Regulation blocking genetically engineered food animal development, report finds

Jun 30, 2011
The time-consuming regulation of genetically engineered plants and animals has serious long-term implications for agriculture and food security in the United States.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A cumbersome and time-consuming federal regulatory process is stifling commercial investment in the development of genetically engineered animals for food and has serious long-term implications for agriculture and food security in the United States, reports a task force of experts led by a UC Davis animal scientist.

“Although humans and animals have been consuming genetically engineered food from plants for years, images of genetically engineered animals open new and often contentious debates about the issue,” said Alison Van Eenennaam, the report’s lead author and a UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology.

“Some of the controversy regarding GE animals stems from issues of regulatory oversight of research, development, and post-approval marketing,” she said.

In the report, various stakeholders point out strengths and weaknesses in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory approach. The task force members address:

• thoroughness of the premarket product review process for safety and efficacy;
• potential for withdrawing FDA endorsement after a product has been approved;
• need for public transparency in the review process;
• the FDA’s lack of authority to consider ethics and other social concerns;
• reliance on data produced by the corporation seeking approval; and
• lack of provision for environmental review.

The also determined that the issues are clouded by the potential for opposition groups to delay or obstruct approval by co-opting regulations and concerns about labeling requirements. At this time, the FDA cannot require that food labels include information about production methods, such as genetic engineering, unless that process results in a material difference in the product.

The report, published by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, examines a proposal by the private firm AquaBounty to raise and sell genetically engineered salmon as a test case. The “AquaAdvantage” salmon carry a Chinook salmon gene, which enables them to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon.

The report, The Science and Regulation of from Genetically Engineered , is available free of charge on the council’s website at http://www.cast-science.org .

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Kev_C
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
The article quotes a scientist claiming that we have been eating genetically modified plants for years. Sorry buddy but ydeliberately misconstruing the truth here. The food plants that we have been consuming were not genetically modified by the same techniques that the biotechs currently use. Transgenic modifdication is not the same, even remotely, as traditional cross breeding of plants.
As for animals we have already bred about as many species as there needs to be for species survival in terms of robustness and disease resistance but you crackpots think that playing god with species is necessary. Its not. It will never be appropriate or needed. The sole purpose for this extravagant waste of time and money (we have some serious climate problems which couyld use a buck or two to resolve them) is to insert a patent gene into every food commodity and therefore give the ownership of all food to the corporations who then dictate the price as they see fit. That is the truth behind the lies.
Mandan
not rated yet Jul 01, 2011
As a lifelong family farmer and livestock producer driven out of both by the rapid spread and growth of exceedingly powerful, transnational agricorporations, I would warn that we are in serious danger of two things, both having to do with loss of genetic diversity:

1. Destruction of habitat-- and with it the ancestral or wild relatives of our domestic crops and livestock which might have otherwise been valuable to natural breeders for conferring various desirable characteristics such as drought resistance, disease resistance, or some other particular aspect or characteristic.

2. Wholesale replacement of various "breeds" or strains of crops and livestock in the rush to create a consistant, more highly-marketable product based purely on consumer tastes and demands without regard for the longterm ability to maintain hybrid vigor by mixing the genetics of various un-related purebreed strains, as corporately marketed, homogeneous genetic lines drive the others from the market.

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