GMO foods safe, green

Recently, a report from the National Academy of Sciences provided assurance of the safety and importance of genetically engineered (GMO) foods. This report gained national attention by major media and other sources.

The National Academy of Sciences is composed of 20 respected scientists from the United States and abroad. Their report titled “Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects” was based on more than 1,000 published research papers, 80 information gathering meetings and more than 700 public comments.  One of the main points in their study was that GMO foods are as safe to eat as conventional foods.

“Studies with animals and research on the chemical composition of genetically engineered (GMO) foods currently on the market reveal no differences that would implicate a higher risk to human health and safety than from eating their non-GE counterparts,” the report states.  They further said studies do not show any associations between diseases or chronic conditions and eating GMO foods.  They also added that they did not see mandatory labeling for GMO foods “to protect public health.”

Genetically engineered or GMO crops do not cause environmental problems, according to the report.  In fact, local farmers say they are good for the environment because they reduce the number of trips across the field to get their crops planted.  At the same time, they reduce the amount of pesticides needed to control insects and diseases.  According to the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, a group dedicated to protecting safe, affordable food, the main-stream media has been giving coverage to this study by the National Academy of Sciences.  They report that the National Geographic said this: “Genetically engineered crops are as safe to eat as their non-GE counterparts, they have no adverse environmental impacts, and they have reduced the use of pesticides.  That’s according to a comprehensive report released by the National Academy of Sciences.”

According to NBC News: “Genetically modified crops on the market are not only safe but appear to be good for people and the environment,” experts determined in a report released recently.  No money was used from biotech companies to conduct this study.  The scientists involved were carefully checked for any financial conflicts of interest that would have impaired their objectivity or created an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization.  In spite of this over-whelming evidence that GMO foods are safe and good for the environment, some “food experts” in the media are not willing to say they are safe.  One TV “doctor” who is more of a showman than doctor had several reasons why he didn’t believe the report.  He used a lot of flimsy excuses and ignored the facts of the study.

Genetically modified foods are important to providing an abundant food supply, not only for our nation but for the entire world.  Some governments have turned their backs on them, creating possible food shortages among their people.  These governments, as well as those in this country that refused to accept safe, proven agricultural technology, should be held accountable for being the cause of not enough food in the world and in this country.  Over the years adoption of agricultural technology had provided plenty of food for our dinner tables at reasonable prices when compared to our take home incomes.

John Parker is retired from Ohio State University and is an independent agricultural writer.