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Following GMO apple approval, consumer watchdog groups highlight need for accurate media coverage on GMO science, point to lack of scientific consensus on safety of GMOs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of USDA deregulation of the Arctic® apple — the first genetically engineered apple — leading consumer, food safety and environmental groups issued a response to widespread media reports wrongly characterizing the science on GMOs as settled.

imagesThe groups, including Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Action Network, pointed to a January 24 statement in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe — signed by 300 scientists, physicians and scholars — that asserts there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.

The claim of scientific consensus on GMOs frequently repeated in the media is “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated,” the peer-reviewed statement said.

Entitled “No scientific consensus on GMO safety,” the journal statement does not take a position on whether GMOs are unsafe or safe. Rather, it cites a concerted effort by GMO seed developers and some scientists, commentators and journalists to construct the claim that there is a “scientific consensus” on GMO safety, and that debate on the topic is “over.”

The statement raises the following points in objection to the consensus of safety claim:

There is no consensus in the science.

There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential health effects of GMO food on human health. 

GMO studies are frequently mischaracterized as showing safety.

International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GMO foods and crops.

Claims that government and scientific organizations endorse safety are exaggerated or inaccurate.

There is no consensus on environmental impacts of GMOs, and many concerns have been raised about increased herbicide use, potential health impacts and the rapid spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

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