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The Forum > Article Comments > Genetically modified crops will cost > Comments

Genetically modified crops will cost : Comments

By James Norman and Louise Sales, published 14/8/2006

The economics and risks associated with genetically engineered crops just donít add up.

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Warning! Warning! Shonk Alert! A GM Corn crop "contaminated" a subsequent Soybean crop? Now hold on, please. Exactly how did this GM material cross the species barrier? One is a grass while the other is a pulse. Surely it could only cross over if Soybean genetic material had been grafted onto the corn.

Bob Browns biographer? Don the wellys and brace for the shower of proverbial.
Posted by Perseus, Monday, 14 August 2006 11:16:50 AM
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Perseus, the Food and Drug Administration found the GE corn growing in two soybean plots in the states of Iowa and Nebraska. The GE corn had germinated from seeds left from 2001 plantings by the Texas-based company ProdiGene. The company was required to screen and remove these plants as part of its government permit. As Jane Rissler from the Union of Concerned Scientists puts it: "This is a failure at an elementary level...They couldn't distinguish corn from soybeans and remove them from a field. That's like failing nursery school."
Posted by Louise Sales, Monday, 14 August 2006 12:02:42 PM
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Greenpeace has shot itself in the foot yet again, they have admitted that the opposition to GM crops, which they promote, will cost farmers money. How about stopping the anti GM propaganda Greenpeace.

Bet nobody can tell me the difference between the canola oil I cook my chips in and a GM version of the same.
Posted by Steve Madden, Monday, 14 August 2006 12:05:12 PM
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I'll admit, I have a lot of concerns about GM food, but most tend to relate to ownership issues - i.e. crops designed to die after so many years, and farmers who can't plant their crop without considering the patent requirements. Then there are the license fees.

This article is reasonably well written in terms of the finance costs - but what I really want is unbiased information regarding the actual health effects of GM crops.

There are various kinds of crops - you have your herbicide tolerant (so you can spray poisons and kill weeds but not the crop) insecticide tolerant, and even strains that are resistant to bacteria.

Some scientists have theorised that bacterial resistant GM foods could cause problems with digestion - where bacteria is a key part of the digestion process. The other health concerns relate to people with allergies, in the event that genes from one food are transposed to another - i.e. being allergic to peanut and eating an apple with some peanut genes causing a reaction.

By and large these concerns have yet to be realised, but some instances of outcrossing have been documented in the US, where GM strains have mingled with wild ones. This opens up a world of risks.

I suppose my only real problem with this article is it doesn't mention any of the positives - there is awesome potential here and it is worth examining more closely without the kneejerk 'hate it' response.

Also, it's worth mentioning it's not just crops now. Check out the 'monsanto choice' section of the monsanto website - the GM genepacker pig range has more litters of piglets and more surviving piglets in each one. Bold stuff.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Monday, 14 August 2006 12:06:50 PM
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Hullo TurnRightThenLeft,
Some of the scientific evidence you seek about the risks and hazards of foods produced using Genetic Manipulation technologies is summaised at:
http://www.geneethics.org/WhatsNews/Media/tabid/92/Default.aspx
A pdf there called "GM foods may not be safe" also gives some references.
Posted by Bob Phelps, Monday, 14 August 2006 4:22:02 PM
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Hey Steve Madden,

Congratulations to the state governments which deserve full credit for the 'Canola Price Boom' (Front Page, Weekly Times 9/8/06). Government moratoria on commercial Genetically Manipulated (GM) canola since 2003 are responsible for the $65/tonne premium that European buyers now pay for our GM-free canola. Canada supplied the European canola market until it became a GM producer and we now supply it!

Australia's unique GM-free status gives us a competitive advantage which is irreplaceable and should be protected at all cost. This is why the GeneEthics network advocates turning the present GM moratoria into permanent bans. We also call on the Commonwealth government to also back the state GM bans, rather than seeking to undermine them.

Monsanto and Bayer - the main winners if Australia grew GM canola - are pressuring farmers groups and governments to reverse their present policies and adopt GM. Only short-sighted fools will swallow their wild promises, now the benefits of staying GM-free are so obvious.
Posted by Bob Phelps, Monday, 14 August 2006 4:37:21 PM
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