America’s Top Scientific Panel Says There’s No Evidence GMOs Are Risky

Safe but sorry.
Safe but sorry. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The National Academy of Sciences says that, after two years of research, it’s reached a consensus on whether GMOs should be avoided like the plague. The nation’s top scientific advisory group has ruled that they’re safe to eat and don’t ruin the environment — an answer that backs up lots of previous research (including the group’s own).

The report is thought to be the most comprehensive on the subject to date. It focused on genetically engineered crops (as opposed to newer GMOs like the Franken-salmon or unbruisable potatoes), and the 20-member committee that compiled it reviewed more than 1,000 studies, heard testimony from 80 witnesses, and waded through 700 comments by the public. The verdict was that there’s “reasonable evidence” that people are “not harmed by eating food derived from GE crops.”

The flip side, however, is that the report was an incredibly weak endorsement of GMOs’ ability to fix the world’s food woes. The committee wrote that, unfortunately, genetically rewiring crops hasn’t had any discernible effect on their yield at all. Proponents argue genetic engineering increases productivity and will therefore help feed more hungry people, but the group said they “saw no evidence of that.”

In a pretty pessimistic note, they also said the topic’s gotten so ridiculously contentious they don’t even think the public will believe what they — the official “advisers to the nation” on scientific topics — have to say about it. “We received impassioned requests to give the public a simple, general, authoritative answer about G.E. crops,” the report laments. “Given the complexity of G.E. issues, we did not see that as appropriate.”


Top Scientific Panel Says GMOs Aren’t Risky