Re: Re question on labelling genetically modified foods

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 13:08:54 MST

On Fri, 7 Jan 2000, m wrote:

> Some of the GM (or specially bred) varieties are aimed
> at looking good after transit, but in the opinion
> (right or wrong) of many, they are deficient in
> flavour, texture, etc.

The chief example of this was the Calgene tomato that
was designed for a very long shelf life. Though it
should have tasted *better* because it could be picked
later and last longer than "natural" tomatoes.

> Also GM may make something look good, but this is a
> separate issues from whether there are harmful
> metabolites.

The two key issues are "toxicity" (primarily from the
perspective of carcinogenicity) and allergens (from
the perspective of promoting an immune system reaction
due to foreign proteins). A third issue might be
antibiotic levels (which have an effect on your
biostasis). A fourth issue might be hormone-mimics
which may have an effect on lots of genetic systems
(this isn't an issue in GM crops currently, but is
an issue with regard to common pesticides and some
herbicides as well as other environmental pollutants).

> I realsie the same applies to natural
> varieties and cultivars. Somebody suggested that *all*
> foods be labelled with their harmful substances,
> natural or artificial, to allow consumres to choose
> intelligently. Aye to that!

I believe that was moi.

> How about a web site? (If there's not one already).
> Michael (hmm.. time for lunch)

The problem is that I don't believe there is even a standard
system for "classifying" breeds/strains/genetic variants for
the genome sources for foods currently marketed. (Really, how
could you classify it if you couldn't sequence the entire
genome to know what it really was?!?) Given the fact that we
don't know what it "is", attaching the analysis of what it
"looks like" to it is problematic currently. This should be
feasible within the next 10 years however.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:08 MDT