Type of Publication: Report
Author(s): GMO Free Florida
Genetically modified (GM) foods and crops are a controversial subject. There is controversy in many regards including the safety of GM foods, if the current regulations are sufficient, whether or not GM foods should be labeled and if there should be a moratorium on GM foods and/or crops.
To determine the consensus of opinion among the medical and public health groups and health student groups on topics related to GM foods based on statements made between the years 1996-2019. These topics include safety, regulation and labeling of GM foods and their beliefs about a moratorium on GM food and/or crops.
Data Sources and Selection:
Electronic literature systematic search using Google search engine and manual reference checks of all articles related to health group statements on genetically modified foods and crops.
123 medical and public health groups with related statements on GM foods and crops were found.
73 groups had statements on GM food safety
35 groups had statements on the current GM food regulatory process
83 groups had statements on GM food labeling
34 groups had statements on GM crop moratoriums
About 74% of the groups with statements on GM food safety indicated there was not enough evidence to conclude that GM foods were safe. This rose to 91.5% when groups with conflicts of interest (COI) were eliminated.
About 74.3% of the groups with statements on regulations indicated the current regulatory process for GM foods and crops is insufficient. This rose to about 92.9% when groups with a COI were eliminated.
About 95.2% of the groups with statements on labeling believed GM food labeling should be mandatory. This rose to about 98.8% when groups with a COI were eliminated.
About 61.8% of the groups with statements on moratoriums believed there should be a moratorium on all or some GMOs. This rose to about 77.8% when groups with a COI were eliminated.
Based on the results of this systematic review a clear consensus among health groups emerged. The consensus among health experts is that GM foods currently on the market cannot presently be considered as safe as their conventional counterparts. This is either due to lack of evidence of safety, or because of a consensus in the scientific literature from animal studies that at least some GM foods currently on the market may be unsafe compared to their conventional counterparts. This is supported by a systematic review of surveys regarding the opinions of individual health professionals (GMO Free Florida 2022a). Also a systematic review of the scientific evidence supports this consensus since in the majority of relevant animal feeding studies using the popular GM soy GTS 40-3-2 adverse effects or biomarkers indicative of adverse effects were reported (GMO Free Florida 2022b). Health groups also overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling of GM foods and better regulations for GM foods. There is also general support for a moratorium on at least some GMOs which is consistent with a systematic review of surveys of the opinions of individual health professionals (GMO Free Florida 2022a).
Therefore, we call upon the health community, who are the experts on health, to continue to inform the public of the potential harms from GM foods and to choose non-GMO and organic foods to avoid those potential harms. We urge the governments of the world to impose a moratorium on all GM foods until each GM food has been demonstrated as safe in independent long-term and multigenerational chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity studies using both rodents and non-rodents comparable to humans. We also call upon all who have published papers claiming that there is a consensus that all GM foods on the market are safe to provide corrections, or formally retract their papers if necessary. Our systematic reviews indicate this claim is not supported by the consensus, nor does it appear this claim was ever supported by the consensus.
A precautionary approach should be taken especially since there is now a consensus among health groups and individual health professionals that GM foods currently on the market cannot be considered as safe as their conventional counterparts at this present time and a consensus in the scientific literature that some GM foods currently on the market may be unsafe compared to their conventional counterparts.