Andrew Staehelin is a professor emeritus of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Here he summarizes the peer-reviewed science on GM food safety.
In the 1990s the tabloid press in England discovered that it could make lots of money publishing scary articles about “Frankenstein foods.” Since then, opponents of plant genetic engineering have been claiming that eating GM (genetically modified) foods is dangerous. They like to quote Arpad Pusztai, who reported in 1999 that rats fed a diet of raw, experimental GM potatoes expressing a sugar-binding lectin protein developed a thicker gut epithelium than when fed control potatoes. These days, the Frankenstein food myth is being kept alive by non-reviewed Internet articles and YouTube videos posted on anti-GMO websites. Anti-GM food activists also claim that no studies by independent researchers have been conducted to show that such foods are safe.
In contradiction to these claims, independent researchers have been investigating the question whether GM foods pose a risk to public health for over a decade, and have published their findings in peer-reviewed journals. Recently, a landmark review paper written by seven European scientists and published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has critically evaluated the results of 24 long-term GM food safety studies. The summary statement reads: “The studies… show that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.” Here are some of the details.