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Public Response to GMOs

In today's world when people prefer organic vegetables and ayurvedic medicines as compared to vegetables grown using pesticides and synthetically produced medicines , what response will the public have for Genetically Modified Organisms? Will they carry forward the trend of having customized organisms or will be a hindrance to evolution and prefer the same old stuff?

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    Oct 29 2013: The good 'same old stuff' is so beautiful, delicious and comes with a 100% risk free guarantee!
    • MR T

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      Oct 29 2013: Besides not producing enough for people to eat
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        Oct 29 2013: That my dear friend, is nothing but a myth.

        If the world food supply was truly our concern, we would already begin to free its total dependency on limited fossil fuels on which it is exclusively running.

        There are many non GMO alternatives at hand which face and solve this problem as well, yet get not promoted, because there is no market control to gain by big corporations.

        Lobby work at its best.
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: .
          Afraid not buddy!

          Your using the fact that we haven't done anything about something, to justify that something as not being a problem.

          In other words you have blind faith in the current system on one hand, and on the other want to go against the industrial GMO trend.

          IIf problems are only problems when we have already done something about them, lets just solve all problems before there are any symptoms! It will be much easier (sarcasm).

          If you can find real alternatives to pesticides & GMO that produce similar yields then great, were all happy. A lot of people including myself (and the UN) don't believe they exist.

          Organic crops have bigger losses and need more space to produce the same amount. Therefore requiring more land and more rainforest to be cut down etc. GMO's could eliminate the need for pesticides in conventional crops and use less land. Win Win.

          There is of course the 'lets give half of our food to the poor argument' but that is a whole other debate.
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          Oct 29 2013: Lejan is right.... long live Lejan!
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          Oct 29 2013: T Thompson:
          well, I'm not per se against GMOs, because genetic modification is a technology as many others. There is nothing inherently bad in the technology. What matters is for what purpose it is used.
          That said, I'm not so sure that pesticides and GMOs are the only way to feed our global population.
          The problem in current agriculture is that we ignore how nature works and try to do it our way against nature.
          We plant huge mono cultures which suck nutrients in an unbalanced way, exhausting the soil quickly requiring constant fertilizing which in return kills the soil micro organisms that live in synergy with the plants. Then we spray herbicides to kill off undesired plants, damaging the soil even further. And to make it worse we need the insecticides to kill off insects that under normal conditions would be controlled by nature, because there are no natural enemies left for them in a mono culture with a soil virtually dead.
          This is just a very superficial summary, but I think you can see that what we do is not a winning strategy.
          The idea is to work with nature, because nature had billions of years to establish functioning systems that are all interconnected.
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        Oct 29 2013: As I said, lobby work at its best and therefore whatever I say won't change your believes anyway.

        Yet just in case you get interested in alternatives to make up your own mind besides pre-fabricated 'mainstream propaganda', do some research on the term 'terra preta' and/or take a look at this BBC documentary:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixx1c3RSw_8


        I wasn't justifying anything ... just busting the 'we need GMO's to feed the world' mantra.

        But I doubt that any additional information will work on you anyway.
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: Interesting, like a politician, you brush my points aside without replying to any of them.

          As a last resort, you now argue that I'm wrong because I just don't get it, I am too narrow minded... I am wrong because I think what a whole bunch of other people think.

          I don't mean to offend, but it's irrational arguments like this that set back the environmental movement of which I'd class myself a supporter.

          Of course you were making a justification, you used evidence (I use the term loosely) 'we would free dependency on fossil feuls' to back up a statement 'world food supply isn't our concern' - this is what a justification is.

          terra preta is compost, how does this solve anything? Sounds like mainstream prefabrication does compost.
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        Oct 29 2013: What is 'your' point? All I get to hear is the usual lobby talk, so what could I possibly do to make you realize that?

        The video alone goes about 48 minutes so you didn't even watch it in between your comments.

        And when 'terra preta' is compost to you, it indicates, that you didn't spent much time to research it either. But you talk about yield increase and that it can only be done by GMO's.

        So who's the politician here?
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: Perhaps by putting forward logical, reasoned points... I apologise for not watching the video, I read the blurb instead, 48 minutes is a long time to make a point, that you could probably make in a few sentences.

          My point is that GMO's are the best available solution to feeding the world's increasing population, because they can offer higher yields, pest resistance, can be grown closer together, grown faster and can be engineered to produce vitamins, medicine etc... Organic cannot compete

          I'm not sure whether your problem with GMO's is with actual GMO as a science or, the use of GMO in business. But I'd bet on the latter.

          Terra preta is compost, formed over a long time with some charcoal thrown in. Rather than pointing out how uneducated and lazy I am, how about explaining how that actually rivals GMO for crop production?
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        Oct 29 2013: Again, lobby work at its best!

        You have chosen your believes already, so why should I spend any more time to make up your mind in any other way? Regardless what I would say, you would not take it in. Just as 'terra preta' which remains a compost to you...

        GMO is not part of the solution to feed the worlds growing population, it is part of its problem and not even clever to be used as 'bridging' technology to the paradigm shift necessary.
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: That's a real shame and only stands to highlight what I said earlier, about people that are obviously meaning well, concerned about the environment yet alienating people that have different opinions on those issues rather than debating with them.

          A minority movement with that attitude will have no success at all. What your saying to me is personal, and based on assumption, not objective reasoning.

          GMO saved the papaya industry in Hawaii. Look that up.
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        Oct 29 2013: Take the whole picture. Think if the current farming technology inclusive GMO's is scalable and sustainable on the LONG run. In my view it isn't and we could go for weeks to argue about that here.

        I don't think GMO's are save. I am aware about the unpredictability in highly complex systems, such as nature is. There are no long term studies on GMO's whatsoever. This technology is just to young to be tinkered with, especially if the main interest is profit.

        I just don't trust any industry who praises itself to 'feed the world', yet at the same time is working on genetic use restriction technologies (GURT), aka suicide seeds.

        The world food production got to be redesigned, got to be local, got to be free of any 'intellectual property rights' and patents, got to be highly bio-diverse, got to be free of the use of artificial and fossil fuel based fertilizers and pesticides. Mono-culture farming can not be sustained on the long run. Cross pollination of GMO's can not be avoided and thereby endangers the biological and natural haritage we once owned. We did the same with pollution and our climate. If it is about profits, the end always justified the means and it has also always been covered and justified by some 'higher moral goals'.

        As I said before, if it was about fighting hunger, we would not have a single individual on this planet today who does not have enough to eat. And as hunger is real and GMO's already in wide use, the 'feed the world' mantra seems to be not working, right?

        Therefore and instead of prolonging a not working system, we should not allow GMO's at this stage in progress and instead start the transitional process for a sustainable world food production, which has to be adjusted to the given natural and local environments and based on 'close circles'.

        Anything else will sooner or later fail, but for this to see, it takes more than to listen to Monsanto & Co.

        But this, I can not make you understand without you wanting it.
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: From what you are saying you appear more concerned with the business ethics of GMO use, which I agree has been poorly employed by companies like Monsanto, and tarnished what I think is a very promising science.

          I think there is no reason why GMO cannot be bio-diverse, free of fertilisers and pesticides when employed in the correct way, in fact GMO crops have been engineered to go without pesticides, as it is now the majority of fertiliser and pesticides are not used on GMO crops.

          I have heard the argument before of cross pollination with wild species, but in reality I haven't heard of a single negative case. Our crop plants have co-evolved with us and have been selected by us for the traits we desire. Those traits as it happens, do not fare well in wild ecosystems, and as a result have not survived outside mono-cultures where evolutionary competition applies. Many crop plants are so different (like corn) that they can't physically interbreed with their wild relatives, their GM versions are very much the same.

          I'd also agree that monocultures are obviously detrimental to biodiversity, but I would also mention that monoculture system is not a GMO trait, but a trait of 99% of farming systems including organic. The reality is that they exist, but I'd hope through increased yeild through GMO or whatever system, that they need not expand into natural landscapes and cause further damage.

          I could also argue as you have with GMO, that organic food has been around a hell of a lot longer than GMO and yet there are still starving people! That argument works both ways, and in my favour. Nevertheless, it is not a productive or logically correct one.

          I totally agree that we need a sustainable world system but with ten billion people coming. I find it hard to believe that without scientific enhancement it is possible to cater for so many without destroying all the beautiful natural spaces we have left to plant more crops.
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        Oct 29 2013: 'I have heard the argument before of cross pollination with wild species, but in reality I haven't heard of a single negative case.'

        Look at Mexico, where GMO corn has wildly cross pollinated local corn grades.

        http://ecowatch.com/2013/10/16/mexico-bans-gmo-corn-effective-immediately/

        '... organic food has been around a hell of a lot longer than GMO and yet there are still starving people! '
        Exactly, but it was you who gave the argument that GMO is going to change that - and it didn't, because hunger is not a yield problem, it is a distribution problem.

        The upcoming population explosion is no matter of food production either, and has to be dealt with on a complete different level. This growth is exponential and if you know the mathematics behind, you may understand, that even GMO's often mentioned yield increase can't solve any of it at all.

        '.. but I would also mention that monoculture system is not a GMO trait,'

        No, but so far it is based on exactly this concept. This is what I meant before, that it only prolongs a false system, yet doesn't correct it.

        Farming methods without monoculture does not need GMO's, as it uses other principles for yield increase and natural pesticides found in diversity. This combined with clever and local food management, does more than all of us need.

        Nobody can foresee the risks in GMO's and it doesn't matter how many studies we produce, as long we have clear data out of long term studies in 100% isolated environments. But this is already to late ...
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: Regarding your first point, I mentioned 'WILD species', Local Mexican corn grades are not WILD species, they have been cultivated by humans, for humans. Therefore, you are arguing against the use of GMO in business, not as a science in principle, for which I am an advocator.

          Yes, I gave the argument that GMO is a solution to food security problems, but you also proposed that 'alternative' methods were also a solution. As neither strategies have managed to curb starvation. I remain fixed that this kind of argument is not a productive one as I said before.

          The distribution problem, I have to agree is a big one. The cause has little to do with GMO & food production and more to do with banks, government policy and the WTO. The manipulation of the value of currencies is the killer here.

          I get the impression that you hope to revolutionise the current farming system overnight. Of course monocultures are not ideal. But the reality is they will be sticking around for a while. The consumer and the supplier dictates that (don't tell me everything you eat is from a polyculture because that is true for very, very few people).

          As for natural pesticides found in diversity, I have travelled extensively in Africa, South America & Europe, I have yet to see a small organic farmer that has not been severely affected by a pest.

          GMO's are almost 100% the same as the original plants, with one or a few genes changed. These kind of changes occur in nature every day through viral infection and evolution. GMO speeds up the process in our favour.
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        Oct 29 2013: WILD species? So we are going into semantics now? What If a consumer can't decide anymore to have neither those 'wild species' nor the 'cultivated species', because GMO's does not differentiate in between them? Come one, this is ridiculous. Do you really believe that 'wild species' are immune against GMO's cross pollination? If so, what makes you certain about this indirect claim?

        So you maintain your argument that GMO's is a solution to food security yet you also agree, that hunger is a distribution problem and not a lack of food? Maybe you explain this again, because I don't get it. I proposed alternative' methods to cope with the stats quo, I didn't say, that it could cope with the upcoming population explosion, because it can't, due to its exponential character. At the given moment there is no need for GMO's at all to provide enough and save food for the world.

        What gives you the impression, that I rush for an 'overnight' solution when I talk about to finally '...start the transitional process for a sustainable world food production'? And if you wait for 'the consumer and supplier' to face any other realities but short term gain, you'll wait forever until it is finally to late.

        This is the same with climate change and the reason why nothing really fundamental happens is the blind believe in the invisible hand of markets, which will do just fine for all of us.

        But the scope of a sustainable world food supply is more than just some numbers on a balance sheet, as it will decide about life and death in the future. In fact, I am quite pessimistic about its outcome, yet nevertheless, I do what I can do as a consumer to make a change. In this, the labeling of GMO food becomes a necessity and I leave it to your imagination, why this is no legal requirement in many countries and in whoms interest this may be ... any ideas?

        How many garden forests did you visit in Africa, South America & Europe? There is no farming without pests, only reduction to controllable levels
        • MR T

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          Oct 29 2013: Yes semantics are important, you were saying that wild and cultivated species were essentially the same. If you take a look at pictures of wild and cultivated maize for instance, they most certainly are nothing alike. People can't eat wild maize. I am certain because there are hundreds of peer reviewed articles featured on sciencedirect, on the subject.

          As for your second point, the future is important! I did not say the lack of food is entirely down to distribution, you are making that part up. I said distribution is a big problem.

          As for your third point, what actions can you take as a generic individual if not buying or supplying? They are both important.

          GMO food has to be labelled in democracies, because of consumer pressure. That doesn't mean by necessity that they are right or wrong. You have stated several times, that minorities are correct over 'mainstream' beliefs.

          As for how many farms I have visited, hundreds. And GMO can offer increased mitigation of yeild reduction from pests when compared with other methods.
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        Oct 29 2013: Almost 100% is exactly not 100% and especially in genetic engineering we ought know, that little changes do a lot of changes.

        By what you said, that 'these kind of changes occur in nature every day through viral infection and evolution ', people get pay for this within the industry. Especially lobbyists, as it is their job to make things appear to be 'just' and purely natural.

        Genetic engineering is exactly NOT a natural process!

        Where engineers can't 'convince' a natural virus to smuggle their manipulated DNA into an existing organism, it uses a 'shotgun' method with gold particles coated with manipulated DNA fragments to penetrate the cell structure of the host in hope it will get incorporated somehow.

        This way it is easy to overcome natural species barriers to create a fully synthetic and artificial cell- and life-form. Neither evolution nor natural cross-breeding and pollination can do that and we don't know, if there is a good reason for that.

        Plying things down, isn't helpful to realize the risks companies are willing to take on us for their products and profits.

        The potential of genetics is highly promising, yet not at a level where we are still toddlers in this technology and field, and this will stay this way for many more decades to come.
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        Oct 30 2013: 'as for how many farms I have visited, hundreds'

        I asked how many garden forests did you visit, not farms in its conventional meaning.

        But I think I understand now, you are part of the GMO business, are you?
        • MR T

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          Oct 30 2013: Have just read your latter comment, no I am not in the GMO business, you couldn't be more far from the truth, I am a biologist & wildlife film maker and I work studying endangered species & conservation in tropical forests. I've visited a handful of garden forests, but on principle the harvest is not economical. Machines do a good job of monocultures but not forests, despite them often being more productive.

          The shotgun method is one, the most common is implanting soil agrobacterium with DNA and introducing this to the plant through a cut. Which occurs naturally, all the time. A plant gets damaged by the wind or herbivore and agrobacterium enters and manipulates the host DNA. The two methods achieve the same ends.

          You seem to think that natural is good and unnatural is bad, human actions are unnatural and other actions are natural. If this is the case, all human actions are unnatural and therefore bad. I do not agree.
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        Oct 30 2013: I think it is unarguable that the human species, unlike any other, is known to have a destructive impact on the biosphere. We pollute our air, our soil and our water and this not because we don't know how to do better, but because it is more economical to do so.

        The current mechanics of our economy is the dominating benchmark and anything else is totally subordinate to this ruling principle, including the base of our very existence, our ecosphere.

        As a biologist you should know, that our knowledge, our understanding about the complexity and interwovenness within nature still is way beyond our grasp and that we don't even understand the mechanics and dependencies withing one cubic meter of rich and healthy soil.

        Human actions which constantly damage the dynamic equilibrium within nature out of which we came into existence and upon which we are dependent for our survival HAVE to be considered as BAD actions, as it endangers our very existence at its very core. And here it makes no difference if the damage caused is done by our unawareness or against better knowledge, as the result is the same.

        Driven by economic efficiency, we denatured the process in which we grow our food and this worldwide and on industrial scale and on industrial consequences.

        Nature creates abundance by biodiversity and closed recycling loops, whereas we do the opposite in mono-culture farming based on continuous feeding of artificial fertilizers, insecticides and GMO's.

        Energy wise, the latter does not sustain itself naturally as it constantly spirals out of closed and selfcontained circles, yet instead of re-naturalizing this process, we instead choose to manipulate genes so that we can maintain this sort of overexploitation. And if nature herself did not come up with the plants we need for this, we just make them ourself while no one has any idea about the impact it has today, in mid term and on the long run. Nobody knows this!
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        Oct 30 2013: The problem is, once GMO's are released into nature, you can't get them out again, never!

        It is highly likely, that in 2000 years from now nobody remembers neither Monsanto nor their herbicide product Roundup, yet it is highly likely, that their GMO's out of todays convenience bundle kit will still be around, either as it is today or as it mutated and cross pollinated. Either way, it will be part of the gene-pool upcoming generations have to deal with in their ecosphere.

        Do we want our biological heritage spoiled forever by this sort of short term gain thinking?

        Today, we 'just' get rid of our old smart-phones we got 3 years ago and replace them with the newest hype. But this 'old' technology fades and just a view phones may 'survive' in retro style collections. Yet those 'old phones' does not cross-pollinate uncontrolled with emerging and new technologies. They just turn history.

        GMO's don't do that once they are in the 'wild', they stay, they alter the original biosphere of which they become an inseparable part and building block for further natural mutation.

        Genetics and gene engineering to me is the most powerful technology humankind has ever invented and by this it is intrinsically potential do to a lot of damage and this regardless if we are aware about it or not.

        It does not naturally occur that nature produces transgenic organisms by a 'cut' in a plant. Nature does not cross certain species barriers on its own, as 'her' mechanics does not allow for this to happen.

        How many wild boars have scratched their backs on a tree ever since? And how many trees would we find with wild boar genes implemented in their DNA? None! Why? Because of the species barrier!

        But genetics can cross these natural lines and it does and this is the moment where no one knows - NO ONE! - what will come out of it once it is released into the wild. And this is where it becomes highly dangerous, because we are just guessing, hoping and ignoring ...
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        Oct 30 2013: I am not against genetics per se, on the contrary, but as long this powerful technology is not completely understood in itself and also in relation to a still unknown complex environment we call nature, it got to stay in high security labs until we know what we are doing.

        I am no nature romantic who thinks that bees are happy and flowers pretty and therefore good.

        Nature to me is a highly dangerous and merciless place just by herself and her driving force we call evolution. Toxins, bacteria, viruses, fungi - you name it, nature got it or may have it soon. This alone is a challenge and race we are constantly facing and I even understand, that this new technology is so tempting to us to finally gain 'control' over all of this one day.

        But even though in our hope to do good we have to be aware about what we are playing with here.

        Yet once we reach this famous insight that those 'Spirits that I've summoned My commands ignore' it will be to late to get them back again where we made them from ...

        We have our hands at the very core of life, like a child who has just unbolted the lid of a computer and that marvels about all those colorful elements inside it. And just like a child, we have no clue about life at all.

        At this point in time, we take some 'code' we don't fully understand and put it in even more complex code we don't fully understand and then we watch what happens. In short, we are in a childish trial and error phase to gain the knowledge we don't have. Yet the danger is, that we take the 'survival' of our experiments as justification and validation and this without any understanding of the whole. Neither in detail nor in complex environments - and therefore we as this child may just ruin the whole program and finally break the whole hardware of the computer as well, because we touched the untouchable.

        Maybe there is no risk at all, I can picture that, yet this we got to find out first on a backup system within total sealed conditions. Like a sand box.
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        Oct 30 2013: Yet instead we already got it out for a brand-name weed-killer and tomatoes with extended shelf-life? Is that it?

        Are we only thinking with our wallets? This is about life, people, not just some exchangeable commodities!

        Yet as I said several times before - Lobby work at its best! The mantra of the prayer wheel. And this wheel comes with a complete different set of morals than the morals needed within this field of powerful science we are talking about!

        Sorry folks, this planet is closed, because we screwed it up for a margin ...
        • MR T

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          Oct 30 2013: I get your frustration,

          However, you are wrong. Cross species gene transfer is actually very common in nature.

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308220454.htm

          The agrobacterium that enter plants all the time in nature implant their DNA into the host's. What GM does is implant different DNA into the bacterium which then goes into the host. The difference is, we choose the traits, not some random other organism.

          The risk of environmental damage and damage to human health for GM over other crop types has been found to be the same by hundreds of independent researchers.

          None of your comments about the science of GMO are actually substantiated by any scientific research. What you are arguing against is the entire economic system, but some how GMO science is to blame.

          A knife is tool for one person but in other hands it can be a weapon. What you are saying about GMO is equivalent to saying that knifes are always weapons.

          You say that scientists can't act until they know every possible outcome!, that is a totally unrealistic expectation. No-one can ever for see every outcome of an action. Yes lab tests should and are being done before field trials, but fanatics keep ruining the lab trials, even government funded operations!

          For example the naive, misinformed idiots that destroyed the government funded trial plots for rice that scientists were modifying to contain vitamin A, to prevent blindness in millions of children in developing countries.

          The farming system does need to change. But I can see no reason why GM cant add something to that. If you engineer pest resistance for example, then no more pesticides....
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        Oct 30 2013: 'cross species gene transfer is actually very common'

        Exactly, thats why wild boars grow on trees these days ...

        Genetics manipulates eukaryote which are not or just little effected by horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and if you read your linked article, you will find, that it describes it for 'especially more primitive organisms'.

        HGT is one way for bacterial antibiotic resistance yet it stays within one group of species.

        'The risk of environmental damage and damage to human health for GM over other crop types has been found to be the same by hundreds of independent researchers.'

        OK, how long was the testing? Shorter than 100 years? 1000 years?

        As I said, it doesn't matter what I tell you, you ignore whatever comes in handy.

        No scientist did any long term trial in any realistic proportion to evolutionary time-frames. All they did was a quick shot. No scientist did a holistic environment studies in isolated biospheres which are big enough to simulate the complexity of nature herself. Some small green houses just don't do the same job. Therefore I understand those people who destroy test fields of GMO's because they do what it takes to save their environment.

        Any new knife we invented so far we use to kill people and therefore I would not be surprised, if genetics is one of the major research fields for biological weaponry. Wouldn't it be great if we had such weapons who only get triggered if a certain genetic marker was present in the host? A perfect weapon for genocide if the marker is just local enough.

        So no, the knife arguments fails as usual, as the history of science and wars tells us.

        'You say that scientists can't act until they know every possible outcome!, that is a totally unrealistic expectation.'

        Why? What is unrealistic there? Maybe for a market prospective, yet not for science.

        If physicist at CERN would calculate a high possibility for a test to turn disastrous, do you think they would still try it out? Just to see?
        • MR T

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          Oct 31 2013: "Exactly, thats why wild boars grow on trees these days ...

          "if you read your linked article, you will find, that it describes it for 'especially more primitive organisms"

          Yes so species gene transfer is possible which you now agree to, a minute ago you said it wasn't at all!. What about a mule, a cross between a donkey and a horse... should we isolate mules in bullet proof chambers and test them for 1000 years in case they take over the world because they don't breed in nature! Humans manipulate the DNA of plants and animals constantly!! they have created thousands of breeds of dogs and thousands of hybrid plants and crop plants without GMO that don't occur naturally. GMO is a method to speed up the process of selection for desired traits via human actions.

          "OK, how long was the testing? Shorter than 100 years? 1000 years?"

          "As I said, it doesn't matter what I tell you, you ignore whatever comes in handy"

          As have you, except I have ignored speculation and you have ignored fact. Obviously testing something for 1000 years is totally unrealistic. There is no reason why putting a collection of vitamin A promoting genes into rice would give rice any competetive advantage in nature over its organic version, especially considering that the variety in question doesn't survive in the wild without human care.

          "No scientist did a holistic environment studies in isolated biospheres which are big enough to simulate the complexity of nature herself."

          Okay lets just find another planet earth and do it there then!

          "If physicist at CERN would calculate a high possibility for a test to turn disastrous, do you think they would still try it out? Just to see?"

          That's my point, unlike the physicist in your metaphor, no scientist has actually calculated a high possibility of GMO to cause problems. The only people that have is people like you that make speculative remarks without evidence
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        Oct 31 2013: Eukaryotes? Anything about those? Or is it just natural too?

        'What about a mule, a cross between a donkey and a horse... should we isolate mules in bullet proof chambers and test them for 1000 years ...'

        Why?

        'As have you, except I have ignored speculation and you have ignored fact.'

        Eukaryotes? Anything about those?

        'Obviously testing something for 1000 years is totally unrealistic.'

        Why? Or are you just rushing on the market as well?

        'Okay lets just find another planet earth and do it there then!'

        Why? Only because a high secured, high encapsulated and isolated but fully working ecosphere is expensive and difficult to build? Or are you just rushing on the market as well?

        'No scientist has actually calculated a high possibility of GMO to cause problems'

        For this scientists need to fully understand what they are doing. In genetics, as I said before, we are doing trial and error, which is no base for any meaningful forecast. Or are you just rushing on the market as well and trying to calm critical customers?

        I choose CERN for a reason - maybe you find it.

        'GMO is a method to speed up the process of selection for desired traits via human actions. '

        This is false and only mentioned to cover the fact that GMO's are not natural. Exactly what corporations need to rush on the markets and to misinform their customers.

        Lobby work at its very best.
        • MR T

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          Oct 31 2013: Yes yes horizontal gene transfer is less common in eukaryotes, first you disagreed that HGT existed, then you said it does in prokaryotes but not eukaryotes, then you said it did in eukaryotes but only a little! we are running out of taxa fast! but you seem to be coming around to the idea that HGT is common.

          I have already described how plants (eukaryotes) are subject to HGT in nature via agrobacterium ALL THE TIME.

          Your main point about GMO is that animals/plants that don't occur naturally are wrong. You say that such organisms should be tested in biospheres somewhere for 1000 years for them to be safe. A mule does not occur naturally so why do you have no problem with it? Unnatural is not always bad. like GMO the mule is an artificial genetic manipulation by humans. The human population will be ten billion in a decade. We dont have 1000 years to test solutions for food security.

          'GMO is a method to speed up the process of selection for desired traits via human actions. '"This is false and only mentioned to cover the fact that GMO's are not natural. Exactly what corporations need to rush on the markets and to misinform their customers".

          Its obviously not false, GMO is a method to select for desired traits in organisms. Thats just what it is!! If not, then what the hell are we talking about?

          Just because corporations have misused GMO does not mean GMO is intrinsically a bad thing! I don't stand to make any financial gain for supporting GMO, and yet I have found it to be a promising science.

          Quit regurgitating opinion from Michael Moore documentaries and make the distinction between GMO and the use of GMO in business.
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        Oct 31 2013: 'Just because corporations have misused GMO does not mean GMO is intrinsically a bad thing!'

        Following your GMO's are all natural mantra how could any corporation misuse it? They didn't do anything which would not have come alive sooner or later anyway, so what is the misusing element here? Or do we have another knife example here? But still, this knife would form itself anyway, so why bother?

        Mules are hybrids and would naturally occur if horses and donkeys would have sex which each other, which they usually don't have, probably for species reasons. They are not capable of reproduction and this probably for a reason.

        Breeding and cultivation is of course based on the interaction of genes, but both work within their natural restrictions, they don't break those rules. And this is different in genetic engineering.

        It comes for a reason why bacteria and viruses are used in genetic engineering to smuggle foreign DNA pass this natural barrier, because bacteria and viruses are masters to break or bypass immune systems as part of their survival strategy. Thats their specialization. Yet also here it makes a difference what comes with their payload because what we inject into them bypasses this natural barrier as well.

        In fact we are using this their sneak in ability to exactly bypass these natural hurdles and we justify and misuse their success to describe genetic manipulation as a 'natural' process. On the other side, we are fighting bacteria and viruses as if there was no tomorrow to ensure our health and survival, and this because they have this very dangerous ability to severely harm us. And this because they are natural gene manipulators, which makes them so dangerous to us and also other species.

        And yes, we use them too within our organisms. In fact we are symbiotic with them. But this symbiosis is the result of a very long evolution process to gain this stable joint venture and it is most likely, that many individuals on both sides died over this.
        • MR T

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          Oct 31 2013: I totally agree, GMO's are not natural, I have never said they were, I only argue that similar processes to GM like (HGT) happen naturally. Therefore GM is not quite as new and revolutionary as some might think.

          Natural things are not all good... you eat the wrong plant and you die!, any person or corporation or whatever can misuse that. Another prime knife example haha. Imagine that the arbitrary concepts of un-natural and natural did not exist, what would be your argument? I am interested to know.

          Some corporations like Monsanto have misused GMO by creating expensive infertile plants, pesticide resistance, suing farmers for the spread of patented genetics into their organic crops etc.. as you know. Its a shame that these actions have set people like you against GMO because it can be used for great things, like curing blindness in developing countries by supplying free, fertile vitamin A enhanced rice.

          Although its not GMO per se, check out a guy called Norman Baulag. He is credited with saving a BILLION lives through manipulating plant genetics to create dwarf wheat that does not get damaged in storms. The potential is enormous!

          "It comes for a reason why bacteria and viruses are used in genetic engineering to smuggle foreign DNA pass this natural barrier, because bacteria and viruses are masters to break or bypass immune systems as part of their survival strategy"

          Yes a proportion of them do this, but what exactly does this mean in regards to GMO?
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        Oct 31 2013: 'GMO is a method to select for desired traits in organisms. Thats just what it is!! If not, then what the hell are we talking about?'

        We are talking about the fact, that GMO's are no classical form of breeding or cultivation and that their technique is bypassing natural restrictions which would not allow those organisms to be breded or cultivated within those natural barriers. We are talking about the fact, that genetic engineering is not 'just' a speed up version of natural evolution, because it is capable to introduce whole DNA segments into organisms which would not occur by random mutation. We are talking about the fact, that the survival of an manipulated organism is not an indicator for its harmlessness. We are talking about the fact, that our knowledge is way to little to foresee any long term behavior of artificially manipulated DNA. We are talking about the risks corporation take for short term profits over long term knowledge and over responsible handling of this powerful technology.

        I didn't see any Michael Moore documentaries about this topic, yet I worked within research and know how little we know and how impatient corporate science and R&D processes are. I know about the meaning of 'limited' or 'Ltd' in this context. And I know that short term profit is boosting the hype in genetic engineering.

        I don't know how many times I have to repeat that this science is highly potential to be of good use to us, yet I do not rush in a field which is as well of high potential to harm the fundamental building blocks of life itself.

        Yes, I would love to grow organs, blood and medicine just as we need them. I would love to grow meat for food in test tubes so that we don't need to kill any more animal. Yet I would also hate to die by my implants, my artificial blood of by my medicine. I would hate to die by my artificial meat. And I would hate to die for some other peoples short term profits.

        Evolution is million of years old, yet we do it in decades? Arrogance!
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        Oct 31 2013: 'I totally agree, GMO's are not natural, I have never said they were, I only argue that similar processes to GM like (HGT) happen naturally. '

        This is what I call throwing smoke grenades. This naturalness is as meaningful as to say that 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' were only loaded with the natural element of Uranium.

        'Natural things are not all good...'

        I don't know why you keep circling about this argument, as I answered this already, so let me copy/past this again for you:

        I am no nature romantic who thinks that bees are happy and flowers pretty and therefore good.

        Nature to me is a highly dangerous and merciless place just by herself and her driving force we call evolution. Toxins, bacteria, viruses, fungi - you name it, nature got it or may have it soon.

        'Imagine that the arbitrary concepts of un-natural and natural did not exist, what would be your argument?'

        My argument is that not everything that can be done should be done.

        I would not give a fife year old a loaded gun to play with. I could do it and then leave the room, but why would I do that? Why would I provoke the process of natural selection? I think my reasons are based on my morals and knowledge and also on my ability to foresee certain risks in this situation. But other than this I can not give you any better justification or reason, which you could rightly name arbitrary.
        Yet how would any other arbitrariness help the child not to shoot or hurt itself?

        There is no 'cosmic law' for me not to give the gun to this child. So what is your point? Would you give this gun to this child? Nothing will keep you from doing so. What is your choice? And why?

        'misused GMO by creating expensive infertile plants, pesticide resistance, suing farmers for the spread of patented genetics into their organic crops etc.'

        Actually, no. Monsanto did exactly the right thing according to the given mechanics in our economy. They followed only what 'we' agreed on in our markets. So why do you think of misuse?
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        Oct 31 2013: Because tis 'market mechanics' is arbitrary as well? What is your 'moral code' against which you decide what is considered 'misuse' of this technology and what would be 'good use'?

        At what exact point spreads this distinction? As you have no 'natural' and 'un-natural' vocabulary, how are you drawing your line? What enables your 'judgment' your 'concerns'? Laws? Well, that would just be another arbitrary thing. Morals? Also highly exchangeable. So what makes you think of misuse at all?

        The problem in science to me is, that it does not come with any morals. That is what makes it so dangerous at times, because it only takes one scientist to do what can be done, to get it done.

        This is what brings us the given and growing variety in biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. This is what brings us land-mines, booby-traps, uranium depleted ammunition, drones, cluster bombs, napalm, orange agent, etc. ...

        This is what will bring us nano swarm killing bots, autonomous killing machines and intelligent biological killer organisms. As they will be done because they can be done.

        Due to the current and mostly worldwide financial crisis, fundamental research gets more and more mangled towards short term marketable results, as otherwise they they get no more funding out of austerity budget cuts. But this 'rushing' environment is exactly what kills fundamental research in its core. This is the environment in which loaded guns get handed over to fife year olds, as there is no more time left for any reflected foresight or any morals. And as long as we don't take our time to really understand what we are doing, genetic engineering remains a highly potential threat to me and Monsanto's researcher are just the tip of an growing iceberg.

        On this the 'I told you so' phrase is not going to come with its usual inner triumph, as it is no fun to clean the room and to remove the corpses of little ones.
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        Oct 31 2013: 'Its a shame that these actions have set people like you against GMO because it can be used for great things, like curing blindness in developing countries by supplying free, fertile vitamin A enhanced rice.'

        What is this for an argument?

        Why don't we just give free carrots, corn salad, fennel, mangos, spinach, red pepper, eggs, tuna, soft cheese and pork? All of this is naturally rich in vitamin A and already available on this planet without any use of genetic engineering. And we already know that variety in diets is the most healthy thing we can provide against malnutrition.

        And just because we don't give this for free you are accepting blindness in developing countries?

        Even our supermarkets are full with vitamin enriched nutritional supplements, they come in all shapes, colors and sizes and although many of those are questionably in their use, it would still be better than doing nothing to give them for free if the other things are to complicated or whatever to get there.

        Maybe it would also be a good idea to enable developing countries to grow the variety of food they need to properly feed their people.

        Or are you just seeking for guinea pigs for our latest GMO's as a live experiment?

        Its a shame that people like you promote 'quick fix' solutions without any need to fake the necessity for GMO's. You throw smoke grenades again to cover the given reality, that malnutrition in developing countries is already tolerated by first world countries, as we already have everything what it takes to fight it and this by purely biological food with no need for any artificial gene manipulation.

        You mix politics and market mechanics with science, which is not to be confused at all, as it does not justify any risks related to this research.

        It is the same that propaganda does to bring nations to war. We are shown pictures of killed woman and children, as killed man or even soldiers won't do much to convince us...

        You would certainly make a good lobbyist!
        • MR T

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          Oct 31 2013: 'Its a shame that these actions have set people like you against GMO because it can be used for great things, like curing blindness in developing countries by supplying free, fertile vitamin A enhanced rice.'

          What is this for an argument?

          Why don't we just give free carrots, corn salad, fennel, mangos, spinach, red pepper, eggs, tuna, soft cheese and pork? All of this is naturally rich in vitamin A and already available on this planet without any use of genetic engineering. And we already know that variety in diets is the most healthy thing we can provide against malnutrition.

          And just because we don't give this for free you are accepting blindness in developing countries?""""

          WELL OBVIOUSLY GIVING OUT A BUNCH OF SEEDS THAT PEOPLE CAN USE TO GROW AND TAKE MORE SEEDS FROM IS A ONE OFF EVENT, ITS CHEAP AND ALLOWS THEM TO MEET THE PROBLEM THEMSELVES.

          GIVE A MAN A FISH AND HE EATS FOR A DAY, TEACH A MAN TO FISH AND HES SORTED FOR LIFE!!!

          WILL REPLY TO THE REST LATER
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        Oct 31 2013: Are you screaming or unknowingly caps-locked?

        '... its cheap and allows them to meet the problems themselves.'

        So 'cheap' is the key here, aka market mechanics? We have been there before and I told you, that given the power of this science, market mechanics should not be allowed to drive it.

        It is a 'cheap' and quick fix solution to remain ignorant about our general behavior and what we do to our fellow humans and our planet. Its done on a balance sheet, running a view numbers. How much does it take to manipulate this rice and to give it for free compared to reflect on our first-world waste of food, which we throw away each day in large quantities. No, thinking this way is just uncomfortable, so lets manipulate some genes for gods sake and let 'them' grow it so that they stop getting on our conscience by turning blind ... Thats the typical logic of a self-righteous first world attitude. Behavior seems to be more difficult to change than genes, right?

        '... Teach a man to fish and hes sorted for life'

        Exactly, so let us help them to grow vitamin A rich biological food without the use of GMO's and they'll do just as fine and even better, because their diet grows in variety as well.
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        Nov 4 2013: Mr T - forgive me, but the only way I can credibly reconcile your extremely vigorous stance in favour of GMO's, together with your self-proclaimed role as a biologist, is that you work for that industry...?

        If you are a biologist and given that there is much that we do not know about the impact of GMO's in the wider scheme, then I fear that your ethical responsibilities towards natural biological systems and ecology appear somewhat compromised by this frankly ridiculous anthropocentric stance you are taking.

        'Feeding the world' with GMO's might well be successful initially - until the myriad of natural systems which have evolved over millions of years get breached and contaminated by chemically-induced genetics. As a biologist, I'd like to ask what do you seriously think would happen then?
        • MR T

          • +2
          Nov 5 2013: I do not work for that industry, I work studying endangered species in tropical forests.

          "until the myriad of natural systems which have evolved over millions of years get breached and contaminated by chemically-induced genetics"

          Before you state that this can and will happen, please explain how and why it will happen!!.

          My stance towards GMO is substantiated with evidence, what I am tired of is hearing prophecies of apocalyptic scenarios, much like the one you just gave which are based on nothing but speculation. Yes GMO requires careful consideration and research as to the effects, yet leehan is expecting ridiculous and impossible tests based on speculation alone.

          Why is it that everyone expects that I have some invested corporate interest in GMO?. (Which I don't). I support the science because it has great potential to curb many environmental and human problems. I ask that you take a step back and really think & research about exactly how and why GMO could bring about such negative consequences as you proclaim. If you do this and come back with the same views then I would love to know what it is you have discovered.
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        Nov 5 2013: Let me get this straight - you have one hand busily working on studying endangered species in one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, untouched by human hand, while the other hand is busy vigorously supporting genetically modified organisms?

        Do you hope to combine the two in some sort of grotesque synthesis of what you and your minority think nature should be? Or perhaps some other motive?

        I have thought about it thanks, and I am coming back with the same views. Not least because in an Independent Science Panel Report, released June 2003 in which the case against GMO is irrefutable:

        http://www.i-sis.org.uk/ispr-summary.php

        Speculation? let's dissect that a bit. I would suggest firstly that the pro GMO stance is more speculative than those who stand against it. Is it 'speculation' that in order for a plant to be resistant to the herbicide Glyphosate, there is measurable suppression of enzymes and amino acids? What are the implications of that on modern diseases of the gut? Is it 'speculation' that Glyphosate-resistance in crops has been proven to cause mutation in weeds, which go on to become Glyphosate-resistant "Superweeds"? Not only would the crop gene pool be contaminated by GMO, but by implication, so would the weeds. Back to square one again, only this time with contaminated genes in the entire arable landscape.

        http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

        Also:

        Séralini G. E., Clair E., Mesnage R., Gress S., Defarge N., Malatesta M., Hennequin D., de Vendômois J.S. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize; Food and Chemical Toxicology Vol. 50 ( 11), 2012, 4221–4231.

        Need more evidence?
        • MR T

          • +1
          Nov 5 2013: Yes precisely.

          I have stated in previous comments that most of the arguments against the use of GM revolve around a particular use of GM, the one you have put forward.. engineering herbicide tolerance, I totally agree is bad.

          What I am trying to say is that I can see many ways in which GM can be used for very good purposes. We currently spray our plants with terrible insecticides for instance, engineering resistance to pests in some of our crop plants could therefore decrease the use of pesticides and improve species richness.

          I don't think that GM is the be all and end all solution to everything. But used well it can certainly play a major role in the transition to a sustainable world.

          Many of the other problems that you and that report cite are to do with GM crops spreading into nature. This is something that is generally highly unlikely, of course depending upon the type of modification and the type of plant. This is a an issue that I think can be resolved and I have given some reasons as to why it is unlikely in previous comments.
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        Nov 5 2013: Thanks for your response. I'm glad you are not an advocate of the worst excesses of GM!

        Using GM well in order to play a major role in the transition to a sustainable world would depend also on what the market economy is doing at the time. It's quite possible that the profit motive might override the ethical element of that transition. One only needs to look at Monsanto's track record in that department to see where that could lead.

        Can I ask what role you think pollinators would have in your vision of GM assisted species richness? How would that affect GM spreading into nature? Would it matter if an organic farmer had crops in close proximity to a GM crop? Could his produce still legitimately be referred to as "organic"?
        • MR T

          • +1
          Nov 5 2013: Your first point is why I believe such technologies should be government regulated.

          As for your second points, lets take wheat for an example. If we take a look around, in a wild place we just don't see our crop varieties of wheat growing around everywhere, wheat normally self fertilises, and any pollen that does escape and get wind bourne will only remain viable for a couple of hours at best. Animals do not pollinate wheat. Since cases of interbreeding (not under lab conditions) between crop wheat and wild wheat is anecdotal then it is reasonable to assume that crop wheat does not pose a danger of spreading into nature and ruining everything. I mean, it hasn't done so far and its been around for a very long time...

          Now lets genetically modify that same wheat, lets say with some gene from another plant to produce stronger stems to prevent storm damage, and heavier seeds, to increase yield. Neither of these attributes affect pollen dispersal significantly over the normal variety so it should not stand to cause any more problems than does conventional wheat, if there are any.

          Moving on to GM spreading into organic crops, its a difficult issue and it does already happen. It really depends on your definition of organic, if that is free from GM then no GM crops can be organic. Although personally I would happily buy GM crops branded as organic, if it meant that no fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides etc were used or the yield was higher so less land had to be used for crops. Our crop plants are constructed by us for us, I think for many people the word organic is synonymous with the word 'natural', which under my definition, no crop plant is. It could be possible to engineer plants that will not breed without human intervention.

          Despite the opposition to them, I would be surprised if GM foods were not the norm in 50, 100 years.
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      Oct 30 2013: lejan I would not say natural or organic food is 100% safe in some cases it is worse! the all natural fertilizers and sprays used in this practice can contain some pretty nasty natural compounds. eg arsenic in high levels but it natural so it has to be safe. You all so have to factor in animal welfare on organic farms if you do not have a second control farm to move sick animals to for treatment.
      all so we do need to intensify farming if the sea level are rising a lot of prime farming land is going to be lost in the future so we need to work on a intensive but sustainable farming future this will come by thinking out side the square in farming technology's and monitoring of nutrient budgets which are all ready in practice in my farming systems in my country put in place by big corporations that want to still have clients in the future.
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        Oct 30 2013: If the conditions are safe for organic food to grow, it will be 100% risk free - besides individual allergies, of course.
    • W T 100+

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      Oct 30 2013: Off track a little, but still worthy of noting, are cleaning agents.........soap is wonderful......so is vinegar and baking soda......but all the big companies promote chemical cleaners like they're going out of style.

      Many housewives have developed allergies due to these toxic cleaners that fill rooms with toxic fumes.

      You do not see many commercials for using good old salt or vinegar or baking soda.......

      I think when it comes to our health and nutrition, common sense and an educated consumer should not be underestimated.

      My 2 cents worth. :)
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        Oct 30 2013: Your 2 cents worth is highly appreciated!

        I recently rediscovered concentrated vinegar as a toilet cleaner and it works just perfect. All the other specialized products I used before didn't do even half the job. They were all fancy, colorful and even viscous, so that they stayed longer on sloped surfaces. Yet all the buzz didn't help much. And now just 2 spoons of vinegar concentrate and within minutes everything is clean as new.

        Salt I use to capture liquid red wine on textiles before I do any further rubbing and it works perfect as well. I haven't tried baking soda yet, what is it good for?
        • W T 100+

          • 0
          Oct 31 2013: Baking soda is great as a disinfectant.

          I use it in combination with hydrogen peroxide to scrub surfaces that I need to clean.....kitchen and bathroom tiles, sinks, bathtub.

          I also put baking soda down the drain to eliminate odors.

          It absorbs odors really well, so sprinkling it on kitchen sponges, and putting a box of it in the refrigerator is wonderful too.

          I have used salt to disinfect my cutting board, especially after I've handled raw meat on it......I run hot water on the board, then sprinkle salt and rub the palm of my hands on the board.......I get a spa treatment on my hands, and clean the board too.....it feels so good to run your hands on the salt crystals which are on the wet board........you need to try it.....it's like a massage for your tired hands.

          I don't know if we have concentrated vinegar in our markets.......

          When I lived overseas I also used to be able to get pure vitamin C in powder form......here they don't sell it. Some things just don't make it into the US market.
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        Oct 31 2013: Kitchen and bathroom tiles have to be cleaned? Oh ... ;o)

        But thank you for your explanation, I will try this out and also the salt peeling and spa treatment. Would my cat like this too? I will try this out today and if she gets scared we just blame Halloween ... :o)

        Concentrated vinegar is my word creation, which, once I looked it up, now changed to 'vinegar essence'. Maybe this is available in your stores?

        Vitamin C powder is available in Germany and I am very surprised that this is not common in the US, especially because you have way less regulations on certain nutritional supplements than we have. Interesting... but fruits are more fun anyway!

        Happy Halloween!

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