Is there any good science on the subject with regards to the effects on human health?

  • Posted by: ATG117
  • March 17, 2013


Andrea N. March 18, 2013
This is a nice short list to glean the main GM ingredients to keep an eye out for. I write about tofu these days and many producers are using non-GMO or organic soybeans. Yes, read labels, be skeptical, but also rational.
trampledbygeese March 18, 2013
My Opinion (stressing here OPINION) is that GMOs haven't been around long enough for there to be in-depth studies as to the long term effects on human health. My opinion, based on the moderate amount of literature I've read from both sides of the topic and the middle, is that each individual modified plant would need to be studied as part of a Human diet for several decades before I would consider it fully safe.

One also needs to consider that plants have been modified for thousands of years through natural selection. The carrots we grow and eat these days, even the heritage ones, are vastly different than what the Victorians ate (a hard, pale yellow multi-rooted mess that was quite bitter). But with GMO we have a different method of changing the plants, and a much faster transition period from when the plant is changed to when it enters the main stream diet. This is going to have some effect for good or ill, but what effect we don't know yet because there has been no time to do proper studies.

Personally I wouldn't be so worried about GMOs in the food if they were labelled (both in the produce section and on packaged foods). The way the world is right now, I'm going to end up eating some GMOs anyway, I would at least like to have a choice as to which ones and when.
ATG117 March 17, 2013
WannabeBaker, sources are often key. I also hear you on the effect GMO labeling has had in Europe. I had a friend who, a few months after moving from France to the US, swore that she gained weight from GM foods. This was an otherwise very smart and educated young woman. While I acknowledge that there may be things about the ameican diet that contribute to weight gain, it is very difficult for me to believe that her theory on GM foods had anything to do with science and everything to do with the portrayal of GM foods in France. That said, I'm still for labeling and full disclosure. If there is nothing to worry about, let the big companies that depend on GM crops spend their money releasing credible studies that support their contentions.
usuba D. March 17, 2013
Where are just some of the new research on the negative effects of GMOs. & There is so much more being published, but also suppressed by the big bio-ag companies. It is interesting that these studies are coming from land grant unies which tend to side with big ag. We need to all support Just Label It and other advocacies fighting for GMO labelling.
WannabeBaker March 17, 2013
I actually just discovered this website:

It looks like it will be a great place to get science-based information on the affects of GMO. Haven't had a chance to study it, but they seem to place an emphasis on not being supported by an interest groups, so that's a big plus.
WannabeBaker March 17, 2013
Be wary of sources that come from openly biased groups, which almost all organic groups are. I follow the issue closely and have not seen any real scientific studies showing reasons for concern. GMOs are just speeding up the breeding process that humans have used for hundreds of years. I'm keeping an eye out in case they do find something, but I think malnutrition (which GMOs are helping combat) is a much bigger problem right now. I also don't support labeling, as people unfortunately get freaked out by seeing GMO without really understanding what they are. That's what happened in Europe, where citizens are so scared by GMO (without reason) that they won't accept GMO food from other countries, so now Africans are afraid to grow GMO foods, even though Africa is one of the places that could most benefit from GMO, because they export to Europe. Science isn't bad, people. I do encourage you to read around about this for yourself, though. Just make sure you pay attention to where information is coming from - proponents and opponents of GMO are not the best source of information here.
trampledbygeese March 18, 2013
WannabeBaker said: "GMOs are just speeding up the breeding process that humans have used for hundreds of years." As a farmer who works with plant selection, I would say your statement is inaccurate.
We have been changing plants through a process called selection, keeping the seeds that have one trait, and rejecting the others. However these genetic variations are already within the plant itself - GMO (in some not all cases) often combines genes from plants or even genetic bits from animals into plants. No matter how much slective breading you do, you can't get a tomato plant to contain jelly fish genes- but you can through Genetic Modification. My opinion is that it needs further study until considered safe.
Also, I can't see why labels would detur customers from buying GMO foods for more than a few months. People still buy MSG after the big lobby against it in the 1990s, and Tobacco today with aggressive labelling.
Please note: I'm not dead set against GMOs. They are here to stay, so there's no point being against them. But I do feel they haven't had enough study and until we have several decades of data as to how they effect humans, they need to be labelled so that the individual has a choice in what they eat.
ATG117 March 17, 2013
100% agree with labeling. Too little too soon. And while I applaud WF for their effort, 2018 seems like a little bit too comfy of a cushion time wise (though admittedly I'm not an expert on the magnitude of this endeavor). Still, I'm interested in better understanding the ramifications we're dealing with and how well the topic's been studied. I'm going to start with Nestle. Thanks all.
pierino March 17, 2013
At the very least food products containing GMO's should at least be labeled as such. This is already the practice in Europe. In California, where we suffer through government by referendum, a ballot measure requiring such practice was killed after massive spending by the likes of Monsanto and Kraft. To be fair the measure was poorly written but that's what you get when you pass laws by ballot system---it's Athenian democracy gone way wrong as channeled through the state's Progressive era. Labeling should be a basic principle unless you agree with Monsanto.
SKK March 17, 2013 Article includes sources who had done solid research.
Linn March 17, 2013
This is such a hot topic! My professional organization has been marketed ever since I have been a member by the industry with persuasive data to suggest no harm will come. The opposition is organized and well supplied with their scientific studies. My recommendation is to start with this blog source by Marion Nestle and put together your own approach. For me, I don't buy GMO when I can avoid it and am adamant about labelling.
Topic should result in a lively discussion.
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