DailyDirt: Frankenfoods Are Going To Kill Us All! Or End World Hunger. Whichevers.

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

As the human population grows, we’ll need to produce more food in the next 40 years than has ever been produced by agriculture over the last 8,000 years. Advances in biotechnology will enable us to do this, but genetically modified organisms (GMOs) aren’t always beneficial. We’ll need to look more closely at the safety of GMOs and the unintended consequences of genetic engineering, but some time in the future, the world will need to accept some amount of frankenfood to maintain our food supply. Here are just a few informative links on the topic of genetically modified foods.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Frankenfoods Are Going To Kill Us All! Or End World Hunger. Whichevers.”

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19 Comments
Paraquat (profile) says:

the devil is in the details

It’s simplistic to say “GMO crops are good/bad.” The devil is in the details. Yes, you can use genetic engineering to make a crop (corn, for example) grow faster, grow bigger, or be more tasty or disease-resistant. If GMO tech was only being used that way, it would be no problem.

But that’s not what is being done. Corn is being engineered so that it produces its own pesticide. There are, in fact, many plants existing in nature that do this – no doubt a good technique for a plant to ensure its own survival. The problem is that these plants are rarely edible by humans. In fact, corn with this particular gene modification are not supposed to be consumed by humans directly, but rather are intended as animal feed. Except that this type of corn has gotten mixed in with corn that is intended for direct consumption by humans, and many people seem to be allergic to this GMO corn. So now we are seeing a rapidly growing “corn allergy” which never existed before. It doesn’t help that GMO corn gets used as an ingredient in baked goods and other processed foods. Which means it could sneak into your Dorito chips, Hostess Twinkies, or whatever, making it rather difficult to avoid consuming it even if you know you are allergic.

Another (even worse) example – Monsanto produces GMO seeds that are “Roundup Ready.” This is to say, the plants (which might be corn, but not necessarily) can be sprayed directly with Monsanto’s trademarked “Roundup” herbicide (generic name: “glyphosate”). It’s a very commonly used herbicide worldwide. It’s also most definitely not fit for human consumption. In the recent past, the proper way to apply Roundup was to spray the weeds first, let them die, and then plant your crop in the now weedless field. This gave the herbicide time to break down. You weren’t able to spray Roundup directly onto crops, because it would kill them. Thanks to GMO, it can now be sprayed directly onto crops, gets absorbed into the plant, and harvested and served up on your dinner plate. Herbicide applied in this manner cannot even been washed off, as it’s inside the plant’s individual cells.

You really want to eat that?

Anonymous Coward says:

GMO foods have a massive disadvantage, it only takes one frost, or not enough rain and you lose your entire crop, as with no genetic diversity there is not the variation to withstand non-ideal conditions.

Lots of people in third world countries have starved because they used GM crops, that failed.

They have reverted back to their genetically varied local species, that when you get a drought or a frost, you only lose SOME of your harvest, you still have enough to live on.

There is a point, (already probably reached) where the human population simply cannot be supported by the planets food supply.

And NO amount of GM foods is going to fix that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Plants have been evolving for what, 450 million years? Humans have been manipulating DNA for what, 60 years?

Hell, if it’s been a whole 60 years, why not start testing on the human food supply. I’m sure scientists have the whole evolution process mastered by now.

Natures just a slow-poke compared to human brilliance. Can’t wait for the 450 million year old seed supply to dry up so all we’re left with is Monsanto seeds…

MM_Dandy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Humans have been manipulating DNA for what, 60 years?

It depends on what you mean by ‘manipulating.’ Maize, dairy cattle and domesticated dogs are just a couple of examples of human-influenced evolution that have been ongoing for thousands of years.

As far as Monsanto goes, I loathe the fact that they are trying to tie DNA to patents, and all the utter ridiculousness that goes along with such attempts. But that is, at least for me, a separate issue than GM vs non-GM.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s unfortunate

The sad part is that the anti-GMO side of the debate seems to be concentrating on perceived safety issues. When can we talk about the economic and social justice issue of the world’s food supply being patented?

it’s not about safety or patents, the real value in seeds is the genetic diversity. It’s the old seems, and the seems that farmers have selected after a successful crop, with seeds that are able to withstand a wide variety of conditions, floods, salt, frost, dry periods and so on and still produce a viable crop.

GM plants cannot cope with conditions like that, they will ALL live or ALL DIE if something goes not perfectly.

Those old seeds and the ‘wild’ varieties are worth their weight in gold (or more), GM seeds are worthless in adverse conditions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It is worse than sad. It is an economic rape of any sort of useful, traditional, natural farming.

The companies involved (Monsanto leads, but there are others that have bribed congress critters), seem to be run by venal sociopaths.

In a sane world, all Monsanto executives would be on the list of criminals responsible for egregious crimes against humanity.

Ray says:

Aqua Culture

Aqua culture is a process of using fish poop and piss to grow fresh fruit, veggies and fish. The growth medium is gravel.

You can produce 1 million pounds of food on 5 acres per year. No other food production model even comes close. In fact, many are 1000 times less productive.

GMO foods have things like enzymes attached to them to slow down your spearm so you can’t reproduce. While that is probably a good thing, is that really how we want to solve the problem of over-population?

I would think a well informed public willingly going along and force for those that don’t, would be the solution. If what they are doing presently is viable, we would not have a huge class of welfare recipients with large broken families. You don’t make the world better through destruction or dictatorship.

In the end, it is all about profit for the wealthy. All war is class warfare and GMO foods are just a weapon in that arsenal in spite of how they are being sold to the public.

Ray says:

It is worth noting that Monsanto recently bought Blackwater – The largest private corporate army.

That should give pause for consideration for anyone that thinks Monsanto is doing the world a favor with GMO. Suicide seeds = genocide. Nothing has killed more people throughout history than famine.

One of the leading causes of death in the US is cancer and Roundup does cause cancer. Meanwhile, there have been over 400 effective treatments for cancer discovered in the last 100 years including Royal Raymond Rife’s cure for all disease. Some of those cures worked 100% of the time.

Google “population council” and see who owns that. The pharmaceutical industry and oil industry were started by the same John D Rockafeller. David Rockafeller was named the “over-population czar years ago.

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