Statement of CSPI Biotechnology Director Gregory Jaffe
The National Academy of Sciences has produced a thorough and comprehensive evidence-based report that addresses many of the issues that have arisen about genetically engineered crops. Its recommendations, if implemented, would increase scientific knowledge around GE crops and their benefits, potential risks, and impacts.
One of the report’s most significant findings is that there are no food safety or human health impacts from eating foods and ingredients made from currently engineered crops. That should give consumers confidence about the safety of eating foods that have those ingredients. The report also found significant evidence of the development of resistant pests and weeds when GE crops have not been used in a sustainable manner. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should implement the report’s recommendation to use integrated weed management with herbicide-tolerant seeds and to incentivize both developers and farmers to use Bt crops in a way that preserves their effectiveness for future generations.
CSPI supports the report’s call for transparency and public participation in the oversight of GE crops and for the federal agencies to do more to communicate their regulatory decisions to the public. However, it is disappointing that the report does not recommend that FDA’s oversight change from a voluntary to a mandatory process. That would have been consistent with the report’s acknowledgement that federal oversight is important to ensure both safety and public confidence.