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6-Regulation: Iowa Farm Bureau suggest monitoring system for GEcrops that "might pose a health risk"



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TITLE:  Farm Bureau urges strong safeguards for biotech crops
SOURCE: Iowa Farm Bureau, USA
        http://www.ifbf.org/media/print/textArticle.asp?number=576&type=
        News%20Releases(State%20and%20National%20Issues)
DATE:   Feb 7, 2003

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   "If a pharmaceutical or industrial protein might pose a health risk,
    some form of visually-distinguishable characteristic should be included
    so that steps can be taken to intervene if regulated materials are
    observed in the grain channel."
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Farm Bureau urges strong safeguards for biotech crops

Greater coordination and field trial protocols must exist to regulate
plant materials modified through biotechnology, the Iowa Farm Bureau told
a government agency recently.

"We believe the identity-containment systems for field testing of these
crops must be designed to achieve a very high probability of
containment," said David Miller, IFBF director of commodity services, in
a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Miller said greater isolation through increased separation distances and
stricter requirements on pollen movement control are needed. He said the
FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should work more closely.

He suggested that the agencies establish scientifically-sound, risk-based
tolerances for adventitious presence of regulated products in food and
feed products. Today, no such standards exist; the standard is zero tolerance.

"The FDA should categorize introduced proteins according to their risks
to the food and or feed systems," Miller suggested. He said such
tolerances are needed for low-risk proteins.

If a pharmaceutical or industrial protein might pose a health risk, some
form of visually-distinguishable characteristic should be included so
that steps can be taken to intervene if regulated materials are observed
in the grain channel.

Farm Bureau also called for regulatory agencies to establish protocols on
how regulated materials will be grown in the field. Isolation and
separation distances along with pollen movement control mechanisms, such
as male-steriles, mechanical detasselling, offsets and other practices
can achieve low risk levels of movement.

Biopharmaceutical crops should be required to have complete physical
containment, he said, with dedicated equipment and producer
certification. Other protocols needed should be a 21-day separation
between harvest dates of conventional crops, requiring no production of
other crops for three to four years and producer recordkeeping.

Currently, the FDA considers biotech-derived products introduced into
food adulteration, regardless of human or animal health risk. However,
the Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA are taking a "risk-
based" approach to such materials. "All parts of the regulatory structure
should be using scientifically-sound, risk-based criteria," said Miller.


Contact: Aaron Putze, APR, 515-225-5414