Editors note: I wrote this post up earlier this year and never got around the publishing it, but I think now that it is time. Hopefully, it provides some good resources on the subject of GMOs.
Apparently, there are people online who think that GMOs are safe. But, you know the internet, you can’t trust everything you read. One redditor has insinuated a ‘conspiracy’ by those who are ‘anti-GMO,’ saying that is a spread of ‘propaganda’ which another redditor explained claimed was fueled by “manipulation” of information that adds fuel to the fire for “Pro-GM debaters” who fight “back against what they see as propaganda and poor information polluting reddit.” On Facebook, one user named Jeremy Rawley has tried to ‘correct’ those who are critical of GMOs with some ominous picture [link dead] from scientific ‘centers of authority’ saying they ‘support’ GMOs along with going across the internet to ‘correct’ people.  On twitter, I ran into such a person who was a university student, and they said I was spreading ‘anti-gmo propaganda,’ which is a bit absurd. On Wikipedia, this pro-GMO sentiment has spread as well, with one page in particular claiming that “while there is concern among the public that eating genetically modified food may be harmful, there is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from these crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food…No reports of ill effects have been documented in the human population from genetically modified food” which was later repeated in the article later on, despite a request for comment on these claims which was denied, and a long intensive page on this, where a Wikipedia user investigated the issue thoroughly. In this article, I hope to set the record straight on these issues without making wild or outrageous claims.
To be clear, I’m not a scientist, but rather just a concerned citizen who is skeptical of Monsanto, a company that was one of the creators of DDT and Agent Orange.
Is there a scientific consensus on GMOs?
First, this post by HistoryDay01 explains this topic in depth, now onto other sources:
“Although compositional changes can be detected readily in food, and the power of profiling techniques is rapidly increasing our ability to identify compositional differences between GE food products and their conventional counterparts, methods for determining the biological relevance of these changes and predicting unintended adverse health effects are understudied. As discussed in this report, further advances in analytical technologies and their interpretation are needed to address these limitations.”- Page 177 of the National Research Council report, “Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects.”
” Much experience has been gained in the safety assessment of the first generation of foods derived through modern biotechnology, and those countries that have conducted assessments are confident that those GM foods they have approved are as safe as other foods. Nevertheless, some have raised concerns about the adequacy of existing test methods. For example, more standardised procedures to establish substantial equivalence are needed, as well as improved methods to assess the allergenicity of proteins new to the diet (together with their digestibility and toxicity) taking regional differences in diet into account. In this respect the Task Force has recognised the need for capacity-building to assess the safety of novel foods as a priority activity. This is the reason why work continues internationally on the development of Consensus Documents on individual crop species. Food and feed safety assessors should address these issues. In this context it is important to note that the concept of substantial equivalence is beingaddressed in a number of international fora and will need to be kept under review.”- Page 4 of the OECD report titled ‘REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE FOR THE SAFETY OF NOVEL FOODS AND FEEDS‘, while on page 27 of this same report, which is item 127, says “However, there is still no consensus on resistant proteins [which are genetically modified] being a significantly different risk if none of the other toxicity tests yields adverse results.”
The response of the Center for Responsible Genetics, which does NOT take an anti-GMO or pro-GMO position, to a pro-GMO statement by the AAAS: “The Council for Responsible Genetics is in fundamental disagreement with the recent statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in which it offered assurances that genetically modified foods (GMOS) are safe and that therefore labeling of foods containing GM ingredients is unnecessary. The AAAS leadership did not reach this decision, a response to Proposition 37 in California, by a vote of its membership. We are deeply concerned that a scientific body such as the AAAS would take such an action without giving a complete review of the science behind its statement. As scientists, they should know that citing a few studies in favor of their position can no longer be considered a compelling argument. Indeed, the AAAS Board did not conduct a thorough analysis of the literature, nor did they include studies that could cast doubt upon their conclusions. The truth is we do not know conclusively what the long-term effects of growing and consuming GM crops will be. There have been very few systematic and independent animal studies testing the safety of GM crops. Since 1992 the FDA policy considers the insertion of foreign genes into the plant genomes of crops as the equivalent of hybrid crops-crosses within the same species-and therefore exempt from the regulations on food additives. Yet we know enough to have valid concerns.The plant genome is not like a Lego set; it is more like an ecosystem. You simply cannot predict the safety of gene inserts unless you do the testing. Most GM food studies have been generated by industry and it is the industry itself with sole access to so much of the data. There is little funding of independent studies on the effects of GM foods, and those few scientists who have engaged in such studies and reported concerns are discounted. Their concerns cannot be resolved without serious and independent scientific study. We are particularly concerned that at a time when conflicts of interest have become a major concern in science that the AAAS Board would not openly divulge that some in the AAAS leadership appear to have longstanding ties to the biotech industry. Since these ties have not been transparently disclosed, it is unclear whether there could also be ties to industrial concerns that might influence decision making of the AAAS leadership. Surely any reader of their position is entitled to such facts in considering their position. We advocate for full disclosure of all such ties by AAAS leaders. The fact that no deaths have been attributed to GM crops does not mean they are safe. We do not see deaths associated with bisphenol A (BPA) and yet there are hundreds of studies pointing to risks. Risks that consumers have carefully considered when choosing whether or not to buy products containing BPA. The Council for Responsible Genetics has supported GM food labeling for three decades. It is an integral part of our Genetic Bill of Rights. We further support an active move toward a comprehensive and independent risk assessment for GM foods; not the untenable default state that GMOS are safe. The public interest is not served when industry supported studies and government cooperation with industry are cited as proof of product safety. Before we reach any conclusions with regard to GM foods, they must be studied. That’s a basic scientific principle that the AAAS Board appears to have circumvented with their statement. In the meantime, consumers have the right to know which foods have GM ingredients before they choose what to feed themselves and their families.
The World Health Organization, on a page pro-GMO advocates cite all the time since it says GMO foods on the market are safe possibly not recognizing those tests could have been corrupted by corporate power, says “Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods…On issues such as labeling and traceability of GM foods as a way to address consumer concerns, there is no consensus to date” and much more”
“The period around the turn of the twenty-first century was punctuated by the release of a succession of weighty reports by major international organisations and august scientific institutions, which encouraged the development and commercialisation of genetically modified (GM, transgenic) crops to improve developing-country agriculture (FAO 2004; IFAD 2001; IFPRI 1999; Nuffield Council on Bioethics 1999; Royal Society of London et al. 2000; UNDP 2001). Although they were sprinkled with qualifications about careful safety assessment and socio-economic factors, these documents nevertheless appeared to represent an emerging scientific and policy consensus that GM crop technology would be ‘pro-poor’. That optimistic consensus depended on a number of key, unacknowledged and often questionable assumptions about the ways in which the technology would be developed and its likely impacts on poverty, hunger and the livelihoods of the poor (Levidow 2001; Scoones 2002a, 2007).”- Donald Glover, as noted here
“We feel compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist. The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue.”- As noted by European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility in a response to claims about ‘scientific consensus’ on GMOs which was also mentioned in an article on EcoWatch, Food Processing (which noted than over 200 scientists had signed this statement), and this article in the GMO Journal.
“As a medical research scientist, I disagree that there is any such consensus, and there is no evidence that any genetically modified product is safe. There is no required safety testing, no epidemiological study relating consumption to health.”- DAVID SCHUBERT, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as noted in a letter to the New York Times
“Jairam Ramesh said he had taken note of “tremendous opposition” from state governments within India, broad public resistance and the lack of a scientific consensus. “This would be the first GM vegetable crop anywhere in the world so I have been very sensitive and I have arrived at this decision which is responsible to science and responsible to society,” he said tonight.”- From an article in The Guardian
Are GMOs safe to eat?
On page 11 of the same report I cited earlier by the National Research Council says that their research indicates “a potential for adverse reactions to novel substances or increased levels of naturally occurring compounds in GM food.”
A report that was cited in favor of GMOs (it is really pro-GMO in general as it makes out GMOs to be super-wonderful) says on page 6 that “there is little documented evidence that GM crops are potentially toxic” but they later say on page 7 that “tests are not performed to formally assess any risk posed by inhalation of pollens and dusts” (not for ‘conventional foods’ either, which throws the first claim into question, then there’s page 10 which says: “it is difficult to evaluate the effect of GM crops, or probably more importantly the regime required to grow them, on surrounding wildlife, particularly when considering long-term effects.”
Even a FAO report which says there is a ‘scientific consensus’ on GMOs, which is false, says in the paragraph RIGHT AFTER that: “The lack of evidence of negative effects, however, does not mean that new transgenic foods are without risk… Scientists acknowledge that not enough is known about the long-term effects of transgenic (and most traditional) foods. It will be difficult to detect long-term effects because of many confounding factors such as the underlying genetic variability in foods and problems in assessing the impacts of whole foods. Furthermore, newer, more complex genetically transformed foods may be more difficult to assess and may increase the possibility of unintended effects. New profiling or “fingerprinting” tools may be useful in testing whole foods for unintended changes in composition (ICSU)…The main food safety concerns associated with transgenic products and foods derived from them relate to the possibility of increased allergens, toxins or other harmful compounds; horizontal gene transfer particularly of antibiotic-resistant genes; and other unintended effects.”
“The hazards of GMOs to biodiversity and human and animal health are now acknowledged by sources within the UK and US Governments. Particularly serious consequences are associated with the potential for horizontal gene transfer. These include the spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes that would render infectious diseases untreatable, the generation of new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and harmful mutations which may lead to cancer” and so on as noted in a letter signed by 828 scientists from 84 countries
“However, several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system. There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation as defined by Hill’s Criteria in the areas of strength of association, consistency, specificity, biological gradient, and biological plausibility…Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation...Also, because of the mounting data, it is biologically plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans…Therefore, because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit, the AAEM believes that it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle…GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm.”- American Academy of Environmental Medicine as noted here
“Although the WHO declares that the GM products that are currently on the international market have all gone through risk assessment by national authorities, the risk assessment of GM foods in general, and crops in particular for human nutrition and health, has not been systematically performed as indicated in the scientiﬁc literature…Evaluations for each GM crop or trait have been conducted using different feeding periods, animal models, and parameters. The most common result is that GM and conventional sources induce similar nutritional performance and growth in animals. However, adverse microscopic and molecular effects of some GM foods in different organs or tissues have been reported to a certain extent”- In an article titled ‘A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants’ by José L. Domingo and Jordi Giné Bordonaba in Environment International
“With our current state of knowledge, however, there is no way of predicting either the modifications or their biological effect [of GMOs]…Therefore, a toxin that is harmless to humans when made in bacteria could be modified by plant cells in many ways, some of which might be harmful. My second concern is the potential for the introduction of a foreign gene to either evoke the synthesis of toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic, or allergenic compounds, or downregulate the synthesis of a beneficial plant molecule…Third, the introduction of genes for all or part of a new enzymatic pathway into plants could lead to the synthesis of unexpected or even totally novel products through an interaction with endogenous pathways. Some of these products could be toxic…Given that GM plants will sometimes produce different amounts of proteins, and perhaps totally new proteins, as compared with the parental species, what are the possible results? A worst-case scenario would be that an introduced bacterial toxin is modified to make it toxic to humans. Prompt toxicity might be rapidly detected once the product entered the marketplace if it caused a unique disease, and if the food were labeled for traceability, as were the GM batches of tryptophan. However, cancer or other common diseases with delayed onset would take decades to detect, and might never be traced to their cause.”- David Schubert, a professor at the Salk Institute, as noted here
“Burgeoning growth of the organic food sector demonstrates that some consumers make choices based on sustainability, including potential health effects on farmworkers and the environment due to intense chemical use…Importantly, despite their widespread use, the human and wildlife toxicity of herbicides has not been well studied. Evidence suggests that at least some may induce detrimental health effects even at low exposure levels. Importantly, recent molecular studies suggest that glyphosate-based herbicides can impair retinoic acid signaling, producing teratogenic effects. Thus, the finding of human effects consistent with impaired retinoic signaling in agricultural areas with heavy RoundUp use raises concern about the potential health effects of heavy herbicide usage. Although these studies do not prove that RoundUp/glyphosate creates unwarranted human risks, they raise significant concerns. Labeling GMO products would allow consumers to make choices based on these concerns.”- Patricia Hunt of Washington State University and 20 other scientists in Environmental Health News
“Consequently, changing the context in which a gene operates can change the way the gene works. And changing how even one gene works can have a ‘butterfly effect’ on the entire organism. Critically, epigenetics and epigenetic inheritance explain that these unintended consequences can be passed on to future generations and may not manifest themselves until triggered by external environmental factors. In the context of GM foods, a genetic modification changes the biochemical cross-talk between genes, creating genetic material that has never existed before in nature. This novel genetic material can create unintended health risks, as seen with the case of the GM peas that contained a novel and unexpected allergenic protein and primed test mice to react to other allergens.6 The bottom line is that the scientific acceptance of the existence of the networked gene establishes that the FDA’s presumption that GM plant food is bioequivalent to traditional plant food is no longer scientifically supportable and that a new system for GM plant food regulation is required…Putting this new understanding of the highly contextual nature of genes together with epigenetic studies which demonstrate the myriad ways that the environment can activate or silence certain genes (allowing for billions of possible outcomes), it is easy to see how the new model of gene function challenges the simplistic assumption engendered by the Central Dogma which underlies the FDA’s regulatory scheme. In fact, the hybrid mRNA discovery and the case of the GM peas do more than just challenge the presumption of bioequivalence; they provides direct evidence that the transferred genes and the products of their expression are not bioequivalent to their counter parts in the original organism. The ENCODE project demonstrated that eighty percent of the products of expression of a transferred gene are new. These mRNA hybrids, the product of the coupling of junk DNA from the donee, and the transferred gene from the donor, have never before existed in nature. Thus, the FDA can no longer claim that the donor product and the donee product are bioequivalent. Because they are not bioequivalent, the FDA will be hard pressed to continue in its position that common experience with the donor product can be used as proxy, or indirect, evidence that the donee product is equally safe.“- as noted by Katherine Van Tassel in the Boston University Journal of Science & Technology Law
The recent 106 page report titled ‘Agriculture at the Crossroads‘ (this is a synthesis report, read about the ‘International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development’ here) says, in an argument that seems to be balanced possibly toward GMOs, on page 51: “Other products of modern biotechnology, for example GMOs made from plants that are part of the human food supply but developed for animal feed or to produce pharmaceuticals that would be unsafe as food, might threaten human health [Global Chapters 3, 6]. Moreover, the larger the scale of bio/nanotechnology or product distribution, the more challenging containment of harm can become [Global Chapter 6].” Now, going to ‘Global Chapter 3′
Industry dominate reports on GMOs?
“A major conflict is imminent in science. On the one side are scientists, universities and corporations who have invested nearly 25 years and tens of billions of dollars in the genetic engineering of organisms (transgenics), mostly bacteria and plants, for food, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses. On the other side is a flood of evidence that food plant transgenics – not bacterial or pharmaceutical plant transgenics – is fatally flawed and has been resting on a theoretical foundation that has crumbled away as the science of genetics reinvents itself. Adding to this side is a worldwide grass-roots movement opposed to genetically engineered foods.”- Don Lotter writing in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food
“The assumption is that a global scientific consensus has formed around the value of patent-protected transgenic crops, analogous to the general agreement around human-induced climate change. Yet that is clearly false…Thus, whereas the IPCC revealed broad agreement among the global scientific community around climate change, the IAASTD—arguably the “IPCC of agriculture”—showed deep ambivalence among scientists over transgenic crops. The real question becomes: How can serious publications like Seed claim that skepticism toward GMOs reflects a “scientific flip-flop”? To be sure, the illusion of a broad consensus holds sway in the United States, and the IAASTD has clearly failed to correct it. The US media greeted its release with near-complete silence—in stark contrast to its reception in the European media…Ultimately, scientific responses to the advent of climate change and the rise of GMOs make a poor comparison. The consensus around climate change developed in spite of a multi-decade campaign by some of the globe’s most powerful and lucrative industries—the petroleum and coal giants—to protect markets worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The consensus around GMOs—or at least the specter of one—arose through the lobbying and support of an industry desperate to protect its own multibillion-dollar investments. I predict this bought-and-paid-for consensus will prove short-lived.”- Tom Philpott of Grist.org, who makes some good points
“Any scientist working at those institutions with agreements is now free to experiment. The catch is that the companies require the universities to sign a further legal agreement, showing that they understand they can’t let researchers pirate the seeds or plant them after the experiment is over…Want to guess where Monsanto stands in this? Monsanto has a blanket agreement allowing research at all universities in the United States. And actually, when Shields et al. made their complaint, Monsanto claimed it already had many of these agreements in place allowing independent research…There was one problem still, he said: Scientists can’t work with seeds before they come on the market. That hampers his ability to make recommendations about which seeds work best under different conditions, or to test for unwanted effects.”- Nathanael Johnson over at Grist.
“Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised. That is because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers…For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects. Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering…Although we appreciate the need to protect the intellectual property rights that have spurred the investments into research and development that have led to agritech’s successes, we also believe food safety and environmental protection depend on making plant products available to regular scientific scrutiny. Agricultural technology companies should therefore immediately remove the restriction on research from their end-user agreements.”- The Scientific American editors
“It’s no secret that the seed industry has the power to shape the information available on biotech crops, referred to variously as genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) crops. Commercial entities developed nearly all of the crops on the US market, and their ownership of the proprietary technology allows them to decide who studies the crops and how…Company control starts with a simple grower’s contract. Anyone wishing to buy transgenic seeds has to sign what’s called a technology stewardship agreement that says, among many things, that the buyer cannot conduct research on the seed, nor give it to someone else for research. This means scientists can’t simply buy seeds for their studies, and farmers can’t slip them some on the side. Instead, scientists must get permission from the seed companies or risk a lawsuit…Seed companies can refuse a research request for any reason, and they get fairly inventive…How often these kinds of rejections are happening is unclear. Some may be isolated instances; others result from company policies…The idea of having to get permission from companies to do studies is a deterrent in itself…Requesting permission from the companies can be daunting. The requester usually has to describe in detail the design of the experiment—information scientists may not want to divulge. Some researchers object to revealing their hypotheses because it provides companies with a head start in preparing a rebuttal. Once the company and the scientist agree on the design, they must negotiate the terms of the research agreement. Negotiations tend to break down when companies want to limit or control publication of the study…Most major seed companies seem to have made an effort to enable scientists to do such agronomic research…The companies say they have to keep tabs on public sector research because they want to make sure the studies are done with good stewardship practices and in accordance with regulations.”- Emily Waltz in Nature Biotechnology magazine
This relates to safety, and also corporate control: “Biotech companies have successfully claimed GRAS status for all of their new GM proteins (and by extension, the GM crops that contain them). FDA has yet to revoke an industry GRAS determination and require food additive testing of any transgenic crop… FDA never sees the methodological details of the company’s research, which is essential to identify unintentional mistakes, errors in data interpretation, or intentional deception…Contrary to popular belief, then, FDA has not formally approved a single GM crop as safe for human consumption. Instead, at the end of the consultation, FDA merely issues a short note summarizing the review process and a letter that conveys the crop developer’s assurances that the GM crop is substantially equivalent to its conventional counterpart. Under this voluntary system, FDA cannot fulfill its role of reviewing GM foods for the presence of toxins or allergens, alterations in nutritional content, or unintended effects of genetic engineering.” as noted in a summary by William Freese, with the full report here.
Governments on board with GMOs and corrupt the science?
“When those with a vested interest attempt to sow unreasonable doubt around inconvenient results, or when governments exploit political opportunities by picking and choosing from scientific evidence, they jeopardize public confidence in scientific methods and institutions, and also put their own citizenry at risk. Safety testing, science-based regulation, and the scientific process itself, depend crucially on widespread trust in a body of scientists devoted to the public interest and professional integrity” as noted in Independent Science News.
“We specifically argue that the current approach to declare statistically significant differences between genetically modified organisms and its parents as ‘biologically irrelevant’ based on additional reference controls lacks scientific rigor and legal justification in the European Union (EU) system”- part of a paper published by Environmental Studies Europe which was by Hartmut Meyer and Angelika Hilbeck about the Serlani study
“Beginning in the 1980s, the US regulatory response to biotechnology moved toward guidelines, which documents a departure from the command control regulations of the 1970s. This was a response to a pro-market, anti-regulatory shift in the political culture of government. As part of this shift, a new ideology of ‘junk science’ created a false dichotomy between ‘good science’ and ‘bad science’ to derail any attempts to use the weight of circumstantial evidence and precautionary approaches to regulate biotechnology. No new laws were passed in the United States for genetically modified organisms. Instead, laws passed to regulate chemicals were stretched to apply to GMOs. This resulted in some unusual adaptations oflanguage, such as designating a ubiquitous non-GM soil organism (Pseudomonas) a pesticide. This microbe, which resides on the leaf surfaces of plants, possesses a protein that can act as an ice-nucleating particle for super-cooled water when the temperature reaches a few degrees below freezing. When the gene that codes for this protein is excised (‘ice minus’), it no longer can serve as a nucleating site for frost formation. If the natural organism (‘ice plus’) facilitates ice formation below freezing temperatures thereby causing damage to the plant then it can be designated a pest; its GM variant (‘ice minus’) can then be thought of as a pesticide since it protects the plant from frost damage.”- Sheldon Krimsky as noted in Science as Culture
Also see these articles in The Atlantic and CounterPunch.
Then there’s this in the New York Times in 2007:
“The $73.5 billion global biotech business may soon have to grapple with a discovery that calls into question the scientific principles on which it was founded. Last month, a consortium of scientists published findings that challenge the traditional view of how genes function. The exhaustive four-year effort was organized by the United States National Human Genome Research Institute and carried out by 35 groups from 80 organizations around the world. To their surprise, researchers found that the human genome might not be a “tidy collection of independent genes” after all, with each sequence of DNA linked to a single function, such as a predisposition to diabetes or heart disease. Instead, genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood. According to the institute, these findings will challenge scientists “to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”…While no one has yet challenged the legal basis for gene patents, the biotech industry itself has long since acknowledged the science behind the question…Even more important than patent laws are safety issues raised by the consortium’s findings. Evidence of a networked genome shatters the scientific basis for virtually every official risk assessment of today’s commercial biotech products, from genetically engineered crops to pharmaceuticals.”
That is all.
 It would not be surprising if more users were not doing this as well
 As to be clear, Pamela Ronald’s article in Genetics is not reliable, as explained here.
 Numerous people have claimed this, even a scientists WHO SUPPORTS GMO LABELING Ramez Nadaam has argued this point, which is absurdist. Also there are reports like this one which claim to be impartial…but for a study that supposedly shows scientific consensus, and an article about it on the site of a conservative news source says “overall, the scientific literature was heavily in favor of GM agriculture.” This report says itself that it is an overview of data on GMOs in the past ten years, but GMOs were originally introduced in the 1990s, which is not included in this analysis. Anyway, since one has to pay for the report, I can’t read it, but the abstract says in a sort of pro-GMO fashion:
The technology to produce genetically engineered (GE) plants is celebrating its 30th anniversary and one of the major achievements has been the development of GE crops. The safety of GE crops is crucial for their adoption and has been the object of intense research work often ignored in the public debate. We have reviewed the scientific literature on GE crop safety during the last 10 years, built a classified and manageable list of scientific papers, and analyzed the distribution and composition of the published literature. We selected original research papers, reviews, relevant opinions and reports addressing all the major issues that emerged in the debate on GE crops, trying to catch the scientific consensus that has matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide. The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GE crops; however, the debate is still intense. An improvement in the efficacy of scientific communication could have a significant impact on the future of agricultural GE. Our collection of scientific records is available to researchers, communicators and teachers at all levels to help create an informed, balanced public perception on the important issue of GE use in agriculture.
 Consumers International has said that this FAO report is bias in and of itself TOWARD GMOs even though it does say there are some concerns expressed.