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Thread: Gmo Beer?????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    Gmo Beer?????

    Disturbing post on Brewers Association Forum Vol. 17-1118. It seems the food/pesticide giants Cargill/ADM/Monsanto want to GMO our barley and wheat supply. As it is, unless you buy organic corn or soybeans your getting GMO's. Do we want to brew GMO Beer? Or have to brew all organic to avoid it? I don't!!!!

    If you care about this please contact these people and voice you opinion. If your a So-Cal Brewer please think about attending to do so.

    Next Generation Barley Varieties III
    Monday, January 16, 2012
    Hacienda Hotel, San Diego, CA
    mpdavis.amba@sbcglobal.net

    Part of their pro-GMO Agenda:
    "competition with other crops that are more effectively utilizing biotechnology, including genetic modification, and are receiving substantial private sector investment."

    One of the seminars:
    "New Technologies and Genetic Transformation: Gary Muehlbauer, University of Minnesota"

    Let these people know GMO's have NO place in Craftbrewing!
    Contacts:


    Steve Edwardson, North Dakota Barley Council
    701-239-7200 ndbarley@ndbarley.net

    Mike Davis, American Malting Barley Association 414-272-4640 mpdavis.amba@sbcglobal.net 740 N. Plankinton Avenue, Suite 830 Milwaukee, WI 53203-2403
    FAX: (414) 272-4631

    Karen Hertsgaard
    Information Specialist - Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences
    Department of Plant Sciences
    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, North Dakota
    www.ag.ndsu.edu/ibms
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  2. #2
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    Louisville, KY
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    I will withhold judgement until I find out more info on it. GMO has been helpful in some areas of research (color coding proteins), and I am sure not so much in others. My concerns are as always long term effects on the environment we leave behind.

    I would assume they want to make the barley more resistant to weather shifts and crop pests. Taking a couple of the many variables out of the equation that dictates the price fluctuations from harvest to harvest. If it is a trade off for pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on the barley, I may support it.

    Wouldn't a GMO that abides by Organic standards be an Organic product?

    I do think gene manipulation is a slippery slope, but I am not convinced it is all bad either.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  3. #3
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    My concern is not so much about making it more pest/weather resistant, I agree these can be good things. My concern is the business side of what happens after Monsanto alters the seed. At that point they start getting everyone over the barrel. If your field is next to theirs, they will try to force you to use their seed or else sue you because you can't guarantee their seed didn't get into your field. Next thing you know everybody has little choice but to switch to the Monsanto seed. Now variety is lost. We'll all have to make everything out of the same barley and everything will start to taste the same. Variety will be lost.

    It may sound a little bit conspiracy theorist, but it has already happened to corn....

    I'll take off my tinfoil hat now....
    Scott LaFollette
    Blank Slate Brewing Company
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  4. #4
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    Oct 2005
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    19
    Quote Originally Posted by yap

    It may sound a little bit conspiracy theorist, but it has already happened to corn....

    I'll take off my tinfoil hat now....

    And to soybeans. The conspiracy is real and documented.

    Sometimes the modification makes the seeds sterile so farmers can not replant part of their harvest but must buy new seeds every year.

    The other issue is that the modified seed's gene sequence is patented. If the farmer doesn't have a license agreement with the GMO patent holder, and even one patented plant is discovered growing in the farmer's field (e.g. volunteer plants) they will sue the farmer. The suits are generally settled out of court when the farmer agrees to start using the patented GMO seeds exclusively.

    What is the position on GMO by the mega brewers? If ABInbev and Miller-Coors declined to purchase GMO barley, it seems unlikely it would be economically feasible to modify it.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2009
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    This may help clarify what GMO is and is not. Genetically modified corn and soybeans have been one of the greatest technological advances in modern farming in the last 100 years. GMO crops allow farmers to produce more with less, more yield with less pesticides and it is safe. GMO corn and soybeans have been available for farmers to plant for over 10 years. Almost all of the corn and soybean acres, including cotton, are GMO acres. Unless you grow your own food, you are consuming products made with GMO crops.

    What GMO is not. Seeds produced from GMO crops are not sterile. They grow just like non-GMO seed. Monsanto does not sue farmers who may have a volunteer plant in their field. When you buy GMO seed you have to sign an agreement that says you will not propogate the seed. Cases of Monsanto suing famers who have saved their seed from GMO crops is very rare, and it is illegal. Farmers do not save seed from corn anyway, since all corn varieties are hybrids. There is no monopoly on a single variety of corn. Farmers now have more choices for hybrids than any other time in history.

    If and when barley and wheat are available as GMO, the grain will look, smell , and taste exactly the same. If you want non-GMO barley, there will always be farmers who will grow it for a niche market, just like they do for corn and soybeans. You might have to pay a small premium for it.

    Bottom line, GMO works.

    David
    Indiana farmer

  6. #6
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    Oct 2002
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    GMO not as safe as you think it is

    David,

    You make a blanket statement that GMO is safe and that is just not true. There are many studies on the safety of using GMO crops and the jury is not in yet but many scientists are very concerned over the use of GMO seeds.

    Some concerns about the use of GMOs include the unintended harm to other organisms, the reduced effectiveness of pesticides and gene transfer to non target species. You can read about these issues here: http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php

    Many countries around the world are banning the use of GMOs since their use threatens the world's biodiversity, which is an important indicator of environmental health. Additionally, the use of GMOs may negatively affect the natural balance and overall health of an ecosystem.

    For sure this is a very contentious topic but I am completely opposed to using GMO barley, or other GMO crops, to make my beer.

  7. #7
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    David, First thanks for the input of a farmer, definitely appreciated and needed.


    "Cases of Monsanto suing famers who have saved their seed from GMO crops is very rare, and it is illegal." How is suing illegal or, did you mean saving the seed illegal?


    While I appreciate your opinion from your real world experience do you have any sources to back up your claims? Even if it is just a few, it sets a bad standard. Kind of like the recording industry suing a few old ladies for millions b/c their kids downloaded some music. They ruined a few families lives over something they could not stop in the long run.


    "GMOs since their use threatens the world's biodiversity" How would it threaten more than a whole county or state of farmers growing one type of barley? Wouldn't they be able to genetically modify more than one variety of barley? If it comes down to feeding the pests or making beer I am down with the beer. I do not think we are going to put locusts on the endangered species list with GMB genetically modified barley. Not being a smart ass, just asking questions I feel need to be asked.
    Last edited by BrewinLou; 11-22-2011 at 11:36 AM.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  8. #8
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    Mar 2009
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    Yes my post was not clear, it is illegal to save the seed from GMO crops. i know of no cases in my area of anyone being sued for illegally saving seed. I have only read about cases in other states.

    There will always be someone growing non-GMO grains for beer or other products. Farmers are usually paid a premium for growing non-GMO corn and soybeans. I have over 10 years experience growing GMO corn and soybeans and the advantages with GMO crops are tremendous. GMO crops are approved for use in this country and many others around the world. It is another tool to feed a population that is nearing 7 billion people.

    If your customer demands beer made from non-GMO grains, than that is what you should make. If not, does it really matter? Every brewery owner will have the choice to use them or not.

    David

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brix
    ...Bottom line, GMO works.
    It may work, right now....but the jury is out as to whether it is safe in the long haul. And there is certainly evidence that it may not be in some cases.
    The main thing wrong with the way GMO stuff is marketed is the fact that thanks to lobbying by companies hawking this stuff, it is not a requirement to label products as "containing GMO" food product. Consumers are denied choice (or at least put in the position of an informed choice being more difficult to make).

    As mentioned, other countries in the world have banned GMO foods, and considering the drastic nature of such action, it demonstrates that they evidently have genuine concerns about such products.

    At the very least, labeling should be required in this country so people can make their own decision on these 'frankenfood' issues. In this, the regulatory agencies that are supposed to serve and guide us have failed, bigtime.
    Fortunately, there is a growing movement afoot to keep a closer eye on what Monsanto and other like minded companies are trying to do.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2005
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    Links to facts

    "A few suits"??? 145 suits doesn't sound like a few to me. Here are some links to articles about patented seeds and farmers being sued for them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto#Legal_issues

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/Mons...armerssued.cfm


    And to be "fair and balanced":
    http://www.monsanto.com/food-inc/Pages/FAQs.aspx

    http://realfoodblog.com/factory-farm...contamination/

    There's a whole lot more available with a quick google search.

  11. #11
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    Location
    India
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    Hot topic!

    Just a few thoughts/comments.

    GMO and organic are two different things, so technically, I suppose you could have organic GMO crops.

    Most farmers don't save seeds, GMO or not, because they are hybrids and next generation seeds normally don't reproduce true to form. So, as controversial as GMO is, the same can be said about hybrids.

    Here in the EU, GMO is still banned, but there are some "test" plots of GMO barley around already. Including one used/run by the biggest brewery here in Denmark. (guess who?)

  12. #12
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    Would you like that in a lead cup?

    Quote Originally Posted by brix

    Bottom line, GMO works.
    Our ancestors drank wine and beer out of high lead pewter cups. It was all the rage in new technology. They 'worked'.

    Nuclear power works too. At a large future cost.

    Antibiotics worked for a while until many farmers bought the argument that they could become 'more efficient' at converting feed to meat at little cost to them by supplementing feed with antibiotics. While true, the cost and danger to the rest of us is enormous via antibiotic resistance. The manufacturers and distributors, however, have made a lot of money and seem to be made of teflon in terms of responsibility. Even big tobacco didn't dodge that bullet completely.

    Hell, tobacco was even marketed in it's early days as something good for you! I guess it 'worked' too.

    New technology hasn't always worked out for humankind. We need to be more careful. And, given the proven track record of these corporations, we need to be more wary of of the bearer of this 'gift' to humanity. Make no mistake that these guys do not work for you, the farmer. If you fail, someone else will generally work that land and they'll make money from them.

    No disrespect Dave. I know how hard it is to be a modern farmer and make a living at it. More than anything, the system is broken. Our current model that allows multinational corporations to manipulate and control our food systems to enhance their shareholder value has failed. It has failed both the farmers and the consumers.

    Food is cheap. Too cheap. Someone still makes lots of money at it though and it generally ain't the farmers.

    Pax.


    Liam
    Liam McKenna
    www.yellowbellybrewery.com

  13. #13
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrewinLou
    Wouldn't a GMO that abides by Organic standards be an Organic product?
    Fortunately not, Organic standards specify non-GMO. Although the Food Giants tried to get it in.
    If GMO is just peachy why do they throw million$ at the effort to keep it off food labeling? Whats wrong with the consumer having all the facts and choosing for themselves!
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  14. #14
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    Dec 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    Well, GMO corn has now been found to cause organ damage in rats. The good news is that we're not rats. I'll link the full study rather than any summary to provide the results without bias. I hope this will be enough to prevent any more major moves to GMO crops until it's been studied much more thoroughly.

    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm#headingA11

  15. #15
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    Thanks EWB for the post. The bibliography of this paper is also very interesting.

    Plants are very complex organisms. Like us, they have a hormonal system which operates at the ppb or even ppt level. This system largely governs everything about them and their metabolism (just like us). Many of these plant hormones have analogous effects in higher organisms. (The phyto-estrogens of hops are one example - pseudo-breast development in male brewers and brewer's droop - both conditions rare now due to hop pellet use and better GMP and safety procedures)

    In other words, screw with the hormones of the plants you eat and they will screw with you. GM in plants often involves manipulating these primary metabolic genes.

    Each GMO needs much further study before it is released into a biosphere in which it has a selected advantage. Perhaps not all GMO's are bad (trying to give benefit of doubt) but the regulation process is obviously skewed towards big agriculture multinationals and will undoubtedly yield some horror stories in the future.

    I, for one, am giving up on corn flakes for breakfast.

    I will also resist GM barley with every fiber of my being.

    I will also, should it come to pass, demand labeling to reflect it.

    Pax.

    Liam
    Liam McKenna
    www.yellowbellybrewery.com

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