Biotech sweet corn is safe, agriculture and biotechnology experts Dr. Bruce Chassy, Dr. Wayne Parrott and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam said in response to questions raised recently in The Huffington Post.
“There is an abundance of scientific evidence and published research, as well as more than 15 years of experience of GE crops, that provide strong evidence of their safety,” said Dr. Chassy, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in an interview with Best Food Facts. “There is no credible scientific evidence that they cause allergies or that they would have any long-term health effects.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, recently published a column in the Huffington Post attacking biotech crops on food safety groups. The experts found her arguments unsubstantiated. The experts also address assertions that “superweeds” have developed resistance to glyphosate in response to its use with biotech crops.
Data shows that planting GE crops has actually led to a greatly reduced amount of pesticides being used, said Dr. Wayne Parrott, professor of plant breeding and genomics at the University of Georgia, adding that biotech crops have other environmental benefits. “When we monitor other indicators of sustainability, such as water use and greenhouse gas production, GM crops have a lower environmental footprint,” he said.
The experts also worry that consumers aren’t being provided with all the facts when it comes to understanding the full consequences of mandatory labeling of food products made with ingredients from biotech crops.
“Although public opinion polls suggest that most Americans favor mandatory GE labeling in the abstract, this majority disappears when respondents learn the significant costs associated with labeling requirements,” said Dr. Van Eenennaam, cooperative extension specialist in biotechnology at University of California at Davis. “The burdens and disruptions that mandatory labeling imposes on the global food trade can cost millions of dollars per year. Taking into account the cost of labeling laws, a strong majority of American opposes mandatory labeling.”
All three of the experts agree that the economic impacts of mandatory labeling would be significant, leading to higher prices and less choice for consumers. Read more.