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TITLE:  GMA URGES THE USE OF NON-FOOD CROPS FOR BIOTECH DRUGS
        ProdiGene's Errors Raise Serious Concerns, Says GMA
SOURCE: The Grocery Manufacturers of America, Press Release
        http://www.gmabrands.com/news/docs/NewsRelease.cfm?DocID=1029&
DATE:   Nov 14, 2002

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html -----------------


GMA URGES THE USE OF NON-FOOD CROPS FOR BIOTECH DRUGS
ProdiGene's Errors Raise Serious Concerns, Says GMA

Washington, DC, November 14, 2002 - The Grocery Manufacturers of America
said today ProdiGene' reported violations of two field trial permits represent
the potential for an unacceptable risk to the U.S. food supply. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service identified two violations of ProdiGene, Inc.'s field test permits - one
in Nebraska and another in Iowa. In each case, "volunteer" corn of
experimental bio-pharmaceuticals were found. The volunteer corn in both locations
contained traces of unidentified bio-pharmaceuticals from 2001 field trials.
According to USDA, the corn was not properly destroyed in the year following the
field trials as mandated by ProdiGene's permits. USDA and the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration have confirmed that experimental corn varieties have been
isolated from the U.S. food supply. 

"While we are pleased to know that the USDA and FDA have isolated these
incidences and are in the process of destroying the affected soybeans and corn in
Nebraska and Iowa, GMA is deeply concerned by ProdiGene's reported conduct,"
said GMA Director of New Technologies and Environment Karil Kochenderfer.
"These incidents reaffirm GMA's concerns about the use of food crops for the
development of plant-made pharmaceuticals."

"The food industry requires complete assurance from regulators and the
biotech industry that the safety and integrity of the U.S. food supply remains
intact," added Kochenderfer. "However, until the science and federal regulations
can guarantee the separation of PMPs from the food and feed supply, we
strongly urge the biotech industry to direct its substantial research capabilities
into investigating the use of non-food crops for the development of
pharmaceuticals" 

GMA is working with the biotech industry and federal regulators regarding
the use of non-food crops for PMPs. Additionally, GMA is working with federal
regulators to ensure that no further incidents such as this occur. 

###

GMA is the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer
product companies. With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ
more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states. The organization applies legal,
scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food,
nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry. Led by a board of
42 Chief Executive Officers, GMA sp aks for food and consumer product
manufacturers and sales agencies at the state, federal and international levels on
legislative and regulatory issues. The association also leads efforts to
increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer
products industry.

Contact: Stephanie Childs 
(+1-202) 337-9400 or www.gmabrands.com

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