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Consensus on GM Foods

Consensus on GM Foods Should be Based on Systematic Reviews

Background:

Genetically modified(GM) food safety is a controversial subject.  Some claim all GM foods currently on the market are as safe as their conventional counterparts despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary from systematic reviews.(See Reports 1, 2 and 3)

Purpose:

To compare the consensus observed in our systematic reviews presented in Reports 1, 2 and 3, to the consensus on climate change. To discuss why the claim of, “worldwide consensus in the medical, public health and scientific communities that GM foods currently on the market are as safe or healthy as their conventional counterparts” should not have been made in the absence of a systematic review on the subject.  To present evidence that as with other health related topics, such as the coronavirus, artificial trans fats, etc., a precautionary approach should be taken with GM foods.

Results:

Large sums of money have been spent by GM food proponents to promote the idea of a consensus that GM foods are as safe as their conventional counterparts. This appears to have perpetuated the idea of such a consensus despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Proponents of GM foods have largely engaged in various types of science denial. These include reliance on fake experts, cherry-picked supportive facts, belief in conspiracy theories, impossible expectations of what research can deliver, as well as attacks on science and scientists.

A precautionary approach should be taken with GM foods. This should be done to avoid repeating the mistakes made by failing to respond quick enough to prevent substantial harm such as what happened with artificial trans fats and the coronavirus epidemic of 2019-2020.

Health professionals generally agree with climatologists on climate change.

Farmers and agriculture experts appear far less likely to agree with climatologists on climate change when compared to health experts.

Environmental groups often agree with climatologists on climate change and health professionals on GM food safety.

Conclusion:

Based on the results of systematic reviews a clear consensus amongst health groups and individual health professionals emerged.  The consensus among health experts is that GM foods currently on the market cannot presently be considered as safe as their conventional counterparts. This is either due to lack of evidence of safety, or because of evidence that at least some GM foods currently on the market may be unsafe compared to their conventional counterparts.  Despite the overwhelming consensus, characteristics of science denial have been used by agrochemical companies to deny this consensus.  The evidence also indicates that those who deny the GM food consensus such as agricultural experts and corn belt farmers, who have largely adopted GM crops, are also likely to deny the consensus on climate change. In comparison, health professionals and environmental groups are more likely to accept the consensus on GM foods and climate change.  Therefore, we call upon the health community, who are the experts on health, to inform their patients of the potential harms of GM foods.  We also urge the governments of the world to impose a moratorium on all GM foods until each GM food has been demonstrated as safe in independent long-term studies.  A precautionary approach should be taken especially since there is now a consensus amongst health professionals that GM foods currently on the market cannot be currently considered as safe as their conventional counterparts.

Systematic reviews vs. Illusory Truth Effect

There are several research papers using a systematic approach to determine the consensus of individual climate scientists on climate change, and the consensus of study results on climate change.(Cook 2016, Anderegg 2010)  Until now, no systematic approach has been undertaken to determine the consensus of health experts and studies on GM food safety.  Yet, in the absence of a systematic approach claims have been made of a consensus among health professionals and the scientific literature that all GM foods currently on the market are as safe as their conventional counterparts.(Gostin 2016, Leshner 2015)  Some have even claimed that the consensus on GM food safety is even stronger than the consensus on climate change based on a single survey of a single group, many of which are not even climate or health experts.(Entine 2015) The results of our systematic reviews clearly indicate a consensus of questioning the safety of GM food among health groups and individual health professionals.  Only a small number of health groups and health professionals, identified in our systematic reviews, believe GM foods on the market are as safe as their conventional counterparts.(Report 1 and Report 2)  Therefore, the claim of a consensus that GM foods are as safe as their conventional counterparts appears to be based on the illusory truth effect.  The illusory truth effect occurs when a false claim is believed to be true after continuous repetition of the claim.  The claim of a consensus that GM foods are safe stems from a small number of health groups and a single survey.  The continuous reference to these small numbers of health groups and single survey increases the degree of belief in the false claim that this represents the consensus.

Science denial

The characteristics of ‘chemicals denial’, a type of science denial, also appear to exist for the GM foods issue as well.(Karlsson 2019) This is not surprising since many of the GM seed companies are also chemical companies and often even manufacture the herbicides applied to many GM crops.(ETC group 2008)  Using cherry-picked supportive facts, such as only including groups with statements that support their claim, and neglect of refuting information such as statements from groups not supporting their claim, is a type of science denial(Karlsson 2019). The large majority of health groups and surveys of health professionals identified in our review have been overlooked in the popular press.  This is likely due to the large amount of money spent by the manufacturers and users of GM seeds to repeat their false claim of a consensus(e.g. Ballotopedia 2012, Ballotopedia 2014).  Even though such claims are based only on statements from a select few groups and a single survey, thus perpetuating this false belief.(See Report 1 and Report 2)  In fact, many articles identified by our search had statements that were nearly identical to the statements by industry funded websites such as GMO Answers and ISAAA(GMOAnswers Undated, ISAAA 2009).  These articles claim there is near unanimity among experts, but list only a select few groups which they claim believe GM foods were safe(e.g. Brody 2018, Saletan 2015, Burnett 2015, Ferdman 2015).

More Science Denial Used to Claim Consensus  

Other science denial characteristics used by GM food proponents include belief in conspiracy theories.  For example a DuPont executive stated criticism of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was ‘orchestrated by the ministry of disinformation of the K.G.B.’(Karlsson 2019). Similar statements have been made with regards to GMOs.  For example, the Vice President of Scientific Communications for the The American Council on Science and Health, a pro-industry advocacy group which has received funding from GM seed companies including DuPont(Mother Jones 2013, American Council on Science and Health 1985) called people who want GM foods labeled, “Puppets for Putin”.(Berezow 2017) Even though the overwhelming majority of health groups and health professionals around the world support the mandatory labeling of GM ingredients in food(Report 1 and Report 2)

In one article the authors observed more GMO related news articles were found on Russian news outlets, with most having an anti-GMO sentiment.(Dorius 2018)  The authors suggest this may be a conspiracy of the Russian government to indoctrinate Americans(Dorius 2018).  Our review in Report 3 indicates that most medium and long-term animal health research on the safety of GM soy 40-3-2 were conducted in Europe or Asia.  In fact, none of this research was conducted in the United States.  A more plausible explanation, therefore, is that Russian and other Eurasian news outlets are likely more aware of the research indicating potential adverse effects than their American counterparts. However, the results of the Dorius et al. study also indicated that the American news outlets HuffingtonPost and CNN ran.

news articles with mostly an anti-GM sentiment.  Their results also indicated that Fox News ran mostly articles with a mixed or neutral sentiment, but still ran more anti-GM sentiment articles than pro-GM articles.  Of all the news outlets in the Dorius et al. study only Breitbart ran a nearly equal amount of pro and anti-GM sentiment articles, but still ran mostly mixed or neutral sentiment articles.

Our review indicated that most health groups and health professionals either questioned the safety of GM foods currently on the market or believed they were unsafe(Report 1 and Report 2). This coincides with our review which indicated most animal health studies using the commonly consumed GM food 40-3-2 indicated potential adverse effects according to the researchers in those studies(Report 3).  This suggests that both the Eurasian and American media outlets examined by Dorius et al. largely reflect the opinions of the health community and the scientific evidence which are more anti or mixed/neutral sentiment than pro.

Although the results of our systematic search did not find statements by health groups or surveys of individual health practitioners located in Russia, our search did find one paper where the authors interviewed several physicians in Russia.  The physicians interviewed generally agreed that there is not enough evidence to conclude that GM foods currently on the market are safe for long-term consumption.  They also believed that consumers should be made aware of which foods contain genetically modified ingredients.(Karaeva 2011)  This is consistent with the statements from health groups from around the world and surveys of individual health practitioners from around the world.(See Reports 1 and 2)     

Attacks on science are another form of science denial(Karlsson 2019)  GM seed companies, which also make pesticides have used this type of science denial against those who find problems with their pesticides.(Charles 2017,  Levin 2018)  GM seed companies, and those affiliated with these companies, have also engaged in attacks on scientists that have published results that are unfavorable to GM crops or food and made attempts to suppress such research before it is ever published.(Lotter 2009, Glenna 2015, Seralini 2014)

Experts vs, Non-experts Review Conclusions and Lead Author’s Background

Those claiming that GM foods currently on the market are as safe or healthy as their conventional counterparts have used characteristics of science denial such as reliance on fake experts.(Karlsson 2019) This includes referencing groups that are not experts in health as being part of their claimed consensus on the health safety of GM foods. For example, on GMOAnswers, a website funded by companies that make GM crops, they list 22 groups(GMOAnswers Undated 2).  Yet, of these groups more than half are groups affiliated with companies that make genetically modified products or were written by authors affiliated with companies that make genetically modified products. Of the 22 groups listed only 4 are non-regulatory groups specializing in human health.(GMOAnswers Undated 2)  Of those 4 there is a group that protested against the use of the statement made by GMOAnswers saying it is, “untruthful” and gives, “a false impression of registered dietitians and the Academy.”(Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012) Another 2 of the 4 health groups listed by GMOAnswers have produced reports with authors who have a conflict of interest(Krimsky 2017, Food Safety Department World Health Organization 2005)

Another reliance on fake experts is using literature reviews not conducted by health experts as evidence of a consensus on the safety of GM foods as it relates to health, as is also used on the GMOAnswers website(GMOAnswers Undated 2) We examined review articles to determine if different opinions were correlated with the background of the lead author.  As previously stated in Report 3, Sanchez et al. and Nicolia et al. are some of the most cited literature reviews for claiming a consensus on GM food safety.  For Sanchez 2015 and 2017 the lead author of this review is Miguel Sanchez who is employed by Chilebio which is funded by companies that develop GM crops.(Sanchez 2017)  The other author, Wayne Parrot, is also affiliated with the groups International Life Sciences Institute and CropLife International which are directly involved with companies that make GM crops.(International Life Sciences Institute 2016, CropLife International Undated)

Evidence suggests conflicts of interest are often associated with outcomes favorable to the interests of GM crop companies.(Guillemaud 2016)  A survey also indicated that scientists that received some or all funding from GM crop companies had a positive attitude to GM crops compared to those not involved with GM crop companies.(Kvakkestad 2007)  This may explain why these authors dismissed evidence suggesting adverse effects using event 40-3-2 even though studies suggesting adverse effects represented most of the relevant animal health studies using the most analyzed event.(See Report 3) Other authors with a conflict of interest such as former Monsanto employee Alison Van Eenennaam(Van Eenennaam), and Pamela Ronald, who is a paid speaker for Bayer(Industry Documents Library), have also conducted reviews with outcomes favorable to agribusiness.(Van Eenennaam 2014, Ronald 2011)

With Nicolia et. al, although they believe there is a need for more studies on GM food, it is unclear why these authors disregarded the large majority of relevant studies using 40-3-2 which observed adverse effects.(See Report 3)  One possibility, however, may be a professional conflict of interest.  The authors involved in this review are themselves genetic engineers specializing in plants with no known health background.  One of the authors, Fabio Veronesi, is former president with the European Association of Research on Plant Breeding(Eucarpia).  He is also the vice president of the Italian Society of Agricultural Genetics (Società Italiana di Genetica Agraria) or SIGA.(International Journalism Festival Undated) Eucarpia’s partners include GM seed companies such as Bayer, Pioneer and Syngenta.(Eucarpia Undated) SIGA is also a pro-GMO group referenced on Monsanto’s website.(Monsanto Italia Undated)and has also been involved in supporting events sponsored by Monsanto.(Fresh Plaza 2012) Another author is Alberto Manzo who is also a member of SIGA.(Italian Society of Agricultural Genetics Undated)

Another author of the Nicolia et al. review, Daniele Rosellini, is also involved with Eucarpia(Eucarpia Undated 2) also a member of SIGA(Italian Society of Agricultural Genetics Undated 2) and worked in the laboratory of Wayne Parrot.(Parrotlab 2018) In 2009 Rosellini wrote an article which echoes the Nicolia et al. review results, before the review was conducted, suggesting possible confirmation bias. In the article he writes, “the scientific literature is largely in agreement on harmlessness for human and animal health”(Rosellini 2009) Yet, our review of Nicolia et al. clearly indicates most of the scientific literature for GTS 40-3-2, one of the most used GM foods, is not in agreement on harmlessness for animal health.(Report 3) The lead author, Nicolia, has a Ph.D. in Plant Biotechnology.  This by itself may not be a conflict of interest, but it would not qualify him as a health expert. However, if a plant biotechnologist publishes a negative review of GM crops this could hurt their chances of working for a biotech company or even advancing at a university which receives funding from biotech companies.(Lotter 2009)

Another author who published a review, Chelsea Snell, was a PhD student in Plant science at the time of the review.  She later went on to work for the biotech company Syngenta that makes GM seeds.(Linked In)  Had she published a negative review of GM crops it is unlikely she would have been employed by such a company.  In fact, publishing a positive review of GM crops may increase the chances of an author being employed by a biotech company in the future.(Lotter 2009)  Snell et al. concluded,”a 90-day feeding study performed in rodents, according to the OECD Test Guideline, is generally considered sufficient in order to evaluate the health effects of GM feed”.  In comparison, in a review by Dona et al. the authors concluded, “The results of most studies with GM foods indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters. However, many years of research with animals and clinical trials are required for this assessment.”  In this case the lead author is a PhD in the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the University of Athens Medical School.(Dona 2009)

In a review by Tsatsakis, et al. it was stated that toxicological tests that are only using one mammal and only lasting  90 days are insufficient.  They believed toxicology studies should be extended for the full life span of the test organism and more than one mammal should be used.(Tsatsakis 2017).  The lead author in this review has a D.Sc. in Toxicology.  Many other reviews from various countries with lead authors having a food science or health background disagree with Snell et al. and support long-term safety testing.(Gomez-Camponovo 2016, Ajami 2016, Gomez 2015, Zdziarski 2014, Taylor 2014, Ergin 2013, Girija 2013, Lisowska 2013)  This lends support to the idea that plant scientists and those involved with GM crop companies may have different opinions than those in health science.(Bray 2017)

We did, however, identify at least 1 other review in favor of GM foods in which the lead author was a medical student at the time.(Key 2008).  Although, it should be noted that the 2 other authors involved in that review were both involved in the genetic engineering of plants for product development.(St George’s, University of London Undated a, St George’s, University of London Undated b).  This review was also criticized by a medical researcher arguing it contained several errors.(Schubert 2008)

Our search of review papers was not exhaustive, however, and therefore a more thorough search is needed to make a determination if either author affiliation with industry or the field of the lead author correlates with the conclusions of the review.

Consensus on GMO compared to consensus on climate change

Some have used the AAAS member survey(Funk 2015) to argue that refusing to accept that GM food is safe is equivalent to denying climate change caused by human activity and blame environmental groups such as Greenpeace for this.(Lynas 2015)  However, others have argued that a consensus exists on human caused climate change, but does not exist for GM food safety.(Silverman 2017)  There are several papers using a systematic approach to determine the consensus of individual climate scientists on climate change and the consensus of study results on climate change.(Cook 2016, Anderegg 2010) No systematic approach has been undertaken to determine the consensus of health experts and studies on GM food safety until now.  Yet, claims have been made that there is a consensus among health professionals and the scientific literature that all GM foods currently on the market are as safe as their conventional counterparts.(Gostin 2016, Leshner 2015)

The results of our systematic reviews indicate that there is a consensus among health groups and individual health professionals that GM foods cannot currently be considered as safe as their conventional counterparts.(Report 1 and Report 2)  Some may, however, try to argue that health professionals might be more inclined to disagree with an established consensus in general.  That could explain why the consensus amongst health groups and individual health professionals is that GM foods currently on the market cannot be currently considered as safe as their conventional counterparts.  To determine if health professionals are more likely to disagree with an established consensus we set out to see if health groups and health professionals disagree with the consensus on climate change.  To do this we reviewed climate change related surveys of individual health professionals and position statements, reports and other documents from health groups that also had statements questioning the safety of GM foods.

Statements for several medical and public health groups mentioned in our review(Report 1) appear to demonstrate a consensus that climate change is happening and human activity is contributing to it.(Crowley 2016, Australian Medical Association 2015, Bundesärztekammer Undated, California Medical Association 2012, Physicians for Social Responsibility Undated, American Public Health Association 2015, Public Health Association of Australia 2014, Vermont Public Health Association Undated, American Nursing Association 2008a, American Medical Students Association, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment Undated, British Medical Association 2012)

Surveys of individual health professionals also reveal a consensus that humans contribute to climate change equally or greater than nature.(Safaty 2014, Safaty 2015a, Safaty 2015b, Polivka 2012, Laan 2014, Safaty 2016, Thiel 2017)  The opinion of medical and public health groups and individual health professionals surveyed is consistent with the opinion of climatologists, the experts on climate.(Prokopy 2015b, Cook 2016, Silverman 2017)

In comparison, surveys of agricultural extension specialists and advisors in the United States show a large division on whether or not humans contribute to climate change equally or greater than nature(Prokopy 2015a, Prokopy 2015b, Useful to Usable 2016).  Also, surveys of farmers in the Corn Belt of the U.S., who have overwhelmingly adopted GM crops, have consistently indicated that they largely do not believe that humans contribute to climate change equally or greater than nature.(Arbuckle 2013, Arbuckle 2015, Gramig 2013, Prokopy 2015b)  Interestingly, some evidence suggests that farmers who trust environmental groups were also more likely to believe climate change is occurring and is largely caused by human activity compared to those who trust agricultural groups.(Arbuckle 2015).

We also set out to review the positions of environmental groups on climate change such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch, Sierra Club and National Research Defense Council.  We chose these groups because they all have positions questioning the long-term safety of GM foods that are consistent with the statements from the majority of health groups(Report 1) and individual health professionals surveyed(Report 2).(Greenpeace International Undated, Friends of the Earth Undated, Food & Water Watch Undated a, Sierra Club 2001, National Research Defense Council 2020)  The results demonstrate that these environmental groups also have positions on climate change consistent with the majority of climatologists surveyed.(Greenpeace International 2008, Friends of the Earth 2017, Food & Water Watch Undated b, Sierra Club 2018, National Research Defense Council Undated)

Therefore, attempts to argue that health professionals generally disagree with established consensus is not supported by the evidence.  Also, the claim that refusing to accept that GM food is safe is equivalent to denying climate change caused by human activity is not consistent with the evidence.  In fact, the evidence indicates it is far more reasonable to believe that refusing to accept that there is not enough evidence to conclude that GM food is safe is equivalent to denying climate change caused by human activity.

Sound Science(SCAMs) vs. Precautionary Principle

Another characteristic of science denial is impossible expectations of what research can deliver.(Karlsson 2019) Proponents of GM foods invoke a concept they refer to as “sound science”, adopted by the tobacco industry and used to question the evidence linking secondhand smoke to cancer.(Ong 2001, Rudén 2008) Sound science applies the concept of a product should be considered safe until proven otherwise(Levidow 2000, Rudén 2008).  For example, Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, expressed that the companies “should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food”(Pollan 1998).  This concept of not having to provide evidence for safety, but instead claiming that proof of harm is necessary before regulatory action, has been referred to as Scientific Certainty Argumentation Methods or SCAMs(Freudenburg 2008).

Based on the available evidence indicating potential health and other risks, many instead have called for the application of the precautionary principle.  The precautionary principle mainly states that those claiming that a product is safe, especially in the absence of direct health benefit, are making an extraordinary claim.  Such an extraordinary claim would require extraordinary evidence regarding the absence of harm for GM crops and food(Taleb 2014, Hilbeck 2015, Gómez 2015, Nodari 2009, Ergin 2011, Lisowska 2010).

Experts in complex systems have called for the precautionary principle to be used for the coronavirus.(Norman 2020) Had this precautionary approach been used it may have saved hundreds, or even thousands, of lives.(Taleb 2020)  These same experts have called for the precautionary principle to be used for GM foods and crops.(Taleb 2014, Bar-Yam Undated)

The same type of situation occurred with artificial trans fat.  In 1957, researchers including Dr. Fred Kummerow, presented evidence of harm from artificial trans fat in the journal Science.(Johnston 1957)  Dr. Kummerow continued his research on trans fats into the 1970’s.(e.g. Yeh 1974, Jackson 1977)  Yet in 1976 the FDA considered trans fats, “generally recognized as safe for human consumption”.(Belluz 2015)  It was not until 2015, almost 40 years later, that the FDA determined artificial trans fat is not “generally recognized as safe”.  At that time, FDA’s Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. said, “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”(FDA 2015)  Had the FDA used a precautionary approach and placed a moratorium on artificial trans fats based on the animal evidence from the 1950’s-70’s thousands of lives could have been saved by this action by their own admission.

Health professionals follow the concept of “Primum non nocere” or “First do no harm”.  The evidence provided in this review clearly demonstrates that most studies using the GM soy 40-3-2 indicate adverse effects in the animals consuming it.(Report 3)  The World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki states,”Medical research involving human subjects should only be conducted if the importance of the objective outweighs the inherent risks and burdens to the subject. This is especially important when the human subjects are healthy volunteers. Medical research is only justified if there is a reasonable likelihood that the populations in which the research is carried out stand to benefit from the results of the research.”(The World Medical Association 2018) Although the evidence suggests adverse effects in the groups fed GM soy 40-3-2 some may argue that this crop increases yields and therefore provides food to those who would otherwise go hungry.  However, the evidence also suggests that GM soy 40-3-2 has equal or even lower yields compared to non-GM soy.(Elmore 2001, Gordon 2007, Quarles 2017)  Some have claimed that GM soy 40-3-2 would lower herbicide use potentially benefiting human health(Almeida 2017).  The opposite has occurred, however, since the introduction of GM soy 40-3-2, herbicide use has gone up in the countries growing this crop.(Bohn 2019, Almeida 2017, Benbrook 2016, Quarles 2017)  The harms from glyphosate-based herbicides are also well documented(Gill 2018, GMO Free USA Undated) Therefore, there is almost no likelihood of benefit for the population of humans consuming GM soy 40-3-2 and there is risk of harm based on empirical evidence in animal feeding studies.

Although our review is limited to GM soy 40-3-2 it is the GM food most grown internationally(Aldemita 2015), most analyzed (Sanchez 2015), and approved for consumption by the second most number of countries(ISAAA 2017).  Therefore it would be expected that 40-3-2 would yield the best evidence for the safety, or lack thereof, for GM foods as a whole.  However, our systematic review finds that the vast majority of relevant animal health studies observed unexpected and likely adverse effects in the groups fed 40-3-2 compared to the controls.(Report 3)  This would explain why the safety of GM ingredients in food remains controversial throughout the global scientific community(Hilbeck 2015, Ajami 2016, Krimsky 2015, Dona 2009, Taylor 2014) and why the majority of health groups and health practitioners question the safety of GM foods currently on the market.(Report 1 and Report 2).  Therefore, we call upon the health community to inform their patients of the potential harms of GM foods.  We also urge the governments of the world to impose a moratorium on all GM foods until each GM food has been demonstrated as safe in independent long-term studies.

It is unethical and immoral to continue to allow GM foods on the market in light of the evidence from these systematic reviews.  The results of which indicate an overwhelming consensus among health experts stating that there is not enough evidence to claim GM foods are as safe as their conventional counterparts.  As well as the overwhelming evidence indicating animals fed the most tested GM food have deleterious effects or biomarkers indicative of deleterious effects.  The FDA is responsible for promoting and protecting public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of our nation’s food supply.(U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2017)  The FDA must now protect the food supply by following the overwhelming evidence and prohibiting all soy with the event 40-3-2 from the food supply and prohibiting all other GM foods until they have been thoroughly tested.

Conclusion:

Based on the results of systematic reviews a clear consensus amongst health groups and individual health professionals emerged.  The consensus among health experts is that GM foods currently on the market cannot presently be considered as safe as their conventional counterparts. This is either due to lack of evidence of safety, or because of evidence that at least some GM foods currently on the market may be unsafe compared to their conventional counterparts.  Despite the overwhelming consensus, characteristics of science denial have been used by agrochemical companies to deny this consensus.  The evidence also indicates that those who deny the GM food consensus such as agricultural experts and corn belt farmers, who have largely adopted GM crops, are also likely to deny the consensus on climate change. In comparison, health professionals and environmental groups are more likely to accept the consensus on GM foods and climate change.  Therefore, we call upon the health community, who are the experts on health, to inform their patients of the potential harms of GM foods.  We also urge the governments of the world to impose a moratorium on all GM foods until each GM food has been demonstrated as safe in independent long-term studies.  A precautionary approach should be taken especially since there is now a consensus amongst health groups and individual health professionals that GM foods currently on the market cannot be currently considered as safe as their conventional counterparts.

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