GMO
Labels point out products verified to not contain genetically modified organisms at the Central Co-op in Seattle, Washington 29 October 2013. A new study has revealed there is no evidence to show GMO is dangerousREUTERS/Jason Redmond

Two decades of research has shown there is no evidence to prove eating genetically modified crops is unsafe. The US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine issued the findings after analysing the data accumulated over the past two decades that called for regulators to take a closer look at the final product of a new plant variety, rather than the process used to breed or engineer it.

Fred Gould, co-director of the centre at North Carolina State University said: "We dug deeply into the literature to take a fresh look at the data on GE and conventionally bred crops."

Recognising that a lot of information and opinion available on GE is confusion and controversial, Gould said that his new report is aimed to offer an unbiased assessment of the evidence.

Over 50 scientists studied around 900 publications available on genetically modified characteristics in maize, soybean, and cotton — representing the huge majority of commercial crops to date.

It concludes there is no evidence of adverse health effects that can be directly attributed to human consumption of GE crops. In addition, the study has given credence that GE crops had actually benefitted human health by reducing insecticide poisonings, and also helped in increasing vitamin A levels in some developing countries.

Studying the effect of GE crops in the environment, the scientists did not find any considerable damage or reduction in the overall diversity of plants and insect life on farms. In fact, occasionally such insect-resistant crops have resulted in increased insect diversity, the report has said. No long-term issues in human health or genetic conditions were also reported because of GE food consumptions.

The study follows the decision in the US to label food products that contain GMO. However, the research committee feels that mandatory labelling is not justified especially after its review that indicates no public health issues.