A big new report on genetically engineered (GE) crops in the United States has found them to be safe for human consumption, but said there was no sign they had changed the rate of increase in yields.
The exhaustive report by the National Academies of Science found that GE crops have not caused incrases in cancer, obesity, kidney diesease, austism, gastrointestinal illnesses or allergies.
Overall, the report found that GE crops saved farmers money, but didn’t appear to increase crop yields. They have lowered pest populations in some areas, but increased the number of herbicide-resistant weeds in others.
Some key findings:
- Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
- Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
- No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
- No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.
Work on the nearly 400-page report began two years ago and was conducted by a committee of more than 50 scientists, researchers and agricultural and industry experts put together by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It reviewed more than 900 studies and data covering the 20 years since genetically modified crops were first introduced.