Cheap food at all costs?

Hi everyone. Welcome Mark and Laurentiu in the Netherlands, Idris and Buchi in Nigeria, Addy in Liberia, John and Ratten’g in Kenya, David in Portland and Gary in Cyprus – thanks for signing up to the Daily Email.

We’ve been watching this debate grow online for over a week and its been fuelled in the past two days by the US Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow the production and marketing of foods derived from cloned animals. There are many facets to the discussions we’ve been reading and hearing but they boil down to this.

With hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, should cost be placed above all other considerations in the production of food? Should we embrace any means of production that allow more people to eat? Or do the ethics of cloning, or of keeping animals in certain conditions, or of damaging the environment, deserve consideration?

Do you care where you food comes from, as long as you have food on your plate? And if you do, is that a luxury only the rich can afford?

You may remember this story last week: Britain bans battery hens.

179 Responses to “Cheap food at all costs?”

  1. 1 Marsha Adams
    January 18, 2008 at 14:34

    Informed consent comes first. I want to know what I am eating. Just because I am hungry doesn’t mean I am willing to eat (for feed my children) poison. America has dumped enough of it’s experimental products intot he 3rd world markets. This is no different.We do not yet know what the long term effects are on the cloned animal so who can say that it is safe. Approval of the FDA is more of a condemnation that a mark of approval. They are only into protecting the corporate profit not securing safety of the people. I think the world law should be make it if you want but mark it clearly so I have a choice as to whether I select it or not. Let the market determine the acceptance.

  2. January 18, 2008 at 15:17

    I once read that The world has plenty of food or certainly excess production capacity. Shouldn’t the emphasis be on utilizing existing resources. Sustainable production and all that? The story behind the famine in Ethiopia being created by political issues is a fair illustration our food problems are not one of production.
    It seems like in the last 20ish or so years, cost has been the prevailing emphasis for many facets of our lives and i dont really think the masses have benefited from this approach.

  3. 3 safia
    January 18, 2008 at 15:19

    Cheap Food At All Costs?


    This world has the ability to produce NATURALLY far more food than is needed to feed the entire global population. The reasons it doesn’t happen are many and diverse.

    Huge quantities of fresh, perfectly good food is dug into landfill sites every year – just to keep supermarket prices “UP”.

    Childhood and adult obesity are directly attributable to the huge quantities of processed and unhealthy foods that are consumed daily.

    We are repeatedly told that fresh fruit, vegetables and grain – together with some level of exercise – will reduce weight and even turn diabetes around. A diet without all the saturated fats, sugars and salts will also contribute to good sustainable health.

    So what do our multi-national billionaire companies do?
    They resort to lies on their product labels – to entice us back into our own particular, lethal “comfort zones”.

    Unnatural foods have little substance – so snacking and repeat meals become a habit and way of life – increasing body weight / mass and all the inherent dangers that accompany the system.

    Awareness campaigns regarding “intensely farmed” (read tortured) chickens – run by Hugh and Jamie OUGHT to horrify us all – but I suspect they won’t.

    Now we are faced with issues of genetically modified animals (for the human food chain). WHERE WILL IT ALL END?

    Current “globalizing” policies keep the few muti-nationals obscenely wealthy – while their goods are only within the reach of those who largely inhabit the global north. The rest of the (developing) world starves and dies of thirst before our very eyes on TV screens, almost daily. Many are purposely kept hungry and thirsty – because it is by far the best way of controlling people.

    But at the end of each day – the real reasoning behind the introduction of all foods “unnatural” – are the FINANCIAL EQUATIONS that are most pleasing to governments and multi-nationals.

    Look at the eyes, skin, general health and alertness of people who eat naturally grown foods – then compare with the eyes, skin, general health and alertness of those who consume anything BUT natural foods.

    Health Centres & Hospitals groan under the weight of those presenting with preventable ailments – causing a tremendous burden upon what are already very meagre health resources. Perhaps the NHS (if it survives) ought to prescribe healthy NATURAL diets – not (expensive) pharmaceutical products – transferring the onus of improved health back to the individual who contributed to their own ill health in the first place. By so doing – many people would hopefully desist from patronising the unhealthy options. Once sales plummet – companies would have re-think their policies and product lines.

    Cheap food at any cost does not need to be an option – but will remain so as long as the world’s societies are driven by avaricious greed and selfishness.

  4. 4 Brett
    January 18, 2008 at 15:23

    I care very much about where my food comes from and the methods with which it is processed and brought to the table. This is yet another reason why I am a vegetarian, trying my best to eat whole and unprocessed foods, and no dairy products. And why during the spring and summer I grow as much of my own food as I can.
    The meat/dairy industry in the US is shady at best.
    I am completely against cloned animals, especially for use in food production. But then again it is everyones choice, if they want cheaper cloned products, let them have it, its their body, their life. I for one will not be taking any of that garbage in.
    The cost factor at least in the US is a joke. Healthy food is not more expensive. The US lifestyle of fast food, sweets and junk food leads people to substitute these for healthier foods, or renders them unable to afford healthier foods because they unwilling to put back that gallon of ice cream, or that candy bar, that 2-liter bottle of coca-cola or the like.

    I can go to the grocery store and for $6 buy enough fresh vegetables and fruits to last me for every meal for 2 days straight. Or with that $6 I could buy one or perhaps 2 (if they are on sale) TV / microwaveable dinners which are substantially less healthy for me.

    We do not need cloned animals to make food more affordable, we need westerners to change their horrible dietary habbits.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  5. 5 John D. Anthony
    January 18, 2008 at 15:45

    We already have the technology to feed everyone ~ the more important question is, “Is an ample food supply the best immediate solution to overpopulation?”.

    John in Salem

  6. 6 Joost de Goeij
    January 18, 2008 at 16:41

    The problem is slightly more complex than just a choice between higher production at all cost and hunger. A lot of food is wasted because; a) the infrastructure in some countries is bad: b) We weaterners throw away a lot: c) A lot of staple food (cereals) is used for the production of meat. I think that with the techical knowhow of today (without “frankenstein technics”, we can produce enough for the whole world. It is just a question of better organising. Sustainable production all over the world. Production with local resources (varieties, seeds, fertilisers, manure, biological control) under local conditions (dry, wet, cold, warm) by local farmers.
    There is a huge imbalance in foodproduction in the world. The western countries import huge amounts of cereals from poorer countries to produce meat from wich their own people eat too much and die of all kinds of food related problems. At the same time the soils in africa and S. America are depleted of their nutrients so local production decreases. In order to overcome this either rainforests have to be destroyed or fertilisers have to be used. And where do these come from, from industrialised countries. The same goes for pestcontrol. Monoculture (cerealproduction for the western world, attracts pests. These are controlled by pesticides. And again these come from us. A very good example of how this system (does not) works is the green revolution in the seventies. New varieties (made by us) new pesticides (made by us) and new fertilisers (made by us) would feed the world, the poor. But they forgot the local circumstances. The whole thing was a disaster. The only ones that profiteg where the big multinationals. The same thing will happen with GM-crops and -animals, or socalled clones. Who controle these technics? multinationals.

    I’m no expert on foodquality or even ethics. I do not like these modern technics because I think they are not necessary, they are counterproductive (they avert the attention from the real problem), the only benefit the multinationals and I am not convinced they are 100% safe (think about cross-pollination).

    So lets aim our attention to sustainable agriculture, more healthy diets in the western world and less meatproduction.

    Joost in the Netherlands

  7. 7 viola anderson
    January 18, 2008 at 16:47

    Cheapness of food is the sole criteria only for for those who must because of lack of money buy the cheapest food available. Those without much money must weigh the true value of the cheap food they buy. Does the cheap food they buy ultimately cost more in terms of lack of nutritional value than more expensive food? Consumers practically have to take college courses on how to read labels and ferret out their meanings and significance. I actually watched a televised college classroom instruction on the subject and was totally amazed at the level of knowledge it takes just to decide what is in a food, what its nutritional value is, where it fits in to an individual’s caloric and nutritional needs, and how it compares to other similar but not identical products in both nutritional values and cost. It isn’t as simple as just putting the biggest, cheapest, most filling item in the grocery cart. So I would say whether or not I or anyone else should worry about the ethical production of food is just one more of many things to consider–after we all go to college to learn how. Anyway, you can bet your bottom dollar that at least some of this “ethical” stuff is just someone’s way of getting you to pay higher prices for the food you eat.

  8. 8 rosatkins
    January 18, 2008 at 16:51

    dear ros. in my position I support the motion since the problem of food shortage is greater esppecially in third world countries.Because the food production under capacity of maintnaining the rapid growing population in developing countries .I suggest that the developed countries which produce more food should continue to produce surplus food at a very minimal cost and help other countries that are facing adversily climatic conditions.

  9. 9 Kent in Iowa
    January 18, 2008 at 17:03

    I am not against food that is processed from created livestock however I really believe that there should be truth in labeling so that we all know what we’re buying. Personally, I don’t think I would ever buy cloned beef or pork, it is still just a little too weird for me.

    Happy Friday!

  10. 10 Joost de Goeij
    January 18, 2008 at 17:10

    If the production of food in the developed world is done without all kind of environmental damage, like pollution, CO2, pesticides, but also without genetical contamination of our flora and fauna, and without import of cereals from developping countries, etc. etc. etc. I don’t mind so much. But, it is a bit ridiculous too import cereals to produce meat, milk, butter, etc. to export those back to the countries where the cereals came from. Lets export knowledge, (micro-)credits, to help those people produce their own food.

    We do not need a surplus production. If we, in the developed world, switch over to sustainable agriculture, there will be no more “surplus”production, or not so much.

  11. January 18, 2008 at 17:20

    It comes as no surprise that the FDA has approved “cloned animal products”. Of course, the question is “Do THEY intend to eat these same products they are preparing for our table”? I’d love to see what the FDA people buy for their families.

    These are the same folks who look the other way when food manufacturers continue to put chemical additives in our foods, which are KNOWN carcinogens — saccharine, sodium nitrite, etc., or add excessive amount of soy, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, and other fillers which are linked to obesity! They also “approved” Thalidomide as “safe” for pregnant women, with dreadful consequences for countless families; they continue to side with Corporations and their interests over the people they are obliged to protect. I do not trust them, or their impaired judgment.

    The “bottom line” is their ONLY concern. Well, NO THANK YOU! Cheap food has extremely high HIDDEN COSTS. At a time when many diseases have been “conquered” we have a high death rates from causes linked to the foods we eat! This would be adding just one more cause for concern. If they pursue this mad idea, the foods should be cleary labeled, so I can avoid it!

    Animals have no choice in their treatment. Intensive Factory Farming is already an unhealthy form of production which results in terrible suffering for our animal friends. They too, are suffering from MAN MADE diseases, brought on by unhygienic, unsafe, stressful conditions imposed on them for the sake of profit. There is also the cost to the environment — again the suffering it causes affects those most, who profit least from the abuses inherent in such “production”.

    The earth is capable of sustaining us, if we use some common sense; limit population growth through BIRTH CONTROL, and use our knowledge and technology to pursue viable, healthy, sound policy for food production. IF we put as much thought and effort into food production as we do into DEFENSE and products designed to kill our own species “quickly and efficiently”, we could find ways to feed the whole world’s population.

    Corporate GREED should be outlawed — and laws should be set in place, and ENFORCED to bring about much needed change.

  12. 12 rosatkins
    January 18, 2008 at 17:22

    Hi Ros,

    Most people in the world would not even give a second thought to what is before them to eat so long as it is something that will stop their hunger and make them live another day. Most people in Europe and the United States have hardly ever known or experienced what real hunger is. So it is understandable when you guys concern yourselves with this issue, which is not a talking point of significance of most people on this earth.

    I recall the early days of the civil war here in Liberia. We went for days without eating anything of significance. The next meal, regardless of whether it was palm nuts, palm kernels or just some tubers from the forest, was always a welcome experience. So you can tell that most people in this part of the world would never mind eating cloned meat or genetically modified food. Survival is the number one goal.

    Though things are a lot better in Liberia now, there are still thousands of people here who don’t get a square meal a day. More food regardless of the methods of producing it is what is needed.

    Lamii Kpargoi, Liberia

  13. 13 Matthew MacClary
    January 18, 2008 at 17:41

    A recent issue of the Economist pointed out that meat is a very inefficient food source. This is true because people could live much longer on the grains fed to the animals, compared to eating the animals’ bodies. Cloned or genetically modified animals do not get around this fundamental problem!

    Adam Smith and others have proposed economies based around mainly plant food sources. Here are some likely benefits that come to mind:

    1) Help relieve the world wide food shortage.

    2) Reduce green house gas emissions by 4 times the Kyoto goal.
    (According to British physicist Alan Calvert)

    3) Alleviate the chronic disease health crisis. (According to research
    on disease of the heart, cancer, diabetes, etc.)

    4) Grow the world economy by using agricultural products more efficiently
    than in producing meat.

    5) Free up crops for bio-fuel projects which are touted as a means to
    reduce use of fossil fuels which support repressive and unstable regimes.

    It is certainly an engaging idea to consider!

    Matthew MacClary
    Oregon, USA

  14. 14 gary
    January 18, 2008 at 17:45

    Hello All,
    People who are alive need to eat. “Free lunches” do not exist. The costs must be borne by someone.

    These are points I perceive as likely to be factual:
    1) The world’s population is growing, thus more food will be required tomorrow than was today.
    2) Humans are opportunistic omnivores.
    3) Human nutritional requirements are simple to measure and understand. The requirements of vegetarians and red-meat eaters are identical. Food molecules have sets of intrinsic properties independent of their sources. Sorry folks; but “natural” is about as necessary as having politicians say more words.
    4) Much, maybe even enough, food can be produced naturally. The difficulty is that the natural production resources and the food needs are often separated by geographic and political boundaries. In addition, of course, the producers want to be paid for their product and the needy usually are poor.
    5) Yes, rich people are fat and wasteful of everything, including food. They desire to remain that way. If money and power continue to work the way they have done in past, the rich will get their wish.
    6) The poor need fed. The RICH NEED the poor to be fed because the poor and hungry are fodder for the messianic opportunist. The environment needs saved. We need energy. We are running out of oil. Problems, problems!

    Realistically, the folks who got us into this mess are ourselves. And, we will have a very difficult time getting out of it, even if we start NOW and are very lucky. The resources that MUST be harnessed to provide a living environment for the world’s peoples are in the hands of the FAT and RICH, the Multi-nationals if you will. These resources are only useful within the a stable social and political reality. If these words upset you, if you fancy yourself a liberal, progressive, “natural” blogger tapping away at your keyboard advising the world what it ought do to get better, think back to last time you were starving to death.

  15. 15 John D. Anthony
    January 18, 2008 at 17:52

    Ros! We need some clarification here…

    Are we talking about how to ethically feed starving people or how we feel about our chicken McNuggets?
    I think the short answer to your question is yes ~ caring about where the food on our plate comes from is a luxury. Quadrupling the yield with engineered rice is obviously more important than engineering a better tasting carrot, but all of this simply begs the larger question~ Is it more appropriate to be discussing the seating arrangement in this lifeboat or should we be talking about throwing out more lifevests to the people around us and figuring out how many we can fit in before it sinks?

  16. January 18, 2008 at 18:04

    Lamii in Liberia:

    Most people in the world would not even give a second thought to what is before them to eat so long as it is something that will stop their hunger and make them live another day. Most people in Europe and the United States have hardly ever known or experienced what real hunger is. So it is understandable when you guys concern yourselves with this issue, which is not a talking point of significance of most people on this earth.

    I recall the early days of the civil war here in Liberia. We went for days without eating anything of significance. The next meal, regardless of whether it was palm nuts, palm kernels or just some tubers from the forest, was always a welcome experience. So you can tell that most people in this part of the world would never mind eating cloned meat or genetically modified food. Survival is the number one goal.

    Though things are a lot better in Liberia now, there are still thousands of people here who don’t get a square meal a day. More food regardless of the methods of producing it is what is needed.

  17. January 18, 2008 at 18:09

    Adam in portland

    I suggest you define “cheap food”; becuase if something is inexpensive up front it may cost far more in the end if it causes cancer, genetic mutation, sterility, genetic drift, etc. This is a complicated issue please ensure we are not discussing apples and oranges.

  18. January 18, 2008 at 18:13

    All the more reason not to eat meat. Combine the factor that for limited meat diets such as fish the market has gotten worse based on the kinds of pollution added by human engineering. Farmed fish is so bacteria laden that much of it isn’t even edible. So when Humans start genetically engineering more meat the same rise in bacteria will take place.

  19. 19 Tommy C.
    January 18, 2008 at 18:13

    Plainly, there are too many people on this earth and unfortunately there will always be people starving just like there will always be war. There should again unfortunately be more focus on birth control.

  20. January 18, 2008 at 18:14

    Producing cloned food at whatver cost is repulsive to say the least. Am from uganda and the idea of replacing my naturl mangoes with god knows what is terrible.

  21. January 18, 2008 at 18:14

    Che in Seattle

    It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that reducing our dietary dependence on animal products can lead to world hunger. It’s quite the opposite… eating vegetables directly is much more efficient than eating animals. If we stop eating meat and dairy products, we could feed the world’s hungry tomorrow.

  22. 22 Nigel in Manhattan
    January 18, 2008 at 18:15

    You pose the question in a way (“at all costs”) suggesting that oversight regulation might be got rid of. That’s unreasonable.
    But, it is also foolish to have umpteen nations investigating and setting various standards. If something wrongly gets in the food chain in one country, all the world can be affected!
    Investigation and approvals/rejections should be conducted by an international group.

  23. January 18, 2008 at 18:16

    Sabir from Pakistan texted:

    Food is the basic need of the people it must be produced at any cost.

  24. 24 Rory in Wales
    January 18, 2008 at 18:16

    As it stands, current global food production generates more than enough food – much of which is stockpiled in rich countries’ warehouses, and never used. Surely the best option is to put International charity ahead of greed and degradations to animal welfare and the environment. Technology may surely play an important role, but it is not necessary to further intensively farm the planet to supply ourselves…

  25. January 18, 2008 at 18:17

    Juliet texted from Kenya:

    Yes, As long as its food that is safe for consumption, it should be produced. Many 3rd world countries have people dying of hunger.

  26. 26 Wendi in Portland, OR
    January 18, 2008 at 18:18

    How do we know the long term affects of this sort of food production? Aside from the environmental or ethical issues associtated with food from cloned animals, the issue of hunger around the world goes even deeper. This seems to be more about money for the food production companies rather then the need to feed those who are hungry.

  27. January 18, 2008 at 18:18

    Kate in Huddersfield (text):

    We have plenty of food we have enough for everyones need in the third world but not enough for the greed of the rich countries

  28. January 18, 2008 at 18:21

    Jvd, Kashmir, India (text:

    Balance between consumption of natural resourcs and their conservation is more important than to deny the hungry ones consume them. Let the rich ones save them and poor ones use them.

  29. January 18, 2008 at 18:23

    Dolapo Aina in Lagos(text):

    Why water-down glaring truth? We can’t outsmart nature’s normal processes. Alteration of genes would boomerang in future. DEFINITELY.

  30. 30 Kelly
    January 18, 2008 at 18:23

    Those with the means should be able to choose whatever those means allow, but this should not preclude our ability to produce food by other means for the needy. Certainly nothing in the food cycle will be as harmful to a human as starving from total lack of it.

    Lebanon, Oregon

  31. 31 David in Portland Oregon, USA
    January 18, 2008 at 18:23

    Any food source? Sure, how about Soylent Green?

    You can’t say “any” it’s just too broad.


  32. January 18, 2008 at 18:23

    kalypso – Vienna, Austria (email)

    of course, it is important where the food we eat comes from. if we allow food to be produced in any way (such as GM crops or cloned meat) it will certainly backfire at some point.
    there is already enough food in the world, the problem is that it is NOT distributed equally. in the wesst we have too much and throw away a lot of food, while others are dying of hunger.
    lets distribute our resources equally. they blong to ask ALL. there is ALREADY enough for everyone. we dont need gm or cloning.
    May God help us.

  33. 33 Rory in Wales
    January 18, 2008 at 18:24

    To further my arguement, the amount of money that is spent funding unnecessary wars vastly outnumbers the amount invested in feeding the worlds poor. Lets get our priorities straight (not that the world needs any more people)…

  34. January 18, 2008 at 18:24

    Lubna in Iraq (text):

    Any breeding pattern which is deviated from normal will yield abnormal offspring, in the end nature wins over artificial growth methods.

  35. 35 Michiel Kemeling
    January 18, 2008 at 18:24

    Michiel in the Netherlands:

    How about we first actually solve hunger in any way possible (instead of talking about it), and then decide how we can improve the food production process?

  36. January 18, 2008 at 18:24

    Rik, Oregon (email)

    We must address sustainable POPULATION.
    Humans cannot increase indefinitely on a finite planet.
    High school math suffices to prove that.

    Since we are already worried about how or whether we can feed existing people, and considering “at all costs”, it is certainly time to do some easy and very humane steps towards population limitation.

    We should start with family planning services being available to anyone in the world.
    If people don’t WANT to have children, let’s help them not have them.

  37. January 18, 2008 at 18:27

    Kelly in British Columbia via KALW

    Livestock industries contribute to global warming, deforestation, fresh water shortages, wildlife extinction as well as health problems(including the outbreak of diseases from influenza to bird flu to sars and mad cow disease). Genetic engineering will do nothing to stop this except increase the amount of suffering inflicted upon members of other species, who already endure untold misery to support an unnecessary meat based diet.

    Scientists always propose to solve a problem by creating new ones.

    It is wrong for North America and Europe to have a meat based diet and it is just as wrong for other countries with ten times the population to follow a bad example. Humans who say that they have a right to do anything they want to the rest of Nature are the same people who say we should be able to pollute and poison the planet.

    As Leo Tolstoy said “we will always have war as long as we have slaughterhouses.”

  38. 38 Amber
    January 18, 2008 at 18:28

    Just because our world is becoming overpopulated by humans does not grant us the right to mistreat animals or create means of food production that may cause irreversible harm to the earth to feed our ever increasing hungry mouths. I know it sounds harsh, but I believe as humans, we do not possess the right to put ourselves before all other life.

  39. January 18, 2008 at 18:28

    Francy Bozarth
    Wilsonville, OR (Oregon Public Broadcasting) (email)

    I am listening to this conversation regarding feeding the increasing population of the world as we begin to have a lower land per person ratio.

    Why are we not addressing population growth in this conversation? It would seem that this problem could be solved by limiting the human population as a first step.

  40. January 18, 2008 at 18:28

    Kieran in Ireland

    We should not embrace ANY means to produce food to feed the hungry. The environment must be protected and animals should not be made to suffer unnecessarily.

  41. 41 Leif in Portland, or
    January 18, 2008 at 18:28

    Leif in Oregon,

    I just want to know what I’m eating and if they’re going to start cloning foods and putting them in the market then they must mandate labeling of that product so that we have a choice. It’s already a problem here in the U.S. with the non labeling of GMO foods..

  42. January 18, 2008 at 18:29

    Job Ilani from Kenya:

    Regardless of the method of production so long as food is safe for consumption, any method should be suported.

  43. January 18, 2008 at 18:30

    Bett in Kenya (text):

    As long as we (africans) are not used as a test tube to prove some scientific intentions right or wrong, think of mutation & other complications.

  44. 44 Shane Prychun
    January 18, 2008 at 18:30

    I do not have allot of money. I pay for local, farm raised, natural, and much more expensive meats. I cannot sacrifice quality for price. If we are going to eat meat, we are going to eat it right. If there were more local ranches and less factory farming these good meats would be less expensive.

  45. January 18, 2008 at 18:31

    Sabir Kaka from Pakistan (text)

    Govt in developing countries don’t pay attention to agriculture, so there is shortage of food in world and farmers also not encouraged.

  46. 46 Emily in Portland
    January 18, 2008 at 18:31

    Thanks to all those out there who are speaking to this issue on both sides. Fundamentally I agree that we need to change what we are doing to improve quality of life for EVERYONE in the world. But we need to do it with health and not money as the priority.

  47. 47 maeve o'donnell
    January 18, 2008 at 18:31

    The greater problem is not general world hunger but the individual’s control of his or her own livihood. Who would be the distributors of these cheaper foods? Who would own the new food technologies? Should large corporations take over the responsibilities of these governments? What about the long-term sustainability of the agricultural economy of their own countries?

  48. January 18, 2008 at 18:32

    Abu Ngileruma in Maiduguri, Nigeria (text):

    In Africa hunger is rife not because of lack of technology, land, cost or resources, but bad leaders, greed & coruption.

  49. 49 Don
    January 18, 2008 at 18:32

    Factory farms are not used to make food cheaper for the consumer. They are used to make food cheaper for the factory owner. The cost to the consumer is the same or more for the product.

  50. January 18, 2008 at 18:32

    Banks in Amsterdam (text):

    There’s no lack of food. Ask any obese person.

  51. 51 Elizabeth
    January 18, 2008 at 18:33

    While we should improve food production to combat hunger, we should consider several limits to the methods used.

    1. We don’t have the right to increase food production in any way that decreases future generations’ ability to maintain or further increase food production. We cannot suck dry the earth’s ability to produce food simply to feed people today; we need a much longer tern approach.

    2. We should consider the relationship between increased food availability with increases in population. While a certain amount of population growth is already forecast, a boom in food availability would send population growth even higher, which would then spread food resources even further, and trapping us in an ever repeating cycle.

    3. Without sounding paternalistic, it is precisely because hunger drives people to desperation that we must control the means of production. It is not ethical to put cheap food on the shelf that may have harmful effects on people’s health or the health of the environment. People should not be forced to eat food of dubious quality out of economic necessity; there must be a standard to protect consumers.

    Elizabeth, Portland, USA

  52. January 18, 2008 at 18:34

    Rodger, Huissen, Netherlands (text):

    Worries about the dangers of consuming genetically modified food are all speculations. In the interest of the starving millions in the world, we must take the food in faith until science proves conclusively that there is a specific danger involved in a specific case.

  53. 53 Jake
    January 18, 2008 at 18:34

    Why is it that some of us oppose genetically altered foods and why is it that some don’t? I know oppose it, but am not sure why. I know with great confidence it has absolutely nothing to do with any evidence that somehow genetically altered food sources are somehow harmful to human beings or other beings. In fact, it would be hypocritical of me to argue against something simply because it could harm to others, especially when I drive fast on the highways (sometimes when very tired), have occasionally jumped off planes and heck, even sitting around a cubicle for 9 hours a day-are all “harmful” things to some extent. I think it comes from a prehistoric and even perhaps an evolutionary source, that is, I simply distrust certain “new” things, be it technology or thought, that I simply do not understand. Sure, I may appear to be “open-minded”, but the truth is I automatically have reservations with regards to the introduction of certain “new” things. I have things that I have decided that I want to trust and there are other subjects like genetics that I am so ignorant about, that I naturally distrust it. After all, our ancestors needed to distrust everything fist before trusting it; that’s how we’ve survived for so long and it is how we have developed philosophies, i.e. by questioning even those things that we think we already know. But why is it that some promote genetically altered foods? Well, I think there are several “reasons” that are just as rational as those that oppose it, although we may sometimes think it be beneath us, like greed, for example; then again, there are others that believe in the science and focus more on its benefits.

    Unfortunately for those that oppose it, the cat has already been let out of the bag, as-it-were, and you cannot put it back. This technology will proceed. The real question is not whether or not you are right or wrong in your positions regarding the technology, but really how to manage it. I am glad there are those who promote it and those that oppose it. It only allows us to see it from different perspectives as this technology evolves. In order to get anywhere you need resistance, otherwise it’s just motion.

  54. January 18, 2008 at 18:35

    Partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup was deemed safe. Today we have obesity because of it and the corporations are racing to produce food without it. GMO food and cloned meat need to be tested for a minimum of 20 years at least to be deemed safe for consumption. I do not accept something that has been labeled virtually identical to real meat.

  55. January 18, 2008 at 18:35

    Adeolu (text):

    I am in suport of technology that makes more food available. I am a student at Unilorin I have not eaten all day. Give GM food and I will jump wit joy.

  56. 56 Daria
    January 18, 2008 at 18:36

    Cloned food has less to do with humanitarian motives and more to do with corporate profits. I wouldn’t trust the FDA at all. Yesterday I heard they based their findings on pigs on the tests of four individuals.

    Another thing: if the products are the same, why the resistance to labelling? There is clearly a decision to give consumer less choice-if the market forces were allowed to work, these products would flop badly-again this is protecting corporate bottom lines, not hungry people in any part of the world.

  57. January 18, 2008 at 18:37

    Stuart, USA (email)

    find it disingenuous for scholars and pundits to attempt to find solutions to the problem of hunger without addressing the fundamental problem of local populations exceeding the carrying capacity of the local land. Those who say that there is enough aerable land available to feed the world’s population are either purposefully ignorant or pursuing some sort of political or ethical agenda, to say nothing of climate change and the economic imperialism sure to follow genetically modified crops and cloned animals. Technology will not pull our fat out of the fire, so why not have a real conversation about these subjects?

  58. January 18, 2008 at 18:37

    Karo Umukoro in Nigeria (text):

    No hungry man would see a good meal and ask if it was genetic modified or not. He might ask only after quenching his hunger.

  59. January 18, 2008 at 18:37

    Stephen (email)

    I find it interesting that no one has chosen to address the issue of population growth. Of course, I recognize the need to feed people now, but how about the idea of reducing population growth?

  60. 60 otama
    January 18, 2008 at 18:37

    Nothing a government does should be Carte Blanche.

  61. 61 Andy in Oregon USA
    January 18, 2008 at 18:38

    Yes, we can come up with a way to feed the hungry, but the solution will be outpaced by the problem, over population. If we keep growing, logic leads to the conclusion that the world can not support an infinite population. We need to recognize the resources of the world are finite. Population control is essential for the human race to survive.

  62. January 18, 2008 at 18:38

    EMMANUEL in NIGERIA (text):

    We Africans especially need. The means through which it is produced does not really matter, what matters is food to feed the starving.

  63. 63 Patricia Howard
    January 18, 2008 at 18:38

    World food problems are still largely a result of unequal distribution of wealth and resources; and most food production problems are concentrated in ecologically marginal areas for which GM crops are not likely to be developed or commercially profitable. Reducing global meat consumption, particularly from cattle, would free enormous land areas currently producing grain for livestock feed, to produce food for humans. Changing Western consumption patterns will go much farther than new technologies to solve world food problems. Conventional chemically-dependent agriculture is also destroying soils – this will ultimately threaten agricultural production worldwide.

  64. January 18, 2008 at 18:39

    How can one argue that there are no side effects to genetically modified food? Obesity at a rise, complex health issues including rise in cancers the world over, female reproduction compromised … effectively the public not able to purchase organic foods are being used the to test out the implications of consumption of genetically modified food.

  65. January 18, 2008 at 18:40

    Sokol in Tirana, Albania (text):

    I am against cloning, because there are other ways to address hunger. Respect for animals, however, should not lead to disregard for human life. People are paramount. Waste must also be minimized. 27% of food in western countries goes to waste. Condone Africa’s debt.

  66. 66 Eric, Halfway, Oregon
    January 18, 2008 at 18:40

    It is interesting there is an ancient solution to the food problem that is being worked on. It has to do with putting charcoal in the soil.

    It is fully organic if you want or it can be integrated with non-organic methods and in the amazon it has proven to increase the food production the same piece of land about 9 times.

    Much marginal land could be brought into production with this method as well.

    I can share more information on this if there is a desire.


  67. January 18, 2008 at 18:41

    This discussion is ridiculously antiquated. Are we still talking about going out and hunting to keep from starving if so then that meat is definitely not going to be cloned. Beyond that the fact is producing meat is many times more difficult than producing vegetables. You can bet that starving people are going to look for a basin of rice before steak.

  68. January 18, 2008 at 18:41

    Gyang Sam, from Jos, Nigeria (text):

    Hunger does not know ethics. If the food is good, whether cloned or genetically modified, I’ll eat…

  69. January 18, 2008 at 18:42

    Why no mention yet of hydroponics? NASA Research has shown that you can produce enough food in 125 sq. ft. of hydroponic grow space to sustain an adult human indefinitely. I doubt that even genetic engineering can match that.

    Hydroponics can be set up cheaply, requires no soil, can grow food organically, and recycles water so it uses much less water than traditional agriculture. We’ve been growing some of our own food hydroponically for over 10 years, and regularly end up with a surplus that we give to friends. If everyone did this, the problem would vanish.

    You can see some of our designs and results at http://sculptors.com/hydro/

    I think that we need to decentralize food production, and people should begin to grow some of their own food in local gardens or greenhouses. Stop relying on farmers and the food industry to provide ALL of your food, and grow some for yourself! It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s cheap.

    Patrick Salsbury
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA

  70. January 18, 2008 at 18:42

    P. CHINTHULI in MALAWI (text):

    Often times, it is the quantity of generally edible food which comes first with quality demand later by a stable not angry mind.

  71. January 18, 2008 at 18:43

    Rory (email)

    As it stands, current global food production generates more than enough food – much of which is stockpiled in rich countries’ warehouses, and never used. Surely the best option is to put International charity ahead of greed and degradations to animal welfare and the environment. Technology may surely play an important role, but it is not necessary to further intensively farm the planet to supply ourselves…

  72. January 18, 2008 at 18:43

    Annonymous text:

    Your programme “World, Have Your Say” makes me feel like I’ve been transported back to Junior School! The BBC World Service should drop this secod-rate b.

  73. 73 sy in palo alto, ca
    January 18, 2008 at 18:44

    The American Food & Drug Administration is packed with Bush administration
    cronies and former corporate executives. They care very little for science
    or truth. As we’ve found out with nuclear power that just because the gov’t
    SAYS it’s safe doesen’t mean it’s really safe. Bush and his FDA care only
    about money, money, money….

  74. 74 steve
    January 18, 2008 at 18:44

    Why are people who cannot even feed themselves, who need handouts, having not one, not two, but 10 kids? If you cannot support yourself, you shouldn’t be having kids. Is there so mass lack of intelligence going on? Lack of common sense? Why would you subject a child to starvation if you cannot even fet yourself, let alone your entire family of 12? Why would you subject anyone to that? Stop having kids! What is wrong with people? You’ll never get out of poverty if you have 10 kids!

    Thank God for the .01% of humans that are actually intelligent and invent things, the rest of us are just wastes of organs.

  75. January 18, 2008 at 18:44

    Tobias, Vet & Animal Breeder, Kenya (text):

    There is “no much difference” between artificial breeding such as GM & the natural.

  76. 76 Evans USA
    January 18, 2008 at 18:44

    My parants are going without food. Africa can feed itself except food is in the hands of the chosen few. When UN was feeding sudan, Maize came from Uganda. Lets test and use safe foods. Lets promote technology, my parents would appreciate GM foods in Kisumu kenya. I am very sad for them.

  77. January 18, 2008 at 18:44

    Teri Engelmann
    Cleveland Heights, OH
    Listening on WCPN

    This argument for some industrial and technological interventions assumes that the final product will be a larger volume of food.

    We need to address food shortages, when possible, from the ground up. This requires education for the hungry. They can learn what type of harvest they can produce on their land, and then grow it.

    I would like to hear from the gentleman in Kenya. Much of Kenya is arid and sparse, but will support such livestock. As the Masai are herders and semi-nomadic, it is yet another example of how “traditional diet” of the land benefits both humankind and the ecology.

    THE QUESTION BECOMES: Are we ABLE to produce food in a way while minimizing these negative consequences?

    Organic food production, when closely monitored, can retain much more of the biological material, through the use of composting and vermiculture (worm farming).
    There has been much public discussion of such works as Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and Jane Goodall’s Harvest for Hope .

    You want to discuss RISKS? How about the risk of putting all of our eggs in one basket? Our crops are a series of monocultures, vast swaths of GM corn, soybeans and leaving us vulnerale and exposed. What happens when beefy GM crops succumb to a disease?

    We look everywhere for a way to use less energy without reducing the amount we ultimately consume. Let us understand that the production from industrial-meat and dairy production wreaks havoc on the environment. If everyone decreased their meat consumption even slightly, we could produces large quantities of grains and legumes that, until now, are being fed to cattle, pigs and chickens.

    To the starving people in the world: You deserve a meal.

  78. January 18, 2008 at 18:46

    George from KIBERA SLUMS (text):

    Unfortunately most people are in bed with empy stomax & I belong 2 that class, it’s a human right. What we need is cheap food before we die.

  79. January 18, 2008 at 18:46

    The longer it takes people to realize the facts that are being laid out the more ignorant they become. Going on about meat production is only ever going to cost more and finally you will not be able to afford it.

  80. January 18, 2008 at 18:47

    From Babagan (text):

    Dear BBC, Food should be produced in abundance and make it affordable to all especially the have nots because our survival solely depends on it.

  81. 81 Becky
    January 18, 2008 at 18:47

    Of course anyone who is hungry will eat genetically modified food, but the reason they are hungry is a result of political, industrial, economic, and social forces that create such iniquities. For instance, US food aid to often arrives in the form of American subsidized grain shipped thousands of miles (sometimes months in transit) rather than US assistance developing sustainable agriculture in areas of food instability thus creating long-term self-sufficiency rather than continued reliance on foreign aid, genetically modified or not.

  82. January 18, 2008 at 18:48

    Ken in Cleveland

    Responsible cloning of animals for food is a good idea even if it is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard of.

  83. January 18, 2008 at 18:48

    Katy (email)

    the fact is that there is more than enough food in the world, all over the world. tons and tons of food are thrown away by farmers and manufacturers every day.
    the problem is, as ever, distribution. there is enough food right now.

  84. 84 Nicole
    January 18, 2008 at 18:48

    I’m with your last few callers. Feed the world, but there is no relationship between that notion and animal protein. Just do the simple math:

    How much precious grain is used to feed a cow?

    How many people could be fed on that grain versus how many people are fed from the same cow?

    If we quit raising so many animals for food, we would see a massive surplus in grain, corn, etc.

    The simple fact is that we do not need to eat this much (or any, for that matter) meat.

    Nicole in Texas

  85. January 18, 2008 at 18:49

    Maeve O’Donnell, New York (email)

    The greater problem is not general world hunger but the individual’s control of his or her own livihood. Who would be the distributors of these cheaper foods? Who would own the new food technologies? Should large corporations take over the responsibilities of these governments? What about the long-term sustainability of the agricultural economy of their own countries?

  86. January 18, 2008 at 18:49

    The assumption that genetic modication and cloning will bring cheaper food is false. Your entire presentation is bogus.

  87. January 18, 2008 at 18:49

    Ken in Cleveland (email)

    Okay, I just had another thought…

    I keep hearing people saying hunger has no ethical boundires and all stops need to be pulled to prevent starvation. Why then is nobody endorsing cannibalism? I know it’s a morbid thought, but using corpses of the recently deceased could potentially sustain many people.

  88. 88 Anne
    January 18, 2008 at 18:49

    One of the ways to combat hunger is to educate the governments of the countries whose peoples are hungry. 1st world countries cannot continue to support and give food to them. The governments must be educated so that they can educated farmers and other producers of food for their people.

  89. January 18, 2008 at 18:50

    Tom D Ford in Bend, Oregon:

    What really offends me is that the cloners gave themselves the choice of bringing their food to markets but they refuse to allow consumers the choice of not buying it because they don’t allow labeling it as bioengineered. I would not knowingly buy engineered food because of the dangers of monoculture.

  90. January 18, 2008 at 18:50

    Mr Franklin (email)

    Why not address the issues of population (incentives for families to have smaller families, or no children at all, and adoption) and adopting a vegetarian life-style?

  91. 91 Shane Prychun
    January 18, 2008 at 18:50

    Genetic foods (especially if unmarked) will only help to fill corporate pockets, not hungry stomachs.

  92. January 18, 2008 at 18:51

    Nigel (email)

    If something dangerous is approved in one nation, others may be harmed — e.g., seeds can disseminate.
    I’m trying to get my point in that there should be ONE international arbiter of what is safe and what isn’t.

  93. January 18, 2008 at 18:51

    San Francisco (email)

    The U.S. throws away enough food daily to feed the world. The problem is our trade policies that chase farmers in Mexico and elsewhere off their lands. We also subsidize farmers for not planting some crops. Now we are using food for fuel raising the price of staples.

  94. 94 BC Strobel
    January 18, 2008 at 18:51

    You question is based on the classic utilitarian ethic: the ends justify the means.” In this program you have emphasized “any means” (including the kitchen sink) in solving the issue of world hunger. Discussion seems to be focusing on the science and little on the ethics. If we say “any means” then then that opens the door to geneticially modifying the consumers instead of just the consumables. Our speakers have avoided this for good reason.

    The question I think is being avoided is another issue: basically my right right to know as a consumer. This is a totally separate issue from the science involved. THe FDA’s ruling has not only said GSM is safe, but I don’t have a right to know if I am consuming it. This I don’t think is ethical.

  95. January 18, 2008 at 18:52

    Kalypso, Vienna, Austria

    Of course, it is important where the food we eat comes from. if we allow food to be produced in any way (such as GM crops or cloned meat) it will certainly backfire at some point.
    there is already enough food in the world, the problem is that it is NOT distributed equally. in the wesst we have too much and throw away a lot of food, while others are dying of hunger.
    lets distribute our resources equally. they blong to ask ALL. there is ALREADY enough for everyone. we dont need gm or cloning.
    May God help us.

  96. January 18, 2008 at 18:52

    Kim Olson, Oregon (email)

    In the US, I haven’t heard anything about using cloned food to help starving people in Africa… Here the only purpose seems to be producing food at a cheaper rate so the business can make more money!

  97. January 18, 2008 at 18:53

    brian in sudan, juba (email)

    the genetically modified organism is not possilbe for most of poor african countries to sustain. because its very expensive to manage for a poor african,i think the solution for africans is to use much of the land which lies and can support any crop production without any chemical, which may destroy the soil.

  98. January 18, 2008 at 18:53

    From Daniel Nyeplu in Liberia (text):

    Cheap food should be produced so that the hungry people can be fed. Regardless of the quality of the food, we need something better to eat in order to stay from hungry.

  99. 99 Arthur
    January 18, 2008 at 18:53

    The short-run problem is being over-discusssed, and the long-run problem is being ignored.

    Short-run: we need a combination of higher food production in some low-production areas (GMO may help) and better distribution from high-production areas (where GMO is not necessary).

    Long-run: we need to reduce and reverse population growth. It is the only way to end this problem (as well as many others). Food production will always be chasing population growth until we stablize world poplulation.

    Lets discuss the real problem, shall we?

  100. 100 John D. Anthony
    January 18, 2008 at 18:53

    It is interesting to note that all of the comments here (my own included) regarding the underlying problem of overpopulation in this issue are coming from the U.S.
    Is overpopulation also a “luxury” issue?

    John in Salem

  101. 101 Scott V
    January 18, 2008 at 18:53

    We have been Genetically Modifying food since the beginning of time. Everytime a farmer selects a top animal or plant for seed stock, he is modifying that gene pool. The plant and animals on farms today are little like the originals. I see no problem with GM prcesses as long as we move slowly and carefully.
    Perhaps if we feed some of the starving, they will help future generations solve this problem.

  102. 102 Wesley
    January 18, 2008 at 18:53

    It has never been clear that there is a food production problem, but that the real trouble is food distribution, for example, local and regional corruption. This obviously cannot be overcome with GMO foods.

    And since when are we to believe that GMO’s are produced to feed the world? Biotech has stakes in making money, not “feeding the world.”

    And why then are the hungry being led to believe that the west has developed this panacea technology that will feed them steak dinners every night? This is absurd.

  103. 103 Sean
    January 18, 2008 at 18:55

    Regardless of the means of food production(and their associated costs/risks), ensuring the world population eats is paramount. The growing gap between rich and poor is ever widening which denies the world’s poor access to the food that is produced. Science is certainly key in producing food cheaply, efficiently, and in an environmentally friendly manner, but the problem is that far to many people simply cannot afford the food produced(regardless of method of production). This isn’t simply a matter of production methods. It is a vastly complex socio-economic problem that isn’t adequately being addressed.

  104. January 18, 2008 at 18:56

    Mark woodward, London, UK (email)

    Before we start considering GM food, we should be making better use of what we have. The sight of shelves full of discounted food passing its sell by date post Christmas is frankly depressing, and the supermarkets who overstock in this way should be punished.

    Simple greed is at the root of many problems with food supply and distribution.

  105. January 18, 2008 at 18:56

    Roisin, from ireland, in mali (text):

    The issue is sustainability! Small Farmers in many african countries can only access hybrid gm seeds because of their govts’ policies, production is higher but the seeds require expensive fertiliser that farmers can’t afford and the seeds don’t propagate so need to be purchased again each year. At all costs is short sighted and is not sustainable!

  106. January 18, 2008 at 18:56

    Abel Chelulei in Kenya (text):

    Subsidized inputs is what is required in Kenya(africa) no GM food.

  107. January 18, 2008 at 18:57

    Steve, Ohio (email)

    Isn’t the question of adequate food only one of the problems? The fact is that the planet will only support so large of a population. We need population growth control.

  108. 108 Natasha
    January 18, 2008 at 18:57

    Humility and respect for the earth give a man or woman greater self-respect and produce longer, more sustainable food solutions than scientific technological advances whose uses are largely for economic gains for a minority.

    What economic pressures imposed by international institutions like the IMF and World Bank are keeping from developing nations from focusing on their own agricultural production?

    Keep people poor and they cannot buy food. Help them to become financially self-sufficient and they will feed themselves.

  109. January 18, 2008 at 18:58

    Annonymous text:

    I’m a farmer and if I sit down and say “feed me”I ll get nothing.So why are we feeding camps full of hopless morons who ll never contribute. Why bother?

  110. January 18, 2008 at 18:58

    Adrian Wadley
    San Francisco
    KALW lister

    I support the safe introduction of GM technologies where they have benefits for farmers and their customers.

    What we have is a double standard. Conventional agriculture was never held to the same standards of safety – for us – or the environment – that new agricultural techniques are. Conventional agriculture has massive environmental impacts most importantly because of the large areas of land that it uses. If we were to make a fair assessment of conventional agriculture using the standards we apply to GM agriculture we would probably all starve.

  111. January 18, 2008 at 18:59

    Max in Singapore (text):

    Shawn is the one talking rubbish!

  112. 112 Boyd
    January 18, 2008 at 18:59

    Limited access to water is probably the most prevalent root cause of malnourishment in the developing world. GMO produce and genetically superior livestock may allow for better food production when raised under ideal conditions, but provide no benefit in locals that do not have sufficent infrastructure to produce their own food. Food production in the industrialized countries will always be geared toward optimum production, howevever this does not necessarily allow greater access to those in need of food.

  113. January 18, 2008 at 18:59

    Tim—gulf islands BC ca (email)

    So if these new technologies are deemed infinitly risk-free, then perhaps proponents shall embrace it completely and forward the conventional food directly to those 5,000$ or less families. By my own observations, the jet set always adorn thier dining tables with ORGANIC food spreads!!

  114. January 18, 2008 at 19:00

    Diane, Mexico (email)

    Do you really think that food by any means (today) is the question? Even if it destroys the growing land that people will need in the future? Even if it’s poisonous food?

    I do think a packet of something of nutritional value would be worth it to solve this problem today. Ask those who are hungry if they’d take the ground peanut milk vitamin packet, or nothing.

  115. January 18, 2008 at 19:01

    Kilama David in Kajjansi, Uganda (text):

    Someone out let me know the difference btn GM Food & chicken broilers as they are forced to grow within 3 weeks onl only.

  116. January 18, 2008 at 19:03

    From Singapore (text):

    So what if the First World can produce all the food the whole world needs if even the cheapest foods aren’t affordable? Example: pharmaceuticals

  117. January 18, 2008 at 19:03

    Apparently the BBC thinks that ignorance, like cloned food is a virtue.

  118. January 18, 2008 at 19:05

    Pam Gyang from Nigeria (text):

    Let’s feed the people first using whichever means.After that,then we can begin to argue about how we produce & the economics of food prices.

  119. January 18, 2008 at 19:05

    If we stopped eating meat a lot of resources would be freed leaving more food to people and less destructive impact on the environment.
    Only 15% of the energy we put into an animal comes out as energy in meat.
    Industrial meat production has a very destructive impact on the environment around the world.
    Vegetarian diet is healthier too, diets with a lot of meat have been found to drastically increase the risk of cancer. See the documentary “Diet for a new America” for scientific proof.

  120. January 18, 2008 at 19:06

    Lorenzo Banks, Gbarnga (text):

    If you have G M food, we need it right now in our displace camp in Liberia.

  121. January 18, 2008 at 19:07


    Distribution and more DELIBERATE focus on food by government is the key.

  122. January 18, 2008 at 19:09

    Annoymous text:

    Produce cheap or not food it should be produce in adequate supply espically for poor people that live empty stomach.

  123. January 18, 2008 at 19:10

    Musa in Gambia (text):

    What we need is a fairer trading and a better investment condition in agriculture.

  124. 124 Martin Bertram
    January 18, 2008 at 19:11

    The question about hunger is the question about sustainable food production and social justice providing money for everybody to b u y food.

    GmOs are reducing biodiversity, they are contageous to other beings and most of them solve problems caused by the agro industry. Most GmOs are resistance against herbicides. GmOs are n o t more productive they reduce damages of agro industriell production and increase the dependence of farmers from chemical and biotechnological products.
    some GmOs are Plants with bacteria genes fighting insect who are not a problem for organic or sustainable producers.

    sustainable production means to be able in a long term to afford production, as agroindustries mostly reduce farmers incomes and have led to a ratio of energy in- and out put of 10:1 !

  125. January 18, 2008 at 19:12

    Thanks for the chance to comment on the phone. I had a lot more to say, particularly with regard to the FDA approval of cloned meat and milk. The FDA is largely under the influence of special interests and is not a reliable entity to determine food safety as it currently exists.

    More points on GMO, cloned animal products, organic and sustainable and better solutions can be viewed at my site:

    Best to you and thanks for the unexpected window to the world.

  126. 126 Warren (in Oregon)
    January 18, 2008 at 19:12

    Clearly the cost of food is a function of both its production as well as its distribution. The only true solution is regional production of food so you aren’t shipping corn from Iowa to a village in Kenya. In many cases, this will require genetic engineering to produce drought/insect/temperature resistant crops. I find most of the postings from the U.S. embarrassingly condescending and clueless about hunger, science, agriculture and distribution channels.

  127. January 18, 2008 at 19:13

    How to prevent food from being thrown away. Quit subsidizing large agri farmers so that we pay the true cost of food here in the U.S. Food is far cheaper here in the U.S. than in Europe where I have visited many times.

    San Francisco

  128. January 18, 2008 at 19:13

    Richard (email)

    Yes, import cheap food but, BUT this is a bandaid solution that will not address a countries basic ability to create an infrastructure to grow, process, distribute, and sustain community supplies that fulfil basic food groups. variations or altered foods is only a viable priority if it is cheaper than accepted production standards. The priority must create initial supplies to feed the masses, followed by developing the industry in country to sustain the effort.

  129. January 18, 2008 at 19:22

    How many of these comments are being moderated out? Why were my comments not included? Not only are you putting up false assumptions, you are manipulating the comments. This is OPB? This program should not be allowed on the air.

  130. January 18, 2008 at 20:21

    (‘doing well by doing good’ from Genetic Modification)

    This is not a new dilema for humanity alas;
    in hindsight the potato famine in 19th century Ireland or deaths in 1980s Ethiopia etc took place while edible food was warehoused by profiteers.

    To keep the starving poor in their desperate position the well fed military & police were brutal maybe this is injustice ?

    So perhaps really it is about distribution and consumption after all ?

    Jonathon Swift over two hundred years ago SATIRICALLY suggested that the children of the poor be eaten to reduce the population and feed the starving…

    The science fiction film Soylent Green (is people) had the elderly and ill killed off & processed to feed the rest of the population…

    Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, now being filmed by Ridely Scott, has a post war disaster USA populated by cannibals who herd people for their survival…
    Just some of the senarios that come to mind as a bit of a theme here it seems….

    With Wars for oil and such the poor really are feeding their children to the military industrial complex.

    Transnational profit seeking corporations like Monsanto are now claiming GMO’s will answer all of our problems – as if – they exploit the desperation of the “starving” but come on really they have not the plight of the poor as their main interest, their principal is Capital, accumulating more every year for their CEOs & shareholders.

    So they will be doing well by “doing good” – such philanthropists Caorporations are all about helping the starving 800 million proletarians on the planet – ha ha ha they are the satirists if they expect us to swallow that lie !

    At the altar of Mammon they already sacrifice
    animals and the environment,
    their own employees,
    the farmers duped into buying GMO seeds and cloned animals,
    the consumers by not labelling the stuff has been engineered…
    ah but that is “business as usual” and what servile scientists as experts always tell us is best for us: profits by any means necessary.

  131. 131 Mark
    January 18, 2008 at 20:38

    Wrong question…but polemic which makes for entertaining news…The real question is why isn’t the adequate food production of the world being properly distributed ?

    But I will go with your question as far off base as it may be:

    Just because something is the product of “science” doesn’t mean that it is necessarily good or that it is the solution to a given set of problems like poverty and starvation.

    Your economist is just another polemic politician…reducing a serious problem to a bumper sticker soap opera response about world hunger and somehow the science and technology of GMOs will save the day and feed people. She sounds like a cheer leader for the GMO industry and seems to have no interest in addressing the larger issues which GMO is a subset of.

    Your other speaker who spoke in favor of GMO’s was obviously quoting industry sponsored and paid for studies which are biased in favor of what ever will sell their product. He is obviously a paid public relations hack.

    If you ignore the environmental issues completely GMO’s start to look better but then you have the issue of farmers being beholden to multinational companies to obtain seed, they cannot save the seed and plant it the following year so then multinational corporations control the seed stock of the food supply…great idea NOT!

    On so many levels GMO’s don’t make sense. They cause huge environmental problems, they are expensive, farmers cannot save the seed to replant the following year, there are no long term studies which show that the genetic modifications won’t drift and cause other problems…

    Answer to your question….cheap food at all costs NO.

    Healthy, nutritionally dense food, grown locally with seed stock and technology appropriate to the region and culture…YES

  132. 132 John D. Anthony
    January 18, 2008 at 21:11

    After reading all of this I can only come to one conclusion…

    It’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.

  133. January 18, 2008 at 21:15

    I would be willing to consume cloned animal products, just so long as they are kosher.

  134. 134 Thomas Murray
    January 18, 2008 at 21:25

    My only fear about cloning is that its over use may affect the reproductive viability of the animal being cloned. The current argument in favor of the practice is that champion milk producing cows can be duplicated exactly by the process. My question is how long will it take before we inadvertantly select against male motility, thus effecting an accidental extinction of an entire breed of beef cattle?

    Even more ethically vexing is the use of food grains to brew into motor fuel. The balance of greater good achieves poor resonance when one considers that more and more U.S. farmers are growing corn to convert into ethanol in virtual defiance of a starving third world. (The counterargument that the ethanol corn is unfit for human consumption is not well taken: If it can’t be used to feed livestock, then the fields are being ill-used.)

    Ethanol for aviation — since greater numbers are served by the use of grain derived fuel — tends to tilt the argument the other way. But the eagerness with which American farmers are embracing this food-for-fuel measure is absolutely depressing.

    Put another way, how long will it take for world opinion to devolve while we Marie Antoinettes stick food in our gas tanks so we can drive our fat derrieres half a mile down the street to grocery shop at Piggly-Wiggly’s.

    And to think that we last blanched at the idea of irradiated food.

    Louisville, KY, USA.

  135. 135 Joost de Goeij
    January 18, 2008 at 22:30

    Hi I am back again.
    I forgot the following:

    Genetic modification and cloning are relatively new technics. GM up to now is extensively used in farmaceutics. Under closed and controled circumstances it is used to let yeasts produce medicines and other useful chemical subsatnces. Under closed and tightly controled conditions I think its a benefit.

    But GM out in the open is an entirely different thing. Genes might cross over to other organisms. GM is mainly used to overcome other problems. Weeds becoming resistant to herbicides so they introduced a herbicide resitancy gene in a cashcrop so farmers could use more effective dose of a specific herbicide. The producer of the herbicide is the same as the producer af the seeds. So eventualy GM increases other problems, pesticide use. Because of this introduced gene, we have seen changes in the insect population. Some GM crops have an introduces gene that produces an insecticide. Useful insect are also killed. Do we want to kill all insects, including useful ones? There might be other effects we do not know about, it is still a fairly new technic.

    What about clonig. Some people here have already mentioned monocultures. We see this happen every day with modern plant varieties. One bug in a monoculture and in days the whole field is infected, get the sprayers out. With animals is it almost the same. The genestock af our north-west european cattle and pigs is very small. This is why a disease like foot and mouth and swinefever can cause such havoc. All natural resistance has been bred out. Imagine what would happen with a herd of clones. One virus and a day later all cattle is dead. What it will mean in practice is that multinationals will have another reason to produce more chemicals but now antibiotics, vaccins against virusses, medicines for our cattle, pigs and chickens, who cannot live without anymore. And we get to eat all that in the end.

    So we end up with an agriculture which is much more vulnerable. An agriculture which is an even greater threat to our nature, the (genetic) diversity of our nature. And finaly an agriculture which doesn’t produce that much more food, which might even be less healthy than now.

    The only ones that profit are the big corporations. They sell the seeds, the calves, piglets, semen, clones, etc. and they sell the pesticides, antibiotics, vaccins and other medicines for our livestocks.

  136. January 18, 2008 at 23:50

    My grandparents immigrated from Sicily and brought the ‘native’ survival mentality with them, thankfully: So. I eat ‘free’ food: dandelion leaves, flowers and roots that corporate American, etc are trying to poison out of our lawns. I make ‘gourmet’ and vitamin rich salads. I let my yard grow wild and eat the berries, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, etc. My garage roof is slated to go GREEN with herbs.LIVE food…vegetables and fruit is what we need more of.
    We need to resusitate Mother Earth by cleaning her of bombs and poisons and AGAIN helping our fellow Earthings to reclaim their land, forests, etc.so they can provide for themselves and not depend on Frankenanything.

    I don’t believe it is a matter of money but a matter of respecting our Mother Earth so that we can feed ourselves life sustaining nutritional plants, etc.
    Famine is the result of WAR among humans and the WAR that humans wage on Mother Nature. Learning to live WITH and RESPECTING MOTHERNature and ALL HER CREATURES is the number one priority of life forms. So let’s get with it.
    While Science is the study of trying to UNDERSTAND and perhaps duplicate Natureit appears that accepting the awesome power of Nature and learning how to bend and flow with her is the answer to thriving on this Earth.

    Note that I said ‘thrive’ not just to survive. We as creatures on this wonderful planet can CHOOSE to be AWARE and not hide our minds in perhaps well meaning but ineffective SLUDGE of neoScience.

    DOES anyone have the estimate of how many billions of dollars in medical expenses people have paid as well as the severe price of life and health eating these MATERIALS produced by science and sanctioned by the FDA?

    SPECIAL NOTE: THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all of you who are growing organic foods and contributing to those who do. We CAN do this.

  137. January 19, 2008 at 00:04

    My grandparents immigrated from Sicily and brought the ‘native’ survival mentality with them, thankfully: So.I learned to eat ‘free’ food ‘wild’ food: dandelion leaves, flowers and roots that corporate American, etc are trying to poison out of our lawns. I make ‘gourmet’ and vitamin rich salads from ‘weeds’ growing in the ‘garden’. I let my yard grow wild and eat the berries, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, etc. My garage roof is slated to go GREEN with herbs.LIVE food…vegetables and fruit is what we need more of. Yes, if I am hungry I know plants that still grow wild that are edible that will sustain me.

    We need to resusitate Mother Earth by cleaning her of bombs and poisons and AGAIN helping our fellow Earthings to reclaim their land, forests, etc.so they can provide for themselves and not depend on Frankenanything.

    I don’t believe it is a matter of how much money we spend after all money is just another form of energy, BUT it IS a matter of respecting our Mother Earth and spending our energies nourishing ourselves with life sustaining nutritional plants, etc.
    Famine is the result of WAR among humans and the WAR that humans wage on Mother Nature. Learning to live WITH and RESPECTING MOTHER Nature and ALL HER CREATURES is the number one priority of life forms. So let’s get with it.
    While Science is the study of trying to UNDERSTAND and perhaps duplicate Nature it appears that accepting her awesome power and learning how to bend and flow with her is the answer to thriving on this Earth. Each one of us deserves to THRIVE . Let us help each other as creatures on this wonderful planet and CHOOSE to be AWARE of the natural energies in life not hide our minds in the perhaps well meaning but ineffective SLUDGE of neoScience.

    SPECIAL NOTE: THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all of you who are growing organic foods and supporting those who do! WE are healing Mother Earth so that she can provide her bounty in every ‘corner’ of her domain!

  138. January 19, 2008 at 02:57

    Hey I forgot that if we genetically engineered water ????
    then maybe the ungrateful billion + people without access to clean water
    would have to thankful those brilliant Corporate CEOs & corrupt governments yet again.

    The really deserving poor always smile & skip to work, joyful and not resentful like those trouble-makers that globalised market forces have liberated them from subsistence and made them proletarians ie landless with only their labout to sell.

    In South Africa racial apartheid is gone but in the poor areas of economic apartheid you have to pre-pay for water and stand with a bucket in the queue for the standpipe while security and police backed up by Army supervise so that water companies can make a killing ie. profit. That’s progress I guess ? Or perhaps not !

    Here in Australia instead of cheap water tanks on every household to catch rainfall
    and massive buildings catching water the Government is planning to build the largest desalination plant in Australia and probably the Southern hemisphere; the best bit of the joke on us is that it will be private-public partnership thus tax-payer underwrites the infrastructure but profits will go to the Corporations involved and we get to pay higher water bills.

    The publics water shortage becomes private profit while the public pays for it Corporations get subsidised, bulk water deals and thus pay lowest rate like they do in taxes so it is “win win for the rich once again folks!

    Back to GMOs
    if longer term humans – not just lab rats – food safety testing is not done and these wonder products curiously not labelled as CONTAINS NEW SUPER GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS (yum)
    Yet the public are tested upon and any “mistakes” like with “addictions of choice” like tobacco & processed foods are to be the individual consumers fault

    Yes we may be the generation that outlives their children becvause we were stupid enough to let these Corporate criminals, corrupt politicians and collaborating scientists sell us more #$%@ we do not need.

    While we may if so inclined get active opposing this to defend our bodies and our childrens what will the animals and environment do to defend itself ?

    Perhaps like the whales currently being “scientifically monitored” ie harpooned frozen and sold in Japan there comes a time and place where some of us – like Sea Shepherd – will have to take direct action to stop crimes being committed.

    In New Zealand recently genetically modified trees were cut down in a defensive action because that may be what it takes in SOME situations. In different parts of the world the same Corporations would hire gangsters and murder the families of activists who get in the way of Profit-making.

    That is Capitalism that is injustice and why all the usually separated social struggles are beginning to overlap. Diverse movements within a movement that wanst to create a new world or really get back to the indigenous ways of living in harmony with the Earth.

    Thus endeth the rant dear readers.

  139. January 19, 2008 at 03:40

    hasn’t the idea backfired?
    what d u say about the cheap bird flu epidemic in India?

  140. 140 Jon
    January 19, 2008 at 04:15

    I think this discussion is interesting since most of the arguements against cloned food comes from people whose tastes are refined by the wide availability of food choices. If you’re starving, you don’t worry about where food comes from…you eat it. I recall WHYS doing a piece a while back about how food ought to be viewed as a human right. If a human being truly has a right to food, is it just certain kinds of food? It seems hypocritical for the west to enter into a debate over what kind of food a starving person should eat…most people have trouble making that decision for their children or themselves. Let’s stop pretending that cloned food is a useless venture in every context…there is a human cost to indulging in our conditioned, western, hypersensitivity in this arena.

  141. 141 5ccpress
    January 19, 2008 at 05:38

    The subsidies and import restriction of the USA and EU means that African and Latin American farmers are increasingly finding it hard to grow by exporting their surplus, or targeting niche markets. This combined with the increasing urbanisation of Africa reduces the interest and amount of labour available for the agricultural sector. Ros, you geneticist guest and the GMO promoter from SA were more than a little condescending to suggest that poor people should be fed things even the West is fighting against. There is not cost advantage to GMO foods and its impact would replicate our current industrial malaise. They want African farmers trapped forever into buying their seeds from the Western countries when the current system is that naturally produced seeds are harvested and a percentage kept for replanting. The farmers will lose control of this and then discover trade barriers will still not allow their produce to outcompete subsidised western agriculture. Labour and land is cheap in Africa, and there is huge potential to reduce unemployment by the increased use of labour and machinery. This is what the GMO backers will deny us, if they have their way. Africa should only consider GMO foods after examining the implications of the West eating GMO foods for a generation. We are not that desperate to become the lab rats of the world!

  142. January 19, 2008 at 07:11

    this cloned food is yet another whitewash using food for all slogan that cut across developed ,developing and underdeveloped nations.ten years back this kind of clattering was heard about goldenrice which contains vitamins that may be useful for vitamin defecient african people jusy by eating rice .nobody raised question then this struggling people for even onemeal a day could afford to buy this costly rice . this time also the vital question must be for whom is this food for?

  143. 143 Neil Plasker
    January 19, 2008 at 07:30

    I have a great idea to help feed some of the hungry people in the world using a distribution system that is already in place and it would make for good advertising for the corporations that volunteer. As fast food restaurants receive shipments of refrigerated and frozen foods, they load food that usually goes to waste back onto the truck using the empty space and they take it back with them to the warehouse. It would cost almost nothing for that step. There must be an easy way using the same concept to move these desperately needed foods oversees. If anyone has a good distribution idea or has any connections, please submit it.

  144. 144 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 19, 2008 at 15:41

    “Cheap food at all costs?”

    NO! NO! NO! WHY?

    Here are some questions for which an answer is solicited & here are some statements for which a retort is solicited from:

    -‘Shawn’ who’s an economist & was on the programme.
    -The person who is a ‘GM consultant’ from USA & was on the programme.

    > 1) Evaporated milk (as sold in the supermarkets) is either natural & full cream or it has the cream removed & then sold with palm oil or vegetable oil added. Why? Better for health? No! Because the cream is extracted & used elsewhere FOR A PROFIT. Palm oil is one of the unhealthiest oils. Also, try mixing de-creamed or full-cream milk with palm oil or any other vegetable oil in a tumbler. Do they mix?

    > 2) ‘Shawn’ was blowing his trumpet in favour of GM foods & talking about morality, in terms of those who do not have enough to eat. Okay! Sounds fine (Only sounds)! Tell me this: Why does GM technology ‘deactivate’ the seeds? For the morality & ethics of helping poor people or for profit?

    > 3) The Indian economist who was awarded a Nobel Prize PROVED that proper distribution of food will reduce hunger for a lot of people.

    > 4) Why did the USA try to get a patent on ‘Basmati’ rice? They could not. So they got one for ‘Rasmati’! Why did the USA try to get a patent on TURMERIC and/or its curative properties? They lost. The Indians showed references to turmeric in the Vedas &/or Upanishads! That many thousand years ago the Americans were wearing fig leafs! The reason is nothing but a new kind of colonialism. If you control knowledge & the natural substances like turmeric or rice or whatever you hold the world by its short hairs!

    > 5) The amount of food wasted in USA & other rich countries is enough to feed many hungry people. Practical ways to distribute this excess exist. They can be improved or created. Why is the USA or others NOT doing this or investigating this? The amount of food wasted in the storage & distribution process in POOR countries could feed many if the systems were improved!

    > 6) Why isn’t population growth being addressed? Only two major religions are totally opposed. Why? Because they want their, following / flock / numbers to increase. This gives more money to their religious institutions & increases their people ‘power’ in the world. That is the reason they are also against contraception &/or the use of condoms.

    > 7) Many people (especially farmers) are poor because of the large subsidies given to ‘Western’ farmers.

    > 8) Why do the Western countries pay their farmers NOT to grow certain crops at certain times? To avoid a dramatic fall in prices?

    > 9) Neither GM food nor cloning technology have been around long enough for us to really KNOW their effects. A similar case in point is that of CFC’s. They were used for decades & had been ‘proved’ to be or weren’t expected to do any damage. Then the Ozone layer problem was discovered. Get the point?

    > 10) Talk to the Indian scientists & farmers who have clearly proved & stated that the ‘golden rice’ business is a lot of marketing rubbish & the amount of vitamin A it will provide is quite over-hyped! (A programme on this was aired on BBC World Service)

    Q’s for the ‘GM consultant’ from the USA:

    You talked about ‘leaving things to the wisdom of the market!!!’ Pray, please tell us what that is? Is it the lowest common denominator of IQ or behaviour as in a ‘group’? Isn’t the wisdom of the market what got us into the huge mess we find ourselves in?!

  145. 145 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 19, 2008 at 16:38

    Re: 140 5ccpress January 19, 2008 at 5:38 am

    “……. Ros, you geneticist guest and the GMO promoter from SA were more than a little condescending to suggest that poor people should be fed things even the West is fighting against. …… ”

    Well said “5ccpress”! Please try to convince those Africans who spoke on the programme in favour of GM foods & cloned animals, of your viewpoint & understanding. Please do the same to as many Africans as you know. A grassroots approach is the only way to defeat the people who for the love of lucre will present half-baked, half-tested theories as facts. Or they will draw ‘selective’ conclusions from the data / information that research has generated.

    The people to watch out for, apart from those who are promoting GM foods & cloned animals; are ‘our own’ corrupt politicians, leaders & administrators. This is true whether we talk about African countries, or India, or any other country for that matter.

    Even a very moderate person like me is seriously thinking of joining radical farmer groups, anti-GM groups, etc. in India & elsewhere. I cannot mention the kind of thoughts & images that my anger is generating!

  146. 146 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 19, 2008 at 17:16

    Re: 130 Mark January 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I can’t believe it!

    Must check with my friends who get up at dawn or before dawn: Did the Sun rise from the West in the last few days?

    For ONCE, I am in COMPLETE agreement with the comments & opinions of Mark!

    Can’t find a single word or phrase to challenge! I’m flabbergasted.

  147. 147 Caroline, San Francisco
    January 19, 2008 at 20:41

    I caught part of the program about food and hunger on KALW in CA today.

    I am trying to find out the names of the people who participated. Some were talking down a telephone line – I am not needing those. There was at least one person who seemed to be in the studio. She talked about getting ‘ducks in a row’ and putting the ‘horse before the cart’… Who was she?

    And do you not list the names of participants on the website ?

    Cheers and thanks for a great program

  148. 148 Salvatore Apodaca
    January 19, 2008 at 20:43

    This should be approached like many problems from many different directions.

    RUTF ( Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food) food is revolutionizing the food situation for the starving in Africa. It’s ingenious and if we can invent and subsidize farmers to produce these types of foods especially farmers who are being asked to stop farming opiates in other third world countries.

    Genetically altering food could help if it somehow makes ingredients less expensive and could be used to produce RUTF foods.

    If food and education are tied together like they are in America with certain programs. Children are fed in schools through government programs.

    also directing wasted food ingredients in the appropriate directions possibly in the direction RUTF foods.

    Salvatore Apodaca

  149. 149 Wasswa Primo, Southern Sudan
    January 19, 2008 at 20:44

    Food is important in human life circle. It is only the rich and those who live beyound $1 per day who tend to select what to eat. Those who live below $1 need food regardless of the method of production.
    Many are living on one meal per day. You are now discusing this issue and those living on less than $ 1per day even are not listening to these dicusions.
    Therefor, if there are means to produce enough food to feed the population then lets go a head.

  150. 150 Teresa Baldwinson
    January 19, 2008 at 20:45

    I’ve met with and talked to many Africans, mostly other women, both here and inAfrica itself very often. They frequently say they don’t want aid, they want trade. To be able to apply for aid next year they have to be kept in poverty today. Trade can lift them out of poverty especially if their leaders and bureaucrats would keep all their over-sticky fingers our of it.

  151. 151 Theo, MN, US
    January 19, 2008 at 20:46

    Food is food but the moral aspect of it will will encourage/discourage me to eat it. GM food will probably discourage me.

  152. 152 Lila, Portland, OR
    January 19, 2008 at 20:46

    I do not understand why we are taking into consideration the man who texted in saying he is starving. don’t we realize that he did text in? how did he afford that phone and not food? maybe he should prioritize.

  153. 153 Smith, Jeffery J
    January 19, 2008 at 20:52

    Decades ago, world hunger was used to try to justify the “green revolution” (chemical agriculture) and keep ignoring the need for land reform. Now hunger’s used to try to justify GMOs and still ignore the fact the hungry are landless. The problem is not production but distribution. If hunger justifies anything, then undo the concentration of land ownership and apply a tax to land holdings, which has put land into the hands of family farmers every time it has been tried. End the smokescreen; do what works.

  154. 154 David Ingram
    January 19, 2008 at 20:53

    Your expert Sean who says he has no knowledge of research into organic, and your contributor supporting gm crops, seem ignorant of the very important program that the BBC ran, through Peter Day at Global Business. Peter visited a Permaculture farm in Pennsylvania whose production outstripped all ‘modern’ agrichemical production methods, and addressed the severe degradation of soils, which is the subject of another BBC radio programme, broadcast in the past week.

    Soil health is crucial to the production of high quality, nutritious food. This is the crucial factor. Sean also seems ignorant of the extreme pressures that the US and gm seed producers place on other governments and farmers.

  155. 155 Randall Sloan, San Francisco, K-ALW Radio Listener.
    January 19, 2008 at 20:54

    Ros – I think hungry people need to be able to AFFORD food (economic issue) before they can access food. When there is a THRIVING MARKET for food, we are able to get it to thriving markets.

  156. 156 Jeffrey Gillespie
    January 19, 2008 at 20:55

    One of your guests said something that stuck me. He said that there was no point in having the food made available if “people can’t afford it”. This is the sort of corrupt mindset that leads to people starving to death. Having the ability to send food, and then not being able to pass it out because people “can’t pay for it”, is a deeply disturbing, predominantly Western idea.

  157. 157 Chawezi
    January 19, 2008 at 20:55

    Stop Genetic Eood

  158. 158 William
    January 19, 2008 at 20:56

    Cloning only produces an exact copy of the original. selective breeding is 10,000 years old…I don’t see much difference. It is how animals are treated after conception. Healthy animals are better food. Cloning is just another tool to achieve the same results. GE grains will probably pollute strains that can adapt to changing climates and condition Very dangerous. Seed banks of existing strains, ancient varieties, should be preserved not modified just for yield to a single strain that will fail eventually. .Cloning is for race horses. Bill, Bend, Oregon

  159. 159 Noal, Oregon
    January 19, 2008 at 20:58

    Just to be the devil’s advocate:

    I wonder how much of a world hunger problem we would have, if the money (or even a portion of the money) that was used to create and produce the GM and clone based food was used to work towards economic justice in the 3 world so the 3 world could produce their own food.

    I keep hearing that there is plenty of food in the world, but there still is hunger… Perhaps there is just not enough profit in keeping the world fed.

    The problem seems to be bigger than just hunger. Feeding the hungry sounds like putting a band aid on a problem that will re-surface as something else.

  160. 160 Isabella La Rocca
    January 19, 2008 at 20:59

    Cheap food and producing food ethically and sustainably are not different goals. Producing grains and non-animal derived food for human consumption is much less expensive, healthier, and infinitely
    more humane than raising and slaughtering animals on factory farms. It also much less expensive in terms of environmental costs.

  161. 161 Roray, Wales
    January 19, 2008 at 21:01

    The amount of money that is spent funding unnecessary wars vastly outnumbers the amount invested in feeding the worlds poor. Lets get our priorities straight…(not that the world needs any more people)…

  162. 162 Natasha Ravnik
    January 19, 2008 at 21:02

    I don’t think feeding the world’s hungry and growing healthy, sustainable food are at odds with one another. Sustainability for the earth, for animals and feeding the hungry, poor and desperate are not opposite concerns. Growing food at any cost (to the environment and to people in the future) is not the solution to feeding the hungry.

    Teach a man or woman to grow their own food and you feed them forever. Give them genetically modified foods and you feed them for one meal. We need to think of the future for the PLANET just what the MARKET provides or what the ECONOMY can bear.

  163. 163 Emilio, Pennsylvania, USA
    January 19, 2008 at 21:04

    Ros,You are talking like you are adamantly against cloning animals. The way you are phrasing your questions, you have already made up your mind.
    To cloning, I say hurrah!
    We have been improving our plant crops since Mendel. Now, animals, which are already bred along the same lines, can be improved … made more disease resistant … and vastly increase supply.

  164. 164 Susan Clark
    January 19, 2008 at 21:05

    Supply of food is not the essential problem as I understand it. Distribution, income to purchase food, and the ability to grow food sustainably in one’s own community for consumption by the community are both the sources and solutions to hunger. Thus technical fixes including particularly the gmo industry are designed simply to increase the concentration of profit in the food industry in a few companies.

  165. 165 Sunyong Hong
    January 19, 2008 at 21:05

    What’s the point of feeding people when in the process, you destroy the planet on which you reside? Putting human hunger above all else just resounds humanity’s egotistical view that we as species come before all else, include the very world in which we live in.

    Additionally, in light of the mass quantities of food that go to waste in households of US, it seems to be that the problem resides in the inefficiency in the distribution of food rather than production of food.

  166. 166 Sunyong Hong
    January 19, 2008 at 21:06

    Cruelty to animals is an unnecessary and unacceptable answer to the problem of feeding the world.

  167. 167 Ayleen Crotty
    January 19, 2008 at 21:07

    There is no reason to need to feed hungry people genetically-modified or cloned foods.

    The world has enough food to feed all people many times over, it’s just a matter of distribution. It’s pathetic that in this technologically-advanced world we still don’t have a good system of getting food to the people who need it.

  168. 168 William
    January 19, 2008 at 21:08


    If you want a specific trait introduced into a plant or animal that increases protein content, or health benefit there are two ways to do it.

    You can genetically modify it in months in the lab, benefitting everyone.


    You can genetically modify it by doing cross after cross after cross over years and years in the field.

    The genetic modification is exactly the same!

    I don’t see the difference.

  169. 169 Barrett C McInnis
    January 19, 2008 at 21:09

    Informed consent is essential – everyone should have the right to know what they are eating so they can make an informed decision. Moreover, it takes less energy to grow a pound of beans or grains than it does to produce a pound of meat – cloned or otherwise. You can feed more people with that pound of beans and grains than a pound of beef. If we continue to raise meat for food at the current rate we will not be able to sustain our population. We should not be spending our resources growing science experiments given that we do not know the long term effects of eating cloned foods (and the FDA has been wrong before!)

  170. 170 Johnson, Nigeria
    January 19, 2008 at 21:11

    People have to eat. Ethics has no place in it. The alternative is starvation and misery.

  171. 171 Devadas.v
    January 19, 2008 at 21:13

    if its for providing everyone on earth food well and good this experiment but only for a section this experiment will be catastrophic.years back in africa they want to try golden rice which includes all vitamins so the policymakers line was by eating rice africans will be added with vitamins which they cant buy due to their poverty . this kind of utopian idea first how can be worked out in poverty laden african and third world countries were people in crores live below a dollar a day .rather tha experimenting with this kind of cloning and food stuffs think about how everyone in the planetearth can be given two times food?after that go for experiments of this kind which benefits only the haves for the timebeing.

  172. 172 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 20, 2008 at 00:10

    Re: Caroline, San Francisco
    January 19, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I caught part of the program about food and hunger on KALW in CA today.
    I am trying to find out the names of the people who participated. Some were talking down a telephone line – I am not needing those. There was at least one person who seemed to be in the studio. She talked about getting ‘ducks in a row’ and putting the ‘horse before the cart’… Who was she?
    And do you not list the names of participants on the website ?
    Cheers and thanks for a great program

    Ms. Caroline:

    The person you are asking about is:

    >Shawn Ricard or Shawn Rykard, who is a Senior Lecturer in Business Economics at the Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom
    Ex-Chief Economist at the National Farmer’s Union in the United Kingdom.

    As far as I can tell from the voice it isn’t a ‘she’! It’s a he. He sounds like he has / does have a ‘Rod Stewart’ type of voice. That is the (‘ducks in a row’ and putting the ‘horse before the cart’…) person.

    Another person on the programme was:

    >Raj Patel, (‘Mr.’ – Designation was NOT specified). Who works in the University of California & was speaking from San Francisco. He has written a book titled – ‘Stuffed and Starved’.

    Another person on the programme was:

    >’Val Giddings’ who is a geneticist & an independent consultant with the bio-technology industry in the USA.

    DISCLAIMER: All spellings are based on the pronunciation of Mr. Ros Atkins & my ear-brain interpretation or transcription. Caveat Emptor. No liability w.r.t. errors in spelling is accepted!

    Ms. Caroline, Your Q: “And do you not list the names of participants on the website ?”

    Excellent question! For this we can have Mr. Ros Atkins, over a barrel!!

    Ms. Caroline and all others who read this blog & need or use the information that I have provided may kindly TT (Telegraphic Transfer) / wire ONE Euro cent per person to my numbered Swiss Account. Number will be provided to you on request.

    MaxMaximilianMaximusI, Indian Caesar in, Singapore

  173. 173 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 20, 2008 at 01:12

    Re: Lila, Portland, OR January 19, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    “I do not understand why we are taking into consideration the man who texted in saying he is starving. don’t we realize that he did text in? how did he afford that phone and not food? maybe he should prioritize.”

    OOh! La! La! YOU ARE SHARP! I wouldn’t like to get on your wrong side or have you analyzing my comments.

    Mr. Ros Atkins DID mention that person more than twice (?), I think. > 8)

  174. January 20, 2008 at 16:25

    I am opposed to eating food made from cloned animals, Organic Foods are a lot better and more natural.

  175. 175 rosatkins
    January 21, 2008 at 10:31

    Dear Ros. The question of cheap food can be solved by getting the world to reduce the population. Otherwise the more you feed them,the more they breed. Enjoy your news Regards Henry

  176. 176 Lisa Perrine, United States
    January 22, 2008 at 02:53

    To the discussion leaders of the BBC program, “World Have Your Say”, on Friday, January 18, 2008:

    I believe that your discussion on January 18th really missed the big picture when it comes to providing food for the world. The world’s food production is closely tied to cheap energy. Huge quantities of energy are required for the levels of food production that the world now requires due to the tremendous increases in population worldwide. Those huge increases in population have occurred in the last two hundred years and are due primarily to the advent of cheap energy, first coal and then oil and natural gas. Before the early 1800s, most of mankind was tied to the land to produce food through manual labor, either the human kind or by way of farm animals whose lives were often even more bleak than those of the humans growing the food. I realize that large segments of the human population still live in this manner. However, cheap energy has provided the means for humans in the developed world to switch to agriculture done on a grand scale, providing ever-increasing amounts of food produced by only a small number of farmers, sold at reasonable prices and allowing the tremendous, recent spike (over the last 200 years) in human population. Just as in studies of wild animal populations where the number of animals in a region depend upon the available food supply, the same thing has happened with human numbers because abundant food was available.

    What will happen to all of those numbers of humans now on the planet as the supply of cheap oil is peaking and the cost of energy will continue to climb with ever-increasing demand for energy worldwide and increased competition for those resources from countries now modernizing with huge populations, such as India and China? Without cheap energy available, food prices will increase steadily and eventually big agriculture will fail. We will all be tied to the land once again and most of us will be involved with growing our own food. Only now our very numbers will not allow us to each have sufficient land to do this. Here is the real crisis!

  177. 177 Cyrus
    January 22, 2008 at 04:34

    There are so many problems on all sides of this that have been mentioned:
    1) Meat based diets are not sustainable. Humans did not evolve this way (and yes, we did evolve). We were hunter gatherers at one point, and it is a lot easier to gather (farm/forage) than to chase and kill a creature. Evolutionarily, we are supposed to be fed primarily on plant food.
    2) People misunderstand what using cloned animals for meat productions means. A farmer will buy a clone of a choice animal and use it to breed with another cloned animal; these two creatures will have offspring with very specific meat quality traits sought by the cloner. The cloned parents will breed and breed until they die, when very expensive NEW clones will HAVE to be purchased from the corporation to sustain this cycle. This has happened to plant crops already, since most GM plants produce sterile seeds which cannot be saved to replant (thus foiling the entire purpose of the plants existence, which is to reproduce).
    3) People in underdeveloped countries who cannot feed a family of 12 generally DO NOT WANT a family of 12. Due to domestic violence and patronizing males in some regions that assert their dominance through sex or rape, or other areas in the world that simply don’t have access to birth control, children will be born into an inhospitable community.

    We need to eliminate government subsidies in the US because they are hurting our own food supplies as well as the food exported to other countries such as mexico. Our cheap subsidized food undercuts the prices of all individual local farmers in other countries that they are forced to either give up their lifestyle and stop producing food, or give in to exhaustive cash crop farming to afford the tainted garbage we’re shipping to them, since their own food is too expensive in comparison.

    The free market is not free, it is an illusion set up by the corporate money makers. If it was truly free, reasonable consumers would dictate what dominated the supply. But the supply is organized by those who feel entitled to tell me what to eat, or you what to wear, or someone else what will make them happy as they get old.

    We need to encourage, through NGOs, appropriate sexual health provisions so that every time people have sex, they don’t have to fear another mouth to feed. We need to encourage strength in battered women who have pregnancy forced onto them. In america, we need to simply suck it up, produce food responsibly, charge the REAL price, and return to a balanced, plant-focused, occasionally meat supplemented diet. And finally, foreign countries, gov’ts, and organizations need to organize their people, relearn their indigenous farming techniques, and realize that their people had become established there on a successful food source; USE IT, not our super cheap grain / meat that will undermine your wellbeing.

  178. 178 tichy
    February 1, 2008 at 19:08

    people are increasing exponentialy, especially there is many poor people that continue to breed with hunger, their government should limit like china did,

    a quote says “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”
    we donot help with just giving food and keep them like children assisted!

    cheap food is a bad idea, we cannot buy meat as we buy bread, if meat was produced naturally then who wants meat pay for it, converting to meat diet is waste of food and health, animals are sacred, and to put it into your dish you should worth it.

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