Press release

Scientific Consensus on GMO safety

GMOs as safe as conventional crops, and provide multiple benefits

 

GMOs as safe as conventional crops, and provide multiple benefits

Brussels, 24 May 2016 - The list of GMO studies and reports by the world’s most representative scientific institutions just grew longer, with the addition this month of an in depth report by the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicines (NAS) and a new Q&A document on GM plants by the UK’s Royal Society.

Unsurprisingly, both confirm what many, including the European Academies of Science, and even the EU Commission have known for years: GMO crops are as safe as conventional crops. And guess what? That’s not all. According the NAS report, as also covered in media across Europe, GMOs are not just safe, they provide multiple benefits.

An editorial in the Times entitled “Anti-science madness has got to be stopped” clearly makes the case for GMOs, suggesting that GMO naysayers are akin to climate change deniers, who are ignoring the science. As noted in Le Monde, GMOs can help optimise the use of insecticides, benefit human health, for example through addressing vitamin A deficiencies, and benefit farmers. An article in the UK's Observer notes that the Europe can no longer turn its back on the benefits of GM crops, citing similar benefits, but also highlighting potential environmental benefits linked to the development of omega-3 traits. The Observer article correctly notes that scientists are now warning that "Europe is becoming a backwater for new breeding technologies", further denouncing the "cherry picking" of those NGOs who choose to demonise the technology when it suits their purpose. The NAC report was also picked up by El Pais and Repubblica, amongst many other outlets.

The UK’s Royal Society Q&A document received broad coverage including on the BBC and in The Times. Its important clarifications include : “Crops do not damage the environment simply because they are GM”, and “there is no evidence that producing a new crop variety using GM techniques is more likely to have unforeseen effects than producing one using conventional cross breeding.” The Royal Society’s president said: “I don’t think we can afford to give up on useful technologies especially to help poorer countries have a reliable and nutritious source of food”.

As noted by Gregory Jaffe, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, according to the article in Le Monde, the research is comprehensive and should reassure consumers about GMO safety.