GM Food continued

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Here's the site that I was talking about in my last post on GM Food. I started a new continued topic because the other is soooooooo long. You really have to explore this site thoroughly especially the workshop and field tests. Plan on spending hours and hours if not days there to really read it all.


Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Thoughts or comments?

Santa Barbara, CA

Oops, I forgot one cannot move off this reply page without loosing all...oh, well. Terri, your links is very good for bringing together USDA and univ. ag materials related to biotech. For the industry's materials there are at least 100 sites. I like this one for some balance even though it is an industry-sponsored site, but European:

These are very pro-biotech and anti-organic (you can get a free 30-day subscription):

For a physician and independent scientific sceptical view, go to Physians and Scientists for Responsipble Applications of Science and Technology (PSRAST):

The above site is pretty technical but offers parts for the general public and additional materials for those with some knowledge. I had a hard time with their full-scale scientific analyses.

Finally here are two very active anti-biotech groups:

There are many more...later I'll post some of the "newswires", mostly from Canada and Europe. We get hardly any news about gmos through our major media.


Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Thank you, Marsh! I will explore all sites thoroughly. :)


Santa Barbara, CA

The following is a concise explanation of what is inherently wrong with current ge technology.

"We're in a crisis position where we know the weakness of the genetic concept, but we don't know how to incorporate it into a new, more complete understanding. Monsanto knows this. DuPont knows this. Novartis knows this. They all know what I know. But they don't want to look at it because it's too complicated and it's going to cost too much to figure
out." - Dr Richard Strohman

"Crisis Position" Richard Strohman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Molecular and
Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley

When you insert a single gene into a plant or an animal, the technology will work. You will be able to move that gene from organism A to organism B. You will be able to know that the transfer was successful. You will be able to know that the gene is being expressed, and even that
the function of the gene is being expressed. So you'll get the desired characteristic. But you will also get other effects that you couldn't have predicted from your original assumptions. You will have also produced changes in the cell or the organism as a whole that are unpredictable. And that's what the science is having to deal with.

The reason why Monsanto can claim scientific soundness is that they are only answering the technical question, `Can I move this gene and this characteristic from A to B?' They are not asking the questions that the current understanding of cell biology demands. You can ask the technical question and get the answer you are looking for. You can take a gene
from A and put it into B. We know that. But that's the only question we can answer with certainty. We now realize that there are a whole host of other questions.

Genes exist in networks, interactive networks which have a logic of their own. The technology point of view does not deal with these networks. It simply addresses genes in isolation. But genes do not exist in isolation. And the fact that the industry folks don't deal with these networks is what makes their science incomplete and dangerous. If you
send these new genetic structures out into the world, into hundreds of thousands of acres, you're going into the world with a premature application of a scientific principle.

We're in a crisis position where we know the weakness of the genetic concept, but we don't know how to incorporate it into a new, more complete understanding. Monsanto knows this. DuPont knows this. Novartis knows this. They all know what I know. But they don't want to look at it because it's too complicated and it's going to cost too much to figure

The number of questions, the number of possibilities for what happens to a cell, to the whole organism when you insert a foreign gene, are almost incalculable. And the time it would take to assess the infinite possibilities that arise is beyond the capabilities of computers. But that's what you get when you're dealing with living systems.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Yup, I agree. It's getting "other effects that you couldn't have predicted from your original assumptions" that bothers me. :(


southeast, NE

I want to thank you all for your thought provoking discussions, your insights and info. Now I have a really dumb question. On another site, I saw a post that somebody indicated that they would only buy imported food because they didn't trust the chance of buying gm food that was raised in U.S. My question - by buying imported food, aren't you taking the chance of buying food that has been treated with pesticides that are banned in U.S.?

Santa Barbara, CA


That's a good question. My advice is always to buy local and buy as fresh as possible. Be advised that some areas of the world have more stringent pesticide laws than we have in the US; in fact, US beef and some other products are banned in parts of Europe for reasons including too high in hormones.

It's true that GMOs are common in much of our processed food (est. ranging from 50-70%) Products containing soy, corn, cotton and potatoes are likely to contain genetically modified material. Processed products from the European Union, Japan, S.Korea, Brazil and New Zealand are lless likely to have any. The US, Canada, Argentina, and China are the major GMO producers of corn (maize), soybeans, cotton and potatoes. These products are "industrial" crops entering world trade and because mostly unlabeled, can appear in food stuffs from countries that do not grow gmos, only import raw products.

This is one reason why there is a world-wide call for labeling GM foods, a call vigorously resisted by the US and Canada. Other countries are struggling with the issue of labeling in the face of already widespread contamination of food supplies with GMOs. You just have to assume that nearly all processed and restaurant food in this country contains GMOs. Individual companies are making commitments to source non-GMOs and as the number grows, so will the commitment to label as GM-free.

The USDA assures us that its safety testing system works for excluding high pesticide residues from domestic and imported foods; but it tests only fresh produce and only a tiny percentage of the amount imported; only slightly more than domestic produce is tested. The system is overloaded for good monitoring protocol, IMHO.


Lyndeborough, NH


The European Union and 18 other major countries like Japan,
China, Brazil, Australia have insisted on GMO labeling.

Any product cannot have more that 1% GE/GMO's with out a label.

Frito Lays lost over 1/2 their world trade because of it.

I don't know if Marshal brought this up before. Boxer and another H of Reps tried to bring up bills to put a moritorium on GE/GMO's for further study. Over 3 million Americans wrote to the EPA to request this and these were ignored. Only Minnestoa has a moritorium on GE crops.


Include Union of Conerned Scientest and Greenpeace in your list too.

Canada is begining to take a closer look at GE products.

In the US if you take all the GE/GMO's of the shelves your stupor mkt would be 95% EMPTY.

"He who controls the seeds controls the world"

Semenis/Monsanto controls 40% 18 companies control 98% of the worlds seeds. Most out of US Law.

My biggest sputter,, The USDA has proven it can not police it's self. It needs someone else to look at their actions.

1st big mistake DDT, there are human males being born today with non functional sex organs maybe 5/8" long, never will get erect. Linked to DDT. SV40 another going way back to the 50's. Kudzu. The list is endless. But they have done nothing to fix their mistakes.

Like Adventis and Starlink they pay a $10,000,000 fine
and get out of the business, You and I have to make up
for the other $100,000,000,000 that it really costs.

Regretfully until some big shot in politics has a family member affected by GE/GMO products, nothing will be done.

re: Firestone tires


Santa Barbara, CA

Byron, thanks for the headsup. I have cited the UCC and Greenpeace UK in the past on other fora; I am a member of the first group and have been for years.

Don't rush in with announcements about labeling just yet -- lots of promises and speculation, debates about zero tolerance, half percent, one percent, 5 percent. All in turmoil right now. In the US the FDA has set out voluntary labeling of GM but not making clear of what is allowed and what is not allowed on the label. NZ has just finished weeks of national hearings on whether to allow gmos into their country and if so how to label.


southeast, NE

Thanks for the info. We only have 60 acres of farmable ground. A friend of ours does our farming for us on a share basis. We switched to him several years ago because he seems to be one of the best farmers/managers in the area and has a lot of common sense. I asked him about the GMO's/Roundupready beans, etc. and he said they were too expensive to use so I wonder why other farmers use these products.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Jewel, RUR crops are supposed to yield more. The pesticide use and overall cost to the farmer is supposed to be decreased thereby giving them a higher profit. There have been some disagreements as to whether RUR crops have performed as promised by some farmers. For a look at what RUR crops are supposed to do please check out this site:


Santa Barbara, CA

I found the original post for alleged increased allergy to soy products in England, implicating Monsanto's RR Soybeans. Remember, this is just an apparent trend without confirmed causal relationships.

And Terri, the biotech industry emphasizes increased profits, not so much as increased yields because of problems trying to grow beans not well adapted to other regions. Profits, if any, come from labor and tractor-time savings with supposedly fewer passes (even aerial application) with Roundup or other glyphosate materials.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

I agree, Marsh. Monsanto doesn't come right out and say you WILL have higher yields but they do allude to that by using the words out of some farmer's mouths. Here's where I read the farmers talking about increased yields in corn because of better weed control. (see Mr. S. Pollock in Minnesota and Mr. R. Thompson in Iowa and their comments.) Monsanto wasn't too shy about including farmer's comments that mentioned higher yields I noticed. Gee, why am I not surprised. LOL

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)


Isn't that an oversimplification? I don't have the cites handy, but I know that Monsanto and the other biggies have, time after time, claimed the savings come from increased yields, lower total use of chemicals, and labor savings due to fewer applications of chemicals.

Those last two, for those not familiar with this stuff, are _not_ the same thing. One refers to how much chemical you use. The other refers to how often you use it.

Dissatisfaction has arisen because many farmers are finding all three claims to be false. Yields have been the same or _lower_ from seed that is more expensive. Total chemical use almost always increases. Application rates stay the same or decrease slightly. The labor savings from those slightly decreased application rates is usually not enough to offset the higher costs incurred from the other two.

One of the problems recognizing this is that, while Monsanto trumpets the information every time it sues a farmer for patent infringement virtually every suit by farmers is settled out of court, and a non-disclosure clause is included as part of the settlement. Thus, there is no public record of Monsanto's false claims.

This is even worse with Bt-crops than with RURs. Near as can be determined by objective researchers, Bt-crops have totally failed to live up to their promises.

Santa Barbara, CA


I totally agree with you. I just reported what I read in ag pubs to hedge on the matter of higher gross yields of RR Soya. And only referring to RUR, not Bt. In even industry-generated research on maize Bt, they report highly variable preformances and tout the new gm varieties as offering insurance against the occasional outbreak of ECB and related borers.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

If you need an emetic and you're all out of ipecac syrup, go to this page and read. Does anyone actually believe this baloney they're trying to feed us?

[ Removed per member request. - Admin]

Santa Barbara, CA

"As outlined by the graphic below, the NewLeaf Plus potato offers numerous benefits.
It is more effective against potato leaf roll virus than any insecticide program, and it also prevents rotting and internal defects. As a result, it reduces insecticide use by over 80 percent, increases processor throughput, reduces inputs, protects yields and improves quality."

Oh, yeah; ask Monsanto why they abandoned the NewLeaf Potato after 4 or 5 years of commercial distribution (considering the graphics in their piece on the potato at


This message was edited Friday, Mar 23rd 7:51 PM

This message was edited Friday, Mar 23rd 7:59 PM

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)


Notice too the careful phraseology used by Monsanto.

First, they define biotech incorrectly (by claiming it is only gene transference from one plant to another).

Next, they keep saying things like "experts say," "experts agree." But no identification of who those experts are.

Would I be cynical to believe they all work for the big M?

Hey, I just realized something. Those we love to hate the most all have names starting with M; i.e. Monsanto, Martha Stewart

Santa Barbara, CA


Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Sorry, guy, I wasn't thinking. ;>)

[ Removed per member request. - Admin]

Chatham-Kent, ON(Zone 6a)

I have never heard anyone claim better yields with RUR crops so you are listening to media distorted info once more . Topsoil conservation is our focus . Conventional ag crops pay nothing so I don't give a rat's rump what type are grown as long as they yield decent . Yields can vary variety to variety and year to year . There is only one decent yielding RUR soybean available in our area that I am aware of so far . Cyst nematode is the real problem knocking down all soy yields in this area .
To all consumers : Please quit buying our grains so the Third World Countries can sell their pure junk crops to you all . You will do us all a financial favour and we can get onward with the restructuring business of growing substainable crops with a financial and environmental future . Better yet , go purchase a few of these farms and show us " dumb assed farmers " how to do the job properly .
I am always open to suggestions AND have been waiting the last 30 years for someone with the knowledge , experience , and NEW ideas .
I only live here because of the lifestyle ..the business part is the pits .

[ Removed per member request. - Admin]

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Chooch, how can consumers quit buying certain countries grains? We, as consumers, have absolutely no choice or say-so in the matter. The powers-that-be decide what is placed before consumers.

As for increased yields in GE crops being BS and reported by the media, I wasn't reading anything reported by the media. I was reading off of Monsanto's webpage. I agree with you, Chooch, that the information is misleading. I think that's a big problem that all farmers are facing. Farmers are presented with information about new products. They study both sides before making a decision. But, how do they know which side to believe?

This isn't a bash all farmers discussion. I know it's not for me anyway. God knows that any farmer in today's world has my sympathy. I can imagine trying to wade through all the BS out there to get to the truth and then having some bureaucratic jerks tell me how much my crops are worth after almost killing myself to grow them. But, I have to say that I think some farmers are their own worse enemy. Why would any farmer grow a crop, regardless of how good a yield they had, if it couldn't be sold...for example GE corn? For the life of me I can't figure that one out.

Let me refer to a previous post you made, Chooch, on the original GM food thread:
"The BIGGEST farm issues of the day ( in the farmer's eyes ) ARE : TOPSOIL DEGRADATION , erosion control , and decent commodity prices . UNTIL these issues are addressed GMO'S shall continue onward."

Now let me post something ohiorganic said, who is also farmer:
"I have to wonder why anyone would plant a crop that is unsellable to the UK, EU and Japan. Costs more, often has lower yeilds than the non gene spliced crops, has not lessened the amount of pesticides and herbicides used on farm fields, as is claimed by the manufacturers and now is being looked upon with great suspicion by the US public. It seems that the farmers have gotten caught up in the spin doctoring that Novartis, Cargill, Monsanto etc are all into about biotech crops.

Bt corn will nor lessen the amount of pesticides used. Bt targets only one pest of corn, the ECB. A pest that is not a problem in something like 80% of US fields. The root worm is a bigger problem but still that only effects about 25% of all fields on a bad year. A good 4 year rotation would take of both problems. Not to mention that 10 moth species are not resistant to Bt and that happened in the 3 years this corn has been grown. In another 1 or 2 years it willo probably be ineffective on the ECB.

RoundUp ready crops use much more RR (usually 5 applications at 1 or 2 quarts per acre as opposed to 1or 2 TBL of other herbicides per acre). Granted many believe Round Up is a safer herbicide than things like Atrizine and it probably is in many ways. Still the amount of herbicide used on US fields has gone way up since RuR crops became so popluar, especially glysophate use.

USDA records, though preliminary-onre really needs a decade of crop reports to tell if yeilds are better or worse. But so far RuR cotton has had failures as have bt potatoes. In many areas GMO soy has not done too well, though in some areas of the US it has done nearly as well as conventional hybrids. rarely does it yeild better though, despite claims to the contrary by the manufacturers."

TomK, a farmer, writes:
"Remember farmers are very eager to embrace whatever innovation promises to boost returns,just as farm prices were sinking,Monsanto & others began promoting genetically altered corn & soybean seeds with cost-cutting promises and it swept the landscape,because they are so desperate for profitability farmers grap whatever is offered them. but the results is still higher yields and greater productive capacity & more surpluse than the market can absorb."

Okay, now for my questions:
_Why_ would GE crops continue forward unless they have helped the farmer with their major problems? _How_ have GE crops helped the farmer with the problems of topsoil degradation, erosion, and commodity prices? How have GE crops helped the farmer if they're not performing as they should and the farmer is still using large amounts of pesticides while paying a premium for the GE seed? Why are farmers growing crops that they can't sell in UK, Europe, Japan, etc? Monsanto and other companies are _supposed to be_ the companies "with the knowledge , experience , and NEW ideas." In reality, how have they helped the farmer in any way?

Santa Barbara, CA

I am sure all you folks will be pleased to find out that more foxes have been added to the US gov't hen house:

Friday March 23, 4:59 pm Eastern Time

Bush moves to fill senior Energy, EPA posts

WASHINGTON, March 23 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush plans to nominate General Electric executive Francis Blake to the second spot at the Energy Department, the Bush administration said on Friday.

Blake, who has been at General Electric (NYSE:GE - news) since 1991 and is the company's senior vice president of corporate business development, would be deputy secretary of energy. He previously was deputy counsel to then Vice President George Bush from 1981 to 1983, and then as general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency from 1985 to 1988.

Separately, the president will also nominate former Monsanto Co. executive Linda Fisher to be EPA Deputy Administrator. Fisher was vice president of government affairs at the giant agricultural biotechnology company.

This would not be Fisher's first job at EPA. She held three positions at the agency from 1985 to 1993, including
assistant administrator of the EPA's pesticides and toxic substances prevention office and chief of staff for EPA's

This message was edited Sunday, Mar 25th 12:01 AM

Lyndeborough, NH


Yer about a year behind with the food labeling stuff

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~eneGentically Engineered Food Labeling

February 23, 2000

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ via NewsEdge
Corporation - U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) today
introduced legislation that would require labeling of
genetically engineered (GE) foods on supermarket

The legislation affects foods with genetically engineered
ingredients, or foods processed with genetically
engineered material. Popular products that would likely
require labeling include Frosted Flakes (GE corn),
Coca-Cola (GE corn syrup), Hershey's chocolate (GE soy
used in lecithin), Heinz ketchup (GE tomatoes, GE corn

"Sen. Boxer just gave voice to over 30 million more
Americans who want to know if the food they are eating
has been manipulated," said Larry Bohlen, director of
Friends of the Earth's Safer Food-Safer Farms Campaign.
"As long as this stuff is on the shelf, citizens should be
able to choose whether or not they want to promote
biopollution like genetically engineered corn."

The Boxer legislation is similar to labeling legislation
introduced in the House by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
in November 1999. The Kucinich legislation now has more
than 40 co-sponsors. Other Congressional action has
included a letter to the FDA by 49 House members led by
Rep. David Bonior (D-Wis.) in October calling the failure of
FDA to require labeling an "important food safety and
consumer protection matter." Their letter stated that the
"current FDA policy regarding genetically engineered or
modified food is flawed."

The Boxer bill introduction comes just as the FDA is
planning to release its decision on labeling and safety
testing of genetically engineered foods after a series of
field hearings in November and December.

A diverse, nationwide set of organizations including
religious, farm groups, consumer groups, and
environmentalists has emerged to call for labeling and
safety testing of GE foods.

For more information on the Safer Food-Safer Farms
campaign, go to

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the Ban-GEF list,
send email to [email protected] with HELP in the SUBJECT line.

Search the archives (since '97) at, or go
to a recent day's digest at Updated

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Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

That's probably the only thing I agree with Barbara Boxer on and will ever agree with her on. LOL

Here's where we are to date on the issue, Byron.

Santa Barbara, CA

Byron, Good morning to you too.

You are a month behind me, good buddy. The FDA already issued its ruling which allows for _volunteer_ labeling as GM but even now is still working on the exact definitions of such thing as meaning of GMO-free (ie zero, 1 %, 3%, 5%) because of large range of allowable contamination in foodstuffs in other countries. I bet there will have to be a world standard first.

The Industry wants no labeling, of course, arguing that there are confusions about process versus product, widespread and irretrievable contamination of the food system now and in the future by GMOs, and fear that the consumer will think that there is something wrong with GMOS (). The food industry is so _efficient_ that most raw ingredients are melded early on -- ask organic processors about sourcing just organic raw materials, especially with zero tolerance for GMOs in organic food.

Yes, Ms Boxer etal can offer legislations requiring labeling but getting the industry to establish a multitrack system is another matter. In the end it might be easier to ban outright rDNA products (transgenic, between unrelated taxa) but allow technology not using techniques that could lead to human or ecological dangers (no antibiotic markers, transposons from microbes, viral promoters, etc.) The industry has not proven that gm is needed or that its products are superior in food values or yields. However, the potential is there to use elements of this technology to improve the rate of introducing better adapted and yielding crops in developing regions. Unfortunately both the technology and the patents on lifeforms and parts are controlled by a limited number of multinational corporations.

I read, for example, that Bt corn uses techniques and DNA materials whose patents are held by more than 30 corporations, individuals, institutes,gov't agencies and universities. There are hundreds of thousands of patents for just genes and associated proteins and related peptides/enzymes. We are talking about big business. This is the main reason why GM R&D are directed at industrial agriculture because it can afford to pay the piper.

A heck of a way to start my sunday morning...crossword puzzles calling to me, so I am off to breakfast and the newspaper.


Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Patty, I'm sorry. I didn't answer your question about "what are you going to do about it?" I was reading about issues confronting us with GE and wondering the very same thing. I came across a paper written by a concerned scientist I believe (I'll see if I can find it again. I'm on DS's computer without my "favorites" marked) His suggestion was for everyone (that's worried about the direction of biotechnology) to buy up all the stock in the GE development companies. As you know, stockholder's voices are heard...ours are not.


Santa Barbara, CA


I wished your suggestion was practical, but world-wide there is such a poor distribution of wealth that few could participate in such a program. Perhaps if ngos participated; but they are mostly non-profit and open to criticism of bedding down with the "enemy." Perhaps a few key corporations could be targeted instead. In many corporations relatively few investors have meaningful voting blocs of their own, augmented by collection of proxies from minor owners of stock. A tough row to hoe, IMHO. Be interested in reading the link you mentioned.

Another alternative is to make gmos of specific kinds nonprofitable: regulations, labeling, market forces led by consumers.


Lyndeborough, NH


BTW you canbuy New Leaf potatos from Canada and the will ship to US.

Best way to shut down GE/GMO is require labeling and then boycot it.

A sample Frito Lay lost 1/2 their world sales because of
Bt corn. They no longer use Bt corn

It's a start.

Many folks are boycotting Vitamin C, Most of it, at the moment, is made with RUR soy.

A few folks are going after the breakfast cereal companies.


Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

I'm still looking for the site, Marsh. I have 2 ISP's with zillions of favorites marked on each, naturally. LOL I may be looking or a while but I'll find it eventually. You're right about the buying of stock being impractical. When I read it, I became skeptical and even wondered which side the guy was really on. Hey, my Momma didn't raise no fool! LOL

I haven't heard about the vitamin C, Byron. Why are they putting soy in there to start with I wonder? I don't take the stuff so maybe that's common??? I agree with you about labeling. That's probably the only way to stop GMO's dead in their tracks until adequate testing can be done to assure safety for consumers. Safety for consumers (most especially children whose young bodies are still developing) is paramount in importance...for me anyway.


New Paris, OH

check out this GMO website from Cornell U. It has a very balanced view of the issues

BTW there was only one GMO tomato, the flavrSavr from Calgene and that was discontinued in the US markets in 1997, that ever made it to US markets. There were GMO tomatoes used by Sainsbury, a UK grocery chain, but they dropped them last year some time. i mention this because part of the text of one on Byron's posts says Hunt's uses GMO mater's which conflict's with Cornell's Info

I thought Vitamin C was made from corn and soy was made into lethicin. Either way it's all GMO contaminated now

I have read that even though Frito lay doesn't use Bt corn it does use RuR soy oil to fry the corn (sneaky of them ain't it, if true)

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)


Just so people aren't confused, the FlavrSavr tomato was not dropped because of government investigation or concerns with safety, but because it was a dismal failure. It did not grow the way it was supposed to (so farmers didn't like it), did not taste the way it was supposed to (so consumers didn't like it) and didn't sell well in stores (so merchants didn't like it).

Calgene dropped it because it was, financially, a mistake. Not for any other reason.

Lyndeborough, NH

Brook Just do a google search on Flavr saver tomatoes.
I don't recall all the details. But oneof the counties it was tried in the farmers burned the crops.


EU and 1/2 the rest of the world banned Bt. RUR is just comming up.

Esp after noting that it is making some meds ineffective.
Esp in the S.T.D area.


Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Byron, take a look at that "GM Cotton" post on 3/24. It's quite long but interesting. It talks about a specific STD.


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