GENTECH archive


Re: GM foods on sale not a health risk!!

    I take offense to your incessant attacks on people who work for regulatory
agencies. I used to work for the U.S. EPA, and I did some risk assessment work
on transgenic plants. I, however, have never worked in the biotech industry and
currently do not work in the biotech industry. Not everyone in the government
is out to get you. In fact, many of us worked hard on trying to protect people.
Remember, the federal agencies can only act when directed by Congress. If you
are unhappy with current regulations, then take it up with Congress!! The EPA,
FDA, and USDA have no official biotech laws to follow when assessing these
products and have essentially been forced to bend current laws, such as FIFRA
(which was intended for chemicals), to somehow include the topic of GMOs. The
EPA, FDA, and USDA are all operating on the "substantial equivalency" rule
written in 1987 by a National Academy of Sciences panel.  It is a poor
substitute for proper legislation; it leaves the agencies' rules open to
attack; and it does not serve the risk assessment process very well. Unless the
new NAS panel releases different findings from the 1987 panel or unless
Congress gets involved, don't expect the agencies to do too much. EPA, in
particular, does not have the authority to regulate many of these products.
Considering that they are not allowed to look at the "method of creation" and
only at the end product, it's surprising they've been able to regulate any GMOs
at all. wrote:

> Bill,
> You confirm my most serious concerns. Is this your idea of an independent,
> peer-reviewed, scientific citation? I haven't seen one word about the basis
> for the decision of the Irish authorities. What I have seen from these
> various governments is "policy statements" announcing that "they are
> satisfied". I do know that in the US, regulatory personnel are consistently
> recruited directly from the biotechnology industry and then return there
> after they have done their time in the government.
> - Nina
> In a message dated 5/12/1999 1:47:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> << Nina,
>  Score another one for safety.
>  Bill B.
>  -----Original Message-----
>  From: Shane Morris * <>
>  To: Catherine.Adley <>
>  Date: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 8:33 AM
>  Subject: GM foods on sale not a health risk!!
>  >FYI
>  >
>  >Irish Times (Frontpage) 12/5/99
>  >
>  >GM foods on sale not a
>  >health risk, says report
>  >
>  >By Kevin O'Sullivan, Environmental and Food Science Correspondent
>  >No genetically-modified food on sale in Ireland or the EU poses a health
>  >risk, according to a report to be issued by the Food Safety Authority of
>  >Ireland today, The Irish Times has learned.
>  >The most comprehensive independent report yet published in the State on
>  >the genetically-modified (GM) food controversy stresses, however, that
>  >this should not be interpreted as blanket approval of all GM foods. Nor
>  >does the authority advocate consumption of GM foods over unmodified
>  >varieties.
>  >It is understood the report backs a case-by-case assessment of any GM
>  >food seeking market approval. It also underlines the importance of
>  >clear, neutral information on the issue, to address widespread consumer
>  >confusion and concern.
>  >It is understood the FSAI status paper, "Food Safety and GM Foods",
>  >stresses that the authority is satisfied on scientific grounds that
>  >there is no need to cease the current use of gene technology to develop
>  >GM foods on food safety grounds.
>  >The FSAI is not becoming a defender of GM foods or of the multinational
>  >companies associated with their development. The report is based on the
>  >evaluations of its own scientists: a separate scientific committee and a
>  >special sub-committee which assess new GM foods coming onto the market.
>  >The findings are a blow to campaign groups against GM foods. Human
>  >health risk has been repeatedly cited by campaigners as grounds for a
>  >moratorium on GM foods.
>  >While the report contains a comprehensive evaluation of possible food
>  >safety risks, the FSAI has stressed its remit "is purely in the area of
>  >food safety and it cannot consider environmental, ethical or trade
>  >issues".
>  >Musgrave, which controls 25 per cent of the Irish food market through
>  >its 470 franchised Supervalu and Centra stores, has defended its policy
>  >of not banning genetically-modified food products. Instead, Musgrave
>  >requires clear labelling of the GM content in all Supervalu and Centra
>  >brands.
>  >Supervalu chief executive Mr Eoin McGettigan said: "We are not
>  >scientists and we need to be guided. We want to give the consumer the
>  >clear choice through clear labelling. It's a very emotive issue and we
>  >have to stand back and take a reasoned decision."
>  > >>
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