Adoption of genetically engineered crops in the U.S.

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    U.S. farmers have adopted genetically engineered (GE) crops widely since their commercial introduction in 1996, notwithstanding uncertainty about consumer acceptance and economic and environmental impacts. In terms of share of planted acres, soybeans and cotton have been the most widely adopted GE crops in the U.S., followed by corn.
    The tables linked below provide data by year, State, and genetically engineered seed trait obtained by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in the June Agricultural Survey (2000-16). Because the June Agricultural Survey began to include genetically engineered (GE) adoption rates for corn, cotton, and soybean in 2000, other sources for estimates of GE adoption rates at the national level for 1996-99 are used.
    According to NASS, the States published in these tables represent 81-86 percent of all corn planted acres, 87-90 percent of all soybean planted acres, and 81-93 percent of all upland cotton planted acres (depending on the year).

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    http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-produc...s-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx
     
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't really have any problem with it. But I wonder whether it reduces sales of American farm products in Europe, where (if news reports are to be believed) GM crops seem to be much more controversial.
     
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Europeans are paying more attention to the data, and the risk. Plus they are self-sufficient in food - difficult to bully and bribe.
     
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    People care here too, we wanted the food labeled but the lobbyist managed to bribe the legislators and they compromised on unintelligible labels that require a smartphone to be read.

    Washington works very efficiently for lobbyist and big money interests. Not so much so for the rest of us.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't. I used to think that labeling everything made sense; people could decide what they wanted based on the label.

    Then Prop 65 came along. It was a proposition that required labeling any area that had toxic materials in it. No brainer right? I mean, who wouldn't want to know what areas are toxic? It passed.

    Turns out it was a personal injury lawyer who wrote the law and got it on the ballot. He wanted more business and boy did he get it.

    Today almost every parking garage, airport terminal and business in California has one of those signs. Parking garage? There might be spilled motor oil, and that's a toxin according to the bill! Airport terminal? They might use disinfectants in the bathrooms, and that's a toxin too! Business that fixes cellphones? There might be solder in that cellphone, and you guessed it - that's a toxin! Your house? You'll get a Prop 65 warning every year from your utility that tells you your house might be toxic, because they send natural gas there - and that's a toxin too.

    So now it has become completely meaningless. Those signs are completely ignored because they are everywhere. But it has been very good for lawyers. There are firms that specialized in suing businesses for NOT having Prop 65 signs, or having signs that are the wrong size, color or shape. And if you own a small business? You better have that sign or you'll be paying lawyers big bucks; average Prop 65 payouts to lawyers are now $15 million a year. It has quite accurately been described as "a clever and irritating mechanism used by litigious NGOs and others to publicly spank politically incorrect opponents ranging from the American gun industry to seafood retailers."

    So at least here in California we've been fooled once. You can be fooled again if you like; I won't be.
     
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And you can't tell the difference between that and corporations labeling their GMO derived food?

    Somebody passes a bad law, therefore we don't need good ones? You were naive, therefore nobody knows what they are talking about?

    Keep it simple:

    At a basic scientific level, if one of these essentially unresearched GMOs goes sideways on us as a food for some unexpected reason (e.g. trans fats, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, artificial food colorings, and so forth, all of which were much more thoroughly checked out than any GMO has been), at a minimum we want to be able to spot it epidemiologically. Right?

    At a basic economic level, buyers get to know what they are exchanging their money for. That's a basic condition of a free market. Without it, markets don't work.

    At a basic political level, it's stupid to tell people they have no right to know what's in their food, to require that this information be hidden from them, when they care about it. And it's stupid, politically, even if they don't have any good reasons to want to know - it doesn't matter why: if they want to know whether Paul Newman's charity gets the profit from their popcorn purchases, telling them that it's illegal to provide that information to them is so obviously bizarre as to call the motive into question: and there isn't a likely good one. There are very few good motives for disallowing or corrupting accurate content information on a food label.
    Which is not likely to happen with GMOs - and that is the reason the corporations involved are fighting this labeling business: they think the label is going to have an effect in the US as it has everywhere else.

    Another aspect of the non-meaninglessness: the hassle and risk of labeling GMOs is likely to expose a deception in the sales job: that "GMOs" are a monolithic, interchangeable, single kind of thing; that one GMO is as safe or good or effective or whatever as another; that all these extraordinarily varied and differently created GMOs belong in the same box; that what is true of one of them is true of any or all of them.

    And there are many more.
     
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Curious twist:

    Bayer(a german company) and monsanto(mon) have agreed on a takeover wherein Bayer will pay 127 dollars per share for monsanto, while mon is trading at @107, and the eu may outlaw glyphosates within 18 months.

    Crazy doesn't begin to describe this deal. Regulatory hurdles await.
    Crazy? Bayer may own a company whose single biggest earner may be outlawed in Germany. Meanwhile they will continue to dump their poisons on american fields.
    Will we ever wake up?
    Will we ever get a government that looks out for our welfare?
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,755
    Different products; same intent. (In fact, the latest GMO labeling proposal on the ballot out here was authored by that same lawyer.)
    Not at all, nor does it have anything to do with what I was talking about.

    To use an equally silly argument - just because you are scared of GMO's is an insufficient reason to hand lawyers tens of millions of dollars in consumer's money.
    Definitely. And how will we do that, if almost every food out there is labeled as a GMO food?

    If such a thing _does_ happen, the reason will not be because "GMO's bad." The reason will be be that a very specific substance or allergen (which may not even be coming from the results of genetic modification) has an unexpectedly bad effect on some percentage of the population. At that point you label it, the same way we now label foods that contain nuts or gluten.
     
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,275
    1) The one's not a "product", and not being sold to the public (and that's a fundamental difference). 2) The intent is not the same (except maybe that lawyer's, and who cares). 3) The actual event is completely different - food is already labeled for content. 4) The demand is completely different - a lot of people care a great deal.
    You greatly underestimate the availability of non-GMO food, and the demand. I can - being educated and informed - almost entirely avoid GMOs even now, and I don't even care very much about the health risk (I doubt the particular products I would buy are much affected by the GMs involved).

    Also: Clearly we would prefer informative labels, rather than blanket yes/no ones. Bad laws are bad laws - make good ones.

    But that's not the immediate problem, is it. The problem is the number of foods that wanted to label themselves "non-GMO" accurately, and have been forbidden to do that.
    Yep. Don't pass bad laws. Do pass good laws. Don't use the one as an excuse for the negation of the other.
    Exactly my point. The agribusiness industry should be prevented from lumping all GMOs together, as they are trying to do now.
    1) We spotted the nut, gluten, trans fat, artificial sweetener, etc, problems only because the substances involved were identifiable, and so there was a large identifiable population of people that had much less, or even no, exposure to them. We had labels before we spotted the troubles, and that turned out to be a very good thing. 2) If you have converted most of your food supply to a couple of GMOs, and you have forbidden the labeling necessary for people dubious about them to avoid them, if something like what turned up with trans fats turns up thirty years later it's too late to label the stuff for the people who wanted to avoid it.

    And then there's this: a lot of people want to avoid GMOs for reasons other than health risk. It should be possible for them to do that, with an ordinary amount of effort. People should be able to make informed buying decisions, or you don't have a market and the benefits thereof.

    Bottom line: There aren't very many good reasons for not labeling GMOs. There are even fewer good reasons to forbid such labeling, or corrupt it so that it is not informative.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  13. coffeetablescience Registered Member

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    Aren't we missing the real topic here. Labelling GMO or not is a secondary issue if we can stop farmers from adopting them in first place.
    Shouldn't we be looking at core reasons why farmers are being pulled towards GMOs. Its not just great marketing.
    GMOs promise great benefits. Can we assure our farmers the same benefits with non-GMO crops.


    Monsanto has a bad repute yet Bayer is buying them. Why? Because they look at it as an integral part of the future. Laws in Germany may change in 18 months but can be changed in the next 18 months or 36 months which is not a great concern for Bayer. They know Monsanto will work towards its products for the future.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Not possible. We shouldn't allow GMO labelling because it gives the public the idea that there's something wrong with GMOs. If you aren't for GMO, you are in favor of famine.
     
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  15. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    4,487
    nonsense

    Gmo labeling allows the marketplace to decide.
    Censorship is deceit.

    GMOs reduce labor costs and thereby increase yield per dollar invested.
    If I would prefer to pay extra for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that vast amounts of pesticides are not being dumped on the soils that feed the streams that feed the rivers that feed the ocean, then that should be my choice.
    Censorship is deceit!
    Those who would impose censorship are not to e trusted.
    What else are they lying about?

    .................
    Are crops that produce their own insecticides the best choice for a healthy ecosystem?

    .......................
    We only got the one planet.
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    GMOs reduce the use of pesticides.

    Tobacco produces it's own insecticide, we call it nicotine.
     
  17. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Reducing the use of pesticides reduces the use of pesticides.

    Derived neonicotinoids are deadly to bees.

    None of which justifies censorship.

    Insecticides are much like broad based antibiotics. Eventually: They are doomed to fail. Meanwhile how much damage might they do?

    Cultivating/weeding is damned labor intensive. Repairing a dead soil is also labor intensive.
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,755
    All crops produce their own pesticides.

    From a paper by Dr. Bruce Ames and Dr. Lois Gold from 2000 in the Journal of Mutation Research:
    ===========
    About 99.9 percent of the chemicals humans ingest are natural. The amounts of synthetic pesticide residues in plant food are insignificant compared to the amount of natural pesticides produced by plants themselves. Of all dietary pesticides that humans eat, 99.99 percent are natural: they are chemicals produced by plants to defend themselves against fungi, insects, and other animal predators.

    We have estimated that on average Americans ingest roughly 5,000 to 10,000 different natural pesticides and their breakdown products. Americans eat about 1,500 mg of natural pesticides per person per day, which is about 10,000 times more than the 0.09 mg they consume of synthetic pesticide residues.
    ===========
    I agree 100%.
    And fortunately, it is.

    Want to purchase food grown with only natural pesticides applied? You are certainly free to do so.

    Want to purchase food grown with artificial pesticides used in much lower quantities? You are also free to do so.

    Want to purchase food grown with NO pesticides? Pray that genetic engineering someday produces such a crop.
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    51,799
    Reducing pesticides alone reduces crop yields. Food gets more expensive, and people don't get fed.

    GMO labeling isn't censorship, it's hysteria.
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. We should encourage food producers to label their products (and not just by GMO content.) We should also support food quality standards, whether governmental or by NGO.
    Also agreed.
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The label on the bottle in front of me at the moment says "100% Fruit Juice". Is that making people suspicious of fruit juice?

    The souped up expression of large blocks of extra genetic code for auxiliary purposes reduces crop yield. How could it not? Does anyone think plants just sit around with extra capacity they don't use for anything, waiting for a genetic engineer to tap into it? The usual estimate - and there has been almost no serious research into this question - is a yield hit of around 5% for the two currently most widespread GMs.
    Uh, no: 1} is only for relatively well off people with boutique groceries in their neighborhood (or those with such parents). 2} is unavailable - it requires a level of labeling currently not found anywhere 3} is exactly the opposite of the expected results of all commercial GM research.

    And none of those individual choices of food has the slightest influence on the practices of US agribusiness, especially in the absence of labeling.
    Of all the irrelevancies - - - one of the aspects of GMOs that most worries me is the extraordinarily bad, even silly, arguments advanced in favor of their indiscriminate deployment. The people in charge of this field are not exhibiting what a reasonable person would call due care and diligence.

    It's much worse than that: crops in their natural state produce actual poisons, things that will kill you. Apple trees produce cyanide precursors in their seeds, for example. Potato plants load enough glycoalkaloids in their skins to stop the heart of a 60 pound child.

    And human beings have learned how to process them, breed them, and so forth, to make up for whatever five million years of mutual evolutionary adjustment (between the plants and the primates) to herbivory has not provided in the way of protection.

    That doesn't mean that engineering them to produce lethal poisons they do not currently feature would be a risk-free endeavor - right?
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,755
    Both the Von's and the Albertson's down here in Mira Mesa (mostly military community) has GMO-free products. Even the Wal-Mart Supercenter down by the border has such options. You can't get much farther from "boutique" than Wal-Mart
    Agreed. Nor would such a plant survive in nature. But for some people, "no pesticides" is some sort of holy grail, so perhaps someday a heavily genetically engineered, lab-grown plant grown in a sterile environment will achieve that sort of level of "naturalness."

    And none of those individual choices of food has the slightest influence on the practices of US agribusiness, especially in the absence of labeling.
    Exactly. And yet people eat potatoes and apples.
    All change carries risk.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That's irrelevant to {1}.

    But riding with it: of course that presupposes labeling etc; also, the Walmart "excluded middle" effect will come into effect. And regional aspects apply: it's not so easy to find even GMO-free stuff in some areas. Certainly not in the quantity, variety, and prices for feeding a family on a lower class job.
    After five million years of coevolution, tens of thousands of years of experience in processing, and due care.

    If I engineered apple seed cyanide precursors and potato skin glycoalkaloids into farmed salmon embryos to reduce predation, would you feed the grown fish to your children based on a 60 day rat feeding study of the first batch?
    So? Buy low, sell high, and you'll never lose money on the stock market.

    When the change involves a conversion of 3/4 of the food supply of a continent to a couple of specific genetic variations of a handful of food plants, the destruction of the effectiveness of the most benign herbicides and pesticides available, and {list of ecological and economic risks a page long} across the entire landscape of North America, we should be seeing due diligence and extreme care.

    We aren't. We're seeing a marketing campaign built on crude deceptions and economic power.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016

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