[Homeroast] GMO Coffee

Ryan M. Ward silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 18 14:56:56 CDT 2010

I can certainly respect your opinion- it is very practical. Sometimes the option which seems dangerous and drastic is actually the better of two evils. For example, I would consider Nuclear power a far superior energy option to burning coal- in terms of efficiency, and safety. I don't like the idea of nuclear waste myself(quite frankly, I think solar energy is the best option, but the technology needs some work- things are improving though and new solar technologies have been developed which are making it more affordable), or the potential for another Chernobyl incident, but the fact remains that Coal causes FAR more damage to the environment and human health than nuclear power.
(I can find references regarding this if needed) 

One very fundamental concern regarding GMO crops; however, is that GMO contamination is almost impossible to contain. If a dangerous gene sequence were to be accidentally injected into a crop(IE the dangers were not known), and that crop spread pollen to neighbouring crops, those other crops would be affected and would carry that gene. There have been cases of Organic farms losing their certification due to genetic contamination from other neighbouring GMO crops (Organic certification places very strict limits on generic alteration of crops). 
(If anyone is interested I can find references- I am not making this up.)

In short, I very much do respect your concerns regarding pesticides- we have learned that lesson the hard way a few times. (Pesticides particularly hit home for me as they have found correlations between childhood exposure to pesticides and ADHD. I have ADHD myself. Of course, correlation does not imply causation, but it does cause question naturally- since I got diagnosed a few months ago and became aware of this correlation, my family and I are switching over to organic foods slowly. I do not normally react this way to young science- but I would not wish ADHD on anyone, especially my daughter).

The difference here is that pesticides are poisonous yes, but you can stop dusting crops. The environment may be polluted, yes, but this can often be repaired with time(no I am not defending crop dusting, I am not taking a position on it at all, I am just trying to draw the distinction). With GMO crops, containment is difficult at best. The consequences are practically permanent, and hard to forsee. Although our knowledge of Genetic Engineering has increased by leaps and bounds over the last few years, I have little confidence that we have mastered the field yet.

Genetic modification, non-the-less, does give us some great things. Insulin is now produced via genetically modified bacteria. Most cheese rennets are as well (which is great for us vegetarians, we can eat more cheese with confidence that we are not eating cow stomach lining juice- yuck!). I am very hesitant about GM, but cannot deny the great things it has granted us. 

Personally, I am not completely opposed to it being used for food (although VERY cautious about it) so long as it is STRONGLY controlled, and food using GMO foods are labeled. People should have the right to know what they are eating. 

My $0.02 , please be advised, I am not an expert on this though- I am a Mathematician, not a Biologist. I am sure my Biologist cousin could comment more reliably, I am just a dumb Mathematician with an opinion.
Ryan M. Ward

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> Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 12:24:06 -0700
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> From: fparth at mac.com
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] GMO Coffee
> >  I hope that Tom and Maria can convince coffee farmers worldwide that GMO is
> >  a dreadful path to follow. It is scary how crop after crop eventually
> >  succumbs to pressure from the powerful seed providers. ...We need to protect our food supply, not
> >  only for ourselves, but for future generations.
> >
> I understand your opinion, but the counter-argument is that the traditional way of "protecting" our food supply from 
> pests and diseases is by massive doses of chemicals. Millions of tons of chemicals every year. So whichdo you want - 
> food crops which have been bathed in chemical baths or food crops that have been genetically altered 
> toprotectthemselves. The types and amounts of nutrients in both is the same according to the research published in the 
> science journals.
> The industry pushing organic products has their own very valid arguments, but realistically there's not enough 
> farmlandin the US to provide organic food and protein for everyone. I grow my own vegetables (Burpees loves me), but 
> it's because I love the better flavor of fresh grown veggies, not because I have any arguments with how the commercial 
> productsare grown.
> Just my 2 cents.
> Frank
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