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Get genetically modified poison foods out of my body!

This is perhaps the best public-interest rap I've heard in years.

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I know just how this guy feels. Genetically modified food is everywhere!

I tried to swear off foods with human-altered genetic traits. I had to give up wheat -- and not just the drought-resistant strain that scientists are developing so that India can continue to feed its expanding population -- but plain old wheat, which humans preferentially bred from tall grasses in the Fertile Crescent. Who did those Sumerians think they were? Utu, god of Sun and justice?

Beef, corn, rice, you name it -- humans tainted all of them centuries ago. For a while, all I was willing to eat was salmon that I caught with my own mouth in the Shasta River, until I found out that some scientists are trying to genetically alter some salmon, too -- and for what? Just to prevent us from overfishing the species into extinction, or something.

Really, we need to get back to our hunter-gatherer days, when we didn't disturb the natural order except to kill the odd stag and occasionally die off because of some plague or another.

Barring that, I think this GMO rapper fellow would be happier if, instead of using modern technology to quickly and precisely preference the traits we're interested in, we just kept on genetically altering crops over the course of many generations, and then only maybe getting the mutations we want -- who knows, perhaps a few more, too! -- after years of unnecessarily painstaking selection. How could Indian politicians be so keen on getting reliably drought-resistant wheat quickly? Their population is only growing by 18 million a year. With Europe still uncomfortable with genetically modified foods, can't they eat cake -- made from marigolds and betta fish -- in the meantime?

By Stephen Stromberg  | October 15, 2010; 6:27 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Hysterical! And too true--ALL food is GMO, so get over it.

Posted by: 1toughlady | October 16, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

How very correct and clever.


Posted by: GaryEMasters | October 16, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Great essay. It is notable that those opposed to genetically modified food (the recombinant DNA variety) never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Let them emigrate to areas of the world where starvation is rife -- I would be impressed if they retained their aversion to genetically modified food if it meant the difference between malnutrition or enough calories to sustain health.

Posted by: Riograd | October 16, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

This article claims that genetic modification of foods is "preferencing traits that we want", when in fact it is not.

The traits that we want are a result of multiple genes, not just the one gene that is inserted into the genome of the plant by force.

Also, the process is brutal, it's not like taking gene A and putting it into plant P as if you're playing with building blocks.

Sometimes the results are seedless plants, like the South African case, where about a quarter of the farmers lost 80% of their crops and the companies they bought the seed from had to reimburse them.

Imagine this kind of loss happening on a global scale, if conventionally-bred crops are replaced more and more with GMO crops.

And saying that "all food is GMO" is plain wrong, because genetic modification is a forced process, combining things that, through evolution, have become separate and thus do not belong together (otherwise evolution would have brought the traits together without us ever intervening).

Also, recombinant DNA methods of increasing milk yields in cows, for example, have been shown to be vicious, because they needlessly cause pain to the cows and it lowers the quality of the milk, by making it full of pus and endocrine disruptors. The journalists who brought this to light were threatened with job loss and told to not air the story, of course, being good people, they did it anyway.

I realize that this is a "quick take" article, but drought-resistant plants already exist, of course the GMO lobby wants you to think that GM crops are the only things with this property.

In addition, the creation and inevitable accidental releases of GM salmon would kill normal salmon faster than fishing ever would.

The full-grown GM salmon is larger than normal salmon and is thus more attractive to mate with, however this salmon is created with a sterility gene (that doesn't naturally belong to it, for evolutionary reasons), so no fish will spawn from the GM salmon, or worse, there will be a percentage of the GM salmon that can in fact reproduce, because the genetic engineering process is deeply flawed.

This will lead to the GM salmon destroying ecosystems virtually unopposed and when those are gone, they will even eat other salmon, again, because the modification process is very flawed and it creates side effects like cannibalism.

If you don't believe me, search for these facts yourself, there is a lot of stuff the GM-interested parties don't want you to know.

Posted by: RobertPalmer27 | October 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Robert Palmer posted: "And saying that "all food is GMO" is plain wrong, because genetic modification is a forced process, combining things that, through evolution, have become separate and thus do not belong together (otherwise evolution would have brought the traits together without us ever intervening)." Your post illustrates an ignorance of the selective breeding by humans over the past 10,000 years to produce high yield, edible plant varieties. Present day corn is a product of selective breeding by humans to produce a plant variety with high yield food -- the breeding was completely uncontrolled, mixing genes from different corn plants randomly -- and selecting the desired plant phenotype, discarding corn plants with undesirable properties. Almost all agriculture corps are products of selective breeding by humans and are not natural. Same with animals. Those that want proof that genetically engineered food poses no threat to human health should require that all food produced by selective breeding also poses no threat to human health. Otherwise, you are just cherry picking unnatural foods to protest, of course, while you do not risk malnutrition.

Posted by: Riograd | October 16, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The article and some of the comments display a deep ignorance of the difference between GMO and selective breeding. They are not remotely the same thing. Ask Monsanto if their patented GMO seeds are just new hybrids.

Posted by: geoffmcguinness | October 17, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

OK, I'm with you. So come on over to my house today for a barbeque. I've got corn from a farm, grown from kernels where the next field over they were growing corn modified to contain anti-biotics or other medicines. Yes, some of the pollen had drifted over and fertilized my farmer's corn. But so what. You'll enjoy it, and who cares if the low doses of antibiotics you receive confer a little resistance to the bacteria that might later infect you. That's progress.

Posted by: ESTEELE25 | October 17, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The point that GMO boosters are missing is that slow genetic modification creates time to recognize and deal with unintended consequences. Yes, the thought of people having food in the moment is wonderful. Hunger hurts. But I doubt any of the people engineering this food are motivated by compassion; they're motivated by profit, hence some of the crops that are specifically engineered so that growers have to keep buying the seed from the patent holders, season after season.

Meanwhile, we have gaffes like the pest-resistant corn that swapped some genes with milkweed in the same field, affecting the monarch butterflies which eat the milkweed. Killing pollinators is not the way to an abundant future. You can bet that plenty of other surprises like this are hiding in custom-built DNA strings.

As for someone who is ignorant enough to think that random ingestion of antibiotics confers "resistance" to some possible future infection, I am simply gobsmacked. Wholesale overuse of antibiotics is directly behind the resistant strains of bacteria that have evolved over the past half century -- those little bugs recombine their DNA way faster than we do. Anyone who's watched someone die of septic shock from an invincible bug contracted in the hospital -- I have -- would never say such a profoundly stupid thing.

Posted by: Hyperlocal | October 18, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Label it, or shup up and get out.

I want to know what I buy, and I (REPEAT I) want the choice to buy what I chose - if I chose not to by BigFarma farming "food" that tastes like cardboard, then that is the right of the consumer.

See, that';s fair. BigFarma is allowed to create their product, and I am allowed to decide if I want to buy it.

Why is labeling of GMO foods illegal in the USA? Why should BigFarma get to sell me what I do not want to buy?

Posted by: Greent | October 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"I don't care if there is DDT in my lettuce as long as it's crisp." Grace Slick, circa 1971

Posted by: SuburbanCuurmudgeon | October 18, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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