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.

Filed Under: agriculture, biotech, breeding, farming, food, frankenfood, genetic engineering, gmo

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  1. icon
    Paraquat (profile), 26 Jul 2013 @ 7:56pm

    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?

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