GMOs are Safer Than “Natural” Hybrids

Peppermint, a hybrid of Spearmint and WatermintPeople try to claim that Genetically Modified Organisms, for example corn with a gene spliced in that helps it resist a disease, are somehow more dangerous, because we don’t know what other changes the splicing may have wrought.

The claim is made that that they are somehow “unproven” and could contain some surprise risk, but this is the opposite of the truth. Whenever you pollinate a plant normally, the seeds you get have hundreds, or thousands, of unknown factors in them, as they’re a random mix of two parent plants. Hybrids, for example, are an extreme case of this.

But a GMO is a known cultivar with a SINGLE gene moved. Not tens of thousands of genes moved at random, just a single one (or set of similarly chosen ones). It is the most KNOWN kind of modified plant, with the fewest surprise protein combinations possible.

Now if you have some spearmint, and some watermint, you might cross-pollinate them, and then who knows…some people might be specifically allergic to the resulting, unique cultivar (which we call peppermint). But if you move ONE gene from the watermint to the spearmint, you can know exactly what the results will be.

Local Food is Bad for the Environment

If you’re worried about “carbon footprint”, then you should buy mass-produced, agribusiness foods, not local.

Local food, because it’s grown on a smaller scale, is produced and shipped less efficiently. The little tractor, pickup truck, et cetera, end up consuming more fossil fuels per pound of food than ones produced by huge combines and shipped in 18 wheelers.

I know, from a simplistic Green perspective, inductively reasoned perspective, “big is bad”, but the reality is different.

For example, an ancient, coal-powered steam engine passenger train, belching out black smoke, pollutes less than the number of automobiles its passengers would have otherwise needed…and likewise, big combines and cargo ships/barges pollute less — per food item harvested — than tractors and pickup trucks.

Likewise, smaller farmers tend to use pesticides and fertilizers less efficiently, for the same reasons. They also waste more water per pound of food irrigating.

Now if I actually buy, say, tomatoes, it’s only the ones that actually taste good, which are usually from some stand and often are locally grown. I’m not worried about it either way…but I don’t have any delusions of helping the environment, I just prefer that my tomatoes not taste like mealy goop.



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