Led by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), a group of independent researchers has released a joint statement in Environmental Sciences Europe that challenges “recent claims of a consensus over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).” According to the January 20, 2015, statement, “the scarcity and contradictory nature of the scientific evidence published to date prevents conclusive claims of safety, or lack of safety, of GMOs.”

In particular, the signatories not only argue that scientific agreement on the safety of GMOs is “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated through diverse fora,” but suggest that the current regulatory approach to vetting GMOs case-by-case belies any purported consensus. As evidence, they cite “the different research methods employed, an inadequacy of available procedures, and differences in the analysis and interpretation of data,” as well as unaddressed concerns raised by independent animal-feeding studies and other research.

“The claim [of consensus] further encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigor and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment,” opines the statement. “Science and society do not proceed on the basis of a constructed consensus, as current knowledge is always open to well-founded challenge and disagreement. We endorse the need for further independent scientific inquiry and informed public discussion on GM product safety.”