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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Michigan Researcher Weighs in on GMO Debate

Scores of studies say GMOs are not harmful, but many are skeptical of the research.


Dr. Andrew Maynard, director of the Risk Science Center at U-M SPH, said some consumers do not trust the large agriculture companies that develop GMOs and bring them to market.

Dr. Maynard said the research is conducted with care because companies want to avoid fallout from poor safety studies or a product that causes harm. Discounting such research could lead to poor policy decisions, he said.

“If the data comes from a company that stands to profit from it, it should be judged against a higher bar,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that it’s biased or flawed, just that you have to judge it at a higher standard.”

So, are GMOs safe? Maynard, an expert on risk assessment, said that’s the wrong question. He said consumers should examine the likelihood of harm versus the potential benefits of specific GMOs.

He said nothing is completely safe. It is easy for a consumer to side with vocal critics who contend a GMO is not safe, rather than take time to understand the true risk, he said.

“It’s really important to look at the benefits,” he said

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