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#869103 - 22/06/2010 10:10 Re: Organic Foods [Re: Andy Double U]
AaronD Offline
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Registered: 27/12/2007
Posts: 1017
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Originally Posted By: Andy Double U
Aaron, I fail to see how your comment about your dog preferentially eating rat bait demonstrates a failure of the test?!? I guarantee I could throw a lump of steak out for your dog and it would most likely prefer to eat that! The test was about testing a bird's preference between two bird feeders feeding the same kind of seed, one grown conventionally, the other grown organically. Your comparison would be relevant if you were comparing Rat Bait (A) and Rat Bait (B) and if your dog displayed a preference for either?!


my point there was the fact that you cant take animals to make conscious food choices for themselves not necessarily about choosing between 2 identical seeds. i mean the report says well if birds choose the conventionally grown seeds they must be better for you, oh and they are because they have high protein .... what sort of an argument is that??(especially when they acknowledge all the other differences in the seeds but only choose to say it must be the protein - and therefore the healthier option)

Originally Posted By: Andy Double U

Aaron, as for your comments about protein, I suggest you do some reading up about protein sources and why it is an important part of your diet before posting further. In my mind you've shredded the credibility of future posts that rely on a nutritional argument to underscore a point.


Andy i dont think you understood the point of my post. im not denying protein is an important part of your diet at all and I'm not claiming to be a nutritionist. i was using protein (because it was talked about in the bird seeds) along with other things to bring up the point about all the marketing rubbish with foods (WHICH YOU AGREED WITH) - so i dont seem to understand the point of you post, unless you just trying to find pathetic attempts to make others seem stupid.

ever since i was in Yr 7 in science i have been skeptical of all that marketing about "added this" and "extra that" in foods...
we crushed up Nutrigrain and pulled out iron filings with magnets - you would get the same benefit from eating the extra iron in Nutrigrain as you would from chewing on a lump of cast iron.

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#869104 - 22/06/2010 10:24 Re: Organic Foods [Re: Arnost]
AaronD Offline
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Registered: 27/12/2007
Posts: 1017
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Originally Posted By: Arnost
Quote:
We’ve known for decades that high-yield farming was our greatest humanitarian achievement, preventing at least a billion famine deaths. High-yield farms have also supported the shift to cities, where people take up less land per capita and have smaller families. ... We’ve also known that the high food yields saved billions of hectares of wildlife habitat from being plowed down for more low-yield crops.


I like the above quote which I just found (from here)

So... I really do not understand - why vilifiy high-yield farming!???


I'm not vilifying high-yield farming and i dont think anyone else is either.. I totally agree that on large scale "saved billions from starvation" and how it is unpractical for the entire world to go organic.

but like what BNE has said, it seems like this is just a bunch of aggressive posts about how terrible organics is.

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#869117 - 22/06/2010 13:32 Re: Organic Foods [Re: AaronD]
bigwilly Offline
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Registered: 25/09/2002
Posts: 6543
Loc: Junee - just north of the 'Bid...
Quote:
about how terrible organics is


Quite the opposite. Already Andy has made his preference for organic eggs and poultry known and all along ROM has championed the freedom of choice. I think passionate and perhaps frustrated arguments against enforced or coerced wide-scale organics has been misinterpreted as arguments against organics full stop.

I know my preference is for organics in some circumstances, such as eggs and poultry and free-range meat (something the Greens and the green paradigm are enormously hypocritical I feel), and conventional non-organics in others: grains, fruits etc.

What I still cannot get my head around, are the claims that organics are more sustainable and more efficient and thus are more economically viable. At no other point in the history of humanity have market forces been so strong in steering industry. Millions of people world-wide are employed to squeeze every last drop of profit and efficiency out of industries, yet it would seem they don't believe that organics offer the savings that are claimed by some as conventional farming is by far the popular choice. And if this is the case, that organics aren't more economically viable and by extension aren't more efficient, then a paradigm shift toward large-scale organics will see even more natural habitat cleared for food production. We all know what the result would be if that were to happen.

I think this issue is very much like the vegetarian movement that now seems to be coming out of fashion. For a start the contention of the topic immediately serves to polarise the majority of the public. Secondly there is a hell of a lot of misinformation pedalled by interest groups with their own agendas to drive. And thirdly, in both cases it appears that the alternative (vegetarianism and organics) will be counter-productive in attempting to meet their goals.

Out of interest, how many of the died-in-the-wool organics also support firstly the sustainable harvest of native wildlife for food and secondly the harvesting of feral animals from public lands for food?
_________________________
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MTD rainfall March = 34.7mm(Avg 41.3mm)
February 2011 total = 203.9mm (Avg 37.8mm)
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#869130 - 22/06/2010 15:31 Re: Organic Foods [Re: bigwilly]
.... Offline
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Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 5018
To your last question - well me - so that's one for you. Where I believe you are completely wrong is in your assumption that the driving force is for maximising efficiencies in PRODUCTION...It is not - the capitalist world is there to maximise PROFITS. And there are a hell of a lot more profits to be made in chemical agriculture than there are in organic agriculture.

To talk of misinformation - well, as per the above, the majority of the organic industry is focussed on producing great food rather than maximising returns for the business - as such I don't think they have anything like the budgets of the petrochemical ag companies when it comes to advertising - or as it is nowadays, paying for 'studies' to prove whatever point they want to prove. Misinformation can look a lot slicker when there is a multi million dollar budget behind it.

Recent reports are starting to indicate that after around 10 years the production on organic farms can actually beat that on equivalent chemically farmed land...Perhaps organics is the solution, if only we could take off our hate-anything-green blinkers to see it smile


Edited by Black Nor'easter (22/06/2010 15:32)

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#869134 - 22/06/2010 15:46 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ....]
davidg Offline
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Registered: 01/06/2008
Posts: 2197
Loc: Glenbrook/Penrith
Excellent post BNE'r. I dont think organic farming is able to produce similar yeilds on large scale at the moment. The development simply isnt there. But given 1/10th of the research $$ thats spent to try and obtain chemically or genetically driven yeild increases (thats not to say all research done is to increase the use of chemicals, but a large proportion is) organic methods could well see yeild increases without the addition or improvement of new or existing chemical fertilisers, pesticides etc.

The research centres and the knowledge is already there, theyre just used prodominantly to research other methods(i.e. those that will attract the most research $$ from big business). Whether or not organic farming is the answer is not for me to say, but i can definately see its advantages and think with a bit more research it can become a viable alternative, especially in such a developed country as Australia.


Edited by davidg (22/06/2010 15:47)

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#869148 - 22/06/2010 18:05 Re: Organic Foods [Re: davidg]
bigwilly Offline
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Registered: 25/09/2002
Posts: 6543
Loc: Junee - just north of the 'Bid...
Did you not read my post BNE?

Quote:
claims that organics are more sustainable and more efficient and thus are more economically viable... Millions of people world-wide are employed to squeeze every last drop of profit


To say that efficiencies in production have no bearing on profits is bordering on the ridiculous! If you can produce 5 times more units with only 3 times the inputs then you will increase your profits!

If you tell a corporate farmer (possibly the largest type of landholder in NSW at least) that for only 3 times the inputs he can produce 5 times more units then I see very little reason why he wouldn't take you up on your offer.

Is this not what some proponents of organic farmer are claiming?
_________________________
YTD Rainfall = 281.0mm (Avg to March 117.0mm)
MTD rainfall March = 34.7mm(Avg 41.3mm)
February 2011 total = 203.9mm (Avg 37.8mm)
2010 Rainfall: 759.3mm (Annual Avg: 521.5mm)

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#869160 - 22/06/2010 19:18 Re: Organic Foods [Re: bigwilly]
ROM Offline
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Registered: 29/01/2007
Posts: 6628
Sometimes I have real trouble believing what I read here.
The following is a classic example of the type of statement that emanates continuously from the green camp!
No proof!
No reasons!
No backing of any nature whatsoever for the accusatory statement!
Just a bald accusatory statement for which no proof whatsoever provided or is apparently needed.
A statement like so many others from the same mentality that goes close to slandering a lot of dedicated and committed agricultural research workers and agricultural scientists.
Quote:
The research centres and the knowledge is already there, theyre just used prodominantly to research other methods(i.e. those that will attract the most research $$ from big business)

PROVE IT!


Edited by ROM (22/06/2010 19:27)

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#869164 - 22/06/2010 19:48 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ROM]
.... Offline
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Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 5018
BW - I did read your post...did you read mine smile My emphasise was not that efficiencies in production have no bearing on profits - rather that the motivation behind modern ag (at least from the perspective of big agri business) is to maximise profits...Sure they work to do that through effiecies of production and cost cutting...but from where I sit I believe they see their work on production levels as a necessary side effect of maximising profits...And the impact of that is that environmental concerns (and social concerns) take an absolute back seat with money first and foremost in their minds. It is that attitude that I believe needs to change and for me organic production is a way to maximise returns on a financial, environmental and socials level.

ROM - you have made any number of claims in this thread without providing evidence to back them all up. To be honest I personally agree absolutely with the statement you highlighted...and could easily go online to find 'reports' 'studies' and other 'research' to back it all up. The thing is that someone will then go online and find reports that show the opposite.

Guess what I am saying here is that you can prove anything with numbers - and nowadays you can prove anything with links to other web pages...So all we can do is go with our gut feeling. You've got yours and I've got mine...And on this debate we're on opposite sides of the fence...And TBH I really don't see any way of resolving those differences as there is no definitive answer.

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#869169 - 22/06/2010 21:11 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ....]
Simmosturf Offline
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Registered: 17/03/2008
Posts: 1620
Loc: Wangaratta
There is one answer... Go organic, grow it yourself! and before anyone goes off about no backyards/time or what ever. There are community gardens to grow vegies, there are oceans and rivers everywhere to catch fish, go hunting rabbits & ducks, tend a few chooks for eggs, there are farmers who will sell sheep,pigs,cattle to whom ever asks and meat-works to slaughter and butchers who'll break them up, there are dairy farms in our area that will even let you milk a cow if you like (apparently that's a sure way of getting sick.. Yeh right. But everything makes you sick nowadays). The issue is simple, people have become lazy! Could you imagine most of today's people living 30 years ago??? A lot of city kids still think milk is bottled at the supermarket. Society has become a bunch of easy manipulated wasteful sooks. Bruised apple? throw it away & get another one! instead of biting it out & spitting in the bin then eating it. People need to toughen up. Its a bloody joke.

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#869172 - 22/06/2010 21:56 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ....]
bigwilly Offline
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Registered: 25/09/2002
Posts: 6543
Loc: Junee - just north of the 'Bid...
BNE, I think we can both agree that the aim of agri-business, just as it is for any business, is to firstly make a profit and secondly to grow that profit. I don't think many care about how they do it (I assume you have that opinion too).

Yes I read your post, but it didn't answer my original question; instead you seemed to only get hung up on terminology. You claim that organic farming can increase yields whilst minimising inputs. That is the secret to maximising profits! Whether it is by cheap chemicals, cheap labour or a process that increases yields without a corresponding increase in inputs is neither here nor there for a big business. Whether the environment is benefited or not is often neither here nor there for the big business, I think it is for farmers the likes of ROM and many of the farmers from around this area that I know, but not the corporate farms and ultimately they're the ones that will spearhead any paradigm shift.

There's only one large-scale organic farm around this region and he's been doing it since 1967, so I reckon he'd know a fair bit about it and would be a good knowledge source for neighbouring farmers, yet in the 43 years since he's been doing it, as far as I know none of his neighbours have gone to the "other-side" and switched from convetional to organic. From that I gather organics isn't all that it is cracked up to be in terms of yield and inputs as these guys talk and it doesn't take long at all for an improved technique/process/material/machine/chemical/seed etc to spread.

Look I like the ideal of organics and I'll try and implement as much of it as I can within my own vege garden, mini-orchard and chook pen, but I'm also a realist and understand that it may not be completely feasible for us and our circumstances. I think it would probably be a great thing if organics hit the large scale, as long as it was not to the further detriment of the environment or society; this is the grey area.

And I have to say I agree with Simmo!


Edited by bigwilly (22/06/2010 22:00)
_________________________
YTD Rainfall = 281.0mm (Avg to March 117.0mm)
MTD rainfall March = 34.7mm(Avg 41.3mm)
February 2011 total = 203.9mm (Avg 37.8mm)
2010 Rainfall: 759.3mm (Annual Avg: 521.5mm)

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#869195 - 23/06/2010 09:05 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ROM]
davidg Offline
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Registered: 01/06/2008
Posts: 2197
Loc: Glenbrook/Penrith
Originally Posted By: ROM
Sometimes I have real trouble believing what I read here.
The following is a classic example of the type of statement that emanates continuously from the green camp!
No proof!
No reasons!
No backing of any nature whatsoever for the accusatory statement!
Just a bald accusatory statement for which no proof whatsoever provided or is apparently needed.
A statement like so many others from the same mentality that goes close to slandering a lot of dedicated and committed agricultural research workers and agricultural scientists.
Quote:
The research centres and the knowledge is already there, theyre just used prodominantly to research other methods(i.e. those that will attract the most research $$ from big business)

PROVE IT!


http://www.farmingsolutions.org/pdfdb/Organic%20Food%20and%20Farming,%20Myth%20and%20Reality.pdf

I havent been able to find a more recent paper as im at work at the moment. Heres a quote to back up my claim, its from 2000 but i think still relevant as it displays the huge disparity in funding.

"More research is needed to understand fully the effects of the difference in nutrients in organically produced
food and non-organically produced food. Few long-term research studies have been done, as research into
organic farming is under-funded internationally. In the UK for example, just 1.8 per cent(£2 million) of
MAFF’s research and development budget for 2000 has been allocated for organic research, while the
remaining 98.2 per cent is used for research on non-organic agriculture, including £26 million, equivalent to
24 per cent of the budget, for genetic engineering and biotechnology.29'"

Clearly the long term goal is to further invest in genetic engineering and bitechnology. Will find some more info when i can.

I also reject your claim that i have in some way slandered the good name of the research scientists who are employed by various research centres. You have repeatadly stated that climate scientists only research pro AGW topics because thats where the research $$ are. In what way is this different?

I also fail to see how researching the things you are payed to research is in some way immoral, you suggested that not me. If you cant get payed to research organic agriculture (due to decreased funding from both government and the business community) then why would you? For fun? I simply stated that more research $$ are awarded for non-organic research than organic and that this needs to change in order to further organic agriculture in this country. If you disagree than thats fine but dont put words in my mouth.

Since 2003 the the global organic market has more than doubled, some good facts and figure here:

http://www.ota.com/organic/mt/business.html

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#869199 - 23/06/2010 10:40 Re: Organic Foods [Re: davidg]
Andy Double U Offline
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Registered: 28/10/2006
Posts: 1829
Loc: Mundoolun, SE QLD, 129m ASL
Originally Posted By: davidg

I also fail to see how researching the things you are payed to research is in some way immoral...


Pure and simple, this is the fact.

In order for us to place a claim on the product we manufacture here we would need to get 'independent research' conducted to substantiate that claim. At the end of the day though, we could go to pretty much any university, ask them to research a particular outcome, exchange alot of $$$ and wollah, we would legally be able to advertise that our product does xyz. So what does the consumer get out of this? Well firstly the cost of our product would end up going up to cover the costs of the research we conducted which somehow 'proved' our claim anyway.

As a consumer, this does not add value to the product they purchase as the product performs purely because of the ingredients, not because of we made a claim that it does so! On the surface it seems as though the consumer is being protected from false claims being made, but really at the end of the day, institutions really are being paid to put their name behind a particular claim on a particular product. The institutions themselves are compromised by a need for funding and are quite literally selling themselves to gain it. Further evidence is in AaronD's post a couple of pages back about how his rubbish report was reworded and 'legitimately tweaked' to show a particular outcome. That's called introducing bias, it doesn't display integrity and usually results in some sort of misrepresentation of the fact.

Now as for research dollars... did you know as part of government cost cutting, government research into agriculture has been steadily slashed? No matter which way you look at it, I know of no person who goes to work each day purely for hugs and kisses. Yes, there are volunteers out there, but that is because they have an alternative means of keeping a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. So as much as most people detest the power and money of large corporations, governments around the world are actually enabling the empowerment of these companies through their own inaction.

I would suggest that if everyone is truly interested in advancing agriculture in terms of its viability, sustainability, safety and its ability to work in partnership with the environment, then people lobby governments to renew research into advancing agriculture.

BNE, your comments re: yields. To be honest this smacks of elitism, pure and simple. To prioritise an organic ideal ahead of the welfare of your fellow man is such a supremacist trait it isn't funny. The premise would be that unless you can afford food you go hungry. I know farmers who have tried organic techniques who go back because it is unviable. I've dealt with the organic bodies who use discretion as to whether something is organic or not (The question usually goes something along the lines of, How much pesticide was used? Oh? That's not really much is it?). Is the consumer educated as to what this discretion is? Heck no. The fact of the matter is that many suppliers that I deal with who had specialist organic lines have now ceased to run them due to the headaches caused not being worth the financial outcome.

Now I'm not saying researching into organics is a waste of time, but at this point in time, to tout it as the saviour of mankind and farming is pure misrepresentation based on the lack of conclusive fact that says otherwise.

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#869200 - 23/06/2010 11:21 Re: Organic Foods [Re: davidg]
AaronD Offline
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Registered: 27/12/2007
Posts: 1017
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
while ive been wasting some time at work today i found a article arguing the opposite of what people have been saying about providing food for the world (from a reputable science magazine too)
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12245-organic-farming-could-feed-the-world.html

the thing is tho, it all does depend on how you look at it. if you want to "westernise" the 3rd world countries then maybe conventional farming techniques would be better where as the harsh reality is that the poor countries are going to remain poor so maybe what this article points out is actually touching on the truth.... just a thought really, but feel free to pick it to pieces and criticise it smile

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#869235 - 23/06/2010 19:40 Re: Organic Foods [Re: AaronD]
ROM Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 29/01/2007
Posts: 6628
I have just come across this paper when following a link on the respected and the increasingly quoted "Bishop Hill" blog.
This post [ Professor ] "Deepak Lal on consensus" as delivered to the Liberty Institute, New Delhi. 9th December 2000.

How the Indians see it;

THE NEW CULTURAL IMPERIALISM
The Greens and Economic Development

http://www.econ.ucla.edu/workingpapers/wp814.pdf

There are some quite similar items to those that I have been saying for some time in this paper including the role of the Greens in getting DDT banned and the consequent increase in Malaria through out the third world and the subsequent totally unnecessary and preventable deaths of an estimated 40 millions due to malaria over the last 4 decades.
And for which my post of a few months ago on this unconscionable action by the greens was quickly deleted and I was threatened with banning if I repeated the item I had copied in it's entirety from a respected South Asian economic journal, now part of the Wall Street Journal.

And the release of Golden Rice which would benefit millions of the world's poorest as it provides essential nutrients lacking in normal rice which in turn creates serious continuing health problems for those rice eating poor but the greens have fought the release of Golden Rice because it is genetically modified.

And it hasn't got any better since 2000!

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#869240 - 23/06/2010 22:07 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ROM]
.... Offline
Occasional Visitor

Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 5018
>YAWN<
An exercise in how not to do rice
Golden Rice - All Glitter, No Gold

I looked up DDT and Malaria and came up with this golden quote: "You deniers need to learn to stop believing every negative thing you hear about 'the green movement'. Especially when the source is a right-wing think tank, as invariably seems to be the case. In fact, you're so constantly wrong that by now you should have learned to stop believing virtually every negative thing you hear about 'the green movement'! Deniers seem to have an exceptionally steep learning curve."

What can I add? Says it all for me.

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#869242 - 23/06/2010 22:27 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ....]
.... Offline
Occasional Visitor

Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 5018
Oh sometimes I love the internet...can just cut and paste someone elses words when they match your own thoughts precisely:

"1) There ISN'T a worldwide ban on DDT for malarial control purposes. Which means that the idea of a "ban" would come as a surprise to those countries that ARE using DDT still.

2) Just because a country doesn't use DDT doesn't mean that they aren't using alternative forms of vector control. DDT is not unique or special in it's effectiveness, and other factors, like treated bed nets have been similarly effective.

3) Evolved resistance to DDT is making it ineffective in several countries that have continued using it. Had nations around the world been using DDT for standard agricultural pest control AS WELL as malaria control, this problem would be much greater today.

The whole ban myth is taking a stupidly simplistic idea; that DDT is the ONLY effective malarial control, and that the mean environmentalists took it away for no good reason. In reality, DDT remains one of several methods of fighting malaria, around the world, and the only people propagating this nonsense are those who have a political or economic axe to grind against environmentalists. "

Again - just shows how easy it is to believe all you read when you've got those green-bashing glasses on. I think you'll find the DDT myth is the internet equivalent of the emails you'll see from Nigeria smile

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#869244 - 23/06/2010 22:56 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ....]
Simmosturf Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 17/03/2008
Posts: 1620
Loc: Wangaratta
Nah Lorsban is better. Knocks over mozzies, termites, lawn grubs, aphids, caterpillars, mites, and anything else thats a pain.

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#870540 - 01/07/2010 19:20 Re: Organic Foods [Re: ....]
DavidC Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 05/02/2001
Posts: 432
Loc: Sydney
yawn indeed!


The questions at this bottom of this link (first link in your post) are answered here (and pasted below).

-->As an example of the controversy that has been created around Golden Rice we provide here a number of assertions posted by its opponents on the web under the title “Golden Rice is no technical improvement and more unsafe”, followed by short replies to those objections. The assertions start with saying that Golden Rice exhibits all the undesirable, hazardous characteristics of existing GM plants, and in added measure on account of the increased complexity of the constructs and the sources of genetic material used. The alleged hazards are highlighted below.


It is made with a combination of genes and genetic material from viruses and bacteria, associated with diseases in plants, and from other non-food species.

Reply: The bacterial genome codes for anywhere between one and ten-thousand genes, only a few of them are involved in pathogenesis. The bacterial gene used in Golden Rice is clearly identified as a gene involved in the biosynthesis of carotenoids, and that is the only function it can carry out.

The gene constructs are new, and have never existed in billions of years of evolution.

Reply: This can be said about any gene that has developed throughout evolution. Also note that there have been multicellular organisms on Earth only during the last one-billion years and that not one single organism has remained unchanged over time.

Unpredictable by-products have been generated due to random gene insertion and functional interaction with host genes, which will differ from one plant to another.

Reply: Only individually selected, well characterised transgenic events have been released. Plants derived from one single event all behave the same way in respect of the introduced gene or genes. In these events, the introduced gene constructs do not interrupt any genes in the neighbourhood.

Over-expression of transgenes linked to viral promoters, such as that from caluiflower mosaic virus (CaMV), exacerbates unintended metabolic effects as well as instability (see below). There are at least two CaMV promoters in each transgenic plant of the 'Golden Rice', one of which is linked to the antibiotic resistance marker gene.

Reply: The original versions of Golden Rice contained a CaMV promoter sequence, because during the proof-of-concept phase strong expression of the transgene was required. The new, released versions have only tissue-specific promoters that guarantee that the two transgenes are expressed only in the rice grain. Furthermore, the antibiotic resistance gene—which by the way has been proved to be harmless, as it is ubiquitous in nature—was introduced into a separate locus for the initial selection process, after which the gene was crossed out by conventional breeding. The final event contains only the two desired genes.

The transgenic DNA is structurally unstable, leading to instability of the GM plants in subsequent generations, multiplying unintended, random effects. Structural instability of transgenic DNA increases the likelihood of horizontal gene transfer and recombination.

Reply: The transgene has been shown to be stable over several generations. The same applies to various gene constructs being commercially used all over the world in over 100-million hectares of agricultural land, 40 percent of it in developing countries.

Instability of transgenic DNA is enhanced by the CaMV promoter, which has a recombination hotspot, thereby further increasing the potential for horizontal gene transfer.

Reply: As stated above, there is no CaMV promoter in released versions of Golden Rice.

The CaMV promoter is promiscuous in function and works efficiently in all plants, in green algae, yeast and E. coli. The spread of genes linked to this promoter by ordinary cross-pollination or by horizontal gene transfer will have enormous impacts on health and biodiversity. In particular, the hygromycin resistance gene linked to it may be able to function in bacteria associated with infectious diseases.

Reply: Most promoters in plants are functional across the whole kingdom. Nobody has yet come up with a scenario whereby the transfer of carotenoid biosynthetic genes, which are present in all plants, should have any effect on health or biodiversity. As to the antibiotic resistance gene, the hygromycin resistance gene is ubiquitous in nature and the antibiotic is practically not used in treatment of humans for that same reason (see also above). Moreover, the viruses like the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) are widespread in nature, and their promoters do not get integrated routinely. Conversely, whole viral genomes can integrate into plants and become a natural part of them, like in the case of banana, where the whole genome of Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) has long ago become part of the banana genome

Horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA from GM plants into soil fungi and bacteria has been demonstrated in laboratory experiments. Recent evidence suggests that it has also taken place in a field trial site for GM sugarbeets, in which transgenic DNA persisted in the soil for at least two years afterwards.

Reply: Horizontal gene transfer are natural events that occur at an extremely low rate. There is no reason why the Golden Rice genes should be preferentially transferred over 30-thousand-plus other genes in the genome, and if that happened those genes would only be able to participate in the biosyntesis of carotenoids, which all green plants do anyway. The DNA of transgenes is no more or less stable than any other DNA, it will be degraded in the ground at the same rate as the remaining genomic DNA.

Prof. Hans-Heinrich Kaatz from the University of Jena, has presented new evidence of horizontal gene transfer within the gut of bee larvae. Pollen from GM rapeseed tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate were fed to immature bee larvae. When the microorganisms were isolated from the gut of the larvae and examined for the presence of the gene conferring glufosinate resistance, it was found in some of the bacteria as well yeast cells.

Reply: This study was widely publicised by opponents of GM technology, but eight years later the study has not found its way into any scientific peer-reviewed publication. Be reminded at this point that the gene studied in that case was that of a herbicide-metabolising gene commonly found in field bacteria. The bees in the study collected the pollen in an open field, which probably explains the source of the bacteria carrying the gene.

All cells, including those of human beings, are now known to take up genetic material. While natural (unmanipulated) genetic material is simply broken down to supply energy, invasive pieces of genetic material may jump into the genome to mutate genes. Some insertions of foreign genetic material may also be associated with cancer.

Reply: Genomes of practically all living organisms are interspersed with pieces of DNA that they have acquired along evolution. This was not the result of man-made genetic manipulation. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that spliced genes are more prone to jump out of the genome and into other genomes.

Horizontal transfer of genes and constructs from the 'Golden Rice' will spread transgenes, including antibiotic resistance genes to bacterial pathogens, and also has the potential to create new viruses and bacteria associated with diseases.

Reply: This statement has no scientic basis. Golden Rice, as it is being distributed to plant breeders around the world, has no antibiotic resistance genes nor viral promoters. And even if that were the case, there would be no reason to believe that undesirable dangers were looming. By the same token,we could argue that human DNA was dangerous because it could be taken up by microorganisms that could misuse it to disguise themselves as being body-own cells.

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#871201 - 06/07/2010 19:44 Re: Organic Foods [Re: DavidC]
majorowe Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 27/01/2002
Posts: 242
Loc: SE France
Just reading that makes me feel uneasy considering that they are talking about food and not something out of Jurassic Park or a strain of the ebola virus, but then again I am largely ignorant to this sort of science.

What strikes me with GM foods is no matter which way you cut it there seems to be incertitude and risk involved with bringing this sort of technology into both mainstream human consumption and also the general environment. Talk of gene stability over several generations - is this enough? I don't know and I will likely never know. Should I be trusting these companies with something that, for me, engenders a huge amount of risk not just for the people eating the rice? Scientists are certainly not infallable, they make mistakes like anyone and examples are a plenty. It just seems to me that if they stuff up GM foods it would be a real doozy of a mistake.


On a more general but highly applicable note to this thread, many of the problems faced by human kind can surely be traced to the fact that a certain percentage of the population lives comfortably, the rest in misery. The solution for the fortunate few is to pull the less fortunate towards their level using whatever means possible. A valiant ideal it may be, so long as it does not threaten their own standard of living for this is non negotiable (to borrow a quote of someone). In any case, the less fortunate have no choice.

It is extremely doubtful that everyone can enjoy the standard of living of the fortunate due to obvious physical constraints and thus there will always be the fortunate and the unfortunate, no matter what efforts are made to reconcile the two parties. As such the game continues ad-infinitum or until something breaks.

I'd be quite happy to reduce my consumption of meat so that three, four or more people somewhere else could keep their grain to make bread for themselves. I can also happily live without a Sunday drive to the ocean so that some other farmer can afford to buy petrol to plow a field on the other side of the globe. Are these not sensible, valid, risk-free solutions to the so called food shortage?


Edited by majorowe (06/07/2010 19:44)

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#871249 - 07/07/2010 08:07 Re: Organic Foods [Re: majorowe]
bigwilly Offline
Weatherzone Mod and Photog

Registered: 25/09/2002
Posts: 6543
Loc: Junee - just north of the 'Bid...
Here's a thought along the lines of your last paragraph majorowe:

I used to be involved in culling kangaroos in central west NSW. Now this wasn't the same as the professional meat harvesting, but from memory s121 licenses from NSW NP. Now I know in the little area we operated in, in any one year there were around 2000 tags issued to farmers. Of those our group were perhaps responsible for 500-600. But it was illegal to remove any part of the roo from the property. So here we were shooting these kangaroos and having to leave them to rot in the paddock; something highly objectionable to me, as a hunter and one of the reasons I now no longer do it.

On several occasions the comments were made how the number of roos we shot in our little group could probably sustain much of the regions poor or the few homeless. I doubt it would have been difficult to get a butcher on board to volunteer labour to break them down, but alas our hands were forced everytime to leave probably a few tonnes of good meat for the wild dogs and feral pigs.

There was no question the kangaroos had to be culled as the damage they were doing was immense and their numbers were due to a run of good seasons, meaning it would only take a single or a few bad years for there to be considerable die-back in the population.
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MTD rainfall March = 34.7mm(Avg 41.3mm)
February 2011 total = 203.9mm (Avg 37.8mm)
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