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Genetically modified crops - February issue

Ben David b_david2 at netvision.net.il
Mon Feb 8 16:08:45 EST 1999

David Kendra wrote:

> David Brear wrote:
> > However, I think you may be wrong about the intended use of the new
> > technology, as advertised, at least. In one of Monsanto's recent publicity
> > coups, they arranged for the press to inspect crops growing at a trial site
> > and said the advantage was that they could be allowed to grow for longer
> > than with conventional control techniques, thus allowing insect
> > populations to flourish. I quote from the Financial Times, 25 August 1998
> > (not quite Nature, I know):
> That is Monsanto's spin on the technology; however, seed companies who license the
> technology and sell Roundup resistant seed do not necessarily endorse the claims you
> mention above.  Monsanto is trying to peddle both technology and herbicide.  I dont work
> for Monsanto and I do not endorse their tactics so I am not going to defend them, but I
> do know that U.S. based seed companies who sell Roundup resistant crops recommend
> applying the lowest  levels of herbicide possible.  Also, as I stated before, farmers are
> concerned about their bottomline so they are not inclined to overapply a herbicide, it
> costs them too much.

This has not been true anywhere that I have lived, in both the US and Israel.Israeli farmers
are typical of those in many areas: they are DESPERATE to produce clean produce that fetches
high prices. They will spray up to the very last date possible. They will risk detection of
pesticides by the EU to supply clean, attractive product.
My biologist sister-in-law counseled me not to buy veggies that were too perfect. It meant
that the crop was dumped on the local market after failing EU screening. The same thing
happens in Mexico. Farming for local consumption is an unregulated free-for-all when it comes
to chemical applications.
"A little more won't hurt" is the rule - and with the further justification that it's only
ounces, not pounds, per acre - there'll be even more gratuitous spraying "just to make sure".

Ben David

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