1. SubscriberFMF
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    09 Feb '09 03:43
    Is the apple, a post-modern miracle of science, losing its appeal? It's now a spherical object created with the help of thirty-two chemical products, then dipped in wax, then gassed. In the long run such 'apples' are as likely to bring on a doctor as keep one away. No?
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    09 Feb '09 04:351 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    Is the apple, a post-modern miracle of science, losing its appeal? It's now a spherical object created with the help of thirty-two chemical products, then dipped in wax, then gassed. In the long run such 'apples' are as likely to bring on a doctor as keep one away. No?
    How is the apple truly a miracle of science?

    What evidence do you have that these chemicals are actually hurting the apple or make apples less healthy? Also, which chemicals specifically are you referring to?

    Just because something's a chemical doesn't make it unhealthy or bad.

    I'm not saying none of them are bad or could be bad, I'm just wondering where the actual facts are to show that apples are now unhealthy assuming they are just taken from the grocery store and then washed off?
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    09 Feb '09 06:05
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    How is the apple truly a miracle of science?

    What evidence do you have that these chemicals are actually hurting the apple or make apples less healthy? Also, which chemicals specifically are you referring to?

    Just because something's a chemical doesn't make it unhealthy or bad.

    I'm not saying none of them are bad or could be bad, I'm just wonder ...[text shortened]... s are now unhealthy assuming they are just taken from the grocery store and then washed off?
    Isn't H2O also a chemical?
  4. Cape Town
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    09 Feb '09 06:15
    Originally posted by FMF
    Is the apple, a post-modern miracle of science, losing its appeal? It's now a spherical object created with the help of thirty-two chemical products, then dipped in wax, then gassed. In the long run such 'apples' are as likely to bring on a doctor as keep one away. No?
    I assume you are talking about the practice in some parts of some countries.
    Do the 'chemical products' you refer to include fertilizers and pesticides, or are you referring to ripening and coloring agents?
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    09 Feb '09 06:17
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    What evidence do you have that these chemicals are actually hurting the apple or make apples less healthy?
    Sorry, I kicked this off with a rather ironic bit of extemporization.

    Consumers havr good reason to worry about the real long-term effects of industrial agriculture on their health. They don't really want to think about 30,000 yearly "unintentional" deaths from pesticides or the 4,000,000 cases of "acute severe" pesticide poisonings. They know "agriculture run-off" is among the leading causes of water polllution. Even water tables are contaminated, thus raising doubts about the supply of drinking water. To argue that industrial agriculture must be accepted because it represents progress is self-contradictory.
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    09 Feb '09 06:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I assume you are talking about the practice in some parts of some countries. Do the 'chemical products' you refer to include fertilizers and pesticides, or are you referring to ripening and coloring agents?
    I am not an expert on this. That's why I started the thread because I know I will get some interesting material to read.

    I had in mind expensive industrial products like insecticides, herbicides, industrial fertilizers, hormones, anti-biotics and post-production treatments like irradiation that have driven up costs, created overproduction (thus reducing income), while at the same time having environmental and health impacts that scientists are rushing to identify and mitigate as we speak.
  7. Cape Town
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    09 Feb '09 07:31
    Originally posted by FMF
    I am not an expert on this. That's why I started the thread because I know I will get some interesting material to read.

    I had in mind expensive industrial products like insecticides, herbicides, industrial fertilizers, hormones, anti-biotics and post-production treatments like irradiation that have driven up costs, created overproduction (thus reducing incom ...[text shortened]... ironmental and health impacts that scientists are rushing to identify and mitigate as we speak.
    I don't agree with the 'driven up costs' bit. No sensible farmer will use product that drive up the cost of his produce.
    I also cant see how over production results in a reduction in income.
    I do know that the EU and the US subsidize their farmers which does lead to over production but I don't have any stats on the matter. I think quite often they export the excess which can be bad for other peoples economies.

    There are definitely environmental and health impacts of modern farming methods and there are of course better ways to do it. However many of the better ways cost more.

    I do think that developed countries have often gone overboard in demanding that fruit look nice even when it comes at the cost of nutrition.
  8. Germany
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    09 Feb '09 11:04
    It's all just a matter of investigating the effects of the different chemicals and enforcing quotas. Personally, I'm not too worried about pesticides.
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    09 Feb '09 11:373 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I don't agree with the 'driven up costs' bit. No sensible farmer will use product that drive up the cost of his produce.
    I also cant see how over production results in a reduction in income.
    I do know that the EU and the US subsidize their farmers which does lead to over production but I don't have any stats on the matter. I think quite often they expor ...[text shortened]... one overboard in demanding that fruit look nice even when it comes at the cost of nutrition.
    ….I don't agree with the 'driven up costs' bit. No sensible farmer will use product that drive up the cost of his produce.
    ..…


    Exactly! -and I should know because I used to be just such a farmer!

    I also got a distinction in C&G horticulture but then was made painfully aware of the paranoia the laymen have about the use of pesticides. I once sprayed an insecticide on my field against white fly pest near the house of a neighbour. The insecticide consisted of formulated fatty acid -formulated soap to be more precise! -it is a scientific FACT that it is non-toxic to people. But as soon as my neighbours saw me spray they panicked and told me not to spray because they said they didn’t want any of it to drift onto them and contaminate them and no matter how hard I tried to convince them that what I was spraying was harmless they just didn’t believe me. They even threatened to ‘do me in’.

    Most of the modern chemicals that are used on the farm are like that and nothing like the old chemicals that used to be used -most of them are highly selective and have very low toxicity to humans and many now even have zero toxicity to humans!
    That is because all the more toxic ones have been banned one after the other forcing the chemical manufacturers to come up with more selective chemicals.
    Of course, there are still some that are used that are highly toxic and arguably should be banned.
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    09 Feb '09 18:05
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Isn't H2O also a chemical?
    Dihydrogen monoxide is a very dangerous chemical indeed! Many people die every year from taking to much of it into their lungs.
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    09 Feb '09 18:09
    Originally posted by FMF
    Sorry, I kicked this off with a rather ironic bit of extemporization.

    Consumers havr good reason to worry about the real long-term effects of industrial agriculture on their health. They don't really want to think about 30,000 yearly "unintentional" deaths from pesticides or the 4,000,000 cases of "acute severe" pesticide poisonings. They know "agriculture ru ...[text shortened]... strial agriculture must be accepted because it represents progress is self-contradictory.
    I think it's definitely legitimate to look at the effects of various pesticides and other chemicals used.

    My main problem is that the answer isn't just to go completely "organic" since this has other costs - you need more land to produce the same amount of healthy food.

    I also want to resist the kind of hysteria that I see some people (not necessarily you) express when they think of "chemicals in our food".

    Some chemicals are neutral to plants and some are probably beneficial.

    We just need to investigate and balance the benefits and the detriments to each.
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