GM rules

June 26th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has confirmed she will block councils from setting their own rules on genetically modified organisms, saying that central Government’s controls on GM trials and releases were strict enough.

The minister was challenged in Parliament yesterday after the Heraldrevealed she was investigating attempts by North Island councils to introduce higher standards on GMOs in their planning documents.

Ms Adams said in the House that she was concerned that councils were trying to go against central Government’s rules on new organisms.

“Local councils are local councils – they operate under the national framework. There has never been the ability for them to rewrite national rules that they don’t like.

“And if councils have concerns about the way GM regulation in New Zealand works, they should raise those with the [Environment Protection Agency] and attempt to address the legislation on a national basis. They should not set up their own independent states…”

Excellent. This will stop the anti-science nutters from bullying Councils into bans. New Zealand had a Royal Commission of inquiry into GM. It was demanded by the Greens and others. They said that GM should not be banned in NZ, but allowed under strict conditions.

It is worth recalling that in over 20 years of genetically modified crops and food, there has never been any documented ill effects from it. Wikipedia states:

  •  the American Association for the Advancement of Science has stated “Foods containing ingredients from genetically modified (GM) crops pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques.
  • The American Medical Association, the National Academies of Sciences and the Royal Society of Medicine have stated that no adverse health effects on the human population related to GM food have been reported and/or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.
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37 Responses to “GM rules”

  1. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    “there has never been any documented ill effects from it. (GM foods)” That is a wildly inaccurate statement and downright lie.

    Tell that to the Indian farmers

    From Wikipedia;

    More recently, in 2012 the ICAR and the CCRI stated that for the first time farmer suicides could be linked to a decline in the performance of Bt cotton (Monsanto owned GM Cotton), and they issued an advisory stating that “cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers.” [30] As of August 2012, technical experts appointed by the India Supreme Court have recommended a 10-year moratorium on all field trials of GM food, as well as the termination of all current trials of transgenic crops.[34]

    This is a complex issue and not solely down to GM cotton, but to say that there has “never been any documented ill effects from” GM products is a blatant, and outrageous lie. Surprised when transparency and science is trumpeted so loudly on here.

    This is just one of the many examples. For plenty more go to
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

    And GM foods have not been clearly associated with an increase in crop yields. They are not the panacea for solving the worlds food crisis.

    From wikipedia;

    “In 2009 the Union of Concerned Scientists summarized peer-reviewed studies on the yield contribution of genetic engineered crops—soybeans and maize in the United States.[261] The report concluded that in the United States, other agricultural methods have made a greater contribution to national crop yield increases in recent years than genetic engineering. Such critics also point to a study published in Nature Biotechnology by University of Wisconsin researchers that concluded that the introduction of Roundup Ready crops as well as the Bt trait for corn rootworm actually lowered yields.”

    ^ D. Gurian-Sherman. 2009. Failure to Yield. UCSUSA.org
    ^ Do GM Crops Really Have Higher Yields? (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/do-gmo-crops-have-lower-yields)
    ^ Guanming Shi, Jean-Paul Chavas & Joseph Lauer (February 2013). “Commercialized transgenic traits, maize productivity and yield risk”. Nat. Biotechnol. 31: 111–14. doi:10.1038/nbt.2496.

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  2. Griff (6,703 comments) says:

    SRII

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,169 comments) says:

    If you eat tomatoes you turn into a tomato so it’s really important to understand what genes you are putting into your body.

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  4. dime (9,366 comments) says:

    The lefts new obsession is Monsanto. Im bombarded with it every day on facebook. Its interesting to watch.

    The left really can be disgusting human beings.

    The smug assholes with full stomachs and good health that block things like golden rice make me sick. Millions of kids go blind and/or die for no good reason. just “we dont like that”.

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  5. Stuart (40 comments) says:

    I was writing a quick comment to counter the ‘arguments’ of nmackay, when I thought,
    ‘why am I wasting my time? logic, facts, and outing blatant lies have no effect on the thoughts of anti GM campaigners’ and deleted it.

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  6. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    On the other hand one wonders: do we really need this technology right now on this island? What’s the hurt to wait a bit with GM?

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  7. KiwiGreg (3,169 comments) says:

    @ berend yeah or all that latest medicine or iPhone technology. We (?) dont really need it. Or do you mean YOU dont need it so no one does?

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  8. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    They aren’t my arguments. I was simply quoting the abundant peer-reviewed research. I’m not a scientist.

    The main point above all else is stating that “there has never been any documented ill effects from it” is a bare faced lie and the source used to back this up, Wikipedia, in fact contradicts this statement.

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  9. Pete George (22,750 comments) says:

    It has become common for small minority groups to try and influence national policies via councils. That’s exactly what happened with the “fracking ban in Dunedin, a very small number of people worked the system and had their ban approved by council before the public knew anything about it.

    After this happened I researched the group behind it – much much smaller than UF. And there was no mention at all about fracking on the council website – there’s still no official mention there last time I lookd a month ago.

    I challenged a councillor about the stealth process and she said it was good democratic process allowing small groups to have their say. I don’t mind them saying, but I object to them conjuring up political grandstanding while deliberately avoiding wider scrutiny.

    There was another musise of democracy over the hotel submissions – opponents organised many similar submissions, and then claimed a majority becasue there were moe against than for. Same tactic seems to be used with submissions to parliament – especially the asset sales and mariage bills.

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  10. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    do we really need this technology right now on this island?

    Too right! Along with them new fangled mechanical looms and electric abacuses. And what will we do with the horses if we adopt them new horseless carriages. And if God had intended us to fly, he’d have given us wings.

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  11. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Incidentally berend, you comment quite frequently to the extent that govt should butt out of private business, so surely you cannot be against the private sector improving crop yield and quality through the use of GM

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  12. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg: berend yeah or all that latest medicine or iPhone technology. We (?) dont really need it. Or do you mean YOU dont need it so no one does?

    I’m all ears Greg, why do I need GM? Or why does NZ need GM?

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  13. peteremcc (341 comments) says:

    It’d be nice if the government had done the same on alcohol, rather than letting all the nutters at the local level control who can buy and sell what at various times of the day,

    Most ridiculous thing National have done so far.

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  14. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    bhudson: you cannot be against the private sector improving crop yield and quality through the use of GM

    It appears that this private sector also tends to sue private farmers if some of this GM stuff blows on their land…

    Monsanto Co. on Monday won another round in a legal battle with U.S. organic growers as an appeals court threw out the growers’ efforts to stop the company from suing farmers if traces of its patented biotech genes are found in crops.

    You think that if you believe government is bad, that one therefore believes private companies are good? Power corrupts bhudson.

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  15. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Stuart (33) Says:
    June 26th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I was writing a quick comment to counter the ‘arguments’ of nmackay, when I thought,
    ‘why am I wasting my time? logic, facts, and outing blatant lies have no effect on the thoughts of anti GM campaigners’ and deleted it.

    What about people who are unsure and uncommitted to any particular position? :)

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  16. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Berend, it would pay to try to find out as much information as you can on that “Monsanto versus Organic farmers” issue. It is widely used as propaganda, but the facts don’t support the rhetoric.

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  17. KiwiGreg (3,169 comments) says:

    I think you’re missing the point berend. You not needing or wanting something isn’t a rationale for banning anyone else from having it.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,169 comments) says:

    “and the source used to back this up, Wikipedia, in fact contradicts this statement.”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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  19. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    No one is yet to address the point that “there has never been any documented ill effects from it (GM foods)” is an outright lie.

    No matter what your position on GM products, that is the truth of the matter here. There have been in fact many well documented ill effects of GM food.

    Can we expect a retraction as a newspaper would do when caught out lying to their readers?

    The agenda on here is clear, I accept that. But lying then defending a lie is low.

    @KiwiGreg can you explain your laughter? DFP quoted his sources as Wikipedia. This same source contradicts the ‘fact’ that “there has never been any documented ill effects from it (GM foods)”.

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  20. David Farrar (1,853 comments) says:

    I am sure some individuals have felt sick and claim it is due to GM food. What I am referring to is an actual peer reviewed scientific study that has concluded GM food has caused ill effects to people.

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  21. greenjacket (415 comments) says:

    nmackay1982 wrote: “I’m not a scientist.”

    Well, yes.
    And your tin foil hat looks fabulous.

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  22. greenjacket (415 comments) says:

    Berend wrote: “I’m all ears Greg, why do I need GM? Or why does NZ need GM?”

    I am sure you don’t personally need GM – that is your right. No-one is forcing you to eat GM food (though I daresay you already have as it is so widespread in imported food and animal feed). Just because you have a personal objection to something, does NOT give you the right to force your belief system on others.

    As to why “NZ” needs GM, that is a matter for farmers, and should not be any of your business. I’d expect drought resistant rye-grass would be eagerly sought by many farmers, considering last season’s bad drought.
    I’d also expect forest owners would very quickly adopt GM pinus radiata if it have improved timber qualities (i.e. straightness).

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  23. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    I will concede that point in terms of direct health effects on humans (that is if you don’t count suicide or the mental health impacts on a multitude of farmers sued by Monsanto or whose crops are ruined by them). There are no longitudinal studies documenting the health effects on humans yet.

    Though it’s a very narrow position to take on GM products, not taking into account the loss of biodiversity or effects on soil for example.

    And of course who conducts most of these studies? The biotech companies themselves. The FDA doesn’t actually do any independent testing of it’s own. It simply reviews the papers it is fed.

    From Wikipedia again;
    “Domingo again reviewed the literature in 2011 and said that although there had been a substantial increase in the number of studies since 2006, most were conducted by the biotechnology companies responsible for commercialising the plants.[82]
    82. Domingo, J. L.; Giné Bordonaba, J. (2011). “A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants”. Environment International 37 (4): 734–742. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.01.003. PMID 21296423. edit

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  24. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    Ahaha tin foil hat, doesn’t take long. Some people make me laugh in their predictability and immaturity in debate. Did you spend all this time thinking of that one?

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  25. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nmackay1982, and who conducted the studies you have based your opinion on ? I suspect it was anti GMO activists.

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  26. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    greenjacket: As to why “NZ” needs GM, that is a matter for farmers, and should not be any of your business. I’d expect drought resistant rye-grass would be eagerly sought by many farmers, considering last season’s bad drought.

    And it would impact farmers who are selling GM-free. It would impact NZ’s green image in this world.

    Maybe these things don’t matter, and maybe GM is economically better for NZ, and maybe there are no adverse effects from being dependent for your food on a single big company. Maybe.

    But these are not issues that you can just shrug off and say they don’t matter. As soon as some farmers use GM, it impacts all farmers, even those who want to do without. And that’s a legitimate political issue.

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  27. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    ^^ that logic allows a minority – say organic farmers – to dictate the crops and methods for all other farmers. Is that the sort of society and business landscape you want for New Zealand?

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  28. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg: You not needing or wanting something isn’t a rationale for banning anyone else from having it.

    Maybe I have customers who sell GM free food. Maybe my business depends on NZ’s green image. So you’re saying people are not allowed to have an opinion on something that may effect their job or business?

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  29. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    bhudson, wake me up when you won’t peep when an airport opens up next to your home with 24 hrs/day landings.

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  30. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    Ho hum, you said they said. I’m basing my opinion on science to not blindly accept GMO’s as they are sold to me. You are basing your opinions on suspect? There is good science and bad science. I would argue that the science put worth by companies invested in the outcome is generally bad science.

    My grandmother was offered thalidomide when she was pregnant with my mother because it was thought safe at the time. Thankfully she had the sense not to take it and my mother is eternally grateful.

    There is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution when we are talking about something as contentious as GMO’s, who happen to be owned and sold by the company that created Agent Orange.

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  31. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nmackay1982 , do you have any evidence that GMO’s are harmful ?

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  32. Stuart (40 comments) says:

    If you really insist…

    The problems some farmers are facing who are using GM crops are not caused by the fact that the crops have been genetically modified. Heres an example:

    If the crops were conventionally bred to have a higher yield, or more disease resistance, farmers would buy them.

    Farmers who previously could not have made a profit, now enter the market as they can break even or make a small profit as the crops are better quality.

    Over time, bug X develops a taste for, or resistance to the crop. All these farmers on the margin who had only entered the market because of the better crop yields now make losses and go out of business, impacting their mental health and causing some to commit suicide.

    Whether the improved crops were genetically modified to be better, or conventionally bred to be better, the result is the same. The crop did not cause some chemical to appear in farmers brains making them unhappy, it did not cause cells to mutate. The reason for the problems were due to outside influences which are completely unrelated to the fact the crops are GM. GM did not harm anyone.

    Loss of biodiversity: Killing the bugs that eat crops is hardly a loss of biodiversity, and it has happened through both organic and non organic sprays for many many years… whether you kill them through making crops they cant eat by GM, or spraying them, or hitting them with a fly swat is irrelevant.

    Effects on soil? Only a foolish farmer would ignore their soil quality and grow the same crop year on year, and they would soon receive the drop in yields and be out of the market. A GM crop (or a conventional crop) may put more strain on the soil as it grows faster, that simply means a different management strategy, not that it shouldn’t be done.
    It is no different to farmers growing crops closer together, more stain on the soil, and more rotation/fertiliser needed.

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  33. nmackay1982 (20 comments) says:

    Go look on Wikipedia, or do some research.

    I’d rather err on the side of caution. It isn’t just short term human health effects. There are plenty of studies showing their harm to animals, farmers, biodiversity, not to mention the possibility of our food being owned and controlled by one company.

    It also comes down to consent and choice. You should have the right to know whether there are GM ingredients in your food so you can make your own choice.

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  34. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nmackay1982, erring on the side of caution can be applied to anything. It is not an informed position about anything unless it is based on something.

    Reading between the lines I suspect your oposition is informed by other concerns, not food safety. Those [other] concerns may be valid, but again it comes down to evidence. Scare tactics and fear of the unknown is not evidence.

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  35. wat dabney (3,655 comments) says:

    The Green Party’s opposition to GM is simply a cynical lie to win votes: the modern equivalent of denouncing the Jews for poisoning the wells.

    Famously, zealous anti-GM campaigner Mark Lynas recently recanted and denounced the evil bastards who still oppose it:

    http://www.marklynas.org/2013/04/time-to-call-out-the-anti-gmo-conspiracy-theory/

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  36. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    What DPF forgot” to add was that the useless Smith told the councils a couple of years ago to do just this. I posted it on yesterday’s GD early today.

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  37. alloytoo (431 comments) says:

    I was struggling to remember what nmackay1982′s posts reminded me of, then I remember a conversion earlier in the day concerning Anti-Vaccine lobbyists.

    Dubious sources, blanket claims and urging the side of caution, all the while other peoples children die of preventable conditions.

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