Disclaimer – I’m a scientist. At least my degree is in Biology. These days, I work with…”computers” and lets leave it at that. But I aced genetics, ecology, plant kingdom, physiology and a few others along the way. I used to work for a company that made medical grade brain scanners, made using used FDA compliance documentation.
So I know what I am talking about. I’m not just jumping on a bandwagon. Genetic engineering is cool. It can certainly save lives. But it gets really dicey when you do it to our food supply. And even worse when the regulatory agency that should protect us is run by someone who once worked for the industry he is “overseeing”.
Last week I saw that the FDA has approved a farm-raised salmon that has been spliced with some sort of eel. My first thought was “Frankenfish”. It grows to market size much faster. And probably tastes as awful as farm raised salmon tastes. Not relevant. Two big dangers here.
First is the Jurassic park effect. Once these things are self re-populating, odds are eventually some will escape or be otherwise released, and we have ZERO idea about how they will compete in a wild system. Maybe they would die. Maybe they would mate with their wild cohorts and we will see a bonanza of huge fish. Bad, but could be worse. They could interbreed and the resulting hybrid could be sterile. No more wild salmon. Ecology of the entire oceans food chain disrupted. Perhaps the hybrid goes super-huge and starts eating whales. Not likely, but stranger things have happened.
Second, I don’t really trust the FDA. I doubt I would like the research they have done on nutrition and safety. This fish’s metabolism might concentrate some strange chemical/heavy metal/pesticide in its tissue that only manifests after years of consumption. This leads me to the next bit.
I only tonight learned about Beetlecorn, but it doesn’t surprise me. Apparently it is a hybrid corn spliced with the DNA of some strange-ass beetle which makes it …wait for it… produce toxins. You read that right. It makes its own pesticide. Convenient. Until this makes the pest evolve and devour a now-not-diverse food supply. The Irish learned about agricultural diversity the hard way. We’re already eating this stuff.
Here’s a quote on the subject from http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/cropsystems/dc7055.html#ch3
“Although conventional Bt insecticides may perform as well as synthetic insecticides, their performance is not always consistent. Erratic performance of Bt insecticides is attributed to:
- toxin sensitivity to UV radiation, heat and desiccation,
- incomplete coverage of feeding sites, or
- reduced toxicity against older larvae.
Modifying a corn plant to produce its own Bt protein overcomes these liabilities. The protein is protected from rapid environmental degradation. Plants produce the protein in tissues where larvae feed, so coverage is not an issue. Finally, the protein is present whenever newly-hatched larvae try to feed, so the timing of Bt application is not a problem. The result is an efficient and consistent built-in system to deliver Bt proteins to the target pest ”
I’m sorry, but I simply do not want to eat food that is essentially permeated with “incesticides”. How about you?
And “Fuck Monsanto” for their numerous, numerous acts that are along these lines, and for their shady practices and destructive policies. Just google “Monsanto protest” and follow the links.
For more on Monsanto please see “Walmart and Monsanto -Dastardly Duo“