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[SANET-MG] FDA wants disclosure of tests of GM pharm crops to be voluntary
The article below paints a shocking truth. Both neighbors and bystanders
of pharm crop tests may be injured or killed by the products of the
tests but there need not be any obligatory warning or disclosure
provided for the injured public. The record is clear that many products
such as the humanized monoclonal antibodies that proved so hazardous in
human tests and treatments are being produced in crop plants such as
corn. FDA seems to have taken on the most arrogant attitude to human
experimentation since the Dr's of the Third Reich. Which countries ,
other than Canada, will buy such polluted food? Can WTO be stupid enough
to try to force off such polluted food s on the world?
FDA advises voluntary disclosure of GMO crop tests
By staff and wire reports
WASHINGTON — Federal food regulators announced a step they say may help
guard against genetic engineering experiments that could contaminate
non-engineered corn, grain or other crops.
The Food and Drug Administration advised companies testing bioengineered
plants to report their work first and vouch for its safety. The agency
said it wants to make sure commercial crops aren’t threatened by
cross-pollination or commingling of seeds during the testing of
More than 47,000 field tests on genetically engineered crops were
performed in the United States from 1987 to 2004, including almost 2,000
in Nebraska, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Monsanto and its subsidiaries submitted the most applications for field
tests, 4,279, according to U.S. PIRG.
The announcement comes amid heightened expectations that advances in
genetics will lead over the next decade to more research and development
of bioengineered crops. Yet the promise has been tempered by objections
from consumers, advocates food processors and grocery manufacturers that
an allergen or toxin could inadvertently enter the food supply.
In a report released quietly just before last Christmas, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's investigative arm disclosed that the
department failed to properly monitor thousands of acres of experimental
Many European countries would likely try to block imports of American
food if it contained genetically modified substances. The European
Commission proposed in April toughening the European Union's approval
procedure for new biotech foods, products and crops.
Critics of genetically engineered plants have called on the U.S.
government to conduct mandatory testing and certify that products are
safe before allowing their sale.
Michael Fernandez, executive director of the Pew Initiative on Food and
Biotechnology, called the voluntary guidelines a “small step in the
right direction.” But he doubted it would assuage all concerns that an
allergen or toxin could be accidentally introduced into commercial food
supplies during testing.
The Food Products Association and Grocery Manufacturers Association
greeted the announcement both positively and cautiously, saying more
needed to be done.
Bill Freese, a science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety,
criticized the action for not requiring testing and for assuming
contamination would be slight.
“It is designed to make it look like there is regulation when in fact
it’s just a green light to allow contamination of food with these
untested substances,” he said in an interview.
Conversely, the Biotechnology Industry Organization praised the FDA for
“ensuring food safety” while recognizing that accidents with
experimental proteins are “natural.”
In its guidelines, the FDA recommends — but does not require — that
companies file a report attesting to the harmlessness of any
bioengineered protein they intend to test.
After reviewing the reports, the FDA will either raise questions about
the possible impact on food safety or say it is satisfied. The agency
itself will not draw a conclusion.
The action does not cover an already large supply of genetically
modified plants. It also doesn’t cover plants grown for pharmaceutical use.
The White House requested the guidelines in 2002, the same year a
controversy arose when stalk residue from corn that is supposed to be
kept out of the grain pipeline turned up in a half-million bushels of
soybeans delivered to the Aurora Cooperative elevator, 70 miles west of
The soybeans and corn were destroyed before they could enter the food
ProdiGene, the Texas company that tested the genetically engineered
corn, paid a fine.
In 2000, a genetically modified corn called StarLink, designed to repel
pests and intended only for animal feed, turned up in taco shells and
other foods. The discovery prompted recalls, disrupted exports and was
blamed for the allergic reactions of 44 Americans. Aventis CropScience,
which developed StarLink, withdrew it.
More than 8,000 Nebraska corn producers shared in an $11 million
settlement of a lawsuit that alleged damage to market prices because of
Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services and the Journal Star archives
contributed to this report.
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