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GUEST COMMENTARY: Resolve to keep science experiments off your table in 2012

Monday, December 26, 2011 | 5:05 p.m. CST; updated 5:40 p.m. CST, Monday, December 26, 2011

Here's one resolution for consumers hoping to improve their health and the environment: Starting in 2012, avoid genetically engineered foods.

It won't be easy. By some estimates, 70 percent of processed food contains engineered ingredients. That's why we need lawmakers and grocery retailers to turn over a new leaf in the coming year and support our right to know what we're eating.

The variety and volume of engineered crops have steadily increased over the past 15 years, despite the lack of independent research on their long-term effects on human health and the environment.

Extolled for their potential to boost nutrients and increase yields to feed a hungry planet, in reality the vast majority of genetically engineered crops are designed solely to resist insects and weeds.

In fact, 94 percent of soybeans, 88 percent of corn and 90 percent of cotton are genetically engineered solely for that purpose.

But this widespread experiment isn't working. So-called "super weeds" and hardy pests like the rootworm have evolved to resist the herbicides and pesticides that are used with engineered crops. As a result, even more toxic chemicals are needed to keep these mutated pests at bay.

These chemicals poison our waterways, soil and ultimately our bodies. Some have been associated with endocrine disruption and developmental abnormalities. Yet more risks are still being discovered.

Not only are genetically engineered foods risky to our environmental and physical health, they also hinder the financial well being of family farmers who must depend on just a few companies for seeds and their affiliated agrochemicals.

They face the threat of lawsuits if their crops get contaminated by genetic material from engineered crops planted by someone else.

Opinion polls show that many people don't want to eat these foods, and nearly everyone asked wants them to be labeled. While most of the developed world has either banned engineered food or required that it be labeled, most U.S. consumers unwittingly eat and drink engineered ingredients every day.

This is particularly true with cereal, cookies, soft drinks and processed foods that contain soy protein and corn syrup. But engineered ingredients also hide in some fruits and vegetables. Dairy products and meat that come from animals fed those crops are also considered genetically engineered foods.

This fall, the biotech and pesticide giant Monsanto introduced a new variety of genetically modified sweet corn. Sweet corn is the stuff we eat right off the cob or that we buy frozen or canned.

This new sweet corn "stacks" three genetically modified traits that are intended to resist weed-killing chemicals and fight off pests. Although the traits were approved individually, no tests have been performed to determine their health and environmental effects when combined in one product.

Regardless, this engineered sweet corn is set to hit grocery stores in 2012. As the largest grocery retailer in the country, Walmart has considerable influence over which foods are available to the public, the methods used to produce them and the prices paid to food producers.

Walmart should set an example for other retailers by listening to customer preferences and choosing not to sell engineered sweet corn in its stores.

Ultimately, our government and food retailers should respect the right of Americans to know what's on our plate and how it's produced.

In 2012, let's resolve to make sure they get that message.

Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch. www.foodandwaterwatch.org. Distributed by otherwords.org.


 


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Comments

Mark Foecking December 27, 2011 | 10:23 a.m.

DONATE NOW!!!!! WHIP UP IGNORANT FEAR SO WENONAH HAUTER DOESN'T HAVE TO GET A USEFUL JOB!!!!

The overwhelming health problem with the US food supply is there's so much of it. Diseases related to obesity are far more prevalent than any health problems caused by genetically engineered foods (which are exceedingly rare if they even exist at all).

Cooking and storing foods properly will eliminate virtually all risk of disease from modern American food. The rest of it isn't worth worrying about except in cartain cases (e. g. celiac disease or food allergy)

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 27, 2011 | 10:46 a.m.

MarkF says, "Cooking and storing foods properly will eliminate virtually all risk of disease from modern American food."
______________________

Precisely. Having worked in the ag chem industry for over 20 years (and generated lots of environmental data), I've concluded that my health interests are best served by making sure my eggs, chicken, and hamburger are well-cooked and not raw. Further, when it comes to pesticides/GMOs, I'm at greater risk of bacterial disease from the knucklehead who decides spraying water mixed with cow manure is a great way to apply fertilizer to a leaf crop.

I don't worry much about pesticides or GMOs; in fact, I don't worry AT ALL about such things.

Humans are notoriously poor risk assessors.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle December 27, 2011 | 12:20 p.m.

GMO not so bad for humans, but effectiveness matters too: http://www.grist.org/industrial-agricult...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37lNYH4h5...

(Report Comment)
David Sautner December 27, 2011 | 1:30 p.m.

Organic foods taste better and are good for you.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 27, 2011 | 5:32 p.m.

Derrick: Let's take one example sentence from a "Grist" link embedded in your first "Grist" link:

"Tom Philpott has been tracking the rise of so-called "superweeds" -- i.e. herbicide-resistant weeds -- for a while now. He's talked about the chemical treadmill -- "the situation wherein weeds and other pests develop resistance to poisons, demanding ever higher doses of old poisons and constant development of novel ones."
_________________________

Now let's substitute a couple of words in the paragraph and see how it looks. My substitutions are noted with brackets:

Tom Philpott has been tracking the rise of so-called "super[bacteria]" -- i.e. [antibiotic]-resistant [bacteria] -- for a while now. He's talked about the chemical treadmill -- "the situation wherein [pathogens] develop resistance to [antibiotics], demanding ever higher doses of old [antibiotics] and constant development of novel ones."
_______________________

Using the same logic and similar prose posted by the author concerning agricultural chemicals, we just made a bad thing out of developing new antibiotics....to which bacteria WILL eventually become resistant!

Nature always finds a way. Humans beings, with our big brains and opposable thumbs, have been able to stay ahead of weeds and insects (and bacteria) by being technologically innovative, thereby keeping ourselves alive. Are we seeing resistant weeds? Yep. Are things as alarming as your links suggest? Nope. Even close to as alarming? Nope. Drive around some time in a car so you can get further than your cycle can take you and tell me just how many abandoned corn/soybean fields you see. Try Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, and a few others and let me know what you think.

I hoe pigweed every year....from a farm neighbor's 15 acres of pumpkins than many Columbians purchase each year. Why do I hoe pigweed? Because there is NO Roundup Ready pumpkins, that's why. Or Liberty-Link pumpkins. Best my neighbor can do is spray for fungi and insects and hope Columbians have some pumpkins to purchase. Do you know how many pumpkins in a field are, at the end of the season, sufficiently sound and available for sale?

Less than 50%. The rest just rot, and the next year the field gets moved a half-mile away to avoid all the insects/fungi left in the ground.

To say herbicide resistance has "failed" is plain incorrect at best, and a fraud at worst.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 27, 2011 | 5:37 p.m.

Further, sometimes I wish there would be a 5 year moratorium on ANY chemical use in the field. Steel blades only. Use whatever "sustainable" form of agriculture you wish. I want each and every consumer out there to finally know and understand what harvests were like pre-1940.

It's easier to go "organic" on 1 acre of land when the surrounding 100000 acres are treated with pesticides.
_____________________

As for "organic food tastes better"....well, I say horse-hocky to that. Organic food tastes better because it's FRESHER, not because it's "organic".

Besides, I've analyzed sufficient numbers of so-called "organic" foods to know that a bunch of it isn't "organic" at all. If they were, all those gas chromatograph peaks from detectors that respond to various insecticides/herbicides would be totally unresponsive and flat-lined.

But they ain't.

And some of the chemicals are not even registered for use on the crops.

And THAT, my friends, is a federal felony!!!!!!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 27, 2011 | 5:37 p.m.

GMO foods are terrible things. Funny that Monsanto has figured out a way to screw up our food chain. Funny how people are ignorant to the facts and throw stones at people who are aware. Funny how the corporate farm is continuing to try to sqeeze out the family owned farm. Funny how doing things the old fashioned way is ridiculed by some.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 27, 2011 | 5:39 p.m.

Oops: I said, "To say herbicide resistance has "failed" is plain incorrect at best, and a fraud at worst."

Please modify to read "To say herbicide resistance genetics has "failed" is plain incorrect at best, and a fraud at worst.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 27, 2011 | 5:43 p.m.

Matt: Funny how NO use of pesticides results in as much as 80% yield losses.

The agricultural world did not start the day you were born. Pre-1940 farm life REALLY happened!

Go talk to an 80 year old farmer and ask one simple question: Was your life and career better or worse 70 years ago?

Then get back to us with some REAL facts instead of all that prose-flourished internet crap..

(Report Comment)
John Schmidt December 27, 2011 | 7:23 p.m.

Wow, Mike. I didn't know you were that old.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 28, 2011 | 6:16 a.m.

Mike may not be 80 years old, but some of us are (or are crowding it). Eighty years ago few farmers were sitting pretty. Depending upon whose numbers you believe, the Great Depression in this country lasted about a decade in cities and towns but the United States' farm economy was in the tank for twice that long, beginning almost immediately after World War I and continuing until about 1940. Stated another way, the farm sector of the economy had already experienced a decade of economic depression BEFORE the stock market crashed in 1929.

Add to that some really bad weather in the mid-1930s in the Midwest, and other problems such as soil erosion (water and/or wind), and that era was a truly "unforgettable" one.

PS: During much of that era there were farms without electricity (rural electrification was only in progress).

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 28, 2011 | 9:11 a.m.

I remember my father bringing home a funny looking little plant he called a soybean. While we planted it he told that his "bosses" Tom and John Alton, *incorporated* as the Ford dealership in Columbia and had held his job for him and brought us a nice extra check to help pay for an operation that kept him bedfast for some weeks, were planning to invest in this plant as a crop because of the many things that Might be done with it's fruit. I wonder, how many corporations had something to do with the development of the soybean and the products that have evolved from it and what products would have evolved without corporations?

The ones that hate corporations and America believe that the World began the day they were born and idle along with the progressives and contribute to the latest effort to sound reasonable which, unbelievably is "Corporations are not people!"

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

Mike- don't pretend like your opinion is the end all be all of everything. I believe your opinion to be crap as well, and I don't need your attitude thrown at me just because I stated my opinion. Act like an adult, since your arguement always has something to do with your age. Public opinion is that people don't want to eat GMO food. Public opinion is that organic farming is good and not having to eat a bunch of chemicals is also good. By all means, have a big ol' scoop of pesticides, its just not for me. You can take your attacks elsewhere.
PS- I have talked to several 80 year old farmers, my grandfather and his 8 brothers. They agree with my opinion that food drenched with pesticides and GMO foods are bad things. Your attitude sucks.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 9:55 a.m.

JohnS: No, I'm not 80.

I'm 62.

Agricultural yield history was certainly happening before I was born. It doesn't take very long to do a Google search on agricultural yields over the last hundred years or so. Insects and undesirable plants coupled with periodic adverse weather certainly took more then their fair share of crops. Historically, finding food for humans has been a fist-fight, not harmony with nature.

It's easy to observe this in today's time; simply plant a large garden and tend half of it regularly. Hoe to your heart's content and pick bugs, too. Of course, you'll not be able to do much with fungi or plant viruses. But, leave the other half alone...completely...no hoeing allowed and leave the bugs alone. Once the growing season is over, extrapolate your observations (and work) to a thousand acres or so, or even an entire country's breadbasket.

Once all observations are complete, see if better genetics, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc., were really stupid ideas.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 10:17 a.m.

Matt: My opinion is based upon 20+ years of environmental research with insecticides, herbicides, plant growth regulators, fungicides, mitocides, etc. I've analyzed crops/soils/waters sprayed with all sorts of chemicals, and I know what's there and how long it persists. I've written thousands of reports that ended up at the EPA and were used to construct the usage labels on products you, me, and farmers purchase. I've found chemicals in so-called "organic foods" that weren't supposed to be there, whose presence meant someone committed a federal felony. I've talked to people in the "organic" business who, in moments of unusual openness (not knowing who they were talking to), opined on their frequent use of some "good" pesticides (especially RoundUp or malathion), but certainly not the "bad" ones.

I was there, and you weren't.

As for that scoop-full of chemicals (do you even understand the concepts ppm and ppb?), once you grow up a bit and learn a bit of non-internet biology, you'll find that plants have defense mechanisms, too. Many of them are called "poisons" that are stored in plant vacuoles, just waiting for you or some other animal to crunch down on them.

You eat "poisons" every time you feed.

Thank gawd for livers.
.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 10:29 a.m.

Well, Mike, I assumed you are smart enough to understand what I am saying. There are differences between natural defenses and chemicals cooked up in labs that cause all kinds of cancers. You have had expierences that I have not had, but since you are so smart I invite you to back up your statements. Apply those chemicals that you so passionately advocate without any protection to your skin and air ways. Let me know how long it is till you start suffering the effects of doing so. There are methods of farming that use those natural defenses that nature has set up that have more positive effects on the earth and on the people that apply these methods and the people that eat those foods. That has been proven through years for research that you apparently have been a part of. So why do you act like I am so stupid to believe in these methods and apply them to my life. I support you doing whatever you want with your body. What right do you have to argue against me doing what I want with mine?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 10:30 a.m.

Corn yields since 1866: Don't know if placing this link will work or not.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xvXFI0JCiWI/Td...

But, new genetics and pesticides and fertilizers were a really bad idea, nonetheless. The trend-line had no outside causes....it was just due for an uptrend anyway (sarcasm button off).

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 10:48 a.m.

matt: There are differences between natural defenses and chemicals cooked up in labs that cause all kinds of cancers.
____________________

Really?

Do you eat peanut butter or corn bread? Look up "aflatoxin", one of the more potent carcinogens known to the rat.

Look up T-2 toxin.

Dioxin is a natural product of burning stuff.

Look up oxalic acid...do you eat rhubarb that's not properly cooked? Got kidney stones?

Do you know where digitalis comes from?

Do you know what an alkaloid is?

Do you know what the liver's P-450 enzyme does? To "naturals" AND "synthetics"?

Do you know crystalline capsaicin will kill you almost instantly? That's the hot stuff in peppers.

As for your statement, "So why do you act like I am so stupid to believe in these methods and apply them to my life."...........hey, the placebo effect is quite real, even if the "action" is damnphool.
________________________

Hey, you wanna respond to posts in this place, expect responses back. Acting offended when someone responds to your internet education is a rather weak defense.
________________________

Like I originally stated, humans are notoriously poor risk assessors. We merrily store and cook foods improperly because we perceive we are "in control". Yet, we worry about ppm or ppb levels of pesticides because we perceive we have "no control".

We are poor risk assessors because our perception of personal "control" is bass-ackwards.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 11:04 a.m.

The only factor in farming is yeild? What about the quality of food, the sustainability of the crop, the nutrients that it provides, the side effects of chemical tainted foods, the long term effects of these GMO crops. There are entire countrys that have banned GMO crops. Too bad they didn't know what you know, as your knowledge apparently outweighs the knowledge of all other researchers.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/499359...
Funny how there are scientists that look at all the data that exsists to make their conclusions and there are some that do not.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 11:11 a.m.

I have no problems (scientific or otherwise) if folks want to go "organic" with their food consumption. People of this bent tend to pay more attention to their health via exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet. These are all good things.

But it is not necessary to justify such an action using reams of internet pseudoscience from agenda-driven fear-mongers who wouldn't know a natural plant toxin from synthetic fructose or an ester from a ketone.

Like the airline pilot said to the apprehensive passenger, "Sir, I have just as much interest in getting safely to our destination as you do."

Agricultural chemists and farmers have lives, kids and families, too.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 11:21 a.m.
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Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 11:24 a.m.

Matt: You said, "What about the quality of food, the sustainability of the crop, the nutrients that it provides, the side effects of chemical tainted foods, the long term effects of these GMO crops."
____________________

The problem is....you say the words "quality" and "sustainability" and "nutrients" and "side effects" and "chemically tainted" and "long term".....yet you show absolutely no hint of knowing what ANY of these terms REALLY mean from a biochemical, medical, analytical, agricultural, or biological perspective.

INO, you possess many terms, yet do not know their meaning.

Try the "large garden" experiment and get back to us. Use all the techniques you think will work, including use of a hoe. Gasoline-driven tillers are not allowed, and neither is ANY chemical (including copper sulfate Bordeaux mixture, which requires...horrors!...a copper mine). Keep track of your time, and take pictures of the non-highgraded fruits and veggies. Keep track of yields. Have lots of fun. Do things the "old ways", but please stay out of my garden once you start to starve out.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 11:27 a.m.

Agricultural chemists and farmers have lives, kids and families, too.

What does that have to do with the attacks you have made against my statements? I am a farmer. I have a life a kid and family. If you support these personal descions, then why do you make me out to be an idiot? I am not fear-mongering anyone or anything. I have made a personal descion to stay away from GMOs and pesticides as much as possible. You attacked that. I am having a hard time following your statements, probably because I am an idiot, right?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 11:34 a.m.
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Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 11:36 a.m.
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matt arnall December 28, 2011 | 11:41 a.m.

Oh yes, you are a big dog indeed. Do you work for Monsanto?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 28, 2011 | 11:42 a.m.

matt arnall wrote:

"Public opinion is that people don't want to eat GMO food."

The public is generally quite scientifically ignorant, also. A lot of people think they can get a cold from a chill, or that bats are blind. Whether people are comfortable eating GMO food has very little to do with whether it is harmful.

"Public opinion is that organic farming is good and not having to eat a bunch of chemicals is also good."

Few people understand what "organic" really means, and that organic farmers are in fact allowed to use sprays (including Bacillus thurigensis, the pesticide that GMO Bt crops express). Some, like rotenone and nicotine, are far more toxic than many "synthetic" pesticides.

Many organic foods travel further than conventional ones, and since freshness is what makes food taste better, I suspect a lot of why people think organic foods taste better is they simply feel better about eating them. There's really much less difference than most people think.

The entire "natural vs. synthetic" distinction is meaningless. A natural compound can be prepared synthetically, or vice versa, and there is no difference between the two. Chemicals, whether natural or synthetic, have specific effects on humans, depending on the dose. Pesticides can be toxic or benign to animals, and we've had a long time to sort out the difference. Plus, there's really no good evidence that pesticide residues cause health problems. Anecdotes on anti-GMO bulletin boards don't count.

As Michael says, most of the poisons in vegetables and fruits (cyanide, anyone?)are part of their natural defense systems, and are there however they were grown. Few of them have been tested or characterized. Since we have access now to many vegetables year round, it is quite possible that natural compounds in our food may pose a hazard comparable to any synthetic residues - in the past, humans couldn't eat a lot of one food because of seasons. Now if you want you can have lettuce or broccoli every day. Both of these vegetables have chemicals (naturally) that are carcinogenic in rats in high doses. We cannot say that a pesticide residue is somehow more hazardous than any of these natural ones.

Some further reading:

http://heartland.org/sites/all/modules/c...

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpine...

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 12:26 p.m.
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Ellis Smith December 28, 2011 | 12:27 p.m.

[Past time to interject some humor into this thread!]

Michael Williams: I too must once have been 62, but damned if I can remember when I WAS 62!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 12:42 p.m.

DK: excellent post and an extension of my own thoughts.

The old timers knew certain plants were toxic, and through trial and error knew how to cook them prior to eating. There were reasons why rhubarb and other plants needed to be cooked in 2-or-more waters....to extract and throw away the toxins (like oxalate). Some plants had to be harvested young since the more mature plants could harm or even kill, but the toxins were still in the young plants albeit at lower concentrations. All plant medicines are defenses AND poisons in the right dose. As stated, thank gawd for livers.

Your first link is a beaut; I've seen it before and have heard Ames speak. All this from the guy who developed the Ames carcinogenicity test.

I don't care if folks want to go organic. Heck, the stuff tastes better because it's fresher, as you stated; I mainly buy bulk from the Clark/Versailles Mennonites for these reasons in addition to my own garden. But to claim "health effects" is just a sophisticated marketing plan to get "true believers" scared and enrolled. And THAT is my only objection and point for posting on this topic in the first place.

INO, the action is a fine effort, but the pseudo-scientific justification sucks. It isn't needed to sell the concept.

Market the "freshness" and "locality" concepts. The rest is balderdash that I fully intend to attack when I hear it.

(Report Comment)
David Sautner December 28, 2011 | 12:52 p.m.

If you can grow your own fruits and vegetables the more power to ya. There are several community gardens around town that provide fertilzer and mulch as long as you bring your own seeds you can pick out a spot, garden, and then celebrate with all of your little green and yellow buddies in the church of your choice, eating and worshipping together oh onion oh potatoe oh squash oh cabbage oh prune.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 12:59 p.m.

DK:

PS: As for the Mennonite produce auctions, you'd be absolutely shocked....shocked, I tells ya....at how much "organic" farmers'-market-produce comes from those particular sources.

It's cheap, it's in bulk, it's better tasting and looking than about anything else you can find around here, you can pretend YOU grew it...and it's neat how I can recognize the same faces sellin' at local farmers' markets buyin' bulk at those auctions.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 1:04 p.m.

Ellis says, "I too must once have been 62, but damned if I can remember when I WAS 62!"
_______________

I unnerstand, ya ol' coot. I've had to erase several early brain files myself to make room for new stuff.

I use a horseshoe magnet near my left ear.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 28, 2011 | 5:49 p.m.

DK: I'd like to know what chemicals, if any, local "organic" producers are using for insect, fungi, and plant control.

Doubt we'll get any volunteers, tho.

But such "labeling" should be made mandatory by the state or local governments where such produce is sold. Legally-binding signage at the stall would be satisfactory.

I'd also like to see USDA testing of "organic" produce from all across the nation.

(Report Comment)
John Schmidt December 29, 2011 | 12:49 a.m.
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Mark Foecking December 29, 2011 | 6:30 a.m.

Michael Williams wrote:

"DK: I'd like to know what chemicals, if any, local "organic" producers are using for insect, fungi, and plant control."

Here's the USDA allowed list of substances.

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/tex...

There are some fairly toxic substances on this list. Lime-sulfur, for example, is a permitted fungicide which is considered caustic and toxic both to eat and to apply. A compound that does the same thing (myclobutanil, related to the OTC fungicides Lotrimin and Nizoral), is prohibited, even though it is less toxic and less obnoxious to apply.

If GMO products have to be labeled as such, then organic products should be labeled with what has been used on them. What's good for the goose...

I hate the way these discussions tend to degenerate into "evil giant corporation" rhetoric. Like it or not, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred, and the other biotech seed companies feed a hell of a lot of people and livestock. If they didn't produce products that farmers found effective and profitable, they wouldn't be selling these products. They're obviously doing something right.

DK

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 29, 2011 | 6:52 a.m.

Michael Williams wrote:

"it's neat how I can recognize the same faces sellin' at local farmers' markets buyin' bulk at those auctions."

I'm sure there is some of this at CFM (I don't know that much about BCFM), and you can often tell the vendors that are more likely to do it. I know of several vendors that I don't think do it (I or someone I know have visited their farms and seen what they grow) but even so, I'm more OK with buying something fresher and higher quality even if it wasn't all grown by the vendor.

I know that CFM management inspects vendors on a fairly regular basis, but of course that wouldn't stop a vendor from supplementing their inventory from time to time. Again, if it's fairly local, fresh, and good quality, I'm pretty much OK with it.

DK

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller December 29, 2011 | 8:40 a.m.

As one who actually grew up on a farm and actually farmed during the 1930's and 40's, I found the byplay interesting, albeit fraught with misstatements and ad hominem attacks. To those who rail against the use of pesticides, fertilizers and genetically engineered crops, may I point out that in the 40's and 50's rich bottomland was virtually the only soil which would produce 100 bushel an acre corn.

Those days are long gone now and good riddance as we need all the advantage we can develop to feed a rapidly growing population.

To those who prefer organic food..that is your choice; however, if we turned off use of pesticides, commercial fertilizers and crop research, we would halt the population explosion through starvation.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 29, 2011 | 9:12 a.m.
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matt arnall December 29, 2011 | 10:09 a.m.
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Corey Parks December 29, 2011 | 11:38 a.m.

wow man. Take a chill pill. Maybe break away from the computer for a few days and come back and re-read these comments.
You will probably see that your cute little comments about something being funny were slander just like you are accusing others of using against you.
These message boards are for opinion and since everyone has them you have to be have thick skin.
Obviously you are just as passionate about your organic as others are about their life work.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 29, 2011 | 11:43 a.m.
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matt arnall December 29, 2011 | 2:20 p.m.
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mike mentor December 29, 2011 | 2:26 p.m.
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Ray Shapiro December 29, 2011 | 2:44 p.m.

Technology is great, especially when Frankencorn yields Frankenbugs.
Meanwhile, I use my microwave to heat up left over Chinese Food and boil tea water which would kill my house plants, if I used it to water them after cooling.
It's convenient...not healthy.
Wait until we're eating Soylent Green.
Then we'll really be in for it.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 29, 2011 | 3:38 p.m.

He who steals my food steals trash.

[Shakespeare is probably spinning around in his grave.]

(Report Comment)
Tony Robertson December 29, 2011 | 3:43 p.m.

Here is a link to an Oxford-style debate, where the motion was "Organic food is marketing hype":
http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.p...

One of the debaters was our fellow Missourian, Blake Hurst. It was an entertaining exchange. My take: reason and experience were trumped by emotion and activism.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 29, 2011 | 3:50 p.m.

"...reason and experience were trumped by emotion and activism."

That could describe much of what's going on these days.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 29, 2011 | 4:24 p.m.

Whoa! I go to the farm for a few hours to work on trees and tractor only to find we've been slaughtered.

Shoulda saved 'em, but I'm not into manifestos.

But they left in the "ol' coot" comment directed at Ellis...and that was the important one.

;^)

(PS: There is absolutely no difference between an "organic" advocate denigrating ag chem companies with pseudo-science...for monetary gain...versus a lobbyist denigrating an opponent by fibbing...for monetary gain. This is NOT a big-guy/little-guy argument, tho many support their arguments by doing so.

Those advocating "organic" should stick to "tastes better" and "fresher"...because it truly does. All the rest is just balderdash and a marketing effort to make and enlist true-believers.

Full disclosure: I buy home-grown eggs from a local farmer, meat from a butcher in New Franklin, collect nuts on my farm, live in the woods, convert land to savannas, plant trees, can/freeze a significant quantity of my food, make peach brandy, erect erosion-control devices on my land, garden, and grow peaches, apples, raspberries, and blueberries. I'm an Environmentalist (capital E) who does not buy into the pseudo-science balderdash of the environmentalists (little E).

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 29, 2011 | 4:44 p.m.

Just curious on why my comment was deleted? Was it because I pointed out the obvious?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 29, 2011 | 5:10 p.m.

Corey: I'm lost, too. Hopefully an email will clarify things re: me. Obviously I went awry of the policy multiple times. I'm currently on a "pre-screen" probation.

I think.

(Report Comment)
Frank Michael Russell December 29, 2011 | 5:26 p.m.

Everyone, thank you for your comments, especially those that contribute respectfully to debate over public issues. Several comments on this article were removed because they violated our policy against comments that include personal attacks.

A change in our comment system allows us to decide to review individual users' comments before they are posted. Previously, we only could block a user account entirely.

Regards,
Frank Russell
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 29, 2011 | 5:40 p.m.

Frank: I doubt if anyone here saves their posts. Consequently, it's hard to discern where one goes awry, especially if we're gone for hours. It would really help if, in your private emails to those of us chased down with lights and sirens, you would simply copy the offensive material and state which policy was violated.

For me, I'm not asking this so I can argue back (promise, cross my heart); I just need to know how the policy is being implemented to avoid future problems.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 29, 2011 | 6:50 p.m.

Feel free to send me an email showing exactly where I attacked or belittled or posted an offensive comment concerning the conversation that was going on?
If you deleted said post because I pointed out that a flaw in the Missourian policy then it should be stated as such and not just deleted for violation. Now those that were reading and commenting and now are logging on only see that I was deleted and they can only assume I broke some rules instead of upholding them and pointing out threats.
And yes I do save all my comments.

(Report Comment)
Frank Michael Russell December 29, 2011 | 7:55 p.m.

Corey,

It's certainly not a violation of our comment policy to criticize the Missourian or its comment policy!

Regards,
Frank

(Report Comment)
John Schmidt December 29, 2011 | 11:11 p.m.

I disbelieve that statement.

(Report Comment)

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