Is there any scientific basis for Proposition 37?

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  • #26
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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.

I get that. I do try to cite sources. TBH, I got some of the information in my OP from a documentary called "The World of Monsanto." Now, they didn't mention any names and I don't blame them.
 
  • #27
Some physicians swear GMO's are bad for you. Now, I have not heard any names in particular.

Here's my question: if the USDA's organic standards "prohibit" GMO's, why is Big Ag pouring millions of $'s into a "No on Prop 37" campaign? That says volumes about how much those agricultural companies actually care about American's. They're just too greedy to care.

Probably for the same reason you'd be rather annoyed if I wanted to single you out and make you a pariah. Again, if your only objection to GMOs is Monsanto, why can't we just debate that and forget all the Prop 37 nonsense?
 
  • #28
dlgoff
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  • #29
russ_watters
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One rather interesting thing to note: The USDA says it does not consider GMO's to be organic.
I don't find that the least bit interesting.
 
  • #30
chiro
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If people want GMO's labelled, then label them.

If GMO's don't do anything and don't cause adverse health risks and symptoms then the science will back that up.

Also if potential risks and symptoms that can be measured both in a clinical setting and outside of it and are shown, then like the tobacco companies, they will be sued and people will decide where to put their money.

If people don't want GMO food then let them have their wish and if they are OK with GMO food then let them purchase it.

The way things are now, GMO corporations have less legal ramifications when things are not labelled if there is a claim against them because they can dilute the responsibility (something that corporations and governments are very skilled at) and because of this if you can't provide sufficient and specific evidence that GMO's have negative effects (like tobacco with cancer) then there isn't enough to go off.

It's the same reason why lots of these guys "settle" and do so in a way that they don't have to admit nor deny guilt, and the reason they do this is because of the legal ramifications associated with making any kind of admission.

It's also why you guys over there sometimes resort to "Pleading the fifth" so that you don't incriminate yourselves.

Let the market decide: if people don't want GMO's and are willing to pay whatever it is to buy organic foods (at the current premium rates) along with other non-GMO foods then that is their right to do so, and if the labelling scheme shows that GMO's do contribute to statistically significant side-effects then like with cigarettes, people have a right to know about it.

Scientists shouldn't care about this one bit because as we all know, science doesn't care what the real results are: they just are what they are and don't need anyone to vouch for them for the results to be what they are and what they are measured to be.

This is, after all, a scientific forum right?
 
  • #31
russ_watters
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This is the politics area of a scientific forum and scientifically-minded people can and often need to deal with the political implications of certain decisions. The idea of labeling GM food has no scientific basis, it is a purely political/marketing ploy.

The reason scientists care about this is scientists recognize that people can be swayed by propaganda into believing things that aren't true. The reason this matters is because food quality and food costs matter.
 
  • #32
Evo
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This is the politics area of a scientific forum and scientifically-minded people can and often need to deal with the political implications of certain decisions. The idea of labeling GM food has no scientific basis, it is a purely political/marketing ploy.

The reason scientists care about this is scientists recognize that people can be swayed by propaganda into believing things that aren't true. The reason this matters is because food quality and food costs matter.
Exactly. Labeling the food as GM or non-GM is ridiculous and makes it appear that there is something wrong with it when there isn't. There is no scientific or medical reason to list it, as has been previously shown. IMO, the reason for this ridiculous proposition is so that people that claim not to use it can charge the uniformed and misinformed population more money for a risk that doesn't even exist.

Scientists should speak up and educate the public to put a stop to this.
 
  • #33
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Exactly. Labeling the food as GM or non-GM is ridiculous and makes it appear that there is something wrong with it when there isn't. There is no scientific or medical reason to list it, as has been previously shown. IMO, the reason for this ridiculous proposition is so that people that claim not to use it can charge the uniformed and misinformed population more money for a risk that doesn't even exist.

Scientists should speak up and educate the public to put a stop to this.


I'm not sure to what extent that's possible. It's become its own pseudoscience tied in with New Age feel goodism. Think about it, the "pure" organics versus the "evil" and "dirty" scientifically changed food. In a highly scientifically illiterate society the "light" side will always win, especially since the other side is viewed as being the manifestation of Darth Vader.
 
  • #34
Evo
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I'm not sure to what extent that's possible. It's become its own pseudoscience tied in with New Age feel goodism. Think about it, the "pure" organics versus the "evil" and "dirty" scientifically changed food. In a highly scientifically illiterate society the "light" side will always win, especially since the other side is viewed as being the manifestation of Darth Vader.
That is really depressing. IMO, it's unfortunately true.
 
  • #35
chiro
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This is the politics area of a scientific forum and scientifically-minded people can and often need to deal with the political implications of certain decisions. The idea of labeling GM food has no scientific basis, it is a purely political/marketing ploy.

The reason scientists care about this is scientists recognize that people can be swayed by propaganda into believing things that aren't true. The reason this matters is because food quality and food costs matter.

People have the capacity to make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions.

People face propaganda every single day and please note that the word "propaganda" is not a word to describe acts like the military opposition dropping posters and broadcasting politically motivated and demoralizing messages to soldiers: propaganda is a general way to spread someone's (or a collection of individuals) point of view in a specific way.

If you want to be a true scientist then let the consequences speak for themselves because that was science is all about: a decentralized approach to knowledge discovery that can carried out in a decentralized fashion and replicated amongst other people where the protocols of diseminating the appropriate information (experimental setup, input data, simulations, etc) is made available so that other people can use that to run the same experiment if they want to and come to their own conclusion.

Science is not about telling people what is right and wrong: that's what was meant to be done with a very very long time ago.

Real scientists will want to investigate things that are important to them by themselves and come to their own conclusions and this is what they actually do: they collect all their observations both in a clinically highly controlled and also in a variable uncontrolled environment (yes that's right, a lot of conclusions do come about from observation where you do not control the process in a rigid way) and people come to their own conclusion.

Science doesn't care what people think: it just provides the results and asks you to make an interpretation.

There is no absolute truth in it all; just a relative perspective and analysis on what you observe, what you agree that others observe, and how you bring that all together in conjunction with tools that everybody agrees on and trusts (like statistics, mathematics, particular protocols, and so on) and then you independently are supposed to make your own decision and interpretation.

This is not complicated: people want GMO's labelled for whatever reason and that is their right.

If the science is right then later on you can strengthen your arguments for the benefits of GMO's later on and if you do that then more power to you and if you really feel strongly about it, then you should do it anyway so you can let nature do its thing for a decade and then revisit all those things that people are associated with GMO's and do open investigations, publish your findings and again come to your conclusions and let others come to theirs.

They also don't need to be the one to be the first to do this (and you might want to answer why they label them in other countries: I'd like to hear that) since other countries do label GMO's (and have the protocols made publically available) like:

http://www.labelgmos.org/the_science_genetically_modified_foods_gmo

Personally I don't have any predisposition to believe anything and I don't care about that, but if you want to go from a real scientific perspective then this has nothing to do with science and everything to do what you are mentioning which deals with the legal ramifications of labelling, as well as the consumer issue of people knowing how to differentiate between two types of products which may or may not be bad for the business: but hey, that's the benefit of having lots of people create lots of products so that they can compete for the people that want to buy their product.
 
  • #36
chiro
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I encourage people to think for themselves and make their own choices and if labelling GMO's does that then count me in: I don't want to tell anyone what to do neither do I want to be a coward and hide behind political BS and cowardice and I don't expect anyone to do the same to me either.
 
  • #37
MarneMath
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Yes, people have the right to make their own decisions and have the power to do so, but does that mean a scientist shouldn't try to give correct information?

I can't put into words exactly what I find disturbing about your outlook, but maybe it's the fact that it seems to isolate scientist from the rest of the world, where reality is we are all connected. If one person wants to make public policy based on ignorance, they have the right to try to do so, but I also believe people who know better have a 'moral obligation' to speak up and defend science.
 
  • #38
chiro
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Yes, people have the right to make their own decisions and have the power to do so, but does that mean a scientist shouldn't try to give correct information?

I can't put into words exactly what I find disturbing about your outlook, but maybe it's the fact that it seems to isolate scientist from the rest of the world, where reality is we are all connected. If one person wants to make public policy based on ignorance, they have the right to try to do so, but I also believe people who know better have a 'moral obligation' to speak up and defend science.

Morals are relative and so is intent and both always have been.

All this does is labels GMO products as such: it doesn't in any way create constraints for the products to not be sold, or constrained in the way they are already sold, where they are sold, and also in relation to other conditions: it simply says that if you meet x criteria in having said stuff in your product then we stick a label on it.

Also you talk about ignorance: hate to tell you but everybody without exception lives in some kind of ignorance period.

People care about different things and the things that they care about and value are the ones they become less ignorant in.

Scientists care about particular kinds of science and they become less ignorant in this; people that are sports nuts become less ignorant in sports; artists become less ignorant about art; mathematicians become less ignorant about mathematics and everyone becomes less ignorant about what it is important to them.

But we are always ignorant regardless and we always will be because we never have the whole picture and we all have to make tradeoffs and one those of tradeoffs is choosing what is important and what is valuable to us.

Whatever you truly value and whatever is important to you, this is what you will become less ignorant in but otherwise you will for the most part, remain completely ignorant.

You can value and take an interest in large amounts and you will be less ignorant, but it never means you even have anything close to un-ignorance (far from it).
 
  • #39
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It's not up to general public to decide what's "not harmful" for them. You need to have technology and skills to decide what could harm a person which isn't available to general public. Having labels on the foods and letting people decide that is silly. If some food is proven to be harmful, it won't even be allowed in the well regulated food market.
People have the capacity to make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions.
We wouldn't need doctors if people had that capacity. There are people who willfully decide to make their own conclusions and go on crazy diets, don't seek proper medical advices. They even enforce these things on their children which I see just plain troubling.
 
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  • #40
MarneMath
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First, Chiro, I find your tone to be a bit asinine and your rheotric to be moderately incoherent. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how it relates to what I said or if you just wanted a venue to spew your philosophy.

I don't believe my comments indicated that I believe it's possible for someone to live there life without ignorance. I simply indictated that if a person, who is ignorant about a certain idea, chooses to act on that ignorance and make public policy, I do believe there exist a 'moral obligation' for a person who does have knowledge about that certain idea to educate the public on why such public policy is bad or good.

Is my view really radical to you or something?
 
  • #41
chiro
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It's not up to general public to decide what's "not harmful" for them. You need to have technology and skills to decide what could harm a person which isn't available to general public. Having labels on the foods and letting people decide that is silly. If some food is proven to be harmful, it won't even be allowed in the well regulated food market.

People already decide what to buy given that they have "labels" on them and people already do buy things (as well as avoid things) currently because of the brand, what their friend or relative said, or some other rumour that they heard and avoid the products for those reasons right now.

Technology and skills are not replacements for decision making: decision making is the only real advantage that you and I have and I don't know about you but I actually value the ability to make my own decisions and see their consequences.

Other people just might want to do the same thing and they have every right to do so.

A technique (of which technology is derived) will never, ever replace the ability to make a decision: ever.

If it replaces the ability to make a decision then you are no longer making a true decision, but instead just following a formula without any kind of foresight or real consideration.

If you ever worked in an area where real decisions needed to be made under uncertainty, then you would realize the value of that statement and everyone regardless of who they are will have to make many decisions under uncertainty and unfortunately for most of them, it scares the hell out of them.

The people that don't want to think and make their own completely self-made decisions have their own right to do so, but the people that do have equally the same right.
 
  • #42
atyy
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Relevant reports from the WHO, the USA National Academy of Sciences and the Union of Concerned Scientists, not about the specific proposition in question, but about the environmental and human health issues pertaining to genetically-engineered foods. The sources are distinguished, but as some are policy recommendations, the reports are a mix of science and opinion. Although it is not clear, these include links to free versions of the NAS reports.
http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/index.html
http://www.nationalacademies.org/webextra/crops/
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804
http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agri...tic-engineering/environmental-effects-of.html
 
  • #43
Evo
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Relevant reports from the WHO, the USA National Academy of Sciences and the Union of Concerned Scientists, not about the specific proposition in question, but about the environmental and human health issues pertaining to genetically-engineered foods. The sources are distinguished, but as some are policy recommendations, the reports are a mix of science and opinion. Although it is not clear, these include links to free versions of the NAS reports.
http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/index.html
http://www.nationalacademies.org/webextra/crops/
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804
http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agri...tic-engineering/environmental-effects-of.html
Opinion pieces are just that, opinions. Scientific studies showing no risk were posted already, and that is what we go with here. And at least one link has nothing to do with food. If, as you admit, they have little or nothing to do with the thread topic, what is your reason for posting?
 
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  • #44
MarneMath
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I've read through the first two links and they seem relevant. Especially the first one. It answers questions people may have about GMO foods and provides more insight into the possible dangers GMO may have, but also what is done to subdue these risk. I've learned a lot :).
 
  • #45
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It's not up to general public to decide what's "not harmful" for them. You need to have technology and skills to decide what could harm a person which isn't available to general public. Having labels on the foods and letting people decide that is silly. If some food is proven to be harmful, it won't even be allowed in the well regulated food market.

We wouldn't need doctors if people had that capacity. There are people who willfully decide to make their own conclusions and go on crazy diets, don't seek proper medical advices. They even enforce these things on their children which I see just plain troubling.

Really? That's pretty broad. For example, perhaps I am interested in knowing the sodium content of a particular food because I am trying not to overdo it on sodium. I shouldn't be allowed to know how much sodium is in my food because.. why exactly? Something about me being too stupid to make decisions for myself? The truth is, "harmful" is not that specific a description. I could make the case that foods with high sugar content are harmful, but it's not the same thing as say , eating plutonium. Like so many things, degrees and context matter, and thinking that somebody in an ivory tower is the only one who should know what's in food cause those darn plebes just can't be trusted to decide things for themselves is exactly the sort of thing people get upset about when they talk about "elitist" scientists.

I think the knee-jerk anti-gmo stuff is silly, and I certainly don't support a law requiring labeling, but the idea of a label in and of itself doesn't bother me.
 
  • #46
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I'm aware of two disputes in this area.

http://research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf [Broken] claim a corrolation between tumors and genetically modified food. However it is not endorsed by the EPSA.

Furthermore also disputed is the link between the mysterious colony collapse disorder decimating honeybees and genetically modified crops. For instance here

So, the jury is still out, imo and it occurs that there could be some ideological, political, economical and ecological bias in the discussion
 
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  • #47
SixNein
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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.

Benefit: Labeling the foods would allow people to study them in the long term since the foods could be identified in the population.
Risk: On the other hand, it could make people needlessly suspicious. Bear in mind that there is no known health-risks with foods on the market, and there exists a consensus that these foods aren't harmful.
Risk: increased cost from the logistics involved in labeling the food.

Does the benefit outweigh the risk? I would say no.
 
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  • #48
Really? That's pretty broad. For example, perhaps I am interested in knowing the sodium content of a particular food because I am trying not to overdo it on sodium. I shouldn't be allowed to know how much sodium is in my food because.. why exactly? Something about me being too stupid to make decisions for myself? The truth is, "harmful" is not that specific a description. I could make the case that foods with high sugar content are harmful, but it's not the same thing as say , eating plutonium. Like so many things, degrees and context matter, and thinking that somebody in an ivory tower is the only one who should know what's in food cause those darn plebes just can't be trusted to decide things for themselves is exactly the sort of thing people get upset about when they talk about "elitist" scientists.

I think the knee-jerk anti-gmo stuff is silly, and I certainly don't support a law requiring labeling, but the idea of a label in and of itself doesn't bother me.

Clearly "those darn plebes" don't know jack about what they're talking about if they equate genetic modification with sodium content and sugar.

Here's something to consider: You are a genetically modified organism. Can we label you too?
 
  • #49
MarneMath
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That's a fair assessment, but even so, people have the right to ask for labeling of Food and in a democratic process, vote for such label. Should policy be made out of ignorance? Of course not, but I don't believe governing is always done best by those who are the smartest.

To me, the issue at stake isn't so much what labeling actually does for GMO. It has to do with the inherent cost to label something. We will have to regulate it, test it, test things we think are non-gmo just to make sure, and enforce it. Doing a cost-benefit analysis, the extra cost to regulate this greatly outweighs any benefit that labeling may have. The simple want to just be aware, in my mind, cannot justify the required cost.
 
  • #50
That's a fair assessment, but even so, people have the right to ask for labeling of Food and in a democratic process, vote for such label.

Buddy, who's disputing the right? As far as I can tell, no one. I don't support California voter initiatives because they often end up doing Bad Things to the state, and I certainly don't support proposition 37, but I don't question the people's right to have their say on this.
 

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