By: Arron Williams
May 11 2023
Current scientific evidence does not suggest that GM foods cause sterility, autism, increased allergies, cancer, or ADHD.
A TikTok video shared on Facebook claims that all studies show genetically modified (GM) food causes sterility, allergies, cancer, ADHD, and autism. The video also mentions that King Charles III has recently passed an act to make all food and livestock genetically modified.
The original video on TikTok has attracted nearly 2 million views and has been re-uploaded on the platform several times. On Facebook, the video has over 5000 views.
The act referred to in the video is likely the recently passed Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act 2023, which gained royal assent on March 23, 2023. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs explains that the act allows farmers to grow drought and disease-resistant crops and breed animals that are protected from disease.
It is not true that “all studies” show GM foods cause the adverse effects mentioned. The claims made are disputed by research or suffer from a lack of evidence.
The video claims that GM food causes sterility in future generations. No scientific evidence could be found to support the drastic figures in the video. A search of scholarly databases reveals that the effects of GM food on human fertility have not been widely studied; however, one 2020 review in the Scientific World Journal indicated that GM food had no adverse effects on fertility. Specifically, the review showed that “the use of GM products in experimental studies did not represent significant differences in sperm parameters such as sperm abnormality, sperm motility, sperm head, and fertility indices.”
The study explains that while no significant changes were reported, slight variations indicated that GM products might have longer-term effects and stressed the need for further research.
Regarding claims on cancer and allergies, Cancer Research U.K., an independent cancer research organization, and the American Institute for Cancer Research state that there is no evidence that eating GM foods causes cancer. Similarly, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization are clear that research shows GM foods are no more likely to cause allergic effects than non-GM foods.
There is also no proof that GM foods cause autism or ADHD. A 2022 article by the Genetic Literacy Project, a non-profit organization that promotes public discussion about genetics, addressed autism claims and stated that GM foods do not lead to children developing autism. The article states that such claims are similar to other misinformation claims that link a rise in autism to vaccines.
Instead, the article points out that evidence suggests an increase in autism is due to increased screening, changes to diagnostic criteria, and a greater awareness of autism. While this might not be the only reason for an increase, it is likely responsible for the large uptick in autism diagnoses.
Research into the potential health effects of GM foods is still ongoing, but scientific evidence at this time does not support the claims made in the video.
There is no evidence that GM foods cause sterility, cancer, allergies, ADHD, or autism. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.