Experts answer GMO FAQs

(NC) Many people have questions about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Here are some of the most popular, with answers from experts in the know.

Do GMOs cause cancer?

The short answer is no, according to Dr. Kevin Folta, a professor in horticultural sciences at the University of Florida. He says there is absolutely zero reputable evidence that GMO foods cause cancer. In fact, the opposite might soon be true, he says — future generations of GMO foods may actually help prevent cancer and other common or chronic illnesses. While a study claiming GMOs caused cancer in lab rats garnered global attention when it was released, the researcher's work has since been widely discredited and subsequently retracted.

Are GMOs increasing the price of food?

No. Food prices are affected by many things, including weather and the price of fuel and labour. GMOs are actually helping to keep food prices as low as possible because they let farmers grow more while using fewer inputs. A 2010 study estimated corn-based products would cost six per cent more and soybean-based products 10 per cent more if no GMO varieties of these crops were grown. Study author Graham Brookes, an agricultural economist, says the real price of food and feed has fallen consistently during the last 50 years, due largely to improved productivity.

Are there GMOs in my meat if livestock eats feeds with GMO?

Genetically engineered crops are digested by animals in the same way as conventional crops, says Alison Van Eenennaam of the University of California, Davis. Livestock in North America have been consuming feed made from GMO crops for almost 20 years. In that time, no GMOs have ever been detected in the milk, meat or eggs derived from animals consuming GMO feed. The process involved in livestock digestion of the feed makes it very unlikely for any of the crop to be found in the meat.


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