The National Catholic Reporter released a study by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences strongly endorsing GMOs as “praiseworthy for improving the lives of the poor,” and promising “improved food safety and health benefits, better food security, and enhanced environmental performance in a sustainable manner.” The endorsement came after a study week in Rome comprised of 41 experts from 17 countries.
“In light of eight years of experience with growing transgenic crops, many additional field trials, and many additional published research reports, the conference concluded that the scientific evidence is overwhelming that transgenic crops … improve the lives of the poor and offer additional significant improvements in their lives in the years to come,” said Drew Kershen of the University of Oklahoma, a professor of agricultural law at the University of Oklahoma and a study week participant.
Bruce Chassy, a food safety expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and CBI expert, responded to critics of the study week participant list:
“We didn’t invite a bunch of naysayers to the table, who are convinced that GMOs don’t work or who are going to make fallacious scientific arguments that have been rejected by the bulk of the scientific community and by the regulators who approved them.”
Although the Pontifical Academy for Sciences is a prestigious Vatican body, it does not set official church teaching, and it remains unclear whether the study week conclusions and GMO endorsement will influence the Vatican toward assuming a formal stance on the use of GMOs.