"Golden rice was scrapped because it didn't work"
"You know that GMOs don't actually have higher yields either"
"There are many objections to GMOs, only some of which relate to the quality of the food produced. For me, the real problem with GMOs lies with the way they give control of our food to a few corporations,"
"allowing them to patent naturally occurring genetic information, "
"sue farmers who aren't toeing the line, "
"and generally creating monocultures where before there was a wide variety of cultivars."
Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A
Background: Genetically engineered “Golden Rice” contains up to 35 μg β-carotene per gram of rice. It is important to determine the vitamin A equivalency of Golden Rice β-carotene to project the potential effect of this biofortified grain in rice-consuming populations that commonly exhibit low vitamin A status.
Objective: The objective was to determine the vitamin A value of intrinsically labeled dietary Golden Rice in humans.
Design: Golden Rice plants were grown hydroponically with heavy water (deuterium oxide) to generate deuterium-labeled [2H]β-carotene in the rice grains. Golden Rice servings of 65–98 g (130–200 g cooked rice) containing 0.99–1.53 mg β-carotene were fed to 5 healthy adult volunteers (3 women and 2 men) with 10 g butter. A reference dose of [13C10]retinyl acetate (0.4–1.0 mg) in oil was given to each volunteer 1 wk before ingestion of the Golden Rice dose. Blood samples were collected over 36 d.
Results: Our results showed that the mean (±SD) area under the curve for the total serum response to [2H]retinol was 39.9 ± 20.7 μg·d after the Golden Rice dose. Compared with that of the [13C10]retinyl acetate reference dose (84.7 ± 34.6 μg·d), Golden Rice β-carotene provided 0.24–0.94 mg retinol. Thus, the conversion factor of Golden Rice β-carotene to retinol is 3.8 ± 1.7 to 1 with a range of 1.9–6.4 to 1 by weight, or 2.0 ± 0.9 to 1 with a range of 1.0–3.4 to 1 by moles.
Conclusion: β-Carotene derived from Golden Rice is effectively converted to vitamin A in humans. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00680355.
The most advanced version of Golden Rice [...] is more than enough to supply the required amounts of β-carotene, according to the bioavailability results.
We wish that everybody in the world had access to a well-balanced diet, capable of covering all nutrition needs of the population. Yet, a quick reality check teaches us that in many regions of the world this goal will not be achieved any time soon. The reasons for this sad reality are manifold. They are rooted in geographic and climatic limitations, different political, religious and sociocultural backgrounds and problems.
β-Carotene in Golden Rice is as good as β-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children
Background: Golden Rice (GR) has been genetically engineered to be rich in β-carotene for use as a source of vitamin A.
Objective: The objective was to compare the vitamin A value of β-carotene in GR and in spinach with that of pure β-carotene in oil when consumed by children.
Design: Children (n = 68; age 6–8 y) were randomly assigned to consume GR or spinach (both grown in a nutrient solution containing 23 atom% 2H2O) or [2H8]β-carotene in an oil capsule. The GR and spinach β-carotene were enriched with deuterium (2H) with the highest abundance molecular mass (M) at Mβ-C+2H10. [13C10]Retinyl acetate in an oil capsule was administered as a reference dose. Serum samples collected from subjects were analyzed by using gas chromatography electron-capture negative chemical ionization mass spectrometry for the enrichments of labeled retinol: Mretinol+4 (from [2H8]β-carotene in oil), Mretinol+5 (from GR or spinach [2H10]β-carotene), and Mretinol+10 (from [13C10]retinyl acetate).
Results: Using the response to the dose of [13C10]retinyl acetate (0.5 mg) as a reference, our results (with the use of AUC of molar enrichment at days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after the labeled doses) showed that the conversions of pure β-carotene (0.5 mg), GR β-carotene (0.6 mg), and spinach β-carotene (1.4 mg) to retinol were 2.0, 2.3, and 7.5 to 1 by weight, respectively.
Conclusions: The β-carotene in GR is as effective as pure β-carotene in oil and better than that in spinach at providing vitamin A to children. A bowl of ∼100 to 150 g cooked GR (50 g dry weight) can provide ∼60% of the Chinese Recommended Nutrient Intake of vitamin A for 6–8-y-old children. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00680212.
saulgoodman: "What is the value to consumers in not knowing their food may be GMO derived? "
Potomac Avenue: "Blasdelb or other GMO fans: Why is golden rice relevant to the discussion of whether GMOs should be labeled in the US and Canada? Genuinely curious, it feels like a derail (in the clip as well--she's all "GMOs could be bad we need to study them and label them" and he's all "WHY DO YOU HATE ASIAN PEOPLE?" it just seems like an emotional appeal...)."
Uther Bentrazor: "Not very much at all, but I'd sure like to! Maybe if there was an informative label on them..."
Philosopher Dirtbike: "This is precisely why government-mandated labeling, where the requirements are drafted by experts rather than marketers, is critical. Don't let the marketers play to fear with unregulated non-GMO labels. Make them dry and accurate.
There's an analogy to be drawn here with the people who decry all the "OMG! CHEMICALS!" in their food, without understanding what they are. That doesn't mean huge numbers of people stop purchasing things with ingredients with long names in them. Those people are out there, and they try to scare people, but they are for the most part ineffective."
Commercial speech doctrine, in the context of advertising for professional services, may be summarized generally as follows: truthful advertising related to lawful activities is entitled to the protections of the First Amendment. But when the particular content or method of the advertising suggests that it is inherently misleading, or when experience has proved that, in fact, such advertising is subject to abuse, the States may impose appropriate restrictions. Misleading advertising may be prohibited entirely. But the States may not place an absolute prohibition on certain types of potentially misleading information...
Even when a communication is not misleading, the State retains some authority to regulate. But the State must assert a substantial interest and the interference with speech must be in proportion to the interest served.
Sometimes however, we are forced to resort to lawsuits. This is a relatively rare circumstance, with 145 lawsuits filed since 1997 in the United States. This averages about 11 per year for the past 13 years. To date, only 9 cases have gone through full trial. In every one of these instances, the jury or court decided in our favor.
Bryson wanted to know what actions would convince Monsanto to sue a farmer, and Waxman came up with this:
"In the real world, Judge Bryson, the cases Monsanto brings are cases in which it has come to learn that the farmer is not purchasing any Roundup Ready seed, but is spraying his fields with Roundup, and the plants are surviving. If the farmer were not spraying, by definition he wouldn't be taking advantage of Monsanto's technology."
Under Waxman's common-sense standard, Monsanto wouldn't have brought its case against Schmeiser. That's because in that case, the company did not produce any evidence that Schmeiser was taking advantage of Monsanto's technology by spraying his crop with Roundup.
"From this side of the Atlantic Ocean, consumer choice, protection against monopolies, bio-diversity, food security and scientific development are equally good things, and not at all in opposition to one another. I would happily eat bread made from GM wheat, I am in no way worried that genetic modification of plants can harm me. As stated above, genetic modification is what farmers have been doing, in a very slow and complicated way, for 10.000 years. But like my government, I am worried above monopolies within the agro-industry, and I am worried about overuse of pesticides. So it is not genetic modification per se, but its specific use that worries me."
"With golden rice, again it is not the genetic modification that is worrisome, but the monopoly and drive towards monoculture. We need seed diversity."
jeffburdges: "Monsanto could be destroying your microbiome (via)"
rr: "Hint: we are only just beginning to understand the role of gut flora and, for that matter, lateral gene transfer. To call the science "completely sound" is an interesting definition of "sound" that excludes the fact that we are *profoundly ignorant* of ecosystems including those that make up human beings."
Blazecock Pileon: "I'm on my phone, so I don't have access to my library proxy, but an article I looked at examined glyphosate exposure at coca farms and measured associated genotoxic effect. A couple other papers looked at the same kinds of exposures, but as with the chemical burden issue I mentioned earlier, there were other agrichemicals involved, which seems to make it harder to do empirical, control-based science."
Genotoxicity studies performed in the ecuadorian population. Mol Biol Int.
Genotoxicity studies in Ecuador have been carried out during the past two decades. The focuses of the research were mainly the area of environmental issues, where the populations have been accidentally exposed to contaminants and the area of occupational exposure of individuals at the workplace. This paper includes studies carried out in the population of the Amazon region, a zone known for its rich biodiversity as well as for the ecological damage caused by oil spills and chemical sprayings whose consequences continue to be controversial. Additionally, we show the results of studies comprised of individuals occupationally exposed to toxic agents in two very different settings: flower plantation workers exposed to pesticide mixtures and X-ray exposure of hospital workers. The results from these studies confirm that genotoxicity studies can help evaluate current conditions and prevent further damage in the populations exposed to contaminants. As such, they are evidence of the need for biomonitoring employers at risk, stricter law enforcement regarding the use of pesticides, and increasingly conscientious oil extraction activities.
Evaluation of DNA damage in an Ecuadorian population exposed to glyphosate
We analyzed the consequences of aerial spraying with glyphosate added to a surfactant solution in the northern part of Ecuador. A total of 24 exposed and 21 unexposed control individuals were investigated using the comet assay. The results showed a higher degree of DNA damage in the exposed group (comet length = 35.5μm) compared to the control group (comet length = 25.94 μm). These results suggest that in the formulation used during aerial spraying glyphosate had a genotoxic effect on the exposed individuals.
Regional Differences in Time to Pregnancy Among Fertile Women from Five Colombian Regions with Different use of Glyphosate
The objective of this study was to test whether there was an association between the use of glyphosate when applied by aerial spray for the eradication of illicit crops (cocaine and poppy) and time to pregnancy (TTP) among fertile women. A retrospective cohort study (with an ecological exposure index) of first pregnancies was undertaken in 2592 fertile Colombian women from 5 regions with different uses of glyphosate. Women were interviewed regarding potential reproductive, lifestyle, and work history predictors of TTP, which was measured in months. Fecundability odds ratios (fOR) were estimated using a discrete time analogue of Cox's proportional hazard model. There were differences in TTP between regions. In the final multivariate model, the main predictor was the region adjusted by irregular relationship with partner, maternal age at first pregnancy, and, marginally, coffee consumption and self-perception of water pollution. Boyacá, a region with traditional crops and. recently, illicit crops without glyphosate eradication spraying (manual eradication), displayed minimal risk and was the reference region. Other regions, including Sierra Nevada (control area, organic agriculture), Putumayo and Nariño (illicit crops and intensive eradication spray program), and Valle del Cauca, demonstrated greater risk of longer TTP, with the highest risk for Valle del Cauca (fOR 0.15, 95% CI 0.12, 0.18), a sugar-cane region with a history of use of glyphosate and others chemicals for more than 30 yr. The reduced fecundability in some regions was not associated with the use of glyphosate for eradication spraying. The observed ecological differences remain unexplained and may be produced by varying exposures to environmental factors, history of contraceptive programs in the region, or psychological distress. Future studies examining these or other possible causes are needed.
Cancer Incidence among Glyphosate-Exposed Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is one of the most frequently applied pesticides in the world. Although there has been little consistent evidence of genotoxicity or carcinogenicity from in vitro and animal studies, a few epidemiologic reports have indicated potential health effects of glyphosate. We evaluated associations between glyphosate exposure and cancer incidence in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a prospective cohort study of 57,311 licensed pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina. Detailed information on pesticide use and other factors was obtained from a self-administered questionnaire completed at time of enrollment (1993–1997). Among private and commercial applicators, 75.5% reported having ever used glyphosate, of which > 97% were men. In this analysis, glyphosate exposure was defined as a) ever personally mixed or applied products containing glyphosate; b) cumulative lifetime days of use, or “cumulative exposure days” (years of use × days/year); and c) intensity-weighted cumulative exposure days (years of use × days/year × estimated intensity level). Poisson regression was used to estimate exposure–response relations between glyphosate and incidence of all cancers combined and 12 relatively common cancer subtypes. Glyphosate exposure was not associated with cancer incidence overall or with most of the cancer subtypes we studied. There was a suggested association with multiple myeloma incidence that should be followed up as more cases occur in the AHS. Given the widespread use of glyphosate, future analyses of the AHS will allow further examination of long-term health effects, including less common cancers.
In soil, glyphosate has a half-life (the length of time taken to lose half its biological activity) of between 3 and 215 days, depending on soil conditions.85,86 In water, glyphosate’s half-life is 35–63 days.87
Although glyphosate binds well to soil particles, the Danish National Pesticide Monitoring Program showed that glyphosate and its main breakdown product AMPA are washed out of the root zone of clay soils in concentrations that exceed the acceptable quantities for drinking water (0.1 µg/l), with maximum values of over 5 µg/l.88
Glyphosate was detected in between 60 and 100% of air and rain samples taken in the American Midwest during the crop growing season in the American Midwest, where Roundup Ready GM crops are widely planted.89
Glyphosate and its main breakdown product, AMPA, were detected in streams in the American Midwest during the crop growing season.90
Glyphosate is toxic to earthworms91 and reduces bird populations due to habitat changes.92
Roundup is highly toxic to amphibians. A study in a natural setting found that Roundup application at the rate recommended by the manufacturer eliminated two species of tadpoles and nearly exterminated a third species, resulting in a 70% decline in the species richness of tadpoles. Contrary to common belief, the presence of soil does not reduce the chemical’s effects.93 Further experiments with lower concentrations, well within levels to be expected in the environment, still caused 40% amphibian mortality.94
Claims that Roundup and glyphosate are safe for human health and the environment have been overturned in courts in the United States95 and France. The French court forced Monsanto to withdraw advertising claims that Roundup is biodegradable and leaves the soil clean after use.96
Regulatory bodies around the world have not caught up with the state of the science on Roundup and glyphosate. Instead they continue to rely on decades-old studies, mostly sponsored by manufacturers, to claim it is safe. An objective up-to-date review of Roundup and glyphosate’s persistence and toxicity is long overdue.
"The problems that I am noting are very straightforward. They are not 'woo' and they are not 'fud.' To claim that is to be deliberately, profusely overconfident and frankly credulous. How about you spend a few months reading RetractionWatch before you conclude that a few industry-funded studies and shill quotes based on them prove anything.
The studies are thin, need reproduction, and need to look for things that may be outside the scope of the studies (of which there is PLENTY). This is not an anti-science position any more than noting that, for example, the pharma industry (science!) is rife with fraud and unbelievably poor standards of reporting (report the good results! bury the bad results!)."
"That you are so willing to take the word of companies that can *objectively* be said to have *at best* questionalble histories and even more questionable ethics for something as important as control over the food chain is amazing to me and is basically one of the most anti-science positions there is. You cannot consider yourself "pro science" if you want to avoid - you know - actually *doing* the science."
"We are profoundly ignorant of many things around nutrition in particular and have made a series of gross errors and bad decisions in this space for at least 40 years - almost nothing in nutritional science is actual science and the long-term biological effects of compounds in the water supply and food chain are real issues where we have played fast and loose."
"Seemingly, because they feel safe and secure under the steadfastly benevolent guardianship of the nice folks at Monsanto, Syngenta, etc. Those friendly, reassuring, but most importantly, SCIENTIFIC! corporate overlords who have your health and well being as their primary motivation. You, too, should just relax and put your trust in them! When have they ever steered you wrong?"
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