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Is it safe to eat genetically modified foods?

The EU will ensure there are no genetically modified foods in Europe that pose a danger to the consumer.

Today genetically modified foods have to be EU approved before they can be sold in Europe.

In order for a genetically modified food to be approved it must go through a Food Risk Assessment. The following points are considered amongst others:

  • Is there a difference between the genetically modified food and the non-genetically modified equivalent? A comparison of fat, proteins, vitamins and toxins are made (amongst others).
  • Can new substances or quantities of materials in the genetically modified foods affect consumers? Are the nutritional values altered? Can the foods become toxic or cause allergic reactions?
  • In some cases, trial feeding of research animals is carried out.

It's difficult to know what the future holds or to predict the possible long-term consequences of eating genetically modified produce.

In 1994, the first genetically modified crop - a tomato came on the market in the USA. Since then there have been many more. Eating genetically modified food has become quite common. People have only been eating genetically modified food for a relatively short period. So there may be long-term effects which we simply don't know about yet.

Americans have eaten genetically modified foods for the longest period. Today they eat genetically modified food produce every day. It's estimated that around 65% of the products available in American supermarkets contain some amount of genetically modified ingredients.

Surveys in the USA have shown that many Americans have a relaxed approach to genetic modification. They reason that it must be safe because they've eaten it for years without getting sick.


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