Q10. What are the issues around GM foods?

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Queen Cersei
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TSR interviewed leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, to ask the questions the community submitted.

Watch Natalie's answer to
'What are the issues around GM foods?'



What do you think?
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TIF141
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But genetic modification of foods can increase yields in bad conditions and make disease-resistant crops in poorer countries - surely that's a big thing to consider?
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Gofre
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So because they have issues with how multinationals control food supply and farmers and the environmental damage they cause (which I'm sure will stop being problems once limitations are put on GM food :lolwut:) they want to suspend the use of an immensely beneficial technology with far further reaching applications?
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Captain Jack
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(Original post by TIF141)
But genetic modification of foods can increase yields in bad conditions and make disease-resistant crops in poorer countries - surely that's a big thing to consider?
(Original post by Gofre)
So because they have issues with how multinationals control food supply and farmers and the environmental damage they cause (which I'm sure will stop being problems once limitations are put on GM food :lolwut:) they want to suspend the use of an immensely beneficial technology with far further reaching applications?
This is quite an interesting topic - I'm studying for a qualification in horticulture with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Royal Horticultural Society, which is currently the basic level, but it's given me access to senior scientists and botanists in agriculture. They mentioned the other day that across Europe there is a gradual move away from GM, but especially chemical based farming as more and more things get banned because of the unknown consequences (and some known, like Glyphosate weed killer being a carcinogenic). I know chem use and GM are two very different things, but the point is the same, we still don't know exactly what the consequences of either are, although in some cases, we are now finding out. They say that it is inevitable that the UK will have to follow suit on the chemicals in the next few years and become much more organic. It will be interesting to see what happens with GM crops.

I'm not personally against GM yet as the advantages are obvious I'm just interested in the topic.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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They are misanthropes.
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Raiden10
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(Original post by TIF141)
But genetic modification of foods can increase yields in bad conditions and make disease-resistant crops in poorer countries - surely that's a big thing to consider?
Yes... it would be... if it were true! It's just cheerleading of the sort you hear at geneticliteracyproject or some Syngenta think-thank. Only a fool would trust to their benevolence...

The cheerleading is everywhere, in the media as well.

Last year the British Government Environment Secretary Owen Paterson got a vist from Monsanto execs... and came out saying anyone against GM crops was "wicked because they want African children to starve" (I mean seriously, he thinks Monsanto give a **** about African kids). He was plugging a kind of engineered rice that has no advantage for vitamin A delivery to the malnourished superior to food education and cheap vitamin softgels, except for the supply of vitamin M (money) to the patent holders.

Seed tech is not only about science, money has tremendous influence. Also, seed tech is not only about feeding people (we can already do this easily, with currently existing technology, even organically), but is more about making money.

Part of the logic behind pesticide use for farmers is not about yields but about labour costs. The chemicals get rid of the weeds, so you don't have to higher workers. Far fewer people work on farms in the modern world, and that means bigger profits. Chemicals being sprayed on crops (and not only GMOs) is a huge problem.

Remember: large companies only care about cutting labour costs and increasing profits. They don't give a damn if people starve because they can't afford the price of food, as long as they profit.

Monsanto et al. don't care about increasing yield. GM crops have not increased yield. Perhaps one day they will, but they have not yet so it's just speculation. Most of the focus is actually on proprietary pesticides anyway, in terms of the business model. It has nothing to do with yields. Here the promise is that GMOs would reduce pesticide/herbicide use by farmers. It hasn't. Not in the long run, as due to the inevitable "treadmill" effect, super resistant weeds have sprung up, a little like antibiotic-resistant pathogens, doubling from 2005-2012. Now they are right back to square uno.

I say "inevitable" "treadmill" effect. Of course we were promised in 2005 by Monsanto that this... wouldn't happen. Of course this scientific research that told us this wouldn't happen was financed by... Monsanto. And of course, those who profited most from the sale of Roundup were... Monsanto. Hmm.

Of course, one of the main components of the Monsanto, Bayer et. al. business model is driving up demand for intensive farming, low-nutrient practices. This is part of the reason the meat industry receives so much subsidy, because nothing makes Monsanto more in demand than a nation of meat eaters. Who else will create all the cheap grains and hormones for cheap, fat, poor feedlot cows?

So, you can only so much separate big agri (Monsanto et. al.) from big meat. It's all about economies of scale, supply and demand, and cost minimisation, stop thinking of these people as trying to feed the world because that is not what they are focusing on. They want to make a buck, basically.

Oh, and yes, if everyone ate less meat, we can EAS. I. LY. Feed the world. Even organically. Even if you don't support GMOs, if you eat meat that is not organic, you are playing into their hands.

And it's worth pointing out it's not all about GMOs. It's the pesticides that go with them, especially (but not solely) neonictonoids, that are harming the bees and monarch butterflies.

More of a concern than GMOs (& they are a concern) is the fact that if you are a bee, there's just nowhere you can go. You cannot go anywhere that has not been doused in chemicals.
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penguinfran
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No, i have no issues with GM, there are no credible studies that suggest GM foods are harmful.

I do, however take issue with the business practices of Monsanto, but the GM's no.
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