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Perhaps This Research Will Help Bring Closure to the GMO Food Debate


There has been a great deal of debate over the last 20 years about the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms [GMOs] as part of our food supply, especially regarding corn, a staple in much of the world. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that while 44% of Americans say the health effects of GM foods are no different than other foods, about half [49%] of us believe that GM foods are harmful to our health. And Pew found that our level of distrust had increased by 10 points in just two years. That's a problem because we need GM agriculture as part of our food supply.

Purdue University Department of Agriculture: "When farmers plant their crops they generally worry about three things that could prevent a good yield: insects, weeds and weather. Most of the GM crops grown around the world today address problems caused by insects or weeds (although some GMOs are currently being tested for enhanced nutrition). When it comes to insects, there are genetically modified plants that can repel only the very particular type of insect that feeds on it. With some crops, this has significantly lowered the need to apply pesticides. Other GM plants have been developed to be resistant to certain herbicides thus making weed control more straightforward and less expensive."
"Today, those who directly see the most benefits from GMOs are farmers and agricultural companies. As consumers, we probably don’t perceive direct benefits to ourselves just by picking the product up off the shelf (this may change in the future if the nutritional properties of plants are enhanced). However, with many GM crops there are secondary benefits that shoppers are unlikely to be aware of by glancing at items in the aisle, such as: lower cost, less soil erosion (because tillage isn’t as necessary for weed control), less pesticide application and others."

A recently released study may finally resolve the issues surrounding GM food. In a study published in the journal "Science Reports" researchers from Italy analysed 6000 peer reviewed studies of GM corn and conducted a "meta-analysis" which allowed them to draw more expansive conclusions than any of the individual studies could alone. In reviewing 21 years worth of research they found that there was no risk to humans and that there were numerous benefits.

Genetic Literacy Project: "The analysis of over 6,000 peer-reviewed studies covering 21 years of data found that GMO corn increased yields up to 25 percent and dramatically decreased dangerous food contaminants. The study, published in Scientific Reports, analyzed field data from 1996, when the first GMO corn was planted, through 2016 in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia."

The researchers’ key findings:

1. GMO corn varieties increased crop yields 5.6 to 24.5 percent relative to their non-GMO equivalents

2. GMO corn crops had lower percentages of mycotoxins (-28.8 percent), fumonisins (-30.6 percent) and thricotecens (−36.5 percent), all of which can lead to economic losses and harm human and animal health

This study probably won't end the debate about GM food, but it should bring some clarity about the existing science.


By: Don Lam & Curated Content

#news #science #GMOs

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