Industrial-Sized Deals Shop all Back to School Shop Men's Hightops Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Fidlar $5 Off Fire TV Stick Grocery Shop Popular Services hog hog hog  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Now Deal of the Day

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
One of the hardest contemporary stories to cover is genetically modified food. It is tangled with pure science, technology, industrialization, profiteering, and world politics. In the past ten years, there have been loud boasts and loud denunciations about GM crops. Those who invent and stand to profit from new herbicide-resistant, insect-resistant, salt-resistant, nutrient-added species have promised that farmers, starving third-world children, and the environment will all be benefited. On the other side are those equally insistent that "Frankenfood" promises nothing but superweeds, distorted genomes for traditional crops, allergies, decimation of fauna, and benefit to no one but giant corporations. Peter Pringle has entered this zone of contention almost like a war correspondent, and his bulletins from the front form _Food, Inc.: Mendel to Monsanto - The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest_ (Simon & Schuster). Pringle has tried not to take sides, but to report on the curiosities, colorful characters, and paradoxes of the new technology. Because of this, the volume will probably be unsatisfactory to anyone with strong feelings on one side or the other, but it is a good overall look at the controversy. Pringle insists that people are going to have to make informed decisions on these issues, and his book is a good step in that direction.

Pringle starts with the story of Ingo Potrykus, one of the researchers who invented "golden rice." Potrykus coaxed genes from daffodils (of all things) into rice so that the grains contained beta carotene, which can be converted in the body to vitamin A. Getting the vitamin to third-worlders who didn't have it was supposed to put a humanitarian face on the worrisome technology. It didn't happen because a mega-company had to be paid off, and the biotech industry was accused of various other infractions. While Pringle certainly covers the overreactions of anti-biotech forces, he has the most criticism for Monsanto and its fellow corporations. He gives many examples of how GM food has been cavalierly treated and regulated.

There is potential that GM crops might help us, but we are stumbling. Environmental activists shout whenever there is any product from GM agriculture, and the corporations have a skuzzy record of bullying Mexican bean importers and Canadian rapeseed growers for punitive royalties, as well as lying about the possible dangers of the crops. The dangers are considerable; what is going to happen, for instance, when genes to produce medicines are inserted into our grain and we get tetanus vaccine in our corn flakes? The industry has done so bad of job of safety issues that rightly or wrongly, the European Union will not import GM plants, and starving Zimbabwe has refused relief from GM corn. There is surprisingly little evidence that GM crops actually help in any way; even the financial benefits of Bt crops have been no better than marginal. The problems are not going to go away; having tinkered with the basics of plant identities, humans are unlikely to stop. _Food, Inc._ is a thoughtful and unalarmist look at the problems. GM plants have promise and hazard, and neither their promoters or detractors, nor governmental regulators, are providing sufficient service to those of us at the bottom of the food chain.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2004
I am often frustrated by the bias nature of these books, I was very impressed by the authors work. Having a science background and working in the biotech arena, I appreciated the factual information that did not seem to promote the anit-GE view that much of the literature in the area does (like I said, a very balanced report). It is written at a level that most people will be able to understand and is very entertaining. This book is great no matter what side of the debate you stand on and I highly recomend it .
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2004
My main reservation with the book is that it really doesn't give you enough information to make up your own mind, it covers a lot of different 'events' in the history of GM but it doesn't go below the surface, beyond what you would read in a newspaper article.
For example, it talks about the work of Berkeley researchers showing contamination of Mexican crops with American GM ones, and it talks about how the critics claimed the researchers made mistakes 1st year grad students are taught not to make, and it talks about how it is the only article Nature has taken away support after publishing it. And that's it, then it moves on to another topic.
But: What was the flaw in the study? What was the defense of the authors? What have follow up studies concluded? I don't know, because it is not in the book. So what did I learn from this? That GM is a research topic that raises controversies, which is the reason I bought the book in the first place! But I did not learn about the true potential danger of contamination from GM to non-GM crops.
This is not an isolated example, most of the book (written by a journalist) is consistent with the cynical view that journalists know a bit of everything, but a lot about nothing...
I will have to read another book on GM-food to really make up my mind, not a lot of informative information here. Just a bunch of facts and anecdotes leaving out the true scientific value of them out!
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Is the food supply really safe? Does our government look out for the interest of the consumer and the environment or is it in the hip pocket of the giant corporations? Being a totally non-scientific person, I had to struggle with terminology in this discussion of the pros and cons of genetically altered crops. Pringle does a reasonably good job of presenting both sides of the argument in the simplest terms possible. He also does a fine job of sprinkling in some of the history of the debate, defining who the players are and assessing the political landscape. For example, did you know that caffeine genes have been inserted into soybeans? Think of the enormous worldwide economic implications if coffee could suddenly be grown in North Dakota. What about the consequences of human beings and animals consuming genetically altered foods? And were you aware that the existence of the much beloved monarch butterfly is threatened by genetically altered crops? These are the kinds of topics explored here. It is the kind of book that makes you want to learn more about these very important issues. Recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2007
I second those people who found this book to be a bit TOO concise. In failing to offer important details about issues like Dr. Pusztai's experiments, or the L-triptophan contamination (in this case, the author even gives out the wrong information that more than one brand was involved), the book may be at times misleading.

On the other hand, it is fairly unbiased. But in the sense that it shows how both sides on this issue have gone a little overboard in their efforts, by exaggerating their claims.

Anyway, it's worth reading if you have some previous knowledge about the issue and want to refresh your mind on the most relevant events.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2007
Peter Pringle has written a book that covers the debate over GMOs as thoroughly as any could. Food, Inc., looks at all sides of a very complex sociopolitical issue and provides an amazing platform for further examination of the subject--sort of a GMOs 101. For anyone who doesn't know much of anything on the subject and has an interest, you MUST read this book!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
I wouldn't listen to the negative nancies here. These books are needed in our culture. There may be some parts that are not in-depth or some facts that are slightly skewed but it doesn't change the fact that these companies are purely about greed and power. At the top they will do anything in their power to rip apart small farms and herald the new awakening of everything GMO without producing but a couple ridiculous studies that have no bearing on if they are safe or not. When Monsanto sees a problem they buy ****. They buy any and everything they can to silence that problem. Maybe there are some decent people working at the company but let me tell you if I met one of these people face to face I would spit on them. They are dirt. Nothing they have done to this point is positive for our culture, our farms, or our children. They are liars and cowards to the bone. There is a reason European countries are banning GMOs. They have absolutely no safety regulations whatsoever.

The book is more of an overview of the science and history behind the tech and firms. It may not be the best but it gives you a balanced view on the culture behind a lot of biotech history. A good quick read. Probably more like 4 stars but I must give it the full as these things right now are very important for out culture to understand it the fullest degree.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on January 19, 2015
This book is ESSENTIAL. To what? I dont know, whatever class you are taking it for, but its great to inform you about the whole GMO buzz people get all upset about. Spoiler: its not that big of a deal, what IS a problem is the ethical practices (or lack of) from biotech companies like Monsanto.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on January 30, 2013
THis book was very interesting! explains everything to the detail, and doesn't get too boring. It makes you look at food a different way and ask yourself if the food you are eating is probably genetically modified.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 3, 2014
Good information& history of GMO. Beginning is great; then it tapers off. Need to update this book with current events.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food
Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food by Pamela C. Ronald (Paperback - January 8, 2010)
$15.36

The World According to Monsanto
The World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin (Paperback - January 3, 2012)
$12.80
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.