Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scientists: genetically modified food is safe

During its 2008 EU presidency, France, with the support of nine member states, pushed for socioeconomic factors to be taken into account during the risk-assessment process of GMOs, which might push scientific evidence into the background and politicize the whole process even more, said Agriculture Ministry spokesman Petr Vorlíček.

Drawing from field studies of the Biology Center at the Academy of Sciences in České Budějovice as well as the Crop Research Institute, the White Book's authors conclude: "GM crops are more profitable for farmers and more environmentally friendly than comparable technologies."

"Two key advantages of GMOs include the reduced need for insecticides and tolerance of herbicides," said Luboš Babička from the Czech University of Life Sciences.

Štěpán Čížek, head of agricultural co-op ZD Mořina, which has cultivated Bt corn since it became legal in 2005, echoes these findings. "[Bt corn] yields at least 20 percent more," he said of the co-op's 500 hectares of crops in Mořina, south of Prague. "The corn is much healthier, not infested at all by the maize moth, and that's also why it vegetates for longer periods."

From the report's press release:

Many European scientists are disturbed by the fact that political factors and ideology prevent unbiased assessment of the GM technology in some EU countries, with a negative effect on the whole Community. Being aware of the responsibility their country bears during the EU Presidency, Czech scientists working with GM crops prepared a White Book summarizing their experience and analyzing relevant EU legislation.

The report is available here: White Book - Genetically Modified Crops