The Fear of Frankenfoods

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. You eat them every day whether you realize
it or not. According to my demographics, most of you
have been eating them your entire life. But there’s a fairly recent movement against
them, so let’s try and understand why. Before we get into why people dislike GMOs,
let’s first talk about what they actually are – and perhaps more importantly, what
they are not. I’m not going to get too deep into the science
of how GMOs are made, that’s a bit out of my field. I’ll touch on it very lightly here, but
If you’d like to know more, *pause* I highly recommend you watch this SciShow episode,
which talks about all of different kinds of GMOs and how they’re made. First of all, genetically modified organisms
have been around since the beginning of agriculture. You eat them all the time. Just off the top of my head I can name two. If you eat a carrot that isn’t colored purple,
you’re eating a genetically modified carrot. Through selective breeding, carrots in the
Netherlands were turned orange in order to match the Dutch flag. Now, we all eat orange carrots, you’d be
hard pressed to find a purple one and… gross. But that’s selective breeding, a natural
mutation that was artificially selected for. So on to example two, if you’ve ever eaten
an apple that doesn’t taste like an uncooked, raw potato, you’re eating a genetically
modified apple. Apples were pretty tasteless just a few hundred
years ago. There’s a reason why the French word for
apple and potato are basically the same. Through generations of cross-breeding, selective
breeding, and a version of sapling cloning, humans forced apples to taste the way they
do today. If you’d like to know way more *hold down*
than you ever wanted to about how appless were modified, I suggest this video. Anyway, you’re likely saying whatever, those
were centuries ago and they were at least somewhat natural. Not like today when we’re injecting frog
DNA into potatoes. Okay, fair enough. But before that, in the 1920s, we used to
just blast plants with xrays and gamma rays and just see what happens. If something beneficial occurred, those plants
were bred back into the food supply and nobody cared- at least not for a hundred years. But today, when people today talk about GMOs,
what they’re really talking about is genetically engineered organisms. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s just
keep calling them GMOs. There are three types of GMO. Transgenic – when you deliberately insert
the genes of one species into the genes of another. Cisgenic – when you cross-breed closely
related species in order to combine desired genes. And Subgenic – when you use a technology
like CRISPR to cut out or turn off genes within a species. So what do all of these mean to the layperson
like me and perhaps you. Well let’s talk about a few examples. Some crops are modified to be to be more climate
resistant or have a longer shelf life. The classic example here is the FlavrSavr
tomato, which was created in 1994 and had the genes which create the hormone that ripens
it dialed back a bit, thus creating a longer shelf life. This is the crop that sparked the entire GMO
debate. But other examples include staple crops engineered
through cisgenic or subgenic methods to survive in harsher climates. Many people in in the biotech industry feel
that cisgenic and subgenic crops should not be held to the same scrutiny as transgenics,
since they aren’t combining the DNA from multiple species or doing anything that hasn’t
been done for hundreds if not thousands of years – just quicker. But I’ll get back to how important these
are in a moment. Other crops are engineered to be bacteria
resistant. Like the potatoes that were modified through
transgenesis with the genes from a frog. A South American frog naturally created a
hormone that fought the same bacteria that caused rot and blight in potatoes, so they
took those genes and inserted them into the potato. Now those potatoes are protected from a natural
disease which could wipe out entire harvests. These potatoes are the usual example people
use when talking about “Frankenfood.” But the biggest example, the most concerning
example for most people, are the GM crops engineered to be resistant to man-made pesticides
and herbicides. These are the “Round-up ready” crops engineered
by Monsanto. They took the genes from bacteria that are
resistant to the active ingredient in Round-up and used transgenics to insert them into the
plant. That way, farmers can grow their crops closer
together, increasing yield, and spray the entire field with pesticides and herbicides,
without destroying the plants they WANT to grow. These transgenic frankenfoods and corporate-owned
chemical resistant foods are the ones that most people are against and give the rest
of the GM crops a bad rap. But is that bad reputation really deserved? First of all, the overwhelming scientific
consensus is that GM crops are no more hazardous to your health than conventionally grown crops. You’ll notice that I only said crops here. Because currently, there are no genetically
modified animals available for human consumption. There are genetically engineered fish to be
different neon colors, sold as decoration. There are mice engineered to be missing certain
hormones or amino acids, for scientific research. But there are none available in your grocery
store to eat. The first one that will likely be available
is Atlantic Salmon crossed with Pacific Salmon and an eel, but it is not yet approved. So for now, it’s only plants. Right now, in the United States, 92% of corn,
94% of soybeans, and 93% of cotton, and likewise high numbers for sugar, soy, and other commodities
are genetically engineered. Worldwide, 54% of all crops grown, are GM
crops. Why is this important? Because the only way to feed the world is
by using GMOs. This is Norman Borlaug. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
for single-handedly saving over a billion lives. How did he do it? By introducing GM wheat, designed to be high-yield,
climate tolerant, and disease-resistant into under developed countries like Mexico, Pakistan,
and India. The only way to feed the world is to use GM
crops. Myth number one, overpopulation is not a thing. The people who study this for a living say
that at most, the human population will top out at 10 to 12 billion. There are TED talks discussing this as far
back as ten years ago – but in short, as countries become more developed and have better
access to food, medical care, and family planning, the birth rate drops to 2. Sometimes even less than two like in Italy
and Japan. Luckily, the popular youtube channel Kurzgesagt
– In a Nutshell recently did a video about it, so people who aren’t into boring TED
talks are more aware of it now. Stop saying overpopulation is a thing, it’s
not a thing. As long as we continue to help undeveloped
countries reach a better standard of living anyway. The point is, we can easily feed 12 billion
people. That’s not a problem. But we have to use GM crops to do it. So let’s talk about the alternative, the
one that only well-off middle to upper class people in America and Europe seem to endorse. Organic farming. If all of the current farmland in the world
were converted to organics, we could only feed 4 billion people. That’s just math. With the current population at around 7.5
billion, I don’t see half of them willing to go ahead and starve. It requires way too much land and resources
to grow organically, for very little pay off. Study after study shows that organic food
is no more nutritious for you than conventional food. And in blind taste tests, almost nobody is
able to tell the difference. Growing organically is fine for you in your
backyard garden, but on a commercial scale, it isn’t enough to feed the world. To be labelled organic, a food only needs
to be 95% organic. It cannot use synthetic pesticides, herbicides,
or fertilizers, unless it’s on an approved list. Natural pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
are totally allowed – and obviously required unless you want your entire crop to fail. So the myth that organics are free of chemicals
is… well… a myth. So… why do people dislike GMOs? The answer is psychology – and it’s two-fold. People know very little about GMOs, which
is why I prefaced this with a little recap. In survey after survey regarding GMOs, people
are woefully unaware of the reality. In one survey asking basic questions regarding
GMOs, the average score was 60.8%. That’s a D-, barely passing. One survey asked people to check off what
items in the supermarket are GMOs: People assume there are genetically engineered animals
like chicken and salmon, there aren’t. People think that there are GM tomatoes, apples,
and oranges. There aren’t. The FlavrSavr has been off the shelves for
20 years. The “frankenfood” potatoes spliced with
frog dna, while approved, are not yet commercially available. Most of the GM crops you eat are the commodity
crops, like corn, soy, soybeans, canola, and sugar. But while people are tragically misinformed
about GMOs, they also KNOW that they are tragically misinformed or uninformed. 54% of people admit to knowing “very little”
or “nothing at all” about biotechnology and GMOs. But still, 64% of people are against GMOs. Which means that some of those people belong
to the group that admittedly know they are underinformed. So where does this opposition come from? Well, last week I did a video on disgust. I only focused on the kind of disgust you
feel when handling gross body fluids, eating spoiled food, or what I feel when I look in
the mirror. Physical disgust. But there is another type of disgust – moral
disgust. The classic thought experiment used by people
who study moral disgust, like Jonathan Haidt, goes like this: A brother and sister, both
of adult age and both consenting, want to engage in a sexual relationship. They’re using birth control, so no children
are possible, it’s purely out of pleasure. Should they be allowed to do it? Almost everyone’s answer here is going to
be no. But why? Most people’s go-to answer for this has
to do with the potential offspring, but there is no child bearing involved here, this is
purely sex for pleasure. Still no. But why? Because ew. And that’s moral disgust. It’s heterosexual, consensual, and not for
procreation, so any disgust you might have about homosexuality or rape or birth defects
is negated. It’s just… ew. There are very few things that elicit a moral
disgust response like that. Something where when you boil it all down,
the only answer is “because ew.” And it turns out that GMOs are one of them. You can present people with all of the facts:
That it’s just as healthy as conventional food, it poses no harm, it’s needed to feed
the world, it tastes the same. None of that matters, they are “absolutely”
morally opposed to them. And that’s likely due to marketing. Words like “organic” and “natural”
sound nice. Even I would like to eat things labelled that
– at least until I see the price tag. People are fine eating GM crops as long as
they aren’t TOLD that they’re GM crops – which might be the primary reason why
some people want to have GM foods labeled that way. The problem is that just about everything
would have to be labelled then. The main issue is that stories like the potato
crossed with a frog make the news, and are called GMOs rightfully so. But then when people hear that corn and wheat
are GMOs too, and that those foods are then fed to cows and pigs, they then assume all
GMOs and the animals that aren’t “free range organic” are somehow all frankenfoods. The main moral argument is that you shouldn’t
be crossing animals and plants and creating anything unnatural… and you certainly shouldn’t
be eating them. That’s what elicits that moral disgust and
absolute opposition. If people were made more aware of what GM
crops really are, I would venture to guess that they would be more likely to endorse
their use. Either that, or they would assume that I’m
being paid by Monsanto. I’m not… but if they were interested… Which is the second part of the psychology
of why people don’t like GMOs. Distrust of corporations. Because corporations like Monsanto, are accused
– and often guilty – of doing some pretty despicable things, especially to the environment,
that umbrella of suspicion covers everything else they do – even the genuinely good things
like trying to provide enough food to supply the world. They are looked at with suspicion and doubt. Just the word “corporation” – Triggered
– triggers a negative affect response in people that words like company or business
do not. So because GM crops are bioengineered by corporations
like Monsanto, and thus, those crops are owned and controlled by those corporations, people
view them with distrust. Nevermind the years of FDA, USDA, and scientific
scrutiny that goes into approving them – and that even after approval, the crops may not
be commercially available for several years. People have been tampering with our food for
thousands of years. Through selective breeding at first, to create
cows and chickens with more meat, or corn with larger yields, to cross-breeding to make
apples taste better and carrots orange for some reason. Then we blasted our food with radiation just
to see what happened. And now we’ve graduated to genetics. Just take a moment to think about our superheroes. Way back in the day, it was a man that somehow
got crossed with a fish. Then radiation was the big thing. Whether someone was blasted with gamma rays
or bitten by a radioactive spider. But now it’s genetics. They even changed a super hero’s backstory
so that he was bitten by a genetically mutated spider. Genetics are the science boogey-man of the
day. And they shouldn’t be – we actually understand
quite a bit about genetics. I mean, I don’t, but other people that I
trust do. So the next time someone tells you that you’re
eating an apple that’s been spliced with a spider monkey, or they tell you that organic
farming is the only way to go, nevermind the billions of people that will starve, maybe
now, you’ll know better. Hey guys if you enjoyed that video, or you
learned something, make sure to give that like button a click. If you’d like to see more from me I put out
new videos every weekend, so go ahead and modify that subscribe button. If you’re already subscribed and you haven’t
been getting notifications about me, make sure to hit that little bell that’s right
next to the subscribe button. This is one of those topics that a lot of
people have opinions on so make sure to follow us on the reddit. And while you’re at it find me on facebook
and twitter. But in the meantime if you’d like to watch
one of my older videos, how about this one?

100 Replies to “The Fear of Frankenfoods

  1. I think the best answer to the "Organic" crowd is "Nah, I'm not cool with mass genocide of billions, but hey, I know you are so I won't argue with you."

  2. It's the round up ready crap I don't like! They spray that crap and I loose chickens. Its worse when they grow soybeans ( vs corn), more airborne crap, I guess. If it kills my chickens, its not good for me either!

  3. It is possible to engineer crops into not requiring pesticides or weed sprays (hard to avoid fertilisers though). This makes organic farming partially possible. Companies like Monsanto won't do it because guess what? They also sell that stuff. And the average normie can't do it because it costs money, a lot of it actually.

  4. The debate around GMO is polluted by the suspicion people have developed against science. It is also polluted by the fact that GMOs are pushed by the same companies that are intoxicating us with pesticides and fertilisers, which we know, are questionable on health and environment. But everything that is "natural" is not safe, and anything that is "chemical" is not bad.

  5. People are afraid of GMOs because they don’t fully understand the science behind them and because other people are actively trying to make them afraid with unsubstantiated claims. When some rich, well-fed pricks can tell a starving African country not to take GMO grain because it will harm their children and then people die…it’s gone too far.

    Norman Borlaug is an unsung world hero, the type of human we should all aspire to be.

  6. is there an ethical argument to be made that all foods should be conventionally grown to maximize the amount of people to be fed? since organic farming is far less productive

  7. One objection to GM seeds is that farmers cannot save seed grain for the next crop, because the modification makes them sterile. So even poor farmers in poor countries must go into debt every year to buy the seeds at prices that go up every year, even if the previous year’s crop failed. Another is that “Roundup Ready” crops encourage overuse of the pesticides, which can get into the food supply and cause disease.

  8. Surprised you didn't go with my favorite example of a gmo people accept… Bananas. Aside from being nothing like wild bananas modern bananas are clones.

  9. I am sceptical about GMOs and I support organic farming. My scepticism is in how capitalist global grain companies make poor farmers reliant on buying their seeds, as most gmo crops are sterile and the farmers can’t therefore us a portion of their yield to sow the next.

    And my support of the organic foods are twofold, 1. Pesticides are harmful to workers (often poor and in the global south) and 2. Organic meat are more grass fed. And meat fed on grassland (that for one reason or another are bad for crops) is the only way farm animals isn’t harmful to the planet

  10. Great video ,,,but there was enough natural plants and Grain on the earth to feed people on this Earth evening at the population grow like sand on the seashore, ,,,,,GM O money-making and population control ,,that is all it is population control from Monsanto

  11. Y'know, sometimes changing something has a bad side effect. One of my partners can't have American wheat, because it was crossbred with Dwarf wheat to make it not grow as tall and be more durable. But she's allergic to it. But y'know what? She just buys European. Sometimes decisions are made for what will help the most people, you just gotta roll with it.

  12. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is still disgusting, it doesn't matter what it is they do.

  13. Great video, brilliant content and awesome explanation !! But the blast effect after the 12 minute mark gave me a heart attack 🙁

  14. Apparently I don't have emotional disgust. Or at least concerning the theme which you described.
    Might be caused by the internet influence though.

  15. Unless your meals consist of just one thing (eat only rice for breakfast ect) you will be putting multiple species' DNA into your body every time you eat anyway. Steak and baked potato? Might as well inject the taters with cow DNA because it's all going into the same stomach anyway. People are just silly tho, it's like the irrational terror of nuclear energy which has contributed to the climate crisis.

  16. I've basically got no problem with genetically engineering in the abstract. And I'd happily eat glyphosate-resistant corn etc. What I don't want to eat is ALL THAT GLYPHOSATE. The whole reason they do that engineering is so that they can dump truckloads of the stuff on the food we eat. And then there's things like Bt corn, which is engineered to produce a toxin. Yeah, maybe it's only toxic to the works that prey on the plants. And as you mentioned, we don't get to know the details, so then folks start wondering why all the cover-up? You can turn that right around, of course, and say that if every damn bin at the grocer's has to have a binder with the complete genome sequence of the veggies in question, maybe we've gone too far.

  17. I watched a prepper youtube and the woman mentioned that she found out the sugar she got was gmo. When she found that, she decided that, she said she’d trade that with her non-lds ‘’friends’’ and keep the non-gmo sugar for her family.

  18. It's because food companies do some evil shit. So gmos seem even scarier when you don't know about them. It's also worth keeping an eye on what's being done with gmos because there is plenty of bad stuff a company like Monsanto can do.

  19. Thing is, even though my gut reaction to incest is to be grossed out by it, I’m willing to accept incest in the context that you brought up (especially if they are family that met as adults, such as the case with some adopted people).

    I still take issue if they were raised as siblings. Not because it’s gross (though it is), but because a lot of victims of incest were groomed by their elders to think it’s normal. So if they wait until they are if legal age to bump uglies, does that make it any less exploitative? I don’t think so. I think it all depends on the context.

  20. I’ve been preaching all of this to the essential oil’s all organic whole foods mom at my school and she still doesn’t believe me….

  21. Sorry to be a buzzkill here. But the reason why i am against GMOs is because it facilitates the use of pesticides and herbicides that are very dangerous for the environment and human populations nearby.

  22. The flavor saver tomato was a failure. Last longer on the shelf, sure, but it was tasteless and tough. And not harmful to humans? Surely eating crops soaked with Roundup can't be harmful, huh? Duh! It's not just an "ew" factor when it comes to consuming poison.

  23. I'd watched a bunch of your videos before clicking subscribe, but this one pushed me over the edge. Great work.

  24. pesticides are made from chemicals made from oil. oil is carbon based. oil is organic. pesticides are organic. life is a lie.yuppies need to get over themselves.

  25. You haven't touched on engineering plants to be sterile (or seed-less) and its possible consequences (cloning effectively reduces the genetic diversity of crops). The permaculture movement regularly says that their methods provide even higher yelds than modern industrialized farming.
    Monsanto's GMO crops are a solution (chemical pesticide resistance) to a bad solution(chemical pesticides) to a problem (pests). I'd rather have a better solution to the pest problem. It's the pesticides that I want to stay clear of, not necessarily the GMO aspect – though I have concerns with that too.

  26. RoundUP, Glyphosate. so its not WRONG to want to avoid GMO's, because GMO means engineered to withstand lethal doses of herbicide. Generally speaking.

  27. Here in Croatia, a chicken brand advertises their food as "Only GMO free in Croatia", we either have a government more incompetent than everyone already thinks it is, or they are lying. It's chicken, livestock.

  28. So why did the house of orange, make carrots orange? God you are so, so full of shit. I tried to tell you about disinformation , but like most you refuse to listen. Ted talk for a reference, my goodness man are you shot out, you actually believe the horse shit you are peddling. Take care young fella, somebody better . You probably think you came from an ape!!!! Hahaha

  29. One bad thing about GMO foods is the giants of the industry are putting smaller farmers out of business. Example, corn pollen floots through the air. GMO corns pollinated non GMO corn of smaller local farmers. The giants of the industries sued the smaller farmers saying they stole their GMO foods. They win in court and small farmers have to pay fines and royalties, which puts alot out of business. Guess who buys the land? You can't control where pollen floats or which bugs are gonna pollinate your plants from where. Should not have had those results in court, in my opinion.

  30. Something else behind the frogtatoe. Too disturbing and unprovably effective to be "for us".
    Who is this "we" doing the feeding? Who is "the World" that they cant feed self yet their opinion is all?

  31. BREAKING NEWS: GloFish escape from captivity. Spreading their genetics throughout the entire world rendering seafood toxic.
    In all honesty, they'd probably be hunted into extinction due to their dorky colors before anything else.

  32. That moral disgust segment… I'm pretty "do whatever you want," but… I hope they find God or something. And I'm an atheist.

  33. Monsanto is honestly a garbage company…. and also what worries me most about any food that is tampered with is that some things in the past that have been approved by lots of regulatory entities and then the product has harmed humans and the environment.

  34. I spent half last night explained to my gf that not only does she actually eat GMOs every time she eats corn, carrots & many other foods.
    Then I tried to make her understand that her 3 cats and her ferret are actually genetically modified.
    The ferret is a polecat changed they breeding to something very different.
    When she finally understood GMOs were fine and we eat em all the time she concluded
    “Ok find. But I’m still not eating any chemicals.”

  35. I refuse to eat anything that touts it's self as "organic". I always ask for GMO food because it's tastier and cheaper.

  36. Ungodly is unamerican, therefore eligible for an all expenses paid trip to Guano-tan-GMO, I mean Guantanamo. Take that Mon San To

  37. It's either Monsanto or the Soylent Corporation but you're going to have to make up your minds pretty quick. I'm going with Monsanto myself…

  38. I've heard the same discussion about an incestual relationship on birth control. Only the least thoughtful people gave the, "It's wrong, but I don't know why," answer. The real answer is that a familial relationship is something important to humans. Sexual relationships are important too. Combining them violates them both. It's not just disgust for disgust's sake.

  39. All the food we eat are GMO's. We have been genetically modifying plants and animals through selective breeding ever since we transitioned from hunter gatherers to an agrarian civilization. That apple you ate earlier is a GMO. So is your doggo.

  40. This made me remember the episode Penn & Teller's Bullshit did on this very subject with much of the same points years and years ago. Man, that show was awesome.

    It's good that there are YT channels like this that educate people like that show did with me in its time.

  41. The cognitive dissonance is amazing. You literally just said two mutually exclusive things in the same video.

    1. The population is too high to feed with natural food because there's not enough land to farm it.
    2. The world isn't overpopulated.


  42. Is this guy finally right about something? Please quit on a high note…. er does this mean I am wrong about this? Knowing better has always been wrong before:(

  43. Over-population isn't a thing, but not because the population will top out at 10-11 billion. For one, African birthrate trends won't drop to replacement rates until their population is nearly 10 billion, if you were to extend the current UN projections.
    You're citing Ted-Talks. The UN projections show Asia and Africa alone topping these figures by 2100.

    A little automation and some increased efficiency and growth could easily be limitless. It wouldn't be inconceivable to house the global population in the space of Ireland, in purely volumetric terms.

  44. I work for a pest control company and we offer an option to use organic pesticides instead of synthetic. The thing is the active ingredient on both pesticide is the same, the only difference is one comes out of a flower and costs more, and the other is synthesized in a lab. There are other difference in the method of application and dilution rates. But chances are the organic food you get at the grocery store has the exact same pesticide on it as the non organic food. You're literally paying more for a label.

  45. The carrot was never actually purple though, it was just your brain interpreting it as purple…

  46. BT corn? Please address this. Owning the patent and suing farmers having had seeds blowing into their fields? The suicides in India? Address this. Taste issue – address this. Lower yields? Address this. Higher pesticide use for gmo crops. Round-up carcinogenic residue causing cancer. Answer these and im good.

  47. My problem with certain GMOs is that they're the cause a fuckton of species are going extinct.
    And that the earth can provide for 12B people is all well and good, but that absolutely doesn't mean we should. Something will have to give, and that thing will be nature.
    If they just make a crop that's more resistent to insects/disease etc. rather than the poison you spray them with, I'm all for it.

  48. I really like this video!
    My only problem with it is that you said that overpopulation is not a thing. I agree with you about food distribution, but you seem to think that this is the real problem. You forgot about fresh water, energy, as well as other resources that definitely could not sustain a world population of 12 billion, no matter how efficiently it could be distributed.

  49. He left out that fact that so many of these crops are specifically modified to survive glyphosate, which causes cancer, and of course every crop modified to survive it is doused in it. The farmers have to wear hazmat suits.

  50. the one organic food that i can identify 100% of the time is milk. $5 organic valley half gallons are light years ahead of regular milk in taste

  51. As someone who lives in a place abumdant with potatoes I can confirm organic potatoes are just potatoes. They still use chemical sprays and its still the heavy stuff.

  52. Wow you are a well spoken idiot. You will talk bullshit in circles to avoid the deeper issue all while a nice loop of acustic guitar assures us that you are right and that we can remain calm and everything is fine. Set aside all the gibber gabber use some common sense and its clear that it's nasty. And all you people watching just to validify your own opinion that something you know I. Your heart is wrong but are to cherry pick the stuff that helps you sleep at night. Wake up people stop being such fucking towels!!!

  53. There are potentially negative side effects associated with crop monoculture and gmo production that are relevant and not mentioned here.

  54. Okay this is completely unrelated but technically spiderman's power didn't come from a radioactive spider but from a magic spider that just happened to be radioactive or at least that used to be the case. That may have been retconned in the roughly seven years since I stopped reading spiderman comics.

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