French Court Scrambles the Debate Over What Is “GMO” in Foods

 

GMO plant in a laboratory. Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Science has long been embroiled in food safety and labeling debates. Most recently, you’ve probably read or heard about the decades-long debate on whether to mandate labeling or disclosure that “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) were used to grow or process certain food products.

Think of the “Arctic Apple” (which doesn’t brown when cut, thanks to a little genetic modification, or the “AquAdvantage Salmon,” which merges genes from two separate salmon varieties (Chinook & Atlantic) for a fish that grows faster and bigger (and they’re all female, supposedly). Neither of these products, despite being in development for the better part of two decades is just now, slowly, making their way into retail markets (but not Whole Foods, I assure you).

But I often found it weird that while there’s a cottage industry of activist groups who’ve lobbied for years against GMO food products – among the safest, most tested and environmental friendly ever grown – they’ve been silent about an old technology that was used to create all kinds of varieties a few decades ago, called “mutagenesis.” This technology uses gamma rays or chemicals to scramble the DNA in crops to create new varieties. Think of Ruby Red grapefruit, which was created this way.

Now, a French court has finally spoken up and is seeking labeling or bans of a wide variety of commonly used foods – some even labeled “organic” – because they were developed through mutagenesis.

Have you been eating foods derived from mutagenesis? You betcha. Even you beer drinkers. Watch this space.

Common foods created using mutagenesis are rice, peas, peanuts, grapefruit, bananas, cassava and sorghum. Mutagenesis wheat is used for bread and pasta and mutated barley is in beer and whiskey. That means no more “bio” beer, bread, or pasta.”

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  1. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Russ Schnitzer (View Comment):

    Strawberries have been modifed to have longer life after picking, larger size, less bruising during shipping, more resistance to insects. And probably much more that I don’t know about.

    Trust me, they don’t taste like strawberries of old. They taste like cr*p.

    I’ve heard the same about bananas. Tropical storms ruined many banana harvests. Growers bred them to have stronger stalks, so not to be blown onto the ground and wasted. Supposedly, the tougher bananas today are less appetizing.

    That jives with my experience of growing okra. When stalks get old and large, they get tougher and lose some taste. But note that this occurs even without genetic manipulation.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of how the originally popular bananas were all wiped out by a blight about 70 years ago and the variety we eat today are reportedly nowhere near as sweet and tasty. I love bananas, so the idea that older bananas were better is intriguing.

    No one should be eating okra. Ever.

    Should we use genetic engineering to bring back the older bananas. 

    • #31
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw7PUrgU3N0

    • #32
  3. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Russ Schnitzer (View Comment):

    What’s a downside of genetically modified fruits and Veggies? Let me give you an example: STRAWBERRIES.

    Strawberries have been modifed to have longer life after picking, larger size, less bruising during shipping, more resistance to insects. And probably much more that I don’t know about.

    Trust me, they don’t taste like strawberries of old. They taste like cr*p.

    In a sense, that’s a very pro-GMO observation. There being no rational grounds for fear of such foods, they can compete on rational bases: taste, nutrition, suitability for transport and storage, investment required to farm them, …

    • #33
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Russ Schnitzer (View Comment):

    Strawberries have been modifed to have longer life after picking, larger size, less bruising during shipping, more resistance to insects. And probably much more that I don’t know about.

    Trust me, they don’t taste like strawberries of old. They taste like cr*p.

    I’ve heard the same about bananas. Tropical storms ruined many banana harvests. Growers bred them to have stronger stalks, so not to be blown onto the ground and wasted. Supposedly, the tougher bananas today are less appetizing.

    That jives with my experience of growing okra. When stalks get old and large, they get tougher and lose some taste. But note that this occurs even without genetic manipulation.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of how the originally popular bananas were all wiped out by a blight about 70 years ago and the variety we eat today are reportedly nowhere near as sweet and tasty. I love bananas, so the idea that older bananas were better is intriguing.

    No one should be eating okra. Ever.

    Should we use genetic engineering to bring back the older bananas.

    Absolutely not – G-d killed them for a reason. Plus there are things that science should never meddle with. Also, they would be born cursed – or worse. Let them lie, we don’t need to release undead bananas onto an unsuspecting population. 

    • #34
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    TBA (View Comment):
    Absolutely not – G-d killed them for a reason. Plus there are things that science should never meddle with. Also, they would be born cursed – or worse. Let them lie, we don’t need to release undead bananas onto an unsuspecting population. 

    You can buy the trees through Amazon.

    • #35
  6. Matt Saracen Coolidge
    Matt Saracen
    @dnewlander

    TBA (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Russ Schnitzer (View Comment):

    Strawberries have been modifed to have longer life after picking, larger size, less bruising during shipping, more resistance to insects. And probably much more that I don’t know about.

    Trust me, they don’t taste like strawberries of old. They taste like cr*p.

    I’ve heard the same about bananas. Tropical storms ruined many banana harvests. Growers bred them to have stronger stalks, so not to be blown onto the ground and wasted. Supposedly, the tougher bananas today are less appetizing.

    That jives with my experience of growing okra. When stalks get old and large, they get tougher and lose some taste. But note that this occurs even without genetic manipulation.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of how the originally popular bananas were all wiped out by a blight about 70 years ago and the variety we eat today are reportedly nowhere near as sweet and tasty. I love bananas, so the idea that older bananas were better is intriguing.

    No one should be eating okra. Ever.

    Should we use genetic engineering to bring back the older bananas.

    Absolutely not – G-d killed them for a reason. Plus there are things that science should never meddle with. Also, they would be born cursed – or worse. Let them lie, we don’t need to release undead bananas onto an unsuspecting population.

    Too late…

    • #36
  7. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    TBA (View Comment):
    Absolutely not – G-d killed them for a reason. Plus there are things that science should never meddle with. Also, they would be born cursed – or worse. Let them lie, we don’t need to release undead bananas onto an unsuspecting population. 

    This could be the next SyFy monster movie, “Attack of the Zombie Bananas.”

    • #37
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