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Bruce M. Chassy

Professor Emeritus of Food Safety and Nutritional Sciences, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Expert Bio

Bruce M. Chassy is a Professor Emeritus of Food Safety and Nutritional Sciences from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He served as the Assistant Dean for Science Communications in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and was Head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois from 1989 to 2000.  Dr. Chassy completed his undergraduate training in Chemistry at San Diego State University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Cornell University.  He was a research chemist at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) from 1968-1989.  Dr. Chassy was a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Spain in 1994.

Dr. Chassy’s research focused on the characterization and development of methods for the genetic manipulation of microorganisms used in food and dairy fermentations.  His research experiences with the development of genetically modified microorganisms that are used in foods led him to an interest in food safety and the safety evaluation of "biotech foods.” He maintains a website that explores the safety of GM foods at http://academicsreview.org.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Why has there never been a clinically controlled independent human feeding trial? If I were to come down with some unknown, inexplainable, or highly unlikely health condition, is anyone looking for cause and effect from consuming GMOs. If no one is look

Answered By Bruce M. Chassy - Oct 17, 2013

A: The composition of GM crops and foods derived from them is carefully studied.  Using our knowledge of toxicology, food allergy, and nutrition, it is possible to predict if a food will have an adverse effect based on composition alone.  The study of composition is a better indicator of safety than are animal studies on whole foods.  Many scientists in fact question if whole food studies in animals are useful and have suggested they not been done.  Studies in humans are even more difficult to do and would likely yield little useful information since the diets' composition is [...]

Health & Safety

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Q: Following the Theories of natural selection and evolution, organisms adapt and change to suit their environment. My question is, Will/can your crops destroy their original counterparts? Isn't this tampering with nature as it should be? Aren't you selling

Answered By Bruce M. Chassy - Oct 22, 2013

A: This is a very interesting question to which we would like to add one additional factor. Evolution and adaptation can be one response to change; extinction can be another. As highly evolved beings we are fortunate that we are not among the greater than 99% of all species that have gone extinct!  The plants that we farm descended from wild plant ancestors but they were extensively genetically modified over the years by a process called domestication.  The ancestor of modern corn, for example, looks like a grassy weed – most people never guess that it’s related to corn.  The ance [...]

Environment Health & Safety Crop protectants

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Q: Are there any long term (30+ years) studies done on the full spectrum ecological impact of transgenic GMO organisms?If there are no long term, full spectrum studies done, then why is GMO considered "safe" and approved for public use? The studies should al

Answered By Bruce M. Chassy - Oct 24, 2013

A: The short answer to this question is no, there are no 30-plus year studies done on GM crops. The first plant transformation to produce a GM plant was reported in 1982. Before a GM plant can be approved by the USDA, its potential ecological impact must be fully evaluated. The question appears to be asking if full-spectrum ecological studies are done for every organism, and, by implication, every conceivable situation. It is simply impossible to test all organisms in all situations. Accordingly, scientists select key nontarget species and indicator organisms that serve as surrogates for differe [...]

GMOs Globally GMOs in Groceries Modern Agriculture

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Q: Is there a comprehensive rebuttal of the book Genetic Roulette?

Answered By Bruce M. Chassy - Aug 11, 2014

A: I understand that claims made by Jeffrey Smith, the movie’s director and author of the self-published book, Genetic Roulette, are alarming and could cause great concern. It’s important to understand Mr. Smith’s background. He is not a doctor or researcher, and he has never conducted a scientific study or published a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Please read his biography at his website to confirm this. He is an energetic, articulate and persuasive layperson who has made himself into one of the leading outspoken opponents of GM crops—but he is no expert on the science.Despite the numerous cl [...]

GMOs & Farmers How GMOs Are Made Crop protectants