Dr. Fred Gould of North Carolina State University is the chair of the 20-member volunteer group that worked for two years to prepare a study for the National Academy of Sciences released this week. The report concludes that genetically modified organisms cause no more health problems for people than other foods, and Gould explains the group approached the project well aware of the strong opinions on the subject of GMOs.
“There are people saying that without genetically engineered crops we’re never going to be able to feed the world in 2050, and there are people who say that eating a genetically engineered crop will cause sterility or cause cancer. So there are a lot of things floating around and the idea was that there was a clear need for a study that carefully examined the evidence behind those claims and the rigor of the research that backed it up.”
The 388-page study, which researched food safety, found no difference in illnesses or cancer rates when America started to consume GMO foods.
“We have 20 years of people in the U.S. and Canada eating genetically engineered crops and similar to that projection in terms of yields we looked to see if you looked at cancers and other chronic diseases, would you see a change in the pattern of those diseases after 1996. We didn’t see any evidence of that. We also compared the patterns in the U.S and Canada to the patterns in the U.K. and the EU, because in those countries people are not eating genetically engineered foods. We did not see a difference in those patterns. Now this is epidemiological data. It’s not going to find small differences, but when somebody says that cancer rates probably have gone up two-fold, we would have seen something like that.”
The report also found no conclusive evidence of relationships between genetically modified crops and environmental problems. Researchers also say that the adoption of genetically engineered crops in the U.S. has made no significant impact on yields. The research claims the rate of which crop yields were increasing in the U.S. did not change when American farmers adopted genetically engineered crops.
America Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall commented on the study, saying it “should close the book on any further debate over the safety and benefits of GMOs. It reaffirms what we have known all along. Genetically engineered crops are safe and beneficial to agriculture, human health and the environment.”
AFBF’s Duvall added, “The Academies also found that we do not need a label for food made from genetically engineered crops because those foods are as safe to consume as any other. This finding is timely, as the Senate has yet to pass legislation to pre-empt state-by-state labeling mandates—mandates that are not based on science or food safety issues and would be misleading and costly for consumers. The study gives senators all the evidence they need to support a national, voluntary labeling standard and we urge them to do so soon—before it is too late to halt the non-science-based labeling mandate in Vermont.
Sources: NAFB News Service & AFBF