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Checkbiotech: GMO foods can bring benefits, vigilance needed-WHO
Posted by: DR. RAUPP ; madora (IP Logged)
Date: June 24, 2005 08:10AM ; ;

Genetically-modified foods can bring benefits both to farmers and consumers,
but safety checks are needed before they are sold, the World Health
Organization said, June 2005.

In a report, the United Nations agency said that genetically-modified
organisms (GMO) can increase crop yields and food quality, thereby improving
health and levels of nutrition as well as profits.

But since some of the genes used in GMO crops have not been in the food
chain before, the potential effects on health must always be assessed before
they are grown and marketed.

Those foods currently available on the international market had undergone
such tests and there was no evidence they could cause problems, the WHO said
in its 58-page report.

"GM foods currently available ... have undergone risk assessments and are
not likely to present risks for human health," it said, reiterating its
long-held view about the general safety of GMO foods.

The subject is sensitive in Europe where consumers have reacted against what
are sometimes viewed as "Frankenstein" foods, and the European Union is
locked in a trade row with the United States over Brussels' reluctance to
authorize imports.

Some 800 million people in developing countries were undernourished, despite
a 50 percent decline in world food prices over the past two decades, and the
global population was expected to grow by another 2 billion to 8 billion in
2025, the WHo said. GMOs could play an important role in helping to meet
these future food needs, it added.

"Producing nutritionally enhanced properties in staple crops eaten by the
poor could reduce the burden of disease in many developing countries," the
WHO said in the report.

By cutting down in the use of often health-threatening pesticides, GMO crops
could also bring other benefits to farmers in poorer countries, it added.

But so far all this remained little more than a possibility because most of
the effort put into developing GMOs had focused on crops grown in the richer


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