In short, the research indicates no negative consequences have yet been discovered or documented in the 20 or 30 years GM products been in circulation. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that those products were introduced 25 years ago and that most of the testing has been done since then, pretty much admitting that we have been test subjects of Monsanto et-al. I’m glad the research turned out in our favor since the products were already released into the world and would be impossible to take back. A concept that I cannot over stress. I’m also glad to see the we ditched the idea that GM is the same as hybridization.
The companies pushing GM foods are simply not to be trusted, based on history. They are not interested in helping humanity. They are in it for the money. It would take weeks to go through the list and disqualify those that had monied interests that might influence their science, or their take on good science. What to look at, what to ignore. When you get players this big and this powerful, you really have to respect the influence. Eliminate those that have ties to government ( after NIST and their political version of science, not to mention, have you really looked at our leadership and who they work for? ), questionable Boards or Directors, and getting money from bio-tech and agribusiness. A serious look at the peer review process and who controls technical journals would be a good next step. Once again, the revolving door. These corporations are very good at eliminating roadblocks to power and profit.
I was watching a doc on water politics and one of the lawyers that was working on the case recalled what a mentor told them. Don’t ever underestimate what people will be willing to say and do when power and money is threatened ( and I add, when threatened by power and money ). We see it everyday in the destruction of our world for, you guessed it, money and power. Follow the money, it should be the first question.
I will try to disregard the fact that science is very politicized these days and that a good percentage of the sources cited either are part of the government and/or agribusiness or depend heavily on their money. I will also disregard that many of the sources cited simply stated their reliance on testing done by other sources. I think true science in the public interest is what we need. We don’t need science in the corporate interest. Altruistic science would be great. Do the science and put it out in the public sphere, regardless of what interests are helped or harmed. Although I am certainly not advocating releasing science and technology that would, by almost all accounts, do most of the world harm.
American Medical Association: ”There is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.” Broken link
20 years is not long enough test period, especially when they say ‘no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated’. When you consider the under-whelming superiority of GM, this is quite the experiment we are all taking part in, reluctantly I might add.
Food producers don’t care about scientific justification for labeling, they do what they can get away with, most of the time within the bounds of the law, or at least laws worth the trouble to prosecute. They would put all manner of nonsense on the label if they thought it would help sales.
This is the same AMA that refuses to recognize Cannabis as a therapeutic medicine even after decades of scientific study showing that it is. They are taking a position based on the money at risk by them and their profiteering brothers, the pharmaceutical industry. The same AMA that waged a war on plant based medicine that had worked for hundreds of years ( explains the position on Cannabis ). An honest approach would be to find out what worked and what didn’t, regardless of its origin. Nope, they demonized it all in from the start, in favor of their pocketbooks. Everything they do and every position they take should be suspect by default, based on, again, follow the money. Same with hemp, BTW.
Don’t forget 50 years ago, it was common ( and allowed by the AMA ) to recommended cigarettes for several common ailments, such as anxiety or nervousness. They’re trustworthiness has not changed much, just our access to information. The only reason they lost strength, people finally had enough of the deception and they lost too much profit. About the time they realized it was over, they bought into the snack food industry. Hint.
It seems many tout the future benefit of GM agriculture in reference to some future condition or very limited problem set. Those benefits appear to be pretty dubious and, in quite a few cases, not quite up to par with conventional crops. Quite a risky experiment for a problem that has other more practical solutions but does not generate the income for certain global concerns.
It can be argued that there are much better ways to address the problem than GM food. But they have already unleashed this technology on an unsuspecting population. Now trying to convince everybody how safe it is, when we now have little choice. They have failed to show a clear advantage in each case to warrant dumping it on the world. Why not show everybody how much better it is in controlled studies. When it has an obvious advantage, for each individual product, people are more likely to allow it. They have not shown anything close to a clear advantage.
Golden Rice hasn’t exactly been a success story for the decades it has been experimented with. More nutritious? There are working programs to get people in need of more vitamin A simply to plant small patches of carrots or other high Vitamin A crops. Not to sell, but simply for nutrition. The big agribusiness giants don’t care about helping some small community deal with a changing market and climate. They want to sell them seeds for plants that the farmers can’t save seeds from year to year and only grow when sprayed with their chemicals. Most simply end up deep in debt, with many committing suicide because they lost it all.
In cases where GM is touted as more nutritious. Perhaps more nutritious than what you get from food grown on depleted soil, which is what happens to much of farmland under conventional farming practices. I suspect it is not as nutritious as food grown on properly fed soil. Growing smaller markets that involve many small players. Following the advice of vulture corporations has not been a success. Feed the soil not the plant. Proper crop rotation. Applications of compost with proper humus ratios and beneficial soil bacteria. Less harsh chemicals.
From WHO: Gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used as markers when creating GMOs, were to be transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the use of gene transfer technology that does not involve antibiotic resistance genes is encouraged.
Low probability if done properly? Is it done properly? Or is it just encouraged?
National Academy of Sciences: (http://bit.ly/13Cib0Y) Broken Link
So, while the science is almost unanimous that it is has not produced harmful effects in the relatively short time it has been thrust upon us, I think we have yet to see that, at best, it will not fix anything except make certain corporations more powerful. More powerful over our food supply. At worst, it could be a disaster for areas of the world that have relied on tried and true methods of food production and will buy into the promise of something better. When what they really need is sustainable production methods instead of western chemical farming that has laid to waste millions of acres and left many without viable production land.
There was also a tendency to mix GM food and GM medicine. They have different markets. I can see putting up less of a fight about GM medicine because of the risk/benefit rational. I’m sure they will continue to push both on those that don’t need it.
American Dietetic Association: ”It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that agricultural and food biotechnology techniques can enhance the quality, safety, nutritional value, and variety of food available for human consumption and increase the efficiency of food production, food processing, food distribution, and environmental and waste management.”
“Can” would be the pivotal word here. Just not much evidence that it does over properly grown conventional food. “Increase the efficiency of food production, food processing, food distribution, and environmental and waste management.” Sounds like a pretty broad statement for the ADA. Sounds like they are just parroting others’ research. While not bad, it is disingenuous and the sort of testimony that shows up a lot.
American Phytopathological Society: ”The American Phytopathological Society (APS), which represents approximately 5,000 scientists who work with plant pathogens, the diseases they cause, and ways of controlling them, supports biotechnology as a means for improving plant health, food safety, and sustainable growth in plant productivity.” (http://bit.ly/14Ft4RL)
They went on to say that appropriate consideration should be expressed considering the power of this technology. Implying that we should not rush into putting our hopes behind this technology over tried and true methods. Likely, if given the chance, they would have advocated not letting it into the public to the level we have.
American Society for Microbiology: ”The ASM is not aware of any acceptable evidence that food produced with biotechnology and subject to FDA oversight constitutes high risk or is unsafe. We are sufficiently convinced to assure the public that plant varieties and products created with biotechnology have the potential of improved nutrition, better taste and longer shelf-life.” (http://bit.ly/13Cl2ak)
This one just screamed of ‘if they said it was ok, then we do too’. Much the same touting of potential. Again, do we have to unleash it on the world before we find out?
American Society of Plant Biologists: ”The risks of unintended consequences of this type of gene transfer are comparable to the random mixing of genes that occurs during classical breeding… The ASPB believes strongly that, with continued responsible regulation and oversight, GE will bring many significant health and environmental benefits to the world and its people.” (http://bit.ly/13bLJiR) Damaged link
Again, I don’t think they can honestly say that the unintended consequences of this technology is equal to that of conventional breeding. It might bring benefits. Lets figure out in the lab, then when the time comes, apply it where really needed. Not to overlook: “ … believes strongly that, with continued responsible regulation and oversight, GE will bring many significant health and environmental benefits to the world and its people.”. Yea, about that oversight and regulation. Oh yea, I was going to dismiss the conspiracies between industry and the regulatory bodies that govern it. Another article, I’m sure.
There is no reason for pushing GM foods, hybrid yes, GM no. Unless you believe that we can’t feed all of our people, which I think is nonsense. We waste tons of food. Who gets food and its quality and quantity are political. Starvation is about, you guessed it, money and control. The biggest tool being war and debt. The benefit from GM is mainly to the bio-tech companies that produce it. It does not help most of the farmers, ask India. It helps those that sell the seeds and the chemicals. Taking the pejorative ‘conspiracy theorist’ label, just for a moment, I suspect control of food is on the future agenda, and of course water. GM crops help large agribusiness with millions of mono-cropped acres. It does not encourage farmers to take care of the land and the soil. It does not encourage food diversity, something we really really need. It even endangers food diversity by polluting heirloom varieties by accidental cross-pollination. Unfortunately there will come a day when GM will be our last hope. When the water, air, and soil is so dead and polluted that it won’t grow conventional crops. Then GM, and the companies that have patented our food, will be our only hope. That in itself should scare people silly.
Why not just label it? The idea that they can’t track the ingredients is nonsense, that’s what computers are for. They do it with ‘organic’, it’s the same tracking process. Where there is money there is a way. Charge more money, increase profit, let people choose based on whatever they want. Most of the major food producers have no problem with putting nonsense on the label, especially if it makes more money. You know what ‘natural’ means, absolutely nothing, but they stick it on everything. Where marketing is concerned, if the science is on their side, great. If not, no matter. They are certainly willing to make millions off ‘organic’. If you think there is no difference between conventional and ‘organic’, don’t buy it. The industry has shown no reluctance to take advantage of the ‘organic’ market. They have not refused that market on the grounds of deceiving the consumer. They take the money. Why such a fuss over GM? Why don’t they just hike the prices and reap the profit? They are putting up a really big long expensive fight, one has to ask why. Loss of revenue is not really a valid reason, since they could just continue buying up the competition.
If we didn’t have, or sorry, used to have, regulatory agencies that controlled the crap they put in food, they would/do put all kinds of claims on the label and crap in the food to make it more profitable and simpler to sell. All of the sudden they don’t want to offer a product that caters to those that see no use for GM and don’t want to ingest it? There is something deeper here, they have not all of the sudden taken a stance on principle.
Conclusion. GM, for the most part, is a solution waiting for a problem. Those peddling GM are trying hard to insert the technology everywhere they can, needed or not. The desperation to get payback appears to take precedent over any real need. I say, keep it in the lab until there is a demonstrable benefit over properly implemented conventional technologies that have been around for a century or more. I’ll use properly labeled GM products if I need the product and it can’t be supplied any other way. The same as I might use a stronger chemical when the job requires it. The simplest solution and safest should be tried first. I will buy ‘organic’ as long as GM ( oh, and sewage sludge ) are not allowed. When those pushing GM, pay to get GM allowed in ‘organic’, there will always be those food producers that value good food. I will not be part of widespread indiscriminate use when there are conventional tried and true ways to deal with the problems GM food purports to fix. GM is offered as way to fix a broken food system. A system broken, in part, by those now offering the solution. We need more food diversity not less. GM food is being sold as a solution to a problem of agribusiness’s own making. One that puts more control in the hands of corporations and less in control of conventional small farmers and producers. The more small entities growing our food, the more food security we have. The less we rely on large mono-cropped agribusinesses, the better our food security will be and IMO the better our food will be. I want to see Farmer’s Markets with hundreds of producers selling generations old varieties and no two have exactly the same product.
Food grown for power and money is not food, it’s a commodity. Food as a commodity is a recipe for control. To them, it is not about feeding people. As the bumper sticker goes “Every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”. I don’t want a GM world.