Are there any negative impacts on consumer health from eating GMOs?
After being on the market for about 20 years, there is no evidence to suggest that GMOs are harmful. Crops from GM seeds with in-plant agronomic traits are the same nutritionally as their counterpart crops that aren’t from GM seeds; for example, GM corn has the same nutritional and health properties as non-GM corn, including the same levels of amino acids, protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins. The crops are tested to confirm these nutritional properties, along with being studied extensively and approved by FDA, USDA and EPA to make sure they are safe for people, animals and the environment. Crops from GM seeds that have altered the nutritional quality of plants, for example high oleic soybean oil (which eliminates trans fats) go through this same rigorous regulatory approval processes to ensure consumer safety. To date, few crops with nutritional differences are available, as many are still in the regulatory approval process, specifically foreign market approvals.
Today’s GM products take an average of $136 million and 13 years (Phillips McDougall, “The Cost and time involved in the discovery, development and authorization of a new plant biotechnology derived trait.” September 2011) to bring to market. In fact, while GM crops go through USDA, EPA and FDA approval processes, crops created through natural selection or selective breeding don’t, despite the fact that many food plants grown in nature (i.e. non-GMO) can be very dangerous to people – for example, certain types of mushrooms, castor beans if not handled properly, apple seeds (which contain cyanide), and the poison in the leaves of rhubarb.
Transgenic biotechnology (GMO) is safe because it is an extremely precise method of plant breeding based on a complete understanding of the plant’s genetic code. This allows scientists to change a single characteristic or trait in the plant, for example, resistance to an insect or disease, without changing anything else about the plant’s genetic makeup.
Additionally, there is no scientific data to support claims that GMOs cause new allergies, gluten intolerance, cancers, infertility, ADHD or any other diseases. They are digested in the body the same as non-GMO crops. Since 1996 when farmers first started growing crops from GM seeds, there has not been a single documented instance of human harm, including new allergic reactions to foods produced with them.
And lastly, numerous government and scientific organizations have affirmed the health and safety of GM crops:
- The National Research Council of the US National Academies of Science
- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- The World Health Organization
- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
- American Medical Association
- The Council on Agriculture Science and British Medical Association
- The European Commission
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Society of Microbiology
- British Medical Association
- Australian Academy of Sciences
- Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Chinese Academy of Sciences
- Council for Agricultural Science and Technology
- European Food Safety Authority
- Federation of Animal Science Societies
- French Academy of Science
- Indian National Science Academy
- Institute of Food Technologists
- International Council for Sciences
- International Life Sciences Institute
- International Union of Food Science and Technology
- Italian National Academy of Science
- Mexican Academy of Sciences
- Royal Society (United Kingdom)