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Questions…. But No Real Answers On GMO’s

The other day on one of my newsgroups, there was a thread on GMO’s. In my opinion GMO’s are a serious thing. In my opinion not enough people know or have enough information on GMO. What is a GMO you ask? It is short for Genetically Modified Organism… which is what major AgriBiz corporation businesses are doing to our food sources. And we don’t have a lot of choice in some ways.

The original post was: “There are many forms under the guise of genetically modified organisms (GMO).  How far do we take this argument and/or how do we truly fight it based on the fact that pretty much ALL our food, be it plants or livestock, are modified in some way shape or form? Am I wrong when I submit these few examples of GMO food?. . .  Nectarines, seedless fruit (i.e. grapes), corn (given that early maize was only about 1″ long and had very small kernels).”
If you are confused, and a lot of people are confused about GMO’s… here are bits and pieces of my responses the other day in the thread. I do not want you to take my word as gold on this subject. What I really want to do is encourage you to go out for yourself and find information on GMO crops (and animals), make an informed decision, then tell others.

fresh-sweet-cornWhat is a GMO anyway?
GMO = Inserting genes, which there is no way naturally that would have ever been put into the GMO crop without a scientist creating such a thing in a lab.

Selective breeding is like the breed Angus cattle from the ancient Bos taurus. Just by breeding selective traits to create the breed WITHIN the species and not requiring a petri dish.

But with the GMO, they are bringing in genes from other species to create a new thing. So it is very different than merely crossbreeding to get a hybrid plant or animal. GMO/Transgenic Manipulation is inserting things like jellyfish genes into corn. Flounder fish genes into tomatoes. Bacteria into corn. Human DNA into chickens and hogs.Things which naturally would not be paired together.

Aren’t GMO vegetables the same as a Hybrid vegetable???

Hybrid vegetables are, for example, crossing two or more varieties within the corn species from pollen. You might understand better if I said it was like crossbreeding a German Shepherd dog and a Beagle together. It is merely crossbreeding between two breeds.

This is what I like recommending to people who are not sure about GMO’s.. and it is pretty balanced I think.

It is 12 parts. This is the first one. I encourage you to watch all 12.


Apples came from ancient wild small apple trees and then they were selected for their natural mutations and crosses to become the apple we know today. Fuji, Braeburn, Granny Smith. They are all naturally selected, crossbred or naturally occuring sports of other varieties of trees.

Nectarines are actually the same species as a peach, even though they are sold as different fruits. The Nectarine was selected from peaches for their lack of fuzz and then bred and bred again for that trait to make a ‘fuzzless’ peach, which is now called the Nectarine.

For the statement about the ancient corn being only about an inch long. There are 5 distinct types of corn. Each one was selected for its trait/s and continuing to selective breed for those traits until they happened every single time.

Flour Corn –  Because of its soft, starchy, yellow kernels it is one of the only corns that can be ground into a fine flour. The rest make a coarse sort of cornmeal.

Flint Corn –  Sometimes called “Indian Corn”, it comes in a wide range of colors. Because its kernels are covered in a hard shell, it preserves well as an ornament, however it is also edible when ground into cornmeal.

Dent Corn –  This is a high yield, yellow or white corn, characterized by a dent in the top of each kernel. It is a popular American agricultural crop used for animal feed, industry, and some human foods, as well.

Sweet Corn –  This corn can be yellow or white and is often eaten fresh and what you would eat off the cob. On the cob or canned, sweet corn’s high sugar content makes it very palatable. This is the kind of corn that is commonly grown in home gardens.

Pop Corn –  Its kernels can be yellow, white or various other colors and have a soft, starchy center covered by a hard shell. When heated, the center expands until it explodes from its shell, making what we call popcorn.

Shoepeg Corn –  Shoepeg corn is a cultivar of white sweetcorn valued for its sweetness. It is characterized by small, narrow kernels tightly and unevenly packed on the cob. The corn has a sweet, mild flavor. The only variety of shoepeg corn available today is “Country Gentleman”.

All of these corn types came about by natural selection for traits that the grower wanted to pass on to the next generation. Again, they did not need a petri dish to accomplish this feat. Yes, some were hybridized, but that just entails crossbreeding. Not all hybrids will reproduce.


Question: RoundUp Ready plants don’t contain RoundUp do they? Monsanto says that it is self-limiting and does not hurt the environment.

What about all the RoundUp found in the urine in almost 200 people from 18 countries last summer? It was determined they got it into their bodies by eating the food. And it stayed in their bodies for quite some time after they stopped eating RoundUp Ready crops.

I pick on Monsanto mostly about GMO’s, as in the past as well as currently, they have lied, bribed, have done their own research with their own scientists who then pretty much bribed the FDA and other ABC agencies to use their stats and findings – that their products were safe. With a huge amount of lobbyists in government for Monsanto, Dow and others, should we trust the research that says it is ‘safe’? At one time, Monsanto and seven other manufacturers said Agent Orange and others ‘colors’ of Operation Ranch Hand, that this product was safe for humans and only an herbicide.

This list is old at 2 years ago, but how much faith do you put into these guys who approve GMO stuff? It is called the Monsanto Revolving Door in some circles. Monsanto people go to work for the Government and the US Government people go to work for Monsanto. Around and around and around they go.

Linda J. Fisher . . .former Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances…now Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.

Michael A. Friedman, M.D. . . former Acting Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services . . .now Senior Vice-President for clinical affairs at G.D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical division of Monsanto Corporation.

L. Val Giddings . . . former biotechnology regulator and (biosafety) negotiator at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS) . . .now Vice President for Food & Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

Marcia Hale . . . former Assistant to the President of the United States and Director for Intergovernmental Affairs . . .now Director of International Government Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.

Michael (Mickey) Kantor. . . former Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and former Trade Representative of the United States . . . now member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.

Josh King . . . former Director of Production for White House events. . . now Director of Global Communication in the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.

Terry Medley . . . former Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, former chair and vice-chair of the United States Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Council, former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food advisory committee…and now Director of Regulatory and External Affairs of Dupont Corporation’s Agricultural Enterprise.

Margaret Miller . . . former chemical laboratory Supervisor for Monsanto, . . .now Deputy Director of Human Food Safety and Consultative Services, New Animal Drug Evaluation Office, Center for Veterinary Medicine in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).*

Michael Phillips . . . recently with the National Academy of Science Board on Agriculture . . . now head of regulatory affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

William D. Ruckelshaus . . . former Chief Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), . .now (and for the past 12 years) a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.

Michael Taylor . . . former legal advisor to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Bureau of Medical Devices and Bureau of Foods, later Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the FDA… still later a partner at the law firm of King & Spaulding where he supervised a nine-lawyer group whose clients included Monsanto Agricultural Company… still later Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the United States Food and Drug Administration, . . . and later with the law firm of King & Spaulding… now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.*

Lidia Watrud . . . former microbial biotechnology researcher at Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri, . . .now with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Effects Laboratory, Western Ecology Division.

Jack Watson. . .former Chief of Staff to the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, . . .now a staff lawyer with Monsanto Corporation in Washington, D.C.

Clayton K. Yeutter . . . former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former U.S. Trade Representative (who led the U.S. team in negotiating the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement and helped launch the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations), now a member of the board of directors of Mycogen Corporation, whose majority owner is Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.

Larry Zeph . . . former biologist in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, . . . now Regulatory Science Manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist, wrote the USDA’s food standards, allowing corporations to label irradiated and genetically engineered foods as “organic.”

Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. When Danforth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976, Thomas left to become an attorney with the Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri. He moved to Washington, D.C. and returned to work for Danforth from 1979 to 1981 as a Legislative Assistant handling energy issues for the Senate Commerce Committee. Thomas has ruled in favor of Monsanto every time since he has been with the Supreme court.

Donald Rumsfeld. He was a higher up in Searle which is a subdivision of Monsanto. He got Aspartame legalized when he was Secretary of Defense.


DDT was made by Monsanto and deemed safe at one time by the FDA. It was banned in the 1970’s but somehow it has started to be used again. “Posilac”, the Bovine Growth Hormone I used to sell by the CASE out the back door at the vet clinic. Sales dropped off as “on 30 September 2010, the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, analyzing evidence submitted in briefs, found that there is a “compositional difference” between milk from rBGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows. The court stated that milk from rBGH-treated cows has: increased levels of the hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1); higher fat content and lower protein content.”

And there is this …” Monsanto’s growth hormones for cows have been approved by Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist turned USDA administrator and FDA deputy commissioner.  This was after Margaret Miller, a former Monsanto employee, oversaw a report on the hormones’ safety and then took a job at the FDA where she approved her own report.

Why did the Monsanto Protection Act just recently get passed in a rush? And only a month before the news hit about the GMO wheat in Oregon?

If GMO were such a good thing, why does Monsanto, Dow and friends, FIGHT.. with A LOT of money to keep GMO products from being labeled as such, instead of proudly proclaiming that they are GMO?


Question: But they have tested GMO’s. Aren’t they safe?

What about the cattle in Hess, Germany that died after eating GMO corn? In Hesse, Germany many cows died suddenly when they were fed with Syngenta’s genetically engineered maize cow food and as a result of this incident the authorities in Germany decided to slaughter the rest of the cows, to avoid having the mysterious disease to get out and contaminate other cattle houses. Syngenta did admit that the protein used for the cow food maize is also used for human genetically engineered foods and they paid for the loss of the cattle.

And another interesting read http://grist.org/food/syngenta-plays-dirty-to-shape-public-opinion-on-herbicide/

GMO crops do not yield more actually. SOME of them prevent loss, however. Wisconsin University did this huge trial for over 30 years on normal hybrid corn and then GMO corn when it came along. GMO with “stacked traits,” or multiple transgenes, tended to have slightly improved yields — an extra two or three bushels per acre. On the other hand, grain yields from hybrids with the Bt for Corn Rootworm (CRW) transgene trailed those of regular hybrids by a whopping 12 bushels per acre. A bushel of corn is 56 pounds.

Sheep grazing Bt cotton in India died.

Farmer suicides in India
As of 2009, 87% of Indian cotton-growing land was used for Bt cotton. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) stated that in the five years from 2007 to 2012 the cost of cotton cultivation had jumped, as a consequence of rising pesticide costs associated with Bt cotton production, while crop yield declined. In 2012 the ICAR and the CCRI stated that, for the first time, farmer suicides could be linked to a decline in the performance of Bt cotton, and they issued an advisory stating that “cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers.” As of August 2012, technical experts appointed by the India Supreme Court have recommended a 10-year moratorium on all field trials of GM food, as well as the termination of all current trials of transgenic crops.


I guess some of my concern about GMO is ‘crossing the species barrier’. Mother Nature, God, whomever, whatever, put natural safeguards in place to keep things under control in this world. One of these safeguards is called a “Species Barrier”. Man is seriously screwing with that ‘Species Barrier’.

I will hop out of plants for a second and go over to the animal kingdom. Also ignore that scientists are putting animal genes into plants, for a second or two.

Scrapie, which is a sheep disease (and yes, goats to a lesser extent) has been around for at least 400 years. Scrapie in sheep doesn’t do a whole lot other than the affected animals will compulsively scrape off their fleeces against rocks, trees or fences. There is no evidence that scrapie is infectious to humans. People have been eating ‘scrapie sheep’ for at least 400 years.

Sheep and cattle eat vegetation. They are not meat eaters. Naturally cattle do not eat sheep. So some of the diseases one gets, the other will not get. But Man, thinking he can do whatever with no consequences, took ‘downer sheep’, killed them if they were not already dead, ground them up and put the sheep into cattle feed to feed the cattle a cheap protein to gain profit. By doing this, the “Species Barrier” has now been compromised and crossed.  Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. It happens in many species from mink to elk to sheep to deer, etc. But when the sheep version got into the cattle, it mutated.

When it mutated, it turned into Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), which you would know as “mad cow disease”. BSE has a long incubation period, about 30 months to 8 years. Most cattle are harvested for your dinner table at about 18 months. The disease is transmitted to human beings by eating food contaminated with the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract of infected carcasses. The disease is highly concentrated in nervous tissue and brain, but is found in all tissues throughout the cattle, including blood.

After the human eats the cow, it again mutates in the person (prions mutate actually, which is a type of protein) and becomes a variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Between 460,000 and 482,000 BSE-infected animals had entered the human food chain before controls on high-risk offal were introduced in 1989. Again, CJD has a long incubation period in humans.

Back to the plants, scientists are inserting all sorts of things into the plants we are eating and it is changes the plants’ DNA and proteins. I know I do not let anyone who smokes tobacco near my heirloom tomatoes and peppers as if their cigarette tobacco has Tobacco Mosaic Virus in it, it can transfer that disease onto my tomatoes and peppers from the smoke or any residue on their hands from smoking. The TMV actually gets into the plant and into the seeds and changes its DNA for it for generations evermore. I have read this from various unrelated sources.

In GMO, the inserted genes can come from species within the same kingdom (plant to plant) or between kingdoms (for example, bacteria to plant or animal to plant). In many cases the inserted DNA has to be modified in order to correctly and efficiently express in the host organism. And yes.. Monsanto is putting HUMAN DNA into hogs and chickens. It was on their website for the longest time when I did not believe it. It is no longer on their website, but I know it was there.

There is a transgenic (GMO) tomato that is genetically engineered with a gene from the winter flounder. What if you had a heaping plate of spaghetti with sauce for dinner and you suddenly go into anaphylactic shock as you are actually allergic to seafood/fish and there was no GMO labeling on the spaghetti sauce jar? Many people are allergic to peanuts, but many GMO crops have peanut genes in them for various reasons.

So far they have only been putting 1-2 foreign genes into the plants which is causing concern in many circles, but now they are trying an 8-way GMO plant for human consumption. I know, in chemicals, if you mix a couple kinds together, it mutates and makes for something 8x+ more powerful (and usually not healthy) than either of the two chemicals on their own. And if you add 3 chemicals together, it then can be 32X more powerful and even become something much different.

Things used to get tested to death before release, and now time is even more money than it used to be. For example, they used to give flea control orally to pets. But soon they came out with topical flea control for pets. Was it really for the ‘convenience of the pet owner’?  I bet not. Orally the product has to be tested for 5-6 years… topically it only has to be tested for 6 months. Why do you think the companies REALLY went to topical products? They are pushing to quickly get many of these GMO products out there and for us to eat.

The GMO products are not getting tested long enough and even many pro-GMO advocates grimly agree this is wrong.. there should be more testing long-term, but hey, it is out there and so far it has not done ‘anything bad’, so carry on. Did you know that MOST of the GMO’s are only tested for 90 days?

They do know other ‘accidental’ genes are going over in transfers. “Terminator Crops” which kill off their own embryo so they cannot reproduce are GMO, and it would be fine if it stayed with the “Terminator Crop” plants, but the pollen is still viable and is breeding non-TC plants and turning the next generation into TC-plants, which are sterile and cannot reproduce as they have killed off their own embryo in the seed.

Just like with the sheep Scrapie into cows, just like other things.. how do they know they have tested long enough to make sure things won’t mutate? How long do they test to make sure there is no DNA changes in humans or animals from this stuff? Sometimes it takes 5-8 years for Spongiform Encephalopathy to show up in sheep, 8+ years for cattle, and 20-40 years for JCD to show up in humans.

Agent Orange made by Monsanto (and 9 other chemical companies) which was said by the FDA to ONLY be a herbicide and okay for human health…? There is now a list of 159 reported illnesses that the biological grandchildren of Vietnam veterans are suffering from. Apparently it has gone from the original veterans into their genes and is passing health issues off to the 3rd generation. Why would not any other chemical (such as RoundUp) put into a plant that we eat possibly have the same type of effect? If RoundUp had a limited life as Monsanto reports, which then became the FDA /EPA reports claim, how is it that so many people have Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine (main ingredient in RoundUp herbicide) in their urine as mentioned above??

Until it stopped production in 1977, Monsanto was the source of 99% of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) used by U.S. industry. They were known to be highly toxic from the beginning but they tested their own and then the reports they manufactured were taken in by the FDA and other ABC agencies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychlorinated_biphenyls Read the states issues too there.

What has Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and others done to earn our trust on the so-called “Frankenfoods”?


Why does food have to be so complicated? Why does a grain, bean, tomato, papaya, potato which has been feeding people for 80,000 years, suddenly is ‘less superior’ than GMO’s in the last 20 when man started playing around in a petri dish? So many of the projects I hear about for GMO is similar to, “Hey… we did this thing.. do you think it is possible to do that thing?”.. the other guys says, “Why do you want to do that crazy idea?”.. First guy, “No idea.. I just want to see if I can pull it off”.


A comment from another member was:
“Not only do they strongly resist having to label their products as distinctly different..”

My response:
“They also use/d huge amounts of money to PREVENT organic and naturally made foods from putting GMO-FREE labels on their products. And won.

April 3, 2007: Monsanto Inc. filed a complaint to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking it to ban labels identifying products as coming from cows not injected with artificial hormones.

Dec. 24, 2003: Monsanto Inc. and Oakhurst Dairy settled Monsanto’s lawsuit out of court today. Under the agreement, Oakhurst will use labels that read, “Our Farmers´ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormone Used.” Its previous label did not have the word “used.” But the labels also will note that the FDA claims there is no significant difference in milk from cows treated with growth hormones.”


Rabbit color genetics are my thing.. the breed I raise is the American and it comes in two varieties (colors). The color of the two American rabbit varieties are controlled by five primary genes – A, B, C, D & E. There are two possible alleles (gene components contributed by each parent) that define the expression of each gene. The IDEAL blue rabbit will have a genotype (the genetic code) of “aaBBC_ddEE”. My whites are ” _ _ _ _ cc _ _ _ _ _ _”.

For another example.. this is a few of the different rabbit color genetic code for other breeds… (I put these here as most people have not seen genetic code written out)
Red Eyed White – _ _ _ _ cc _ _ _ _ _ _
Blue Eyed White – _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ vv
Black – aa B_ C_ D_ E_ W_
Blue – aa bb C_ D_ E_ W_
Chocolate – aa B_ C_ dd E_ W_
Lilac – aa bb C_ dd E_ W_
Sable Point (Pearl) – aa B_ c(chl) D_ ee W_
Blue Point – aa B_ c(chl) dd ee W_
Chocolate Point – aa bb c(chl) D_ ee W_
Lilac Point – aa bb c(chl) dd ee W_
Seal – aa B_ c(chl)c(chl) D_ E_ W_    or   aa B_ c(chl)c(h) D_ E_ W_
Dark Smoke Pearl – aa B_ c(chl)c(chl) dd E_ W_   or  aa B_ c(chl)c(h) dd E_ W_
Siamese Sable – aa B_ c(chl)_ D_ E_ W_
Siamese Smoke Pearl – aa B_ c(chl)_ dd E_ W_ … and there are about 100 more, just for colors on rabbits.

It TOTALLY BOGGLES my brain of all the genetic code that they could be using for GMO crops. Just the corn genome is a hodgepodge of some 32,000 genes crammed into just 10 chromosomes. In comparison, humans have 20,000 genes dispersed among 23 chromosomes. Want to REALLY boggle our brains? The bread wheat genome…. its constituent number of paired DNA bases, or nucleotides, totals 17,000,000,000 base-pairs (17 Gb).  Do you REALLY think all of those have been studied?

In an ideal world, I can see the good side of GMO. The problem is that the situation will never be a perfect world. These large AgriBiz are not doing this to be humanitarians. They are doing this to make money and cut out the competition. In the end for most things, doesn’t it always come down to power and money?

So I think I would like to err on the side of caution and avoid all these GMO things, than to take reports/studies which are manufactured by those who have something to gain from the product.


About Cedar

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Cedar is a 5th generation Oregonian, who grew up on a small vineyard in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Her first 'job' was growing and selling "Big Max" pumpkins from a roadside stand on the family farm. At 11, she had her own rabbitry business with nearly 100 rabbits. This is when she learned to make the tough decisions of what animals to keep in a breeding program, which animals were excellent in conformation, how to butcher, how to tan their hides and how to keep proper farm records. She later applied this to larger livestock. During high school Cedar took agricultural classes 1 to 4 hours each day for 4 years. She was volunteer dog handler/trainer for a Search and Rescue Unit and was a certified Level I & II trainer to teach other handlers how to train and work their dogs. Over the years she has raised and shown many species and breeds of livestock ranging from rabbits, honey bees, poultry, hogs, dairy goats, horses, beef & dairy cattle and wool sheep for her spinning wheel, drop spindles and looms. She was a veterinary technican for small, large and zoo animals for 22 years. Cedar immigrated north to Canada in 2001, where she owned 40 acres in the bush, the only source of heat in her little cabin was firewood taken from the land, often hauled by sleddogs. Currently some of the animals she raises are the rare American Blue & White rabbit, Slate turkeys, and Shetland sheep. Most of the breeds she chooses are heirloom breeds for conservation reasons. An avid seed saver, she maintains over 700 varieties of rare heirloom vegetable, grain & flower seeds and encourages others to save garden seeds. Back in Oregon, Cedar and her fiance recently bought a century old 100 acre farm in a quaint little farming community. There she is currently writing for various publications, raising her young daughter, and rebuilding a farm. You can probably find her somewhere out in the garden or milking goats....

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