New report finds no issues with genetically-modified crops.
The National Academies of Sciences just released a 408-page report that essentially says they could not find any issues with the use of genetically-modified (GMO) crops, and the growing and consumption of these crops has not led to a decrease in insect diversity or problems with human health, according to an article on csmonitor.com.
Despite that information, some groups are calling for all food that contain GMOs to be labeled as such, and the states of Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have passed laws mandating such labels be applied to those products. Congress failed to pass a Republican-led bill that would strike down requirements for labeling GMO products, but some companies, including General Mills and Campbell Soup have agreed to add the labeling to their offerings.
The report stopped short of giving a definite answer to the question, saying, “We made recommendations on our findings. Ultimately, however, decisions about how to govern new crops need to be made by societies. There is an indisputable case for regulations to be informed by accurate scientific information, but history makes clear that solely ‘scientific-based regulation’ is rare and not necessarily desirable.”
The committed that worked on the report included 20 members, mostly from the academic world, and analyzed almost 1,000 research articles, 80 speakers on the subject, and 15 webinars, focusing on primarily GMO crops grown in the US. The research looked at corn and cotton that had been modified to be resistant to certain insects, and also at soybeans, corn and cotton, engineered to be resistant to herbicides.
The committed compared the rates of certain diseases in the US, where GMO crops have been in use since 1996, to rates in Western Europe, where the use of these types crops has been limited. The comparison of rates of cancer, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, autism, celiac disease or food allergies revealed no evidence of increase due to the crops.
Nevertheless, the debate rages on. Most scientists say they have found no indications of issues with the crops, but opponents say it only makes sense the altering of the genetics of the plants cannot be done without some consequences.
Stefaan Blancke, who analyzed the psychological reasons people oppose GMOs, said “For now, the best way to turn the tide and generate a more positive public response to GMOs is to play into people’s intuitions as well. Given the benefits and promises of GM technology, such a change is much needed.”