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November 4, 2012
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Genetically Modified Food

:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
In the next election we here in the glorious state of California are going to be voting on prop 37 [link] which will require food that are GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) to be labeled as such. And although the bill has holes as large as the straits of Gibraltar, it is, to many a big step in combating the dreaded coming of Frankenfood.

Now. I understand the infinitely complex legality situation when it comes to IPs and seeds, and how it can be used by nefarious agricultural corporations to bankrupt smaller ones, into oblivion, etc etc, this is not what the bill is really trying to curtail.

As with all California proposition ballots, proponents and opponents stick with the incredibly emotional, and easily identifiable reasons to attack one another.

Unfortunately people's perceptions of Genetic Modification in general scares the living bajesus out of people (which it rightful ought to, imo) so much so that according to studies various nations that have implemented GM Labeling would pull products that are Genetically Modified off the shelves entirely, due to such extreme negative public perception.

To sum up for convinience a website posted by P. Bryne of the Colorado State University Extension which provide extensive pros and cons for labeling such products.

Pro-labeling Arguments

Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, especially concerning products for which health and environmental concerns have been raised (Raab and Grobe, 2003).

Mandatory labeling will allow consumers to identify and steer clear of food products that cause them problems.

Surveys indicate that a majority of Americans support mandatory labeling. (However, such surveys often do not specify the effect on food prices.)

least 21 countries and the European Union have established some form of mandatory labeling (Gruere and Rao, 2007; Phillips and McNeill, 2000).

For religious or ethical reasons, many Americans want to avoid eating animal products, including animal DNA.

Anti-labeling Arguments

Labels on GE food imply a warning about health effects, whereas no significant differences between GE and conventional foods have been detected. If a nutritional or allergenic difference were found in a GE food, current FDA regulations require a label to that effect.

Labeling of GE foods to fulfill the desires of some consumers would impose a cost on all consumers. Experience with mandatory labeling in the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand has not resulted in consumer choice. Rather, retailers have eliminated GE products from their shelves due to perceived consumer aversion to GE products (Carter and Gruere, 2003).

Consumers who want to buy non-GE food already have an option: to purchase certified organic foods, which by definition cannot be produced with GE ingredients.

The food system infrastructure (storage, processing, and transportation facilities) in this country could not currently accommodate the need for segregation of GE and non-GE products.

Consumers who want to avoid animal products need not worry about GE food. No GE products currently on the market or under review contain animal genes. (However, there is no guarantee that this will not happen in the future.)


My main problem with the proponents of the food labeling crowd is the amount of ignorance that comes into our perception and understanding of what Gentically Modified Food is. Fact of the matter is, when you really want to analyze things even more so, a lot of food we think is "natural" is in fact genetically modified.

Think not?

If you've eaten steak, you're eating genetically modified meat, since modern cattle are descendents of the Auroch, a now extinct species that we selectively bred into cows.

Ever eaten orange carrots? Of course you have, that's the only color of carrots you ever seen. Well up to the 17th century most carrots where either white or deep red (in the west) and or purple and white in the (east). Why orange? Well it was to honor the Duke of Orange. Yes. Seriously. And it was so popular, the color and the taste that it pretty much took over our staple carrots.

Apples, Pears, Wheat, virtually each one has been at one point or another in human history cross-bred, selectively bred, in such ways that are wholly "Unnatural" since they don't occur in nature at all.

But because we see nice, country wholesome farmers spending decades selectively breeding species, or cross breeding them, to attain the genetic results they want in their food, it becomes holy. Meanwhile, a scientists who does the same exact thing in significantly less time, by going in directly and turning on and off the necessary genes they want in the food, in incredibly fast time (relative to farmers) as something evil and vile and disgusting.

And that bothers me.

It bothers me to know that people are willing to pay upwards of three times for food that is ecologically more devastating, nutritiously the same if not slightly worse, and is more costly to grow, as something that is supposed to be "Progressive" and "good for you". It's done by people who have the best intentions, truly, but with an almost child like naivete are actually the opposite.

So back to Prop 37. Labeling GMOs. All the reasons against it are based on stupidity in my opinion. HOWEVER, I am a big proponent of transparency, and I WANT to know which foods are specifically genetically modified...Because frankly...I LOVE Genetically Modified Food.
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Devious Comments

:iconkitsumekat:
kitsumekat Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
1. Plants have been gross breeding without human help.
2. After the amount of chemicals we put in our system, I can see why the labeling would be an issue.
3. W do have GMO corn that has to be processed for it to be edible.
4. We don't know what is being spliced with or what the process of GMO is?
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:iconkittythenekoalien:
KittyTheNekoAlien Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I personally think the thing on GMO labeling is a bit ridiculous. People are going on the idea that GMO food is some kind of scientific abomination when we have been eating it for years. Not to mention, sources I've found say not only do GMO foods tend to be more nutritious and productive, but specifically organic foods have been known to fair worse. Not to mention, many vegetables undergo SELECTIVE BREEDING, not necessarily even actual genetic implantation. And even if it does get DNA from different organisms, it's just DNA. Transplanting one set of genes to another organism is hardly any different from computer codes. Not to mention, I don't understand what the significance of the vegetable being "pure" considering that they have been bred to become more suitable for human consumption too, even long before GMOs were an issue (corn is another interesting example).
Then again, I could have voted yes on 37 so I could only pick GMO food too c:
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:iconinfinitetolerance:
infinitetolerance Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
you love genetically modified food?

that's a lie
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:iconluka1184:
luka1184 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
You seem to know a lot about history and science! This is very enlightening!
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:icondoctorv23:
DoctorV23 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
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:iconwhiskyomega:
WhiskyOmega Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Professional General Artist
I can see both sides of the arguement, but to be honest I really don't mind things the way they are now.

I really don't want to have to read a whole library every time I go shopping; I already know what just about everything in the grocery store is modified and it's my choice as a customer to buy it and consume it or not.

There are plenty of choices out there already for people, like me, who chose not to eat modified foods and I don't mind having to shop around for it.
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:icondoloreg:
doloreg Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
I read a study a few months back and according to that, 41% of those who were asked thought that only genetically modified food has genes.
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:iconebolabearvomit:
EbolaBearVomit Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
"Apples, Pears, Wheat, virtually each one has been at one point or another in human history cross-bred, selectively bred, in such ways that are wholly "Unnatural" since they don't occur in nature at all."

That's not the same as genetic tinkering.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Okay, fine, how is the end result different then? Why is one considered holier than the other?
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:iconebolabearvomit:
EbolaBearVomit Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Mating species is a process that mixes and matches traits within species that have the ability to crossbreed.

Genetically modifying a species goes beyond the natural boundaries. That's how you get goats to make silk instead of milk, by going beyond nature's boundaries.

Neither is holy, but classifications should be honest. That's all I am saying.
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:iconebolabearvomit:
EbolaBearVomit Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Monsanto's soy beans have had rogue or loose proteins in some of their product. Since the GMO product is still relatively new no one knows what the consequences of routine ingestion are there is no data on what happens.
Will it become a mad cow disease type of issue where the proteins eventually build up and create a mess or is it just a non-issue?

I think labeling is a good thing, but only for consumer information. Not for pushing any agenda that doesn't focus on just giving the consumer more information.
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:iconmimer:
mimer Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
The difference between selective breeding and inserting, for example, a fish gene into a vegetable should be obvious, and as such the comparison isn't really the best one to make in an argument about gm produce. aside from the obvious biological differences, theres also a big difference in who owns what, in patents etc when it comes to selectively bred variants such as orange carrots (the story about that one isn't all that solid btw) and a specific type of grain which is patent-owned by one specific corporation and what rights they have when this crop is used by a farmer compared to the orange carrot.

It is also worth looking into how well researched the effects, both on people and economy, of gm food is, who is doing the testing, who is approving it, and who pays who in this circus. It makes for interresting reading and it is never bad to have an informed opinion about this sort of thing, or any subject really.

While gm food like crops have advantages, you also have to look at the disadvantages both for the farmers, and the populations outside simply eating them. Who owns this food, who has patents on this or that gene or crop and what situation does that put farmers into? It's not as simple as "its more cost effective because it grows faster". Nothing is that simple.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
I'm not saying it's that simple. My main issue is the amount of undue fear that people have around this issue. That fear is a real and tangible and has proven to have huge affects on the food industry.
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:iconmimer:
mimer Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
You're not really making the issue better by muddling it the way you do when you compare selective breeding with gene splicing. That sort of argument doesn't help the understanding of the actual issues one bit.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
Yeah. its true.
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:icontbschemer:
TBSchemer Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
I'm glad I've left that nanny-state behind.
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:iconsnuffles11:
snuffles11 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
No rules, not ever. Not even helpful ones. After a few people die, we'll get the point, right?
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:icontbschemer:
TBSchemer Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
This isn't daycare. It's real life. Free societies don't have overlords to tell them what's good for them. I'll decide for myself how much salt to eat, how much soda to drink, how to spend my 4th of July, how to defend myself from muggers, and what sort of contracts I'll make in order to make a profit.

If the California nanny state controlled the world in 1900, we wouldn't have nuclear power, we wouldn't have electrical outlets, and we wouldn't have most of the pharmaceuticals you have access to today. You may think there's no downside to regulation, but you'll never end up seeing what you've lost because of it.
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:iconsnuffles11:
snuffles11 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You know, actually, you're right. We don't have overlords telling us what's good for us.

YOUR free society has large multinationals with-holding information from consumers, even if it's safety or nutrition information. And that's a GOOD THING, because we'll find out what's healthy or unhealthy after a few people die from unregulated factory gunk in their food. :D I mean, regulations are never actually enacted for REASONS, they're just thrown up wherever to spite business.

[link]
[link]

:icondumbassplz:
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:iconsnuffles11:
snuffles11 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, no. If you get to decide how much salt you have, then you have to see how much is in the foods your eating. No labels, no knowledge.

But that is somehow better for us too, I'm sure.
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:icondregs-of-humanity:
dregs-of-humanity Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Genetic Modification is not the same thing as selective breeding.

I don't care for getting into pros and cons as I have a million times, but this idea that selective breeding is a form of genetic modification always shows up in these types of threads. Genetic modification is by definition the use of biotechnology to manipulate genes of an organism.

The wild carrot has a small white root that goes woody very quickly, I grow a bit and its completely inedible, but the genes to produce carotene in higher quantities to make them orange, or anthocyanin in higher quantities to make them purple have always been there. Humans placing selective pressure on the plants to make these qualities show is no different than nature applying that pressure, inserting genes from a completely unrelated species such as the genes from soil bacteria in Bt crops is a completely different process that could never occur in nature. To act like they are equally unnatural is ridiculous.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
"Genetic modification is by definition the use of biotechnology to manipulate genes of an organism." which is different from selective breeding how exactly?

" Humans placing selective pressure on the plants to make these qualities show is no different than nature applying that pressure" Except nature doesn't do that, unless we put external forces unto it to do so.
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:icondregs-of-humanity:
dregs-of-humanity Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
"Except nature doesn't do that, unless we put external forces unto it to do so."

Except it does, its called natural selection. Every successive generation of every organism has had selective pressure placed upon it by its environment. If plants face drought conditions only those plants with the genes that enable it to live with less water will survive to pass on their genes. Its no different to humans breeding drought resistant plants by denying them water and only keeping the survivors to breed with.
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
which is different from selective breeding how exactly?

i can't believe you just said that. :iconfacepalmplz:
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
well at the core level, how is it all that different? Two different ways of achieving the same results. How are the means so radically inferior if the end result is the same?
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:iconcouchycreature:
CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
At the core level? Well, genetic modification of plants generally involves splicing a gene into the genome from a different species, such as the inclusion of a gene from Agrobacterium (a disease, a bacteria that causes the growth of galls in about 140 different plant species.)into the Soybean genome.

They (plant and bacteria) cannot breed together to get that result. There is no pollination and fertilisation to produce seed, something that is essential for natural selection in plants.
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
i take it you never had a course in genetics.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
No, but I fail to see how the end result is somehow worse if scientists do it rather than a farmer.
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
one of the basic rules of genetics is genotype =/= phenotype. that is to say, that there is no direct link between genes and traits. if you selectively breed for a trait, say for a domesticated auroch, that involves multiple genes all interacting with one another. if you just switch one gene, you're not going to have the same effect. selective breeding and genetic manipulation are indeed very different processes.

as for the differences you fail to see, consider that selective breeding occurs over many generations. as the "product evolves", so does the consumer. genetic manipulation takes place all at once - there is no co-evolution, so to speak. not to mention that there may be unintended consequences of messing with a gene or two. those consequences might be good or bad for the consumer, and there's really no way to tell ahead of time.

i don't much care about your premise. i only facepalmed because you said selective breeding and genetic manipulation are equivalent, when if you know anything about genetics, they are clearly not. i hope i have demonstrated the basics of this coherently enough for you.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
You have. But even with selective breeding it doesn't take that many generations to get the results you want. In fact, in many species it can be done in a few human life times, certainly not enough for the human body to co-evolve with it. So again, I don't see how one is worse than the other.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmcfrager:
McFrager Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I doubt labeling things would really solve anything -as most consumers rarely care what comprises a hotdog, or what "natural" really means- but i agree with the option of knowing what your buying.


On a semi-side note (as this is the political forum): do you feel that the general populace is being misled or un-informed and that certain things (gm foods, sugar "substitutes", artificial flavoring, etc) may be altering us in more ways than one... one way being the most terrifying (i.e. DNA corruption). Call me paranoid, but i'd say it's smarter to get a cut on your thumb examined rather than let your whole arm rot off.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
I have no doubt that some of that stuff you mentioned is bad. However, it's also societies way of being fucking super lazy about their own diets and what they eat. Instead of actually modifying the types of food and how you prepare food, you blame the bad things in it. I've seen it more as an escape from taking responsibility for your own failures.
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:iconcouchycreature:
CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
GM food is actually about growing enough food to feed all of the people on the planet. This is a pretty good read - [link]
"A number of very important factors are about to change our world," said Beddington, an expert in population biology. "Its population is rising by six million every month and will reach a total of around 9,000 million by 2050. At the same time, it is estimated that by 2030 more than 60% of the population will be living in cities and will no longer be involved in growing crops or raising domestic animals. And on top of that the world's population is getting more prosperous and able to pay for more food."

Beddington said these factors indicated that the world was going to need 40% more food, 30% more water and 50% more energy by the middle of the century.
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:iconmcfrager:
McFrager Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
You got me on that... but you got to admit that the "instant meal whenever, wherever" has been over-glorified in the last half-century or so.
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:iconcouchycreature:
CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:) absolutely. No disagreement from me on that statement. I just remember from my horticulture studies that the need to grow more food would become imperitive with the population increases projected. I expect whole countries to starve and their populations to disperse or dissappear. Eating organic foods will become a major sign of luxury, as it is already to some degree, with only westernised nations being able to afford to be so choosey and not eat whatever food is available.

Grains and fibre plants will continue to be the major GM targets. More cotton, more rice, more wheat, more oats + grasses for animal feeds.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
DNA corruption is hardly terrifying. Ever been sunburnt? Well then, your DNA has been corrupted ;)
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:iconmcfrager:
McFrager Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I thought people were a bit more adapted to sunlight than large concentrations of salts and sugars though.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Not really. People die of skin cancer, all the time.
'Tanning is skin cells in trauma.'
'You don't have to burn to get cancer'

are just two catchphrases from local campaigns. ( country with the highest rate of skin cancer, and the state I live in is has the highest rate in the country)

here is yet one of the ads.

[link]
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:iconmcfrager:
McFrager Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Excess of a good things lead to bad i guess... and that video was disturbing -but catchy.
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
But it's not even excess. the UV index today, where I live is 12. With a UV index of 9, you burn in less than 15 minutes.
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:iconmcfrager:
McFrager Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
(Huh, I did not know about UV index....)


15 minutes? Sunscreen manufacturers must love your neck of the woods.... on a side note: what's your view on sunscreen/skin applied solutions?
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Some are good, but some contain nasties as well. IIRC, if you go to the sunsmart cancer council, they stock sunscreens that have less toxic ingredients.
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:iconno-doves-fly-here:
no-doves-fly-here Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Most people may in fact not care, but the number of people who do care seems to be growing. Even in my middle-of-fucking-nowhere redneck town, back when I worked at the grocery store here I saw people reading ingredients on product labels and putting shit back on the shelves all the time when they noticed ingredients which they could not identify.
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:iconpoopgoblyn:
Poopgoblyn Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Which is ridiculously stupid and ignorant.
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:iconno-doves-fly-here:
no-doves-fly-here Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
It is "ridiculously stupid and ignorant" to not trust something which you have never heard of before properly researching it?

Please, o great sage, share with me more of your magnificent wisdom.
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:iconpakaku:
Pakaku Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Genetically-modified foods are fine. If they weren't, do you honestly believe they would sell it?
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:iconebolabearvomit:
EbolaBearVomit Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
I know right!
Cigars are 100% safe too.
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:iconpakaku:
Pakaku Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
don't forget... Uh... Booze! Good for the mind
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:iconebolabearvomit:
EbolaBearVomit Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Vodka!
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:iconno-doves-fly-here:
no-doves-fly-here Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
"Genetically-modified foods are fine."

[link]
[link]
[link]
[link]

Etc, etc...

"If they weren't, do you honestly believe they would sell it?"

Holy shit you cannot possibly be serious? :lol:
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