questions + answers
- What is genetic engineering (GE)?
- How does it differ from cross-breeding or other forms of biotechnology?
- Which foods are currently genetically engineered?
- Who is behind GE foods?
- Are GE crops grown in Australia?
- How do GE crops affect the environment?
- What are the health concerns?
- Are GE crops good for farmers?
- Will GE crops feed the world?
- Are GE foods labelled?
- What is organic food?
- Why is animal feed important?
- Does GE food have any health benefits?
Independent safety testing on the health impacts of food derived from GE crops is remarkably limited. Leading health bodies, such as the Public Health Association of Australia and the British Medical Association, have raised concerns about the safety of GE foods and called for stringent testing.
There are three chief concerns with GE food:
- the potential for increased levels of pesticide in our food;
- introduction of unfamiliar or unexpected proteins, toxins and allergins; and
- the use of antibiotic-resistance genes in GE plants.
We simply don’t know if GE food is safe to eat because there have been no long-term studies looking at the impacts of GE food on human health. Studies that have been done raise serious concerns. These studies include a peer-reviewed paper, published in 2007, which found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity in rats fed a variety of GE corn that has been approved for human consumption.
Companies responsible for GE crops, such as Monsanto and Bayer, also produce dangerous and harmful chemicals, many of which have been the subject of legal proceedings. There is good cause for concern when their crops enter the human food supply. The safety assessment of GE foods lacks the strict testing protocols used in the assessment of other novel substances, such as pharmaceutical products and food additives. Furthermore, our food regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), relies solely on industry data in assessing the safety of GE food.