NRC Report on Genetically Engineered Foods

July 28th, 2004

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

The NRC is releasing a report today on risks posed by genetically engineered foods. Media coverage suggests different interpretations of what the report says.

A New York Times story today suggests some confusion about whether or not the report says that GE crops are more risky than foods modified using other techniques:

“Genetically engineered crops do not pose health risks that cannot also arise from crops created by other techniques, including conventional breeding … the report said that genetic engineering and other techniques used to create novel crops could result in unintended, harmful changes to the composition of food … The report said that genetic engineering was more likely to cause unintended effects than the other techniques used to develop plants except for the mutation-inducing technique.”

An A.P. story in the Washington Post characterizes the study as follows:

“Federal regulators should look more closely at the potential health effects of some genetically modified plants before they can be grown as commercial crops, a scientific advisory panel said yesterday. It also said regulators should check for potential food safety problems after people eat the products. The report by a committee of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine said regulators should target tighter scrutiny at genetically engineered varieties that have greater levels of biological differences from current plants.”

The report release will be carried via a webcast today at 11AM Eastern.

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