Friday, March 17, 2006

The State of Fear: Genetically Modified Foods

Ever since Genetically Modified foods were introduced in the early 90's, there has been a LOT of hysteria, panic, and widespread disenfranchise. Much of this was started by fringe activist environmental groups, like this overview, and this about wheat.
Many of the claims revolve around things like
  1. They harm the environment
  2. Harmful to Humans
  3. Doesn't help 3rd world countries like regular crops
  4. Not natural, thus less nutritious.
1. Harm the environment:
One of the main benefits of both selective breeding and GMing foods is a resistance to disease/pestilence. With the standard crop of today, waves and waves of both airborne and groundbased pesticides required to sustain the growth. While these are not harmful to humans unless used in massive dosages, they have been the cause of concern for many years. The Genetically Modified foods however, have an innate immunity to these problems. In reality, while GM foods are less expensive, they also add less to the environment.

2. Harmful to humans
While the FDA does not inspect the foods for human health problems, the farms are required to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. Regular foods are not inspected either, and the companies ensure the safety of the current crops.

3. 3rd world countries won't accept it.
An example of a GM food helping out poor nations is found in Golden Rice. Finalized and grown in 2000, it is the traditional white rice, enriched with vitamin A. It is given away free to farmers in the poor nations. Greenpeace opposed it initially because it didn't have enough vitamin A, alough they continued their opposition after the amount was increase, due to a blanket opposition to GM foods. Many countries accept it, both because its free, and requires a minimum of chemicals to grow effectively.

4. Not natural, thus less nutritious.
The exact opposite is true, as these foods are engineered to be both more nutritious and better tasting. More fruits and vegetables are available year round, providing more opportunities for good nutrition.

Why the spread of this fear?
There are several reasons, and several groups that are behind it. The majority of it comes honest citizens who out of ignorance of what the GM foods actually are. Much of the rest comes from socialist/fascist environmental groups, who's main purpose in life appears to be the slander of large corporations.
On the honest citizen side of things, its just fear of the unknown, and being driven to an irrational fear by the environmental groups. This is excusable, but rather unfortunate. Much of the food you buy in a normal supermarket is probably GMed, but you eat it regardless of the fear.
With the environmental groups however, it is a different story. Not only is their main purpose one of willfully misleading people, (Forest destruction, global warming, pesticides, ect.). With the GM issue, the fearmongering is to damage the large farms, like ADM. I believe their main contention is that the farmland is taken, and they want it to be reverted to its natural state of chaos.


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Yeah, I am not scared of GM foods.

What drives me really mad is the Organci food advocates. They just do not realise the benefits of agricultural technology in enabling large numbers of people to eat fruit and vegatables at affordable prices.

Every Blessing in Christ


Palm boy said...

Thanks Matt.

I don't care if you choose to buy organic food for yourself (your seriously getting ripped though), but the protests and demands of more organic food for everyone don't help. It costs more, takes more land and more work, and with negligible health benifits.

They grew organic food in the middle ages, and look how wonderfully they ate.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I get so mad when I hear the word 'Organic.'

If I had a revolver, I would reach for it every time I heard that word.

Palm boy said...

I guess it may be a bigger deal over there then over here. Although here, a LOT of its support comes from conservative homeschoolers, who no offense (cause I am one), have much more interest in their families. Becuase they're told that the organics are healthier, they buy them.

Are revolvers still legal in england?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

No, revolvers are very much illegal unfortunately.

I hate our gun laws.

Palm boy said...

Are any guns legal?
I know the police men started using them a few years ago, and they shot some nut that was running through the subway a while back.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

The police have always had access to guns, though most officers do not carry them normally.

You can get permission to own shotguns.

Some people want to ban airguns and authentic replica guns.

There was talk about relaxing the gun laws to assist pistol shooters training for the Olympics. However, the government has no palns to do so.

Every Blessing in Christ