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Question

Why would I want to eat a product that has only been proven safe for 30 years when I can eat a product that has been safe for 1000s of years organic, non GMO?

Submitted by: JamieR


Answer

Expert response from Community Manager

Tuesday, 16/12/2014 00:41

I very much agree with you that GMO foods have been proven safe for human consumption for the past several decades.  Here are a few additional points that I’d like to point out to answer your question. 

 

First, humans have been modifying our foods for more than ten thousands of years. The domestication of agricultural crops was a process of selecting certain genetic compositions that were more beneficial for human consumption. Traditional breeding continues this process. Genetic engineering is also trying to achieve the same goal and often more directional and with better efficiency.

 

Second, before GM crops can be released to the market, they are tested in ways that conventional and organic crops are not. During the development of a new GM seed, safety testing is done largely by certified independent third-party laboratories using protocols required by the government. If a study were ever to yield a result that raised any food safety concern, it is required by law that the information to be presented to the FDA. GM crops are also tested for their safety as feed and in the environment and regulated by authorities, such as USDA and EPA.

 

Third, GM crops are part of our life, and we are all benefitting from foods and medicines derived from transgenic plants. These include “virtually all beer (the brewing yeast), virtually all cheese (chymosin or rennin, the enzyme that causes milk to curdle), virtually all soy products, about a quarter of the medicines (such as insulin) we use, most maize, much squash, and virtually all papayas produced” (Raven, 2013). Not a single case of ill health has originated from the consumption of these products for the past 20 years, and again, there is no reason we should expect that to happen. (See article from Dr. Peter H. Raven for further discussion.) 

 

Essentially what kind of food to eat is a personal choice and a choice based on many reasons beyond nutrition and safety.   However, as a scientist I think whether certain foods are safe to consume should be judged on their own characteristics and in a case by case scenario, and not on the way that they were produced or how long they have been around, as there is no intrinsic danger in the method of producing transgenic organisms