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Old 09-09-2019, 04:12 PM
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Genetically modified food is safe to eat


Were it not, the FDA, which really does know what it's doing most of the time, would not have allowed it on the market.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:58 PM
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Oh boy.

The FDA is far from perfect, but the evidence is overwhelming that foods that have been modified by selective genetic technology (as opposed to random manipulation through cross-breeding) are safe to eat.

On the other hand, there's a guy in California who says his raccoons won't touch the stuff, so maybe not.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:59 PM
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OK. Where's the debate? Many of us here on the Dope do agree that it's safe to eat.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:07 PM
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OK. Where's the debate? Many of us here on the Dope do agree that it's safe to eat.
There's a lot of anti-GMO feeling among self-ID'd environmentalists.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:17 PM
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There's a lot of anti-GMO feeling among self-ID'd environmentalists.
I have this funny feeling that a lot of people that are anti-GMO are confusing GMOs with organic food. At my store we sell food and I'll bet that half the time someone asks if something or another is GMO and I say that it very well could be (since it's not labeled as non-GMO) they'll reply with 'ok, I don't want it then, I don't like all those chemicals in my food'. Depending on how the conversation feels at that point, I'll try to explain that something labeled as non-GMO doesn't say anything about the use of fertilizers or pesticides and that they're likely looking for organic.

Similarly, people will mention something about the products we carry from a local 'gluten free' bakery. On more than once occasion, when I explain that the bakery isn't gluten free it's vegan, they ask me what the difference is.
That, to me, says a lot. That tells me that people aren't actually comprehending (or even really reading) all these things, they're just blindly buying them because they're told they're better for you.

I always like Bill Nye's response to "If something is a GMO, should it be labeled as such", to which he says "Yes, they should be labeled, they should say 'Proudly GMO'"
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:18 PM
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I have this funny feeling that a lot of people that are anti-GMO are confusing GMOs with organic food. At my store we sell food and I'll bet that half the time someone asks if something or another is GMO and I say that it very well could be (since it's not labeled as non-GMO) they'll reply with 'ok, I don't want it then, I don't like all those chemicals in my food'. Depending on how the conversation feels at that point, I'll try to explain that something labeled as non-GMO doesn't say anything about the use of fertilizers or pesticides and that they're likely looking for organic.
You should also ask them if they're okay with organic fertilizers, pesticides & fungicides being used to grow the organic food, just to be fair. Might be tricky if they're not, though, as then they're going to have to find food grown without any chemicals at all, which is real tricky these days.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:23 AM
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You should also ask them if they're okay with organic fertilizers, pesticides & fungicides being used to grow the organic food, just to be fair. Might be tricky if they're not, though, as then they're going to have to find food grown without any chemicals at all, which is real tricky these days.
I'm not trying to start an argument with anyone, just trying to educate them a little bit. Or more specifically, clear up a misunderstanding they appear to have. If they don't know the difference between vegan and gluten-free or think GMOs don't have any chemicals on them (and they seem to be thinking of organic). And, I'm trying to convey it all in just a sentence or two. IOW, if they want the produce that "isn't sprayed with all those nasty chemicals", they want organic corn, not the corn that's genetically modified to be resistant to Round Up.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:14 AM
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There's a lot of anti-GMO feeling among self-ID'd environmentalists.
I've tried addressing this confusion with the SIZE=3 font, and with the SIZE=4 font. At this point, I'm going to ask you to use your Browser's Zoom function and focus in on the following sentence!
Intelligent environmentalists aren't concerned about direct safety; the concern is about ecological damage.
hth
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:27 PM
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I've tried addressing this confusion with the SIZE=3 font, and with the SIZE=4 font. At this point, I'm going to ask you to use your Browser's Zoom function and focus in on the following sentence!
Intelligent environmentalists aren't concerned about direct safety; the concern is about ecological damage.
hth
How do GMO crops damage the environment? ISTM they lessen the damage, if they don't require pesticides.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:48 PM
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How do GMO crops damage the environment? ISTM they lessen the damage, if they don't require pesticides.
Many GMO crops do not damage the environment directly. (There's always some hybridization and drift into adjacent fields, but let's call that "indirect.") However, the "RoundUp-Ready®" GMO crops create a situation wherein glyphosate is dumped all higgledy-piggledy all over this planet, and some folks (including myself) think this is maybe not such a great idea given that the WHO calls it "probably carcinogenic to humans." Also probably not optimal is the use of glyphosate as a drying agent after harvest for some grain crops.

I'll gladly eat any* GMO food that isn't drenched in carcinogenic herbicide. But I'm not super pleased about RoundUp® use, and I sure don't want it sprayed on the wheat that goes into my raisin bran.

Genetic modification is a tool, and like any tool can be used for good or ill. IMHO, it's mostly been used for good thus far, and I think GMO foods are necessary to feed the increasingly-crowded planet. But no love lost here for RoundUp-Ready® crops.

*ETA: or at least, I won't turn down a food I would normally eat just because it's a GMO. There are things I won't eat, period, GMO or not.
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Last edited by mjmlabs; 09-10-2019 at 07:52 PM. Reason: added footnote disclaimer/clarification
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:04 AM
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Intelligent environmentalists aren't concerned about direct safety; the concern is about ecological damage.
Or more broadly, our lack of awareness and preparedness about what ecological damage we may be causing. For example, the likely contribution of herbicides such as Roundup to the massive decline of monarch butterfly populations in North America. Nobody started out planting GMO "Roundup-Ready" herbicide-resistant crops with the thought "Hey, this will enable us to kill huge numbers of butterflies!"
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:01 AM
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Intelligent environmentalists aren't concerned about direct safety; the concern is about ecological damage.
hth
Exactly. Chicken is safe to eat, beef is safe to eat. I don't want waterways contaminated with chicken shit. I don't want wealthy ranchers grazing public lands into deserts. I don't care if there's trace amounts of glyphosate in corn-flakes. I don't care if there are cancer causing amounts of glyphosate in corn-flakes. I don't want dead waterways. Roundup Ready crops are allowing an increase in the use of glyphosate. Glyphosate is bad for things that live in the water.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:30 PM
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Let's go further:
  • GMOs are safe.
  • Vaccines are effective.
  • Global warming is real (and largely caused by humans).
  • Humans are related to apes.
  • Nuclear power is safer (by kilowatt) than all other power sources.
  • We landed on the moon.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:43 PM
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  • Nuclear power is safer (by kilowatt) than all other power sources.
"Environmentalists," again . . .
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:19 PM
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GMOs generate feelings of outrage and contagion. They're safe, but we live in a society where people avoid gluten for unnecessary reasons (most people on gluten-free diets don't have celiac disease), where people who aren't eating enough go on water fasts or juice cleanses, and so forth. We live in a society where more than a third of the population (in the US and Canada) use homeopathy (and 3-4% use this as their primary form of "health care"). We live in a society where people are afraid that vaccines, that are designed to prevent disease, cause them.

Unfortunately it's not possible to convince those who fear GMOs that GMOs are safe. You would have to fix viral misinformation first.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:44 PM
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You would have to fix viral misinformation first.
ISTM the only way to fix viral misinformation is with contrary viral misinformation. "Did you know that GMO foods prevent cancer?!"
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:51 PM
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ISTM the only way to fix viral misinformation is with contrary viral misinformation. "Did you know that GMO foods prevent cancer?!"
clever
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:46 PM
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Virtually everything we eat (wild caught fish being the major exception) is genetically modified. The difference is that the modern GM foods were modified by people who knew exactly what they were doing rather than by trial and error.

There is a point on the other side though. So-called Roundup Ready crops have been modified to make them tolerant of glycophosphate herbicides. But are we tolerant of it? That is the only cogent objection to GM foods that I am aware of.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:26 PM
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There is a point on the other side though. So-called Roundup Ready crops have been modified to make them tolerant of glycophosphate herbicides. But are we tolerant of it? That is the only cogent objection to GM foods that I am aware of.
Can't you just wash the food before bringing it to market?
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:45 AM
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To the OP, "food is safe." Until it's not. I can conventionally breed food to make it unsafe. It's been done. I could CRISPR something to make it unsafe, although doing that accidentally certainly stretches the imagination.

Genetic modification of corn reduced pesticide application from from ~200 g/ha in 1996 to ~10 g/ha in 2010. While yields went up, requiring less agricultural land to produce more food.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:03 PM
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GMO's may be safe to eat, but the argument that they are because the FDA said so is erroneous.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:16 PM
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GMO's may be safe to eat, but the argument that they are because the FDA said so is erroneous.
Do you seriously believe that the US is the only country in the world with a reputable food agency?
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:07 PM
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GMO's may be safe to eat, but the argument that they are because the FDA said so is erroneous.
How so? Argument from authority is not a fallacy when the authority in question is legitimately expert on the topic in question.

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Old 09-13-2019, 08:21 PM
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How so? Argument from authority is not a fallacy when the authority in question is legitimately expert on the topic in question.
While I don't want to derail this discusion, right now we have a bizarro-world situation where scientific authorities are being deliberately prevented from presenting scientific conclusions as valid for political reasons. I would hesitate to call any scientific agency under the current administration a legitimate expert on anything at all that has any political controversy to it whatsoever. Hopefully soon, we will return to a situation where these agencies can be trusted again, but that trust may take some time to rebuild.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:57 PM
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I'll bet that my paid staff of Mad Scientists can genetically engineer some food that is totally bad for your health, so it would seem the answer depends on the nature of the genetic modification in question.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:54 PM
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As a bruised and bedraggled veteran of the co-op *movement, I am fascinated by the awesome power of "Big Organic". And, of course, I am horrified at how its crushing power oppresses plucky, idealistic upstarts like Cargill and Monsanto. Sad.

(Say what you will about the counterculture, without which there might not be a Whole Foods. Yay, us.)
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:02 PM
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As a bruised and bedraggled veteran of the co-op *movement, I am fascinated by the awesome power of "Big Organic". And, of course, I am horrified at how its crushing power oppresses plucky, idealistic upstarts like Cargill and Monsanto. Sad.

(Say what you will about the counterculture, without which there might not be a Whole Foods. Yay, us.)
I am a bit miffed at you lot for fuzzying public perception of the term "organic." Strictly speaking, as chemists use the term, any compound containing carbon is organic. Coal is organic. We really need another term for "food grown without artificial pesticides."
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:14 PM
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I am a bit miffed at you lot for fuzzying public perception of the term "organic." Strictly speaking, as chemists use the term, any compound containing carbon is organic. Coal is organic. We really need another term for "food grown without artificial pesticides."
Strictly speaking, the term in the 18th century meant "made by/from organs" (e.g. made by plants and animals), and then was co-opted by chemists in the 19th century to include anything containing carbon (even if the substance in question was utterly toxic to natural organs). When speaking generally (outside of chemistry), returning to the original usage makes sense.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:26 PM
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I am a bit miffed at you lot for fuzzying public perception of the term "organic." Strictly speaking, as chemists use the term, any compound containing carbon is organic. Coal is organic. We really need another term for "food grown without artificial pesticides."
What's that thing I just used to click on the multiquote link? Can't be a mouse. Mice are furry rodents.

There are a huge number of words in English with multiple meanings. Lots of people seem to think it makes some sort of point to pick on this one. It doesn't.

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Strictly speaking, the term in the 18th century meant "made by/from organs" (e.g. made by plants and animals), and then was co-opted by chemists in the 19th century to include anything containing carbon (even if the substance in question was utterly toxic to natural organs). When speaking generally (outside of chemistry), returning to the original usage makes sense.
It's originally a reference to considering the farm as a whole as a living organism, which is -- in another sense of the word organic -- an organic part of a whole ecological system. (See sense 4, here:
Quote:
forming an integral element of a whole : b : having systematic coordination of parts : organized an organic whole c : having the characteristics of an organism : developing in the manner of a living plant or animal )
It's also a reference to the organic matter in the soil.

And, yes, it fits with "made by plants and animals."

ETA: There's a very great deal more to organic farming than just "grown without artificial pesticides."

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Old 09-11-2019, 08:46 PM
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It's originally a reference to considering the farm as a whole as a living organism, which is -- in another sense of the word organic -- an organic part of a whole ecological system.
Nice! After my previous comment I was musing on the exact route to lead to that term being used in farming, I didn't really think people had reached on purpose back to the 18th Century.

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ETA: There's a very great deal more to organic farming than just "grown without artificial pesticides."
Oh, definitely, in the farming context it's a full community-of-practice - it's slightly unfortunate (linguistically) that some of the practices involve specific choices on chemicals that may or may not line up with the organic chemistry definitions, mainly these days because it leads to too many discussion thread derailments .
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:13 AM
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ETA: There's a very great deal more to organic farming than just "grown without artificial pesticides."
What more, exactly? Do you use mule-drawn plows and dig up the weeds with hoes?
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:56 AM
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I'd agree with the original post, but I'd say that GMOs CAN be unsafe depending on the modification (obviously). For example, some plants can be modified to express a protein that someone might have an allergy to, but this stuff is usually tested before it hits the market. But yeah it's hard to seperate the marketing from the reality.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:16 PM
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Most of the opposition in this thread is not directly related to GMOs. Viewing a farm as a whole organism and employing crop rotation can be done with GMO just as easily as non-GMO. Using GMOs just gives you a bigger toolbox.

My problem with organic farming is that it's less efficient; 80% to 66% less efficient, depending on who you believe. If all farms in the US were to go organic we'd need a sizable increase in farmland and that comes with its own environmental impact.

I would think it be much better if the principles of organic farming were joined with the latest scientific breakthroughs in agriculture, and that includes GMO.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:20 PM
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Doing markets. Time and energy for proper reply lacking. Will come back to this, it'll probably be a day or two.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:14 PM
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Were it not, the FDA, which really does know what it's doing most of the time, would not have allowed it on the market.
Well....yeah. Pretty much. I wouldn't make sweeping claims, as some of it is bad for you because it is (I'm thinking of stuff like corn syrup but that's just one example), but it isn't bad because it's genetically modified...it's just overused and cheap.

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Most of the opposition in this thread is not directly related to GMOs. Viewing a farm as a whole organism and employing crop rotation can be done with GMO just as easily as non-GMO. Using GMOs just gives you a bigger toolbox.

My problem with organic farming is that it's less efficient; 80% to 66% less efficient, depending on who you believe. If all farms in the US were to go organic we'd need a sizable increase in farmland and that comes with its own environmental impact.

I would think it be much better if the principles of organic farming were joined with the latest scientific breakthroughs in agriculture, and that includes GMO.
Pretty much this as far as the secondary discussion goes. Organic is, IMHO, just a rich person affectation. There isn't any evidence that it's better (i.e. healthier) for a person than it's GMO (and cheaper) alternatives, just that it costs more and fits with a certain demographic who think it helps the earth or something. What it generally does is just be less efficient and cost more, though, again, I wouldn't say that's across the board. But the whole GMO bugaboo has probably cost lives in the 3rd world, just like the anti-vaxers message. It's all about 1st world exceptionalism and, frankly, an overly rich society that can afford the affectation. Again, IMHO (and realizing the irony that I AM actually making sweeping claims here ).

Anyway, doesn't seem much of a debate. I don't think we have any really rabid anti-GMO types, just a few 'dopers who have mildly bought into the organic hype and have mild aversions to the thought of GMO and large mega-agricultural corporations.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:31 PM
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Organic is, IMHO, just a rich person affectation. [...]

It's all about 1st world exceptionalism and, frankly, an overly rich society that can afford the affectation.
Depends what you call "a rich person" and "1st world". As far as American consumers are concerned, studies suggest that over two-thirds of consumers routinely buy organic foods of some kind, although very few consume only organic foods.

And while the US as a whole is certainly among the global "rich people", a country like India is not, but India too has been experiencing a rapid rise in both demand for organic food and organic farming practices. Of course, India contains a lot of rich people even by global standards, and even by domestic standards it's the relatively richer people who initially drive the interest in organic foods. But similarly to the US, the appeal soon spreads beyond the wealthy elites:
Quote:
Experts say that India’s organic product market has been driven by health-conscious, middle-class urbanites alarmed by the overuse of pesticides. But that’s changing. India is encouraging farmers to engage in a self-regulating organic certification process that is cheaper than outside consultants and will make organic food more accessible for the domestic market.

Choitresh Kumar Ganguly, an organic farmer from India who sits on board of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, said Sikkim can be a model for other states, such as Kerala and Meghalaya, that are planning to go all-organic. Sikkim’s neighbor, the kingdom of Bhutan, aspires to do so by 2020.
Finally, it's silly to call concern for the environment and integration of food production into environmental sustainability an "affectation". Sure, a lot of people who are concerned about this issue know very little about its practicalities and aren't really doing anything effective to support it. But that doesn't mean that the issue itself isn't real. The environmental impacts of industrial agriculture practices really are a problem, even if consumers' vague notions about "organic farming" aren't an adequate solution to it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:44 AM
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Depends what you call "a rich person" and "1st world". As far as American consumers are concerned, studies suggest that over two-thirds of consumers routinely buy organic foods of some kind, although very few consume only organic foods.
Well, I buy "organic mushrooms" because I can't find any other sort around here. It's not because I think they're better somehow.

At least in the US, "organic" has no legal definition so I view it as a largely meaningless term. Like the word "lite" in a food label.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:05 PM
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At least in the US, "organic" has no legal definition so I view it as a largely meaningless term. Like the word "lite" in a food label.
Absolutely not true.

The term "organic" as applied to food and agriculture has been legally defined in the USA since 2001, when the National Organic Program went into effect.

A lot of additional comments in this thread are also based on inaccurate or at best misleading information, but spelling out in detail why this is so, at least in a fashion likely to convince anybody, will take a fair amount of typing and also requires my sorting out cites from my records and updating some of them with newer information. I am too tired right now after markets to deal with this properly and will probably come back to it tomorrow.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:25 PM
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Understandable. We all have lives outside this forum (or at least I hope we do).

However, if you would make the effort (when convenient for you, of course) I would very much appreciate the effort.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:44 AM
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Finally, it's silly to call concern for the environment and integration of food production into environmental sustainability an "affectation". Sure, a lot of people who are concerned about this issue know very little about its practicalities and aren't really doing anything effective to support it. But that doesn't mean that the issue itself isn't real. The environmental impacts of industrial agriculture practices really are a problem, even if consumers' vague notions about "organic farming" aren't an adequate solution to it.
Speaking of vague notions, do those demanding a massive switch to organic farming realize the environmental degradation that would cause, both through loss of habitat (organic farming being considerably less efficient, necessitating much more land under cultivation) and harm from toxic organic pesticides including copper and sulfur-based treatments?
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:09 AM
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...I always like Bill Nye's response to "If something is a GMO, should it be labeled as such", to which he says "Yes, they should be labeled, they should say 'Proudly GMO'"
That is about to happen, at least for apples:

https://www.arcticapples.com/

I haven't seen them on the market, yet, but I expect to. Perhaps this fall.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:29 AM
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Depends what you call "a rich person" and "1st world". As far as American consumers are concerned, studies suggest that over two-thirds of consumers routinely buy organic foods of some kind, although very few consume only organic foods.
Well, 1st world is clear enough I'd say. 'A rich person' would be...someone living in one of those countries OR anyone who has the money to afford to indulge in buying organic food just because they can. A non-rich person is someone who has to worry about food security (as well as a host of other things) from any source and can't afford to indulge in such extravagance.

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And while the US as a whole is certainly among the global "rich people", a country like India is not, but India too has been experiencing a rapid rise in both demand for organic food and organic farming practices. Of course, India contains a lot of rich people even by global standards, and even by domestic standards it's the relatively richer people who initially drive the interest in organic foods. But similarly to the US, the appeal soon spreads beyond the wealthy elites:
Interesting. As it happens, I've been to India. I'm sure you have as well. I'm not surprised that India has been using organic practices, and I could make a good guess at who it is that are their market too. As a hint, it won't be the poorer 1/3 to 1/2 of their population...nor the poor 1/3 to 1/2 of other countries that aren't in that '1st world' category.

Sorry, but your idea of who are 'wealthy elites' is skewed with my own. The average poor person in the US is, IMHO, a 'wealthy elite' on global standards, even in countries like India and China, let alone really poor countries.

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Finally, it's silly to call concern for the environment and integration of food production into environmental sustainability an "affectation". Sure, a lot of people who are concerned about this issue know very little about its practicalities and aren't really doing anything effective to support it. But that doesn't mean that the issue itself isn't real. The environmental impacts of industrial agriculture practices really are a problem, even if consumers' vague notions about "organic farming" aren't an adequate solution to it.
Not at all. Show me some real evidence that it DOES help the planet, uses less resources, is more efficient AND that it's actually better for you and I promise to change my tune. From what I've read in the past you can't, sadly, so it is an 'affectation' that basically costs more and appeals to 'wealthy elites'.
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Last edited by XT; 09-14-2019 at 10:30 AM.
  #43  
Old 09-14-2019, 12:10 PM
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Speaking of vague notions, do those demanding a massive switch to organic farming realize the environmental degradation that would cause [...]
I assume that's a rhetorical question and you're not actually asking me to provide a factual answer about what some unidentified group of people do or don't "realize".

I think you (and also XT, as per post #56) may also be a bit out of date in believing that there's a clear demarcation between "efficient" industrial agriculture that the world relies on for most of its food and "inefficient" "organic" agriculture that is essentially a boutique luxury product for the wealthy. Most of the actual food production in the world does not fall exclusively into one camp or the other, and a lot of their categories overlap in practice. As this 2017 Scientific American article notes,
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One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. [...] Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals. [...]

MYTH 1: LARGE-SCALE AGRICULTURE FEEDS THE WORLD TODAY

According to a recent U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, family farms produce over three-quarters of the world’s food. The FAO also estimates that almost three-quarters of all farms worldwide are smaller than one hectare [...]

So while conventional industrialized agriculture feeds the developed world, most of the world’s farmers work small family farms. A 2016 Environmental Working Group report found that almost 90 percent of U.S. agricultural exports went to developed countries with few hungry people. [...]

MYTH 2: LARGE FARMS ARE MORE EFFICIENT

Many high-volume industrial processes exhibit efficiencies at large scale that decrease inputs per unit of production. [...] But agriculture is different. A 1989 National Research Council study concluded that “well-managed alternative farming systems nearly always use less synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics per unit of production than conventional farms.” [...]

According to a 1992 agricultural census report, small, diversified farms produce more than twice as much food per acre than large farms do.

Even the World Bank endorses small farms as the way to increase agricultural output in developing nations where food security remains a pressing issue. [...]

MYTH 3: CONVENTIONAL FARMING IS NECESSARY TO FEED THE WORLD

We’ve all heard proponents of conventional agriculture claim that organic farming is a recipe for global starvation because it produces lower yields. The most extensive yield comparison to date, a 2015 meta-analysis of 115 studies, found that organic production averaged almost 20 percent less than conventionally grown crops [...] But the study went a step further, comparing crop yields on conventional farms to those on organic farms where cover crops were planted and crops were rotated to build soil health. These techniques shrank the yield gap to below 10 percent.

The authors concluded that the actual gap may be much smaller, as they found “evidence of bias in the meta-dataset toward studies reporting higher conventional yields.”

Consider too that about a quarter of all food produced worldwide is never eaten. [...] So even taken at face value, the oft-cited yield gap between conventional and organic farming is smaller than the amount of food we routinely throw away. [...]

Conventional farming practices that degrade soil health undermine humanity’s ability to continue feeding everyone over the long run. Regenerative practices like those used on the farms and ranches I visited show that we can readily improve soil fertility on both large farms in the U.S. and on small subsistence farms in the tropics.

I no longer see debates about the future of agriculture as simply conventional versus organic. In my view, we’ve oversimplified the complexity of the land and underutilized the ingenuity of farmers. I now see adopting farming practices that build soil health as the key to a stable and resilient agriculture.

Last edited by Kimstu; 09-14-2019 at 12:11 PM.
  #44  
Old 09-15-2019, 10:54 AM
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as per post #56) may also be a bit out of date in believing that there's a clear demarcation between "efficient" industrial agriculture that the world relies on for most of its food and "inefficient" "organic" agriculture that is essentially a boutique luxury product for the wealthy.
There's good evidence that greatly enlarging the percentage of farming that's done "organically" would have a detrimental environmental effect.

...because organic farming tends to have significantly lower crop yields, far more land is required to grow the same amount of food that intensive agriculture can produce, according to a recent study. To feed the billions of hungry mouths on the planet, going fully organic would entail reclaiming vast swathes of additional land for agriculture. Much of that extra land would have to be taken from forests, which would harm the environment.

A new study, published in the journal Nature, now underlines the same point.

An international team of researchers studied peas and wheat cultivated organically in an area of Sweden. They found that organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than the conventionally farmed variety because organic farming requires significantly more land. As a result, organic farming can also lead to much higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our study shows that organic peas, farmed in Sweden, have around a 50 percent bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed peas,” says Stefan Wirsenius, an associate professor from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden who was an author of the study. “For some foodstuffs, there is an even bigger difference – for example, with organic Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70 percent.”


http://sustainability-times.com/envi...ew-study-says/

This doesn't mean there's no role for organic farming (even though its health and environmental claims appear vastly overstated). But a major expansion in this area will have serious costs.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 09-15-2019 at 10:55 AM.
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