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J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Apr;96(6):1851-5. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7523. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law and public health.

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College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 22020, USA.
Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208, USA.


Controversy surrounds the production and consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Proponents argue that GMO food sources represent the only viable solution to food shortages in an ever-growing global population. Science reports no harm from GMO use and consumption so far. Opponents fear the potentially negative impact that GMO development and use could have on the environment and consumers, and are concerned about the lack of data on the long-term effects of GMO use. We discuss the development of GMO food sources, the history of legislation and policy for the labeling requirements of GMO food products, and the health, environmental, and legal rationale for and against GMO food labeling. The Food and Drug Administration regulates food with GMOs within a coordinated framework of federal agencies. Despite mounting scientific evidence that GMO foods are substantially equivalent to traditionally bred food sources, debate remains over the appropriateness of GMO food labeling. In fact, food manufacturers have mounted a First Amendment challenge against Vermont's passage of a law that requires GMO labeling. Mandatory GMO labeling is not supported by science. Compulsory GMO labels may not only hinder the development of agricultural biotechnology, but may also exacerbate the misconception that GMOs endanger people's health.


biotechnology; food safety; genetically modified organisms; labeling

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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