Monday, November 22, 2010

GM Foods

I spoke to a farmer recently that, like many in is business, support genetically modified crops. His argument was that the poor wouldn’t be able to feed their families if crops were grow organically because it is so much more expensive to raise crops using natural methods. He also said that the extra expense would spill over into other products like sugar, milk, and bread. I can’t argue against the cost of growing GMO’s, but I can’t support it just because it’s more cost effective. According to US Department of Agriculture the percentage of GM corn grown in the United States grown from 7 to 70 percent, and 93 percent of the soybeans grown in the US are GM.

I’m sure you’ve read Jonathan Berr's article that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA )is considering whether to approve the production and sale of genetically modified fish, or frankenfish as it’s being called. Apparently, the argument is over labeling. The biotech industry is concerned that consumers won’t buy the fish if the product label spells out that the fish is genetically modified. Most fish in the US are raised on fish farms, but salmon, by in large, is still caught in the wild. The fishermen aren’t able to keep up with the demand and the supply of wild salmon in this country is shrinking. I assure you, the solution is not to make a frankenfish. According to CNN
"The fish's rapid growth will be boosted by the injection of a combination of a growth gene (GH-coding sequences) from the Pacific Chinook salmon and genetic material (the AFP gene) from the ocean pout - a large, eel-like fish - into the fertilized eggs of Atlantic salmon, making the recombined DNA present in cells throughout the body of the fish. The Chinook gene promotes the growth to market size, and the pout gene allows the fish to grow in the winter as well as the summer."
The FDA is only looking at whether this fish is safe compared to other farm raised or wild salmon. Today is the last day for your voice to be heard concerning the labeling of this potentially dangerous fish. Aquabay Technologies plans to breed the salmon in an inland facility in Canada, however, they will raise the fish in Panama.

This past summer, according to Micheal J Crumb of the Associated Press, a California judge halted the planting of GM sugar beets until the USDA could complete an impact study on how these organisms affect the traditional crops. Fifty percent of the US’s sugar comes from sugar beets that have been planted with products like Genuity Roundup Ready Sugarbeets. The apparent benefit is that farmers are able to use pesticides on the crops without killing the plant itself. Companies like Monsanto would have you believe that farmers and consumers will suffer if GMO’s aren’t allowed to be planted, but that isn’t the case. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an office of the USDA, has opened a comment period asking for input from retailers, farmers, university professors, dealers, and agricultural organizations on the Environmental Assessment. All interested parties have until December 6 to make their voices heard.

It is essential that we, as consumers, stay informed. The Non-GMO Project supports the verifying and labeling of products and that believes we have the right to make informed choices about whether we want to consume GM products. The Project’s role is to make certain we have accessible Non-GMO alternatives in our future. Voting Block is a site that allows you to tell your elected representatives where you stand on the issue and what they should to earn your vote. Remember to let your voice be heard!



Quentin said...

Much though I appreciate your point of view,and I have no informtion on which to judge the accuracy of the infromaiton you put out, since I see nothing on your site to tell me what if anything you're trained in or have properly educated yourself. So I have to go by what I see in your column to judge how good and helpful your opinion is, based on the knowledge I have alerady developed for myself about the subject you're writing on. In this case, one glaring error that makes me shy away from your column and will not help your credibility with me as a trained, skilled and long-term journalist simply this: you state that the GE/GM salmon Will be fed a hormone to help them grow. That's factually incorrect, since the whole point of the process these fish have gone through is to inert into them a gene that makes them grow faster than other "normal" farmed salmon. That way the farmers can get them out on to the market much faster and save themslves a whole pile of feed and labour. Please do not add to all the misinformaiton that is out there regarding farmed fish and particularly salmon.

Quentin Dodd,
Freelance writer/reporter in British Columbia

marye~ said...

Mr. Dodd, I certainly appreciate your comment and have gone back to make the correction regarding the injection of the growth hormone.
I do not claim to be a journalist. I am simply blogging about issues that concern me. Thank you for your insight.

Anonymous said...

Mr Dodd,
For a "trained, skilled and long-term journalist" your opening sentence is poorly constructed and contains several misspelled words. Perhaps cutting someone a little slack in her own personal blog might be called for in this instance?

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi