Regulating Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Forcing a Square Technology Peg into a Round Regulatory Hole

Belinda Martineau holds multiple patents involving recombinant DNA technology; she helped to develop the first FDA approved GMO food in 1994; and author of dozens of articles & a book: “First Fruit: The Creation of the Flavr Savr™ Tomato and the Birth of Biotech Food.”

Biotech Salon

Despite what you may have read in The New York Timesor on Monsanto’s website or in books like some written by former regulatory officials, current regulation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the United States is not necessarily “burdensome” and not “every biotechnology product has to be submitted to two or more [government agencies] for approval.”   In the first place (and as I mentioned in a post on 11/9/11), one of the three U.S. agencies making up the “coordinated framework” that deals with biotech crops, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does not require regulation of most GE foods or feeds at all.

In its 1992 original “Statement  of  Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties,” the FDA described the “genetic modification techniques” used to traditionally breed crop plants and those used to genetically engineer them as constituting a “continuum.”  Nearly every scientist, representative of the biotech industry…

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