The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

Stay informed about what is hot in Washington and the states about natural health

When is a GMO not a GMO?

11

More parlor tricks are ahead for your salad.

Researchers are working on a more flavorful tomato through gene-isolating technology. This is not the introduction of genes from another species, as was the case with the GMO Flavr-Savr tomato, but neither is it traditional plant breeding.

If you are old enough, you will recall that tomatoes once had green bottoms or tops. This was deemed unattractive, and bred out, but it turned out that the genes involved in producing the green bottoms or tops also produced much of the tomato flavor—which, by the way, involves scent as much as flavor itself.

The obvious solution to this problem was to allow back the green tips, which are only a cosmetic problem. But no, modern growers couldn’t do that. They want the taste without what nature brings with it.

“We know what’s wrong with modern tomatoes and we have a pretty good idea how to fix it.” So says University of Florida researcher Harry Klee. He’s referring to the fact that tomatoes have for decades been bred for looks, size, and sturdiness at the expense of taste.

In some ways, what Klee and his team are doing is a victory of the anti-GMO movement. Klee says that he is using traditional breeding rather than genetic engineering—which he notes would produce the tastier tomato faster—because anti-GMO advocates have “won the battle” and made it more difficult to bring such laboratory experiments to market. How the Arctic apple, which has been genetically engineered to never brown, fares when it hits grocery stores in the next few months will be a good indication of whether Klee is right about the public’s preferences.

But a larger problem remains. We don’t need a food system that tricks us into thinking food tastes good. We have enough unnutritious food tricked out to appeal to us as it is. We need to support farmers who use time-tested techniques to produce delicious food and turn away from industrialized agriculture, which depletes the soil of vital nutrients—one of the real reasons food doesn’t taste like it used to. Yes, taste and soil quality go hand in hand.

And there is a still larger issue here. Many animals—not just human beings—are built to use taste as a means of choosing the food their bodies need. Believe it or not, cows can distinguish between up to a hundred different grasses with their muzzles and are naturally led to eat the ones that are less toxic or that will meet their particular needs at that momemt. If we keep ruining natural food, our natural ability to choose the nutrients to balance our biochemical processes will be completely lost.

 

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

Feds Tighten Grip on US Medicine

Natural Products Championed in Congress

Another Alzheimer’s Drug a Huge Flop

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  • Robert Cruder

    When can I get them?

    All this technology makes scientific agriculture even more productive than it was. How unfair to “organic” producers! The real atrocity is that we gardeners won’t have access for years.

    We just had a president elected through trolls repeating false frightening accusations. Organic producers can’t take credit for having invented that method but certainly took notes.

    • Bruce Stewart

      Talk about trolls, what are you doing on here? Take your sarcastic self back to Monsanto.

      • Robert Cruder

        I write software for DOD after having read and done actual science for about 60 years. Try that sometime.

        Since Monsanto’s patent expired, the AG extension departments in EVERY state that can produce corn are creating local GMO varieties. PHDs who teach and run research plots do that to help their farmers, not to be shills for Monsanto.

        Turn to the RFD TV network and watch shows like AG-PHD. Farmers are not fools. They do cost-benefit for every seed that they buy and every chemical or fertilizer that they use. They will choose a gene or a spray that costs $15 per acre and increases productivity by $200. They would do organic if it made them more money.

        I get sarcastic when those who have not made the effort to learn still pretend to be experts.

        • Average Joe American

          Mr. Cruder, have all your “efforts to learn” come up with a justification for one farmer growing GMO crops which HE can make a bigger profit on, destroying forever the organic crops and seeds of the farmer next door through natural cross-fertilization?

          Not to mention sudden hive collapse, which ultimately reduces production of all crops dependent upon bees and butterflies. Have the RFD TV show programmers gotten to that stuff yet, Bob?

          While you may say that the blame for GMOs is now nicely spread around amongst many greedy perpetrators, it is doubtful any of them would have had the financial depth and lobbying power to crush so many protests, get favorable laws enacted, and purchase judges to set legal precedents to defeat so many struggling individual farmers. Monsanto (and DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and several others) have more than established the beachhead for proprietary seed.

          Monsanto and their ilk have long argued that their seed is sufficiently different to warrant patents, yet claimed the produce from these seeds is no different from non-GMOs, thus requires no labeling, and that furthermore anyone labeling their food products non-GMO are acquiring for their products an “unfair marketing advantage.”

          Now, that’s not sarcasm, Bob. That’s irony. As time (and many extant independent studies ignored by the FDA and the media) will prove it’s also tragedy.

          • Robert Cruder

            Corn with BCG genes may be a problem for butterflies but has not been proved for bees. A hypothesis is only an accusation until tested. Insects are developing resistance anyway.

            It is true and rational that expensive seeds are treated but that is lost in the soil or diluted many thousands of times in the body of the plant. Similar treatment is standard for non-GMO seeds as well.

            Colony collapse disorder is partly related to neo-nicotinate insecticides which are entirely separate from GMO. You should know disease inadvertently imported from Australia with replacement bees may now be a worse contributor. I learned that on RFD-TV.

            I have not researched engineered soy as much but modern corn grows so fast that it tends to shade out weeds and therefore requires less frequent herbicide. Varieties are also engineered for low-till or no-till planting. Tilling is itself largely responsible for weeds whose seeds only sprout when one tills them to the surface.

            Who wants “natural” cross-fertilization to mix in less effective genes? Plants are not spiritual but biological machines that do not accidentally match their propagation conditions as well as those explicitly engineered. Even without patent concerns, those growing engineered varieties do not save seed because saved seed performs so poorly compared to next year’s engineered variety.

            Every natural seed and every natural animal is genetically slightly different from every other. It is absurd to claim that an engineered variant which has been tested and has intentionally low variation is less safe than the multitude of natural random variants, none of which have been tested. Such a claim is religious vitalism.

            I repeat that every state extension department is developing local strains containing genes that came from Monsanto and went off-patent. They are public universities with no motive to hide toxicity, poison the public or act as shills for Monsanto. They, the USDA and the FDA read all of the studies that you or I have but ignore the ones that are poorly controlled, published in non-refereed journals or retracted by their authors. The do not consider natural-food magazines to be reliable “media”.

    • d-dectiri

      as a matter of *facts*, your ‘scientific’ agriculture LOST the productivity competition quite a while ago… check the stats

    • SSE

      It is easily proven that organic produce has more nutrients. Growing foods lacking flavor, minerals & vitamins is cheap & easy. I don’t want to eat vegetable shaped cardboard.

  • SSE

    Why can’t they breed for nutrition! I know, they say consumers won’t buy that. I will grow my own tomatoes to the extent I can & other veg & fruits. Thankfully, I have room, good soil, compost & water. The weather is a big determinant.

    • IAMSatisfied

      It’s the bacteria in soil that make soil nutrients available to plants… the healthier the soil, the more nutritious the food. A farmer’s first work is to create healthy soil, once that’s done, nutrition is pretty much automatic. You can’t fool Mother Nature by dumping NPK/pesticides/herbicides into the dead soil and expect the results that only come from healthy, living soil.

      The system of trying to get a competitive advantage (in this case GE/GMO) while ignoring the laws of nature is ALWAYS shortsighted and produces inferior results.

      • SSE

        This is the key. Love and build the soil. I have worked on this for decades. Lucky me!
        Had to move my garden due to deer though & start over. I feel extremely fortunate to make my own composted organic manure, etc. I use special materials for minerals & pray no neighbor uses franken-seed.

  • anthony samsel

    This is nothing new its been going on for years and been covered up. There are hundreds of varieties of produce produced by methods of genetic engineering already in grocery stores.. many, many varieties of tomatoes including your favorite grape tomatoes were genetically engineered in a lab as well as celery, lettuce, peas, corn, carrots and so much more. If there are no herbicide resistance or insecticidal traits they don’t have to get FDA approval, its all fast tracked to market. The deal with FDA was if the developer suspects there may be a problem they are to notify FDA….. The fox is watching the hen house >>>> The seed industry removed the patent numbers from their seed catalogues on the varieties so that the public can’t trace them to the patent office…. but there are ways around that if you know what your looking for …