The research is in (again): GMOs are safe
- Genetically modified foods remain safe for human consumption, and the environment, declared the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in a report released Tuesday. The report also noted that the altered foods have failed to produce the promised increases in crop yields required to feed the world.
- The study stated labels on food products are not required for food safety reasons but could be justified to address concerns such as transparency, social and cultural factors, according to the Associated Press.
- A committee reviewed more than 900 studies and data compiled over 20 years, according to USA TODAY.
Marion Nestle told the AP that if the people behind the report wanted to end the polarization over these (GE) foods, "this won’t do the trick."
People want to consume non-GMO foods, and food manufacturers feel the pressure to respond. Even though non-GMO products represent a fairly small percentage of the overall food supply, Nielsen research found sales of non-GMO labeled foods increased from $12.9 billion in 2012 to $21.2 billion as of April 30. "Consumers are looking for purity in their food," Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst, NPD Group, told USA TODAY. "Particularly for those that try to find that authenticity in their food, [the report] is not going to phase them."
Manufacturers can profile the results of the recent report in an effort to continue educating consumers as to the benefits of genetically modified organisms in the overall food production system. Manufacturers can also talk labels with consumers. "When you look at consumer opposition to the use of GM technologies in food and account for the label, we found that overall the label has no direct impact on opposition," said Jane Kolodinsky, author of the study and professor and chair of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. "And it increased support for GM in some demographic groups." She stated the GMO label was never meant to be a warning label but rather just a way to better inform consumers about what is in their food.
Manufacturers could also educate consumers about the Grocery Manufacturers Association's SmartLabel program, which enables consumers to get the information they need about a product without that information having to appear directly on the label (though, too, has its detractors).
- Associated Press Report: Genetically altered food safe but not curing hunger