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New Avenue For MRSA 'Superbug': Pigs

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the thanks-a-lot-you-filthy-swine dept.

Medicine 135

smitty777 writes with news that researchers have discovered another way methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics. According to the study (abstract), the bacteria made the jump to pigs on livestock farms, developed greater resistance through the rounds of antibiotics commonly used to keep the pigs healthy, and then jumped back to humans. "The important development in the story of ST398 is its move back off the farm into humans, causing first asymptomatic carriage in that original family, and then illnesses in other Dutch residents, and then outbreaks in healthcare settings, and then movement across oceans, and then appearance in retail meat, and then infections in people who had no connection whatsoever to farming—all from an organism with a distinctive agricultural signature. That’s an important evolution, and an illustration once again that, as soon as resistance factors emerge, we really have no idea where they will spread. So it would be a good idea to take actions to keep them from emerging, or at the very least to implement surveillance that would allow us to identify them when they do."

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135 comments

Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154045)

Seriously, why was it considered ok to dump antibiotics into animal feed? It seems like total idiocy from this angle, regardless of the short term benefits.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154089)

Seriously, why was it considered ok to dump antibiotics into animal feed? It seems like total idiocy from this angle, regardless of the short term benefits.

Because factory farms make more money that way, duh.

They don't give them antibiotics to treat disease. They give them antibiotics because they fatten up faster, I guess cause their immune systems atrophy so they can put more metabolic energy into growth.

But no really, if factory farms didn't save that penny or two per hog we'd ALL be in DEEP TROUBLE then.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (3, Informative)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39157863)

Private Eye have been saying this for at least the past decade, but no-one really wanted to know.

Pumping animals full of antibiotics mean that they divert less internal biological resources like protein and fat to fighting infections, and bulk up instead. But those antibiotics just encourage the evolution of resistant bacteria that can survive in those conditions.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154129)

Next quarter's profit uber alles.

That's it. That's all there is to it.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (3, Insightful)

slacker22 (1614751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154239)

This is especially true in countries where farms haven't evolved into 'super-farms'. You have the likes of dairy-farmers who are heavily exposed to the volatility which comes part-and-parcel with specialization (i.e. lack of diversification). For a small family farmer, there is limited benefit to thinking long-term. Their livelihood is tied up with next quarter's profit and they don't have the sophistication/time to be hedging exposure on futures exchanges.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154131)

It seems like total idiocy from this angle, regardless of the short term benefits.

It's a free market. The farmer using antibiotics to increase growth isn't the one paying the costs of those benefits. He's be a idiot not to maximize his profits. Farming is very competitive (low margins), so if you make enough mistakes you'll go bankrupt very quickly.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154257)

If I had drugs without a prescription, I would be arrested.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (4, Informative)

fred911 (83970) | about 2 years ago | (#39154755)

"..I would be arrested."

No you wouldn't. You can buy many prescription antibiotics without a prescription at your local pet store. Sometime look at what is sold over the counter, in the fish section. Larger quantities can be found farm supply stores.
  It's the same stuff with "not for human consumption" labels.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154285)

He's be a idiot not to maximize his profits.

Which is why, if I ever get a MRSA infection, I'm suing these guys [nppc.org]

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (2)

izomiac (815208) | about 2 years ago | (#39154917)

A human needs a prescription for most of these antibiotics, in part due to side effects, but also to slow down bacterial resistance. I'm still shocked that an animal doesn't require a similar prescription from a veterinarian for exactly the same reasons. It's not a free market if someone has the law specifically made in their favor...

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39155655)

You've just made a good argument why farming should not be a free market. I wonder if you realize that.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (4, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154185)

The risk has been known for some time, and thus the practice is mostly banned in the EU, with the exception of two compounds used in poultry feed.

In the US it is mostly unregulated, and nearly 70% of antibiotics are used for animal feed.

Can't say I am terribly surprised.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154867)

This wasn't in the US, it was in the Netherlands.

This topic is important, please read the RTFA.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

oursland (1898514) | about 2 years ago | (#39157237)

This isn't new and it most definitely existed and persists in the US, if not possibly started here. Here's an article from 2008 documenting 70% of pigs in Iowa and Illinois testing positive with MRSA: http://blog.seattlepi.com/secretingredients/2008/06/04/first-study-finds-mrsa-in-u-s-pigs-and-farmers-u-k-reports-3-patients-sickened-with-the-bacterium-from-eating-pork-only/ [seattlepi.com]
Dr. Tara Smith, an assistant professor at University of Iowa, was interviewed for that article; note that she's a coauthor of the paper the OP links to.

This topic is important so please read up on the facts, not just the first article and skipping the abstract and second article.

Political solutions (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154225)

Authoritarian Left  : Antibiotics in animal feed increase yields thus benefiting the proletariat.

Authoritarian Right : Antibiotics in animal feed increase yields thus benefiting the shareholders.

Libertarian Left    : If the superbug kills you then you can sue the farmer in court.

Libertarian Right   : If the superbug kills you then you can sue the pathogen in court.

Re:Political solutions (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154505)

I dunno... if I die... Im suing everyone!

Hmmm... something seems wrong with this plan, but I cant put my finger on it. I must be one of those people that modded you "Interesting".

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154275)

I nominate the ones responsible as recipients for antrax and or bombs.

I had a friend 5 months in hospital bed after MRSA infection.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (5, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154327)

Libertarianism cannot cope with tragedy of the commons. You know when libertarians say that positive rights are not guaranteed human rights, because they force someone else into slavery? It gets mentioned on Slashdot pretty commonly.

Your right to live in a world where antibiotics work obliges pig farmers to lower their efficiency and lose money, because it is more cost effective to farm with antibiotics. Likewise, your right to live in a world with breathable air and survivable temperatures and arable land obliges coal factories and car manufacturers to capture their exhausts, including carbon. Libertarians would have to classify these rights as positive rights because they oblige others to take action.

Some libertarians will say that the court system can handle this, because you can sue those that cause you demonstrable harm. But in a case like this, exactly how much money do you think each person who dies from MRSA can extract from a Dutch farm? And isn't it better to live in a world without MRSA and more government regulation than a world with MRSA and more lawsuits?

Anyway, if the right to live in a world free of man-made and man-contributed diseases, where the temperature supports life and there is potable water to drink, is a positive right, then why the fuck do we bother with negative rights like speech and assembly at all? They are sort of meaningless when we're all dead. We all should have standing to take action when the commons could be violated, and the way we do that is through government regulation.

Sorry for a rant on the pointlessness of negative rights without positive rights, but I think that's why it was considered ok to dump antibiotics into animal feed.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154889)

It's considered ok because there isn't any real scientific evidence there is an issue. And it's been studied since at least 1990.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#39154929)

It's considered ok because there isn't any real scientific evidence there is an issue. And it's been studied since at least 1990.

Do you want to cite some of those studies to back up your claim? A quick Pubmed search [nih.gov] turns up a whole lot of papers indicating that the use of antibiotics in animal feed is a major contributor the rise of resistant strains.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39156777)

It's considered ok because there isn't any real scientific evidence there is an issue. And it's been studied since at least 1990.

Do you want to cite some of those studies to back up your claim? A quick Pubmed search [nih.gov] turns up a whole lot of papers indicating that the use of antibiotics in animal feed is a major contributor the rise of resistant strains.

And a hush settled over the thread, as all fell silent.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39157627)

Apparently you've never heard of biological evolution and natural selection, which mean that antibiotic resistance is darn near inevitable in an environment with ample exposure of bacteria to antibiotics. The lesson should be: use this stuff sparingly and save it mainly for human medical use or specific agricultural illnesses, not dump it routinely in vast quantities into feed.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 2 years ago | (#39155073)

And isn't it better to live in a world without MRSA and more government regulation than a world with MRSA and more lawsuits?

Though we'll probably end up with MRSA and more regulations (and probably immunity from lawsuits). Government officials didn't give farmers an exception to antibiotic prescription regulations because of political philosophy: they did it for a cut of the profit.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39155227)

You assume libertarians would keep the right to form a corporation to protect yourself.

In a libertarian world, the owners of the farm rot in jail for murder and lose their homes. A corporation is also a positive right, after all.

Don't you think that's better than the farm being out a little cash, as it would be now?

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 2 years ago | (#39156103)

We all should have standing to take action when the commons could be violated, and the way we do that is through government regulation.

I'm not a libertarian purist, so I'll agree that a theoretical pure libertarian state would have a problem handling this sort of case. But let's look at the real world, where we are spending billions of dollars employing ten of thousands of people in the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Surgeon General, and who knows how many other bureaucracies at the federal and state level, all supposedly devoted to protecting us from health threats of this very sort. And yet, here we are.

What does that tell you about the ways in which government regulation, which often sounds great in theory, actually works in the real world?

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#39156161)

"What does that tell you about the ways in which government regulation, which often sounds great in theory, actually works in the real world?"

It tells you their hands are tied because of free market derp.

That's what it tells you.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (3, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154435)

Seriously, why was it considered ok to dump antibiotics into animal feed? It seems like total idiocy from this angle, regardless of the short term benefits.

Farmers just don't understand the issue. I heard an interview with a representative of some group of farmers discussing this issue last year. He was defending the use of antibiotics for "growth promotin" (sic) because they only used a low dose! Of course high doses may have their problems also (if it would allow some to get to the human food supply), but he did not seem to understand that using low doses (presumably somewhat inconsistently administered through the animal feed) could lead to resistence in bacteria.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154821)

low dose don't cause mutations. The 'normal' bugs produce and overwhelm the fewer mutated bugs.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (5, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154473)

Seriously, why was it considered ok to dump antibiotics into animal feed? It seems like total idiocy from this angle, regardless of the short term benefits.

One reason I became a vegetarian was because I learned about all the antibiotics in Pork/Beef/Poultry. I suffered severe Streptococcus infections in the respiratory system. When learning I was effectively on Antibotics, constantly, due to my diet, thus prescription antibiotics were having no observable effect, I realized I was fighting Streptococcus which was already resistant, thus I was getting these painful and long duration infections.

Understand this: Antibiotics are targeted toxins, most likely to have a greater effect upon certain organisims, while there would be some collateral effect upon the host, including degradation of the immune system.

After about 2 years without antibiotic-laden foods I found I stave off these infections more effectively and when I have them the duration is significantly decreased.

Keeping like livestock (or plants) in a dense concentration provides an ideal breeding ground for organisms to prey upon them, further, to mutate as the turnover can be far more rapid than in the wild. Add to that antibiotics and you have the ideal incubator for super-bugs. Victims of our own way of production. Won't get better with bigger factory farms, either, it's a cycle which builds upon itself.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39154641)

That's one of the reasons I gave up meat 12 years ago. The allowances for turning "animal" into "food" are so absurd and frankly disgusting that I went cold ... uh... tofu?

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#39154901)

That's one of the reasons I gave up meat 12 years ago. The allowances for turning "animal" into "food" are so absurd and frankly disgusting that I went cold ... uh... tofu?

The next trick is keeping a fair amount of Organic in your diet, so you don't have concentrations of some ag-chemicals. Nothing presently warning they are uber bad, but I'm not taking chances.

A great example of how organisms which prey upon a specific host prosper is the Phylloxera epidemic in Napa Valley of California. Lots of vines in close proximity is heaven for the little fly, which damages roots and makes the vines vulernable to fungal infections, which eventually kill the vine. Driving past an affected vinyard the circles of dead or removed vines are easy to spot.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#39156009)

That's one of the reasons I gave up meat 12 years ago. The allowances for turning "animal" into "food" are so absurd and frankly disgusting that I went cold ... uh... tofu?

Tofurky.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#39157597)

It depends where you are. If I lived in the US, with its lax standards of food safety and animal welfare, I'd be vegetarian too.

Another poster recommended eating organic foods. Yeah. Handy hint - if you're going to eat organic vegetables, make sure you wash and peel them carefully, and give them a good boil. Oh, and use hand sanitiser.

The organic bit is pretty disgusting too. I've shovelled tons of it on the farm.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39156871)

Well said.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39157217)

I am a vegetarian as well, but are there really measurable contents of antibiotics in the food? I'd certainly point to an overall more healthy nutrition as the source of your improved health, if asked.

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154849)

Probably the same king of idiocy that takes when the agenda center article at face value.

Hey, look at that, the person is also selling a book promoting this same idea. What a coincidence!

Re:Who was the idiot who just let this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39157123)

Hint. When something seems completely stupid and goes against common sense as you see it...

The answer to why? is always.... Money.

I hate MRSA, but I love pig derivatives (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154055)

Sausage,
Baby Back Ribs,
Scrapple,
Baloney,
Capicola,
Pork Fried Rice,
and Bacon

Thus MRSA is an acceptable risk

thanks meat eaters! (-1, Troll)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154061)

please remind me again how the modern human is 'designed to eat meat', and how 'natural' meat is, and how vegetarians suffer from various delusions and alarmist theories about the health and quality of the food supply.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (5, Insightful)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154119)

We can be meat eaters and still be alarmed about the health and quality of the food supply. Being a vegetarian/vegan has nothing to do with it. There are serious concerns about our grain, vegetable and fruit supplies as well between pesticides, GMOs and processed foods. Quit sticking your nose to the sky and actually look at the whole problem.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (3, Funny)

tidepool (137349) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154163)

Shit, I hit the wrong mod button; Apologies! So , I am commenting on your post, of which I tried to mod 'insightful', and instead, erasing my mod of 'redundant' in the process.

Cheers!

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1, Interesting)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154407)

Anyone not aware of the risks GMO's are posing on society should really do some reading. The scientists that are developing these seeds and pesticides wont even go near them because there is no long-term research on what risks they could offer 10 or 20 years from now. Scarey shit.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (4, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#39154761)

Anyone not aware of the risks GMO's are posing on society should really do some reading.

Anyone who bought into the fearmongering and often times outright lies [youtube.com] of the anti-GE campaign should do some reading. [biofortified.org]

The scientists that are developing these seeds and pesticides wont even go near them because there is no long-term research on what risks they could offer 10 or 20 years from now.

Funny, I've spoken with scientists who do just that. I didn't notice them eating any differently than anyone else. I've transformed plants before. I have no problem eating genetically engineered food. I do it all the time.

And there has been long term research (unless you define long term as X+5 so you can always keep moving that goalpost). Darnedest thing is though, what hasn't been done is for someone to propose a plausible mechanism as to why GE crops would be dangerous. We know the genes inserted (cry genes, epsps, bar, nptII, PRSV/CMV coat protein genes) are safe, but for all the cries of 'what might happen' no one has explained what in GE crops allegedly hurts you, how it is produced, its mode of action, ect. I suppose GE crops could kill us all 20 years down the road, but only in the same sense that the smallpox vaccine could do the same thing, or that there could be an invisible heatless dragon in my garage waiting to eat me. After so much study has been done, you can only play the appeal to ignorance card for so long, then the burden of proof shifts to the people believing that to prove it.

Scarey shit.

What's scary is that agriculture is staring down an increasing population, global climate change, increasing energy costs, peak phosphorus, increasing pressure on fresh water resources, evolving pests and pathogens, desertification, deforestation, greater demand for animal protein, and agriculture has to take care l that without expanding the amount of land under the plow, and we've got people having not based in science blanket opposition to what will probably go down as the most significant breakthrough in plant improvement since unraveling Mendelian genetics. Now THAT is scary.

so inventing super MRSA doesnt matter (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#39155183)

ah. i see. thanks for reminding me that i am a stupid vegetarian, and that super MRSA is not, in fact, related to the fact that people eat pork when it is entirely unnecessary.

by the way, if there is something wrong with the food supply, then perhaps restaurants and grocery stores could stop throwing it out when its perfectly good to eat, . . . or perhaps the government could stop paying farmers to not grow things. and maybe most of food costs , if they were not related to packaging , marketing, reprocessing, re-reprocessing, value added, etc,..... until those things happen, i am not sure i will ever be convinced there is a 'food shortage'.

Re:so inventing super MRSA doesnt matter (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 2 years ago | (#39155521)

by the way, if there is something wrong with the food supply, then perhaps restaurants and grocery stores could stop throwing it out when its perfectly good to eat, . . . or perhaps the government could stop paying farmers to not grow things. and maybe most of food costs , if they were not related to packaging , marketing, reprocessing, re-reprocessing, value added, etc,..... until those things happen, i am not sure i will ever be convinced there is a 'food shortage'.

So a bunch of rich people don't bother to take a "doggy bag" home when they eat at the restaurants near your house, and from that you infer that U.S. farmers can produce and transport enough food to feed the entire world? And you think the reason people starve is because processing, packaging, marketing, and advertising costs have driven up the cost of a box of Hot Pockets too high?

I can see why you're afraid of science ... it's full of logic!

Re:thanks meat eaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39155251)

Science as a Candle in the Dark

Re:thanks meat eaters! (3, Interesting)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 2 years ago | (#39155907)

Darnedest thing is though, what hasn't been done is for someone to propose a plausible mechanism as to why GE crops would be dangerous.

You're fail to understand what drives some scientists to adhere to the principal of least harm.

If there are possible adverse, irreversible effects of human activity on our ecosystem, and the state of our knowledge is such that we can as a species initiate such effects without understanding how they manifest, then one school of thought is to halt human intervention/activity in those potentially sensitive shared domains.

Your shouting at length to "explain how this harm may come about" when we do not have the technical understanding about how such harms may come about is, despite your education and rational abilities, stupidity in action.

The moral of the story here is there are things we don't know that can cause great irreversible harm and that regulating/preventing activity in certain circumstances can avoid these harms.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2)

VoidCrow (836595) | about 2 years ago | (#39157111)

The other school of thought looks at the social and political consequences of putting the power to genetically engineer crops in the hands of organisations like Monsanto. I'm in support of research into this area, but the prospect of widespread deployment makes me rather nervous.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (3, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#39157633)

Darnedest thing is though, what hasn't been done is for someone to propose a plausible mechanism as to why GE crops would be dangerous. We know the genes inserted (cry genes, epsps, bar, nptII, PRSV/CMV coat protein genes) are safe, but for all the cries of 'what might happen' no one has explained what in GE crops allegedly hurts you, how it is produced, its mode of action, ect.

Actually there is a mechanism. One of the big companies tried to insert a gene into brazil nuts (either BT or herbicide resistance) and found out that it produced an unexpected immune response because of the way the protein was folded. They abandoned the project, and wrote an article about it in the New England Journal of Medicine, which I read. That's the poster child of the anti-GM movement.

I'm not particularly worried about GM food. I eat GM cornflakes every day (as I found out afterwards). I couldn't avoid GM food if I wanted to. And I do get annoyed when I see the truly stupid arguments against GM food by political science majors who never took a biology course.

But give the critics their due. We in the US turned our entire corn and soybean production into GM crops without notifying consumers about it, and without letting them make their own decisions as consumers who supposedly rule this wonderful free market. There was no labeling and food processors weren't even allowed to sell their food as GM-free for years. Monsanto may believe in a lot of things but they certainly don't believe in a free market.

You can't even get GM-free food in this country any more because the GM strains have contaminated everything else, and when the food companies try to sell grains to Europe, where there are restrictive laws, they're forced to go to the international trade commission and ask (or rather demand) that they be allowed to define food with no more than 1%, or 0.1% (or whatever) GM food as GM-free.

You believe in science? The scientific method says that you have to take your hypotheses and beliefs, and subject them to confirmation in the real world. If you believe that GM food is safe, you have to prove it with data. That's not as easy as you make it out to be. It's not enough to feed a hundred mice for 6 months and see if any of them keels over. It's not even enough to feed 300 million Americans GM corn and soybeans for 20 years and see if any of them keels over, as we did. It is actually impossible to prove generically that GM food is safe. You have to take each specific food.

Let's suppose you're really, really smart and you thought really, really hard, and you couldn't think of a plausible mechanism by which GM food can do harm. That doesn't mean there isn't one. Nobody would have thought that inserting a BT gene into brazil nuts would produce an immune reaction, but it happened.

I don't care how smart you are -- you don't understand the human immune system well enough to predict what can go wrong, because nobody understands the human immune system well enough to predict what can go wrong. That's why that contract lab in England injected a half dozen test subjects with a new drug that caused an unexpected autoimmune reaction and caused one kid to lose his fingers a few years ago. I was taught that proteins were all destroyed in the digestive system, but then I saw in the New Scientist that some of them do survive. What can they do?

I went to a meeting where a scientist from the Natural Resourced Defense Fund made the case that GM foods might cause unexpected immune reactions. I thought it was bullshit. Then I found out about the brazil nuts. What other totally unexpected problems could we have? You don't know. They've got a point.

I will stipulate that Jeremy Rifkin is an idiot, and if we listened to him in 1984 we wouldn't have been able to develop T cell growth factor, we wouldn't have developed a test for AIDS, and we wouldn't have developed treatments for AIDS. We wouldn't have sequenced the human genome, we wouldn't have developed imatinib and CML would still be a 5-year death sentence, we wouldn't have erythropoietin (and more people would be getting AIDS from blood transfusions), we wouldn't have human insulin, and we wouldn't have half of last week's NEJM. But those are medical applications, not food.

I personally think that science has risks but they're worth it. When Fermi set off the first chain reaction at the University of Chicago, there was a theoretical chance that it could have destroyed the world, but they took a chance, and I think it was worth it. I would have cloned velocoraptors if I could have done it. I'd rather take my chances with terrorists than suffer with the TSA. I'm willing to take what I think are the remote risks of GM foods. But other people feel differently and I could be wrong. I don't see how you can justify forcing GM food on them. At the beginning some of the GM companies were arrogant bullies and they got what they deserve.

There are problems with scientific ignorance and problems with scientific hubris. I personally have chosen hubris, but that doesn't mean I have a right to force the others eat GM food when they don't want to, or oversimplify the issues and brush aside the (admittedly remote) risks of GM food. When you're subjecting 300 million people to an experiment, you have to consider and exclude even the remote risks.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#39157911)

. Darnedest thing is though, what hasn't been done is for someone to propose a plausible mechanism as to why GE crops would be dangerous.

The modified proteins that are created by the GM process (and after digestion) many contain end and side chains that may have some other function in the human body or are not processed correctly. Like the way insecticides mimic hormones or people have allergies to things like peanuts (bizarrely, we never heard of that in the 1970's).

Population may be increasing, but farmland is actually being *taken out of product* due to increased levels of productivity. At least in the USA and Europe. Other parts of the world, farmland and woodland is being overused to the point of biological exhaustion.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154899)

Sorry, I know scientists who work in that field, and you are full of shit.

Please stop. Just.. stop.
You people either making shit up, or reading something on "Mypersonalechochamber.com" are harming real research. You create bad data which leads to bad policy decisions.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39155141)

Your use of the word "shit" (twice) pretty much ensures nobody will take you seriously. If you have facts to back up your argument please present them, otherwise you come across as a kook.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#39155913)

it's just technology dude

GMO can do all sorts of good and evil things. good things like grow in the desert or increase vitamin A yield. bad things like require pesticide use or unintentionally mess with ecosystems

but what they can't do is poison you or give you cooties. it's just technology. technology like metalworking: it can used to make better harvesters, or better guns. or chemical engineering: mass produce aspirin, or mass produce phosgene

standing against the technology doesn't mean you stand just against the bad the technology does, it also means you stand against the good it does

so stop standing against technological progress. just stand against the bad things people can do with technological progress. and celebrate the good things they can do with technological progress

your kind of thinking currently, it speaks of ignorance of science and fear of science. it doesn't mean anything except that you are like those fools who don't vaccinate their children for fear of autism or the tribesmen who think a camera picture takes a piece of your soul: you don't understand it, so you fear it. you don't understand DNA, so your position is simply the position of fear and ignorance

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#39156181)

"but what they can't do is poison you or give you cooties."

Uh, why not?

Splicing in gene sequences from various places, how the hell can you say that this stuff won't poison you? That reads like unscientific garbage to me.

There's no need to fear this stuff like th epost you replied to, but there's every need to research it properly and make sure that modification X doesn't also introduce slow-acting carcinogen Y into your magic desert-growing vitamin-A wheat.

Yes, there are a lot of luddites and plain liars out there when you talk about GMO. There are others like me who are genuinely concerned about this stuff having unintended consequences and genetic drift into non-GMO crops or even wild populations. Not to mention that the actions of Monsanto in this area have been utterly despicable, but that's less to do with the tech and more to do with corporate ethics.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#39156791)

Just to clear up my own use of language here, by -

"how the hell can you say that this stuff won't poison you?"

I meant -

"how the hell can you say that this stuff can't poison you?"

Because the meaning I was trying to convey was that it's silly to say it can't poison you, unless there's some magic going on that I don't know about, I'm sure it could if genes for belladonna toxin generation were put into a food crop, to give a silly example.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (4, Interesting)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154547)

pesticides, GMOs and processed foods

Processed foods I'll give you. People really should move back to whole foods, preferably vegetables, in place of highly processed grains and sugars. Pesticides have their place. There's a lot to be said for moving more toward IPM strategies than we currently have, sure, but they are a necessary evil. Heck, even plants produce their own pesticides. They don't make those secondary metabolites for the fun of it. And it's funny that you mention GE crops as a problem in the same sentence as pesticides, considering the effects [nature.com] they've had on pesticide usage. There's plenty of criticisms to make about how people eat and how food is grown. Processed foods are one. Monoculture & lack of biodiversity, over-fertilization & run-off, water scarcity & depleting aquifers, ect. would be much better practices to gripe about, and issues like peak phosphorus, declining agricultural research, and agriculture in the face of climatic issues are also worth considering. Pesticides and especially biotechnology (in and of themselves anyway) are not...not that pesticide use shouldn't be reduced where possible.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154921)

Pesticide we use are far safer the not using pesticides.

I have yet to find some who thing we should stop to have even rudimentary knowledge of things like half-life, dosage, absorption. That is the most BASIC information you should have before forming an opinion.

But , you know, that's hard. SO we will continue to march along with opinion based on books in the 70s that had no science behind them.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#39155269)

Yeah, that's true too. There are bunches of regulations on how long before harvest you can spray for any given pesticide, and by the time you eat it, the amount left over isn't something I'd worry about. When people complain about pesticides, they rarely take that into consideration (and by rarely I mean I haven't actually seen it happen yet). It's always nice to minimize inputs if you can do so while keeping the output constant (especially if you're a farmer and those sprays are coming out of your bottom line), but unless you're in some country where the oversight is totally crap, the food you get is perfectly safe. I like those 'Dirty Dozen' lists where they compare produce then say which has the most residues without putting it into perspective. It'd be like having a group of world class runners race then calling the ones who come in last slow, even if they're faster than 99.9% of the population.

And that crops grown with pesticides are safer than without is more true than most people realize. Not just ensuring against crop failure due to insect damage, but in the replacement of natural pesticides. Most plants don't want you eating them (with the exception of their fruits of course), so they evolved defense strategies for their leaves, roots, stems, and seeds. When humans started cultivating plants, we also selected for those that tasted better. The reason these plants tasted better was because they had lower levels of chemical defenses, which made them better for consumption, but also put them at greater risk of being attacked by insects and created the need for pesticides. I'd choose a plant without high natural pesticides sprayed with synthetic ones over a plant with high levels of the natural ones any day. It'd be safer, and taste better too. Even now, I'm pretty sure you're still getting more of these natural pesticides than you do residues from produce. Though for most of the people complaining about pesticides, the appeal to nature card circumvents than inconvenient issue.

But anyway, it does grind my nerves that there are so many people who wouldn't know a potato plant from a soybean, yet still go on about all these evil agriculturists with their this and their that and ect. But they've got it all figured out because they watched Food, Inc. Ugh.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 2 years ago | (#39154637)

The GP actually has a point even though he fails horribly to put it forward in any constructive manner. The argument is that keeping animals for food almost inevitably results in them being more likely to contract diseases due to living in closer proximity to one another. Furthermore, because humans handle these animals frequently, the risk that a new and nasty pathogen can jump from animals to humans increases. While excluding animal products from our food chain would not completely eliminate the risk of infections ( there are bacteria that can attack both plants and animals ) , it would drastically reduce the risk of animal-human transmission, and also reduce the risk of relatively benign pathogens mutating in animal carriers and then jumping back to humans.

This is particularly beneficial for illnesses that are expensive or difficult to treat, because it would probably not be economical to try to eradicate them from farm animals, but if that infection vector was eliminated, one could almost eradicate the disease from human populations by making sure to treat or vaccinate the humans.

An illness that is of particular concern to many researchers is the flu virus. These viruses can infect many livestock animals, such as pigs and birds, and is also very contagious and difficult to treat. We also know that flue viruses have killed very many people in the past. In some cases these have been epidemic outbreaks ( like teh Spanish flu ) , but even the regular seasonal flu kills quite a lot of people every year. Unfortunately many of these outbreaks originate in poorer countries in south east Asia, where poultry is often kept in very poor conditions, and with people living close to the animals. Convincing them to go vegetarian would mildly speaking be "challenging".

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154137)

Stick your finger in the mouth and feel the meat ripping teeth.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154227)

the modern human is 'evolved to eat meat'

FTFY.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154253)

please remind me again how the modern human is 'designed to eat meat'

we have eyes on the front of our head and incisor teeth because we are predators.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (0)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154433)

Primates have binocular vision so they have depth perception so they can jump from tree to tree. Eyes in front is not because we are an evolved predator, but because we evolved from Primates.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39154635)

Primates have binocular vision so they have depth perception so they can jump from tree to tree.

It may help but it's not at all necessary. Squirrels and birds also need depth perception but they achieve it through motion parallax [wikipedia.org] among other cues.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154927)

true. One big eye could also be used, as long as the internals were separated.

Note: even people with one eye have some depth perception.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (0)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154309)

please remind me again how the modern human is 'designed to eat meat', and how 'natural' meat is, and how vegetarians suffer from various delusions and alarmist theories about the health and quality of the food supply.

Nah, I'd rather just remind you that you're a self-righteous fucking moron.

you just invented super MRSA, which makes you (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#39155197)

what? hey, you might bring about the end of human civilization becasue 'you dont like tofu', or 'pork tastes great', but at least you arent a self righteous fucking moron

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1, Informative)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154355)

Humans are Omnivores for a reason. Meat eaters are healthier then vegetarians because it is overly complex to match the incomplete proteins in plants all the time. If we were intended to eat just vegetables we would have multiple stomachs like cattle do so that we'd be able to get those vitamins and proteins easier. A good number of Primates eat meat as well for the same reason. The Illusion that Vegetarians are "healthier" is because they typically are more "health conscious" and go to the doctor frequently, watch their weight, and all the other hypochondriac things they have to do.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 2 years ago | (#39154619)

Vegetarians "healthier"?

This is in direct contradiction of all vegetarians I know - they are all slim and look healthy from a distance, but they lack energy, become ill easily and just seem under nourished.

I think the term healthier is being use in a very subjective manner these days...

Re:thanks meat eaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39154703)

Did you miss the word Illusion in his statement?

Re:thanks meat eaters! (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154961)

You can actually be a perfectly healthy vegetarian; but you need to be smart and knowledgable about your diet.

Jack la Lane was a vegetarian, and who could probably kick most people ass, and rarely got sick.
He was intelligent about how he ate, and he exercised every day.

Most vegetarians just eat anything as long as it's not meat,and don'r exercise.

Oh, he did start eating meat when he was around 65, or so. There wasn't any other way to get certain fats an elderly person needs. Once again, he was smart about his diet.

I am not a vegetarian, but I would like to see people pull back on meat portions. Cause there is a difference between eating meat, and eating a pound or more of meat a day.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#39155123)

Jack la Lane is smart about it but eating fish disqualifies you as a vegetarian unless your Asian. For some reason Asians don't believe fish is a meat, I've never understood why.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39155837)

Maybe because they are Catholic Asians? I've never figured that out, either.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39154683)

That is an outdated thought process that lost all credibility before bell-bottoms did. Humans can synthesize all of our protein requirements as long as we get the basic amino acids. Tofu and quinoa are both complete proteins, and you'll find that most, if not all, vegetarians eat both of those. With a simple mix of rice, bread, and legumes (which you're eating as a vegetarian) you're going to get all your aminos. You don't have to plan it at all nor do you have to "blend" proteins to get them all in one meal. Just don't eat white rice every day, every meal and you'll be fine.

I eat a vegan diet and I'm in the best health of my life. I lead a very active lifestyle -- I bike to work, scuba dive, teach spin classes, and work out regularly. (I'm known as one of the tougher spin instructors.) I go to the doctor about once a year to get a checkup.

I get sick about once a year. It manifests as sniffles and goes away in about a week. Of course, that may be a factor of exercising regularly, having kids that went through daycare, being a Y member, and swimming in the ocean for fun.

Re:thanks meat eaters! (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#39155025)

. I lead a very active lifestyle -- I bike to work, scuba dive, teach spin classes, and work out regularly. (I'm known as one of the tougher spin instructors.) I go to the doctor about once a year to get a checkup.

And this is why you are healthy.

I eat a vegan diet

Not this.

Granted your diet likely involves not loading up on potato chips, and twinkies every day... so a "healty diet" is important. But it doesn't need to be "vegan" to be "healthy".

Re:thanks meat eaters! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154809)

We are design to get fats and protien from meat.

I'm not sure why you would think otherwise.

And to the best of my knowledge, meat is natural. I'm not familiar with non meat mammals, so I would call meat natural.

"and how vegetarians suffer from various delusions and alarmist theories about the health and quality of the food supply."
this has nithing to do with the other two issue; however, I have never heard a vegetarian state a sane theory about the health and quality of the food supply.
And the person who wrote this book is drawing clearly biased conclusion and basing her statement on the flimsiest of correlations.

SO stop accepting things because the agree with your bias, and learn to understand scientific studies on this issue.

because bird flu and super MRSA (0)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#39155205)

and a host of other horrific diseases that have killed millions of people are directly related to the fact that humans eat meat when it is, in fact, not necessary to sustain life.

Re:because bird flu and super MRSA (2)

PCM2 (4486) | about 2 years ago | (#39155603)

and a host of other horrific diseases that have killed millions of people are directly related to the fact that humans eat meat when it is, in fact, not necessary to sustain life.

I'm sorry, but you don't know enough about MRSA, influenza, antibiotics, or disease to be able to make such a claim.

There are people who study medicine and there are people who read books they buy at the supermarket. The two activities aren't even remotely the same thing.

"We Don't Need No Steenkin' Scientists." - Bad Guy (2)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154139)

I half joke that all the hub-bub over the bird-flu research papers being released is unnecessary - all any 'terrorist' has to do to get a 'superbug' is to get involved in any chicken farm. (Or pig farm.)

And no, small-scale farms [peopledaily.com.cn] show no evidence of being any less likely [flucentre.org] to reduce chances of 'growing' and spreading disease [fao.org] . Keeping a bunch of animals in confinement is asking for it. Period.

Re:"We Don't Need No Steenkin' Scientists." - Bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154361)

Keeping a bunch of animals in confinement is asking for it. Period.

The obvious answer is to slaughter all animals currently in confinement, clean and eat the carcasses, and replace them all with new animals. Problem solved.

Is there anything pork doesn't make better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39154177)

Also, take my wife, please.

I like (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39154317)

the "keeping healthy" phrase in connection with animal feed.

Story is that continuous small amounts of antibiotics in animal feed are causing increased growth in animals.
(told verbally by a farmer relative I know) Internet search comes up with:

Quote from: http://www.udel.edu/chem/C465/senior/fall97/feed/present.html [udel.edu]

"Antibiotics have been used in animal feed for about 50 years ever since the discovery not only as an anti-microbial agent, but also as a growth-promoting agent and improvement in performance. Tetracyclines, penicillin, streptomycin and bactrican soon began to be common additives in feed for livestock and poultry."

and:

" In chicken feed, for example, tetracycline and penicillin show substantial improvement in egg production, feed efficiency and hatchability, but no significant effect on mortality."

And yeah, the loosing jobs argument again further down in that. Reverse the argument, do something unwise, create jobs and buy medical services stock.

Re:I like (2)

Uncle_Meataxe (702474) | about 2 years ago | (#39154969)

"Antibiotics have been used in animal feed for about 50 years ever since the discovery not only as an anti-microbial agent, but also as a growth-promoting agent and improvement in performance...."

The best way to select for antibiotic resistant bugs (on humans or any other animal) is to continually subject them to an antibiotic-filled environment (hospitals and farms). The story of resistant bacteria jumping from host to host, from farm to people vice versa, across the ocean, etc. doesn't seem particularly surprising. There are plenty of examples of bacteria & viruses moving between species. And, with global trade and travel, it's just a matter of time before diseases spread all over.

Antibiotics are like pesticides for the body. There are costs and benefits. Integrated pest management says that you should not prophylactically spray pesticides just in case you might get pests. You need to know whether you have economically damaging levels of the pest. Indiscriminate spraying leads to resistant insect pests or plant pathogens. Likewise, it's not wise to treat any animal with antibiotics without diagnosis of a disease. There might be short term gains but in the long run, you and everyone else loses with resistant pests...

 

The Qur'an is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39154705)

Stay away from pigs.

"That’s an important evolution" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39154751)

No, that's an intelligent design

Be careful (3, Informative)

yog (19073) | about 2 years ago | (#39154845)

Wash your hands after handling meat, wash all the implements and counter tops that may come into contact with raw meat. Cook the meat well.

Be careful with restaurants; to minimize your chances of exposure, just say no to eating out unless you can't avoid it. Once in a while is OK but several times a week is a good way to pick something up, if not MRSA then hep-C or some other nasty microbe that the waiter carried to your plate from someone else's plate. If you don't see the waiters wash their hands after taking your plates away, then you can bet they didn't wash their hands after taking the previous customer's plates either. When the water boy comes over to refill your glass, hand it to him by the rim, so he's forced to pick it up by the bottom. Use a straw.

And stay out of hospitals. Those places can make you sick. MRSA is one nasty infection that you don't want to get, but there are others as well. Basically it's a rather closed environment full of sick people, and also full of well people carrying the germs from one sick person to another, and your life may depend on how well they washed and sanitized their hands before touching you.

This may seem kind of paranoid, but we live in an increasingly crowded and mobile world where a nasty little microbe in some little corner of the globe can make its way into your soup literally days or hours later.

FUD to hawk her book. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39154967)

Nothing more.

A book where she conviently ignors the fact that if this was true, superbug would be PIGS AND COWS.
Her book draws several correlations to gether, does NOTHING to lok at causation, ignores anything that is counter to her claim, tells scary stories.;however it demonstrates nothing.

All this for her over arching goal to end industrial ag.

Actual well done scientific studies have show it priparily comes from hospitals, and to a lesser extent peopel not complete there antibiotic treatment.

IN this case:
"and their friends all did for a living, and received the answer that they were all pig farmers."

That is her big piece of evidences. As if the pig couldn't have got it from a person, or they couldn't have gotten in form a non immediate family matter.
This is typical of her 'evidence' . When ever question about her evidence, ot question about other paths she take the cop out:
"I'm just a journalist and report what I find."
  Curiously enough, she doesn't seem to take that stance when trying to bolster the evidence(lack of) to her support her agenda.

This is a serious issue, and issue that we should be putting more money to get a better idea of what exactly going on,ass wipes like this twist it to their own agenda, and they should be shunned. They cause a misdirection in the public and that leads to bad policy decisions.

Jews got it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39155235)

The Jews had the right idea all along. If we didn't eat/farm pigs then this wouldn't be happening. The problem is that Pigs are Physiologically too similar to Humans, so when you eat Pig products, physiologically, it is not too dissimilar from eating a human. A human and a pig would probably taste the same given the same diet.

Like I've always said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39155339)

Don't deal with pigs without a lawyer.

Fuck it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39156755)

I may be quite drunk, but I know in my heart that I'm right. This is a thermodynamic phenomenon. You don't know when/how/how long it will take for the bug to make a leap, but IT WILL. There really is no safe method. Just stopgaps. Good luck, Humanity.

The Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39157053)

Instead of eating pigs (which is discouraged in the Bible because supposedly they carry nasty diseases and bacteria), we should all just eat cans of beans. Bush makes a nice vegetarian version, and Heinz makes an excellent vegetarian (but British) version. All we need in addition to that is maybe some oil (for fat), a multivitamin, lots of water, and some B12 (which is the main reason we eat animals).

A nice side effect of eating the same food every day is that we will also tend to not get very fat as most normal people get sick of eating the same crap every day.

This is why antibiotics are dangerous (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#39157599)

Especially when we pump our livestock full of them whether they need it or not. It's a breeding ground for drug-resistant bacteria.

It also makes the species weaker because sick and defective animals don't die off, and instead are used to procreate offspring.

It's not even a political issue. It's just common sense.

its not just meat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39157999)

Farmers are a resourceful bunch.

It takes a lot of capital to run a farm - and if there is a way to save money and produce food, they jump on board.

Increasingly in US and EUROPE farms have moved from the quaint red barn with rolling hills to industrialized production where a bean counter sits behind a desk making potentially risky decisions - and this includes not only meat and poultry, but milk, eggs and even row crops like corn, wheat and produce.

Today, you take your life into your own hands eating a raw ANYTHING in America. Profit motive drives all decisions.

Such concepts as "common sense" have no place in big agriculture.

Take for instance, your toilet waste. What happens when you flush? It goes to sewer treatment plant, gets "treated", dewatered and is placed on a truck and shipped to a local farm field.

Common sense says that you shouldnt eat food grown in your own waste. Common sense has no place in Big Agriculture.

Food Rights Network - Toxic sludge is good for you video [youtube.com]
What is Sludge? [wikipedia.org]

Look for the "Certified USDA Organic" green label or grow it yourself - its your only protection.

Been known for 30 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39158065)

The general principle has been known for many many years. I worked in a lab in the 1980's that was doing ressearch on the use of antibiotics in feed because we knew it would lead to resistence being spread given the prevalence of the genes on plasmids. It's obvious to any microbiologist.

The antibiotic companies sell the bulk of their product ( and manufacture it cheaply ) to agriculture. The large agribusinesses whose cost cutting 'efficiencies' would fail disasterously without it run the Dept of Ag in the US and Ag committees in US Congress.

This does relate to the GMO issue, as I see it.

The problem with GMOs is not instrinsically about GMOs it is about the process that is used to mange them. As long as those responsible for regulating GMOs have a primary financial interest in them ( including regulatory capture ) then GMOs are not safe. We cannot trust that the sane decision will be made based on environmental / scientific reasons if money is the overriding factor. There is no reversal of the damage possible in such a case.

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