Genetically modified crops have a controversial history, especially when it comes to deciding whether or not the foods are safe — for the environment and for our health.
The crops, which have been around since the 1980s, have been studied at length, and a new report out Tuesday from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that GMO crops aren’t posing any greater risk to the environment compared with regular crops. It also found “no evidence” that they “are less safe to eat than conventional food.”
Foods that have been genetically modified include genes taken from another organism (bacteria, etc.) to protect them against certain pests or herbicides.
Here’s what you need to know about the 400-page report:
- GMOs and safety: There have been concerns that genetically engineered crops could have an effect on everything from allergies to cancer. But the report said that they found no evidence of an increase or decrease in health problems once GMO foods were introduced in the 1990s.
- GMOs and the environment: The report found that there was actually some benefit to non-GMO crops that were near other genetically modified counterparts because of fewer insects, though the report also observed increased herbicide resistance in weeds. More generally, thet found “no conclusive evidence of cause-and-effect relationships between GE crops and environmental problems.”
- Farmers’ wallets: Farmers using genetically modified crops generally had a more positive economic benefit even though they didn’t necessarily get a bigger crop yield.
Overall, the report lends more support to the idea that we can still do more research into GMOs and their effects, and suggested regulatory agencies should actively be addressing newer GMO technologies.
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