Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have a certain stigma surrounding their safety and possible health risks. Much of the public opinion about GMOs reflects the fact that many people are under the assumption that any organisms whose genetic makeup has been tampered with are not healthy for humans to eat. These include things like tomatoes that have been given an artificial genetic makeup that allows them to continue ripening after being picked, allowing them to stay fresh for longer.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently did a report on GMOs and their safety. Using the term ‘genetically engineered,’ (GE) as a synonym for GMOs, their report summarizes its findings by saying, “the experimental studies provided reasonable evidence that animals were not harmed by eating food derived from GE crops. Additionally, long-term data on livestock health before and after the introduction of GE crops showed no adverse effects associated with GE crops. The committee also examined data on the incidence of cancers and other human-health problems over time and found no substantiated evidence that foods from GE crops were less safe than foods from non-GE crops.”
Much of the concern surrounding these modified crops is propaganda created by the organic food industry, which stands to lose money if people begin buying non-organic, genetically modified foods. While genetically engineered livestock has an ethical dilemma surrounding the humanity of the effects that the animals experience, such as the chickens that have been made so big that they are unable to walk due to their weight, the qualms that people have with genetically engineered crops have essentially been disproved and put to rest by this study.