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National Public Radio reports that in a new study, the National Academy of Sciences "has reaffirmed its judgment that GMOs are safe to eat ... The report tries to answer a long list of questions about GMOs, involving nutrition, environmental effects, effects on the farm economy and monopoly control over seeds.

"The most basic conclusion: There's no evidence that GMOs are risky to eat.

"The committee also found that GMOs, as promised, have allowed farmers of some crops to spray less insecticide to protect their crops — although there's a risk that the GMO crops may not work as well in the future, because insects could develop resistance to them. Also, there's no evidence that GMOs have reduced the amount of wild plant and insect life on farms."

However, the Academy report also says that "some claims about the benefits of GMOs have been exaggerated." One example - GMOs have long been cited as a way to improve crop productivity in the US, but the Academy found no such correlation.

Not surprisingly, there were two basic reactions to the study. NPR writes that "many scientists who got their first look at the report Tuesday praised it. Some called it the most comprehensive review of GMOs that anyone, so far, has carried out.

"But longtime critics of GMOs were less impressed. Patty Lovera, from Food & Water Watch, the group that attacked the National Academy's committee for being too closely linked to industry, took a quick look at the report and didn't see much that seemed new." However, NPR also notes in its story that Food & Water Watch was criticizing the report even before it was issued.

"The preemptive attack frustrates Fred Gould, the North Carolina State University scientist who chaired the committee," NPR reports. "Gould has been known in the past as a GMO critic. He has pushed for restrictions on the planting of some GMO crops ... Gould says that over the two years that he and the other members of this committee worked on this report, they had one important rule: 'If you had an opinion, you had to back it up with data. If you didn't have the data, it didn't go into the report'."
KC's View:
As much as I wish it did, I'm not sure this actually will resolve anything. People will just retreat to their familiar foxholes/opinions and it won't matter what anyone else says, even a bunch of scientists who must be morally and intellectually compromised if they conclude something with which I disagree.

I also don't think it'll change many minds about mandatory - except maybe mine. Because as much as I've pretty much always argued for mandatory labeling of products with GMOs, it is hard for me to do so when the freakin' National Academy of Science reaches conclusions that would seem to deem them unnecessary. I struggle with this, but I can't be so anti-science as to ignore or dismiss this report.

But it is a struggle.