Facts about biotech foods and crops:
- Foods derived from approved biotech crops are as safe, if not safer, for humans than conventional or organic foods.
- Biotech crops that have been approved for cultivation are safe for the environment.
Biotech crops are an important tool for sustainable agriculture and for biodiversity, helping to reduce the environmental footprint of farming.
Biotech crops are stringently tested and regulated for human, animal and environmental safety to:.
- enhance the environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.
- (make the most efficient use of available technologies, non-renewable resources and on-farm resources, and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.)
- sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
- enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
There have been no scientifically-proven cases of biotechnology adversely impacting food safety or human health – despite claims to the contrary. Many well-respected scientific bodies and regulatory agencies have declared their confidence in the safety of biotech crops. These organisations include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, as well as national regulators and academies in France, China, Brazil, India and Mexico.
The science underpinning biotechnology is extremely advanced and more precise than conventional techniques used to produce food. Testing involves measuring the availability and concentration of all nutrients in food – such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats and oils – to ensure that they fall within the normal range of variability for the food. Levels of naturally-occurring toxins and anti-nutrients found in all foods are tested and compared. Immunological testing is also conducted to ensure that new potential allergens are not present. In contrast, there are relatively few analytical studies done on conventional varieties of crops during development.
Governments and technology developers have invested heavily in understanding the behaviour of these crops as they grow in the field, and afterwards as they enter the food/feed chain. Careful risk assessments are conducted before biotech crops can be planted in the open, even on a trial basis. It is important that the risk assessments continue to be based on science and conducted in a case-by-case manner, in order to maximise the benefits biotechnology can bring and minimize any risks.