Agriculture’s anti-progress movement took a hit this past week as the National Academy of Sciences released a report refuting that foods derived from genetically engineered crops cause adverse human health issues.
In its report the NAS found “no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered crops and conventionally bred crops, nor did it find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops.”
This is good news for the pro-science, pro-modern agriculture movement, as consumers fueled by activists groups’ fire have had the feeling that if it’s different, it must be bad for you.
Defining a genetically engineered or genetically modified organism can be difficult. Humans have been dabbling in genetic modification since Adam and Eve created Cain and Abel. Any type of breeding is a basic form of genetic modification. Of course, the modern-day GMO concerns arose when scientists and researchers started manipulating the genes within a plant or transferring a gene from one organism to another.
Though this recent report may seem like a victory, hold on, it’s far from over. As we have seen time and time again, I’m sure future research reports will supply findings the exact opposite of this NAS report. The anti-science, anti-GMO crowd will not go away silently. They will search for researchers who are “on their side” to conclude that GMOs are bad.
Regardless what any study says, there will always be people who will tell you that GMOs are bad and that their food sources should just be left alone.
Modern science has brought great advancements to today’s agriculture, and those advancements will continue. These advancements are necessary to help feed a growing, and often starving, world.
Gene editing holds great promise in the hog industry as last fall’s revelation that a pig resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome had been developed. PRRS, since first being detected in the United States in 1987, has cost the world’s hog industry dearly – and estimated $6 million per day worldwide. PRRS-resistant pigs could be a huge savior to the hog industry, but those pigs are a few years off from being commercially available to growers. That’s if they get approved at all.
It will be interesting to see how the activists will play their cards in this game. Researchers say this should not be considered in the same breath as GMO crops, because scientists are merely editing the genes already present in the pigs.
Of course, you’ll always have the naysayers, regardless what science says.