No scientific consensus on GMO safety


Irrespective of contradictory evidence in the refereed literature, the claim that there is now a consensus on the safety of GMOs continues to be widely and often uncritically aired. In this publication, the claimed consensus over GMO safety is shown to be an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated through diverse fora. For decades, the safety of GMOs has been a hotly controversial topic that has been much debated around the world. Published results are contradictory, in part due to the range of different research methods employed, an inadequacy of available procedures, and differences in the analysis and interpretation of data. Such a lack of consensus on safety is also evidenced by the agreement of policymakers from over 160 countries – in the UN’s Cartagena Biosafety Protocol and the Guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius – to authorize careful case-by-case assessment of each GMO by national authorities to determine whether the particular construct satisfies the national criteria for ‘safe’. Rigorous assessment of GMO safety has been hampered by the lack of funding independent of proprietary interests. Research for the public good has been further constrained by property rights issues, and by denial of access to research material for researchers unwilling to sign contractual agreements with the developers, which confer unacceptable control over publication to the proprietary interests. This joint statement developed and signed by over 300 independent researchers, and reproduced and published here, does not assert that GMOs are unsafe or safe. Rather, the statement concludes that the scarcity and contradictory nature of the scientific evidence published to date prevents conclusive claims of safety, or of lack of safety, of GMOs.

Hilbeck, A., Binimelis, R., Defarge, N., Steinbrecher, R., Szekacs, A., Wickson, F., Antoniou, M., Bereano, P.L., Clark, E.A., Hansen, M., Novotny, E., Heinemann, J., Meyer, H., Shiva, V., Wynne, B. (2015) “No scientific consensus on GMO safety”, Environmental Sciences Europe 27(4): 1-6.