Iowa State prof: Genetically modified food is harmless

Published online: Aug 31, 2013
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An Iowa State University food science professor said there is no reason to label foods that contain genetically modified foods though half of all U.S. states are considering laws requiring them.

Ruth MacDonald, a chair in food science and human nutrition, said labeling would be an expensive hassle.

"This is a non-issue," MacDonald said. "It is not a health concern."

Genetically modified organisms or GMOS are plant foods that have been genetically mutated for desired traits such as resistance to herbicides used for weed control or apples that wouldn't turn brown, the Seattle Times reports.

While MacDonald said there is no science to show that eating modified foods is harmful, critics often say ingesting foods made with genetically modified ingredients lead to health problems such as tumors, increased allergies and antibiotic resistance.

Opponents also say the modified foods haven't been studied enough and it would be hard to go back to using regular crops if any damage is ever found, the Seattle Times reported.

Proponents of modified foods have spent millions fighting against labeling legislation in various states according to the Times report.

"Everyone is saying, `What is the big deal? You just put the label on the package,'" MacDonald said. "It's not the label. It is the verification, laws, oversight, regulation-all that is going to cost a fortune. There are more important food safety issues than GMOs that we should be concerned about."