Quick Q and A on GMOs

ponderI was just asked a bunch of questions on GMOs by a student at Salt Lake Community College. Here’s the answers!

What is your name and field of business?

Michael Kinnaird, I’m a writer at http://habitguide.com/ (health).

How are you involved with the Genetically Modified Food issue? What inspired you to get involved?

I aim to raise awareness of GMOs in the food supply because most people don’t know what a GMO is. What motivated me to get involved was the horror I felt when I learned that DNA from one species was being fired from a gun into the DNA of another species—for example DNA from bacteria shot into corn DNA, or goat DNA modified to contain DNA from spiders so they produce spider web protein in their milk. When people become aware of GMOs they generally want to avoid them. They feel it’s not right on an instinctive and intuitive level as well as an intellectual level. Continue reading

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No seed saving with GE crops

Seed sovereignty is something to be concerned about. Genetically engineered crops are patented by biotech companies. There’s no saving seed for next year’s planting. And if your farm is next to a GE crop and gets contaminated by pollen from GE crops, you risk being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement.

Research scientists who want to do independent testing of these novel and unnatural life-forms cannot, because of the patents — and the biotech companies do not give permission.

What do you get if you cross a spider with a goat?

The BBC Horizon’s “Playing God” is a documentary about genetic engineering. Although it doesn’t cover all the horrendous stuff going on with our food, it does feature some other ways scientists are manipulating the genome for profit…

The spider-goat is one example. They’ve taken the gene that produces the spider web protein and inserted it into goats so that they produce this protein in their milk. The “benefit” is the production of incredibly strong web proteins that can be made into thread and have all sorts of potential applications…

Another disturbing development is using yeast to make diesel, yes that’s right. Instead of making alcohol from sugars the genetically modified yeast make diesel.

What is especially disturbing about genetic engineering as it plows forward unchecked, is the complete lack of ethical framework. Businesses can pretty much do whatever they like it seems and when profit is the sole motive, God help us… Continue reading

The choices we make in the supermarket determine the future of food

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Lowest price most often wins

It’s consumers choosing lowest price that drives the economy of scale and high chemical using, genetically modified, toxic methods. If lowest price wins, it’s a vote for big agribusiness… system based, high chemical input, large scale agriculture.

In a highly competitive market, any chance to cut costs, to offer a lower price to wholesalers, retailers or increase profits for shareholders will be taken.

Unfair advantage for big agribusiness

The US government builds huge subsidies for big agribusiness into the national farm bill. That gives big agribusiness an enormous advantage over small organic farmers, who are not subsidized in any way. If all the external factors were truly priced into food, organic produce would be the most cost-effective foods on the market.

Many people in agriculture believe that if there was a level playing field in agribusiness, organic farming would quickly win the battle. However, the government subsidizes corn, soybean, canola, and cotton production to keep the prices of those commodities artificially low, so that people will feel grateful to the government for keeping their food prices down. Continue reading