QHow can you be sure that GMO foods won't affect human health long-term?

How can you be sure that GMO foods won't affect human health long-term?

AExpert Answer

GM foods have a long, safe track record (17 years in the marketplace). From their introduction in 1996 until now, scientists have found, through repeated and extensive testing, that GM foods are no more risky than comparable non-GM foods, nor do they differ in nutritional value. 

 

Currently approved GM crops developed through specific genetic additions or subtractions are as safe as conventional and organic crops developed via random genetic shuffling.  Most people do not realize that plant breeders have been randomly altering and admixing plant genomes for centuries.  Techniques using chemicals and radiation to break plant DNA and induce mutations have been used to develop many conventional and organic crops. Whether scientists use traditional approaches or genetic engineering, their goal is to develop crops with new and agriculturally useful traits. Humans have been changing plant genomes for generations – we just have new, more precise tools. 

 

Regulatory and food-safety focus should be on the resulting trait(s), not on the specific modification or plant breeding process by which the genetic changes were made. Because they have different traits, GM foods are carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, Arctic apples are non-browning GM fruits that have been developed by “turning off” a gene, rather than by adding any genes to the apple genome. Whether a trait occurs naturally, is chemically or radiation induced or is purposely incorporated via genetic engineering, inherent risks are the same. 

 

Given that we’ve been genetically modifying plants for millennia, using one approach or another, we should frame this question in terms of relative risks: How “sure” can we expect to be when it comes to long-term health impacts of GMO foods?  As with most things in life (except death and taxes, as the saying goes), 100 percent certainty is not possible or reasonable to require. However, safe use of GM foods since 1996, coupled with our knowledge of human and plant physiology, points to long-term safe use of genetic engineering as a plant breeding tool set in agriculture.

Posted on June 22, 2017
This site is dedicated to presenting the facts and research behind GMOs, agriculture and biotechnology. We work with appropriate experts, scientists and academia to get answers and information to any and all questions submitted to the website.   GMO Answers was created to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs. The biotech industry stands 100 percent behind the health and safety of the GM crops on the market today, but we... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2017
The term “GMO” typically refers to crops or animals that, through genetic engineering, have had a gene (or a few genes) from a different species inserted into their genome. So yes, by design, to improve a crop or animal with genetic engineering, the genome of the new, GE variety has been changed by the addition of new genes(s).     Your question also asks about whether inserting the new gene(s) will “…activate genes…” Some traits in... Read More
Posted on August 15, 2017
No! However, poor nutrition coupled with highly processed foods and a lack of education regarding healthy eating is bad for our kids. As a mother and farmer, I believe the best way to keep my family safe and healthy is to make sure they eat a balanced diet and make good food choices daily. Fresh, healthy ingredients and minimally processed foods that are low in sugar, salt, calories and cholesterol provide kids with the best opportunity for a healthy diet. Agricultural biotechnology... Read More
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