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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273
Washington, D.C., July 28, 2004—The safety of genetic engineering techniques for crop improvement received yet another endorsement in a report released today by the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that genetically engineered foods do not generate compositional changes that are different from other plant and animal breeding techniques and policies that subject only genetically engineered foods to pre-market evaluation are “scientifically unjustified.”
“This report endorses the Food and Drug Administration’s long-standing policy for bioengineered foods,” said Gregory Conko, Director of Food Safety Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It repeats the conclusion of countless scientific studies, that using genetic engineering techniques doesn’t make a food dangerous.”
The report also makes clear that nearly all foods are “genetically modified,” and that all forms of breeding may produce unintended effects, not just those that are “genetically engineered” using recombinant DNA techniques. The NAS panel stopped short of calling for specific regulation of all new plant and animal varieties, but it recommending that federal agencies use the presence of intended or unintended compositional changes, and not the use of genetic engineering, as the trigger for regulation.
“This contradicts claims by anti-biotechnology activists who have tried to depict genetic engineering as uniquely hazardous,” said Conko. “It also obviates calls for more stringent FDA regulation of bioengineered foods.”
Biotech Expert Available for Interviews
Director of Food Safety Policy
Co-author of the forthcoming book The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution (Praeger, September 2004).