).

Occasionally, we eat at the local co-op (all organic Deli) and at one restaurant which is a Veg*n joint that is in honor of a Spiritual Master (and we ask to see labels of things like tempeh and tofu, (which they get from a local Organic Soy Dairy) and avoid any corn or other frequently GMO-containing foods.

That's it. We are as protected as we can be without living in the hills, growing our own food and living "off the land" as much as possible. (I would if I could!)

Oct 22nd, 2004, 05:54 PM
Veganblue, not a lot in this World is 'natural' now, is it, but by 'near to natural' food, I mean food that has been 'tampered' with by humans as little as possible - i.e fresh fruit and vegetables. This is why I am aiming to be in a position (soon) where I can grow all my own, so I know that it is 'pure' organic, and 'nearly natural'.
We live in a 'plastic' World, but I want to reject that plastic junk ideal and work with nature as far as I can, as a human.

Oct 22nd, 2004, 10:35 PM
Occasionally, we eat at the local co-op

I've seen this term elsewhere on the board. What exactly is a co-op? Maybe we just call it something else in Michigan.