Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Transgenics on Our Tables?

Transgenic sweet corn containing the genes for expression of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins has been developed and is actually in the marketplace in the European Union and North America. B. thuringiensis (Bt) is a naturally-occurring bacterium that was found to produce exotoxins with insecticidal properties. The HD-1 strain of Bt was the first microbe to be successfully commercialized and used in caterpillar control, and it continues to be used as a microbial insecticide. In fact, several other strains of the bacterium have been developed for control of beetles, flies and mosquitoes. The genes for expression of these toxins have been identified, isolated and inserted into the genomes of crop plants. As susceptible insects feed upon the plant, they also consume the insecticidal toxin(s). Transgenic cotton and maize with the Bt toxin trait are now commonly grown in North America. Sweet corn is commonplace in our supermarkets, local markets, and on our tables. Will Bt sweet corn be the variety of choice for producers who supply our markets and our tables with the summer delicacy? What are the risks and the benefits for producers and consumers?


  1. So I stumbled upon this site: thelabrat.com
    They've discussed the major concerns of transgenic food and mention a few key studies to back up the information. (I realize this is a monster post, but all the info was good!)

    Demonstrators at the recent World Trade Organization talks in Seattle took to the streets to denounce transgenic crops as dangerous "Frankenfoods" and attacks on facilities conducting research on transgenic crops are occurring with increasing frequency. Some people are clearly worried and frightened by this new technology. What are the main concerns associated with transgenic crops? And what are the real risks?

    Is eating food from transgenic crops a health hazard? An experiment carried out in Scotland, where rats fed for ten days on transgenic potatoes containing a lectin gene from snowdrops appeared to develop internal organ damage, is often cited in support of this claim, although this particular study has been widely criticized by other scientists as being too small-scale and inconclusive (Ewen and Pusztai 1999). Some transgenes may pose human health risks when consumed: for example, a project to insert a brazil nut protein gene into soybean was halted when early tests showed that people allergic to nuts reacted to the modified soy products (Nordlee et al. 1996). This demonstrates the need to consider potential health effects in new transgenic crops, but it also shows that proper testing can identify risks. Although almost half the US soybean crop, and a quarter of US corn, now consists of transgenic varieties (which means that we have all been eating transgenic food products for some time) there is as yet no single case reported of anyone suffering health effects as a result. For more information see Kaeppler 2000 or Thompson 2000.

    Can antibiotic resistance genes used as markers in transgenic crops be transferred to pathogenic bacteria? The chain of events that would be necessary for such a transfer is quite unlikely, and there is no evidence that it occurs. However, in response to concerns about this remote possibility scientists are starting to use alternative marker genes in transgenic plants, such as the GFP gene which makes the plant fluoresce when placed under UV light. A detailed 1998 report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations on the use of antibiotic resistance genes is available at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/opa-armg.html. See also Kaeppler 2000.

    Are transgenic crops a threat to other organisms in the environment?
    Bt corn, which contains a bacterial gene enabling the plants to manufacture a substance toxic to the larvae of butterflies and moths but harmless to other organisms, has been a target of criticism since a laboratory study published last year showed that Bt corn pollen dusted onto milkweed leaves was harmful to monarch butterfly larvae feeding on them (Losey et al. 1999). Follow-up studies have shown that pollen from Bt corn rarely reaches toxic levels on milkweed in the field even when monarch butterfly larvae are feeding on plants adjacent to a corn field (Strickland 1999). Planting Bt corn also greatly reduces or eliminates the need for spraying with pesticides which are far more damaging to non-target insect populations.

    Will pollen from transgenic crops contaminate non-transgenic crop varieties? More information is needed about the extent of this risk for different crops. However, a recently completed study at the University of Maine found that cross-pollination of conventional corn by transgenic corn grown in an adjacent plot was 1% at a distance of 100 feet and declined to zero at a distance of 1000 feet. This suggests that it will be quite feasible to prevent the transfer of transgenes to non-transgenic varieties by following recommended planting distances, just as is currently done to maintain purity with conventional varieties. See also Barton and Dracup 2000.

    Will herbicide-resistant transgenic crops create "superweeds"? This is a real threat where transgenic crops containing a herbicide-resistance gene grow alongside closely related weed species, such as wild mustards in canola or jointed goatgrass in wheat. Gene movement from crop to weed through pollen transfer has been demonstrated for both of these crops. Proposals to reduce the risk of creating transgenic "superweeds" include linking herbicide-resistance genes to other genes which are harmless to the crop but damaging to a weed, such as genes which affect seed dormancy or prevent flowering in the next generation. Thus if a weed did acquire a herbicide-resistance gene from a transgenic crop, its offspring would not survive to spread the herbicide resistance through the weed population.

    Do transgenic crops reduce biodiversity? It has been argued that transgenic crops will replace traditional crop varieties, especially in developing countries, causing loss of biological diversity. This risk is real, but not restricted to transgenic crops. Farmers around the world have adopted new commercial varieties in the past and they will continue to do so as long as it is to their advantage. What is needed is better conservation of traditional crop varieties in danger of being lost, so that the useful genes they contain can be preserved.

    Will insect pests become resistant to Bt toxins?
    major concern is that the widespread planting of transgenic crops containing the insecticidal Bt gene will expose many more insect pests to the Bt toxin, accelerating the development of Bt resistance in pest populations. We already know this can happen: Bt resistance has been widely documented in the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a major pest of vegetable crops, in the US and in some Asian countries. This resulted from many years of growers using Bt as an environmentally-friendly insecticidal spray. Decreased susceptibility to Bt has recently been documented in soybean loopers collected from Bt cotton, indicating that resistance can arise from exposure to transgenic crops (see Mascarenhas et al. 1998). Strategies such as the use of non-transgenic "refuge"areas have been proposed to prevent or slow the development of Bt resistance in pest populations - for more information on this topic go to the Current Transgenic Products section of this website and click on Insect Resistance to Bt Toxins at the top of the page. See also Barton and Dracup 2000.

    Will the widespread adoption of transgenic crops lead to increased corporate control of the world's food supply?
    Research and development leading to the production of transgenic crop varieties is expensive and requires resources unavailable to many developing countries. Critics of the technology point out that ownership and control of the transgenic crops currently grown is in the hands of a small number of powerful corporations, which often impose restrictive conditions on farmers buying their seed. This trend has been accelerated by the widespread patenting of plant genes and germplasm in the US and some other countries. For more detailed discussion of some of these issues, see AgBioForum Vol.1 No.2 (Fall 1998), available at http://www.agbioforum.org/ under Archives Jordan 2000, or browse http://www.cgiar.org/biotech/rep0100/contents.htm . An extremely critical review of consolidation in the agricultural biotechnology industry can be found in "The Gene Giants", available at http://www.rafi.org/ under Publications.

  2. Relying on the FDA's approval of a product is akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. Because the FDA has approved something does not necessarily make it safe. There are currently around 17 products about to be recalled from the approved list. One product that will probably be taken off the list shortly is Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug. The HPV vaccine Gardisil, has had many adverse events registered. The list of drugs that severely injured or killed people includes Vioxx, the diet drug Fen-Phen, and many more. The FDA has a built-in conflict of interest in its operation. They are not adequately funded to do their own research, so they must rely on the drug companies to do the research for them. The drug companies, naturally, have a huge financial incentive to withhold negative findings, which results in a severe conflict of interest.

  3. Monsanto's Roundup Residues in GM Food Cause Cell Damage: From Mercola.com
    "Residues of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed can cause cell damage and even death, even at very low levels. The authors of a study on the subject say their research... points to undesirable effects which are currently masked or hidden from scientific scrutiny." "The researchers studied toxicity mechanisms of four different Roundup formulations in human cells. The formulations were diluted at minimal doses (up to 100,000 times or more) but they still caused cell death within a few hours. The researchers also noted membrane and DNA damages, and found the formulations inhibit cell respiration." The researchers were Seralini GE, and Benachour N, from the University of Caen, Laboratory Estrogens and Reproduction, UPRES EA 2608, Institute of Biology, Caen 14032, France. The last two sentences of their report state, "This work clearly confirms that the adjuvants in Roundup formulations are not inert. Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from R formulation-treated crops."

  4. The UK is one of the few countries conducting a yearly evaluation of food allergies. In March 1999, researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy had skyrocketed by 50% over the previous year. GM soy had recently entered the UK from US imports, so the soy used in the study was largely GM. Critics of GM foods often say that the US population is being used as guinea pigs in an experiment. However, experiments have the benefit of controls and measurement. In this case, there is neither. GM food safety experts point out that even if someone tried to collect data about allergic reactions to GM foods, they would likely be unsuccessful. 'The potential allergen is rarely identified. The number of allergy-related medical visits is not tabulated. Even repeated visits due to well-known allergens are not counted as part of any established surveillance system.' The Canadian Gov. announced in 2002 that they would 'keep a careful eye on the health of Canadians' to see if GM foods had any adverse reactions. They abandoned their plans within a year, saying that such a study was too difficult.
    The classical understanding of why a GM crop might create new allergies is that the imported genes produce a brand new protein. The novel protein may trigger reactions.

    Some problems:
    Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability of reproduce; male mice fed GM soy had altered DNA functioning; several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed GM corn varieties; and investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products.
    From Mercola.com

  5. Next: "Monsanto's Genetically Modified Milk Ruled Unsafe by the United Nations" From www.prevent cancer.com. Cancer Prevention Coalition.
    rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is the hormone fed to cows to boost milk production. More on that later.

  6. FYI we have been using BT for the last 30 years in organic farming. so with deep sorrow i just hate to inform all of you "class and Dr. Gardner" you have been infected.

  7. Biologically speaking allergic reactions
    are misguided defence reactions against
    invading parasites. Our body uses
    similar reactions to kill off invaders and
    sometimes the defences are triggered by
    inappropriate signals, like certain food
    items. The messengers telling us of the
    suspected invaders (or antigenic food
    molecules) are called antibodies. In the
    case of food allergies they are
    antibodies of a particular class. The
    antibodies are activated when the food
    item comes into close contact with our
    blood system, principally in the intestinal
    mucous membranes. Here the
    antibodies activate blood cells, which in
    turn release alarm molecules leading to
    the well known inflammation (urticaria).
    Since the immune system varies a great
    deal from one person to another, people
    may have very different allergic
    reactions to the same food items.

  8. about what katie said, its scary to think that transgentic potatos caused organ problems in rats after only ten days. we might not consume the exact same thing that they did but it is posible that we consume related chemicals. we realy dont sit down and think about where our food comes from.. yea it comes from the grocery store.. but how safe it that? how was it transported? and what we're talking about what kind of chemicals/sprays have been applied to the food? it is scary to think about what we consume, in reality we have no idea unless we grow it ourselves. these big coorporations are in the business to make money..not to feed the hungry! they spray chemicals to have the best yeild at harvest...not thinking about the long term health hazzards. if bt corn is poisenes to insects, than dont you think it has some effect on humans to? it might not be as effective, but who knows it might cause organ failure at old age. however, it all comes down to money, the producer wants money, the grower wants money, the store wants money, and the consumer wants to save money. so is it right to spray? is it right to have bt corn that has been geneticly modified to be poisenes to some insects? well if i was in the business i would say yes..but as a consumer i say no. but then who knows what effect would occur without bt corn. as long as people stay money hungry, society is going to have to deal with problems like these.

  9. All of my comments today were taken from articles @ GALILEO, EBSCOhost, Academic Search Complete.
    NY Times article dated 4/15/2009: Germany plans to ban the only GM strain of corn grown in the EU. German Agricultural Minister Ilse Aigner said the move is intended to protect the safety of consumers and the environment and does not represent a blanket ban on GM crops.

    New Scientist, 11/24/2007, Vol. 196 Issue 2631, p.4-4, 1 p;(AN27924489). In Italy, the government funded National Institute for Research on Food and Nutrition released data showing that GM maize varieties were 28 to 43% higher than for ordinary maize, but is accused of concealing results that the GM maize contained far less fumonism, a fungal toxin linked with spinal bifida.

    E - The Environmental Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006, Vol.17 Issue 6, p.40-41, 2 p. A 1999 study of farm workers who worked with bioengineered corn found elevated levels of proteins related to known allergens in their blood. These and other exposed farm workers have shown higher than normal skin irritation, asthma and rhinitus. Tests on mice fed GM corn found increased immune responses when compared to traditional corn.

    Journal of Animal Science; Apr 2009, Vol.87 Issue 4, p 1254-1260, 7p, 5 charts. Evaluation of corns with the GM input trait DAS-59122-7 fed to growing-finishing pigs. (Above input trait is for the control of corn rootworm.) Findings: No differences in ADG, ADF1, or G:F between pigs fed control corn and modified corn were observed during grower, early finisher, or late finisher phases, and no differences in dressing percentage, LM area, 10-rib back fat, and carcass lean content were observed.

    Chemical Week. 1/21/2008, Vol. 170 Issue 2, p6-7, 2p. French Pres. Sarkozy has banned cultivation of Monsanto's MON 810 GM corn until at least the end of 2008. MON 810, used for animal feed, is the only GM crop licensed for cultivation in the EU. Several EU states have banned it.

  10. The following is also taken from GALILEO, EBSCOhost, Academic Search Complete. Policy Review, Jun/Jul 2006, Issue 137,pp 61-69, 9 p.
    Scary Food, by Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko. "Americans take food safety very seriously. Still, many consumers tend to ignore Mother Nature's contaminants while they worry unduly about high technology, such as the advanced technologies that farmers, plant breeders, and food processors use to make our food supply the most affordable, nutritious, varied, and safe in history." GM foods are often singled out by critics as posing a risk for new allergens, toxins, or other evil substances being introduced into the food supply. "Scientists agree, however, that gene-spliced crops and foods are not only better for the natural environment than conventionally grown food, but also safer for consumers." In less developed countries, people are poisoned every day by fungal toxins that contaminate grain, resulting in birth defects, cancer, organ failure and premature death.

    Case in point, and very relevant to our topic: "About a decade ago, Hispanic women in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas were found to be giving birth to an uusually large number of babies with crippling and lethal neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and anencephaly -- at a rate approximately six times higher than the national average for non-Hispanic women." The cause was finally found to be the consumption of large amounts of unprocessed corn. Fumonisin, a deadly mycotoxin, or fungal toxin, is produced by the mold Fusarium and sometimes found in unprocessed corn. "When insects attack corn, they open wounds in the plant that provide a perfect breeding ground for Fusarium." These mycotoxins are highly toxic, causing fatal diseases in livestock that eat infected corn and esophageal cancer in humans. It interferes with the absorption of folic acid, which, in pregnant women, can cause the birth defect, spina bifida. The fumonisin level in corn in that locale was two to three times higher than normal.

    In 2003, the Food Safety Agency tested six organic cornmeal products and twenty conventioal corn meal products for fumonisin contamination. All six organic corn meals had elevated levels -- from nine to 40 times greater than the recommended levels for human health.

    "Bt corn expesses a protein that is toxic to corn-boring insects but is perfectly harmless to birds, fish, and mammals including humans." This reduces the levels of the mold Fusarium, which reduces the level of fumonism. Researchers at Iowa State University and the U. S. Dept. of Ag. found that Bt corn reduces the level of fumonisin by as much as 80 percent compared to conventional corn. According to this article, there are demonstrated, significant benefits to Bt corn, including reduced use of chemical pesticides, less runoff of chemicals into waterways, greater use of farming practices that prevent soil erosion, higher profits for farmers, and less fungal contamination.

    Finally according to this article, biotechnology researchers are well along in the development of peanuts, soybeans, wheat, and other crops in which the genes coding for allergenic proteins have been silenced or removed. Hypoallergenic varieties of wheat could be ready for commercialization w/i the decade, and nuts soon thereafter.

    This was an excellent article that also commented on the problems with growing potatoes. I used the keywords: Genetically modified corn.

  11. We're getting some decent discussion on this topic. Now, I think it's time that we focus on the problem at hand.

    Points have been made about GM foods. These basically underscore the controversies on this issue. In general terms, some of the benefits of developing and using GM products in our foods include improved taste and quality, improved maturation or storage traits, increased nutrients, increased yields, increased resistance to pest diseases and insects, resistance to herbicide chemicals, improved animal health, increased food security, less need for pesticide inputs in the environment, decreased liklihood of worker exposure to pesticides, etc.

    On the other hand, some of the concerns include potential impact on human health, increased allergens, unintended transfer of transgenes through cross pollination or other normal reproductive processes, domination of world food production by a few companies, etc.

    Science is and has been addressing some of these issues, even some of the issues that you are bringing to this blog. Let's now better focus on the issue at hand with all these points in mind.

    That is, what are your specific thoughts and supported views on bringing Bt transgenic sweet corn to your tables for consumption? Let's begin to fill in the blanks with only 2 class sessions remaining in this semester.

  12. As you explore available information and research to develop your view(s), thoughts and opinions on this issue, I urge you to use science-based information. This is sometimes difficult to identify with all the "printed" material available to us via the world wide web.

    In using web-based materials and information to develop a science-based report or support a view, you must continually assess the validity and reliability of the sources. Heck, anyone can establish a website and begin publishing. And, the more controversial and emotional the issue, perhaps the more hits the site may receive.

    So, use the guideline of S.P.A.T. in assessing web sources. That is, 'S' stands for 'Site.' Look at the url, the address the site comes from, etc. For instance, if you're looking for science-based and unbiased information on diabetes, do you really look at .com urls? These are commercial sites that are selling something, even if it's advertisement.

    'P' stands for 'Publisher.' Is there an author? What are his or hers credentials? Is there a company associated with the publication, or is the source a university or college. Someone should be in charge of the content of the webpage.

    'A' is for 'Audience.' Has the work that is published there been scrutinized through reviews by peers or other authorities in that area?

    'T' is 'Timeliness.' Look for a date that is was published, last updated, or copyrighted. Oftentimes material is published and then not updated, etc.

    And, the type of publication is often an indicator of authenicity. Magazine articles and opinion columns, even when placed in journals, are just that - opinion - and are not necessarily based upon accurate and reliable scientific research. Even the large and frequently used search databases pull up these type of publications simply because these databases search specific sources of information (not necessarily all of it).

    So, as you build your thoughts on this final topic, please do so with up-to-date, unbiased, reliable, and scientifically-based data and information.

  13. In 2004, the National Academy of Science published several recommendations on the safety of genetically-engineered foods. These were developed by a panel of scientists and experts.

    First, they noted that, "To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population." They further acknowledged that all new crop varieties, animal breeds, and even microbial strains carry DNA that are not exactly like that of their parents. Thus, their DNA has been modified. This has been fact since the beginning of life and can occur as a result of natural reproduction, directed breeding programs, or even genetic engineering. So, health outcomes might be associated with certain substances that have been added or deleted using any of these types of reproductive or genetic techniques. These changes may also be unintended. The method for genetic modification, however, "should not be the sole criterion for suspecting and subsequently evaluating possible health effects with unintended compositional changes," the report added.

    This committee went on to recommend procedures for assessing the safety of foods with compositional changes both prior to commercialiation and placement on the market and as a continual monitoring and tracking of potential health problems after commercialization. This should not be restricted to just genetically-engineered food products.

  14. As Wayne mentioned, one of the complaints is that of possible domination of worldwide food production by a few companies. This is a very real possibility.
    As Americans, one of our most cherished freedoms is that of choice. This has already been denied us by the fact that GM foods require no labeling. Whether or not GM foods are good or bad for us, we should have the freedom to choose whether or not to consume them.

  15. Okay, let's focus on Bt sweet corn. Is there a lack of labeling there that will impact choices of consumption? Perhaps for that sweet corn in canned or frozen products. But, how about the ears that are in the 'fresh produce market'? Will those have a variety name that can/will be associated with Bt sweet corn?

  16. Many people worried about Bt sweet corn could just plant their own natural sweet corn and have plenty of yeild to feed their family and would never have to worry about the Bt sweet corn. I haven't realy seen a problem with the Bt because we have been consuming it for 20 or 30 years. But, on the other hand, those years are the only proof that it is not toxic. It cant be proven/researched what it would do in 35-80 years. So 30 yrs old and older people could die from it anytime? Even tho the chances are probably 1 in 1,000,000 ?? But again, sweet corn yeild would never be high enough to feed the population without some help such as Bt.

  17. The following are two comments that may illustrate some benefits and concerns on the consumption and marketing of Bt sweet corn

    "This year, many of my customers are specifically asking for the Bt sweet corn because they like the idea that the corn is produced without insecticides," said farmer Jeff Wilson, the owner and operator of Birkbank Farms.
    *This farmer has sold Bt labeled sweet corn at a ratio of 3:2 over conventional corn, his sales are in the hundreds of dozens of ears and he expects the sale of Bt corn to increase.
    *On the other side of the issue we have this comment; "Mandatory labelling is not about creating choice at all," stated Powell. "It's about targeting products, creating retailer nervousness and customer fears and ultimately removing choice from the marketplace. It's happened in many European countries and Australia, where retailers have rushed to remove genetically modified ingredients from products rather than label. And in Ontario, major retailers have refused to carry labeled, genetically engineered sweet corn for fear of controversy."
    Dr. Douglas Powell, an assistant professor and scientific director of the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph
    *This study was done by The University of Guelph in Canada and are to be published in a scientific journal not named.

    *Purdue University did a survey to determine areas of consumer concern, the results are as follows: What is your greatest concern/reservation about using products that are genetically modified? (please check one)
    37% The unknown
    24% Potential for impact on the environment
    6% Risks exceed benefits
    12% Lack of choice to the consumer
    13% Potential allergic reactions
    Participant were asked if they knew the use of Bt corn would reduce their exposure to pesticides would they concider buying thee product, 47% said yes.

    The key to change is education, most ordinary citizens do not know about the benefits associated with GMO's which may include less pesticide exposure to workers, consumers, and the evironment, also costs associated with multiple pesticide applications etc.

  18. I personally would rather consume a Bt sweet corn food product than one that had infestations of insects leaving their frass and other excretions all over the food that I am going to consume. Also the decomposition of the plant material that has been killed by the feeding of the insect pest is not something that I want to be consuming. If evidence of Bt causing human health concerns cannot be proven then the wistleblowers need not say anything until they have concrete current evidence to back up their reckless comments. I think that the do nothing attitude of not trying to advance food technology is not going to aid in the feeding of the starving mouths around the world. What is the bigger problem Hungary dying people around the world or people making up problems to witch they can't back up with any evidence.

  19. I don't really see what all the fuss is about. If we can use the genetically modified crops instead of harsh chemicals, isn't that better for the environment? We've already talked about what insecticides can do, it doesn't seem like this new stuff is any worse. I think there should be further studies done and I think that the public should be better informed about what it is. If people just understood what it was and the pros and cons, I think everybody would feel alot better. Since people aren't likely to go out and do their own research, I think maybe FAO or EPA or somebody needs to invest a little money in education. Also, there still needs to be the option to refuse the GM foods- we need variety and we need labels.
    I also think allergens are a little bit of an issue, I've got a friend who is just about allergic to everything. More studies need to be done on that front. The final issue I'm concerned with is the possibility of resistance.
    Although it looks alright now, that's a pretty short-term study to say that it hasn't developed resistance yet. I know that's all you can say at this point, but I do think it needs to be given more time and we need to go ahead and be thinking of solutions in case that does happen.

  20. to eat the corn, or not to eat the corn? the way i see it, if the customer doesnt want to eat the BT corn that bad, than they should do the homework to know what they are eating. given that sometimes the corn is not labeled, if your not sure than dont eat it. no arms are being twisted, nor are there any guns being pointed. its not that difficult! i think we should let the people who have such a prob with the BT corn, eat a bunch of corn with big, fat, juicy bugs in it! i bet they will be begging for some BT corn then!!! bottom line; it shouldnt be that big of a deal, we are trying to move forward with technology in the field of food, why try to hold everybody back. untill you are being forced to consume something that is PROVEN to have harmful effects on our bodies, or children or whatever, then it shouldnt be an issue!

  21. I agree about the education. If the public had more education on BT, I believe it would help. I also think there should be labeleing so people can have some "variety" as jessie said and the freedom to choose.

  22. The only main worry I have is resistance. Will things build up resistance? More $ should still go to developing other alternatives in case a resistance does build up.

  23. Hello just making sure this works

  24. Alright, I just watched a movie called "The future of Food" on HULU.COM. And in the beggining it explains how Bt came about but its first argument is not whether its safe to eat or not because it more than likely is.

    The problem with most problems is that folks now we will be to caught up in other problems or blinded by BS to worry about something so trivial as patent rights. Maybe this doesnt have a scientific basis but it is a point that should be heard by anyone that cares about this blog and agricultural ethics.

    Alright so the problem with Bt and round up ready technology is that the U.S. government has allowed monsanto to PATENT this technology, while our forefathers specifically said you cant patent LIFE.

    The problem with this is the fact that now you have someone controlling the seed. "Those that control the seed, control the food" In the documentary monsanto was sueing people for having roundup ready canola on their fields although they never planted round up ready canola seed. Monsanto said they used there seed without permission and would usually settle with a fine out of court becuase these poor farmers couldnt afford a lengthy trial.

    Just another thing to think about when accepting this technology as "GOOD". I didnt get to watch the whole movie so I dont know the outcome but its well worth discussing.

  25. Oh and I wont be in class today. I had the flu, and no i dont think it was the swine flu bc i dont know anyone from mexico, but according to webmd im still contagious and I am doing my part to protect you. You are welcome.