On January 17th, Environmental Defense sharply criticized weak proposals by the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning oversight and labeling of foods
derived from genetically engineered crops.
“Clearly the FDA doesn’t have a taste for regulating genetically engineered
foods and continues to avoid industry oversight that has any substance,” said
Environmental Defense senior scientist Dr. Rebecca Goldburg.
Today’s weak FDA proposal only requires companies to consult with the
agency before they market new genetically engineered foods. FDA also
proposed guidance for companies who wish to voluntarily label foods as
engineered or non-engineered.
“This consultation process is watered down consumer protection, calling only
for notification, not true regulatory review. FDA will not require industry to
demonstrate the safety of new biotech foods before they go on supermarket
shelves,” said Goldburg. “To make matters worse, consumers may be shut out
of the consultations, since industry is allowed to keep safety data confidential
until consultations are finished.”
“These powerless proposals fly in the face of public and expert input. In 1999
FDA received 35,000 letters making it clear that consumers want genetically
engineered foods to be safety tested and to be labeled. These proposals do
not require either,” said Goldburg.
Goldburg was a member of an expert panel, appointed by the US State
Department and the European Union, which on December 18, 2000, issued a
consensus report urging strong regulation and mandatory labeling of
genetically engineered foods.
“Regulation, labeling, and an open decision-making process are vital for
consumer confidence abroad as well as at home,” said Goldburg. “FDA’s
proposals can only hurt US food exports and the US economy.”
Enviroshop is maintained by dedicated NetSys Interactive Inc. owners & employees who generously contribute their time to maintenance & editing, web design, custom programming, & website hosting for Enviroshop.