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GMO Crop Report Says Review of Literature Shows No Human Health Danger

Image: GMO Crop Report Says Review of Literature Shows No Human Health Danger
Activists take part in a march against US agrochemical giant Monsanto and GMO food products, May 23, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 May 2016 12:45 PM

A comprehensive GMO crop report found that genetically altered foods are not harmful to human health.

The study, published recently by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, involved a committee of 20 scientists who examined roughly 900 publications on the effects of genetically engineered crops on human health and the environment, Time magazine reported.

"While recognizing the inherent difficulty of detecting subtle or long-term effects on health or the environment, the study committee found no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops, nor did it find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops," the report said, according to Discovery News.

While warning against sweeping statements about the multidimensional issue, the 388-page report said GMOs, also referred to as GE (genetically engineered) foods, have not caused health increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies, USA Today reported.

It also found no evidence that the crops have affected Monarch butterfly populations.

The report comes as some consumer advocates are pushing for mandatory labeling of GMOs, prompting its authors to offer a statement on the matter.

"The committee does not believe that mandatory labeling of foods with GE content is justified to protect public health, but it noted that the issue involves social and economic choices that go beyond technical assessments of health or environmental safety; ultimately, it involves value choices that technical assessments alone cannot answer," the statement read, The Chicago Tribune reported.

GMOs are altered to include traits such as a greater resistance to pests and an ability to withstand herbicides used to kill weeds.

The report found that GMOs have not increased crop yields.

The report also noted that insects and weeds have evolved in response to GMOs, and called the changes "a major agricultural problem," and said that, in some places, weeds have developed resistance to the same herbicides GMOs have been engineered to resist.

New advances in the GMO field could eventually make crops more resilient to climate change, Scientific American reported.

The study is unlikely to change public perceptions about the safety of GMOs, Psychology Today reported.

"What matters most as we make up our minds is how we feel about the issue," Psychology Today said. "We see the facts through the filters of our emotions and instincts."

Twitter users shared mixed reactions to the report.

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A comprehensive GMO crop report found that genetically altered foods are not harmful to human health.
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Wednesday, 18 May 2016 12:45 PM
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