Many proponents of GMO food safety have long proclaimed “scientific consensus” surrounding the safety and nutrition of GMO foods. However, a group of more than 90 scientists from around the globe have issued a statement saying that the consensus is a false claim.
“We feel compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist. The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue,” reads the statement, issued via the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER). “Such claims may place human and environmental health at undue risk and create an atmosphere of complacency.”
The statement makes seven main points:
1. There is no consensus on GM (GMO) food safety
2. There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health.
3. Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated or inaccurate.
4. EU research project does not provide reliable evidence of GM food safety.
5. List of several hundred studies does not show GM food safety.
6. There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops.
7. International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GM foods and crops.
For those who have kept up on the discourse of GMO foods in the U.S., the main points in this statement are likely startling.
Everyone from “… GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists” has made claims that there is “scientific consensus on GMO safety,” the statement claims.
However, Professor C. Vyvyan Howard, a toxicopathologist at the University of Ulster and a statement signatory, said, “A substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic or allergenic. It is often claimed that millions of Americans eat GM foods with no ill effects. But as the U.S. has no GMO labeling and no epidemiological studies have been carried out, there is no way of knowing whether the rising rates of chronic diseases seen in that country have anything to do with GM food consumption or not. Therefore this claim has no scientific basis.”
The scientists backing the statement assert that further study and discussion is needed before a definitive word like “consensus” could ever be considered for the safety of GMO foods.
“Science and society do not proceed on the basis of a constructed consensus, as current knowledge is always open to well-founded challenge and disagreement. We endorse the need for further independent scientific inquiry and informed public discussion on GM product safety and urge GM proponents to do the same,” the statement reads.
This is timely news in the days leading to Washington’s I-522 ballot initiative to label GMO foods. Washington and the rest of the U.S. take note!
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