NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Genetically Engineered Food

June 19, 2002

During the last 40 years, genetic engineering has allowed us to create ideal strains of crops more quickly, instead of using the time-consuming trial-and-error method of previous centuries. Environmentalists and "natural" food advocates have vociferously protested these genetically modified foods; however, studies have shown that they pose no danger.

  • The only difference between using DNA technology and older methods of crop raising is that methods using DNA are more precise.
  • For example, the "natural" wheat grown in America today originally was three different species - and traditional farmers have long bred species from different parts of the world to create crops that are anything but "natural."
  • Genetically modified (GM) crops are often healthier and fresher than non-modified crops, and naturally repel pests and weeds, so chemical pesticides and herbicides are not needed.
  • They can also be modified to delay ripening so they can travel longer distances without rotting.

But while scientists support GM crops, observers say, the media have unfortunately whipped the public into a frenzy against GM crops by manipulation and unfounded scare stories.

Source: Alan McHughen, "Biotechnology and Food for Canadians," Risk Controversies Series, No. 2, Fraser Institute and the American Council on Health and Science, 2002.


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