Hundreds of research studies that have been reviewed showed no proof that genetically modified (GM) crops had side effects, according to Prof Nina Fedoroff from Penn State University. She was speaking at a programme held at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) here on Thursday regarding the distrust among consumers towards genetically modified crops despite reassurance provided by scientists that it is harmless.
She said it was this misinformation campaign that had kept Bt Brinjal out of India and had led to the debate surrounding Bt Cotton. Prof Nina, who has 40 years of experience in researching GM crops, said people are concerned about consuming GM food as they anticipate hazards but these hazards haven’t been found. She recalled how, between 1950 and 2004, in Mexico, India and Pakistan the crop yield increased five-fold because of GM crops.
“The European Union has spent more than 300 million Euros on biosafety and has gathered no credible evidence that either people or animals are harmed by GM crops,” she said, adding that 130 research projects spanning over 25 years from 500 research groups were reviewed by a committee which included 1,800 studies.
She told the UAS students and lecturers that 7.5 billion people need to be nourished at present in the world and the arable land is decreasing. “Crop yields decline under higher temperature, and due to global warming, they will decline further, ” Prof Nina said.