The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine just added 388-pages of fuel to the GMO debate fire today, releasing an exhaustive report on genetically engineered crops that took over 50 researchers two years to put together, digging through over 900 studies and data that cover the two decade history since the crops were introduced.
Reporting on the findings, most major news outlets led with the experts’ determination that GMO crops pose no health risk. “Genetically engineered crops are safe for humans and animals to eat and have not caused increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies,” began USA Today, summarizing the report.
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However, the bill was not entirely clear for GMOs. “Widespread use of genetically modified crops, which are often engineered to resist the effects of pesticides, has contributed to concerning levels of pesticide resistance in weeds and insects,” TIME pointed out. Additionally, as the New York Times noted, “it is somewhat unclear whether the technology has actually increased crop yields.”
But, overall, despite the report’s overwhelming size and scope, in some ways it leaves things as open for debate as before– and purposefully so. “We received impassioned requests to give the public a simple, general, authoritative answer about G.E. crops,” Fred Gould, the chairman of the report committee, wrote according to the Times. “Given the complexity of G.E. issues, we did not see that as appropriate.” Gould was also quoted by TIME as saying, “We’re hoping that our report is not this big tome but something that starts a conversation…. It would [be] nice not to have a debate, but maybe an eight-hour discussion.”
Really? He doesn’t think a 388-page report qualifies as a big tome? I guess he must be a George R.R. Martin fan.