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Extensive studies show safety of GM crops – Expert

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Dr Rose Gidado, the Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Nigeria, says extensive studies has shown that Genetically Modified (GM) crops are safe for people, animals and the environment.

Gidado, also a Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

She said that to produce GM seeds, it would take an average of 136 million dollars studies and 13 years of research period before being brought into the market.

She said that the amount of research, testing and regulatory approvals conducted by government agencies in the U. S. and around the world “shows  how safe GM crops are’’.

“Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that are available today are as safe as their non-GMO counterparts,’’ she said.

Gidado said that GMOs were not causing allergies, cancer, infertility, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a chronic condition, including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, or any other disease or condition as being peddled in some quarters.

She said that the safety of GMOs had been affirmed by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), National Academy of Sciences, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Health Organisation, American Medical Association, among others.

The OFAB Coordinator said that GMOs are also safe for planting.

“When testing, researchers look for difference between the GM and non-GM plants to make sure the GM variety grows the same as the non-GM varieties,’’ she said.

She said that GMOs were also tested to make sure that they did not unintentionally harm beneficial insects such as honey bees and ladybugs.

Gidado said the basis for the confidence in GM crops was because many scientists had examined GM foods in numerous studies over the past three decades and had concluded that they were safe.

She said that consumers had been eating GM foods since 1996 with no evidence that they had ever caused any harm.

She however said that any technology had its set of advantages and disadvantages, adding such a beneficial technology should not be condemned because of possible misuse.

“The simple solution is to use the technology with great caution since GMOs are still a relatively new technology in Nigeria,’’ Gidado said.

She said that developed countries had adopted gene editing technology for crops improvement for decades, adding more than 20 years of consumption had not revealed any harmful effects on humans.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Grace Yussuf
Source: NAN

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