Is there any scientific basis for Proposition 37?

  • News
  • Thread starter moonman239
  • Start date
  • #1
282
0
I'm sure you've all heard of Prop 37, but I'll write a short introduction. In the state of California, which is located in the United States, residents can vote on a proposition. That proposition becomes law if they vote in favor of it.

Proposition 37 was created in response to the belief that using genetic modification in agriculture is harmful. To date, we have scientific evidence to support this idea. Just Google "gmo evidence".

Proposition 37 wil require that, with a few exceptions*, if a food item contains genetically modified ingredients, the manufacturer must state on a label that it contains genetically modified ingredients.

Fifty other countries already have similar laws.

What are your thoughts on the proposition?

*The state constitution allows a ballot initiative to cover only one topic. Therefore, there are a few exceptions. These exceptions include foods sold in restaurants, foods originating from a genetically modified animal (though you're unlikely to find such foods), and foods that unintentionally include genetically modified ingredients.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
I trust the scientists who say there is no evidence:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/20...ts-say-no-to-genetically-modified-food-labels

The American Association for the Advancement of Science says labeling would "mislead and falsely alarm consumers." The AAAS — best known for publishing Science magazine — says genetically modified foods are fundamentally no different from conventionally bred foods. In fact, the organization says they are tested more extensively than most new crop varieties.

There are no adverse health effects from eating genetically modified organisms. You are wrong.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
russ_watters
Mentor
20,564
7,212
Proposition 37 was created in response to the belief that using genetic modification in agriculture is harmful. To date, we have scientific evidence to support this idea. Just Google "gmo evidence".
"Just google it" is not acceptable substantiation on PF. Please cite some credible, mainstream evidence to support your claim about it being harmful and your claim about why Prop37 was created.

On this issue, I agree with AngryCitizen and that NPR link.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #4
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,847
4,676
I'm sure you've all heard of Prop 37, but I'll write a short introduction. In the state of California, which is located in the United States, residents can vote on a proposition. That proposition becomes law if they vote in favor of it.

Proposition 37 was created in response to the belief that using genetic modification in agriculture is harmful. To date, we have scientific evidence to support this idea. Just Google "gmo evidence".

Proposition 37 wil require that, with a few exceptions*, if a food item contains genetically modified ingredients, the manufacturer must state on a label that it contains genetically modified ingredients.

Fifty other countries already have similar laws.

What are your thoughts on the proposition?

*The state constitution allows a ballot initiative to cover only one topic. Therefore, there are a few exceptions. These exceptions include foods sold in restaurants, foods originating from a genetically modified animal (though you're unlikely to find such foods), and foods that unintentionally include genetically modified ingredients.

This is a bit moronic. For example, would bud-grafting be considered as "genetic modification"? After all, you are combining the DNA of different plant species together. Is that "modified" enough?

The issue of safety is a scientific issue. It isn't validated by a popularity vote.

Zz.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #5
Evo
Mentor
23,192
2,996
What are your thoughts on the proposition?
I think it's misleading and should not be approved.
 
Last edited:
  • #6
256bits
Gold Member
3,383
1,419
The American Association for the Advancement of Science says labeling would "mislead and falsely alarm consumers." The AAAS — best known for publishing Science magazine — says genetically modified foods are fundamentally no different from conventionally bred foods. In fact, the organization says they are tested more extensively than most new crop varieties.

If the organization says they are tested more extensively ... then it must be true!!!!
But the blog fails in any explanation of what sort of tests are done with 'genetically' modified versus 'not genetically' modified, so the statement lacks any scientific basis of fact to make any comparison.
 
  • #7
If the organization says they are tested more extensively ... then it must be true!!!!

Um.. yes. I think I do trust the largest scientific organization in the nation, publisher of Science. Your conspiratorial attitude towards the scientific establishment is noted, and I wonder how much longer this thread can continue in a forum that explicitly forbids such pseudo-science.
 
  • #8
Evo
Mentor
23,192
2,996
If the organization says they are tested more extensively ... then it must be true!!!!
But the blog fails in any explanation of what sort of tests are done with 'genetically' modified versus 'not genetically' modified, so the statement lacks any scientific basis of fact to make any comparison.
SIGH

Several current efforts to require labeling of GM foods are not being driven by any credible scientific evidence that these foods are dangerous, AAAS said. Rather, GM labeling initiatives are being advanced by “the persistent perception that such foods are somehow ‘unnatural,’” as well as efforts to gain competitive advantages within the marketplace, and the false belief that GM crops are untested.

In the United States, in fact, each new GM crop must be subjected to rigorous analysis and testing in order to receive regulatory approval, AAAS noted. It must be shown to be the same as the parent crop from which it was derived and if a new protein trait has been added, the protein must be shown to be neither toxic nor allergenic. “As a result and contrary to popular misconceptions,” AAAS reported, “GM crops are the most extensively tested crops ever.”

Moreover, the AAAS Board said, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and “every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.”
more...

http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2012/1025gm_statement.shtml

The research team conducted short-term (31 days), medium-term (110 days) and generational pig feeding studies where the health of piglets of sows fed Bt-maize is measured. No adverse effects were observed, suggesting that feeding Bt-maize to pigs of different ages is safe. "These findings can offer some assurance to consumers as to the safety of consuming Bt-maize," Peadar Lawlor, senior researcher at Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Ireland, said; "The pig is considered to be an excellent model for humans due to similarities in gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology. Similar responses to Bt-maize consumption could be expected in humans," he said.
more...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120124140103.htm
 
  • #9
Evo
Mentor
23,192
2,996
More.

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is committed to protecting and enhancing human, animal, and environmental health through the sound application of the fundamental principles of the science of toxicology. It is with this goal in mind that the SOT defines here its current consensus position on the safety of foods produced through biotechnology (genetic engineering). These products are commonly termed genetically modified foods, but this is misleading, since conventional methods of microbial, crop, and animal improvement also produce genetic modifications and these are not addressed here.

The available scientific evidence indicates that the potential adverse health effects arising from biotechnology-derived foods are not different in nature from those created by conventional breeding practices for plant, animal, or microbial enhancement, and are already familiar to toxicologists.
continued...

http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/71/1/2.full
 
  • #10
172
1
There are issues with genetically modified foods, but health or safety isn't one of them. For example, if I buy a genetically modified plant, the company who sold it to me retains patent rights over the plant, including the seeds. So, I'd be infringing on the patent to take the seeds from the previous year's crop to start a new crop.

It gets even more confusing when the genetically modified gene becomes so prevalent that the vast majority of any one crop has this genetic modification. Then, the patent company could theoretically go after any farmer it wanted.

This is not a hypothetical situation, by the way. Such a case is making its way through the legal system right now. Here is a Wired article about the case:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/04/arstechnica-agriculture-patents/
The company didn’t want to be in the business of making a one-time sale, so when Monsanto sold “Roundup Ready” soybeans to farmers, it required them to sign a licensing agreement promising not to re-plant future generations of seeds.

However, farmers remain free to sell the soybeans they grow in the commodity market, where most are used to feed people or livestock. Roundup Ready soybeans have become extremely popular; they now account for 94 percent of all acres planted in Indiana, for instance. Vernon Bowman, an Indiana farmer, was a customer of Monsanto who realized that Roundup Ready soybeans had become so common in his area that if he simply purchased commodity soybeans from a local grain elevator, the overwhelming majority of those soybeans would be Roundup Ready. Commodity soybeans are significantly cheaper than Monsanto’s soybeans, and they came without the contractual restriction on re-planting.

So Bowman planted (and re-planted) commodity soybeans instead of using Monsanto’s seeds. When Monsanto discovered what Bowman was doing, it sued him for patent infringement.

To summarize, a farmer just bought random commodity soybeans from the market and planted them, and he was sued. The farmer lost his case in district court, and the Supreme Court agreed last month to hear it:

http://m.npr.org/news/Technology/162949288
 
  • #11
Evo
Mentor
23,192
2,996
There are issues with genetically modified foods, but health or safety isn't one of them. For example, if I buy a genetically modified plant, the company who sold it to me retains patent rights over the plant, including the seeds. So, I'd be infringing on the patent to take the seeds from the previous year's crop to start a new crop.
This is off topic.
 
  • #12
256bits
Gold Member
3,383
1,419
Um.. yes. I think I do trust the largest scientific organization in the nation, publisher of Science. Your conspiratorial attitude towards the scientific establishment is noted, and I wonder how much longer this thread can continue in a forum that explicitly forbids such pseudo-science.

Not a conspirational attitude and not pseudo science.
Why you came to that consideration does not follow from any logic.
By the way, I was questioning why the blog did not list references in support of the statement and not your posting.

Evo found references most easily. The blogger could have done and should have done so also.
 
  • #13
Evo
Mentor
23,192
2,996
Not a conspirational attitude and not pseudo science.
Why you came to that consideration does not follow from any logic.
By the way, I was questioning why the blog did not list references in support of the statement and not your posting.

Evo found references most easily. The blogger could have done and should have done so also.
The NPR article listed numerous sites backing them up. You wanted even more specific information, which was not required from the person that posted, as they were simply referring to information in the article.
 
  • #14
Not a conspirational attitude and not pseudo science.

Doubting the word of the AAAS is conspiratorial.
 
  • #15
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,847
773
Personally I have not taken sides on whether GMO food is as safe. GMO is driven by private industry for profit. That is certainly no guarantee that it is safe. To think that Monsanto has no influence over any studies done on these crops is kind of naive.
-
Some of these patents are ready to expire or have already expired. But, the seed companies continue to come up with better technology so it is not economical for a farmer to hold back seed for next year on old technology. It isn't practical to do with corn anyway since for many many years seedcorn has been a hybrid. Replanting last years corn crop that averaged X bushels/acre will most likely yield a small fraction of X bushel/acre this year. So, in a nutshell, without the patents we would not have GMO.
-
Personlly I believe that if GMO is actually safe as many believe then a more proactive approach needs to be taken concerning patents. The first event we had with GMO was Roundup Ready. Over the years this has evolved and improved slightly in how/where the gene is inserted to improve yield since only its presence affected yield but the overall result is the same concerning the reason it was put there in the first place which is weed control. As far as I am concerned, the Roundup Ready genie is out of the bottle and the fun is over. No matter how clever some geneticist is, that patent should expire. For many years independent seed companies (prior to be swallowed up by Monsanto) tried alot of crossbreeding to come up with the hybrids that yielded better. No patents were issued to them, nor is anyone issuing patents on crossbreeding today. Crossbreeding to come up with a hybrid is NOT GMO. I could see where it would be ethical to patent this practice in the very beginning but if it were done it has expired many many years ago as it should have. There have been many other patents on seed for various reasons but all so far as I know for pest control of some kind. My opinions on this are the same.
 
  • #16
282
0
I wish I could cite sources, but unfortunately none come to mind.

One rather interesting thing to note: The USDA says it does not consider GMO's to be organic.

Anyways, I for one want the public to know what they're eating. As the Prop. 37 proponents say, if GMO's are safe, why not say that on the label?

Monsanto is a careless company. Just ask anyone from Anniston, Alabama. Chances are good you'll find someone whose blood was found to contain over 2 ppb of PCB, which is the amount that is considered safe for humans.
 
  • #17
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,847
773
I can't feel sorry for Vernon Bowman in post #10. He has purchased soybean seed from Monsanto in the past and knows all about the patent agreement. My guess is that he did not buy the soybean seed like he said. He kept it back from the previous year. Why would anyone take a chance on planting soybeans that might be Roundup Ready? Spray them for weed control and they die. Well there goes a years income... In my opinion he knew exactly what he was doing even if he did purchase from a local elevator like he said. There are different maturation rates for various soybeans as well as other traits and guess what? They all get mixed together at the elevator. I just don't buy it. No farmer is going to leave something like this to chance. There is too much riding on the seed.
 
  • #18
As the Prop. 37 proponents say, if GMO's are safe, why not say that on the label?

What if I tattooed some label on your forehead, but not on anyone else's forehead? People would start to wonder why you're different from the rest.

Point being, there are five products that come to mind which carry labels: tobacco, alcohol, soy, milk, and peanuts. The first two carry labels because they are known to be deadly poisons that can impair one's health and one's state of mind. The latter three carry labels because they are known to be deadly or dangerous to a percentage of the population who are allergic or intolerant. In other words, they are labeled because they are known to have potentially adverse health effects on your body.

Now what about GMOs? What literature exists supporting the notion that GMOs are dangerous to even 0.00001% of the population? None, according to the AAAS.

Let me ask you a question. If it's all about "consumer choice", why don't we label how many grasshoppers were in a one mile radius of the plant in question upon being uprooted from the ground? What about the mean number of grasshoppers that traversed the area in a single hour during all full moons that were experienced during the plant's life? What about the standard deviation of individual grasshopper counts during a full day when they were measured on a per-hour basis? These are all equally relevant to the discussion of whether the organism was genetically modified.

Or, if you want to be silly, just buy organic. Like you said, the USDA regulates organic foods, and GMOs are not organic. Simple as that.
 
  • #19
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,847
773
Angry Citizen, I assume the grasshopper comment is a joke. But most things that have been done with our food supply, even considering the grasshoppers, up until GMO has been able to happen easily without human intervention. Even cross breeding. It has probably happened for thousands of years without concern. Either we evolved with it or it is of no concern to begin with. You cannot say that of GMO. I am not saying it is unsafe, just saying that it is not inherently safe as pre-GMO is since that has been proven over and over.
 
  • #20
Angry Citizen, I assume the grasshopper comment is a joke. But most things that have been done with our food supply, even considering the grasshoppers, up until GMO has been able to happen easily without human intervention. Even cross breeding. It has probably happened for thousands of years without concern. Either we evolved with it or it is of no concern to begin with. You cannot say that of GMO. I am not saying it is unsafe, just saying that it is not inherently safe as pre-GMO since that has been proven over and over.

Yes, I can, because the mechanism for genetically modifying organisms is not different from normal mutation and artificial selection, and because the available literature and the overwhelming consensus of scientists suggests that there is no difference.

I accept the scientific consensus on the matter. Maybe you should too.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #21
Evo
Mentor
23,192
2,996
I am not saying it is unsafe, just saying that it is not inherently safe as pre-GMO is since that has been proven over and over.
Humans have been altering animals and plants for thousands of years. IMO, the difference is now we do not have to do as much "trial and error" to get the desired results.
 
  • #22
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,847
773
Hey lighten up. Who the hell is talking about creationists and climate change denial? I am not and quite frankly that comment pissed me off.
-
The mechanism for GMO may be just the same as normal mutation as you said. But it is accelerated. Any mutation that has occurred naturally happened very slowly and it is entirely possible that we had to evolve with it. It cannot be proven or disproven. But since we are aware that it is possible don't you think it should be a consideration considering what is at stake?
 
  • #23
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,847
773
Humans have been altering animals and plants for thousands of years. IMO, the difference is now we do not have to do as much "trial and error" to get the desired results.

The trial and error/slow results was not only the problem, it was the solution to prevent something catastropic. Honestly I think we are past anything catastrophic already though.
 
  • #24
22,089
3,297
Some physicians swear GMO's are bad for you. Now, I have not heard any names in particular.

You do realize that on this forum, you need to present source and reliable references for your claims, right?? Just presenting hearsay like "some physicians say..." is not allowed here.

Furthermore, I'm sure that I can find some physicians who claim that viruses don't cause diseases. Does that prove anything?
 
  • #25
Any mutation that has occurred naturally happened very slowly and it is entirely possible that we had to evolve with it.

Evolution by natural selection does not happen as quickly as evolution by artificial selection, by orders of magnitude. Agriculture has been around for, what, five thousand years give or take? Modern humans are almost anatomically identical to the humans that walked the Earth fifty millennia ago, and indeed, the only reason we're not is because of some cross-breeding of our own with the Neanderthal population.

Compare this to corn circa five thousand years ago:

Maize-teosinte.jpg


If we "had to evolve" with it, then we would have been at a major disadvantage. A new generation of plant begins every year. A new generation of humans begins every twenty years. Ours is driven by natural selection, which is much slower; theirs is driven by artificial selection, which allows the selection of desirable traits on a much faster basis. Evolutionary biology is against you, mate.

And I'm sorry you were offended by my comment, but the attitude that GMOs can be (or are) different from normal organisms is little different than the attitude that creationists hold toward evolution, or that climate change denialists have towards climate change. All are founded on a complete lack of evidence, and indeed run contrary to the evidence at hand and the scientific consensus on the matter. "Gut feelings" and "intuition" are poor substitutes in science.
 

Related Threads on Is there any scientific basis for Proposition 37?

Replies
4
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
6
Views
631
  • Last Post
3
Replies
65
Views
9K
Replies
14
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
2K
Replies
13
Views
3K
B
Replies
1
Views
892
Replies
23
Views
2K
Top