It is frequently claimed that GM foods are not properly tested, or that few independent studies have been published to establish their safety. Another claim is that food regulatory agencies rely exclusively on corporate information to decide whether GM food and feed are safe. This conventional ‘wisdom’ is wrong.
There has been little testing of the safety of non-transgenic foods in the scientific literature, despite the well known dangers of breeding, such as with potatoes and celery, and despite the potential dangers posed with novel foods such as kiwi fruit and star fruit.
In contrast, there are more than 600 peer-reviewed reports in the scientific literature which document the general safety and nutritional wholesomeness of GM foods and feeds. Many of these tests are done as part of a comparative assessment between a GM variety and its non-GM counterpart. About 30% of the safety studies are funded through independent sources.
Of course, not everyone has access to the scientific literature, or the background to decrypt scientific jargon. To help everyone gain better access to the science, Biology Fortified has created the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas, GENERA for short.
We’ve designed GENERA to make studies easy to find. Click on GENERA in the menu bar at the top of any of Biofortified’s pages. All of the studies are entered by their date of publishing, so the most recent studies appear first. In the left hand sidebar you will find a specialized search section.
The studies can be browsed by the crop type (corn, apples, potatoes, etc), peer-review status, the type of study (nutritional, environmental, toxicity, etc), the country where the study was conducted, or the findings of the study (positive or negative with regard to the safety of a genetically engineered organism). Alternatively, the pulldown bars can be used to narrow any search for keywords. The keyword search can be used for the whole database if the pulldown bars are all set to ANY.
If you use GENERA in a report or on a website, we’d appreciate a citation. This helps other people find the resource and gives credit to all the hard work that people have done to create the GENERA database and to enter studies.
Use something like this general citation when referring to all of GENERA:
Haro von Mogel, Karl and Bodnar, Anastasia. GENERA: the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas. Accessed 1 Jan 2012.
Use a citation such as this when referring to a specific GENERA entry (the title and author can be found at the top of each entry):
Tribe, David. 12 year study of transgenic apple trees exhibiting stable characteristics and no unexpected alterations. Haro von Mogel, Karl and Bodnar, Anastasia (editors). GENERA: the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas. Accessed 1 Jan 2012.
For more information
If you know of a study that we’ve missed, whether it shows GMOs to be safe or not, please provide a link or citation in the appropriate section of the Biofortified Forum. We’d like to be as through as possible. Thanks in advance for your assistance in compiling this resource. Also, if you’d like to start a discussion about any of the studies in GENERA, the Forum is a great place to go.
Another resource where you can find peer-reviewed GMO risk assessments is the Bibliography Database maintained by the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, part of the International Life Sciences Institute.
Finally, we have a primer on evaluating bias which links to some additional resources.