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In Praise of Rapeseed

 
                    
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Rapeseed is grown for the production of animal feed, vegetable oil for human consumption, and biodiesel; leading producers include the European Union, Canada, the United States, Australia, China and India. In India, it is grown on 13% of cropped land. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, rapeseed was the third leading source of vegetable oil in the world in 2000, after soybean and oil palm, and also the world's second leading source of protein meal, although only one-fifth of the production of the leading soybean meal. World production is growing rapidly, with FAO reporting that 36 million tonnes of rapeseed was produced in the 2003-4 season, and 46 million tonnes in 2004-5. In Europe, rapeseed is primarily cultivated for animal feed[citation needed] (due to its very high lipid and medium protein content[citation needed]), and is a leading option for Europeans to avoid importation of GMO products[citation needed].
Canola seedsNatural rapeseed oil contains erucic acid, which is mildly toxic to humans in large doses but is used as a food additive in smaller doses. Canola, originally a syncopated form of the abbreviation "Can.O., L-A." (Canadian Oilseed, Low-Acid) that was used by the Manitoba government to label the seed during its experimental stages, is now a tradename for low erucic acid rapeseed. Sometimes the "Canola-quality" label is applied to other varieties as well[3].
The rapeseed is the valuable, harvested component of the crop. The crop is also grown as a winter-cover crop. It provides good coverage of the soil in winter, and limits nitrogen run-off. The plant is ploughed back in the soil or used as bedding. On some ecological or organic operations, livestock such as sheep or cattle are allowed to graze on the plants.
Processing of rapeseed for oil production provides rapeseed animal meal as a by-product. The by-product is a high-protein animal feed, competitive with soya[citation needed]. The feed is mostly employed for cattle feeding, but also for pigs and chickens (though less valuable for these). The meal has a very low content of the glucosinolates responsible for metabolism disruption in cattle and pigs[citation needed]. Rapeseed "oil cake" is also used as a fertilizer in China, and may be used for ornamentals, such as Bonsai, as well.
Rapeseed leaves and stems are also edible, similar to those of the related bok choy or kale. Some varieties of rapeseed (called 油菜, yóu cài, lit. "oil vegetable" in Chinese; yau choy in Cantonese; cải dầu in Vietnamese; and 菜の花, nanohana in Japanese) are sold as greens, primarily in Asian groceries.
Rapeseed is a heavy nectar producer, and honeybees produce a light colored, but peppery honey from it. It must be extracted immediately after processing is finished, as it will quickly granulate in the honeycomb and will be impossible to extract. The honey is usually blended with milder honeys, if used for table use, or sold as bakery grade. Rapeseed growers contract with beekeepers for the pollination of the crop.

-wikipedia
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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Seventy-five percent of the rapeseed in the U.S. is genetically modified. 

It can contaminate other rapeseed plants as far as 16 miles in any direction, and is currently crossing with other brassicas, including wild relatives. Scientists are saying that complete purity of non-GM crops cannot be maintained by geographical separation.

Once GM rapeseed is grown on a site, it can take 16 years to be consider 'clean' of the GM variety.

Whoopeedoodoo! 

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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how was it genetically modified? I know the whole story on "canola" and read all the scare tactic articles but I haven't seen where the ueric (sp?) acid was anything more than just bred out of them like we do and have done for centuries with other plants and animals. Every plant we eat is GM if you look at it from the perspective that we having been selectively breeding them for some time and few of them resmble the original plant.
 
Susan Monroe
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Genetic modification is NOT just crossing pollen (hybridization).  GM is altering the basic DNA by genetic engineering, direct manipulation of the organisms genes, using the techniques of molecular cloning and transformation to alter the structure and characteristics of genes directly, in a way that never happens naturally.

RoundUp-Ready corn, for example, has been changed molecularly so farmers can plant it and then spray it with RoundUp (much heavier doses than they would ordinarily) to kill the weeds between the plants.

Suppose all the feed corn in the U.S. was all genetically the same. That corn would be wide open to any disease that came along. There would be no genetic diversity left to fight it. What do you think would happen to the farmers if all of a sudden there was absolutely NO feed corn for two or three years, or even one?

So far, everything Monsanto has bragged about has been an outright lie, that it's cheaper, better, etc. They swore on a stack of Bibles that it wouldn't cross-pollinate related plants more than 1/8 of a mile, and now studies are showing that it can travel at least 16 miles in any direction.

This stuff was put on the market without even a modicum of testing.  They have no idea how it can affect the biodiversity and safety of the world's food supply, although they are beginning to find out.  GM crops are already contaminating previously pure stands of heritage varieties of many vegetables for miles around the GM plantings, even the near relatives that are considered weeds.

Monsanto has been suing farmers whose crops are cross-pollinated by Monsanto's GM crops when they unknowingly plant or sell the resulting seed.  Farmers need to get their heads out of that warm dark place and start suing back for crop contamination.

You can google all over the place for information on this stuff, and it doesn't look good, and will probably look far worse a few years down the road.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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I was aware of the modified corn becoming a problem. Seems they didn't know what they were getting into (gee humans have never done that before :roll. I just hadn't found anything that sounded like more than hype revealing that rapeseed had been modified in this manner.

so a quick google has turned up that it is gm to resist herbicides.  I was under the understanding that people were worried about it being gm to lower the euric acid content to make it more sutiable for human consumption, I didn't realize they made it round up ready. gee It seems they should have been able to see this coming.
 
Susan Monroe
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It kind of makes you wonder if they are blind to the negative possibilities, or if they think control of the world's food supply also means they can also control the monsters they turn loose.  And if they can't control the results?

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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sitting on the outside looking in it seems so obvious that this sort of thing could have disastrous consequences. How many times are they going to do this before they learn to see it coming? I think part of it is about money, part of it is about prestige/ego coupled with a massive dose of arrogance, sprinkled with ignorance and lack of forethought.
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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That's probably a pretty good assessment. Toss in some power and I think you've got it.

Sue
 
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