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Old 10-05-2007, 09:21 AM   #161
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ERD50,
I'll get a new avatar as soon as the dusting powder settles.

Back to the milk wars!!

I hate cow's milk, honestly.

Soy for me. Lots of toxins, GM modified beans, uuummmmm, yummy. And you never have to shovel soy shite or listening to the mooing.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:54 AM   #162
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I've never tried the soy - no particular reason. I have not had any milk 'solo' for years, but drink it in stuff almost daily (over oatmeal mainly). So taste really isn't an issue for me personally, can't taste it much under the oatmeal, almonds, and fruit. I guess I think I need the calcium and Vitamin-D, but who knows? At any rate, it adds to the diversity of food that I eat, and I think that is important in general. A good oatmeal stout might work out nice with breakfast, but very long naps would result.

But the wife and kids drink milk solo, so they do care about the taste. They've tried the expensive organic and other trendy stuff, she almost always buys the cheapest stuff at costco, so I guess it is no big deal to her.

In the overall scheme of things, I put more effort into getting them to develop good survival skills (they take the advanced drivers test from the insurance company to lower ins rates), keep your car maintained, avoid unnecessary trips, be smart about entering bad 'hoods, among other things. I think that has more real impact on their health than some exposure to tested, regulated food additives, or whatever.

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:55 AM   #163
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ERD50.. I just wanted to respond to a couple of things that are related in all this. (Unfortunately it borders on the p*litical, so apologies in advance to anyone that may offend.)

There seem to be a few parallel lines of objection to GM crops: one is the physical (does it change anything for the environment, or for the species that come in contact with them --be they human or any of the other millions of non-human species-- and if so, is that change important?). The second is the process of patenting, monopolization and market control. The third that declines from the second is the mono- (or lets say oligo-) culture.

The "experiment" of the first aspect is still open to debate, but it's a bit of closing the barn door after the horse has left. We've got it, and now we're stuck with it.. this came about neither through any particular end-consumer choice NOR through social (gov't.) planning either pro or con.

The worries that aspects 2 and 3 create, it's true, are not unique to GM.. with ONE major exception: the process of patenting which is inherent to the GM process as practiced today.

In the "traditional" case of the Cavendish banana, the virtual "triopoly" of United Foods (Chiquita) Dole and Del Monte dictated what cultivars got produced and (**warning-political**) the US had its hand in propping up right-wing governments in the so-called "banana republics" in part to protect these companies. Apparently, banana "trade wars" are continuing today and Chiquita is still resorting to what we might call 'unusual' business tactics (hiring Colombian terrorist groups).

What happens when you cross scenarios like that, with the added legal weight of patented organisms? Look out Nellie! That's the kind of "perfect storm" that GM critics and skeptics fear.. not only the fact that an organism may be GM, but that it's now global, legally shielded, and virtually unstoppable.

You have hopes for a more open GM marketplace, but I think that is slightly naive. Regular farmers and hobbyists --basically anyone with some time on their hands-- were able to come up with "traditional" hybrids, but today's GM technology, and the paired chemical/pesticide regimes they go hand-in-hand with, are only available to the few, as are the funds for filing and defending patents. Just as it's possible for you to write yourself an operating system to get out from under Microsoft, it's unlikely that you have the resources to fully commit to that enterprise.

I think there are deep-seated visceral reactions to finding that a common essential activity (agriculture) and a common essential need (a source of life itself: food!) have been taken from the hands of the many and put into the hands of the few. This may seem, Mr. Spock, highly illogical. But it's non-trivial and something that will have to be confronted.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:14 AM   #164
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ERD50, a very good friend of mine says she likes Almond Milk more than soy and I believe I would also but can't find any.

Maybe I'll try the Amish Market on 9th.

BTW, agree 100%. Gosh, focusing life on micro-management of every aspect isn't worth it. Something else is gonna kill us. Not GM.

Also, anyone wearing shoes is getting megadoses of toxins.

Running is an especially bad way to get toxic chemicals. Runner's World had an article about runners in Los Angeles (my hometown) and the huge amount of asbestos they breathe because the gutters are literally 1/2 deep in powdered asbestos from brake linings and the lack of rain and the constant vortex created by passing cars, means the air withing 10-12 ft of the road is a toxic cocktail.

Bottom line. For those terrified by additives. Get inside a bubble, quick.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:49 AM   #165
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This thread was a lot more pleasant to read when logged in and the 'ignore poster' controls were engaged. In fact, it was a pretty quick read!

I learned all sorts of stuff about milk, especially the part about substandard milk being used to make childrens chocolate milk. I buy prepackaged organic chocolate milk in little containers for those times when I dont have a chance to make up a sippy cup for Gabe. I checked and was reassured that the milk used is in fact real organic milk, its grade A, and its not dry milk from another country.

Very reassuring.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:55 AM   #166
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#151 Nice post.

I slept on what I wrote last nite and this morning sort of came up with the following: Again, things can't be too complicated nor too worthless simple either.

I suspect that if we had a basic three or four category grading system that could easily be identified while wandering the food marts most folks would start to use it. We could have as category 1, all food with a 1 in a triangle or circle or square (or in OAP's avatar of choice) that currently meet basic agriculture standards. For instance, our current grade A milk, which is probably tested for basic cleanliness and stuff, would be given the 1 label.

A 2 could be posted on foods with a higher level of purity or naturalness, perhaps those using minimal amounts, or better yet none, of pesticides, antibiotics, non-organic fertilizers, etc. I would also prefer that no GMO foods be allowed in these foods or in the case of milking cows no GMO soup feed for them. Meeting these standards would allow packagers and such to use the 2 label.

A 3 could be posted on all products that currently meet or exceed current "organic" purity standards, whatever the experts decide on.

Such a system would, to my mind, be easy to use by the shopper. It should be easy to remember the three or four basic categories. Simply deciding one wants to eat higher on the number scale could be easily achieved, i.e. switching from #1 milk to #2 milk. The higher the number the greater the purity. Check out counters could display and pass out a small handout with info about the symbol system and further info could be gathered from a web site if desired. Individual buyers could get as deeply into understanding the system as they want, following updates, and changes and monitoring of their purity intakes. They can turn it into a food fetish if they desire, or they can just use the 1-2-3 stuff on the label as the only guide they ever need.

I personally would prefer such a system be run by the federal gov't. Much like current organic milk farmers, each farm that wants a higher label rating would need to meet the new standards. Most farmers are already comfortable with this system and know exactly how it works. An ag worker would show up, check standards, and certify, returning for recertification once or twice/year. Then a bill for services would be sent to the farmer. It would not be a free service; the gov't costs would match or be LESS than income from farmers and/or assembler/distributors. Of course, the farmers would roll all the extra costs into the price of their products. Such a system could be run by a private organization, say some National Food Purity Institute or whatever.

If some caveat or difficulty shows itself, perhaps a 2.1 rating may be needed (are new vaccines mandated for animals?) at a later time.

Of course, the devil is in the details as always. Agriculture experts should be able to devise a comprehensive approach to this outline. This is not that far from what is currently seen in agriculture (from my perspective); it simply draws a number of disparate elements out there under one umbrella.

My hope is that over time such a system while costing folks more money up front would after some time lead to lower health care costs. On a simple, nonscientific level, if folks saw and used such a system and started paying more attention to their food and eating habits and if some health care provider noticed that these particular folks actually used less health care, then there might be a possibility of reducing insurance premiums for these folks. And this might encourage others to participate too. Enlarging a virtuous circle.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:31 AM   #167
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I am always impressed with your optimism, Greg. I've long given up on the government's ability to implement something like that (two words: food pyramid), or the average consumer's ability to either understand it or care about it.
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:05 PM   #168
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:12 PM   #169
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Someone mentioned the UHT milk that's fairly popular in Europe. It's got a long shelf-life (like 2-3 months). I rarely buy it but sometimes keep one on hand for 'emergency' baking projects since we just don't have the milk-drinking habit. It does taste "cooked".

The odd thing is that the price is basically the same per liter! (One might imagine UHT would cost less due to reduced handling/spoilage costs.) The gov't. has its hands in messing with milk quotas, so it's hard to tell how the price is arrived at.

They have also been introducing all kinds of wacky milks (kinda like Tropicana did with juice) so now you can choose milk with Omega-3 added, milk with Vitamin E and Co-enzyme Q, Physi-Cal milk with extra calcium, milk for "growing kids" with vitamins, iron and zinc, milk with FIBER and probiotics, etc.!!! Is that happening in the US?

Strangely, the refrigerated "fresh-squeezed"-type pure juices aren't usually available.. just shelf-stored "juice drinks" (almost always with some kind of artificial sweetener ) plus straight apple, grapefruit, pineapple & nectars. It was only last week they installed a v. small Tropicana fridge display. I bought a blend (they were out of plain orange juice) and it cost the earth.. somewhere around $3.75 for a QUART (well, liter). The euro keeps faking me out; I saw €2.69 and said.. well, for a treat...
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:43 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
so, there is no point in discussing any of the details of the document you provided? You disagree on a macro level, so discussions of details (in order to form a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition) is not going to open you up to any new ideas?

Is that what you are saying? :confused:


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Um, I'm always open to new ideas

but i gathered from this incessant thread that you generally have a positive view of this stuff and i generally don't...even if we agreed on some minor points, our conclusions would differ. i'm ok with that, but not going to spend much more time throwing data or observations your way. your viewpoint seems well informed and mine is as well so it is what it is.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:30 PM   #171
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Um, I'm always open to new ideas

but i gathered from this incessant thread that you generally have a positive view of this stuff and i generally don't...
OK, let me clarify that. (I need to catch up to the other posts later...)

I do not have a positive OR negative view of any 'stuff', be it GM, organic, additives, processing, etc, etc, etc.

I want the best of our combined knowledge and understanding of risk/reward to help us figure out which paths are best. In some cases, that may be organic practices, in others it may be new technologies. I suspect it will almost always be a combination of things, and different things in different applications.

I suppose that when someone seems to present an undocumented negative view of something, w/o also considering the side effects of going w/o that thing, then my replies may appear negative to them. They are not meant to be. I will try to find time to re-read them (!) and see if my tone incorrectly conveyed this, and I will pay more attention to it in the future.

May I also ask that you try to read them in light of this explanation. Thanks.

More succinctly, I say let the data speak.

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:30 PM   #172
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#151 Nice post.

I slept on what I wrote last nite and this morning sort of came up with the following: Again, things can't be too complicated nor too worthless simple either.

. . .I suspect that if we had a basic three or four category grading system that could easily be identified while wandering the food marts most folks would start to use it.

My hope is that over time such a system while costing folks more money up front would after some time lead to lower health care costs. On a simple, nonscientific level, if folks saw and used such a system and started paying more attention to their food and eating habits and if some health care provider noticed that these particular folks actually used less health care, then there might be a possibility of reducing insurance premiums for these folks. And this might encourage others to participate too. Enlarging a virtuous circle.
greg,
So, as I understand your new system, it grades food by it's purity and "naturalness."
- Conceptually, I'd have no problem with this (or any other labeling thang) if it is voluntary. The government should not be involved in rating foods as to their "naturalness" until this criteria is demonstrated to have something to do with actual health impacts. As you have previously hinted, you can't cite evidence of this, it is based on anecdotal stories, etc. I think is likely also based on a world view and general philosophy of yours. Until there's science behind this idea that the presently allowed amount of additives (or GM, etc) actually has some untoward health impact, then the whole thing is based on gut feelings, intuition, and faith. Any government involvement not based on science would be like the government grading various religions.
- Regarding studying the people who eat "highly rated" foods as to the health impact of such foods. This might be possibe, but I doubt much would be accomplished due to the confounding variables. People who take the time to look at these labels and choose organic foods are probably a lot less likely to go home and eat three 1/2 pound burgers while smoking a pack of cigarettes. It would be difficult to tease apart these other eating/lifestyle issues, and these other things are almost certainly going to have a lot more impact than whether the wax paper in the packaging contains BHT.
- As a basis for insurance ratings: Unlikely for two reasons: As mentioned above, I don't think there will be a health impact found, but even if there were, how would the insurance company check for people who claim to eat only level 3 foods, but actually don't. Blood tests for pesticides?

As a note, under your proposed system a basket of regular supermarket apples would receive a rock-bottom rating of "1", while white cotton candy made from organic sugar and distilled water would receive the much desired "3" rating. Of these foods, which is really likely to have the more positive impact on health?

"Nope, our kids are only allowed to snack on foods rated '3' " sniffed the lady in the hemp halter top and Birkenstocks, as Junior sat nearby eating his tenth sugar cube. "Sure, their teeth are falling out, but we're happy to have given up the unnatural floridated toothpaste. A study of all primitive cultures makes clear that nature intended our teeth to last 30 years and we're right on track!"
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:06 PM   #173
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So today, we have tools that allow us to selectively try to make changes to the DNA in a much more controlled, directed methodology. Why shouldn't we do that? It's just a tool.
I would say this is generally a positive view of the purpose of GM crops...but not reflected in the practice and marketing of them...

which is why i point back to this observation from fellow scholars/scientists

"While biotechnology could be used to produce large social and ecological benefits, most GM crops developed to date have been designed to benefit agrobusiness while exposing people and ecosystems to substantial risks. Due to this pattern, there is widespread suspicion of agricultural biotechnology and its advocates."

in my case - i studied this stuff in relation to developing countries and the use of Lobbying by mega corps to push small countries and entities like the world bank to require these types of farm practices as stipulations in their loans...so if you read the rest of that link i posted earlier, it will show how that can drastically, negatively affect small farmers in developing countries who are not the same as the farmers in CA's central valley.
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:37 PM   #174
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TA... YOU really have to stop posting such a controversial thread!
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:45 PM   #175
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So today, we have tools that allow us to selectively try to make changes to the DNA in a much more controlled, directed methodology. Why shouldn't we do that? It's just a tool.
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I would say this is generally a positive view of the purpose of GM crops...
Let me explain then. I mean what I say, that GM is a tool. A tool with potential. Whether that tool/potential plays out to be a good or bad thing, I do not intend to pre-judge. But I will not dismiss it w/o data, and I will challenge those that do. And conceptually, I still don't see the difference between GM and trad hybridization. Both of them are 'fooling Mother Nature'. Both of them are done by 'big business' with profit motives, likely short term rather than long term. Since no one asks for labeling of trad hybrids, I ask 'Why label GM?'.

Quote:
which is why i point back to this observation from fellow scholars/scientists

"While biotechnology could be used to produce large social and ecological benefits, most GM crops developed to date have been designed to benefit agrobusiness while exposing people and ecosystems to substantial risks. Due to this pattern, there is widespread suspicion of agricultural biotechnology and its advocates."
I will read your document in detail - thanks for providing it. At this quick skim though, I fail to see the difference between big business and trad hybrids and big business and GM.

If a tool is misused, we need to deal with the misuse, not necessarily deal with the tool (oh dear, I am dangerously close to another hot button for people - please, let's not go there!).

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:49 PM   #176
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interesting point...i don't know enough about what was used pre-GM in developed countries...i'm more comparing traditional small farming (sometimes indigenous) in developing countries w/ GM practices that require larger scale, more equipment, and chemicals that were not the norm.
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:03 PM   #177
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Amusing and tautological for me and my little world:

How is margarine made? If you know the full details, you cannot possibly think that it is healthy. Yet many health experts still do.

Who in their right mind would eat this stuff if they knew its dirty little secret? Again, thru the efforts of gov't and the regular food industry we end up with--at best--partial knowledge. I smell something rancid shenanigans
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:19 PM   #178
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Greg, if it's pesticides you're worried about, then don't worry about milk. It has one of the lowest toxic loads on any food. Worry much more about fresh peaches, grapes, spinach, and apples. You know, good wholesome food.
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:41 PM   #179
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Greg, if it's pesticides you're worried about, then don't worry about milk. It has one of the lowest toxic loads on any food. Worry much more about fresh peaches, grapes, spinach, and apples. You know, good wholesome food.
As I previously said, I'm mildly worried about it all. I truly think much of what is called modern food production, its parts and processes, are all suspect. I'm sure some will be found to be neutral or actually beneficial at some point. But every time I do even a small bit of investigation (such as above) I find some horrid little mess. The bad seems to outweigh any good, as I see things. I wash all my veggies and fruits carefully, although I've been avoiding detergent use as much as possible. This may be wrong on my part. I buy organic mostly, always when convenient. This is getting much easier as more stores now have organic sections thruout. About six months ago I rescued DW from margarine, long before I read the above article. Whew!
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:41 PM   #180
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It would appear the site you listed is a little biased.

Try
Margarine Manufacture Basic steps
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