Should Supermarkets Sell Both GM And Non-GM Foods?
Sampling Of Submissions
At present GM foods should not be available at supermarket chains, as it is still possible for an individual to consume GM products in ignorance. I suggest that all GM products are required to have the fact they are genetically modified printed on the front of the product in bold letters no less than 6mm high.
I concede that the short term effects on sales would probably be unhelpful, but as the benefits of GM food are established over time it may become a desirable "stamp of Quality". This measure would also overcome the perceived "intoduction by stealth" that has helped fuel the current media frenzy.
I envy all of you in Europe - I wish that people in America were willing to take a stand on something, anything, that affects them and the world around them! Bravo for taking a stand, of course our newspapers haven't mentioned any of this, but one can hope...
My experience of people's opposition to GM food is that it tends to be based on emotional knee-jerk reactions (the phrase "genetically engineered" scaring many people). I am very supportive of advances in food research and genetic tweaking of products to increase yields, reduce pesticide use and generally improve the lot of humans and the environment.
It is ironic to hear Monsanto bleating about freedom of choice when the company's actions have been directed at removing it from others. The mingling of GM and non-GM foods, bullying and litigation against anyone who has attempted to resist the process, and even the obscene use of libel laws to prevent the labelling of GM ingredients indicate that the company speaks with a forked tongue.
Like patriotism, the appeal to fair play is only used when bullying has ceased to work. This is indeed the last refuge of the scoundrel.
When I buy clothes, I can choose cotton, nylon, wool etc. I choose not to buy artificial fibres. When I buy food, I want to buy food free of GM modified soya or maize -- and I'd want to do it even if GM stuff is perfectly safe (unless you could convince me it was really much better for the environment). America should separate its GM and non GM soya -- I think there'll soon be a big price difference otherwise, and you'll see farmers realising they're losing out by growing stuff consumers don't want.
In my humble opinion, there may be a place for GM foods but the focus is wrong. I understand that the focus has been on making food resistant to pests and reducing the need for the use of pesticides.
The focus needs to be changed to make crops more drought resistant. This would go a long way in helping third world countries get better yields of crops.
Lets face it, the western world does not need better crop yields. Farmers are being paid NOT to produce crops, so as to reduce the FOOD MOUNTAIN.
If there is such a big food mountain, does it not make sense to go back to an organic method of farming in the western world?
Its cool that the supermarkets have taken a notice of their consumers. And I think that freedom of having GM foods or not has nothing to do with it. If it could harm people by consuming it, then protecting the consumers is the only logical thing to do. If something did happen to someone that said they were happy to consume GM foods, then afterwards they would have to have compensation and they would winge for ages. So its not worth the risk of such lovely lives and the health of those lovely lives, is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Recently a friend of mine was telling me about a trip he took to Argentina. The thing that really bothered me was when he told me they pay less than 10.00 a gallon for Roundup and how they are aloud to use bin run Roundup soybean seed. Why does corporate America make the American farmer subsidize our competition? I guess free trade isnt fair trade.
I was amused to see a mother being interviewed on television, declaring forcefully that she "would never feed GM food to her children", while holding a cigarette in her hand.
I would personally far rather eat GM foods that are known to be safe than some of the very dubious "organic" products that are appearing.
The UK goverment should take a hard stand against GM food. Consumers don't have all the facts about this technology (except for propoganda put out by Monsanto and others) and there are no convincing arguments for producing this kind of food. I used to shop at Sainsburys but now shop at Iceland who have taken an Anti GM approach. It is only a matter of time before the other retailers follow suit. Message for Monsanto investors - Sell your shares now.
The first thing we need is full labelling of GM produce and products so that we can avoid them if we wish to. Soya is of particular concern to those of us who don't eat meat. Labelling will need to be properly checked by an independent agency before we can have real confidence again. Confidence has already been damaged by the fact that so much GM food is around already without us having been warned.
The world doesn't need copyrighted patented food. What the world needs is better distribution of food so that there is a better balance between the one fifth of the world who are malnourished and the waste and overindulgence of the wealthier nations. Who stands to gain from GM crops? Those same wealthier nations, especially the USA.
I think that there is nothing wrong with GM foods. If there is a way to make foods taste better or grow faster I would try it. It might even solve WORLD HUNGER.
I feel that as a consumer and human being we should have the right to freedom of choice. I therefore, think that GM foods should be labeled clearly on the shelves so that we can each make our own choices.
I don't understand where you have got the idea that GM food products will not be available on supermarket shelves. Most supermarkets are only going to remove GM products from their own brand goods, but will continue to sell contaminated products made by Nestle, Unilever and others.
On the issue of consumer choice, growing GM crops in the UK will mean that those of us who do not want genetic food, and prefer organic food, will have no choice. The cross contamination from GM crops to organic crops WILL happen - this is accepted by members of the UK government.
Monsanto have been very arrogant about the whole issue of GM foods. Most of the public know that you are in it to make money, not to feed the world. We are prepared to pay extra for Organic foods and Fair-Trade goods which we know are of a benefit to the world, or world-wide society. The only way you can get GM foods bought is by making them cheaper, or by hiding them.
Personally, I have big problems with the way Monsanto carries out a lot of its business, but this is not the right place for me to take you to task over those issues.
check out www.tincan.co.uk/seizetheday
GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD SHOULD BE HELPED TO GROW IN PROPORTION BECAUSE IT CAN FEED THE WORLD'S HUNGER.
I am currently in my 3rd year studying Rural Resource Management and as a part of my Enviro Biology course there is a question being:
What are the possible ecological consequences associated with the transfer of herbicide resistance genes into wild relatives of oilseed rape that are common weeds, and how would one investigate any changes in competition between herbicide resistant weed and other weed and crop species???
I am enquiring as to whether you might know of anyone who could guide me in the right direction or have knowledge of this subject.
A concerned Student
I think that the panic which has set in about GM foods should have been handled better by the govternment before it got out of hand and it has. I am a food technologist working in the confectionery industry and the panic which has hit my department is crazy. People are ignorant about what GM is and where it can be found. OK, no one knows if there will be long term effects, maybe snowdrop genes in potatoes ARE harmful but this situation is already putting companies out ofbusiness. The Public need to be educated, they need to see the benefits of GM as well as the low risks, indeed, the risks connected with everything we do need to be compared with the risks they are perceiving now.
Sorry I got carried away. Of course supermarkets should sell both, a label which says "This product may contain genetically modified material" is all that is required. Then it is up to people like me to make sure that we tell the truth on our product labels. I would not support cross-kingdom modification though and that is what a lot of people are afraid of.
Personally I am against genetically modified products. I understand that they can provide benefits world wide. I don't believe they give much benefit to the general consumer. I would have no problems if GM crops and derived products were used to solve food shortage but I don't believe that they should be stocked on supermarket shelves.
Price does not concern me if I was to make a choice buying GM or non GM. I undestand that in Australia the governemnt has recently approved a large number of GM foods to be sold at supermarkets. No community debate was engaged in before this decision was reached which I believe was wrong. If debate was engaged in sufficiently and it was the overall attitude or opinion that these products should be on the shelf then I would be disappointed but satisfied that the decision was reached fairly.
From the tone of your intro to this discussion, am I to understand that Monsanto is now in favour of freedom of choice? If so, will you now stop the mixing of GM and Non-GM Soya at source and support proper informative labelling of GM and Non-GM foods? This would allow comsumers freedom of choice. Or are you only in favour of freedom of choice for Monsanto?
Hope this helps.
Rev. Don McDonald
I am a great believer in freedom of choice and the benefits of scientific progress. However, I do think that the whole issue of introducing GM material into the food chain has been unwisely rushed. Since the impact on the environment from this leading-edge technology is at present unknown, I would be strongly in favour of a government moratorium until the full impact has been adequately assessed.
Thereafter, with clear labelling to ensure that consumers can identify products containing GM ingredients and derivatives, there is no reason why consumers shouldn't be given the choice. Ultimately the market will dictate whether GM foods are successful or not.
But if we try to disguise the presence of GM ingredients in our food, the enormous backlash and the resulting adverse publicity from the media who now have so-called 'Frankenstein Food' mania will probably kill the technology stone dead.
David Clouter, MA (Cantab)
Its not surprising that supermarkets, who are closest to consumers, are seeking to source entirely untampered with corn and soya. Their consumers aren't asking for GE food, a few may tolerate it but most just do not want it. Supermarkets taking this ethical stance are helping to defend the environment and our long term health from the risks of genetic pollution just like those companies who remove PVC packaging or use biodegradable materials.
However if they are serious about providing food that is free from genetic engineering then the branded goods by companies such as Unilever and Nestle must also remove GE since these maintain a market for GE food. Unless we absolutely stop releasing GE plants into the environment the problem of cross-contamination into non-GE crops will become greater and greater. That's why 'choice' is a bit of an illusion with genetically engineered food: its alive - so you either let all our food become contaminated over time or you stop this unneccesary experiment entirely - there is no kind of halfway fudge with living pollution.
As consumers we should ask the supermarkets to actively defend our food from contamination, especially organic food which is now booming in popularity and is by definition untampered with. The best way they can do that is stop stocking all brands with GE ingredients sending the message clearly to US/canadian and argentinian farmers that the only soya and corn their consumers will eat is that which doesn't create genetic pollution. As consumers let supermarkets know that you will Boycott branded goods and stay with own brand unless they tell you that they are non-GE.
Monsanto .. please post all of this.. cheers!
Genetically modified food should be clearly labelled, thus giving me the opportunity not to choose it should I so wish.
All foods should be clearly labelled. If it is not possible to assure the customer that produce is non GMO the this should be stated. I comment as a food retailer dealing in mainly organic produce.
Genetically modified food should definitely be in the supermarket because of it's benefits to the society. Everything on this Earth was made to serve man and God gave us a mind to create a better existence for ourselves. GM foods are one of the ways we can improve our health and the condition of starving people all over the planet. We should give GM foods a chance to prove their effectiveness and benefit to our world. PUT EM' BACK ON THE SHELVES!!
The question itself doesn't make that much sense. All fruits and vegetables are genetically modified. Sure, selective breeding has been used for a long time. But in the last 10-20 years, even before direct genetic modification was made, new plant traits have been bred into a number of items, which can't occurr naturally or organically.
The genetic mutation techniques used to work on our food include radiation, damage from chemicals, and cultivation of plants which would not occur organically. Is this supposed to be safe? How would we know if these food items are not labeled?
How can the UK be labeling some food as "GM" when it ignores other food which has genetic mutations present, such as seedless grapes, watermelon, squash, and other crops with disease resistance?
Something isn't right with this imaginary distinction between products. Do organic stores in the UK sell seedless grapes? If so, they are tricking the UK since these are not an organic variety but a "GM" one. These grapes will not even grow from seed, just like the Monsanto terminator, and some people have ethical problems with this. Which big multi-national is concealing this information about seedless grapes in order to force UK citizens to eat them?
Monsanto indeed has no right to talk about freedom of choice. You have denied it to evereybody so now if you lose it don't complain. Besides, choice could be there when different kinds of safe products are on the market. However, Monsanto never has been able to convincingly show that GE soy is safe.
There are many facts, at the same time, that would suggest it is possibly not safe. Monsanto has a terrible history when it is about unsafe products. What company are you to produce Aspartame and stuff like that? What company are you to try to forcefeed people with plants you have abused??
About GM products in supermarkets, I think they shouldn't have even entered the supermarkets.
I think that super markets should sell both GM and non-GM foods. Consumers should be able to choose what kind of foods they want to buy. Therefore, foods should be labelled properly.
It is perfectly acceptable to demand further testing on GM foods from the public. However, the one fact which these people seemed to have failed to recognise is that the only way testing can be done is on humans over long periods of time. Animal testing would be inadequate and misleading.
I personally have little concern with the genetic modification of crops, although this may be due to a logical rather than biological way of thinking. Think about it--there are different genetic make ups to different types of potato,tomato and so on. A GM tomato may contain 'foreign' gene(s) but then so does the tomato next to it. The one worry here is the insertion of fish genes into tomatoes, but labelling could solve the problem.
While it would be,is,irresponsible for the government to wholeheartedly back GM foods, the media have also commited the same crime, except in the reverse. They have a brilliant story which they can take advantage of. Not many people are scientists, few understand the concept of genetic modification and so they are, somewhat unjustifiably, worried.
The best thing to do is wait and see what happens. There are too many benefits (pest resistance, the insertion of pharmecueticals, larger foods, etc.) to abandon the process. After a while I am positive that there will be a few tails between legs.........and a few quiet smiles as well.
I welcome the supermarkets ban on GE food and look forward to them selling more real food (i.e organic). I believe that GE food should be completely banned worldwide and look forward to the day when this happens. As for the company's producing this food I hope you all go bust.
I think am as objective as can be. I am not automatically against multinationals nor wildly pro GMO. I am in favour of labelling and consumer choice. I do not beleive that I will drop dead from eating GMO food but I fully understand the public concern and the feeling of being misled. As a scientist I cannot see for the most part what harm the proteins and DNA added to our food by this technology can do. One of the major problems is the consideration of all GMOs as being the same when clearly there is quite a difference between them. There is also a great deal of unhelpful hysteria and use of emotive language (e.g. Frankenfood).
Monsanto should not be talking about freedom of choice, they along with other multi-nationals have been pushing GM foods into our mouths without wanting us to know, otherwise GM foods would have always been clearly labeled. Clear labelling of all foods with no exception would have given us that freedom of choice. Monsanto denighed us that choice, therefore all GM foods should be banned until such time that without exception we know which foods do and which foods do not contain GM foods.
Secondly, we must look at the effect on the countryside, multi nationals are driven by the need to expand, whatever they say, whatever Monsanto say, that is their prime objective and in this drive for wealth, expansion it overrides any other aspect life or concern for the environment.
Consequently Monsanto and other companies involved in GM foods must be controlled and the same standards of proving there will be no side effects whatsoever, as followed by pharmaceutical companies. It is not a case of no known ill effects, they must be proved first. I am all for progress, but our knowledge, out of control, could destroy us all. Say NO to GM.
Well I may come from the bottom of the world but I would like to think that most New Zealanders are well informed as to what goes on in the enviroment. But it amazes me that people all over the world have latched onto the prospect of GM food as the great nasty of the late '90's. The fact that people are complaining about food that MAY contain a food item that has been modified but they seem to be unaware of all the other chemicals that go into our foods. This genetic modification may produce a larger yield (meaning a more efficient use of the land) or makes it more resistant to disease (thus resulting in less herbicides used) surely this has to be good for the enviroment in the long run.
Strangely people are concerned with GM foods and yet they are quite happy to ingest a huge varity of chemical preservitives, colourants and artifical flavors which are present ina majority of foods. I really think that people have not been fully imformed regarding GM foods. There is simply no evidence that GM foods are harmful. I feel that the term "Genetically Modified" brings up images of scientests growing three headed chickens and tomatoes the size of footballs in the public's mind. This of course is not the case at all. I feel it is about time that someone dispelled the myths regarding GM foods. People seem to think that because GM foods are somehow not natural and are therefore evil and will end up killing us all, this is total rubbish. I personally welcome the day when people recognise that GM foods are safe and healthy, and there are far worse things that we ingest every day.
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