Report States GMO Crops Not Harmful To Humans

A new report released published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has stated that GMOs are not actually harmful to humans.

After analyzing over 1,000 studies, a 20-person research committee determined that genetically-modified food is not any more harmful to human health than conventionally grown crops, and is not proven to increase the possibility of suffering from cancer, allergies, obesity, or other ailments.

"We took our job very seriously, because we know how contentious this issue is," said North Carolina State University professor of entomology and chairman of the research committee, Fred Gould, as noted by The Chicago Tribune.

Over the past several months, there has been much debate about the need to require that food labels state whether they include GMO ingredients. While consumers and food advocates believe the public has a right to know the ingredients they are consuming, food companies believe such labels would be misleading because GMO ingredients do not carry any known medical consequences.

"USDA stands ready to work with Congress to develop a cohesive national system for giving shoppers the information they want to know about foods they are purchasing, without driving up costs or sending the wrong message about the safety of their food options," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

However, genetically-engineered crops may be harmful in a different way. As these plants are typically modified to be strong enough to resist herbicides and pests, this could also lead to herbicide-resistant plants and pests, which could result in “a major agricultural problem,” according to the study.

Furthermore, critics have stated that the research committee did not examine the effects of herbicides on the health of humans. Although the report may demonstrate the lack of medical issues associated with GMOs, additional analyses are needed to determine the personal and environmental effects of herbicides.

"I consider their failure to look seriously at potential health hazards of increased herbicide use to be a serious omission," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Nevertheless, the research committee is hoping that this report does not impede discussion around the topic of genetically-modified foods and labeling laws.

"We're hoping that our report is not this big tome, but something that starts a conversation," Gould said to TIME magazine.