[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[escepticos] Curiosidades de Canadá

Envio a la corrala una información que he recibido sobre
alimentos transgénicos y que me parece significativa.


Josep Català
_______________Información que se cita__________

> Subject: Canadian Shoppers select genetically modified food when given a
> choice
> Following is a story (from IFIC on Sept. 29, 2000) regarding an
> experiment performed by Doug Powell, University of Guelph (Canada),
> and Jeff Wilson, owner of Birkbank Farms, to see if shoppers would
> choose to buy biotech produce over conventional produce when
> given the choice.
> Regards,  Gary Barton
> ***********************************************************
> Shoppers select genetically modified food
> A few miles south of the Ontario town of Orangeville, Birkbank Farms
> offers a selection of freshly grown produce to passing motorists. This is,
> of course, nothing unusual; many farms have small markets, selling corn,
> potatoes, tomatoes and the like. What makes Birkbank Farms unusual is that
> the market is selling genetically modified corn and potatoes.
> What's more -- and here's the kicker -- they're outselling conventional
> varieties by a two-to-one margin.
> This story starts with Doug Powell, a professor of food science at the
> University of Guelph, and Jeff Wilson, owner of Birkbank Farms.
> Powell and Wilson wanted to know if people -- ordinary people, just
> passing by in their cars -- would buy genetically altered products if they
> were given a choice.
> Much of the alleged debate so far has been fuelled by surveys, Powell
> says -- surveys that seem to show consumers are worried about the
> unquantified dangers involved in eating foods with altered DNA.
> But surveys don't reflect actual behaviour. "People vote in the grocery
> store," Powell says. "They say one thing on surveys, but do a completely
> different thing in the store." And the surveys are usually taken by people
> with an axe to grind, which means their results have to be taken with more
> than a grain of salt.
> Time for an experiment, Powell and Wilson decided.
> So Wilson planted conventional corn and potatoes, as well as corn and
> potatoes altered to express a gene called BT.
> BT comes from a bacterium called bacillus thuriengis and the protein it
> produces -- confusingly, also called BT -- has the interesting property
> that it kills such pests as the European corn borer, while remaining
> completely inert in the human digestive tract.
> Organic farmers like BT, because it's harmless to humans.
> The problem with corn and BT is that spraying the pesticide only hits the
> outside of the corn. The corn borer -- as its name implies -- bores from
> within, so it's not much affected. That means farmers must use other, more
> toxic pesticides if they want a crop.
> But, eureka! What if we use genetic modification so that every cell in the
> corn plant produces BT? Then the corn borer is stopped in its tracks,
> farmers can avoid using other pesticides and --since we don't digest BT --
> the corn is safe to eat.
> The argument is much the same for potatoes, although the pest is different.
> Now, BT corn and potatoes have been on the market for a while, but
> consumers rarely see them. They wind up in things like potato chips and
> corn syrup, mixed together with their conventionally grown cousins.
> That has left the field open to opponents of the technology, who argue
> that consumers would reject such foods, if they knew about them and could
> keep them separate from "normal" crops. Unfortunately, it has been hard to
> test those assertions.
> Out at Birkbank Farms, the crops are pretty much grown now and the results
> are starting to come in.
> In the Birkbank Farms market, Wilson, Powell and research assistant Katija
> Blaine have set up displays of the varieties of corn and potatoes on
> offer. "We're not pushing one or the other," Powell says.
> But near the crops are signs explaining the differences -- this basket of
> corn is genetically modified, but had no pesticides used, this basket is
> "normal" but was sprayed three times with a chemical pesticide called
> carbofuran. And so on.
> Some customers, Powell says, shake their heads and go straight to the
> conventional baskets. Others read the material and opt for the GM crops --
> apparently because they'd like to avoid pesticides.
> "Folks that are buying the BT have read all the stuff," Powell says.
> Indeed, interest in the whole process was so high that early in the
> summer, the trio had to set up a walking tour through the farm so that
> customers could see for themselves what the various crops looked like in
> the fields.
> The result is not exactly science, mainly because it's hard to know how
> you'd replicate the experiment. On this farm, with these crops, in this
> rainy, cool summer, two people out of three opted for GM corn and potatoes.
> What would happen 50 kilometres away with other crops and a different
> farmer is another question.
> But the experiment does provide -- refreshingly -- a data point amid the
> sound and fury.