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6-Regulation: U.S. Senate bill puts GE animals on fast track



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TITLE:  Senate Bill Puts Transgenic Animals on Fast Track
        Animal Drug Bill Weakens Regulation for GE Food Animals
SOURCE: Centre for Science in the Public Interest, USA
        http://www.cspinet.org/new/200304042.html
DATE:   Apr 4, 2003

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Senate Bill Puts Transgenic Animals on Fast Track
Animal Drug Bill Weakens Regulation for GE Food Animals

Legislation intended to improve farmers' access to animal drugs would
have the unintended effect of undercutting the Food and Drug
Administration's (FDA) approval process for genetically engineered (GE)
animals. That bill was criticized today by leading health, consumer, and
environmental groups, who fear that transgenic animals, like fast-growing
salmon, would be marketed without undergoing a thorough government
review. FDA is planning to regulate GE animals by applying its existing
authority to regulate animal drugs.

Today, representatives of the groups wrote all U.S. Senators about the
potential food-safety and environmental concerns presented by transgenic
animals.

"The application of genetic engineering in plant agriculture has already
proven controversial ... and the commercialization of transgenic animals
will almost certainly draw more public concern than plants such as
soybeans," wrote the groups. The signers included officials of the Center
for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America,
Environmental Defense, and others.

The legislation at issue is S. 741, the Minor Use and Minor Species
Animal Health Act, sponsored by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Consumer
and environmental groups say the bill should either be opposed or amended
to exclude transgenic animals.

"Whether intentional or not, the proposed legislation would fast track
transgenic animals and handcuff FDA from ensuring safety before those
animals hit the marketplace," said Gregory Jaffe, director of CSPI's
biotechnology project.