Bioengineered food ingredients are safe for consumers, the Food and Drug Administration reiterated in a collection of educational materials released Thursday as part of a congressionally funded initiative.
“Studies show that [genetically modified organisms] are as safe and nutritious" as their non-GMO counterparts "and that they do not affect our health any differently than non-GMOs,” says Jason Dietz, senior policy analyst and biotech coordinator in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a video posted Thursday entitled “Understanding GMOs.” The video was produced in partnership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The initiative itself was launched in 2020 in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA.
In a short video prepared for health educators, FDA touts the health safety of GMOs. “The next time you need answers about GMOs, consider the research, which shows that the GMOs we eat are safe to eat.”
The video also says “GMO crops are not changed in ways that would increase the risk of cancer for humans or animals.”
Chris Wozniak, a former EPA official in the Office of Pesticide Programs, says in the video that use of herbicide-tolerant crops allows farmers to practice no-till farming, which “helps to maintain soil health and lower fuel and labor use.”
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Jaydee Hanson, policy director at the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group that has long criticized agricultural biotechnology, said the new materials “sidestep” the issue of growing herbicide resistance in weeds.
“They’re implying that it’s all safe when in reality, the resistance to common weeds like amaranth, or pigweed, is pushing the seed/pesticide companies to shift to older, more noxious types of herbicides like dicamba,” he said.
Hanson said the health of farmers and farmworkers is at risk from the use of chemicals and that groups such as CFS questioning the safety of GMOs look at the issue from an ecological perspective. That is, “We’re not saying you’re going to die from eating them. You might die from what they’ve had sprayed on them.”
The Environmental Protection Agency says agricultural pesticides, including the herbicides used with biotech crops, don't pose risks to vulnerable populations, including children and pregnant women, when the chemicals are used according to label directions.
The agency released some educational materials two years ago, in which it said of pesticide use, “some GMO plants contain plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs) to make them resistant to insects, reducing the need for and use of many spray pesticides.”
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