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When did the GMO Scare Start?

Chris-SE-ILL You asked and attempted nicely to answer this topics question. But i beg to differ a bit from my owm experence

That being said, does anyone know when, where and why this whole GMO scare started?

*When... around 1999 - 2000!

I first heard about RuR beans in 1988 when a friend was asked by Monsanto to plant them on 40 acres of his. he did and reported they did about as well as other beans in a nearby 500 acre field and were much easier to deal with a far as weeds. he got one hell of a clean field (he has one of the tidiest farms I have ever seen, so clean (as in asthetics, not so much weed pressures) fields actually were an important issue to him) . But in 1988 they were not call RoundUp Ready as they were not on the commercial market yet. That came in 1990 or 91

I have been to workshops and been getting email on the web since 1995 about the potential problems of GMO's. In '95 I went to a workshop lead by Dr. Martha Couch who at that time taught and did research at Indiana U's biotech dept (which was probably either genetics or biology at the time) from her I heard the predictions of, crop contamination, insects getting resistant, cross pollination, super weeds (all of which have come to pass) and also about the terminator/verminator gene that is still being developed by Perdue U, the USDA and Pineland and Delta, which renders patented seed (with the gene spliced in) sterile. She also talked a bit about pharming-designing crops for pharmiceutical purposes.
That same year I was hearing scary things from Dr Anne Clark of Guelph U in Ontario and Dr Charles Benbrook (I cannot remember who he was working for than, perhaps freelancing), among others on various ag forums and email lists. This shows in some sectors there was concern long before 1999/2000.

*Where... Southern France!

Are we talking Juan Bove and his boyz? They are not so much against GMO (though they are against GMO) as they are against fast food coming into France and displacing their long tradidtion of enjoying long meals filled with fine food, wine and conversation. And yes that this was taking a big chunk out of their market share. (this concerns below as well)

*Why... Now this one is harder to explain. It was started by a group of about 6 farmers from France (these farmers were of considerable size operations and with considerable influence in the
government). They were trying to stop importation of corn into their country because the imports
were killing their market share. The group Green Peace picked up the "ban-GMO" motto and then the
reuters and other news media fanned the anti-GMO hysteria.


It seemed to me that it was the terminator that caused a lot of nervous nellies on the 'net/web back in '95-'96. Bt and RuR crops were not such a big issue at first but soon became one by mid '97. personally I don't mind the idea of biotech-I think in the future some great things will come out of the research, but we are a long way from understanding how genetics and protiens works. Right now we only know that we can manipulate the genetic code and cause changes but have no real idea why these things happen (I have a close friend who is a gene jockey and gets published in peer reviewed journals and works for a huge multinational corp says no one has any real understanding of this new science yet but says it sure is fun to tinker with). And this is the problem-GMO's were rushed into commercial use before they were understood and problems are happening because short sighted people seeing only dollar signs control this science (not the researchers themselves, mind you) At any rate, I agree it was GreenPeace that really got the ball rolling in the EU, where folks are much more cognizant about their food. In the US even now only about 25% of the pop has even heard about GMO's and most have no opinion as they don't really know what they are or care. in the US it has been the OCA, GreenPeace and many organic groups such as OEFFA, NOFA, MOGFA that have been the most vocal about GMO's in this country.

At the same time that this was happening, Rhone-Poulenc Agro, S.A. (now known as Avartis Crop Science, S.A., A French company) was suing DeKalb Genetics/Monsanto (http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/Fed-Ct/Circuit/fed/opinions/00-1218.html) for the fraudulant theft of RPA's Roundup Genetic material (RD-125).

Isn't Avartis now Syngenta? The corps selling out to each other and recombining has gotten rediculous. Monsanto is about the only corp that has kept it's original name, it seems, of the corps that design GMO's. One pretty much need a scorecard to keep up with the BiotechCorp name changes these days.

A lot of the misunderstanding of GMO issues would be remedied if the general population had any clue about how farming works and basic plant breeding (I used get ridiculous claims that organic farmers were getting their green beans or beets contaminated by RuR soy-can't happen as the two are different genus and cannot cross pollinate outside a lab). But since 95% of the general population cannot tell a corn field from a soy bean field from a wheat field currently and most school kids think milk comes from a carton (not a cow) and corn comes wrapped in plastic on a green foam card (not a corn plant) this will continue to be a problem
 
A potted history of food scares :

Ball, R. and Lilly, J. (1982) The Menace of Margarine: The Rise and Fall of a Social Problem, Social Problems 29 (5): 499498.

Beardsworth, A. (1990) Trans-Science and Moral Panics Understanding Food Scares, British Food Journal 92 (5) 116.

Beardsworth, A. (1995) The Management of Food Ambivalence: Erosion or Reconstruction? in D. Maurer, J. Sobel (eds), Eating Agendas Food and Nutrition as Social Problems New York: Aldine de Grutyer, pp. 117141.

Beardsworth, A. and Keil, T. (1997) Food Risks, Anxieties and Scares in Sociology on the Menu, London: Routledge, pp. 150179.

Braudel, F. (1973) Capitalism and Material Life: 1400  1800, New York: Harper & Row.

Burnett, J. (1989) Plenty and Want A Social History of Food in England from 1815 to the Present Day, (3rd ed) London: Routledge.

Boisseau, P. (1994) Irradiation and the Food Industry in France, Food Technology 48 (5): 138140.

Campbell, H. and Fitzgerald R. (2001) Food Scares and GM: Ambivalent Technologies, Fear and The Politics of Nostalgia, Paper delivered to ISA 2001 Conference New nature, new cultures, new technologies, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, July 2001.

Campbell, H. and Fitzgerald, R. (2000) New Zealands Food Exports in the 21st Century: Whither the Green Option? Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 60: 7277.

CSAFE (2000) Strategic Issues for GMOs in Primary Production: Key Economic Drivers and Emerging Issues, CSAFE Discussion Paper No 1, Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment, School of Social Sciences, University of Otago.

Fitzgerald, R. and Campbell, H. (2001) Bleeding/Cutting into Nature/Culture: Frankenfoods and Science Fictions, Paper delivered to ISA 2001 Conference New nature, new cultures, new technologies, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, July 2001.

Interchurch Commission on Genetic Engineering (2000) Interested Person Submission to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification (available online): http: //www.socialissues.godzone.net.nz/gecommission/gesubmission.html (Accessed: 2001, August 3rd).

Livi-Strauss, C. (1970) The Raw and the Cooked: Introduction to a Science of Mythology 1 London: Jonathon Cape.

Macintyre, S., Reilly, J., Miller, D., and Eldridge, J. (1998) Food Choice, food scares, and health: the role of the media, in A Murcott (ed.), The Nations Diet: the social science of food choice, New York: Longman, pp. 228249.

North, R. and Gorman, T. (1990) Chickengate: An independent investigation of the salmonella in eggs scare, London: The IEA Health and Welfare Research Unit.

Sivak, L., Fitzgerald, R. and Campbell, H. (2000) Content Analysis of International Print Media Coverage of Genetically Modified Food: 19952000, Paper delivered to the Agrifood VIII Conference at Tumbarumba, NSW, 23 December, 2000.

Tannahill, R. (1988) Food in History, London: Penguin Books.

Ten Eyck, T. (1999) Shaping a Food Safety Debate. Control Efforts of Newspaper Reporters and Sources in the Food Irradiation Controversy, Science Communication 20 (4): 426447.

Wolf, E. (1982) Europe and the People Without History, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.
 
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{quoted from Ohiorganic} "I first heard about RuR beans in 1988 when a friend was asked by Monsanto to plant them on 40 acres of his. he did and reported they did about as well as other beans in a nearby 500 acre field and were much easier to deal with a far as weeds. he got one hell of a clean field (he has one of the tidiest farms I have ever seen, so clean (as in asthetics, not so much weed pressures) fields actually were an important issue to him) . But in 1988 they were not call RoundUp Ready as they were not on the commercial market yet. That came in 1990 or 91."{unquote)

The following is copied from court transcripts concerning the RPA/Monsanto lawsuit....

"In late 1993 and early 1994, DeKalb succeeded in growing herbicide resistant corn plants in its greenhouse. On February 18, 1994, DeKalb notified RPA of these results, and told RPA that DeKalb would begin repeating the experiments in the field in the summer of 1994. Dr. Freyssinet of RPA briefly thanked DeKalb for this information. On March 10, 1994, DeKalb sent RPA another letter again mentioning the summer field trials and the gains in herbicide tolerance achieved in the greenhouse with RD-125. The letter also requested RPA's opinion regarding the use of RD-125 for other projects.
DeKalb conducted field tests in Hawaii in the summer of 1994, and on September 6, 1994, DeKalb scientists, including Dr. Flick of DeKalb, received results from the tests indicating that the corn plants grown in the field were resistant to up to four times the normal levels of Roundup. herbicide (results similar to the greenhouse tests). These were very encouraging results. However, DeKalb never sent the results of the field tests to RPA. Instead, on
September 7, 1994, Dr. Flick sent only a short letter to RPA inquiring about using RD-125 as a selective marker in soybeans."


Also in the (fraudulant) patent application by DeKalb Genetics in '91, it speaks of possible other uses other crops such as soybeans. I am just wondering how this farmer you mention had RR soybeans before Monsanto even spliced the technology successfully into corn!?!? hmmm!

I know that there was some concerns and questions asked about GMO's and genetic manipulation in the late '80's and early '90's. But the "spam" didn't really hit the fan (or stick in the mind of the EU) till the Green Peace group took up the French banner of anti-GMO's.

{quote from Ohiorganic} "It seemed to me that it was the terminator that caused a lot of nervous nellies on the 'net/web back in '95-'96. Bt and RuR crops were not such a big issue at first but soon became one by mid '97."{unquote}

Yes, the terminator gene was a real issue before the other genetics hit the market. I hate the idea of the terminator gene. It is another tool for the seed companies/chemical companies (Monsanto and DuPont together own almost 75%, or more, of the corn and soybean seed productions). It was in the late '90's that the GMO crap really hit the fan.

{quote from Ohiorganics} "Personally I don't mind the idea of biotech-I think in the future some great things will come out of the research, but we are a long way from understanding how genetics and protiens works. Right now we only know that we can manipulate the genetic code and cause changes but have no real idea why these things happen."

No argument on my part!

Have a nice Labor Day!
 
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