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[SANET-MG] US allows food genetic pollution
The release below deals with a serious threat to US agriculture. The
main problem with pharm crop pollution is that US has allowed secrecy
through the designation confidential business information.One might
think that it would be easy to scan all of the foods for human and other
mammalian gene pollution by scanning for genes showing the
human(mammalian) codon preference. However, in virtually all of the
productions the human (or mammalian) codon preferences have been altered
in the synthetic human (or mammalian) genes used in pharm crops.Even the
protein modifications by glycosylation or other modification bear the
crop pattern. The only way to make the pollution evident is to inform
the public of the location and nature of pharm crop production. USDA and
FDA seem to have grown to view the public as serfs who must eat anything
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/USTRSTC.phpISIS Press Release 22/12/04
US to Rubber Stamp Transgene Contamination
US set to approve contamination of food supply with unauthorised test
crops. Mae-Wan Ho and Sam Burcher report
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a proposal on 24
November 2004 to allow experimental GM crops grown on "test" sites to
legally enter the food chain. The proposal is open for comment until 24
The FDA proposal came in response to a 2002 Bush administration
initiative in the wake of widespread contamination of US food supplies
and exports in 2000 with unauthorised Starlink GM corn, which continued
to be detected in the US grain supply and in food shipments to Bolivia,
Japan and South Korea as recently as autumn 2003.
FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford described the proposed policy as "a
high priority for the Administration and the industry, to enhance public
confidence, avoid product recalls, and provide an international model"
for similar policies around the world.
The new policy sets out loose "safety assessment" guidelines under which
a company may voluntarily consult with the FDA to have its experimental
GM crop material deemed "acceptable" as a food contaminant. The "safety
assessment" consists of paperwork and two inadequate tests that the FDA
estimates will take companies just 20 hours to complete; and does not
include animal feeding trials or tests for unintended effects caused by
genetic modification. This would then give biotech companies the legal
cover to allow their experimental GM crops to enter the US food supply.
The US biotechnology and grain industries are already calling on the US
government to "vigorously promote global adoption" of this policy.
It is already virtually impossible to test for the presence of
experimental GM food crops in foods imported from or processed in the
US, because over two-thirds of US field trials of experimental GM crops
involve one or more genes classified as confidential which therefore
cannot be detected.
Bill Freese, research analyst with Friends of the Earth (US) said,
"FDA’s new proposal has nothing to do with food safety, it’s designed to
provide biotech companies with legal cover for contaminating the food
supply with experimental biotech traits. Such contamination has happened
in the past and has cost biotech companies more than $1billion." Aside
from Starlink, another experimental GM corn containing a pharmaceutical
sprouted in a field of soya one year after the trial crop had been
harvested. ProdiGene, the makers of the GM corn, paid out millions of
dollars in damages and a $250 000 fine, although the product never
reached the food chain.
Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe added: "Because of the
secrecy behind experiments in the United States, no one - not food
companies, not even governments - will be able to test food products or
food imports for contamination because they won’t know what to test for.
This will leave consumers worldwide exposed to new risks from
genetically modified foods."
Those experiments that are known to the public include crops with
radically altered nutritional content for use as animal feed or
anti-fungal compounds that resemble food allergens. Others include crops
engineered to be resistant to chemical herbicides, produce their own
insecticides or have sterile pollen or seeds. The FDA is also
considering a similar proposal to allow residues from experimental
pharmaceutical crops to enter the food chain. (See Ban Plant-based
Transgenic Pharmaceuticals www.i-sis.org.uk/Banpharmcrops.php).
Juan Lopez from Friends of the Earth International said: "The Bush
Administration, with the active support of the biotechnology industry,
is about to force their untested genetically modified experiments into
the world’s food supply. This proposal should be ringing alarm bells in
every consumer, every food company and every food agency of the planet."
In line with the same policy proposal, Prof. Joe Cummins at the
University of Western Ontario points out, "USDA [US Department of
Agriculture], which regulates organic certification, has proclaimed that
organic food crops polluted with modified genes from wind-borne pollen
released from neighbouring farms will still be certified as organic
food." (See "GM sugar beet gone sour", ISIS report, 9 December 2005,
More information at Friends of the Earth International Action Alert:
Submit your comments by 24 January 2005.
Through the FDA website (Docket ID"2004D-03692) at
Or send written comments, referencing Docket ID2004D-0369 to FDA
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration,
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD20852, USA
FDA release of the policy was announced at:
FDA’s draft policy is available at:
FOE Press release. Anger over US plans to allow GM contamination on
food, Nov 23
Bad seeds, Crop Choice News 24 Aug. 2004
FoE briefing paper: www.foei.org/publications/pdfs/contamination.pdf
The Institute of Science in Society, PO Box 32097, London NW1 OXR
telephone: [44 20 8452 2729] [44 20 7272 5636]
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