2. Science and regulation

Section at a glance

  • The regulatory regime for GM crops and foods is too weak to protect consumers from the hazards posed by the technology. Regulation is weakest in the US, but is inadequate in most regions of the world, including Europe.
  • The US regime assumes that GM crops are safe if certain basic constituents of the GM crop are “substantially equivalent” to those of their non-GM counterparts – a term that has not been legally or scientifically defined. The European regime applies the same concept but terms it “comparative safety assessment”. However, when systematic scientific comparisons of a GM crop and its non-GM counterpart are undertaken, the assumption of substantial equivalence is often shown to be false.
  • Pro-GM lobbyists have weakened the regulatory process for GM crops, including through the industry-funded group ILSI. No long-term rigorous safety testing of GMOs is required and regulatory assessments are based on data provided by the company that is applying to commercialise the crop.
  • The GM industry restricts access to its products by independent researchers, so effects on health and the environment cannot be properly investigated.
  • Independent researchers who have published papers containing data that is not supportive of GMOs have been attacked by pro-GM industry groups and individuals (the “shoot the messenger” tactic).

  • For references, please click here.
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