View Poll Results: Is it racist to prevent Africa from getting GM Foods?

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Thread: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

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    Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    Last night I watched an episode of Penn and Teller's sucky show "BS!" about genetically-modified food.

    Now, I don't know much about this developing issue, but the big guy Penn opened his big mouth at the end of his little episode and called the refusal to ship GM food to Africa "racism."

    Is he right? Here's some info on this:

    The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has petitioned the African Union to consider a ban on the cultivation, import and export of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa at its January 2013 summit.
    The request comes at the same time the Kenyan government has banned genetically modified food imports, citing insufficient evidence assuring public safety. Public health officers have already received orders to enforce the ban at all points of entry.

    In a statement reportedly signed by over 400 African organizations, the ACB criticized GM foods for lack of safety information, as well as for patents and privatization that it says threaten small farmers.
    ACB director Mariam Mayet spoke on a study recently published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology that showed a connection between GM maize, and organ damage and premature death in rats.

    “The results of this study have been discredited by scientific bodies with industry ties, but even they acknowledge that long-term safety studies do not exist and are necessary. Maize is a staple food for millions of Africans, making it imperative to ensure that it is safe in the long term,” Mayet said in a media statement.
    Africa pushes for genetically modified food ban - World Mathaba

    What do you guys think? Is it racist to not have genetically-modified food shipped to Africa? How about the fact the WE tend to eat more modified food than natural, organic stuff?

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    Genetically modified food is perfectly fine. It usually is crossbred or seeds are given genes to help them survive in different climates or to grow faster. The sheer lack of information and ignorance at the word "genetic" is probably going to result in people starving to death.
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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    Genetically modified food is perfectly fine. It usually is crossbred or seeds are given genes to help them survive in different climates or to grow faster. The sheer lack of information and ignorance at the word "genetic" is probably going to result in people starving to death.
    It arguably already has. What is more insidious and two faced is that you have European interest groups which have fought so hard to manufacture this hysteria in an effort to defend commercially unsustainable farming economies.

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    Genetically modified food is perfectly fine. It usually is crossbred or seeds are given genes to help them survive in different climates or to grow faster. The sheer lack of information and ignorance at the word "genetic" is probably going to result in people starving to death.
    I largely agree with that, and it's not racism, but safety at issue. There is a large difference in gluten content as opposed to heritage with wheat and I imagine there's also difference in components of the maize.

    But it doesn't end there, the problems with GMO and patented seeds don't all revolve around the health of the resulting food, but also in the additional tricks the companies play to keep those seeds proprietary.

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    I don't know if it's racist, but it's dumb. Africa will need GM crops more than anyplace else on the planet in coming centuries.

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    I acknowledge that there are patent problems, which will most likely be a problem with any kind of living thing that reproduces.

    However, the safety issue is usually minimal and the crops grown are safe to eat. A company won't make a profit selling seeds to farmers that are going to wind up making those who eat the crops ill.

    Regardless, when you have starving people in nations where food is scarce why is it such a pressing issue if the food is higher in gluten or might not have the same nutritional value as wild type plants? Shouldn't being able to provide food be a higher priority? I will also agree though that it isn't racism to not send over genetically modified food, especially when it's the home nations themselves that are banning it.
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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    The thing that gets me worried is that I've heard some plants are bred with genes from fish that withstand cold temperatures and other such animal. That there's an "antifreeze" gene bred into corn so it lives longer. I may be woefully ignorant on this subject and I likely am, so I really dunno what the empirical truth is. I think that companies have a big interest in selling these crops to Africa, too, so on the flipside of one party's racism is the self-absorbed greed of the other.

    I'm big on heirloom gardening and organic stuff, so I'm biased.... but I don't want to be wrong on this stuff, either.
    Last edited by Wake; 01-07-13 at 03:26 PM.

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    I acknowledge that there are patent problems, which will most likely be a problem with any kind of living thing that reproduces.

    However, the safety issue is usually minimal and the crops grown are safe to eat. A company won't make a profit selling seeds to farmers that are going to wind up making those who eat the crops ill.

    Regardless, when you have starving people in nations where food is scarce why is it such a pressing issue if the food is higher in gluten or might not have the same nutritional value as wild type plants? I will also agree though that it isn't racism to not send over genetically modified food, especially when it's the home nations themselves that are banning it.
    Because you may be borrowing from Peter to pay [feed] Paul. Feeding a bunch of folks on something that may cause a spike in illness down the road just pushes problems down the road. Not to mention the dangers of monoculture. They could easily set themselves up for greater sufferring in a generation or two.

    They're doing the right thing asking for the info up front.

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    GM food is generally fine to eat. The issue is that the seeds will not produce the same thing as the parent crop. This would require people to constantly have to buy seed from the patent holders every year and the seeds that fall and germinate would be weeds. some people feel that this somehow makes it wrong or that if the weeds were not there there would be no weeds apparently (weed is a relative term anyway describing anything you do not want to be there). It is more about money than race IMHO and a lot of folks are trying to use this as an end-run against agri-businesses by saying this is all a giant conspiracy to sell weed killer.

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    Re: Africa, Genetically-Modified Food, and Racism

    Related to my concerns of GM plants is the facts that there are many meats that are loaded with antibiotics and steroids, which are then absorbed into our bodies.

    How is there any way to gauge the safety of these plants, and how do we know which business-mongers won't use their money and influence to hide the real results?

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