QIf GMO's are so safe why is so much of the world waking up and banning them?

If GMO's are so safe why is so much of the world waking up and banning them?

AExpert Answer

I'm aware of only one country, Kenya, with a ban in place on GM food imports. The decision came about in November 2012, apparently during a cabinet meeting, and circumvented the existing Kenyan Biosafety Act and the National Biosafety Authority, the regulatory agency established to regulate the use of GMOs.

 

Every other country that has a regulatory system in place for GMOs allows GMOs to be imported for food and animal feed, including the European Union (EU), which has a thorough and comprehensive regulatory system for the assessment and approval of GMOs (EU law).

 

EFSA's FAQ on genetically modified organisms is available here.


The EFSA director's statement on GM food is available here.

 

In fact, the EU's safety assessment process for GMOs is largely similar to that of other countries around the world―Japan, China, Brazil, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and many, many others. Each has determined that GMOs are substantially equivalent to their non-GM counterparts.

 

I think people may incorrectly perceive that the EU has a ban on GMOs for food and animal feed because of polarized public opinion and extended delays in the EU approval process, particularly the final step―a political decision-making process in which the member states vote on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) scientific opinion. By mid-2011, 39 GM products were approved for food and feed use in the EU, with 72 approvals pending due to delays in the regulatory process.

 

Despite the GMO controversy in the EU, it imports 72 percent (2011) of the protein-rich feed needed to support its livestock industry from Brazil, Argentina and the United States, the vast majority of which is GM.

 

The EU has approved just two GM crops for cultivation: a GM corn that is resistant to a devastating pest, the European corn borer; and a potato that contains only one of the two starches traditionally found in potatoes (amylopectin), which is desired for industrial use, such as in papermaking. Eight EU member states (France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Luxemburg, Austria, Hungary and Greece) have banned an insect-resistant corn variety citing environmental concerns, despite an EFSA determination in 2012 that said the bans were not justified. These are political bans that conflict with the scientific advice of its central European Union government. Spain and Portugal continue to grow the insect-resistant corn on a commercial scale. Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic grow the amylopectin potato.

 

In contrast with the EU, Japan has a functioning, science-based regulatory process for GM products, reviewing and approving GMOs within fairly predictable time frames. By mid-2011, Japan had approved 130 GM products for food use and the 95 crops for which environmental release (including cultivation) had been sought.

Posted on January 31, 2018
Thank you for your question. There are various aspects of your question. I assume your question refers to the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes by scientists to intentionally transfer genes from the bacterium to plants. Infection and DNA transfer from this bacterium occurs in nature all the time to cause disease. Such transformed plants are not classified as GMOs since transfer occurred naturally. If this is done by scientists then it would be classified as a GMO. Rules and... Read More
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Posted on March 1, 2018
I’m a Monsanto scientist who has more than 20 years of experience with genetic modification of plants. I will try to answer your question, even though I don’t ever do experiments on animals, certainly not on humans, of course! Can humans be genetically modified…but a much bigger question is should humans be genetically modified? There are two ways to think about genetic modification of humans (or any animal). One way is modification of somatic cells, and the other is the... Read More
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Posted on May 10, 2017
The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2). Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a... Read More