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    In Vitro Meat: PETA Accepts Science
    By Hank Campbell | February 22nd 2012 10:06 AM | 58 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

    View Hank's Profile
    Being in science media for any length of time, you will discover what Martin Robbins, a self-proclaimed liberal, called The Big White Elephant In The Room - partisan framing of science issues through a cultural and political world view.  He referred to it as liberal bias, and he is a liberal, but not a self-loathing kind.  He doesn't recognize it is not liberal bias that is the problem, it is progressives.  Liberals can write articles talking about The Big White Elephant In The Room and worry that the lack of diversity in science media and science academia is harmful to those endeavors.  Progressives instead say it is a 'choice' greedy conservatives make because they are all too corpotation-y and too stupid to be in science and then shriek 'false equivalence!' when the numerous anti-science positions of left wing people are noted.

    Progressives in media can accept the nuance of anti-science people against GMOs and anti-science people against animal testing as being distinct anti-science agendas but not representative of the whole - it's a little harder for rational people but at least some groups are finally showing some rationality.  

    PETA does not like animal testing, they do not like animals dying for food. 'Natural' progressives,  on the other hand, eat meat but do not like any food unless it has been randomly mutated by cosmic rays from space or contains dozens of inorganic ingredients allowed in organic food or sprayed with 'natural' toxic pesticides like strychnine - basically, they hate genetically modified foods the same way dumber conservatives dislike stem cells because they think it means a baby about to happen and don't realize stem cell research, like bone marrow transplants, have nothing to do with human embryos.

    in vitro meat
    Mmmm, nummy!  Meat in a petri jar.  Credit: Maastricht University via The Telegraph

    A real schism has been brewing between the anti-science fringes over food.  It's a topic in my upcoming book and has been covered at various times here; we may soon be able to make meat in a laboratory using a tiny fraction of the materials and space needed now, and with a tiny fraction of the emissions.  This puts the food progressive community into a panic.  If laboratory meat is accepted, they loses their allies among the animal activist and global warming communities, and people might accept all kinds of rational science about genetic modification rather than being driven to fear with marketing campaigns using the precautionary principle.  They might not believe that a laboratory is anything more than a place where scientists go to commit eeeeevil.

    Basically, if science makes its way into discussions of science, progressives might not view scientists the way conservatives view government; as one-dimensional caricatures not composed of real people who want to solve human problems.

    Prof. Mark Post Maastricht University said the world's first test tube hamburger will be served up this October, grown in a lab from a cow's stem cells. Cost: around $300,000 so it isn't going into McDonald's any time soon but it is another proof of concept.

    Bring on the "Frankenburger" terminology!  Too late, journalist Matthew Holehouse does that in his Telegraph article. If he knew his science history, he would know GM hysteria was basically invented from whole cloth by a discredited British researcher in an interview; it was not based on any peer-reviewed work or even any work at all that his employer could find. All that was needed to create a 'Frankenfood' myth was to claim a genetically modified potato damaged a rodent immune system and it became sensationalized news and thus fact.

    "PETA has no objection to the eating of meat. Peta objects to the killing of animals and their exploitation. I personally don't fancy eating this, but if other people do that's fine," Alistair Currie, spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), told him.

    Sure, that invalidates 100% of medicine, so PETA is not out of the anti-science crackpottery woods just yet, but it is at least a sign they can be reasonable rather than circling the wagons around all crank positions.  Four years ago, they even offered a $1 million prize for the first group to sell laboratory-grown meat in commercial quantities, commercial quantities being 2,000 lbs. across ten US states over three months at the same price as 'real' chicken.

    Obviously, if 'at the same price' were necessary for every science endeavor progressives endorse, none of them would ever happen; no solar, no wind, no organic food, no homeopathy, no astrology, no alternative medicine for diseases vaccines prevent - but it's only 2,000 lbs. so it could just be subsidized, the way we do a lot of that other stuff now.

    Please join me in welcoming PETA to their first pro-science position ever.  Here is hoping they find a lot more of them.

    Comments

    I don't know why you even bother writing about science when it's clear that your true interest is in Liberal-bashing. Really, the science just gets in the way of the Hating.

    Hank
    Actually I love liberals, the same way I love libertarians.  It's anti-science progressives - not liberals - I smack around here, just like I smack around anti-science conservatives.  The common thread is being anti-science.  PETA is just that when it comes to animal research and progressives with a 'natural' fetish are anti-science when it comes to food.  Showing that they are not the same people is important.
    Gerhard Adam
    There's only one concept at work here. The concept that humans will continue to insist that they are exempt from the rules that govern population dynamics as they apply to any other species. As a result, we will rationalize all manner of expenses, theories, and extraordinary efforts simply to avoid the obvious. Humans are reproducing themselves out of "house and home". So, if there's anything unscientific about these activities, its the failure for anyone to speak up and place responsibility where it belongs. Humans cannot continue breeding indefinitely. Failure to recognize this simple "truth" is what drives the rest of the silliness. Let's be real. We don't need laboratory meat. We don't need to worry about increasing meat production, except in one context. That's when we finally admit that we have too many people to feed them with the resources we actually have on hand. So instead of the scientific community pointing this out, just like the enablers of all addicts, we pretend that we're just solving another problem for humanity and put our heads in the sand. In my view, enough is enough. If people aren't worried that there are seven billion people on a planet already stretched to the limits, then they simply aren't paying attention. For those that think that human growth should not be constrained nor subject to limits. well, that already defines the agenda at work then and it certainly isn't about science.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    So, who are you going to tell they can't have any (more) children, and what are you going to do when they end up pregnant?

    If you look at the population growth info that's available, first world people already have negative population growth.
    Never is a long time.
    Thor Russell
    I agree, whatever we say or do there will be pretty much 9 billion people in 2050-2100, but not much more. In the 70's when population was growing exponentially any effort would have been futile but thats not the case now. We have to do our best at making things work for them. Even a worldwide one child policy would still give about 8 billion people which we of course would have to feed all the same.9/8 billion is only 12.5% more, and we already waste more than 12.5% of food so I am for trying to feed people rather than curse them for being alive.
    Thor Russell
    MikeCrow
    The most humane solution is to bring the world to first world standards, where nobody wants to have a flock of kids.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    However you already know that that isn't achievable.  So unless someone has an actual plan to create such economic growth, it's simply magical thinking.

    Never in the history of the world has there been economic equity, and yet for those that are so opposed to "socialism", they want to prescribe "socialist" solutions.  Go figure.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Where did I say I wanted to impose socialism?
     Is Japan or S Korea socialist?
    Is China becoming more socialist or more capitalist, and as it's changed over the last 30-40 years, how has the standard of living changed there?

    Lastly, you brought up population, not me.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Is China becoming more socialist or more capitalist, and as it's changed over the last 30-40 years, how has the standard of living changed there
    First, of all, China is still substantially below the U.S., but it should be clear that while theirs is increasing, ours isn't.  Despite the economic fairy tales coming out of the business schools, economics IS a zero sum game.  You cannot create something from nothing.
     Is Japan or S Korea socialist?
    I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean?  Culturally these societies are more socialist than many socialist countries. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    economics IS a zero sum game.  You cannot create something from nothing.
    Economies which are based on commerce, are funded by the value of labor. Software is all labor, something from nothing. And we are at the beginning of the period in history where almost all things come from software models, except raw materials, which will more and more come from automation and machines.
    There are still lots of things that require human work, but that will get smaller and smaller, until the value of craftsmanship blossoms into cottage industries of hand crafted goods and services.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    There are still lots of things that require human work, but that will get smaller and smaller, until the value of craftsmanship blossoms into cottage industries of hand crafted goods and services.
    LOL ... a world filled with billions of people and absolutely nothing to do.  Oh, I can't wait to see how that plays out.  It's going to positively make feudal societies look like Disneyland.

    What sounds so comical in this, is that after hundreds of thousands of years of cultural evolution, your suggesting that the future is fundamentally no different than the hunter-gatherer societies.  Basically where we sit around and weave baskets and beaded decorations.
    Economies which are based on commerce, are funded by the value of labor. Software is all labor, something from nothing.
    See that's where I have a problem.  It's an economic model that suggests that human labor is "nothing".
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Again, we can always make up work for people to do, have one bunch digging holes, and a second group coming along behind them filling them in.

    You seem fixated on society being like now, but with more people and less work. Which was pretty much the same as what the Luddites yelled about, You're not a Luddite are you?

    Work will change in the future, just like work isn't the same as what was imagined it would be 50 years ago. So what.

    And how did you come up with this?
    It's an economic model that suggests that human labor is "nothing".
    And why would you expect the population to grow with no constraints?

    First world populations are already at or near zero population growth, or below. And the people you don't want to have to support would have food if it ever made it there. Those are political problems, and unfortunately until they get their house in order their growth will be limited, and if we can solve the political issues, they can start to join the rest of the world, maybe by starting to grow their own food. If they integrate into the rest of the world, they too will become first world, and I suspect their population growth will drop. In either case we won't see 30 billion, and what ever we do see, we'll have food to feed them.

    BTW, yes you are too pessimistic.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I agree, whatever we say or do there will be pretty much 9 billion people in 2050-2100, but not much more.
    ... and who is going to tell them then?  Humans are the only species that has the potential to demonstrate true intelligence in determining its future fate.  It would be a shame to find out that after millions of years of evolution and the development of the highest intellect on the planet, that we will meet the same fate as bacteria that grow too quickly.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    So, who are you going to tell they can't have any (more) children, and what are you going to do when they end up pregnant?
    It's not my problem to tell anyone anything.  I do find it interesting that when it comes to paying taxes for welfare or to support a social safety net, then all I hear is screams of "socialism".  However when the same is applied to the world, it is simply considered an inevitable consequence of being human.

    Well, I'm sorry, but when someone begins to tell me that I have to eat GMO foods, or that I have to consider not enough room to raise livestock and have to content myself with meat grown in a petri dish, then which is the more socialist?  I should be denied choice because those that have no self-control should be allowed to dictate terms to the rest of us on the planet?

    I'm not saying people can't have as many kids as they want.  However, when did it become my problem to help them facilitate that goal?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard certainly has a valid point. I don't think it has anything to do with a political, or social, agenda either. It all boils down to what I call the 'Not Me' syndrome.

    Very few of us are willing to look at the probability that our future generations will suffer from a great many shortages. Sure, we have the scientific capacity to manufacture clean water. But at what cost? The same thing can be said for all of the essentials. At what cost level will the needs be satisfied? If it comes to requiring funding, where will that come from? Certainly, most citizens are sympathetic to the starving millions; but how many are willing/able to donate 25 or a 100 a month to help remedy the situation? If you answer 'Not Me', then you are among the majority.

    It seems very likely to me that ConAgra, or some such, has the capability of delivering GM milo seeds to, say, Ethopia. Does ConAgra see a profitable business there? No. Because the poor don't have the funds. If some governmental entity should say 'we will provide a subsidy for those seeds', then ConAgra would be happy to provide same. The costs then would be divided among the citizens of the subsidizing government. Instead of a willing/able to donate situation, it would then be a taxing situation. Oops! 'Not Me' just failed. (You are free to substitute water, fuel, drugs, clothing, or whatever else for the word seeds above.)

    Mike, likewise has a very good point. Who among us is willing to submit? 'Not Me'!

    Humans are, no doubt, the strangest critters on the face of this planet. It seems that we are intent on causing our own extinction.

    Hank
    I'm in danger of being an attentionwhore by mentioning a book twice, but I do go out of my way to mention that booms and busts and consolidation and expansion have been happening for billions of years - failure will be vital to solving the next crisis that is looming but mitigation and rationing have never, ever worked.
    Gerhard Adam
    ...failure will be vital to solving the next crisis that is looming but mitigation and rationing have never, ever worked.
    Funny you should say that, because if it doesn't work, then when we do finally hit the wall, we can presume human extinction quickly follows.

    This isn't a choice.  There is no such thing as infinite growth.  Whether you think the wall is 10 years out, 100 years out, or even a 1000 years out.  It is there.  So, if "mitigation and rationing" have never worked, then we'd better figure out what does work, because we can't continue to grow like this and not expect consequences.
    Mundus vult decipi
    I agree that we don't have a choice, Gerhard. Mitigation and rationing will only work if it is caused by something external to social and political structures. That just about leaves it up to natural causes. Think pandemic.

    So, if there are, say a thousand, of us who, right now, believe that we need to change our 'business as usual' attitude. How will we convince the 'Not Me' sector (who will say that we have no proof) that to continue the way we are is folly? I don't think we can convince them.

    Gerhard Adam
    I agree completely.  Now if we just back up a bit, my original point was that we also don't have to act as an enabler for the "addicts" either.  If people can't act responsibly, then it becomes a legitimate question to ask, how much investment of resources, etc. are necessary in order to accommodate people that are rushing down this path?

    Even if we didn't want to answer the moral problems, I find it grossly irresponsible for scientists to not raise the issue.  If the purpose of producing more foods, etc. is because of a burgeoning population, then it would only be reasonable for scientists to be reflecting the seriousness of this issue, instead of acting as cheerleaders for infinite growth.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    The issue has been raised - the key science advisor for the president wrote a doomsday hysteria book on population decades ago.  We needn't fire up the gas chambers just yet.  We have not even begun to exhaust the food- or water or energy-production capacity to feed and house 30 billion people just on this planet.  We have a materials issue but that is a technology concern, not a science issue.  
    Gerhard Adam
    Sorry, Hank but that just sounds pretty funny.  With less than a quarter of those people on the planet at present, we already can't and have never been able to feed them all.  We have never been able to house them all, and it is beginning to increasingly appear that we can't possible provide them with much of anything.

    It isn't about science or technology.  Economics and politics will always undermine whatever potential exists.  I can appreciate the optimism, but the fact is that scientifically and technically we could already solve the problems we're facing.  The fact that we don't, already tells me that we NEVER will. 

    Since neither one of us will be around to see 30 billion people, I can only say, I truly hope that it doesn't come to pass.  After all, I'd much rather see 8 billion people "hit the wall", than 30 billion.  The latter will definitely leave a bigger "splat" on the environment when it crashes.


    BTW, it will simply appear like the Earth is the universe's "clown car" in seeing how many people it can cram into a particular area.  When you consider that the ENTIRE land surface area of the earth is 148,940,000 km2, then if we assume 30 billion people, that works out to 201 people per square kilometer of surface area.  I'll bet the peak at Mount Everest would be pretty pricey real estate.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth
    Mundus vult decipi
    >>We have not even begun to exhaust the food- or water or energy-production capacity to feed and house 30 billion people just on this planet.

    Alright, but who will pay for these things?

    Hank
    They can pay for it.  Africa does not grow more of its own food because it can't do it as cheaply as it can buy it from Europe.  85% of the agriculture subsidies of the entire world are European governments paying European farmers to grow food for export and that means selling it cheaper than people can grow it.  Europe allows their anti-science food production mentality because allowing poor countries to grow food would be an economic negative for Europe.

    The idea that these countries can't or won't grow and sell and develop and buy products and food - and therefore we have to give it to them - is warmed over colonialism. In reality, the first world is afraid of the competition.
    Gerhard Adam
    The idea that these countries can't or won't grow and sell and develop and buy products and food - and therefore we have to give it to them - is warmed over colonialism. In reality, the first world is afraid of the competition.
    Doesn't that just undercut the entire argument that GMOs are intended to feed the world's hungry?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    I never made that argument. My contention has always been that food that can grow in difficult climates and without pesticides is better for poor people, who are the hungriest, because they can grow their own and even sell it and improve their lives.  If some company insists they are doing it for altruistic reasons, that is simple PR, just like activist groups alleging genetically modified foods are more dangerous than any other food.
    Gerhard Adam
    But isn't that just a potential use and not an argument at all?  After all, if GMO foods aren't actually available for whatever reason, then to even discuss them is irrelevant.  In short, they only become a hypothetical solution, all other things being equal.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Actually, there's no scenario that would support 30 billion people, no matter how optimistic one is.  The most wide-eyed predictions still require resources and exploitation of other planets in our solar system, etc. and even if we indulge the fantasy of colonization, the numbers are hard to contemplate.

    In 2011, it is estimated that the world would increase in population by 78 million individuals.  Therefore to maintain our population at the present level [and present level of reproduction] would require that 78 million "colonists" leave the Earth every year.  So, at the rate of about 210,000 + people per day leaving the Earth to colonize other planets, we could ensure that the population doesn't increase on the Earth.

    That's a lot of rockets, but then it seems that all of the resources of the Earth would have to be shifted over for this effort, since such an effort could hardly be sustained without a world-wide commitment.

    Maybe I'm just being too pessimistic, but it seems like that ship has long since sailed, and other projections simply sound naive.  No matter how optimistic some of these scenarios sound, they always come apart when presented with the real numbers of human existence.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    Again, this is philosophical and has been said for decades. In 1965, when I was born, if we wanted to give away a car and a TV to everyone on Earth, we didn't have the raw materials to do it.  Yet we have as many TVs now as there are people on Earth, despite that not being possible. These are simple technology issues, not legitimate obstacles.  We can make new materials - we would have run out of resources in 1940 if no one ever invented new materials. The human population was supposed to be eating each other in 1973 too.  That sort of talk has always been the same as the Mayan apocalypse - people who want to believe it are going to believe it.  
    Gerhard Adam
    That's not the same discussion.  I'm not making up the numbers regarding the Earth's land surface area.  The whole controversy surrounding meat from petri dishes and GMO foods is precisely because of inadequate resources to support human population growth.

    Your argument might have legs if you were telling me that nothing was changing and everything was status quo, but it clearly isn't.  I'm being told that only new scientific breakthroughs and technologies will enable human growth into the future.  It's hardly the same comparison.
    ...if we wanted to give away a car and a TV to everyone on Earth, we didn't have the raw materials to do it.
    OK, well, I'm going to pull a Hank and call that a "made-up" fact.  I seriously doubt that there were scientific discussions in that vein, especially in 1965 [I'm not talking about any radical extremes either, but rather scientific perspectives].
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thor Russell
    Because population is no longer growing exponentially, this is the first time in history that living sustainably is not a hopelessly moving target. The world definitely can support 9 billion people if we do things moderately right and technology continues to advance, as it of course well.
    Thor Russell
    Gerhard Adam
    The world definitely can support 9 billion people if we do things moderately right and technology continues to advance, as it of course well.
    Who is this "we" of which you speak?  The problem is that we could support 7 billion people right now.  Why aren't we?  What makes you think that science or technology can do anything to change how the world works? 

    What does that mean to say "if we do things moderately right"?  Are you referring to politics?  economics?  What do you think is going to happen in the future, that can't happen today that will "fix things"?

    Not to be too hard on you, but this is reality:
    Famine may not only be a by-product of war, it may also be an instrument of war. There are many cases in Africa of political interference—certain groups may be more vulnerable because of deliberate indifference or even victimisation by the government, oupled with the lack of political power of these groups. Evidence abounds in both Angola and Sudan of wide-scale starvation because of lack of access by aid organisations to those in need, and also of deliberate victimisation on the part of the government. In Angola civilian populations, which were the target of both parties to the conflict, were under constant patterns of attack and reprisal for the three years prior to the ending of the war, displaced by force or threat of force, and their villages and homes often burned down as well as systematically plundered, preventing them from growing or harvesting crops and depriving people of basic resources.
    http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/ASR/12No1/Clover.pdf
    Tackling hunger cannot be solved by simply producing more food—famines have occurred even with plenty of food. Most people buy food rather than produce it; in fact very few people, including small farmers, are entirely self sufficient in production. What we are witnessing in Southern Africa, in particular, is that as harvests have failed, so people have resorted to selling off livestock and assets to finance food purchases, while simultaneously food prices have risen sharply and livestock prices have fallen.
    http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/ASR/12No1/Clover.pdf
    So what solution is being envisioned that will address these problems?

    We need to stop pretending.  We can't support 7 billion people and that situation isn't going to improve, because what scientists uniformly fail to see in these discussions is that this isn't an engineering problem.  It's a human social problem and humans will NOT solve this by facts and research.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thor Russell
    By "we" I mean everyone on the planet

    You are changing the goalposts by saying that we don't already support 7 billion. Are you saying we won't "support" 9 billion in the same way we dont support 7 billion because if you are, then thats not really saying anything at all. I thought we were talking about them actually dying not just being unhappy.
    Throughout history the vast majority of any population probably wasn't "supported" by your definition, only the rich classes, so what is your point? Unless you think you can prove that if there are 9 billion, then suddenly 6 billion will actually starve and die, then the future you are worried about is just the same as the present.


    It may be a human social problem, but being able to produce an excess of food will still help. I am not at all opposed to social solutions, but to people saying that we are doomed, or still talking as if the population is growing exponentially.
    Thor Russell
    Gerhard Adam
    Are you saying we won't "support" 9 billion in the same way we dont support 7 billion because if you are, then thats not really saying anything at all. I thought we were talking about them actually dying not just being unhappy.
    Are you saying that several million people starving to death every year is simply being "unhappy"? 
    Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year--five million deaths.
    http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm
    It may be a human social problem, but being able to produce an excess of food will still help.
    That's what you're not understanding.  We already have an excess of food.  How will having an excess with a larger population be somehow different?
    Unless you think you can prove that if there are 9 billion, then suddenly 6 billion will actually starve and die,...
    OK ... what's your "success" number?  How many millions can die and still be considered a success?
    In round numbers there are 7 billion people in the world. Thus, with an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world, 13.1 percent, or almost 1 in 7 people are hungry.

    The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day  according to the most recent estimate that we could find.(FAO 2002, p.9).  The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. 
    http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm
    By all means ... define success for me?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thor Russell
    There are two separate issues here. Firstly I would definitely like to be able to feed the current population better than we are at the moment, but that was not what I thought you were talking about. 
    You seemed to be talking about some massive collapse of entire society in which case just avoiding that would be considered a "success" in a narrow sense of the word.

    Real success would be actually feeding everyone of course. From what I've read the problems of distribution and production are linked. Technological and social issues are complicated and interlinked. Even if we perfectly distributed the current food supply, we would still want to increase it to feed 9 billion even if just to provide a buffer, so technological progress would of course come in handy. Also to enable more local food production for people that need it most,  a combination of better basic infrastructure, social systems, water, etc as well as advanced technology to better prepare for a changing climate would help. Its not one or the other. 
    Thor Russell
    Gerhard Adam
    There's no "massive collapse" in the works.  Just unconstrained growth that will not end well. 

    Whether anyone likes it or not, we've already got all the technology we need to ensure that people can live well, and yet we can't deliver it. 

    It would seem that the scientific position should be warning that human society needs to think seriously about its future rather than simply assuming that there will be technological miracles to "fix" whatever anyone things ails it.  More importantly I'm not content at all, to think that public policy decisions are being considered that basically deny my own personal freedoms simply in an effort to deliver such technological "solutions".  After all, that's the controversy of GMO foods.  All this talk about their safety, etc. is a red herring.  The only question is that needs answering is, who decided that I HAVE to accept a food solution that I don't need?  How was it decided that I'm not entitled to know what's being done to my food supply?  Since when can I not have an opinion about something as fundamental as the right of food or water?

    Most people are no longer naive enough to believe that science can deliver miracles.  For every advance there's associated risk.  There are no "risk-free" choices, so I find it particularly annoying when these types of decisions are being made, all in the name of allowing more people to continue reproducing because the human population can't constrain itself.

    No one wants to consider legislating births [and I agree that would be a terrible idea], but they think nothing of legislating what I have to accept as food in lieu of those births.  This article talks about meat from a petri dish?  Why should that be an acceptable solution to me?  Because we have to prepare for 2 billion more people to be added to humanity's rolls? 

    As I've said previously.  This isn't about science and I'm getting tired of science as being presented as a solution for problems that we are clueless to solve. 

    Want to read something truly pathetic?  Consider this:
    African countries need to avoid exploitation and to participate as stakeholders in the transgenic biotechnology business. They need the right policies and agencies, such as operational biosafety regulatory agencies, breeders’ rights and an effective local public and private sector, to interface with multinational companies that already have the technologies. Consumers need to be informed of the pros and cons of various agricultural biotechnology packages, the dangers of using unsuitable foreign germplasm, and how to avoid the loss of local germplasm and to maintain local diversity. Other checks and balances are required to avoid patenting local germplasm and innovations by multinationals; to ensure policies on intellectual property rights and to avoid unfair competition; to prevent the monopoly buying of local seed companies; and to prevent the exploitation of local consumers and companies by foreign multinationals. Field trials need to be done locally, in Africa, to establish environmental safety under tropical conditions.
    http://www.stradanove.net/news/testi/bio-02b/africa.pdf
    This is the advice being given to starving people and how Africa needs to solve its problems.  It's embarrassing.  It's worse than the "Let them eat cake" quote.  Yeah, this really sounds like we want to help.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Your comment : "GM hysteria was not based on any peer-reviewed work" is fascinating. You seem to have no concept of the precautionary principle nor the evolution of GM food.. It is not the resposibility of consumers to prove new technologies are unsafe, but for the developers of those technologies to prove they are safe. And what peer reviewed research proved GM safe?. It was a 90 day rat study in the U.S. That's what the USDA and FDA accepted as sufficient evidence to manipulate the entire food supply.

    As regards your vitriol against PETA, this is the sign of an unevolved individual, who cannot yet empathize with the suffering of other creatures.

    So many words, such little wisdom.

    Hank
    This was the nicest I have ever been to PETA.  It's the first time they ever accepted science.  Clearly you like them, that is okay by me, except instead of applauding me for being nice to them, you can only find fault because I am not a sycophant.  That encapsulates the flaw in PETA's approach.

    My statement about original GM hysteria was based on the short interview of Arpad Pusztai where he made that claim, completely without foundation - even his own employer thought he must have invented that conclusion.

    Since that time, anti-science groups have proceeded with hysteria first, despite the fact that not a single stomachache or any ill effect has been caused by GM foods.  None.
    Once again you have the cart before the horse. The onus is on Monsanto etc to prove that it's safe...and produces effective crops. You said : "not a single stomachache or any ill effect has been caused by GM foods". I'm in awe of your omniscience. How exactly do you know that no illness is being caused by GM foods. You don't.

    By the way, the storyline is that GM foods are supposed to help feed the starving masses. The reality is that Monsanto developed them purely to resist their toxic round-up ready herbicide, which they sell a lot of now. The crops do so badly that thousands of Indian farmers have committed suicide when those crops failed.

    You seem like a well meaning fellow, so I wish you would learn the back story on these things. It would be nice to have you on good side.

    Hank
    The onus is on Monsanto etc to prove that it's safe
    100% of science and medicine fails this test and always will - as does organic food. Safety is determined over time.  In decades of testing and usage there are no ill effects from any genetically modified food.  Organic food cannot make that claim, since hundreds are poisoned every year (and dozens die) from it.

    I am on the side of science and reason. The notion that you regard the opposition to that as the 'good side' reaffirms what I said about PETA being anti-science before anything else.
    Gerhard Adam
    I know you're aware that you can't make the claim that GMO foods have never caused a problem, because such information simply isn't be tracked and what is, isn't nearly specific enough to make such claims.

    However, your key point is that "safety is determined over time", which is precisely why I insist that such foods be labeled, so that we have the data to track these products over time.  It is the failure to disclose that creates the suspicion.  I'm not alleging that they are unsafe, neither am I offering guarantees that they are safe.  I'm prepared to accept that there has been a significant amount of testing and that "substantial equivalence" is a reasonable starting point for the beginning phases of this usage.

    However, we both know that none of this is what the basis for the GMO food controversies.  The overall problem is that these corporations are suing each other left and right over the most nebulous biological claims and then expecting the government to cover their respective "behinds" to ensure that the public is kept in the dark regarding what their involvement is in the food supply.  Labeling is not to onerous a requirement, at which point, the market can determine what works.  Personally I suspect that most people would continue to purchase exactly the same products they have before, and there would be no issues, but the reluctance of companies to participate simply isn't acceptable.  Like it or not, I deserve to know what has been modified in my food supply.

    NOTE:  It is not an acceptable argument to claim that there are many things we don't know about already, because in truth, that should be changed as well.  However, I'm prepared to "grandfather" in many of these issues.  However, if a modification is important enough for a corporation to own a patent on it, and to protect it with lawsuits against others, then it is important enough to be included as a label on my food.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    I know you're aware that you can't make the claim that GMO foods have never caused a problem, because such information simply isn't be tracked and what is, isn't nearly specific enough to make such claims.
    86% of US corn is modified.  If you are saying no ill effects have ever been detected, you prove the point that it needn't be a concern. People have been monitoring it for over a decade.  
     if a modification is important enough for a corporation to own a patent on it, and to protect it with lawsuits against others, then it is important enough to be included as a label on my food.
    This is not logical.  Apple has a patent on their interface yet we do not require their method of development to be put on the label.  Lots of supplements are patented and their manufacturing processes don't appear on labels.  Why is a gene so special?  What difference does a patent make?  Companies in Brazil have patented half the species known in the Amazon Rainforest.  

    Anyway, those labels are fine by me, though it's against current law, but you have to change it for all foods to not be illegal.  A genetic modification is not an 'ingredient' and is not delineated because there is no detectable difference in the product unless you spent $50K on a PCR platform. If organic food, or any food, had to label the process by which it was created, it would make the case for GMOs even stronger.  If organic conglomerates had to accurately label the process of creating their foods the same way you would require of a GM kind, they'd be out of business. 
    Gerhard Adam
    Why is a gene so special?  What difference does a patent make?
    Wrong question.  I can choose to buy an Apple system or not.  I can't choose whether to eat or not.  Sorry, but the patent makes a difference in my food supply and I'm entitled to know what I'm being sold, especially when I may have little or no choice in the matter.  This isn't about science, it's about the public right to know about something as fundamental as their food and water supply.  In addition, right now the entire process is largely a carnival when companies are seeking to patent "expressed sequence tags" (EST) which don't even represent anything except fragments of genes for which the function isn't even known.  This process is seriously out of control and bears no resemblance to the traditional patent processes associated with something like electronics technology.
    ...because there is no detectable difference in the product unless you spent $50K on a PCR platform.
    Again, that's the wrong question.  There is clearly a detectable difference in the product when a patent can be obtained and lawsuits filed over infringement.  I'm not disputing whether a product is nutritionally equivalent nor whether it is safe or not.  It is clearly differentiable and consequently it is capable of being labeled.
    If organic conglomerates had to accurately label the process of creating their foods the same way you would require of a GM kind, they'd be out of business.
    That changes nothing, because I would have no objection to much more stringent labeling guidelines for food regardless of origin.  Arguing whether organic conglomerates should more accurately label their products is certainly a fair issue to raise, but it changes nothing with respect to whether GMO foods should be labeled.  Failure in one area does not constitute approval by default.

    As I said, I'm not asking anyone to explicitly define processes or anything else.  It's simple enough.  If a product contains a patentable process, then it should be labeled as such.  Nothing more onerous is required.  If they can track it to sue each other, then they can certainly track it to tell me what's in the food.
    If you are saying no ill effects have ever been detected, you prove the point that it needn't be a concern. People have been monitoring it for over a decade.
    Are you suggesting that of the 86% modified corn consumed that only the 14% that is unmodified has produced ill effects?  If so, then that would be news, because then we could demonstrate that GMO foods have reduced the number of food related problems.  However, I suspect no such data exists, and consequently it can't be claimed as a positive result either.

    In addition, this response would argue against your claim of 86% modified corn and consumers
    "Actually, Bt corn is NOT everywhere in our foods. As I stated in the original post, around 1% of it ends up in food. Starch, HFCS and corn isolated from corn (much of which is GM) DO end up in our foods and are, in fact, listed in the ingredients statements of quite a few products. All of these are highly purified products that are identical to the same product isolated from conventional corn; they also do not contain more than infinitesimal, often undetectable, amounts of Bt protein or any DNA from the GM DNA insertion
    http://www.bestfoodfacts.org/main/food_for_thought/24
    In any case, I'm not arguing about whether the foods are safe or not.  I'm confident that they're probably as safe as most things.  However, I'm not compelled to accept them in ignorance.  Labeling is neither an onerous or restrictive requirement when it comes to our food supply.  In the same way that people may be vegans or believe in "organic food", or subsist on Twinkies, I don't particularly care, but they do have a right to determine what they put into their own bodies based on being as "informed" as possible.  Deficiencies in labeling in one area do not justify similar deficiencies across the board.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I didn't realize before yesterday that It is mandatory for genetically modified (GM) foods to be identified on food labels in Australia and New Zealand but then I also didn't realize before yesterday that we had the insecticide and bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genetically modified to become part of some of the GM foods that we are consuming. So from now on I shall be checking the labels and avoiding buying these Bt containing GM foods as I don't like eating insecticides and I have always religiously washed all fruit and vegetables to remove all external traces of insecticides before cooking or eating them. These mandatory labeling requirements became law in December 2001 and were put in place by food ministers to assist consumers to purchase or avoid GM foods, depending on their own views and beliefs. :-

    GM foods and ingredients (including food additives and processing aids from GM sources) must be identified on labels with the words ‘genetically modified’, if novel DNA and/or novel protein from an approved GM variety is present in the final food.  GM foods must also be labelled if they have altered characteristics.   For example, if a GM food has an increased level of a particular nutrient, such as a vitamin, or has to be cooked or prepared in a different way compared to the conventional food, then this also needs to be stated on the label.  Some exemptions are allowed under the labelling requirements. For example, foods which do not contain novel DNA or protein do not have to be labelled, such as highly refined or processed foods such as vegetable oils or sugars.  However, if these foods also have altered characteristics (e.g. a refined oil with an altered fatty acid profile) then the food must be labelled.

    The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) have also recently undertaken a comprehensive review of food labeling law and policy. The recently published report has made the following recommendations with regard to food labeling and new technologies, including nanotechnology and irradiation :-
    New Technologies
    Recommendation 28: That as a general principle all foods or ingredients that have been processed by new technologies (i.e., all technologies that trigger pre-market food safety assessments) be required to be labelled for 30 years from the time of their introduction into the human food chain; the application of this principle to be based on scientific evidence of direct impact on, or modification of, the food/ingredient to be consumed. At the expiry of that period the mandatory labelling should be reviewed.
    Recommendation 29: That only foods or ingredients that have altered characteristics or contain detectable novel DNA or protein be required to declare the presence of genetically modified material on the label.
    Recommendation 30: That any detection of an adventitious genetically modified event be followed by a period of monitoring and testing of that food or ingredient.
    Recommendation 31: That foods or ingredients with flavours containing detectable novel DNA or protein not be exempt from the requirements to declare the presence of genetically modified material on the label.
    Recommendation 32: That foods or ingredients that have been genetically modified and would require declaration if labelled be declared on menu/menu boards or in close proximity to the food display or menu in chain food service outlets and on vending machines.
    Recommendation 33: That governments ensure effective monitoring of labelling requirements in the Food Standards Code relating to genetically modified foods or ingredients through support for sufficient Australian and New Zealand laboratories, observing world best practice protocols, and with the necessary resources and analytical skills.
    Recommendation 34: That the requirement for mandatory labelling of irradiated food be reviewed.
    Recommendation 35: That Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other relevant bodies develop as a matter of urgency a standard for regulating the presence of nanotechnology in the food production chain, consistent with the recommendations in this Report relating to new technologies.
    I am happy with the way the Australian Government is handling the mandatory labeling of GM foods in Australia and also with the recommendations that they are making for the future.

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    MikeCrow
    Here's my problem with this:
    Labeling is neither an onerous or restrictive requirement when it comes to our food supply.
    It's wrong, because it will double the effort in the supply chain, and the comment that it's the businesses duty to deal with such things, while true, I have no desire to see my food cost go up just for your labeling concerns, and worse still you'll probably just stop buying said labeled food anyway. Either way it's a waste of time and effort and my money.

    So, please save all of us who don't really care our foods have different grains that are chemically the same in them, and just go buy organic food, they already charge a premium for some imaginary difference, I don't want to be forced to pay it.
    Never is a long time.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    So, please save all of us who don't really care our foods have different grains that are chemically the same in them, and just go buy organic food, they already charge a premium for some imaginary difference, I don't want to be forced to pay it.
    There is so much wrong with this statement Mi Cro. First of all the genetically modified grains that contain Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are not chemically the same, one contains the Bt bacteria and insecticide (which is from the same genus as is closely related to B.cereus which causes food poisoning and B.anthracis which causes Anthrax and shares many of their characteristics, other than being potentially fatal to us) throughout it, often in large quantities, the other doesn't, a bit like the difference between yoghurt and milk or wine and grape juice? 

    Secondly, organic foods are more likely to have been genetically modified to contain Bt in every cell or to have been sprayed with a Bt insecticide because Bt is considered to be an organic form of insecticide which can be used both from within and without. Many of my friends only buy 'organic food' and I haven't yet broken the bad news to them that they are probably consuming more Bt insecticide than people like you who don't care and buy whatever.

    Thirdly, why should we 'save' all of you who don't really care whether GM foods are worth labeling if you don't even try to understand why the rest of us have legitimate concerns about some GMOs?

    In Australia GM foods and ingredients (including food additives and processing aids from GM sources) must be identified on labels with the words ‘genetically modified’, if novel DNA and/or novel protein from an approved GM variety is present in the final food.  GM foods must also be labelled if they have altered characteristics.
    For example, if a GM food has an increased level of a particular nutrient, such as a vitamin, or has to be cooked or prepared in a different way compared to the conventional food, then this also needs to be stated on the label. Why would you possibly have a problem with that? I have haemochromatosis a potentially fatal iron overload disease, I need to know if a food has been genetically modified to contain more iron. We have a right to know which GM foods are chemically different and labeling serves that purpose.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    MikeCrow
    Does organic food contain labels that it may contain Bt?

    If your child's High School Biology text book contained (or don't, your choice) a chapter on ID, is it okay to demand the school system buy more Biology books to meet your preferences? Because if you demand that, you are spending my money for something I'm not demanding. If you want to pay extra for special accommodations, that's fine, don't demand I pay more just to appease your mythical concerns. Because as far as I can tell, there is no difference between GMO and non-GMO foods.
    Never is a long time.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    don't demand I pay more just to appease your mythical concerns. Because as far as I can tell, there is no difference between GMO and non-GMO foods.
    If there are no detectable differences than there is no need for GM labelling. That is what is already in place here in Australia, as I keep telling you. However, you don't seem to be able to comprehend that often these GM foods are NOT chemically identical even though you obviously are determined to keep believing that they are.

    If my child's High School biology text book contained a chapter on Intelligent Design (ID) or not I couldn't care less, my kids are intelligent enough to make up their own minds about any non-scientific 'facts' or fiction that they are force fed at school. However, if they go to the school canteen at lunch time and buy a banana (in my dreams) they have a right to know if it has been genetically modified to be say fortified with iron, as they also have the haemochromatosis genes. The average banana contains .35 mg of iron, hypothetically genetic modification could increase that iron content considerably to say 3 mg of iron and this additional daily intake could cause severe problems for my children down the track.

    The frequency (incidence in the general population) of the abnormal haemochromatosis gene is: 1 in 100 people (double gene mutation known as a homozygote) and 1 in 8-10 people is a carrier of haemochromatosis (single gene mutation known as a heterozygote or "het" for short). That's approximately 32 million Americans who are carriers and 1.5 million Americans have the double gene which can lead to full blown hemochromatosis. Recent studies in Ireland, show a frequency of 1 in 4 as carriers of the single mutation and 1 in 64 as double gene mutation. Most of these people don't even know that they have haemochromatosis but genetically modifying their food to increase their iron consumption both with or without their knowledge could hypothetically cause huge increases in people clinically presenting with  :-

    This is just one hypothetical example but still a very real possibility, for all I know its already happening and only food labeling ensures that we will ever even be aware of it. As it is millions of people die from the symptoms of haemochromatosis and didn't even know they had it! It is one of the least diagnosed genetic disorders in the world.

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    MikeCrow
    While you totally missed the point of the text books, and how others who think their point of view is somehow special, and therefore deserves to be forced onto others at someone elses cost.
    It isn't unreasonable to have single server GMO fruits and vegetables marked, and since those fruits and veggies are already marked the impact will be minimal.

    My concern is more around grain type products, where a farmer might plant thousands of acres of mixed gmo/non-gmo crops, where it's harvested and shipped in grain cars. And where food producers are forced to treat those grains as if they were poisonous and processed on separate equipment. To me that's paranoids forcing their insanity on everyone else at our expense.

    The organic food industry is geared to dealing with smaller markets of people who some are already nuts, and therefore willing to pay more for nothing, it's a perfect match.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't want to be forced to pay it.
    That's pretty much the lamest reason that exists.  To carry that through to its logical conclusion would mean that there should be no regulations, or even laws.

    After all, each of these items adds a cost to living in our society.  Should we remove all food regulations?  That should save the corporations some money.  Then we can remove all the cleanliness standards in restaurants and for food preparers.  That ought to save some money too.

    The point is that such a statement is pure political agenda, and I'm frankly not interested in it.

    This is one of the great myths in our modern economic theories, that somehow if we just give corporations what they want, then prices will actually go down.  Prices will not go down.  Not now, not ever.

    Even though the electronics industry is often cited, the reality is that it isn't even true there.  While some elements have become cheaper, the overall technology has been relatively stable with costs continuing to increase.  So while you may be able to buy a printer for $30, you'll easily spend $300/year on ink, so the actual expense of a printer isn't cheaper at all.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    In 1990, I bought a 1X CD burner for $3,000.  I don't remember what the media cost but it was a lot.  Those are cheaper now.

    Inflation happens and that is not the fault of corporations.  If you ever lived in a remote area, you paid a lot for anything.  Then when Wal-Mart came you got things a lot cheaper and the quality is still quite good.  There are numerous instances where profitability and increased standards of living have gone hand-in-hand without issue.
    Gerhard Adam
    The difference is that electronics is typically an "economy of scales" industry, so that once the technology becomes relatively stabilized, it becomes a commodity.  So, in that case, the prices come down. 

    The problem with the Wal-Mart example, is that things may be "relatively" cheaper compared to other stores, but it isn't cheaper in terms of the supposed inflation rate.  In addition, without getting into many of the other controversies, Wal-Mart's "cheapness" comes at a considerably higher cost to most communities.

    I don't have a problem with profits, nor increases in the standard of living.  I'm certainly not even advocating that things necessarily need to be fair and equitable.  However, I will not accept the notion that corporations can hold us hostage to "higher prices" simply because we [as a society] what to control what's being presented to us.

    Corporations exist at our pleasure, not the reverse.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    Corporations exist at our pleasure, not the reverse.

    Right.
    Never is a long time.
    MikeCrow
    Did I mention any of these "logical" conclusions?
    What I think is lame are people who get their panties all twisted up over some perceived horror that doesn't exist, but has direct effects on the rest of the population insane or not.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Alright when let's look at these "perceived" horrors.  We already know that natural selection will continue despite the best efforts of scientists to ensure that natural "immunities" don't develop.  What's the contingency plan for that?

    Since we already know this is going to happen, then we automatically create the environment where no labeling means that even when things go well beyond where they are today, there will be no legal precedent requiring labeling. 

    In short, people will be operating solely on the "trust" that the government is providing the proper oversight to ensure that no over-zealous corporation does something unethical or even criminal.  We already know how well that works.

    To focus on the safety of GMO foods is a red herring argument and not relevant.  What is relevant is that there WILL be secondary effects.  There WILL be unintended consequences.  There WILL be things that go wrong.  So, the choice we have is to determine whether we treat this science responsibly by ensuring we have as much data, and as accurate a data set as possible, or we give in to politics and economics and say .... Naaahhh ... it'll be OK, and we'll save some money by dispensing with the data.

    I'm not OK with that.  It isn't crazy.  It isn't some "hippie" concept.  Anyone that is willing to place their future in the hands of government or business, merely on their say-so, when the data is available is the crazy one.
    Mundus vult decipi
    MikeCrow
    I'll point you back to the paper in your blog that you cherry picked from, when we get science saying there more to be concerned with, get back to me about making new laws that burden everyone. That's all I'm asking for, there's tons of laws, rules, scientists and inspectors all watching for infractions already, we don't need more until there's real issues to worry about, and the paper you linked to says to me at least for now, there's no need for more laws. Cherry picking your evidence isn't science, it's politicking.
    And sticking a label on a food package isn't making sure we have data, it's insighting fud.

    It's kind of funny, how much you hammer on people for not having scientific evidence to backup their points of view.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, I can't do it right now, so I'll address it later.  If you think there's only one scientific paper out there, then you're mistaken.

    I'll post the links, and you'll see that the concerns aren't from people with an axe to grind.  They are legitimate and I'm frankly surprised that you think scientists or inspectors can "watch for infractions" when you're arguing that there should be no labeling or means of identifying the products. 
    ...the paper in your blog that you cherry picked from...
    Spare me the rhetoric.  I quoted pieces from the paper and posted the entire paper.  Since it is obviously pointless to quote the entire piece, then that's how it is done.  There's nothing "cherry-picking" about it, nor the implied dishonesty that you're alleging.


    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    While I can appreciate the point that GMO foods aren't likely to be more harmful than many other practices that humans have engaged in over the centuries, including the technological ones of these past few decades.  The following illustrates the problem with being too optimistic.
    It is clear that there is no adequate occupational or general population-level surveillance for potentially allergenic novel crops. For human health surveillance, most allergists are not aware of the allergenic risk of biotechnology crops, clinical tests are not readily available, and there is no specific program for monitoring either the general population or occupational groups. Although the FIFRA SAP recommended that the U.S. EPA consider establishing surveillance of animals, it is not clear how the U.S. EPA would do this. In short, the question of surveillance has raised a number of interesting questions and has provided no easy answers.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240687/pdf/ehp0110-000005.pdf
    What is equally telling is the following incident, which concluded that the 28 reported cases of possible allergy, it was concluded that there was no evidence to indicate that they had suffered a reaction due to a novel protein.  However, in the findings, it is a bit more interesting to note that the problem appears to be that the technology simply couldn't resolve the issue one way or the other.  That's not intended as an indictment of the corn, but it should promote a bit more caution regarding the hubris regarding safety.
    ...the technical approach for the detection of Cry9c protein and antigen-specific IgEs is limited and cannot resolve the issue of the presence or absence of Cry9c-specific IgE in the serum of individuals reporting adverse reactions after eating corn (27; p. 33).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240687/pdf/ehp0110-000005.pdf
    Their conclusion is also worth considering
    The Starlink episode contributes a real-life example in which, in the absence of complete scientific information, the U.S. EPA attempted to limit the introduction of a new genetically modified organism by requiring that it only be used for animal feed. The inherent weaknesses in the identification of new allergens, described by the NRC report, largely contributed to the uncertainties about the risks of Starlink corn and the subsequent food crisis. In addition, there were fundamental flaws in risk management. In the absence of monitoring by the U.S. EPA or the FDA, perhaps it should not be so surprising that this variety was widely distributed in the food supply before the U.S. EPA (and Aventis) could take action to enforce the registration requirements. The credibility of this technology has been shaken by the uncertainty in the processes to assess and manage the risks of Starlink corn.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240687/pdf/ehp0110-000005.pdf
    Mundus vult decipi