Anti-GMO goes bananas

The latest nonsense emanating from the Anti camp is this from our friends at GMOFreeUSA. The stupidity is astounding.

Wait. Aren’t these the same folks who have been screaming there have been no studies of GMOs and their effect on humans?

Anti-GMO: No testing of safety on humans!

GMO banana: Okay. Human testing.

Anti-GMO: OMG! Testing on humans!

Well, then. Let’s have a look-see at the text that accompanied this idiotic image

“GMO proponents claim that they can modify foods to be more nutritious. Just after their flagship GMO Golden Rice, which was supposed to provide enough vitamin A to save poor children in Asia, failed miserably in field trials…”

Bzzz. Sorry, thanks for playing but it didn’t fail. As a matter of fact it was successful. What is holding it up is the anti-GMO NGOS. This study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition begs to differ.

Now there has been some controversy surrounding this trial. Greenpeace raised holy Hell, saying the parents of the children involved didn’t give informed consent. The ethical  breach of the researchers and whether it is true or not is an argument for another time. If they crossed ethical lines, I can’t defend that, but the bottom line is the trial was successful.

“This orange GMO banana, which is being developed in Australia and grown in Uganda, has NOT been subjected to any animal testing for toxicity…”

I don’t know if that is true or not, but I doubt it. Normal procedure is to test on animals before moving on to human trials. “Human trial is a significant milestone for this project which started in 2005 and should see pro-vitamin A-enriched banana varieties being grown by Ugandan farmers around 2020,” Professor James Dale said in a statement to QUT.

Dr Helen Wallace, of GeneWatch, said: “There is evidence that too much beta-carotene can be cancerous so what happens when people who are not vitamin A deficient eat this crop?

Good question, if you’re not a dumbass doctor who should know better. Does Wallace actually believe the people who developed this GM banana didn’t take that into consideration?  Let’s look at the toxicity issue. There is slim to none

For the most part, too much Vitamin A can be harmful, if you eat 3 lbs of carrots a day. Your skin will turn orange.

Bananas weigh in like this: 25 micrograms of carotenoids in every gram of the GM banana. The average banana is 120 grams. 

Cancer? Yes and no. Megadoses of Vitamin in in supplements have shown to increase risk in smokers and those who have worked with asbestos. The levels in the GM banana are nowhere near that level.

Here is a 2011 study published in the African Journal of Biotechnology,  that addresses the Vitamin A issue in Uganda.

There are more effective solutions to these issues such as targeted supplements and diversification of crops.

More idiocy. Supplements are a well and good but again, according to the World Health Organization, it is only a temporary solution. “…supplementation capsules lasts only 4-6 months, they are only initial steps towards ensuring better overall nutrition and not long-term solutions” and“Food fortification (my emphasis) takes over where supplementation leaves off. “

Diversification of crops? What if they are in a region that isn’t good for growing crops that can provide suitable level of Vitamin A?  That statement shows a complete ignorance of agriculture.

These trials have no way of establishing whether these changes are beneficial rather than harmful in the long-term.”

Whether it’s beneficial in the long-term? I don’t even know how to respond to that. No one knows whether it will or it won’t, but in the meantime, real harm is happening to hundreds of thousands of children. Will it be harmful? No. That is such a stupid thing to say. It’s the mindset of well fed, liberal affluent, Westerner.

The point is, the people who developed this did it for all the right reasons and it wasn’t funded by Monsatan.

The $10 million project has been funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This leads us to ask… will Bill & Melinda Gates be the first to sign up for human feeding trials? We think they should. What do you think?

Again, these dipshits are always complaining about no human tests and now that there will be they are whinging about testing on humans? Imbeciles. Is it some bizarro, experimental ingredient they are wanting to test? No, it’s Vitamin A.  They don’t want to test for danger, (my assumption) but to see if it works.

I wonder if these people eat any food that says, “Fortified with Vitamin XYZ?”

Oh, and the idea of experimental being a bad thing? How do these morons think we make progress? I really think these people are unhinged.

If there are more effective solutions, why aren’t these activist groups using their war chests to make those solutions happen; show how their more effective solutions can work?  They won’t because they know they won’t work. If they really cared, they would use their money to help people, rather than denigrate the work of people who are actually trying to solve problems and help people.

17 thoughts on “Anti-GMO goes bananas”

  1. Sign me up for these tests. I looked to see if I could find the testing site, but I haven’t seen anything. I’d be the first in line if it was local to me.

    Turns out that the usual rodents don’t process b-carotene the same way, so they aren’t really available for testing in the traditional routes. Wouldn’t tell you anything.

    But these bananas are everything the anti-GMO team claims they need: has no patent constraints, no relationship to chemical applications, aimed at impoverished region, improved nutrition for mothers and children, and no chance of pollen “contamination” at all. They got nothing but conspiracy theory this time.

    I’m glad they show their true colors on this one. It will make them look like nothing but obstructionists, not reasonable at all.

  2. All GMO’s are not the same.

    GR & this banana have and are being tested adequately, just as drugs are with using clinical trials. If the hold up with getting GR approved is the study with children that did not have informed consent…..why not repeat the study? (Maybe they are) I have no probs. with the papaya either.

    The point is most GE food is engineered to be pesticide resistant & there has been no human trials concerning pesticide levels and health effects. Basically it’s how the tech is being utilized which allows great problems associated with unintended consequences related to health & the environment.

    I am pro-label. (GR & this banana I am sure will be labeled)
    I don’t agree with GE food that is pest resistant & deserve to know via a label as to how to avoid this farming technique. (Yes, it’s also a breeding technique for farming on most GMO’s)

    1. So close and yet so far…

      “I don’t agree with GE food that is pest resistant”

      Why? If a given crop creates its own insect repellent which is chemically similar to an insecticide generally considered safe and has been in use for 90 years in all types of farming (even “organic”), why fuss when the result is less spraying of insecticide (and, thus, lessened environmental impact), and lessened cost (due to lack of need to pay for the insecticide)?

      Or do you think that Bt will magically harm you in some way when the plant produces it instead of the bacterium that is normally sprayed onto crops?

      “I … deserve to know via a label as to how to avoid this farming technique.”

      You deserve it? That’s rich. I deserve a house up in Rancho Palos Verdes but I know that is a pipedream. Why do you think you “deserve” labeling? Why do “GMOs” “deserve” to be labeled? People who assert they have “a right to know” need to explain why they think they have this right and why they think “GMOs” need labeling, otherwise they are just declaring something which is not necessarily true.

      1. We have a right to know what we are doing to our bodies. I want a choice in what I ingest. Moth genes in my tomato or roofies in my drink. I have that right.

        1. Or knowing the phase of the moon during planting, for that matter. I have that right!

  3. Personally all this gets me politically confused. Mostly I’m “progressive” because the “regressives” just don’t use science much. But now the progressives aren’t using science either. Do we need a new party, the “logical” party?

    Meanwhile Monsanto is doing some really interesting gene tweaking, WITHOUT the types of gene mods that get labelled “GMO”. I mean some super-cool and great tasting vegies. They are avoiding the viral gene transfers because people get freaked out, but managing to produce great gene modifications anyway. Somewhere some heads are going to explode.

    Meanwhile the banana will probably need gene-help because, well, all bananas are clones, and clones are susceptible to fungi etc. So if the choice is, “no bananas” or “GMO bananas” … which do you choose?

    The amazing thing about bananas is that it looks like the ancients were pretty darn good geneticists. Bananas are a truly artificial plant (as is corn) and somehow it was created. By people. I have a theory that those temples on top of mountains … surrounded by fields … were there to irradiate seeds and produce mutant offspring. Pretty much one of the “traditional” ways to get new breeds of plants. Either use radon (put the seeds in a cave) or gamma radiation (put them on a very tall mountain). Or a small piece of uranium, which likely they did not have.

    1. Agree

      All I am saying is that there is a great difference between creating new food that consumers may benefit from and creating a product, simply for farmers…as this does/may create greater health & environmental problems. Political aspects aside.

      I will not support any food that is genetically engineered to resist weeds or pests (farmers have many other options)

      1. What’s your issue with resisting pests out of interest? A crop that isn’t susceptible to pest damage will need less pesticides applied, causing less damage to non-target species, like bees. I’m not sure how you make a crop weed resistant unless you just make it more competitive when it comes to resources, or allelopathic (secreting stuff that repels the weeds). Again less herbicide needed – surely a good thing?

        I wrote a blog on an aphid resistant wheat trial at my research institute if you’re interested:

  4. I am always surprised to see the extent to which people will let their prejudices against science actually influence their decision making. These bananas seem to have addressed some of the more cogent criticisms of GMO (i.e., intellectual property and testing). To be honest, I hope that they also tried to make them more disease resistant while they were at it. There are far too few banana varietals and they are being planted as near monocultures, very sensitive to things like evolving Panama Disease. Actually coming up with a half dozen or so varieties that could be harvested at the same time and could be planted together might help, too.

    I should point out, though, that these bananas won’t be growing in areas where you can’t grow other crops with high vitamin A. I’m pretty sure that vegetable sources are only a problem in the far north (or south) and you won’t be growing bananas in those cold climates. The test site, Uganda, is one of the largest growers of sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of vitamin A (if you can get your kid to eat them).

    I trust that the Gates Foundation probably tried to figure out what people usually eat and tried to see if they could supplement their Vit A by subbing bananas for something else (bananas are a new world fruit). The biggest problem with vitamin A deficiency is that people don’t have enough meat and they’re not eating enough of the right vegetables. However, nobody wants to have too much vitamin A and it’s kind of a pain to get it right — basically you want to get somewhere between one and two thousand micrograms a day. Figuring out how to do that with a diet substitution is the easiest way. I’ll guess Gates did that.

  5. Cancer? Yes and no. Megadoses of Vitamin in in supplements have shown to increase risk in smokers and those who have worked with asbestos. The levels in the GM banana are nowhere near that level.

    It is true that smokers increase their lung cancer rate with high dose supplementation of beta carotene. Let’s say we accept the argument that carotenoids might have a negative affect when consumed in a biofortified banana and that this added risk is unacceptable (let’s ignore the fact that the maximum realistic added risk pales in comparison to the number of lives saved and improved by carotenoid biofortification even in any conceivable worst case scenario).

    What are the alternatives? They are supplementation and eating a variety of other vegetables which are rich in carotenoids (the ‘let them eat carrot cake’ option). Here’s what I don’t understand. How is it that, for opponents, the risk of carotenoid overdose is unacceptable with biofortified rice or bananas but the alternatives are to be considered acceptable. If there’s a risk from golden rice or carotene biofortified bananas, how does the risk magically disappear when the vitamin A deficiency is remediated through supplementation or through consumption of a variety of other vegetables which are rich in carotenoids?

    Why is one an unacceptable risk and not the other? It would seem that this alleged risk only counts as significant if the plant is genetically engineered. If you are getting x amount of carotenoids from a carrot or from a genetically engineered banana you should be getting the same effects from them (good and bad) –unless you happen to believe in GMO cooties.

    1. Quite so–I wish anyone in any of the media had challenged Wallace on that. Why isn’t this the same with supplements, conventionally biofortified plants, or more kale? I didn’t see anyone do that though.

      I really don’t think that 6-year-old heavy smokers are a legitimate issue for these bananas. At all.

  6. I appreciate GMO Free USA for its noblesse oblige concern for my health, but I will gladly volunteer — where do I sign up? I was in Hawaii about 5 years ago and ate probably a dozen Rainbow papayas while there, possibly more in dishes that contained papaya. I have a friend now living in Hawaii who has sent me packages of rainbow papaya occasionally as a Christmas gift. So far, so good.

    Actually, if an argument that the extra beta carotene in the bananas might be harmful to those who are not vitamin a deficient, then they should welcome a study in the U.S. as it would vindicate them. Is GMO Free America actually concerned that these bananas will cause health problems — or scared that they won’t?

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