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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the not-in-my-bowl dept.

Biotech 510

biobricks writes "New York Times reports on how the county council on the Big Island of Hawaii banned GMOs. 'Urged on by Margaret Wille, the ban’s sponsor, who spoke passionately of the need to “act before it’s too late,” the Council declined to form a task force to look into such questions before its November vote. But Mr. Ilagan, 27, sought answers on his own. In the process, he found himself, like so many public and business leaders worldwide, wrestling with a subject in which popular beliefs often do not reflect scientific evidence. At stake is how to grow healthful food most efficiently, at a time when a warming world and a growing population make that goal all the more urgent.'"

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victory against science (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872281)

Damn Republican creationists thugs winning against science. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/us/on-hawaii-a-lonely-quest-for-facts-about-gmos.html?_r=0

Re:victory against science (3, Insightful)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | about a year ago | (#45872307)

I wouldn't equate pseudoscience-believing hippies with Republicans.

Re:victory against science (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872343)

I wouldn't equate pseudoscience-believing hippies with Republicans.

I'm from Hawaii (specifically the Big Island), and that state (and county) is dominated by Democrats who are very, very far from being creationist Republicans. Heck, even our Republicans are more liberal than a lot of mainland Democrats. So yeah - totally pseudoscience hippies. We have a saying (due to our macadamia nut orchards) that we send our nuts (macadamia) to the mainland and they send their nuts (california hippies) to us.

Re:victory against science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872399)

We have a saying (due to our macadamia nut orchards) that we send our nuts (macadamia) to the mainland and they send their nuts (california hippies) to us.

lol

Re:victory against science (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872555)

I wouldn't call it pseudoscience. It's pure BS and they know it.

We have a saying (due to our macadamia nut orchards) that we send our nuts (macadamia) to the mainland and they send their nuts (california hippies) to us.

In Oregon they call that "being californicated".

Re:victory against science (5, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#45872655)

I wouldn't call it pseudoscience

From the hippie side of things, yes, it is. These are the same people who think that eating an "alkalizing" diet and drinking "alkalized water" is a necessity for being healthy and ridding the body of "toxins." It's pseudoscience because they have BS "science" that "proves" it. For example, there are papers by people with fake phd's that say eating protein means your pee is more acidic, which means your body is toxic. Anyone who remembers high school biology should know why that's BS (and why the "Westernmost Institution for Gaia Science" is not an accredited institution), but they believe it because they've smoked away their high school memories.

Interestingly, at least on Maui, I can't necessarily speak for the Big Island but I'm going to assume parallels, it wasn't the hippies that got the anti-GMO ball rolling, although they're the ones taking off with it. The initial ball-rollers were the taro farmers, and for entirely different (and IMO legitimate) reasons. There are a lot of small independent family (actually a family, not just a big conglomerate owned by a family) taro farmers. With taro (it's like a big potato), much of the planting is done by cutting of the top of the corm (the potato part) and replanting it. They saw what Monsanto was doing with not allowing corn farmers to save seed, and were concerned that if the taro market went to GMO the same thing would happen with taro, where farmers would be entirely dependent on Monsanto and pretty much unable to resist or remain independent.

Re:victory against science (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872779)

Funny how you people in the US are stuck in a rut over this.

People of ALL political beliefs here in the UK don't want GMO crops. The result is that NO supermarket will sell food with any GMO content.
It is far more than Democrat vs Republican. It is the beliefs that people can decied what they want to eat. Given the choice and in this part of the world, the vasy majority give a big thumbs down to GMO food.

Only in the US could the debate be relegated to Democrats vs GOP. Sigh.
I am so glad I didn't take up the offer of staying in the US in the 1990's. IMHO, the USA is in danger of becoming irellevant in the late 2010's, early 2020's. You are building a wall and retreating behind it and giving two fingers to the rest of the world.

I like Big Island and on my two visits I found the people very welcoming. A big difference to the Stepford Wives community we lived in in New England. More power to the folks in HILO. right on folks.

Re:victory against science (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45872923)

People of ALL political beliefs here in the UK don't want GMO crops

Are you saying that all people in the UK are pseudoscience believers? That's not very nice to say.

Re:victory against science (5, Informative)

EngnrFrmrlyKnownAsAC (2816391) | about a year ago | (#45872965)

These are the same people who think that eating an "alkalizing" diet and drinking "alkalized water"

That's an overly broad and unfair characterization. Everyone seems to be ignoring that companies are not required to prove with sufficient rigor that GMO crops are adequately safe.

The FDA requires new pharmaceuticals to undergo years of testing. In contrast, GMO crops are assumed to be safe because they 'closely approximate' their originating crop. That's a foolish assumption.

Re:victory against science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872685)

The tests that show a link between certain GMO and cancers is "pure BS"? Then you are diluted BS.

Re:victory against science (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45872743)

The tests that show a link between certain GMO and cancers is "pure BS"?

Yes, actually, it was BS, if you're talking about this one [wikipedia.org] . Which is why the study was retracted.

Re:victory against science (4, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a year ago | (#45872913)

The linked NYT article is very informative. According to it, that bogus study was the very study cited by the anti-GMO hippies in the Hawaii vote.

Re:victory against science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872395)

Correct, Republicans don't believe in evolution, hippies don't believe in the free market. (Hippies are right, you are dumb)

Re:victory against science (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872451)

The free market, and my own phenomenal intelligence, has made me quite the wealthy person. I will support this system until the end. In every scenario there are winners and losers and in my world I see the losers panhandling on the expressway as I drive to my job, where I try to figure out ways to get more money out of the losers and into my pocket. Win-win.

Re:victory against science (3, Interesting)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a year ago | (#45872925)

There is a different in dueling political pseudosciences, though: how many infrastructure projects, public or private, in any state, have been bullied to a halt by creationists? Can you name even one?

Re:victory against science (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872507)

You mean like people who keep claiming that "evolution is just a theory", and that trickle-down economics work?

Re:victory against science (1, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45872615)

I wouldn't equate "Republican creationists thugs" with republicans.

I would say that creationists and climate change deniers are both associated with republicans the same way anti-GMOs are associated with democrats. But I'd say that creationists and climate change deniers are far, far more dangerous than anti-GMO morons.

Re:victory against science (2)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year ago | (#45872751)

I agree. I also wouldn't equate opposition to GMO with opposition to science. It is precisely that kind of oversimplification that impedes helpful discourse on the topic.

Re:victory against science (1)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#45872369)

If growing healthy food is going to done more efficiently, it's going to have require higher crop yields while requiring less oil-based fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Growing crops that have a temporary resistance to pests that quickly adapt through natural evolution isn't the way forward.

Re:victory against science (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#45872983)

If growing healthy food is going to done more efficiently, it's going to have require higher crop yields while requiring less oil-based fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Growing crops that have a temporary resistance to pests that quickly adapt through natural evolution isn't the way forward.

I'm pretty certain that the way of the future is going to be full factory farming, as in large scale growing of gunk in covered facilities. Then converting it into pretend meats and veggies. It's not all gross. We alreay can hydroponically grow greens that fit the definition of organic.

Even though there is a lot of land, much of the best land is being covered by housing developments as farmers find they can make enough money to retire just by selling to developers. And since we keep finding clever ways to produce more food, and therefore support more of us, it's inevitable as far as I can see.

This roundup ready crap is just a dead end. The future is processed algae.

Re:victory against science (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a year ago | (#45872871)

Wait until the Chinese start implementing cross-species modifications of the human genome to, say, extend our visual range into the far ultraviolet. Will the same Americans who preached open borders for all suddenly become advocates of keeping "frankenpeople" away from our precious shores?

Re:victory against science (2, Insightful)

SumDog (466607) | about a year ago | (#45872963)

Really? There is a lot of evidence that shows our GMOs are not good. Monsanto and Dupont based GMOs lack a lot of testing. It doesn't appear to be affecting our health now, but the long term effects could be bad. Plus, the PATENTS! It's not about science, it's about freedom of seed! Banning GMOs is an important first step to getting rid of life-patent laws. Seeds should be part of the public trust. If they become public again, I'd have no problem with GMOs that were open to people looking at them and doing real research on them; as well as people saving their seeds instead of being forced to buy terminal seed.

This idea that GMO stopped world starvation is a myth. Good cultivation can stop food shortages without the need of this GMO and with GMO, we have less diversity and more monoculture.

anti-GMO is not a conservative/republican issue. It's a global health and a progressive issue.

going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (4, Insightful)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about a year ago | (#45872319)

screwdrivers can/will be used to make hideous things (bombs, kill-droids, ...) but since everyone can understand screwdrivers no one would think to ban, or even restrict, them. GMO is complicated, really requiring an advanced to degree to appreciate. GMO can be used like screwdrivers to do evil (typically in the hands of some eeevil profit driven corporation (e.g. Monsanto in concert with Roundup) or it can be used to work towards really noble goals like improving the nutrition and disease resistance of crops in developing countries (e.g. search for "Golden rice").

in other words, going after GMO-the-technique is anti-progressive. one should instead go for (federal) regulation of GMO products. even indiscriminate labeling campaigns just naively suppress the technique, both good and bad usages.

ok, (having spoken my peace); on with the pitchforks and burning-brands!

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872435)

ok, (having spoken my peace); on with the pitchforks and burning-brands!

You're working for Monsanto, i presume?

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#45872489)

Most people who would shit-talk their employer would be doing so as an AC, I assume.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872603)

Come on, San Diego Chargers, [chargers.com] we got seven minutes left in the third quarter of the first round of the playoffs, and you're down 10-7. Spank those fucking Bengals! American football! America, fuck yeah! Beer! Hot big-tittied women! Football!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872491)

Cheap, baseless ad hominem. GP has a point (see +5, Insightful mod for reference).

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872937)

I've seen someone post a comment that was not supportive of our new hero Mr. Snowden (I know, heresy, and he should rightfully be tarred and feathered for not thinking like us right-minded Slashdot folk), and one of the anonymous replies to this was "Fuck you Stasist", which got modded up pretty high. I'm not sure I would necessarily hold up as evidence a +5 moderation as supportive of a good point.

Plenty of evidence worldwide for GMO harm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872495)

GMO can be used like screwdrivers to do evil (typically in the hands of some eeevil profit driven corporation (e.g. Monsanto in concert with Roundup)

So a better analogy for GMOs might not be with screwdrivers, but with concentration camps and gas chambers, which by themselves did no harm. After all, it's only in the hands of bad people like Nazis that they got a bad reputation, right? (Screwdrivers are not known for any malevolent uses.)

If you think GMOs are safe as screwdrivers, you just haven't looked at research around the world, research which the US is deliberately ignoring because it would be bad for profits to accept it. Meanwhile, health in the US plummets, you have no idea why, and the entire rest of the world must be wrong. It's kinda funny.

Re:Plenty of evidence worldwide for GMO harm (2)

aevan (903814) | about a year ago | (#45872531)

Hmm, you've a point... there is hard evidence linking screwdrivers to murders all over... maybe GMO is safer than screwdrivers?

Re:Plenty of evidence worldwide for GMO harm (4, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | about a year ago | (#45872573)

So a better analogy for GMOs might not be with screwdrivers, but with concentration camps and gas chambers, which by themselves did no harm.

That is a horribe analogy. A better analogy would be comparing GMOs to Hydrogen Cyanide. GMOs can be used poorly, just like hydrogen cyanide can be used in gas chambers. But both are used for good far more than for evil.

Actually, even mine is a bad analogy. An even better one would be comparing genetically modifying foods with chemical synthesis in general. Both are simply scientific techniques. We can use genetics to change the color of food, make it resistant to pesticides, or create deadly bacteria. Just like we can use chemical synthesis to create table salt, carbonic acid, or hydrogen cyanide.

Re:Plenty of evidence worldwide for GMO harm (4, Insightful)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year ago | (#45872933)

I think that analogous concept you might be looking for is DDT. It was originally a godsend -- it kills pests! The problem is that it also collapsed entire ecosystem (animals that ate pests, animals that ate those animals, etc.). The analogy works IMHO because it was developed by the Chemical industry (analagous to big aggro) and it provided relief from pests and the harm it caused was not immediately clear. NOTE: I am not suggesting that GMO is inherently bad. I merely mean to point out that new tech and new toys can have unintended consequences that are not immediately evident. Perhaps more importantly, the unintended consquences might not have any immediate relation to nourishment, allergies, digestibility, or human health.

In the GMO discussion, people love to bicker over bullshit like allergies, tumors, "noble" causes, etc. People do not talk as much about the insidious influence of profit motive over one's ethics. Or sensitive nonlinear dependencies between crops and adjacent ecosystems. What happens when the pests can't eat? Will our bird population leave or die out? I have heard some talk about how big aggro funds a lot of the GMO research which influences opinions. In my reckoning, this is even more direct and troublesome than big oil funding environmental studies.

Additionally, policymakers -- like those in Hawaii amply illustrated by this article -- have no knowledge of what is going on. Regulators (does a GMO seed need FDA approval to be planted? How do we insure crop isolation?) don't know anything either and can hardly make effective regulations. People also ignore that disaster scenarios, which might be EXTREMELY unlikely, must nevertheless be contemplated because when you have a disaster HELLO IT'S A FUCKING DISASTER DUMMIES.

I for one don't buy the argument that the world needs more food to support a growing population. There are more than enough people in the world. I for one would rather see fewer suburbs, shack villages, and shanty towns, and more wilderness in the world. While I question the wisdom of Hawaii's move, I treasure the idea that Hawaii might remain pure, pristine, and full of naive hippies.

Re:Plenty of evidence worldwide for GMO harm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872967)

The problem is that if Hawaii remains that way, they will inevitably be invaded by people who need to turn the island chain in a factory farm to feed themselves, and no amount of hippie gentleness will stop that from happening. Ironically, whatever they think about GMOs won't help in a world that needs them so much that it doesn't matter if evil companies tarnish the name.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#45872535)

GMO can be used like screwdrivers to do evil (typically in the hands of some eeevil profit driven corporation (e.g. Monsanto in concert with Roundup) or it can be used to work towards really noble goals like improving the nutrition and disease resistance of crops in developing countries (e.g. search for "Golden rice").

Do you think it's more likely the GMO foods being sold to Hawaiians is of the "really noble" variety or the "eeevil profit driven corporation" variety?

Here's a protip for you: If there is transparency in the way GMO is used in food, it's likely in the former. If there's an effort to fight the simple labeling of such foods as being GMOs, then it's almost certainly the latter. People with noble goals don't usually try their best to hide what they're doing.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (2, Insightful)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about a year ago | (#45872629)

Every last thing you eat could be credibly labeled as GMO. even that tomato you grew yourself in your yard has been genetically modified (there was a genetically modified fugal resistant strain produced in the late 1980s which has been cross-pollinated to most others, so most seed stock carries the advantage) Therefore, please, slap a GMO label on everything you eat, before you eat it. but it would be far more informative, for example, to stick an "M" for Monsanto on just their products.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872771)

That's horseshit. GMO is a very specific term, despite what some people would have you believe. It stands for Genetically Modified Organism. As in the product of taking genes from one organism and placing them directly into another organism. This is different from hybridization where you have to be able to create viable offspring by mating two organisms together selecting the ones that express what you're interested in.

Prior to about the '80s, they didn't exist at all. Conflating hybridization that takes many generations and may or may not yield a specific product with one where you can put completely unrelated and unpredictable genes in is completely wrong.

The problem here is that there's a massive conflict of interest with the scientists don't the research and the people responsible for safe guarding things. They still haven't introduced any way of keeping the genes from jumping species even though they still lack the ability to predict what the consequences of that are long term. I have no particular problem eating GMOs, I have a huge problem with them being permitted to propagate in an unchecked fashion.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about a year ago | (#45872863)

i wasn't conflating hybridization with genetic modification. that tomato strain was genetically modified, by plasmid insertion, -then- cross-pollinated with most other major strains. or... are you willing to say generation 1 of GMO is GMO whereas generation 3 isn't? what if the wind blows a GMO crop's pollen to a non-GMO? (as has been provably happened) does everywhere the GMO crop touches become GMO... and forever-after in all germ lines? it's complicated. there is no single definition of GMO, legal (as opposed to scientifically based), or otherwise, even in Europe where most folks think the matter is somehow perfectly resolved. as for "unchecked fashion" you're already too late, you're alive in a sea of GMO and you'll never be able to point to where it is and where it isn't. and it's by *nature* an expanding influence - such is evolution.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a year ago | (#45872957)

Initially, it was believed that transgenic processes did not occur in nature and were a purely human, hence 'new' technology. This has now changed: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1900/#b [davesgarden.com]

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872813)

GMO is patented.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (3, Insightful)

EngnrFrmrlyKnownAsAC (2816391) | about a year ago | (#45872993)

...That's kind of the point for most people advocating GMO labeling requirements. It's still possible to find non-GMO foods but without labels, it's much harder to find them.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0, Offtopic)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#45872725)

I have to ask, how much longer are you going to be alive? Going by your post, you don't eat anything. Not even common "green" varieties of foods which have been genetically modified by crossbreeding various strains to make them resistant or immune to particular types of fungi or insects.

Well then again I suppose you could be surviving on a diet of seaweed, and personally I do like seaweed and kelp flavored food...but to survive on it? Not sure if that's possible...

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (4, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | about a year ago | (#45872895)

Do you really see no difference between the cross-breeding of closely-related plant species that would naturally cross-breed, selecting for positive traits vs. the direct genetic manipulation of the genome of a plant that could only happen in a laboratory, combining genes of organisms that could never otherwise cross-breed?

I'd love to see the natural way that potatoes would breed with jellyfish to get the genes to glow when they need to be watered.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (1, Insightful)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about a year ago | (#45872951)

how about cows bearing the genetic material of a snake? pretty scifi, eh? almost certainly the product of an eeevil mad scientist? nope: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/01/how-a-quarter-of-the-cow-genome-came-from-snakes/ [nationalgeographic.com] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-03/snake-genes-27hitchhike27-into-cow-dna/4451308 [abc.net.au]

the first category error in this whole imbroglio is presuming that the word "natural" has any clear meaning.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#45872975)

Do you think it's more likely the GMO foods being sold to Hawaiians is of the "really noble" variety or the "eeevil profit driven corporation" variety?

Yes.

What, you think the two are incompatible? Here's a thought: maybe companies monetize products that have, or are perceived to have, value. For example, a company might see a market for a strain of cereal that is resistant to a particular herbicide, making it easier to attack weeds on land used to grow that cereal. The business selling the seeds for the cereal can charge lots of money for the cereal - and even the herbicide! - and farmers gratefully buy the seed in question because it'll make their practices more efficient and reduce the amount of food they have to throw away due to weeks.

But I know, that's probably not the type of GMO application anyone's thinking of.

Except it is.

And no, labeling does nothing other than give GM foods a stigma. It's inherently anti-consumer to label GM products that have no likely health or nutritional differences from their non-GM equivalents, because it adds noise to the consumer warning labels, and that makes the labels less easy to interpret. You shouldn't have to look up every warning label on Wikipedia before buying something just to find out whether there's a legitimate issue there, or some anti-corporatists getting power and using it to push an agenda.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872581)

since everyone can understand screwdrivers no one would think to ban, or even restrict, them

Tell that to the TSA.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#45872585)

I would have gone with guns because it is a closer analogy I believe. Guns can be used for good an evil yet the same group who are against GMOs generally are also generally against guns

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872795)

GMOs aren't good though. They're mostly there to solve problems that aren't problems. Golden rice was invented as a work around for making leafy greens unaffordable to people in rice producing regions. We have more than enough food globablly without GMOs, the insecticide resistance is rendered moot by the genes jumping species.

Until the scientists doing the research can control where the genes wind up, they have no business conducting this research outside of secured facilities. Let alone having farmers using these genes on a widespread basis. This is a genie that can't be put back into the bottle, so they should be careful about what they loose upon the world.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#45872893)

My issues with GMOs are not the fact that they are genetically engineered, but that they are patented. Anyone can make GMO crops simply by cross breeding different strains. that has been going on since the beginning of agriculture, thats how we get variety. but when a company wants to claim that you dont own your own seeds, and if you save seeds from year one and plant them on year 2 you somehow owe a company for it, that is where my issue is with GMO

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (2)

sl149q (1537343) | about a year ago | (#45872953)

New plant varieties can be and are patented REGARDLESS of how they are developed. If you develop a new strain of something with unique characteristics you get a patent on it. This is nothing new for GMO versions.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872637)

GMO is a really tricky thing. It's one of those things that once released into the environment will continue to replicate and mutate. This is why GMO should be heavily regulated because we don't want to screw ourselves by something we currently think would be harmless but turns out to have been really really bad. Kind of like Monsanto's genes spreading through neighboring crops contaminating everything.

I personally have a problem with fabricated genes or genes from other entities being grafted onto crop genes and then planted in uncontrolled environments (i.e. farms) I do not have a problem with mixing varieties of same crop genes together in the lab, and letting those out - they're variations that would occur naturally sooner or later. So if we know soybean type A deals better in drought and type B grows bigger fruit - great, identify and merge those genes and test it out. Adding shark genes... not so much.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45872643)

The collateral damage done by evil GMO corporations far outweigh the advantages of something like "Golden rice" that's redundant anyways.

Only an idiot that knows nothing about farming or vegetables would get excited about something as silly as "Golden rice".

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872739)

screwdrivers can/will be used to make hideous things (bombs, kill-droids, ...) but since everyone can understand screwdrivers no one would think to ban, or even restrict, them.

I don't think this is an accurate analogy, since you can only do so much harm with a screwdriver. A mistake in GMO development could potentially kill millions of people due to unintended consequences. Sure, it has not happened yet, but do you really trust the agri-giants to put your health and safety above their profits?

"Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet's ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that's found his dad's gun." - Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#45872747)

Going after GMO is like attempting to halt an experiment with no control being run on all of us. There. FTFY.

Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (5, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | about a year ago | (#45872861)

A better analogy comes from the artificial "trans fat" fiasco. Here's this new kind of fat created by "scientific processes" that is touted by many authorities to be superior to the natural fats that people had been consuming for centuries. In the 1960s, it was pushed heavily as a way to prevent heart disease. A few decades later, it was discovered to actually increase the incidence of heart disease and we're in the process of slowly removing it from our food supplies.

GMO is even less tested than artificial trans fats were (they were around for nearly half a century before being heavily pushed by government and industry). Maybe some of them will turn out to be just fine, and possibly repleat with benefits, but others may be harmful to both the environment as well as the people and animals who consume them. There just hasn't been enough testing to demonstrate that mixing genes from here with genes from over there, as well as creating new sequences out of whole-cloth, has no unintended consequences.

I don't think it's too much to allow people to have labeling to then be able to make informed choices about whether they want to be a part of this huge un-controlled human trial.

The food industry has been wrong before (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872353)

Remember artificial sweeteners? They kept saying there were no health issues to worry about, they had peer-reviewed clinical studies showing no ill effects, and you were getting sweetness without the calories.

It seemed to a lot of us that something was wrong that story, and it turned out something was wrong. What if they had turned out to be right? No problem - those of us who abstained would've just missed the benefits of using their invention for the first 15-20 years. Well, it's the same with GMOs.

I'm not necessarily endorsing a ban, but those who want GMO-free food should be able to buy it from a local grocer.

Re:The food industry has been wrong before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872463)

I am not against GMOs in principle, I think they can be very beneficial - as long as they are thoroughly and carefully tested over an extended trial period. That's not what's happening. The agri-giants are taking a very scattershot approach to testing in order to be first to market.

In one case (too lazy to look it up, sorry), a research lab was contracted to test some GMO potatoes and found an increase in intestinal lesions in the rats they fed the potatoes to. They went to the FDA to advise caution, and found that the potatoes had been approved and shipped to store shelves months earlier!

(captcha: concern)

Wrong again (4, Insightful)

zerosomething (1353609) | about a year ago | (#45872577)

More hippy FUD. "....according to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there's no sound scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the U.S. cause cancer or other serious health problems." http://www.mayoclinic.org/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936 [mayoclinic.org]

Re:Wrong again (3, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about a year ago | (#45872773)

The poster said nothing about cancer. But what has been found true is the human body's reaction to the sweetener in which insulin is still produced even though there is no sugars that it can attach to, which drops the blood sugar levels to an extreme low level. This DOES have health implications.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/261179.php

More accurate headline (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45872371)

Let's make this headline more accurate and honest, okay?

Anti-GMO Luddites Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be unhealthy. GMO products have been made for decades and have been intensely studies by people with a vested interest in keeping them out. This range of scientific lunacy is in the same camp as wifi causes cancer and vaccination scaremongering.

Let's get real, this has jack to do with GMO and everything to do with eco naive that get their talking points from greenpeace and protectionism from those countries that haven't started making their own GMO foods yet. Once other countries start making their own versions of GMO foods all of the objections to GMO foods will vanish overnight from everyone that isn't an eco-naive twit.

Re:More accurate headline (2)

raind (174356) | about a year ago | (#45872551)

Re:More accurate headline (4, Funny)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#45872675)

exactly, I keep being told that my weed today is exponentially more potent than in the past.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872567)

In a couple of years roundup and Bt will be completely worthless ... then we'll engineer the next broad spectrum shit into all the plants and that will become worthless as well. It's fucking anti-biotics all over again ...

Re:More accurate headline (3, Interesting)

hibiki_r (649814) | about a year ago | (#45872669)

Very likely, yes. Do you want to go back to a world before penicilin?

Weeds will keep evolving to beat whatever you throw at them: If they didn't, they would be extinct. If anything, we should invest more in genetic research, so taht we can have a bigger advantage over weeds and diseases. Feel free to regulate their application of said technology though, just like we could regulate antibiotic use on farm animals.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872821)

I want to go back to a world where we used curative care for livestock and plants ...

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872579)

I was going to claim that GMO induced allergies are a problem. Then I googled it. Never mind.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872591)

Do you also advocate for the ban of Non GMO crops that induce allergies?

Re:More accurate headline (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45872667)

I advocate proper labeling so that I can determine whether or not such an allergy might be a problem. There are a number of foods and food additives that the industry doesn't want you to know about because you might turn your back on them.

That's corporate profits being held in higher esteem than the health of individuals.

That's just what happens when you declare corporations to be people and actual humans to some sort of underclass.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872691)

I advocate proper labeling so that I can determine whether or not such an allergy might be a problem.

No you don't you advocate for mislabeling GMO crops that are proven to be perfectly safe.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45872781)

> No you don't you advocate for mislabeling GMO crops that are proven to be perfectly safe.

No. You're just a lying sack of shit and a corporate toadie.

In no universe does full disclosure equal "mislabeling". It might be ugly but that's your problem not mine. As a buyer, I have a right to know what I'm buying. That's a pretty well settled idea that goes back to around Magna Carta.

Telling the truth runs into the "Bismark" problem that you may not want to know how the sausage is made. That's not an issue of dishonesty thought. That's just an indication that you are up to no good.

If something is called "Roundup Ready", then pointing it out as such is not misleading or mislabeling. It's just inconvenient to your corporate overlords.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872833)

It's misleading because labeling something "roundup ready" has no relevance to safety of the consumer. If you think it has any relevance then every non GMO or organic crop should also come with a label that states it was also grown with pesticides and weed killers since they are too.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872621)

GMO products have been made for decades and have been intensely studies by people with a vested interest in keeping them out.

While objective proponents of GMO products have fought tooth and nail to avoid labeling the products as such. I am sure they are doing that to keep the debate objective and equitable. Because labeling things is is very biased.

Read the fine article (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872625)

You could have read the fine article, which nicely mentions "overuse of pesticides". The current reason to use GMO is raised pesticide/herbicide resistance, which naturally means that farmers are encouraged to go overkill with Roundup and co. to kill of everything else in the area. AFAIK it has also been shown that the poisons used accumulate within the plants, sadly the only health study on that point I know of has been unreliable (the lab animals used hat a naturally high chancer rate).

So while GMOs may not be responsible for the harm done to humans, the pesticides/herbicides sold as part of the package - the only reason GMOs are currently used - are responsible for killing of local plants and insects. It might be overly broad, but it is based on reality and facts.

Re:Read the fine article (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45872705)

Remember. The major proponents of GMO crops are not really seed companies. They aren't farmers or agronomists. They are herbicide companies that want to sell more herbicide.

More likely than not, a GMO crop is just a pretense to put more poison in your food.

Re:Read the fine article (3, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year ago | (#45872775)

You could have read the fine article, which nicely mentions "overuse of pesticides". The current reason to use GMO is raised pesticide/herbicide resistance,

It is also worth noting that the Hawaiian islands have one of the most unique and fragile ecosystems in the world due to the isolation of being in the center of the pacific ocean. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of species unique to the islands and many of them have gone extinct since man showed up, especially western man.

We've already lost hundreds of unique bird species due to the misguided introduction of mongooses to hunt rats -- rats are nocturnal, mongooses are diurnal so that didn't work, instead the mongooses raided indigenous birds' nests which had evolved in the absence of such predators so they had no protection.

Hawaii's got a sad history of this sort of thing and, for one reason or another, the GMO corps have made Hawaii one of their most popular testing grounds. It is no surprise that many of these "hippies" are paranoid.

Re:Read the fine article (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about a year ago | (#45872973)

Almost all of the damage to the Hawaiian ecosystems can be traced to two species. Rats and Humans.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

printman (54032) | about a year ago | (#45872671)

I'm sure there are many who are concerned about the long-term effects of GMO crops on the viability of non-GMO crops (cross-pollination between fields, economic factors, strong-arming by companies that produce GMO seed, etc.), but I am more concerned with the primary usage of GMO, at least in North America - herbicide resistance. With ordinary seed you might still use herbicides to control weeds, but overall you can't use much because you'll kill your crop. Use a GMO seed that is engineered to not be susceptible to those herbicides and now you can use a bunch more to ensure that those pesky weeds don't reduce the yield of your crops. We already know that most herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are bad for people, yet we seem to be rushing forward to use more of them...

It would be better to require labeling of GMO products and the 'cides that have been used in their production... Then let the market/consumers decide which products they want to buy...

Re:More accurate headline (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year ago | (#45872687)

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be unhealthy.

Just down that path yesterday. [slashdot.org]

have been intensely studies by people with a vested interest in keeping them out.

OK, lets see all these studies. Note in the thread linked to above the one citation of ~2000 such studies turned out to be a dude.

Re:More accurate sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872703)

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be safe.

Re:More accurate sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872755)

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be safe.

There has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown non GMO anything to be safe.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#45872719)

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be unhealthy.

I know very little about the topic, but a short search shows that at least someone published anti-GMO results and lost about 36 years worth of a career as a result. See Arpad Pusztai [wikipedia.org] .

Re:More accurate headline (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45872759)

That's a slight bit of a strawman argument. Or whatever it is when you pick the dumbest arguments made by the dumbest, loudest people one one side and write off the entire side. GMOs aren't "unhealthy," you're right. But a lot of people who are concerned about GMO are concerned first about the transgenes spreading. Resistance to glyphosphate is spreading to pests [nature.com] , and transgenes have contaminated other crops. [reuters.com] Normal pollution can be cleaned up and doesn't multiply. Polluting the gene pool is much more problematic and should require MUCH higher standards.

A lot of opposition to GMO also has more to do with economics than with health issues. Specifically, I don't want anyone to have a monopoly on food. Monsanto especially, given their past behavior. GMO has a huge advantage over non-GMO, and monsanto is a dominant (if not THE dominant) player in GMO. My fear is that they're going to get us to a monoculture with major foodstocks, changing legislation around the world to fortify their position. As mentioned in the previous links, glyphosphate resistance already exists and is spreading. So we need to buy the next version from Monsanto at increased cost and decreased quality of life for farmers and everyone else.

Your last bit about "once other countries start making their own versions" is flawed I think. Monsanto has been aggressive with their patenting. Other countries aren't going to reinvent the wheel to avoid monsantos patents and still make a product which is competitive.

TLDR, I think you dislike a subset of stupid anti-GMO activists who are, sure, very annoying, but there are still important objections to GMO.

Re:More accurate headline (4, Informative)

jovius (974690) | about a year ago | (#45872815)

Yes, GMO's may be totally healthy, but the real issue is who controls the GMO market. It's definitely not healthy if only few companies control the food chain. The companies are even happy to restrict the reuse of the seeds. This is unnatural, but of course natural in terms of making profit. Also the aim to create food for only human use (GMO crops that repel everything else) will have an impact on biodiversity. Diversity is the natural mechanism to cope with the changing conditions, and the lack of diversity will polarize the eco-system, which would as a whole weaken.

Once it becomes possible to create nutrition in closed production plants the fields can be freed to be at their natural state. Artificially produced food is in the end as natural as GMO.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#45872887)

It is interesting that when science supports what one wants everyone is like'yeah science' but when it doesn't everyone is like 'science bad'.

For instance w have seen long studies that show, in general. vitamins do no good and should not be allowed to make health claims. Big Business does not like this so the science is bad. We know that raising animals as we do is bad for the environment, atmosphere, lakes, rivers, etc, but Agribusiness does not like this so science is bad. We know that using antibiotics to increase the yield of livestock is bad for human health, but again Agribusiness does not like this so science is bad. Even in cases where we know that equal results can cheaply be achieved without antibiotics, such as pork, the antibiotics are still in use.

But all of the sudden when GMOs are vindicated, science is good. Make up your mind. Science is a process, not a religious proclamation where one gets to pick and choose. You can't flip flop like your average church and say meat is bad on friday, then change you mind the next fortnight. It does not work that way.

In reality we have few long term studies of GMO effect humans. What we do have is instances where GMO crop has infected other crops, even crops that are not nearby. We have instances where farmers who have been infected have been sued by the intellectual property owner, as if seeds, which have evolved to travel or be carried large distances, even over seas, can be controlled like a common household appliance. And we have major markets, such as China, India, and Russia that ban or severely restrict GMO crops.

At the end of the day this a free market issue, not a science issue. The world market has spoken and said that it does not want GMO crops and thinks that it can feed it's people without them. The perception is the key here as if something is perceived as less valuable, it will not generate as much profits. This is important for the US as we are a nation who wants premium wages, so we as nation must make sure to create premium products. We cannot be part of the race to the bottom. We have to continuously build value.

Now, GMO might have been a way to build value, and in time it might be. But right now GMO crops, in themselves and in the fact they infect other crops, reduce the value of the US product. We are jeopardizing the value of nation to satisfy on corporates entity for profit. That is not the way the US is supposed to work. This is independent of the science.

Let's take another example. Horse and other non-tradition US meats. Our meat supply is trusted because we slaughter relatively few animals. Other countries not only slaughter more types of animals, but also allow fillers. We, the US, however, have a supply of meat that is not going to be contimated by fillers or horse because that was the last thing that went through the line. Scientifically such a thing is of no value. I does not matter what meat we eat. But in terms of the free market, it is critical.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872899)

In reality we have few long term studies of GMO effect humans.

In reality we have few long term studies of non GMO effects on humans also.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year ago | (#45872935)

In reality we have few long term studies of non GMO effects on humans also.

False equivalency. We have millions of years of evolution.

Cue: Selective breeding is the same as GMO.
Response: No amount of selective breeding will transfer genes between incompatible species.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872981)

False equivalency. We have millions of years of evolution.

No it's not a false equivalency. For millions of years non GMO crops have been killing people. We hold GMO crops to a higher scientific standard than traditional crops and science overwhelmingly states that they are safe. Traditional foods have not been held to the same rigor so false to assume non GMO crops are safe when there is no scientific evidence showing it.

Cue: Selective breeding is the same as GMO.

Response: No amount of selective breeding will transfer genes between incompatible species.

Citation needed

Re:More accurate headline (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#45872943)

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be unhealthy.

Just curious, who is doing these studies and not funded by Monsanto?

Studies cost a lot of money, and usually no one but the manufacturer is willing to shell out for them. Which is why we spent decades being told that cigarettes aren't bad for you (nay, they're actually good for you!), and still get medicines that aren't pulled off the market until years after the manufacturer-funded studies show that they are harmful.

Re:More accurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872947)

These has never been a single reputable study by anyone anywhere that has shown GMO anything to be unhealthy.

Is that argument by "no true Scotsman" [rationalwiki.org] ? There have clearly been studies closely matching Monsato's own protocols [theguardian.com] which showed harm. I guess these are ruled out as disreputable since they found that GMO's might not be healthy?

GMO products have been made for decades and have been intensely studies by people with a vested interest in keeping them out.

Just as each different species is different; a Hedgehog is very unlikely to harm you as a house guest, however inviting a tiger over might be more unwise, each individual GMO would have to be studied for decades in every eco-system it might interact with in order to see if they are actually safe.

This is where we really see the arguments of GMO supporters for the lies they are. Science means experiment. There is no way to "scientifically prove" that GMOs are safe since you never know about the next different one. You can just show that no known mechanism of danger exists for the ones created so far and that it is unlikely that an unknown one exists.

The only side here which is in any way scientific is the people who believe in the "precationary principle" and they are only scientific since they clearly admit a lack of evidence and knowlege. Almost everyone else involved in this argument is lying.

Re:More accurate headline (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year ago | (#45872961)

To constrain the discussion to the direct effect of GMO on human health is myopic. One must also consider the other ecosystems that might be affected. Ever heard of the food chain? When the pests can't eat, the pest-eaters can't eat, and the pest-eater-eaters can't eat, etc. There's also the influence that GMO patents have on small aggro. You can ignore all the human health issues and still find reasons to worry about the impact of GMO.

Poor Chaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872409)

Expect military drones to wipe off that small nation. You don't start a war with Big GMO and their lobbyists.
Many unexpecting wedding guests already learned that lesson.

Penalties (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#45872431)

Field tests to study new G.M.O. crops would also be prohibited. Penalties would be $1,000 per day.

What a joke.
That's a rounding error to a multinational corporation.

These must be women-hating Republicans (1)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year ago | (#45872437)

Women have the RIGHT to choose to eat GMOs if they want and I stand against this right-wing Republican War on Women since they insist on telling women what to do with their bodies!

Before it’s too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872529)

Before It's Too Late!

Somehow that familiar refrain [cbsnews.com] often escapes the notice of critics around here.

GMOs=evil business (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#45872657)

It is not so much the science of GMOs that is specifically bad but the companies that are typically behind them. These companies have a long history of being James Bond Villain evil, manipulating governments to their will, hurting people in corrupt countries, and pushing other things that are bad like pesticides, herbicides, hormone/antibiotic meat, and vicious anti consumer anti labeling campaigns.

The other thing with most GMOs is that they (the main commercial ones) are aimed at things that on the surface I don't care about such as herbicide resistance. I suspect that people would have a whole lot more buy in if the GMOs made the food healthier, tastier, have a longer shelf life (Bananas that don't turn brown in 3 seconds) etc.

But it seems the main beneficiaries of GMOs are big agribusiness and only big agribusiness. So when people reject GMOs they don't personally feel like they are losing much. One might argue that they are losing if the food costs a bit more but the reality is that the savings at the consumer end is actually quite minimal. (In theory a pest resistant crop might have fewer pesticides/herbicides which is a gain but hard for the average consumer to know as big agribusiness has fought all public disclosures of chemical levels in food.)

So looking at the science in most people's heads they might be thinking, "Hey this GMO only has one study in 100 that says it is bad. But what benefit do I have even taking that tiny risk? Whereas the agribusiness people won't eat this crap if it is toxic but they stand to make a fortune selling it."

slashdot biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45872679)

According to a report from the MLnewshour the bitching isn't so much GMO but the health problems of the people living downwind of the corporate farms that are consistently dumping herbicide on the fields all year round. Many of the health problems are ten times the norm or worse with unusual maladies showing up. It seems the corporations are milking everything for all it's worth without any regard for collateral damage like always. But don't let facts interfere with the slashdot pro-GMO crusade.

Re:slashdot biased (2)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | about a year ago | (#45872763)

If this is true, then why do people keep blanket banning "GMOs", rather than banning things like glyphosate?

Re:slashdot biased (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45872823)

"Roundup Ready"

GMO seeds are a pretense to get farmers to buy MORE Roundup. It's not just a baseline level of chemical abuse that may have been present 30 or 40 years ago but an ESCALATION above and beyond what was done before.

GMO -> more chemicals sprayed on your food.

Plus GMO crops contaminate everything. They're like an untrained dog that shits in everyone's yard. Except patents allow for the dog's owner to take your house.

Authority (4, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45872783)

According to this [wikipedia.org] regulating GMO's is a federal responsibility. Will the ban and/or fines even hold up in court?

United States regulatory policy is governed by the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology This regulatory policy framework that was developed under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan to ensure safety of the public and to ensure the continuing development of the fledgling biotechnology industry without overly burdensome regulation.The policy as it developed had three tenets: "(1) U.S. policy would focus on the product of genetic modification (GM) techniques, not the process itself, (2) only regulation grounded in verifiable scientific risks would be tolerated, and (3) GM products are on a continuum with existing products and, therefore, existing statutes are sufficient to review the products."

I am pretty sure that a ban with no scientific review or investigation would fail tenet #2.

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