1. ITV Report

Genetically engineered food 'safe to eat' say scientists

Genetically engineered (GE) food is safe to eat, top scientists have said, following extensive research into the controversial products.

Top scientists have said Genetically Engineered crops appear safe for human consumption Credit: PA

The practice of genetically engineering crops has been criticised for its potential impact on human health and the environment.

But a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee has dismissed claims they are not fit for human consumption after completing a study of more than 900 pieces of research and publications from the last two decades.

The US government advisory body - which has more than 300 Nobel laureates in its membership - said its committee found there was no evidence to suggest genetically engineered foods had adverse effects.

While recognising the inherent difficulty of detecting subtle or long-term effects on health or the environment, the study committee found no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops, nor did it find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops.

– National Academies spokesman

Genetic engineering is a type of genetically modifying (GM) food that involves the intentional introduction of a targeted change in a plant, animal, or microbial gene sequence to achieve a specific result.

Genetic modification - completed either through genetic engineering or selection and hybridisation - is used to produce particular characteristics in plants such as longer shelf life for fruit, higher vitamin content, and resistance to diseases.

No GM crops are being grown commercially in the UK but imported products like soya are used for animal feed.