National Academy of Sciences Reports Genetically Modified Food is Safe

The report concludes that “Genetically engineered crops appear to be safe to eat and do not harm the environment…” However, it is certain the report does not end the controversies. An organization of companies selling genetically modified seeds observes the report demonstrates “…that agricultural biotechnology has demonstrated benefits to farmers, consumers, and the environment.” However, Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union “…pointed to the lack of a significant increase in yield.” Several carefully worded statements in the report leave the door open to critics of GMOs. For example, it says “…foods made from such crops do not appear to pose health risks, based on chemical analysis of the foods and on animal feeding studies…” Critics will focus on the “do not appear” part of the statement and will add that the report also “…says many animal studies are too small to provide firm conclusions.” Those kind of criticisms are certain to continue despite the fact that “…several other regulatory, scientific, and health organizations have previously also concluded the foods are safe.”

The report does address the myth that GMOs have harmed the environment, to include monarch butterflies. It says there is “…no conclusive evidence of a cause-and effect relationship between G.E. crops and environmental problems. It says it has not been proved that the increased planting of such crops is indirectly responsible for the decline of the monarch butterfly.” I’ll warn that no one will go back and delete Internet stories that GMOs are killing butterflies.

My favorite part of the article is a quote from a professor who is a proponent of biotechnology. “The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.”

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