Genetic ‘frankenfoo­d’ found not harmful to human health

- Elizabeth Weise @eweise USA TODAY

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.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States