6 comments on “Will Monsanto Ties Influence Nutritionists’ Stance On GMOs?

  1. I think that there is undoubtedly potential in GMO agriculture, however, it is in the wrong hands. As of now, the technology is being used to better tolerate an increasing need for pesticides and fungicides, which, conveniently, are produced by Monsanto. This technology is not being used to feed the world or increase the nutritional content of foods (apart from golden rice, which was a waste of time and money for the populations with vitamin A deficiencies). It is being used and abused for profit. The potential benefits are going down the drain as the focus continues to be on how much Monsanto can make off of this. I am not saying that GMO’s are going to give us all tumors if we eat them. I am saying that I cannot support the continuation of using bioengineering to line the pockets of Monsanto.
    Above all of this, there is the major issue of monoculture. Our farmlands have been altered into increasingly unsustainable corn and soy crops. The direct health impacts that GMO consumption has on people is trivial in comparison to the destruction that Monsanto is doing to our ecosystems. James McWilliams said it perfectly: “…our popular obsession with the perpetually elusive health consequences obscures a deeper reason we might want to be wary of GMOs: it’s not human health per se that’s at stake with this technology–it’s the health of the planet.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmcwilliams/2013/12/13/health-concerns-over-gmos-distract-consumers-from-the-real-problem-of-monoculture/)
    The focus is on short-term gain rather than long-term sustainability. This I cannot support.

    • Thanks for your comment. When I wrote this post, I was in the process of changing my views about GMOs and have since done an about face regarding their utility, safety and management. When I looked deeper into the issue, when I consulted with true experts in the field, farmers and independent scientists, people not tied to Monsanto or any of the other multinationals in the same industry (Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, etc.) I could only realize that I had believed a whole lot of activist literature and was not well informed – though I had thought I was very well informed.

      There are many things we could discuss from your comment above but I’m only going to pick one:

      “This technology is not being used to feed the world or increase the nutritional content of foods (apart from golden rice, which was a waste of time and money for the populations with vitamin A deficiencies).”

      I don’t know what you are talking about here. Golden rice CAN wipe out blindness and death due to severe lack of vitamin A. It was created by humanitarian scientists and has been needlessly and tragically vilified by one very powerful organization – Greenpeace. I urge you to get up to date facts about Golden Rice. One former member of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore, has co-founded an organization to get golden rice to the people who need it most: http://www.allowgoldenricenow.org/the-case-for-golden-rice

      The people who will profit most from golden rice are the people who EAT it.

      • Thank you for your reply, Julee.

        I saw that your post was made awhile ago. I have found it interesting reading the changing course of your opinions.

        I am curious what the farmers and independent scientists had to say about the monoculture issue. Did you gain any perspective on this from your consults with them? What has seemingly brought you to deem this as no longer concerning?

        If GMO technology was being fully utilized to nourish those in need while working in tandem with the biodiversity of our environment, I would fully accept it. Golden rice may be an honest attempt at providing vitamin A to those in need, but it is certainly not the most efficient—both cost and health wise. How about utilizing the resources that are more readily available to allow for these populations to live healthy lives independent of needing genetically altered rice?

        The daily average amount of vitamin A needed is around 750 micrograms. 30g of rice, about 1 serving, would supply 9.9 micrograms—1.32% of the required allowance. Therefore, each person would have to eat a very large amount of this rice in order to meet the nutrition requirements. Another issue is the fat required for bodies to utilize this vitamin, as it is fat soluble. Rice does not contain fat. It is a bit preposterous to think that there are not more effective methods of providing vitamin A. Is golden rice the only answer here? How about aiding in the farming of vitamin A rich green leafy vegetables and fruits that are native to the area? This would be both efficient and less costly. Aiming to provide a sustainable diet that is rich in all the required nutrients should be the goal here. Not making sure there are as many golden rice farms as possible. Monocultures are worsening the problem, not solving it.

        “A single nutrient approach towards a nutrition-related public health problem is usually, with the exception of perhaps iodine or selenium deficiencies, neither feasible nor desirable”
        -John R. Lupien, director of the Food and Nutrition Division of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization

  2. I just saw your recent post on the agricultural issue. I appreciate your addressing of this.
    “Regardless of whether we grow GM crops or not, regulation of new crop varieties by trait could provide much better protection to the environment than the EU’s current framework.”
    I agree. It just so happens that two the most large monoculture crops are also the most common genetically modified crops—corn and soy.

    • Kris thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate your willingness to consider information and your even handedness.

      Sometimes people form early beliefs about GMOs and other similar topics and they just dig in their heels and won’t budge even when confronted with new and better information than that which led to their initial belief in the first place.

      That is precisely what happened to me. I came upon better information than what I had before.

      Corn and soy whether GM or not – still monoculture.

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