Are GMOs safe? Those eager for a definitive response from the scientific community on the hotly-debate agriculture topic will have to continue waiting for an answer.
Just days after the biotech industry garnered approval to put the world’s first GMO apple on the market, food safety advocates released a report in response to the suggestion that the “science on GMOs” has been settled.
The food safety groups behind the new GMO safety report include Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and Pesticide Action Network. The coalition cited a January 24 statement in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe that stated there has been no final decision about the overall safety of genetically modified foods. The statement was signed by 300 doctors, scientists, physicians, and scholars.
“Preeminent science bodies like the National Research Council have recognized that some engineered foods could pose considerable risk. It is widely recognized by scientists that those risks depend on the particular engineered gene and crop. It is unfortunate that self-appointed advocates for the technology have selectively cited the literature and organizations to suggest that GE crops, generally, present no risks that warrant concern,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist and director of sustainable agriculture at the Center for Food Safety.
The journal statement, entitled “No scientific consensus on GMO safety,” does not go so far as issuing an opinion on GMO safety. The report instead notes efforts by some farmers, scientists, GMO seed developers, and journalists to ensure that the American public realizes that the GMO safety debate is far from over.
“The claim [that GMOs are safe] is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on this issue,” the statement said.
A recent Pew poll about the safety of GMOs found that 88 percent of AAAS scientists feel GMO crops are “generally safe” to eat. The Pew group polled 3,748 scientists in a vast array of fields, not limited to crop scientists with specific expertise here agriculture expertise. When the same question was posed to the general public, only 37 percent of respondents said they felt GMO crops were safe.
“The science is quite clear – crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe,” a 2012 statement by the group of AAAS scientists claimed.
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