The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: GM food - Good or bad?  (Read 5819 times)

Offline BK2020

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
GM food - Good or bad?
« on: 13/12/2011 12:24:39 »
Hey all,

I'm a journalism student, and I'm currently working on a project which explores and draws attention to, the often negative portrayal of GM food in the media i.e. "Frankenstein Food". I was hoping that you, the Naked Science community, could share your thoughts and opinions on GM food and how/why the media chooses to report it in such a way. Alternatively, I have a survey SORRY NO SURVEYS which you can answer, where I ask specific questions for you to give your opinion on. If you choose to take the survey, feel free to add any other comments if they are not drawn attention to in the questions. Thanks to all that respond!

And I apologise if I have posted this in the wrong section...
« Last Edit: 01/01/2012 20:27:52 by Geezer »


 

Offline CZARCAR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 686
    • View Profile
GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #1 on: 13/12/2011 21:07:32 »
depends how u "cook" it?
 

Offline Mazurka

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 510
    • View Profile
GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #2 on: 14/12/2011 15:39:54 »
Some of those question are a quite loaded and perhaps should have been wordedin a more neutral way
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #3 on: 15/12/2011 08:35:28 »
BK2020, I hope you choose the join the discussion in this forum where you've posted the question.

The human race has been doing selective breeding of plants and animals for thousands of years.  There truly isn't a huge jump between selective breeding and gene modification.  Certainly there are benefits of using different means to select disease tolerance in our crops.

There certainly is a risk of supersized clonal monocropping.  Although, the food is still good, it puts the society at greater risk of crop losses. 

Is there a risk of loss of genetic diversity?  People have discussed the cost/benefit of replacing local 3rd world crops that are locally adapted with higher production American and European crops that may not have the same local adaptations.

I believe that we are also breeding crops that are addicted to chemical fertilizers.  Perhaps one should consider selecting for crops that flourish with less fertilizer supplements.  I have wondered, however, whether or not it would be wise to try to modify our crops to express nitrogen fixing genes.  Perhaps there is a reason why most plants are poor nitrogen fixers.

Anyway, I have no problem with genetically modified foods and crops selected for flavor or disease resistance. 

I would object to using crops with transgenic human genes for human consumption.  I believe there could be a societal risk of consuming crops that are modified to express human genes. 
 

Offline Gordian Knot

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #4 on: 18/12/2011 18:30:46 »
Seems to me you are asking two separate questions.

1. Is eating GM food safe?
2. Why does the media report on this issue the way it does.

1. I am no expert so cannot give any real answer as to the safety or lack thereof of GM food. All I believe I can say with some certainty is that it has not been around long enough to determine if there could be long term negative effects from eating such food.

2. Modern media reports just about everything with one point in mind - sensationalism. Sensationalism brings in viewers and more viewers brings in more commercial revenue. In my opinion modern media has zero interest in the facts, much less giving a genuinely neutral journalistic view to allow the viewer to decide. Modern media, ever since it has had to justify its existence by making a profit, has been warped into a sensationalization machine.

This is one of the hugest tragedies in modern times. It has been said there can be no democracy without a free and unfettered news media. There has been no free and unfettered news media here in the U.S. for at least a decade. It is all controlled by Big Corp.
 

Offline widereader

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #5 on: 21/12/2011 13:10:12 »
Eating GM food scares me.  They have only been studied for a short time, compared to the average lifespan a person has.  We do not know its side effects in the long run.
 

Offline cheryl j

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1460
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #6 on: 24/12/2011 16:00:42 »
Eating genetically modified food scares me a lot less than pesticides.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #7 on: 25/12/2011 03:55:01 »
When was the last time you read the ingredients label on your favorite pre-packaged food at the grocery store?
Soda-Pop?

Can you pronounce half the ingredients?

I'm all for the advantages of eating nice, fresh from the field produce of any type....  vs stuff that was 50% made in a laboratory, and you have no idea what exactly it is, or why it is in your food!!
 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3813
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #8 on: 01/01/2012 20:24:48 »
No GM seem to be an European obsession when I shop in America or Australia I never see any GM free labelling. Genetic modification enables characteristics to be got into foodstufs far more quickly than selective breeding and it soley depends upon what changes are made.
 
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #9 on: 01/01/2012 20:30:03 »
It seems the OP was a monkey supporting surveys.
 

Offline lightspeed301

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #10 on: 03/01/2012 23:53:19 »
1) The chemical characteristics of GM food are as easy to describe as traditional cross breed varietals. Grind them up, vaporize them and pass the gas through a Mass Spectrometer.  Parts per billion I believe is the current capability. So no, they are not dangerous to eat. 

2) In the recent past they have, however, caused starvation in Africa. This is because the dip-shits would not feed starving Africans the same GM corn meal already being eaten by Americans. I suspect this error has been corrected.

3) GM simply turns already domesticated crops into higher production through selecting for drought resistance, shorter stems [more energy used to grow the kernals and less susceptible to flattening down by rain storms, etc. and less requirement - I think - for chemical fertilizers].

4) One controversial example is rice genetically engineered to include beta carotene [vitamin A].  Vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem in both high rice and maize consumption societies.

Third world advocates are still at their wits end on this one. "In 2005 a new variety called Golden Rice 2 was announced which produces up to 23 times more beta-carotene than the original variety of golden rice.[3] Neither variety is currently available for human consumption. 

Although golden rice was developed as a humanitarian tool, it has met with significant opposition from environmental and anti-globalization activists." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice [nofollow]

I am waiting for the upcoming movie "Jackass III - Attack Of The Golden Rice"
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #11 on: 04/01/2012 00:27:16 »
4) One controversial example is rice genetically engineered to include beta carotene [vitamin A].  Vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem in both high rice and maize consumption societies.

Third world advocates are still at their wits end on this one. "In 2005 a new variety called Golden Rice 2 was announced which produces up to 23 times more beta-carotene than the original variety of golden rice.[3] Neither variety is currently available for human consumption. 

Although golden rice was developed as a humanitarian tool, it has met with significant opposition from environmental and anti-globalization activists." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice

Hmmm,
It is so much better to get one's vitamins created in a laboratory.
And, in the USA, they aren't even regulated by the FDA.

Certainly mono-crops are a problem.  And, replacing local crops with GM crops can make the problem worse, although there appears to be an effort to crossbreed the golden rice with local strains.

The biggest issue is that we might not have the capacity and resources to supply a balanced diet of fruit and veggies to all of the 7 billion humans on Earth.  The yellow rice may help, but pressures on resources including perishables vs non-perishables will increase as long as our population continues to increase.
 

Offline lightspeed301

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #12 on: 04/01/2012 01:32:35 »
Cliff

Populations of almost all prosperous nations are already below replacement level of fertility rate 2.1.  China's is WAY below that at 1.7. I have not looked up India. The United States is the only prosperous nation that seems to be approaching a stasis.

Food will only become a problem if the Goofy GW People manage in some way to cool down the planet. Warm is good. Cold is bad. Ask the Vikings who do not now live in Greenland, or half the dead population of Europe who perished in a cooler climate due to The Plague.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #13 on: 13/06/2012 02:35:21 »
I see, looking at "fertility rate", the USA is at about 2.05 (2.0 would two children per woman).  The World is at about 2.47 to 2.55.  India is at 2.58 to 2.81.   Egypt is reasonably advanced with a rate of 2.82 to 2.94.  And Niger is between 7.07 and 7.52.

One sees a different picture when looking at Population Growth in which the USA, much of Europe, China, and the world has a slowly increasing population, perhaps in part due to an aging population and immigration.

Certainly Emigration should not be considered as the answer to population control.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #14 on: 13/06/2012 02:35:40 »
I was thinking about Genetically Modified foods a bit today.  Modern Agriculture is attempting to breed disease resistant food crops which is good. 

However, one of the genes that is being altered in crops is a herbicide resistance gene, in particular Roundup or Glyphosate.  Perhaps the Glyphosate is less toxic than other herbicides, but this would indicate that the crops are being sprayed with herbicide, so there would also be a greater chance for the herbicide to enter the food chain which could be a major downside of the GM plants.

It is interesting that the first generation roundup-ready soybeans had a lower yield than non GM soybeans, although apparently Monsanto is working on fixing that.
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4105
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #15 on: 19/06/2012 11:31:04 »
I think that the current anti-GM food safety legislation is too restrictive, in that it does not take into account factors like:
  • Are the products of the "new" GM genes already present in existing "natural" non-GM foods? If it is chemically the same, and not consumed in greater concentrations than in the traditional foods, then it should require much less testing.
  • Are the products of the "new" GM genes expressed in the parts of the organism that are consumed by humans or animals?
These and other factors contribute to the safety of consumers, and should enable fast-tracking of the approval process.

Another concern is about pollen from the GM crop "crossing" with related non-GM crops. This could make it hard to remove the novel genes from the food supply, if some problem is found in later years.
 

Offline Mazurka

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 510
    • View Profile
Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #16 on: 26/06/2012 10:53:11 »
depressingly, the GM genie is out of the bottle with respect to crossing into non GM crops. 
This may not be a problem in Europe yet, but certainly is in North America.

Unfortunately I do not think the whole "debate" is very well conducted by either pro or anti GM groups.  It is not anti science to point out that herb/ pest -icide ressitant crops pose a (currently unquantified) risk to biodiversity - as the (unforeseen)  consequences of disrupting food webs is a fairly basic ecological principle.  Equally dismissing frankenfoods because there have been increases in productivity from traditonal breeding methods ignores the environmental consequences of high fossil fuel inputs etc.

Tricky.   
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: GM food - Good or bad?
« Reply #16 on: 26/06/2012 10:53:11 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums