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New information about GMOs reassuring
In a recent letter to the editor, I suggested that all of us can check on the facts related to GMOs if we search for creditable information on our computers.
Since that letter appeared, I have become aware of a definitive review article published in Critical Reviews of Biotechnology in September of this year.
In this review produced by European academics, Italian researchers catalogued and analyzed 1,783 studies about the safety and environmental impacts of GMO foods — a staggering number of studies.
The researchers couldn’t find a single credible example demonstrating that GM foods pose any harm to humans or animals. “The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops,” the scientists concluded.
The research review, spanned only the past decade — from 2002 to 2012 — which represents only about a third of the lifetime of GM technology.
“Their goal was to create a single document where interested people of all levels of expertise can get an overview on what has been done by scientists regarding GE crop safety,” lead researcher Alessandro Nicolia, applied biologist at the University of Perugia, states. “We tried to give a balanced view informing about what has been debated, the conclusions reached so far, and emerging issues.”
The conclusions are also striking because European governments, Italy in particular, have not been as embracing of genetically modified crops as has North and South America, although the consensus of European scientists has been generally positive.
This Critical Reviews in Biotechnology not only compiled independent research on GMOs over the past 10 years but also summarized findings in the different categories of GM research: general literature, environmental impact, safety of consumption and traceability.
For Comox Valley residents still trying to make up their minds on food security, I suggest you might want to check this out. A summary of the findings is presented at www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/.../with-2000-global-studies-confir...‎ .
Another key article appeared in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 16 World Food Day by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, India's most noted agricultural scientist.
Paul A. Horgen,
Editor's note: Paul Horgen is Professor Emeritus, at the University of Toronto and past director of the University of Toronto's Master of Biotechnology Program.