Check your source

Genetically engineered crops (aka GMOs) involve complex science and are unfortunately also severely misunderstood by the public.

The letters by Jim Drummond (Nov. 25) and the Dec. 4 letter by Janet Thony about GMOs require context.

Genetically engineered crops (aka GMOs) and derived food involves complex science and are unfortunately also severely misunderstood by the public. The Internet is chalk full of false information about GMOs and the average person is unable to differentiate between the real science and the prolific pseudo-science that is designed to generate fear.

Some of the best sources of good information are national and international food safety, health and science bodies. Some of the best sources are the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Health Canada and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

A good review of GE crops can be read in the 2010 National Academy of Science report-Impact of GE crops on Farm Sustainability in the U.S. (available free on-line).

A global perspective comes from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.

Critics of GE crops and derived food often claim European science says something different. Readers might want to check the European National Academies of Science Advisory Council 2013 report, Planting the Future (available free on-line):

“There is no validated evidence that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding. There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.”

These statements from global expert organizations clearly demonstrate the overwhelming consensus on the safety of GE crops and derived foods. I encourage people to seek out these organizations if they want to learn the real science of GMOs.

Robert Wager, Vancouver Island UniversityNanaimo

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