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Author Topic: Genetically engineered wheat?  (Read 5600 times)

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Offline norma427

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2013, 07:56:10 AM »
Norma

You might find these articles written by "Uncle Henry" to represent "the other side."
As he states at the end of the first article-follow the money but there is a money trail on both sides.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2012/10/22/the-roots-of-the-anti-genetic-engineering-movement-follow-the-money

http://www.american.com/archive/2012/october/europe-vs-scientific-consensus

Bob,

Thanks for those two articles to show the other sides.  I understand science will never stand still and genetic engineers will always try to expand on the plants they they do genetic modification on.  I saw from Craig's post at Reply 14  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,25481.msg257106.html#msg257106  just how many petitions there are for determination of non-regulated status.  I see from your second article that in those EU states they sure don't want genetic modification and are more skeptical on doing the genetic modification on different plants.  From your first article it told that Dr. Oz, his wife and the co-producer of his programs has been a longtime supporter of Smith and active campaigner against genetic engineering and in favor of Prop. 37.  It also see contained in your first article this letter.  http://academicsreview.org/2012/10/letter-to-dr-oz-show-producers-by-bruce-chassy-phd/

How are the common everyday people like me ever able to sort all of this out, when understanding everything without anyone’s help?

I heard that farmers in our area were concerned two years ago with some the wheat grown in our area and maybe if it had something called a fungal disease because of too much moistness of the ground from too much rain when growing the wheat.  Some farmers were concerned and other ones weren't, so that makes me wonder if they planted different varieties of wheat.  I heard, but don't know, that the fungal disease might contain dangerous substances that could impact the health of humans or livestock that ate it.  I know some of the farmers had to send samples somewhere to be tested.  In this next article it tells some about the Bio tech wheat.  http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/38/default.asp

I sure don't understand all of this, but do understand the money trail is on both sides.

Norma

Offline norma427

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2013, 08:08:23 AM »
At least with some foods we can grow our own safer varieties in a home garden. Wheat is a whole different story. What I gathered from the William Davis videos is that we've already been consuming genetically altered wheat for decades now and the older processes of alteration are possibly more dangerous than the modern GM techniques.

To me, the scary part is how certain large corporations with extreme profit motives have control over our government. An excerpt from one of the articles you posted...

"Don’t worry about the safety of GE wheat, however. The USDA is absolutely sure it’s completely safe for you. And why? Because Monsanto told the FDA it was safe!"

Pete,

I understand what we grown in our own gardens is probably safer.  I also think wheat has changed over the years, even without the Davis videos.  I recall when I was younger that the wheat fields in our area looked different in that the stalks were taller and the wheat part did appear bigger to me.  At least that is what I remember. 

I know what you mean about the USDA saying it is completely safe, but on the other hand it is because a big corporation like Monsanto told the FDA it is safe. 

I dislike to inflame the subject of wheat more, but don't recall of anyone I went to school with having Celiac disease.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2963738/   I have no idea if newer varieties of wheat had anything to do with more Celiac disease though if someone was genetically susceptible.

Norma

Offline ArmoredDragon

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2013, 09:55:05 PM »
I'm by no means an industry expert, nor am I invested financially in any way into anything related to agriculture, but I have studied microbiology and chemistry, and because of my kidney disease I've been studying diet heavily as well lately, and I've noted this:

- Wheat is in fact bad for you in general. This doesn't mean it'll kill you, but it is something to avoid for optimal health. It always has been this way, modern agriculture hasn't "changed it for the worse" so to speak. It's just now that science has discovered that our bodies weren't built around eating it. (That doesn't stop me from eating it though - but like anything, use moderation.)

- There's a ton of misconception about what we should and shouldn't consider food. This is mainly spread by alarmists who don't actually understand the science behind it, and will readily accept poorly done research as long as it supports their philosophical view (i.e. being vegetarian for example) while discarding outright anything they disagree with.

A common thing I see for example is that you shouldn't eat McDonalds burgers because they don't decompose. But if you look at real honey (most honey you actually buy at the store isn't 100% real honey, by the way, google "honey laundering" for more on that) they've actually found honey in egyptian tombs that is over 3,000 years old and still tastes sweet, but because honey doesn't have a corporate logo, activists don't go around trying to ban it due to a lack of a conspiracy theory. Dark chocolate kills dogs, yet at the same time it has known nutritional benefits to humans. Avacado's are toxic to most animals, but have high nutritional value to humans. Different species have different physiologies and different needs. Just because a bacteria doesn't want to eat it doesn't mean you can't, so food that doesn't bio-degrade isn't inherently bad.

- And for the soup de-jour of this thread: GMO. From what I know of GMO, all they're doing is modifying a very small number of DNA codons to produce a protein that causes the plant to be resistant to the active ingredient in roundup. Just for a perspective, every time a plant breeds, thousands of codons of different genes elsewhere mutate in different and unpredictable ways. You're far more likely to see an unknown mutation that causes harm in one of those than you are from a deliberate known change. The most cited study by anti-GMO groups is around one where some rats got cancer after being fed some GMO corn. The problem with this study is that the rats they used were already known to be prone to that form of cancer. Likewise, nobody has been able to reproduce that result, but it still goes on being cited anyways.

Common talk among them is also that they, say for example, take a gene from a fish and put it into a plant. Those lateral DNA transfers were only done as experimentation. All commercially sold GMO are invented DNA sequences, and they're very tiny ones at that - again, much smaller changes than normally happen from naturally breeding from one generation to the next. But, lateral gene transfers happen naturally. In fact, the human genome is known to contain gene sequences that originated from other species, and made their way into our own via viruses. It's currently known that we have three whole virus genomes embedded into our much larger genome, one of these actually took a trait from some other species that serves a vital body function. There are also a hundred thousand or so incomplete virus DNA sequences in our genome as well.

I could go on for a long time about this, but if you really want to know why GMO is safe, you should take it from the source of one of the founders of the anti-GMO movement, who has since realized that what he helped start was built around irrational fear of the uknown:

http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/

I HIGHLY recommend watching that video.

There is something you all might like that I can add to this: Imagine if we could grow wheat so that it both tasted good AND was healthy to eat. GMO may make that possible one day. I personally think GMO is a great thing, and we shouldn't get rid of it, we should embrace it - safely of course. It makes food less expensive to grow, and in the future it may make it higher quality as well (both taste and nutritional value). If your concern is about playing with nature and modifying our food in general, you're several millennia too late for that concern - we've been doing it since time immemorial. Most of the plants and animals we consume only exist because we created them from something else. Take the cavendish banana for example (cavendish is the banana you most commonly buy at the store) - this plant is completely incapable of growing in the wild. Ever notice that it has no seeds? We genetically modified it through selective breeding a long time ago. Wild bananas are mostly seed, and the seeds are so hard you can't chew them.

Here's an argument against the activists by the way: Many of them have vested financial interests in organic farms. Organic is often touted as sustainable farming that is healthier, but none of this has been proven true. Organic food costs more, and requires four times the quantity of pesticide as modern farming. And because the "feel good" nature of organic, it also has higher profit margins. If people go GMO on the other hand, that puts them out of business, so it's only natural that they'd try to stop it.

Personally I think it is immoral to ask somebody to pay extra for something when they gain no extra benefit. This is what organic currently is. In blind tests, organic has been found to have no different taste than modern agriculturally produced food. Nor is there any scientific evidence to suggest that it is healthier for you.

However organic is known to have lower yields and thus requires more landmass to farm, which means it is less environmentally sustainable than modern farming. If you look at the trend from the 60's in modern farming, the amount of food we produce has increased 300%, whereas the landmass we use has only increased by 12%. For organic this isn't true, the yields can only increase somewhat proportionally to the landmass because the technological advancement is stunted. For GMO we could still increase yields while even potentially decreasing the landmass required.

Personally I'm not going to tell you what kind of food you should eat, that's your call to make. If you like organic, great. But don't let activists put a halt to progress.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 02:30:17 AM by ArmoredDragon »

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2015, 04:53:17 PM »
Roundup may not be sprayed on GMO wheat in the US for much longer.
CA EPA will be listing glyphosate as cancer causing, other states will probably follow...
so I wonder what new chemical Monsanto will come up with.  8)

Wheat that has been genetically engineered to be tolerant of glyphosate gets soaked in this stuff. Monsanto sells "Roundup Ready !" wheat especially for this treatment - not good marketing potential for a pizzeria using flour made from that.  :-D

http://www.mintpressnews.com/monsanto-stunned-california-confirms-roundup-will-be-labeled-cancer-causing/209513/

"Monsanto was seemingly baffled by the decision to place cancer-causing glyphosate on the state’s list of nearly 800 toxic chemicals."
Really, baffled ? LOL
Charles

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2015, 05:00:47 PM »
Roundup may not be sprayed on GMO wheat in the US for much longer.
CA EPA will be listing glyphosate as cancer causing, other states will probably follow...

That or wheat will become more expensive and CA will loose even more jobs...
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Offline jsaras

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Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2015, 05:24:25 PM »
I have a background in industrial toxicology and I know a lot about the Cal EPA Proposition 65 listing of carcinogens because of my career.  To put it very succinctly, their standard of what is on the list of carcinogens is at least as political as it is scientific.  The most accurate description of this list is substances known to a single office in the State of California that they feel is carcinogenic. 

For example, new cars sold in California must have a warning label because they contain gasoline.  The gasoline inside a gasoline tank isn't going to give anyone cancer.  However, if a business fails to label their car as cancer causing they are subject to fines and "bounty hunter" attorneys can claim a substantial amount of the fine for turning them in.   Anyone can see the potential for extortion with this sort of scheme. 

As someone with a background in public health I can tell you that when it comes to large scale crop production, either the bugs are going to eat it or humans will.  There are indeed some risks involved, and those are calculated mathematically.  If you knew that you could feed 8 million people and you knew that one person in that group may be diagnosed with cancer (which is likely statistically insignificant) or lose half the crop to pests, the decision is made by government officials to maximize the food supply (my figures are just for the sake of discussion).

There has never been "pure" food and there is always a risk of illness even if you buy all your food from the biodynamic farmer next door.

Roundup is essentially non-toxic to humans in the amounts that would normally be present in food.  There is a recent study regarding the occupational use of Roundup and a corellation with lymphoma, but occupational use is an exposure that is infinitely higher than anyone could possibly ingest from food consumption.

Unfortunately, science isn't going to change anyone's mind on this issue, but here it is nonetheless: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-we-trust-monsanto-with-our-food/
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Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2015, 05:47:17 PM »
Is there no middle ground between the unobtainable "pure food" and crops that have been genetically modified so that herbicides can't kill them?

As a Chemist with a background in Public Health research, I regularly study the health effects of exposures to compounds, even at the ppb level.
I'm not convinced that "Roundup is essentially non-toxic to humans in the amounts that would normally be present in food."

What exactly is the amount present in food now, and what levels are non-toxic to humans if the treated food is eaten regularly?

Over time, as more and more Roundup is used per crop, maybe the levels in food will increase. Or maybe something worse will get sprayed, and most folks will ignore it, or throw their hands up.
Charles

Offline caymus

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2015, 05:52:16 PM »
Most wheat is grown in Kansas and the Dakotas.  They will decide.

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2015, 05:56:29 PM »
That or wheat will become more expensive and CA will loose even more jobs...

Is that why Caputo is so expensive?  8)
Charles

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2015, 05:58:08 PM »
Is that why Caputo is so expensive?  8)

Maybe part of it. The wheat is grown in North America, shipped to Italy to be milled, and then shipped back as flour. Not exactly a model of efficiency.
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Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2015, 06:05:49 PM »
Most wheat is grown in Kansas and the Dakotas.  They will decide.

A lot of other crops will be affected too, for example, alfalfa, which is a primary animal feed.
The good news is, plenty of farmers manage to keep their crops from being overtaken by weeds without glyphosate. It seems lazy to pour weed killer over your crops IMO.
Charles

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2015, 06:21:21 PM »
Maybe part of it. The wheat is grown in North America, shipped to Italy to be milled, and then shipped back as flour. Not exactly a model of efficiency.

Caputo buys from "wheat suppliers around the world", it seems inefficient since the EU produces about 3x the wheat that the US does.

Transportation costs aren't a dealbreaker then, if a lot of their wheat is from the US...maybe the Roundup gives it that little extra kick.
Charles

Offline jsaras

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2015, 06:25:16 PM »

Is there no middle ground between the unobtainable "pure food" and crops that have been genetically modified so that herbicides can't kill them?

So you want semi-GMO?   

When it comes to carcinogenic residues on crops there is an additional safety margin that is calculated which puts the exposure level well below the threshold limit value.

BTW, my current work as a consultant is more legal/regulatory in nature than technical.  If I could remember half the stuff I learned in college I'd be a brilliant guy.
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Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2015, 02:15:08 PM »
So you want semi-GMO?   

No, I'm not sure what that means.
I was referring to your comment about "pure food"...while that is obviously a red herring, there can be varying levels of safety.

I don't expect food to be completely pure and without any risk.
But that doesn't mean I have to blindly accept what Big Ag and Monsanto shove down our throats either.

I'm not especially trusting of industry calculating acceptable exposure levels. YMMV.
Charles

Offline woodmakesitgood

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2015, 03:03:34 PM »
Recent testing of A study in Food Chemistry, published last year, determined the levels of glyphosate in treated and untreated soybeans.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814613019201

An interesting point in the paper... "it is relevant to consider, not only the active ingredient glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA, but also the other compounds present in the herbicide formulation. For example, herbicide formulations containing glyphosate commonly also contain adjuvants and surfactants to help stabilise the herbicide and to facilitate its penetration into the plant tissue. Polyoxyethylene amine (POEA) and polyethoxylated tallowamine (POE-15) are common ingredients in Roundup formulations, and have been shown to contribute significantly to the toxicity of Roundup formulations. Moore, 2012 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651311004234)."

Also interesting is the arbitrary raising of the acceptable exposure levels:
"The acceptance level of glyphosate in food and feed, i.e., the maximum residue level (MRL) has been increased by authorities in countries where Roundup-Ready GM crops are produced or where such commodities are imported. In Brazil, the MRL in soybean in 2004 was increased from 0.2 to 10 mg/kg: a 50-fold increase, but only for GM-soy. The MRL for glyphosate in soybeans has also increased in the US and Europe. In Europe, it was raised from 0.1 to 20 mg/kg in 1999, and the same MRL of 20 mg/kg was adopted by the US based on recommendations of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. In all of these cases, MRL values appear to have been adjusted, not based on new evidence indicating glyphosate toxicity was less than previously understood, but pragmatically in response to actual observed increases in the content of residues in glyphosate-tolerant GM soybeans."

In a recent preliminary testing of breast milk samples:
In the first ever testing on glyphosate herbicide in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse have found ‘high’ levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested. The shocking results point to glyphosate levels building up in women’s bodies over a period of time, which has until now been refuted by both global regulatory authorities and the biotech industry.

The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides (Glyphosate is both a pesticide and herbicide).
Charles

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Offline jsaras

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2015, 05:24:54 PM »
Like I said earlier, there's a mix of politics and science in this equation.  Generally speaking, I think that's a good thing.
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Offline bigMoose

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Re: Genetically engineered wheat?
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2015, 02:39:01 PM »
jsaras you might know the answer to this... Is there any truth to the following?  When the wheat is coming close to the end of the growing season, the farmer looks for a period of warm weather with  no rain.  They then spray roundup on the wheat to brown it, so that all fields ripens together for harvest.  Thus the roundup is not used to control weeds, but to kill off the wheat.  Would seem to me that if this practice is in use, it would put a lot more roundup into the food grain stream.
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