Science & safety
Agricultural biotechnology allows plant breeders to introduce genes into one plant from a wide range of living sources and/or edit a plant’s existing genes in order to enhance or develop specific crop traits. This process enables farmers to grow food, fibre and fuel more efficiently in order to meet consumer needs. It can make crops more robust against diseases, resistant to certain pests and herbicides, tolerant to drought, or more nutritious. It also has the advantage of being more targeted and rapid than conventional breeding, because only a few genes carrying known functions are inserted into the recipient genome, bypassing the need for crossing plants multiple times as required by traditional breeding. Although it is only one tool in the modern farming toolbox, agricultural biotech holds vast potential for addressing many environmental and societal challenges.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission, along with other academies of science and regulators around the world, including the European Academies of Science Advisory Council (EASAC), agree that genetically modified crops (GMOs) are as safe as conventionally bred crops. Since the first widespread commercialisation of GM produce 18 years ago, there has been no evidence of ill effects linked to the consumption of any approved GM crop (see related publication below).