Fields Of Gold
June 9, 2002 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Fields Of Gold, a new drama just aired on BBC1. It centres on the links between Government, big business, science and the farming community, and hints at surveillance and conspiracy. Co-written by The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, is this bad science and posturing, or an early warning of plagues to come? What's your take on so-called Frankenstein foods, and how goes the research in your part of the world?
posted by dash_slot- (5 comments total)
Well, "the farming community" = big business (nowadays), and the first role of government is to make sure that its people are fed.

Conspiracy? Well, the tin-foil crowd will always be around.
posted by clevershark at 4:27 PM on June 9, 2002

I agree with clevershark -- it's a lot easier to infer a conspiracy from the actions of a large company, or the government, from the outside, than it is to create and manage an actual conspiracy from the inside. Most companies and bureaucracies don't have their act together enough to do the basics -- conspiracies are a luxury!

However, at least here in the US, I think that food safety is already at a critical point. We only have 300 food inspectors for the 330 US ports that have food imports, and given the problems we've had with e. coli and imported produce, meat safety, etc...well, I don't think our most serious problems are "new" problems from things like GM food but our lack of inspection and poor food handling, packing, and importing practices on ordinary old food we eat all the time.
posted by lisatmh at 7:54 PM on June 9, 2002

There is, however, the possibility of conspiracy-by-default in the sense of ccollective stupidity. With an enormous investment in genetically altered crops, there can be a default mindset that pooh poohs the scary aspects of introducing altered DNA into the wild environment. God knows, there is mounting evidence that this is happening. Maniopulating genes is the easy part--what the ecological impacts are and what can be done if things go awry is something else again.

As for factory farms, I have relatives who've been farming in Kansas for generations. They hate industrial farming for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which are the negative social impacts it's having on farming communities. It's a very expensive way to make a living anymore, and yet still a way of life for them, or at least was, and they aren't keen on seeing it being crushed by industrial behemoths.

Losing independent farmers as a class or social group is not something we should necessarily take lightly.
posted by y2karl at 8:14 PM on June 9, 2002

clevershark: most farmers are independant family farms, not big bussness, idiot.
posted by delmoi at 9:26 PM on June 9, 2002

While 'most farmers are independant family farms' as delmoi says, most farm YIELD comes from the very largest, corporate owned farms, not because they are more productive (organic farms produce the same yield per acre), just larger in size. The reason chemicals, pesticides and 'frankenfoods' are used by them is because they are cheaper than labor.

Whether or not we should allow the use of these GMO's is a moot point now. Once introduced, there is no way to control them. Already there is no way to tell what corn is 'pure' and what is cross-bred, purposely or accidentally, with the GMO type. These things are 'out there' now.

I agree with y2karl: it's a conspiracy of dunces.
posted by dragline at 11:37 PM on June 9, 2002

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