Just found this; published last month. It's very long, probably way too much to actually post here, so I'll just post a few clips. I recommend viewing the pdf, and perusing through the table of contents to see the list of issues that are addressed.
Note: Each section is very large. I'm only quoting a few paragraphs from a couple of sections.
GMO Myths and Truths
An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops
Version 1.3 by
© Earth Open Source www.earthopensource.org
Genetically modified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claims from the GM crop industry and its supporters. They say that GM crops:
● Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops
● Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops
● Are strictly regulated for safety
● Increase crop yields
● Reduce pesticide use
● Benefit farmers and make their lives easier
● Bring economic benefits
● Benefit the environment
● Can help solve problems caused by climate change
● Reduce energy use
● Will help feed the world.
However, a large and growing body of scientific and other authoritative evidence shows that these claims are not true. On the contrary, evidence presented in this report indicates that GM crops:
● Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops
● Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
● Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
● Do not increase yield potential
● Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
● Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
● Have mixed economic effects
● Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
● Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
● Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
● Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.
Based on the evidence presented in this report, there is no need to take risks with GM crops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to the problems that GM technology is claimed to address already exist. Conventional plant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like gene mapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producing high-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that can meet our present and future food needs.
5.1 Myth: GM crops increase yield potential
Truth: GM crops do not increase yield potential – and in many cases decrease it
GM crops are often claimed to give higher yields than naturally bred varieties. But the data do not support this claim. At best, GM
crops have performed no better than their non- GM counterparts, with GM soybeans giving consistently lower yields.3
A US Department of Agriculture report confirmed the poor yield performance of GM crops, saying, “GE [genetically engineered] crops available for commercial use do not increase the yield potential of a variety. In fact, yield may even decrease.... Perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of GE crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative.”6
“Commercial GE crops have made no inroads so far into raising the intrinsic or potential yield of any crop. By contrast, traditional breeding has been spectacularly successful in this regard; it can be solely credited with the intrinsic yield increases in the United States and other parts of the world that characterized the agriculture of the twentieth century.”
– Doug Gurian-Sherman, former biotech advisor to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC2
7.1 Myth: GM crops are needed to feed the world’s growing population
Truth: GM crops are irrelevant to feeding the world
“We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us. We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia, and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.”
– Statement signed by 24 delegates from 18
African countries to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 1998
Section at a glance
u GM crops are promoted as necessary to feed
the world’s growing population. But it seems
unlikely that they could make a significant
contribution as they do not deliver higher
yields or produce more with less inputs than
u Most GM crops are engineered to tolerate
herbicides or to express a pesticide –
properties that are irrelevant to solving
u Hunger is not caused by a lack of food in the
world. It is a problem of distribution and
poverty, which GM cannot solve.
u The IAASTD report, authored by over 400
international experts, concluded that the key
to food security lay in agroecological farming
methods. The report did not endorse GM,
noting that yields were “variable” and that
better solutions were available.
u Agroecological farming has resulted in
significant yield and income benefits to
farmers in the Global South, while preserving
soil for future generations.
u GM is not needed to feed the world.
Conventional plant breeding has already
delivered crops that are high-yielding,
disease- and pest-resistant, tolerant of
drought and other climatic extremes, and
nutritionally enhanced – at a fraction of the
cost of GM
Even if a GM crop did appear that gave higher yields than non-GM crops, this would not impact the problem of hunger. This is because the root cause of hunger is not a lack of food, but a lack of access to food. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, we already produce more than enough food to feed the world’s population and could produce enough with existing agricultural methods to feed 12 billion people.1 The problem is that the poor have no money to buy food and increasingly, no access to land on which to grow it. Hunger is a social, political, and economic problem, which GM technology cannot address. GM is a dangerous distraction from real solutions and claims that GM can help feed the world can be viewed as exploitation of the suffering of the hungry.
2.1 Myth: GM foods are strictly regulated for safety
Truth: GM food regulation in most countries varies from non-existent to weak
Section at a glance
u The regulatory regime for GM crops and
foods is too weak to protect consumers
from the hazards posed by the technology.
Regulation is weakest in the US, but is
inadequate in most regions of the world,
u The US regime assumes that GM crops are
safe if certain basic constituents of the GM
crop are “substantially equivalent” to those of
their non-GM counterparts – a term that has
not been legally or scientifically defined. The
European regime applies the same concept
but terms it “comparative safety assessment”.
However, when systematic scientific
comparisons of a GM crop and its non-GM
counterpart are undertaken, the assumption
of substantial equivalence is often shown to
u Pro-GM lobbyists have weakened the
regulatory process for GM crops, including
through the industry-funded group ILSI. No
long-term rigorous safety testing of GMOs
is required and regulatory assessments are
based on data provided by the company that
is applying to commercialise the crop.
u The GM industry restricts access to its
products by independent researchers, so
effects on health and the environment
cannot be properly investigated.
u Independent researchers who have published
papers containing data that is not supportive
of GMOs have been attacked by pro-GM
industry groups and individuals (the “shoot
the messenger” tactic).
Industry and some government sources claim that
GM foods are strictly regulated.4 But GM food
regulatory systems worldwide vary from voluntary
industry self-regulation (in the US) to weak (in
Europe). None are adequate to protect consumers’
Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does not
have a mandatory GM food safety assessment
process and has never approved a GM food as safe.
It does not carry out or commission safety tests on
GM foods. Instead, the FDA operates a voluntary
programme for pre-market review of GM foods. All
GM food crops commercialised to date have gone
through this review process, but there is no legal
requirement for them to do so. Companies that
develop GM crops are allowed to put any GMO
(genetically modified organism) on the market
that they wish, though they can be held liable for
any harm to consumers that results from it.