Is a Federal GMO Labeling Compromise Looming?

Recent developments point to a possible federal compromise on mandatory GMO labeling. Sadly, the potential unintended consequences of this federal labeling scheme are so terrible and obvious that they appear to make for the perfect Washington compromise.

Plum-pox resistant plumsPublic DomainLike it or not—and I’m in the not camp—a mandatory, uniform national GMO labeling scheme appears increasingly likely.

A number of factors make that so. On the one hand, activists who support mandatory labeling of GMO crops and foods containing GMO ingredients have gained a minor toehold in the states. While Connecticut passed a first-in-the-nation mandatory labeling law earlier this year that has little more than a snowball’s chance in hell of ever taking effect, a Washington State ballot measure appears likely to pass next month.

But hold on a minute. There’s a good case to make that both the Connecticut law and the looming one in Washington State are unconstitutional. Meanwhile, President Obama promised before his first term to push for mandatory GMO labeling, but has done nothing of the sort while in office. And there’s also no major push in Congress to pass a federal GMO labeling law. As recently as June I was also  quoted as saying that mandatory GMO labeling was hardly inevitable.

So why am I increasingly confident now that some federal mandatory GMO labeling law will materialize?

Because of what’s happening on the other side of the debate. Major players on the business side, including Walmart, America’s leading grocer, and General Mills, which bills itself as “one of the world's largest food companies,” have publicly tipped their hands that they’d support some sort of mandatory labeling.

As I noted this summer, Walmart held a meeting with FDA officials and others from the food industry earlier this year where, it was alleged, the grocer and other food sellers that have opposed state labeling requirements would push for the federal government to adopt a national GMO labeling standard.

And just last week, Ken Powell, the CEO of General Mills, announced at the company's annual stockholders' meeting that the company “strongly support[s] a national, federal labeling solution.”

Powell’s comments are a game changer.

But do they mean that anti-GMO activists and food companies are on the same page? Not by a longshot. Powell made clear in his remarks that the company supports “a national standard that would label foods that don’t have genetically engineered ingredients in them, rather than foods that do.” (emphasis mine)

I suspect that anti-GMO activists would hate that solution because it wouldn't provide the "information" they want and because all of the significant testing and labeling costs of the mandatory scheme Powell suggests—along with any liability for not testing GMO-free foods or for mislabeling—would be borne by the GMO-free farmers and food producers they frequent (and by their customers, in the form of higher prices).

But Powell's plan isn't likely to take hold. In fact, I suspect Powell is posturing—at least in part.

He’s doing so to ensure that any national labeling system that arises will resemble nothing that longtime supporters of mandatory labeling have been pushing for. Why? It’s all due to the dreaded “c” word: compromise.

In light of Powell's comments, here’s what I think a mandatory federal GMO labeling compromise would look like: Congress will propose a bill that would require all food to be labeled either one of two ways—as containing GMOs (what the activists want) or as free of GMOs (what Powell suggests). In other words, any and every food product sold in this country would have to disclose on its label something like either "Contains GMO Ingredients" or "Contains No GMO Ingredients."

Anti-GMO activists may consider a compromise like this to be a victory. But they should take a closer look. The downsides of this compromise would be enormous for their cause.

For one thing, testing and labeling costs would be substantial for both sides. But how will a small farmer who has to pay to test crops she grows and packages stay in business? Or how about the small canner or grocer that buys her produce? Meanwhile, economies of scale assure that such a compromise won't impact large producers nearly as much.

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  • DJF||

    “”””There’s a good case to make that both the Connecticut law and the looming one in Washington State are unconstitutional.””’

    Why would it be unconstitutional?

  • Ted S.||

    """""""""""""""""""""Why would it be unconstitutional?"""""""""""""""""""""

    I'm guessing Baylen has something with interstate commerce in mind.

  • lilyhi||

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  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Forced speech, I'm assuming. Same thing that invalidated the new graphic anti-tobacco messages that the FDA tried to put on cigarette packs.

  • Metazoan||

    Just make it a penaltax or whatever

  • Baylen Linnekin||

    Oops. Forgot a link there. Added it in to the story now. It's also here.

  • FYTW||

    The so-called "dormant" Commerce Clause.

    Federal courts have ruled that implied in Congress' Commerce Clause authority to regulate interstate commerce is a prohibition against individual states making laws that discriminate against interstate commerce, i.e., erecting trade barriers.

  • Ted S.||

    Major players on the business side, including Walmart, America’s leading grocer, and General Mills, which bills itself as “one of the world's largest food companies,” have publicly tipped their hands that they’d support some sort of mandatory labeling.

    Barriers to entry, don't you know.

  • John Galt||

    The big dogs have always made it their business to help prevent the little dogs becoming big dogs, too.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I don't see how that works. Walmart wouldn't be the ones doing the labeling, their vendors (which may be small companies) would be.

  • Agammamon||

    I imagine that, if nothing else, Walmart has the ability to absorb the cost of ensuring that its suppliers are compliant.

    The mom and pop grocer down the street can't afford to hire the guy specializing in labeling law to ensure that every product they sell meets the law's requirements.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's an interesting point. Who's held liable for violation of the law, the retailer or the producer? Or both?

  • Agammamon||

    Typically its everyone in the supply chain - in practice its the end-sale guy that gets the brunt since that's usually where the 'law-breaking' is found out at.

  • Sean Arington||

    I would be surprised if a local grocer were held liable for General Mills failing to disclose GMOs in their product, even in the case of unprocessed produce. That grocer is as much a victim, so to speak, of the producer as a consumer would be.

  • ||

    Walmart will absorb absolutely zero of the cost. They will require that suppliers' claims be validated by a major approved lab (like Bureau Veritas).

  • LynchPin1477||

    Even if every retailer's cost go up by the same amount, Walmart is large enough to spread that extra cost around and possibly still keep food prices relatively low (think of the way fast food chains undersell on burgers and make up for it with large profit margins on drinks). That'll be a lot harder for a small grocery store.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Supply chain management might be an issue for Walmart too. They'd have to have three (WA, CT, everywhere else) or fifty different versions of the same basic product rather than a single given item.

  • ||

    Walmart has a shit-ton of private-label food. They have a huge amount of leverage over the manufacturers of it and would probably have an easier time than most competitors forcing the suppliers to eat the costs.

  • Sevo||

    "Barriers to entry, don't you know."

    To which I'd add release from liability.
    If X company complies with gov't regulations, and sleazy lawyer later claims damages to psycho client, X company says 'Well, sue the gov't'.

  • Agammamon||

    Release from liability seems to be iffy nowadays. Too often the government just claims its regulations are a *minimum* and the onus is still on the business to show that they went sufficiently further than minimum requirements to not get sued successfully.

  • Drake||

    Joe the Farmer and Mom & Pop can't afford a corporate compliance department, a full-time legal staff, or a commercial liability insurance program in the millions.

  • db||

    I guess the lesson here is if you're trying to make a political statement by setting yourself on fire in America, don't do it on a Friday afternoon.

  • Agammamon||

    Wait - is this stuff part of an M-Night movie?

  • ||

    Meghan Keneally seems to think he torched himself in protest over the government shutdown. Not because an overbearing leviathan government is invading every aspect of our lives and smothering us, but because the government is having a phony shutdown.

    Push that big government narrative Meghan. Wow.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Meghan Keneally seems to think he torched himself in protest over the government shutdown. Not because an overbearing leviathan government is invading every aspect of our lives and smothering us, but because the government is having a phony shutdown.

    God forbid the media should, you know, actually ask him why he did it.

    Better to put words in his mouth to advance your own political agenda.

    Of course, his actual reason probably has something to do with the secret messages encoded in the sounds of his car's muffler and the world-wide child sacrifice cult lead by James Riley Nelson.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    To be fair, he try to plug up the messages in his muffler but to no avail.

    NSFW

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I doubt he can really answer any questions in his current condition...

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I doubt he can really answer any questions in his current condition...

    Indeed, all the better to play ideological Weekend at Bernie's with him.

  • db||

    Baptists and Bootleggers, Baylen.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I don't quite follow the urgency here. I detest government in general, the FDA as a good example of its uselessness, and this kind of stupidity in all cases, which is the norm for government actions.

    But the practical effect of this will be to label so much food as containing GMO (because it's impossible to prove a negative) that it will be even more meaningless than California's Prop 65 toxic chemical warning stickers. Those are so common now that I literally don't even see them any more.

    Yes, it's stupid government doing stupid things to placate stupid luddites. But the practical effect is almost nil: just the cost of adding three words ("Contains GMO products") to every label, possibly with stickers. It doesn't strike me as a calamity.

  • sticks||

    Okay. then what if they forced you to label every thing you handle. maybe with the words "handled by a bad person". It doesn't cost you much and no one pays attention to it. So be happy to be called a bad person:)

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Yes, i understand that part of it. But a calamity would be requiring actually testing all food for GMOs, allowing thousands of petty lawsuits over literally nothing. This is just modifying a label. Heck, it might even allow "This food may contain GMO food products", just like so many labels proclaim the food may contain nuts, or dairy products, or quite a few I've noticed over the last few years.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    There's not a well-funded public misinformation campaign against nuts being in food.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yeah, and they're pressing for regulation.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    There is the peanut allergy epidemic.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Having family members with severe peanut allergies, I don't really tow the libertarian lion on that issue. It's one of those issues where the assumptions of libertarianism conflict with reality. Opening a bag of peanuts can, in fact, kill someone a few feet away in a non-ventilated area.

  • Agammamon||

    So, what? we should ban peanuts?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    No, but I understand restrictions on peanuts in closed areas like airplanes and school cafeterias.

    These allergies are rare enough that I'm content with making the sufferer responsible for keeping safe in most situations, rather than restricting everyone else, but not to the extent that they can't ever go out or fly in an airplane.

  • Sean Arington||

    Agreed. It's refreshing to find a libertarian who isn't a closet anarchist.

  • LynchPin1477||

    GMO stickers may very well just become background noise in the minds of consumers, but maybe not. And GMOs have real potential to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. It's like forcing all electronic equipment to carry an "emits electromagnetic radiation" label because some minority has an unfounded fear of radio waves causing cancer.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Right, I understand that. San Francisco tried that very maneuver a while ago for cell phones and got shot down. It was also derided for what you say, that it would be so common as to be meaningless.

    That doesn't make it a panic. It makes it as stupid as almost every other government reg, it makes it meaningless, and did I mention it's stupid? But it's not a panic.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    GMO stickers may very well just become background noise in the minds of consumers, but maybe not.

    Bullshit. Almost nobody cares about GMO foods, it's only crazy activists. And sure as hell there will not be a large block of people willing to pay more for certified non-GMO foods.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Yes, it's stupid government doing stupid things to placate stupid luddites. But the practical effect is almost nil"

    The practical effect of forcing atheist children to pray to Jesus in public schools before class starts is also about nil, but I'd still call it out for the stupid government doing stupid things to placate stupid people, anyway.

    Sometimes qualitative stuff is just as or more important than the practical effects of things. I'm really sick of the government treating me like I can't make choices for myself without their input. It's the root of them making choices for me without my input, isn't it?

    And I hate not being free to make choices for myself--for qualitative reasons.

  • Robert||

    if the "input" is just the disclosure of truthful info, even if it's info most people don't care about, what's the big deal? These days "informing the consumer" is considered responsive on the part of both gov't & biz, and it's a very tiny imposition that seems to many like an actual gain in individual liberty, so why the fuck not? People complain they're being imposed on by having ingredients put in their products secretly, and that they have no choice because nobody's disclosing anyway, so being on the customer's side looks like a winner.

  • Robert||

    Would it be illegal to label your product as containing GMO ingredients if it doesn't? Because if it's not, then you're right, everybody just put a GMO statement on the label and it costs nothing. But if it's illegal to label it wrong either way, then there are costs.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Come on man, where's the morning links? I got an awesome link to post that will troll the heck out of everyone.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Oh, they don't do morning links on Saturday. So here's my contribution to the art of trolling.

    From the Jerusalem Post:

    "Europe council: Circumcision a 'violation of the physical integrity of children'

    "..[the resolution] calls on member states to “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards” and to “adopt specific legal provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried out before a child is old enough to be consulted.”

    "Practices covered by the resolution include female genital mutilation, the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, early childhood medical interventions in the case of intersexual children, corporal punishment, and the submission to or coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery."

    http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-Wo.....ren-327692

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Large majorities rejected five amendments that sought to remove or alter references to the circumcision of boys. An amendment that removed a reference to the “religious rights of parents and families” was supported by a large majority of members."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That was disappointing.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Concern at Volokh too. This is the same Volokh poster who is having a hissy fit over Russia charging those Green Peace idiots with piracy.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    All right, so he's wrong about piracy. If you do pirate-y stuff, the fact that you're doing it for ideology not booty shouldn't be a mitigating factor.

    But the Volokh guy isn't the only one expressing concern about the European Council resolution.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    You are reading too much at what I wrote. I didn't say concern was inappropriate. But the Volokh poster freaks out over a lot of things.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, then - shouldn't have read so much into your remarks.

    Yeah, when you find yourself attacking people on the seas with your ship, then...you might be a pirate, arrrrh.

    /pirate Jeff Foxworthy

  • Agammamon||

    I think the problem is the overbroad definition of 'pirate' (like the overbroad definition of 'terrorism').

    Yes, these Greenpeace fethers are criminals, but what they're doing is *not* piracy.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Allow me to simply play devil's advocate here. Why is it acceptable to circumcise a child without their consent when it would be clearly wrong (on libertarian grounds) to do the same thing to a fully grown adult?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Because parents have authority over their minor children and ought to be able to perform what is or soon will be reversible surgery on the kids.

    Because there is a right to religious freedom which includes the right to bring up your children in *your* religion, rather than some other religion chose for them by some concern-trolling German government. And make no mistake - in the Jewish religion, boys don't join until they're circumcized, and circumcizing boys is a religious duty of parents, so that the concern-trolling Germans are basically forcing parents to ignore their religion and bring up their children non-Jewish (because Germans have always been concerned about protecting Jewish children).

  • LynchPin1477||

    I largely agree with you, but I also have to admit a bias since I've been raised in a culture where circumcision is accepted largely without question (I'm Catholic, not Jewish, but obviously among Christians and many in Western cultures, circumcisions is still largely the norm). There are obviously important exceptions to the rule that "parents have authority over their minor children", which is why you can't beat and do lots of other horrible stuff to your kids, regardless of your religious beliefs. I don't trust the motives behind this resolution either, but the larger issue doesn't seem so cut and dry to me.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    and many in Western cultures, circumcisions is still largely the norm

    Huh? Not that I've seen many dongs in my life, but in my limited experience circumcision for all seems to be a purely North American phenomenon and not all that common in Europe.

  • Snark Plissken||

    No European guys I know are circumcised.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    ...because there's no end to those pricks!

  • Snark Plissken||

    You've had that loaded up for a long time, haven't you?

  • From the Tundra||

    It was the reason he posted the link. Nevertheless, well played, EVH. Well played, indeed.

  • LynchPin1477||

    OK, most of the penises I've seen are American. So I may have overstepped on that one.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ok, speaking of American penises, I've been catching up on DC Comic's The New 52 continuity, and I have to say that new Superman is a dick.

  • DK||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ha! True. It seems the New 52 writers are making a concerted effort to return him to his New Deal Progtard Wish Fulfillment roots.

    I never was much of a Superman fan myself.

  • Robert||

  • Snark Plissken||

    Okay, HM wins the segue of the week award.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Just a small window into the bizarre Lockean connections imprinted upon my mind.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Because parents have authority over their minor children and ought to be able to perform what is or soon will be reversible surgery on the kids.

    Nice dodge with the reversibility. Don't count your chicks before they hatch.

    And that's not our society's position, of course; parents are not allowed to do plenty of physical things to their kids. Children aren't property. Cutting off part of the kid's body without a medical reason is pretty serious.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Of course it's serious, but forbidding Jews to exercise their religion is serious, too.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    We forbid Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists from exercising their religion on their kids when it comes to refusing blood transfusions and other medical treatment. Why should Jews get special treatment?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If there were a religion which demanded that its followers insert discs into their kids' earlobes so that they grew up to look like this guy, would you support their "freedom of religion" to do so? And that's just a cosmetic change.

    It all comes down to Judaism and circumcision being considered "normal", which pretty much forfeits our ability to criticize the mutilation practices of other cultures.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Oh, not, permitting Jews to exercise their religion will make it difficult for the government to second-guess other groups' cultural practices! Whatever shall we do?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You're dodging the question, Moses lover.

  • Agammamon||

    How about a counter - why would it be acceptable to allow the parent of a deaf child to refuse to allow that child an operation that would give it hearing?

    What about parents being forced to do so?


    For me - circumcision doesn't equate to genital mutilation. It may not have any particular benefits but isn't harmful - leave this as a parental choice.

    Of course, those parents will still have to face community reaction (positive or negative) the same as if you were Kayan and practiced neck stretching in the US.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I looked up Kayan neck-stretching on Wikipedia. Unpleasant.

    Of course, the West has a long and proud tradition of neck-stretching, too!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    In the case of deaf children, applying the equivalent of the RFRA balancing test, I would conclude that the government has a compelling interest in restoring hearing to deaf children, and that this interest cannot be enforced without overriding any religious objections the parents may have.

    A circumcized child can still hear - hear, O Israel...

  • Agammamon||

    What, exactly, would that compelling interest be? As far as disabilities go, the deaf have shown that its a pretty minor one.

    And parents typically don't prevent their deaf child from getting hearing restored because of 'religion' pre se - its because the militant deaf do not consider themselves 'disabled' and feel that deafness is a perfectly valid way to be. They won't deafen their children but they won't act to give them a sense that the kid wasn't born with.

    And this leads into the near future, when additional senses, limbs, limb modifications become easy - how much say are you going to have in your child's physical form if even circumcision is something the state can control.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    They won't deafen their children but they won't act to give them a sense that the kid wasn't born with.

    The rest of the kid's body is "designed" (so to speak) with the expectation of being able to hear. Those things on the sides of deaf people's heads aren't there to collect dust and make cerumen. It's not like IR vision.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm not sure I buy that, Tulpa. It reeks of the naturalistic fallacy to me. One could say that our bodies are "designed" to die, via telomeres and the like, but very few people would consider not taking an anti-aging treatment or even clinical immortality if and when it becomes available because our cells evolved to have a limited lifespan.

  • Agammamon||

    There's very little on the human body that is 'designed' to hear. By that argument, we should ban ear piercing for kids also - the ear wasn't 'designed' for that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    It may not have any particular benefits but isn't harmful

    I'm not convinced it's not harmful.

    Having your taste buds ripped off or otherwise deactivated doesn't prevent you from eating, but it's hard to argue it's not harmful... because we all know what it's like to have taste buds.

  • Agammamon||

    Except that there's a fairly large amount of data showing that there's no loss of sensitivity and some (mild) hygiene benefits (I guess, if you don't pick up the habit of cleaning under the turtleneck).

    Overall I think the consensus is that its a bust on benefits vs losses. For me it puts it squarely in the position of being an elective procedure and should be condemned no more or less than any of the other non-damaging cultural body modification procedures - things like neck rings, or lip plates, even head binding.

    I don't *support* any of this stuff, and would tell my neighbors that its not acceptable here, but I don't think it needs to be made illegal.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    We'll have to agree to disagree here. Parental decision-making on behalf of children is an exception (to put it mildly) to general libertarian philosophy, and I'd prefer to keep that exception as constrained as possible.

  • Rich||

    Someone is finally able to sign up for Democratcare

    She said she was ... glad she persisted through “several glitches” and after being thrown off the website multiple times. “Tell people to just keep trying and (they’ll) get in eventually."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You know who else kept trying and got in eventually...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Casanova?

  • Almanian!||

    The Little Engine That Could?

  • Rich||

    A stinkbug?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Me?

  • Nazdrakke||

    Rush?

  • db||

    -.-- -.-- --..

  • ||

    Your dad?

  • brian0918||

    Reading the comments on Reason's FB page, I have to ask: Why are folks conflating separate issues? I would prefer not to eat most GMO foods, as I would prefer to eat crops not sprayed with biocides in general. But I am not going to demand that the govt force food producers to label their foods.

    Ignoring the rights violation aspect, do you see no downside to getting the government even more involved in an industry where cronyism is rampant? What happens when cronies are able to buy a "NON-GMO" label to put on their GMO food, making the label meaningless, as always happens when you demand that politicians co-opt and regulate your own terminology. The same thing has happened with "organic" and "free range", and "pastured" is probably next to go.

    Even foods labeled as "free" of certain ingredients are only free up to a point, meaning that people with allergies or intolerances could still have a reaction.

    Another aspect is that of property rights, for which the courts have favored GMO patents over land property rights. The result is that GMO contamination of "non-GMO" or "Organic" crops has forced the latter to lose their certification, without any penalty to those who contaminated their crops, because the GMO crop is considered by the FDA to be "substantially equivalent".

    If you want to know what's in your food, buy from local farms, or contact food producers and ask for clarification. Don't buy from those who cannot prove their claims. Vote with your wallet.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I'm not aware of any case law that says that, for example, a Red Delicious apple farmer has a cause of action against a Macintosh apple farmer whose seeds stray onto his plot by natural processes.

    "GMO crops" are just that -- different strains of the same crop. The techniques of genetic modification that produced your so-called "non-GMO" crops are just slower-acting and more unpredictable.

  • pan fried wylie||

    I'm not aware of any case law that says that, for example, a Red Delicious apple farmer has a cause of action against a Macintosh apple farmer whose seeds stray onto his plot by natural processes.

    It's called Rape.

  • Agammamon||

    "I would prefer not to eat most GMO foods"

    Because almost all foods are genetically modified and have been so since before we could do it precisely.

    That corn on the cob - a GMO
    Beef - GMO

    Its making a huge mess and imposing a large cost (even if the per item cost is low) on producers for something that isn't necessary - except to placate a vocal group who don't understand how food is produced in the first place.

  • brian0918||

    You appear to be equivocating. "GMO" means something very particular, and contrasts with the vertical gene transfer involved in selective breeding.

    But that's beside the point, since the reason I cited for avoiding most GMO, which conveniently appears immediately after the sentence fragment you quoted, has nothing to do with the specific traits of the genes being introduced, but rather with the fact that most GMO is produced for the purpose of allowing biocides to be sprayed indiscriminately, and I would prefer to avoid biocide-sprayed foods altogether.

    As for GMO's created for other purposes than biocide resistance, I would have to judge them case by case to determine whether or not they are appropriate for my own personal health.

  • Agammamon||

    No, GMO means to genetically modify an organism - something we've been doing for thousands of years.

    *Toda* we can be very specific and selective on what we want to modify, and do it quickly - something that hasn't been possible before. But at its heart, we've taken a 'natural' organism, mutated it (deliberately, using methods as innocuous as simply waiting for a desired trait to show up to exposing these organisms to radiation and mutating chemicals), and then selected for desired traits.

    There is *nothing* different, qualitatively, that we're doing now than what our ancestors have been doing for 10,000 years.

    I mean, how do you think we got those firm tomatoes to stay firm during transit in pre-refrigeration days - motherfuckers *mutated* a version of the tomato until they got what they wanted.

  • Agammamon||

    And, uh, their not biocides - that's a term of art in green propaganda.

    If they were biocides, the plants they were sprayed on would be killed also. That's kinda what biocide means.

  • Irish||

    Is that really true?

    A biocide can be:

    A pesticide: this includes fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, algicides, molluscicides, miticides and rodenticides.

    An antimicrobial: this includes germicides, antibiotics, antibacterials, antivirals, antifungals, antiprotozoals and antiparasites. See also spermicide.

    I realize wikipedia isn't exactly highly reputable, but I thought a biocide was just any kind of chemical substance that killed a particular organism.

  • brian0918||

    You claim that "biocide" is a "green propoganda" term, and then pretend to have the knowledge capable of judging vertical and horizontal gene transfer to be equivalent across all contexts.

    "Biocide" is simply the broader term for substances used to eradicate certain types of organisms - whether pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.

    I guess Pubmed should be informed that they have been infiltrated by the green movement:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=biocide

  • Irish||

    He's obviously wrong about the term biocide, but that doesn't change the fact that your arguments against GMOs are still ludicrous.

    Pointing out that Agammamon was wrong about one word doesn't change the half a dozen other arguments that people have made against your position, all of which still stand.

  • brian0918||

    Irish: which arguments are those? Don't be afraid to use your own words.

  • Agammamon||

    Using the term 'biocide' to refer to thing that are specifically 'pesticides' is a green propaganda tool - biocide sounds like an all-exclusive killer while the other terms refer to the things those chemicals are specifically targeting.

    And, keep in mind that *you* are claiming to have the knowledge to judge that horizontal and vertical transfer are *not* equivalent across all contexts.

    *I'm* simply claiming that we have thousands of years of deliberate modification of food organism, coupled with the knowledge that even complex organisms can share genes across species boundaries, to no harm directly attributable to genetic modification.

  • brian0918||

    I am certainly not claiming to know that horizontal and vertical gene transfer are not equivalent across all contexts. I am saying that for my own personal health, I am not waiting for the science to determine that. That is not an anti-scientific view, since science could ultimately judge horizontal and vertical gene transfer to be different in certain contexts. We have barely scratched the surface of understanding complex biological systems. In the future, we will understand them better. In the meantime, I must eat, so I will choose to avoid consuming evolutionarily-novel substances whenever possible.

  • Sevo||

    "In the meantime, I must eat, so I will choose to avoid consuming evolutionarily-novel substances whenever possible."

    Which means you will find little to eat.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Yeah, evolution doesn't start and stop, it is ongoing. What organism isn't evolutionarily novel?

  • Irish||

    You appear to be equivocating. "GMO" means something very particular, and contrasts with the vertical gene transfer involved in selective breeding.

    That doesn't change the fact that 'genetic modification' via husbandry and the breeding of specific crops or animals has been the norm for centuries. There is not one scrap of evidence that the far faster and more efficient technique of genetic modification is any more dangerous.

    But that's beside the point, since the reason I cited for avoiding most GMO, which conveniently appears immediately after the sentence fragment you quoted, has nothing to do with the specific traits of the genes being introduced, but rather with the fact that most GMO is produced for the purpose of allowing biocides to be sprayed indiscriminately, and I would prefer to avoid biocide-sprayed foods altogether.

    Why? Pesticides and the like are easily washed off and rendered harmless. You're also wrong about that being the primary reason for GMOs. Golden rice is just one example of a GMO that has nothing to do with pesticides but is designed to give children Vitamin A which they would not otherwise get in impoverished areas. It helps with malnutrition.

    That's not even getting into the types of GMOs that are meant to be drought resistant and can be grown in places food could never grow before.

  • Irish||

    That doesn't change the fact that 'genetic modification' via husbandry and the breeding of specific crops or animals has been the norm for centuries thousands of years.

    Fixed that for me.

  • brian0918||

    How exactly does one go about "washing off" the concentrated pesticides in honey produced from hives near sprayed crops?

    Golden rice has been a failure from its inception. Carotenoids such as beta carotene are not Vitamin A, and it is not readily converted by the body into Vitamin A in the absence of dietary fat (particularly animal fat), which is absent in the diet of starving African/Asian populations.

    Yet again we have an example of libertarians advocating government-funded scientific endeavors as solutions for populations starving under the boot of their dictators.

    If you want to give these populations a solution other than freedom, why not advocate for retinol pills, which are very cheap, and will get Vitamin A directly into their bodies?

  • brian0918||

    Answer: because you're more interested in attacking what you perceive at anti-science hysteria, than promoting long-term solutions.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    If you think the fact that Golden Rice was developed in public European universities is going to Get My Libertarian Goat, you've sorely misjudged. The internet is a great thing even if it did originate with DARPA. I don't give a shit about origins.

    Replacing one form of rice with another is a much easier way to get the necessary vitamins to a population than trying to ship and maintain billions of pills and a pill-taking regimen.

  • brian0918||

    What was the point of dodging my entire response, and instead focusing on one specific word, which I used correctly?

    It still stands that these populations will not receive much benefit, if any, from Golden Rice, and they will still suffer under the boot of their dictators.

    It is odd watching libertarians advocate for Golden Rice as a solution to populations living in oppressive regimes. You might as well be arguing over whether sweat shops run by slave labor should be used to produce Nike or Reebok.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I don't know enough about Golden Rice to judge how helpful it will be with vitamin A deficiency (I hadn't even heard of it until the Reason article a couple months back). But for the sake of argument I'll assume you're right. So? Golden Rice is one attempt at a solution to a specific problem. If it fails, that doesn't mean that GMOs can't have major benefits. And I don't think anyone ever said Golden Rice was a solution to all the problems facing impoverished peoples. But it is a lot easier to defend your rights when you're healthy and have a full tummy.

  • MWG||

    "But it is a lot easier to defend your rights when you're healthy and have a full tummy."

    ...and when you not fucking blind.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    You are an idiot if you think GMO food is different from any other food. Probably all food grown by humans has been bred for specific characteristics and is no more "natural" than any GMO food.

    If you are getting your panties twisted over eating GMO food, you better avoid just about everything that humans have ever raised. For meat, restrict yourself to ground squirrels, which in California at least are considered pests and do not need a hunting license. For veggies, try some awful grass that most humans won't touch. Maybe rob bird nests for eggs, but that's probably illegal.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Lighten up. I don't believe that GMO foods are inherently bad, but I don't think the science is settled either way. While there is plenty of Kultur War aspects to the GMO food thing, it doesn't make one an idiot to want to avoid them.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I think the problem is that for many in the anti-GMO crowd (not accusing you personally), the science will never be "settled" unless it is settled in their favor. As of now, as far as I am aware, there has never been a credible study showing any significant distinction between trans/cisgenic food and traditionally bred food.

    If you want to apply the cautionary principle to GMOs in your own life, that is fine, though.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Totally agree, that's what I mean about it being a Kultur War issue. I personally don't have a huge problem with GMOs although I'm not going to accept them unconditionally any more than I would accept the conventional line that margarine is healthy.

    There's a total lefty blogger over at Discover who is against GMO hysteria (although totally pro AGW). I have to give the guy credit he takes a ton a shit for not towing the lion on this.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Not towing the lion seems like a pretty rational behavior to me. Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

  • brian0918||

    For the purposes of one's own health, now, is it not better to err on the side of caution, particularly if one can afford it, and particularly given the extensive level of cronyism between government and food industry. Certainly in the future, specific GMO foods will have a long history behind them from which to judge safety, but what about me and my health now?

  • LynchPin1477||

    You have to decide what is better for you. I'm completely indifferent to GMOs. If you aren't, choose accordingly. I have no gripe with that.

  • brian0918||

    Glad to see some reason in the Reason comments section. :)

    All I ask of other libertarians, Objectivists, etc, is to keep the focus on the individual, and don't try to pretend to know what is acceptable for vast swaths of the population. If you look at GMO foods as just another product brand, like Starbucks or Apple, the absurdity of libertarians advocating that the public select one brand over another, or consider both brands equivalent regardless of individual context, becomes apparent.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You're free to choose your food for whatever reasons you want, and we're free to criticize those reasons. AFAIK there isn't a freedom from criticism buried in libertarian doctrine.

  • brian0918||

    Way to ignore my rebuttal and pretend I was requesting a pass from criticism.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    You were requesting a pass from criticism by saying that "hey, man, what works for me might not work for you."

  • brian0918||

    Indeed, one of the reasons for focusing on advocating individual rights is that you cannot possibly know all the various contexts within which every individual makes the thousands of personal decisions everyday.

    Yet like every failed central planner in history, you have fallen into the trap of promoting a particular product as safe for everyone to consume.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Speaking reasonably, you've presented nothing other than emotions for why you avoid GMOs, which is why you're subject to so much grief.

    Humans are going to use pesticides, whether they use Roundup or peppermint. As I pointed out months ago, the latter has a lower LD50 than the former, yet people like you are still more afraid of Roundup, because "chemicals"

  • brian0918||

    So it is unreasonable to accept that we have barely scratched the surface of understanding of complex biological systems, and from that decide to avoid consuming evolutionarily-novel substances, for one's own personal health? I am supposed to want to sacrifice myself to the altar of scientific oversimplification?

    "Humans are going to use pesticides" - what does that even mean? Regardless of individual context? The local farm where I get my food does not use pesticides of any kind. I guess they don't count as human in your odd self-fulfilling deduction.

    What does LD50 have to do with judging the safety of something for a specific individual's health in the context of his own genetic heritage, history of biological stressors, etc? Citing LD50 is yet another example of taking a specific scientific observation out of context. Besides the fact that it only measures short-term lethality, it is *only* a measure of lethality. Is the only measure of safety whether or not something kills me? I would consider that relatively low on the list, since food producers are unlikely to produce foods that kill me - it's generally not good for business.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I don't believe that GMO foods are inherently bad, but I don't think the science is settled either way.

    The science isn't settled on Internet usage causing brain tumors 40 years later either. So you might want to avoid the Internet.

    Seriously, every testable claim made by the anti-GMO crowd has been disproven. That they continue to make untestable claims doesn't warrant avoiding GMO.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I read about and blog about health quite a bit. And I don't find these things to be so obviously black and white as you do. I'm generally in favor of GMO foods but if you think the science is settled you don't understand science.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Plenty of people read and blog about stuff they don't understand in the slightest, so spare me the attempt at credentials. We're random people on the internet, so evidence is all that matters. You've offered zero evidence for GMO foods being unsafe in any way, and sorry, I don't subscribe to the belief that a lack of evidence is evidence.

  • MWG||

    This a fucking thousand times.

    Hysteria regarding GMO crops is no different the hysteria regarding vaccinations.

  • Irish||

    I'm generally in favor of GMO foods but if you think the science is settled you don't understand science.

    Science is never settled. That's the entire point of science. That doesn't change the fact that claims need proof and the anti-GMO crowd has offered no proof for any of their claims. Every claim that can be tested has shown them to be wrong, so they've fallen back on untestable claims about what 'could' happen in 50 years.

    Every year 600,000 children die of Vitamin A deficiency. Golden rice has a very real chance to stop this. Unless you can offer proof that GMOs will somehow kill millions of people, I have to come down on the pro-GMO side.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    To be fair SP has said he doesn't favor coercive anti-GMO laws.

    But, spreading this false propaganda is pretty dangerous in itself, given what anti-GMO types tend to do to GMO crops and farmers who plant them.

  • Snark Plissken||

    This is a perfect example of the Kultur War bullshit. You think that my being somewhat skeptical of GMOs puts me in the camp that wants to ban Golden rice? I'm skeptical of a most of the so-called science that happens in this highly politicized realm. And you think it has to be some sort of false dichotomy like Team Red or Team Blue.

    Why don't you go fuck yourself you partisan hack?

  • Snark Plissken||

    That was a reply to Irish, BTW.

  • brian0918||

    Golden rice has been a failure from its inception. Carotenoids such as beta carotene are not Vitamin A, and it is not readily converted by the body into Vitamin A in the absence of dietary fat (particularly animal fat), which is absent in the diet of starving African/Asian populations.

    Yet again we have an example of libertarians advocating government-funded scientific endeavors as solutions for populations starving under the boot of their dictators.

    If you want to give these populations a solution other than freedom, why not advocate for retinol pills, which are very cheap, and will get Vitamin A directly into their bodies?

  • Snark Plissken||

    Yet again we have an example of libertarians advocating government-funded scientific endeavors as solutions for populations starving under the boot of their dictators.

    Even more ironic is the why do you hate the childrunz argument.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not very careful who you slip into bed with, are you SP?

    The "for the children" mantra is abused for sure, but that fact doesn't invalidate pointing out that children are in fact harmed by a policy.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Not very careful who you slip into bed with, are you SP?

    The "for the children" mantra is abused for sure, but that fact doesn't invalidate pointing out that children are in fact harmed by a policy.

    Oh look, Tulpa is being disingenuous. I was accused of being against the childrunz by Irish for the mere fact that I said that I retain some skepticism for GMOs despite the fact that I generally don't have a problem with them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I was accused of being against the childrunz by Irish

    where? I don't see that anywhere in his comment.

    And your position seems to be that you discount any science done on this issue and thus declare the science is not settled. Well of course it's not going to be settled if you ignore it!

  • Snark Plissken||

    Every year 600,000 children die of Vitamin A deficiency. Golden rice has a very real chance to stop this.

    Because I'm not a 100% true blue believer in GMOs I'm against helping 600,000 children.

    And your position seems to be that you discount any science done on this issue and thus declare the science is not settled.

    No, my position is that this is a highly politicized subject and the science is new, much newer than the science on salt, SFAs, dietary cholesterol, etc, all of which was supposedly settled a long time ago with tons of real indisputable science.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Carotenoids such as beta carotene are not Vitamin A, and it is not readily converted by the body into Vitamin A in the absence of dietary fat (particularly animal fat), which is absent in the diet of starving African/Asian populations.

    Rice itself contains some fat. More fat increases absorption, but there's enough.

    Herbivores get vitamin A from beta carotene, so animal fats are unnecessary.

  • brian0918||

    "Rice itself contains some fat." Every food contains some level of macronutrient, but the relevant question is what form and how much relative to the dietary requirements of the organism. All studies I have seen of Golden Rice involved healthy individuals who were being supplemented with dietary fat - not at all relevant to starving populations.

    "Herbivores get vitamin A from beta carotene, so animal fats are unnecessary." - If you mean unnecessary for herbivores, then I agree. But what relevance does that have to humans, who have different dietary requirements, different metabolic pathways, digestive systems and gut flora? Even our closest relatives eat completely different from us, thanks to their significantly different intestinal system capable of fermenting vegetation to produce fats that we must get by direct consumption.

    The difference in dietary requirements for vitamin A can be seen by looking at the relative vitamin A content of the livers of herbivores vs omnivores or carnivores. While herbivore liver is a great source of vitamin A for humans, eating the same amount of carnivore liver could be toxic, due to the significantly higher level of vitamin A. The Inuit know to avoid eating polar bear, husky, seal, and other carnivore liver, for that reason. The livers of polar bear and seal contain 13000-18000 IU per gram, compared to about 300 IU/g for beef liver.

  • brian0918||

    "You are an idiot if you think GMO food is different from any other food."

    Ignoring the ad hominem, you did not clarify in what regards you believe they are not different. Certainly the patent office thinks they are different. And certainly the method of production is different - horizontal gene transfer, as opposed to the vertical gene transfer involved in selective breeding. And certainly the proteins that are produced are novel from an evolutionary perspective.

    But that is all beside the point, since the reason I cited for avoiding most GMO has nothing to do with the specific traits of the genes being introduced, but rather with the fact that most GMO is produced for the purpose of allowing biocides to be sprayed indiscriminately, and I would prefer to avoid biocide-sprayed foods altogether.

    As for GMO's created for other purposes than biocide resistance, I would have to judge them case by case to determine whether or not they are appropriate for my own personal health.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And yet you presume that non-GMO's don't use biocides. Non-BT corn actually requires more biocides (pesticides) to be applied because of its lack of pest resistance. I guess you could complain about the BT present in the corn but it's hardly rational to claim that the non-GMO crops are better just, um, because. Now if you want to actually quantify the residues and types of applied chemicals then we can start to have a rational discussion.

    Further, you confuse GMO's with gene insertion. Not all GMO's are created that way. Some are created by irradiation and chemically induced mutation. Arguably that's no different than your "vertical" transfer but simply accelerated since the origin of those vertically transferred genes is... mutation.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's not an ad hominem. He's saying you are wrong because of your argument, not vice versa.

    And your claimed difference is fairly specious. You may as well differentiate between crops grown with irrigated water vs. naturally delivered water.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    For once I agree with you. Excellent analogy.

  • brian0918||

    I do differentiate between the two. The chlorine and fluoride in government municipal water affects the composition of soil microbial communities, which in term impacts the ability of crops to absorb nutrients from the soil, as well as crop susceptibility to diseases - increasing the need for biocides.

    This is why I will continue to recommend that libertarians remain focused on individual rights, for which you do not need to pretend scientific clarity.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I've never heard of irrigated water having chemicals added to it, outside of Idiocracy at least.

  • brian0918||

    It is common for crops to be irrigated with municipal waste water. I would recommend extending your research beyond comedy cinema.

  • Sevo||

    brian0918|10.5.13 @ 3:34PM|#
    "It is common for crops to be irrigated with municipal waste water."

    Cite missing.

  • brian0918||

    Sorry, I thought you had an interest in investigating it. My bad.

  • Azathoth!!||

    And still no cite.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Why are some people trying to use government to force their preferences on others? If my father-in-law, who has bought into the anti-GMO scare, is any indication, some people genuinely believe GMOs are harmful and that labeling laws would help others. Roads to hell, good intentions, all that.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Fair enough, but much of the anti-GMO hysteria stems from people not knowing the difference between a genetically modified organism (GMO) and a genetically engineered crop (GE).

    When mosy laymen speak against GMOs, they're really speaking against GEs.

  • db||

    So, I'm a reasonably competent programmer but I would never claim to be a "computer scientist" or "software engineer." I can usually hold my own when reading about the abstract technical roots of programming theory (though I avoid it when possible), but reading this, I think either my brain has suffered near-irreparable damage, or I have found the next Time Cube.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    My guess would be it's just written by somebody who doesn't know how to communicate to anyone except fellow ubergeeks. there may be something to what they're saying, but good luck figuring it out.

  • Snark Plissken||

    That's Mencius Moldbug's new project. Regardless of what one thinks of his ideas, he certainly knows how to write.

  • db||

    Yeah, but I can't figure out what this Urbit stuff is even trying to accomplish. Is it a sandbox and he wants other people to play with him? Is it entirely impractical?

    He says eventually "anyone who can learn to fix a Chevy can learn to program [this]" but I can't figure out why anyone would bother.

  • Snark Plissken||

    You are still dead to me for the Asia thing, db.

    I've no idea, honestly, this stuff is way outside my bailiwick.

  • Jordan||

    This is amazing:

    What’s a continuity breach?
    This occurs when something on ~doznec or ~zod has (essentially) gone awry, and all of Urth gets big-banged all over again. What does this mean for the Urbit user? Your piers won’t work again, nor will your ships. Delete your piers (everything in URB_HOME except for urbit.pill and zod/) and then build a new pier and (if applicable) rebuild your destroyer.

    and this:

    this one looks like x86 assembly had a fetal alcohol syndrome love child with haskell
  • SweatingGin||

    Must be parody? No idea what is going on there.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Looks like a highbrow version of INTERCAL, which kind of defeats the purpose.

  • Rhywun||

    Bingo. Some geeks get a kick out of this stuff - I find it tiresome.

  • Christophe||

    It seems like it's some kind of mini-networked server with a common language for all instances.

    I have no idea what it's for.

  • Almanian!||

    Does anybody REALLY know what time it is, Pedanonbot? Does anybody really care?

  • Agammamon||

    Only the man with one watch truly knows what time it is.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Only the man with a spice rack knows what thyme it is.

  • Banjos||

    Only the man with a Mexican beer knows what lime it is.

  • Jordan||

    What does Jack Daddy Momo think?

  • Sevo||

    Or:
    What? Does Jack Daddy Momo think?

  • Dweebston||

    I suspect that anti-GMO activists would hate that solution because it wouldn't provide the "information" they want

    No, they'll hate it because it doesn't dragoon evil GMO producers into a mandatory labeling scheme. Labeling is the stocks they want GMO foods in, or better yet, the gallows.

  • Pariah30||

    If food is altered in any way from it's natural form, the consumer should be notified. Seems logical and Reasonable. Any additives including gluten (I am celiac) should be listed. You say you're a Lawyer for feed freedom, but you advocate food secrecy. A Lawyer in sheep's clothing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So, because you're too lazy to research foods acceptable for consumption due to your fairly uncommon dietary condition, you want to use the hammer of state force to do the work for you.

    Right, "logical" and "reasonable".

    You're full of shit. There are millions of observant Jews in the United States, for example, who are very concerned about only eating Kosher food and using Kosher products. And yet, for the entire time that Jews have been present in this country, they have been able to obtain Kosher foods and products which were produced by a company willing to undergo a private and voluntary process of certification.

    Fuck off, slaver with a crampy, gassy, stomach.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's a bit over the line, HM. I can understand the frustration of a person who can't eat anything that's been mass-produced, which in our society is pretty much everything, because everything contaminates everything else. Jews are a lot more numerous than Celiacs and a lot more wealthy and powerful, so it's not a legit comparison.

  • Sevo||

    ..."I can understand the frustration of a person who can't eat anything that's been mass-produced,"...

    WIH does that mean?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    As has been pointed out several times on this thread, most human-consumed food is altered from its natural form and that's been the case for millennia. Seafood is pretty much the only exception.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You own a purebred Lab? OMG, GMO DOG!!!!!!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Exactly.... and of course dogs in general are the most genetically modified organisms on the planet.

  • Sevo||

    "Seafood is pretty much the only exception."
    Farm-raised is prolly starting to be bred selectively, but take a look at tropical (pet) fish.

  • Agammamon||

    1. Most human food has been genetically modified since before you were born.

    2. You have a 'positive preference' for a specific type of food - its *your* responsibility to ensure that your food meats your requirements, not something that should be foisted off on the general public to accommodate you.
    As has been pointed out, Jews don't make the public cater to them, they created their own agencies to ensure that their food meats their requirements.

    So, why can't those who dislike GMO foods, simply get 'non-GMO' foods labeled as such? Just like those who don't eat non-kosher get their kosher foods labeled as safe - I mean, its important to you right?

    Wouldn't you want the labeling done by an organization that you can exercise accountability over and will clearly and openly reveal their certification criteria? Keep in mind the same government deciding what is and isn't a GMO is the same government that bowed to industry pressure and classified ketchup as a vegetable.

  • Jordan||

    meats your requirements

    I see what you did there.

  • LynchPin1477||

    If food is altered in any way from it's natural form, the consumer should be notified.

    Sorry but that is an absurdly high standard. Who get's to define what is "natural"? As has been pointed out above, almost every food we eat today was altered from its "natural", wild form over thousands of years of cultivation. Are canned vegetables "natural"? Cooked meat? Beef that has been fed anything other than grass harvested from the Savannah? I could go on, but I'm hoping you get the point.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    How about flipping this around - companies can market to the granola demographic by selling food labelled "NO GMOS" - if there are GMOs in such food, nail the companies under standard fraud laws.

    The granola community can then refuse to buy any food unless it has an anti-GMO label. Problem solved, without the govt hassling small businesses.

  • LynchPin1477||

    That is an unacceptable solution because it doesn't stick it to evil corporations and give a leg up to good, wholesome, back-to-the land organic farmers that aren't motivated by profits.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Zod, people are stupid.

    Do they ever stop and think who's paying for this new worthless regulation? Do they think "big business" is going to shoulder the costs?

    So here is what they get.

    1. A label.
    2. Less choice.
    3. Less Competition.
    4. A higher price.

    Why do they hate poor chilrenz?

  • Daeglan||

    I can't make an informed decision with out labeling.

  • ||

    uptil I saw the bank draft for $9693, I didn't believe that my sister woz like realey taking home money parttime at there labtop.. there uncles cousin has done this for only about eighteen months and at present cleard the depts on there villa and bought a great Jaguar XJ. he said

    http://WWW.WORKS23.COM

  • jonl||

    When released into the environment, genetically engineered organisms can become pests, displacing existing plants and animals. They can disrupt the functioning of ecosystems, reduce biological diversity, alter the composition of species. Could this be considered a form aggression?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Citation required.

  • jonl||

  • Sevo||

    Fail.
    Nothing in that cite says "pest".

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You are being disingenuous.

    There is NOTHING in that article that supports your claim:

    When released into the environment, genetically engineered organisms can become pests, displacing existing plants and animals. They can disrupt the functioning of ecosystems, reduce biological diversity, alter the composition of species.

    It simply said it may pass on it's pesticide resistant traits to other sexually compatible species, some of which are weeds.

    And, you do realize that this is how evolution works, right? A mutation occurs and if that mutation benefits the species it survives at the expense of what came before. Where the mutation came from is irrelevant.

    Why do you enviro-freaks insist that nothing can be better than what exists now? If that were the case, we would never have existed.

  • jonl||

    canola is capable of hybridizing with at least two—and possibly as many as eight—wild weed species in North America, including field mustard (Brassica rapa), which is a known agricultural pest. "Not only is it going to jump out of cultivation; there are sexually compatible weeds all over North America," Sagers says. Adds ecologist-in-training Meredith Schafer of U.A., who led the research, "It becomes a weed [farmers] can't control."

  • Sevo||

    "canola is capable of hybridizing with at least two—and possibly as many as eight—wild weed species in North America, including field mustard (Brassica rapa), which is a known agricultural pest."

    Yes? So?

  • jonl||

    The word pest is in the cite

  • Sevo||

    jonl|10.5.13 @ 4:36PM|#
    "The word pest is in the cite"

    Yes, the word is in there and it does not refer to GM plants:
    "wild weed species in North America, including field mustard (Brassica rapa), which is a known agricultural pest."
    Bullshit isn't going to make your point.

  • jonl||

    You're right here. I was just being a smart ass.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    "It becomes a weed [farmers] can't control."

    As opposed to the existing weeds that the farmers can't control in the context of crop production? If they could, there'd be no need to engineer Roundup resistant plants.

    Why is change always bad for you people?

    For a group called Progressives...

  • jonl||

    What do you mean by you people? Racist!

  • jonl||

    What do you mean by you people? Racist!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yep...on cue.

  • jonl||

    I kid. I've been following this board for months just never had balls to post.

  • jonl||

    Wtf its not 3

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    If you double click SUBMIT, the squirrels give you two.

  • jonl||

    These findings suggest that complex competitive interactions associated with transgenesis and hybridisation could have substantial ecological consequences for wild Atlantic salmon should they ever come into contact [with GM salmon] in nature. http://www.theguardian.com/env.....s#comments

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, The Guardian is where I'll go for non-biased news on lefty concerns.

  • jonl||

    My first time on the comment board and I already have 5 different labels.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    My first time on the comment board and I already have 5 different labels.

    Welcome. Honest debate is desirable.

    Be advised, you'd better have a thick skin and be able to back up your shit because feelings and emotions hold little weight around here, as I'm sure you've noticed.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Why do you contend the fish occurring in nature are better than the GMs? How do you know that the next step in the evolutionary chain isn't dependent upon man's interference?

    The entire premise that GMs are unnatural is nonsense. They were invented by lifeforms indigenous to planet Earth. They are every bit as natural as Tyrannosaurus Rex.

  • jonl||

    What is really "unnatural"? I mean if it exists it has to be natural. Why do you contend ecosystems can support a jump started "evolutionary" mutation that was a design to satisfy a need by a, to a degree, organism that is diconeccted from that ecosystem.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Why do you contend ecosystems can support a jump started "evolutionary" mutation that was a design to satisfy a need by a, to a degree, organism that is diconeccted from that ecosystem."

    Like corn, maybe?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Why do you contend ecosystems can support a jump started "evolutionary" mutation that was a design to satisfy a need by a, to a degree, organism that is diconeccted from that ecosystem.

    Why do you contend they cannot. Ecosystems adapt to changing conditions. It could be caused by a slight mutation, a volcano, an asteroid or man. Doesn't matter. Change is constant. 99.9% of all creatures that ever walked the Earth are now extinct. And you should be damn happy about that, because if it wasn't the case, you wouldn't be here.

    I'm not disconnected from my ecosystem at all. I live here and I adapt to change along with the rest of the environment.

  • jonl||

    Why do we use the term invasive species?

  • Sevo||

    jonl|10.5.13 @ 8:39PM|#
    "Why do we use the term invasive species?"

    Got something in your pocket? Who is "we"?
    Watermelons use that term when some 'business' introduces an animal. If it gets there otherwise, it's simply 'contributing to the bio-diversity!'

  • jonl||

    I think there is a big difference between "introduced by business" and "gets there otherwise".

  • jonl||

    If I put a tiger in your bedroom it's murder. If it escapes from the zoo, jumps through you windows and clamps down on your jugular then its "bio diversity" at work.

  • ||

    No, it's negligence on the part of the zoo.

  • jonl||

    When man does it its force. The other actions are "natural".

  • Sevo||

    jonl|10.5.13 @ 9:56PM|#
    "When man does it its force. The other actions are "natural"."

    I hope you're joking again, since that's a really stupid comment.

  • LynchPin1477||

    A form of aggression against who? I am probably more sympathetic to environmental concerns than most of the commenters here, but if your standard is "you can't do anything that might change ecosystems" then I can't really see any scenario in which you can actually keep yourself alive.

  • jonl||

    A farmer who would want his crop to have a specific genetic composition.

  • Sevo||

    jonl|10.5.13 @ 4:35PM|#
    "A farmer who would want his crop to have a specific genetic composition."

    I "want" not to read silly comments from luddites. Are you agressing?

  • jonl||

    You could turn off your computer but the hypothetical farmer is forced to align with his neighbors "wants".

  • Sevo||

    jonl|10.5.13 @ 4:57PM|#
    "You could turn off your computer but the hypothetical farmer is forced to align with his neighbors "wants"."

    Nope. He can stop farming.

  • jonl||

    You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  • Sevo||

    Luddites always lose.

  • jonl||

    Would a luddite make love to a robot?

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    Only if Catholic

  • LynchPin1477||

    A farmer who would want his crop to have a specific genetic composition.

    I'm sympathetic to that and it has been brought up here in the past. A lot of commenters here will refer you to the work of Ronald Coase. I haven't read his work in detail but what I'm not convinced by what I have seen, because it doesn't seem to address the philosophical objects to one person imposing on another without their consent, but I could be wrong about that. I'll admit that this is an issue that I haven't seen an adequate solution for (yet), but I do not think banning GMOs is a good response.

  • jonl||

    I suggest regulations and taxing to deal with social cost. I don't agree with a ban and feel the same about requiring labels insofar as companies are transparent and accountable. Thanks for the referral.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    "When released into the environment, genetically engineered organisms can become pests, displacing existing plants and animals. They can disrupt the functioning of ecosystems, reduce biological diversity, alter the composition of species."
    The same can be said of any hybrid.

    "Could this be considered a form aggression?"
    Only by those given to fantasy.

  • Sean Arington||

    "But they should know this too: the result of the compromise would likely be more GMO food choices and less GMO-free food choices."

    Care to substantiate this claim?

  • Banh||

    The best way to paint the GMO industry into the corner is with consumer awareness. Look at hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Once the average consumer wakes up and starts reading labels, they will put the products back on the shelf and look for non-GMO.

    This should be market-driven, not government mandated. That ALWAYS goes badly. In Europe several countries have reacted to the consumer anger by blocking GMO crops. That will start happening in the States as well as soon as American shoppers start voting with their feet on this issue and refusing GMO products.

    It is time for Americans to start running the show in our country, not allowing the tail to wag the dog. Corporate food producers have been shoveling cheaply made highly profitable crap into our diet for decades with very nice commercials and ads. It's time to wake up and look at what we put into our mouths, right?

  • Sevo||

    "right?"
    Wrong.
    Nearly your entire rant was nothing other than luddite crap. We eat better and cheaper than ever before and idiots frightened of technology (not to mention idiots who hate KORPORASHUNS!) are trying to make sure more people start starving again.
    Go away and take your idiocy with you.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    Did you just mention sugar & synthetic fat in your anti-GMO post? For a moment it looks like you were trying to get all science-y. Sorry, there are a lot of people like you in the paleosphere from the less geeky, more hippy crowd.
    Every plant you eat has been genetically modified, we're just better at it now.
    Read the book Wheat Belly or go see an online video where the author talks about the older techniques of genetic modification. Not exactly natural...

    Also keep it mind that it was gov't that really messed things up for our health so why do you think they could help? (click on my name)

  • ludovikazaleskas||

    up to I saw the check saying $4560, I didnt believe ...that...my cousin could truley bringing in money part time on their laptop.. there uncle started doing this for only about 16 months and recently took care of the mortgage on there apartment and bought a top of the range Aston Martin DB5. visit this site
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  • wooffjordy||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to Economy tab for more detail ...
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  • rogers||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to Economy tab for more detail ...

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