“GM - No” now, but future shock could leave debate in the dust - The Packer

“GM - No” now, but future shock could leave debate in the dust

12/11/2013 12:51:00 PM
Tom Karst

Mother Jones recently published a story called “5 surprising genetically modified foods” that listed papayas, sweet corn and squash among produce items that even now could be genetically modified.

I wonder how deep and wide the consumer sensitivity to biotech fresh produce will be going forward. If the Arctic apple doesn’t gain acceptance, will a biotech citrus variety that can resist the devastating citrus greening disease be embraced by growers? What would consumers think if scientists could incorporate potent anti-aging characteristics into fruits and vegetables through biotechnology?

In that case, would GMOs still be “unacceptable and unconscionable”?

I wonder if the “future shock” of advances in gene technology will leave this debate far behind, much as we look at the once-spirited worries about the microwave oven radiation.

In a CNN article about futurist Ray Kurzweil’s predictions for the next 20 years, Kurzweil made this amazing claim:

"We also have new tools that allow us to actually reprogram our biology in the same way that we reprogram our computers.

RNA interference, for example, can turn genes off that promote disease and aging. New forms of gene therapy, especially in vitro models that do not trigger the immune system, have the ability to add new genes."

I have a feeling that the future shock that Americans will experience in the potential to manipulate our own “programming” may soon overshadow passionate concerns about a non-browning apple.

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Devon Zagory    
Davis, CA, USA  |  December, 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM

As is often the case in my experience, many of the comments conflate GMO herbicide resistant soybeans and corn with all GMO technology. They don't seem to be aware of high Vitamin A rice, virus resistant papaya or potentially Citrus Greening resistant citrus. There are some GMO applications that facilitate increased use of herbicides. Being against increased use of herbicides may be legitimate, though the use of those herbicides plays an important role in soil conservation. But many GMO applications have nothing to do with pesticides. Some actually lead to reduced use of pesticides. Many of the comments are thus based on apparent ignorance of what GMO technology actually is. Maybe better science education would help.

John Lafer    
Peshastin Washington  |  January, 06, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The initiative No GMO 522 in Washington State was recently defeated when the voters realized that the truth was absent in the argument for selective labeling. The foods were not laced with poison When the American Medical Association stated that there were no health issues, the lights began to brighten. This morning on an early national talk radio program the "news" of a major cereal company removing GMO from one of their products was presented. The callers referred to poison in the food and the horror of the herbicide producers. On gentleman said that he lost his hearing by eating gluten soaked food. Providing affordable foods at home and abroad is in jeopardy if we allow another "ALAR" lie to control the industry.

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