USA TODAY US Edition
Genetic ‘frankenfood’ found not harmful to human health
Genetically engineered crops are safe for humans and animals to eat and have not caused increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies, according to a National Academies of Sciences report released Tuesday.
A committee of more than 50 experts compared disease reports from the United States and Canada — where genetically modified fare has been consumed since the mid-1990s — with reports in the United Kingdom and western Europe, where genetically modified foods are not widely eaten. The analysis found no long-term pattern of increases in specific health problems.
The report comes at a time when there is much controversy about the safety of these crops, called GMOs for “for genetically modified organisms,” as well as deemed “frankenfood” by critics.
There are many opinions on the farming, packaging and advertising of GMO foods, and those stances have a substantial effect on businesses worldwide.
The effect of GMOs on the world’s food supply is enormous: The global food and beverage market was worth more than $5 trillion in 2014, estimates research group Packaged Facts. Non- GMO products accounted for $550 billion of that.
Genetically modified crops can help save producers significant money since those crops are designed to resist weeds and insects that lower yields. Yet, new rules on GMO labeling are costing manufacturers.
Food makers are now preparing to comply with a Vermont law that will require GMOs to be labeled beginning July 1.
The number of commercially grown, genetically modified crops worldwide is low, below 12, the National Academies of Sciences says. Yet, the U.S. produces some substantial crops, including cotton and canola. The genetic material of these plants is artificially manipulated to give them characteristics such as pest resistance.
Nearly six in 10 Americans were concerned that genetically modified foods posed a health hazard, according to a survey released last year by NPD Group.