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Removing politics from innovations that improve food security

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journal contribution
posted on 07.12.2021, 00:25 authored by SJ Smyth, A McHughen, J Entine, D Kershen, Carl RamageCarl Ramage, W Parrott
Genetically modified (GM) organisms and crops have been a feature of food production for over 30 years. Despite extensive science-based risk assessment, the public and many politicians remain concerned with the genetic manipulation of crops, particularly food crops. Many governments have addressed public concern through biosafety legislation and regulatory frameworks that identify and regulate risks to ensure human health and environmental safety. These domestic regulatory frameworks align to international scientific risk assessment methodologies on a case-by-case basis. Regulatory agencies in 70 countries around the world have conducted in excess of 4400 risk assessments, all reaching the same conclusion: GM crops and foods that have been assessed provide no greater risk to human health or the environment than non-GM crops and foods. Yet, while the science regarding the safety of GM crops and food appears conclusive and societal benefits have been globally demonstrated, the use of innovative products have only contributed minimal improvements to global food security. Regrettably, politically-motivated regulatory barriers are currently being implemented with the next genomic innovation, genome editing, the implications of which are also discussed in this article. A decade of reduced global food insecurity was witnessed from 2005 to 2015, but regrettably, the figure has subsequently risen. Why is this the case? Reasons have been attributed to climate variability, biotic and abiotic stresses, lack of access to innovative technologies and political interference in decision making processes. This commentary highlights how political interference in the regulatory approval process of GM crops is adversely affecting the adoption of innovative, yield enhancing crop varieties, thereby limiting food security opportunities in food insecure economies.

History

Publication Date

01/10/2021

Journal

Transgenic Research

Volume

30

Issue

5

Pagination

601-612

Publisher

Springer

ISSN

0962-8819

Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2021 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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