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FW: Action Alert: Tell U.S. FDA to Test GE Food!

ACGA Members, 
If you are concerned about eating genetically  engineered food,  here's
somehting you can do about it.

From: PANUPS   <panupdates@panna.org>
Reply-To: panupdates@panna.org
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 11:14:45 -0800
To: PANUPS <panups@igc.topica.com>
Subject: PANUPS:  Action Alert: Tell U.S. FDA to Test GE Food!

Pesticide Action Network Updates Service

Action Alert: Tell U.S. FDA to Test GE Food!

February 26, 2001

In the final days of the Clinton administration, the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) submitted its long awaited policy on
genetically engineered foods. In total disregard of consumer
concerns, the proposed policy will not require any pre-market safety
testing or labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food.

Instead, the FDA requires only that biotech food producers engage in
"consultations" with the agency and provide information on their
products. The information, which must be submitted only three months
before the product is marketed, will be posted on the Internet
during the agency's review. Some information may be kept secret,
however, if companies can demonstrate to FDA that it is confidential
business information or "trade secrets." Industry studies that FDA
examines in its review of new products are not submitted for
scientific peer review and will not be available to the public.

FDA also proposed guidelines for a voluntary labeling system in
which companies labeling their products as "GE-free" or "Non-GMO"
bear the burden of certifying, testing and labeling their foods,
while companies that use GE ingredients do so without any
requirements to inform consumers through labeling.

Under the current U.S. regulatory framework, FDA has the authority
to regulate all GE food under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic
Act. To date, however, FDA has not required any testing for the vast
majority of GE crops. Instead, companies producing GE crops can
voluntarily consult with FDA to confirm the regulatory status of
their products. Companies choosing to participate in the
consultation process are not required to conduct any standard set of
safety tests on their products. In fact, companies that have
voluntarily conducted safety studies only need to submit summaries
of those studies to the FDA. Because the FDA reviews only summaries,
not data, from safety studies, it does not publish conclusions on
the safety of individual GE foods.

The proposed rule will make this voluntary consultation process
mandatory, but no additional testing or data submission will be
required. FDA continues to maintain that GE crops are "substantially
equivalent" to crops bred using traditional methods, despite growing
evidence to the contrary. There is mounting scientific evidence of
potential health risks related to GE foods, such as allergic
responses, toxicity and lower nutritional value. Under FDA's new
notification rule, GE foods will continue to reach supermarket
shelves without any testing required for these health problems.

The public can comment on FDA's proposed policy until April 3, 2001.
Write to FDA Commissioner Jane Henney and tell her that you are
outraged that FDA continues to ignore the safety concerns of
consumers, doctors and scientists, in favor of protecting the
economic interests of biotech companies. Demand that FDA change its
policy to require labeling and pre-market safety testing of all
genetically engineered foods.

Send your emails to fdadockets@oc.fda.gov. In the subject line write
"re: dockets 00N-1396 and OOD-1598," or send a letter referencing
the same dockets to:

FDA Commissioner Jane Henney
Dockets Management Branch (HFA 305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fisher's Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

For an overview of GE crops and foods, see PANNA's online
presentation at:

For a thorough analysis of the proposed rule, visit the Center for
Food Safety Web site: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

For the full text of the FDA proposed rules, visit:

For an overview of U.S. regulation of GE crops, visit the Union of
Concerned Scientists Web site:

Source/contact: PANNA.

PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and
reporting on pesticide issues that don't always get coverage by the
mainstream media. It's produced by Pesticide Action Network North
America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to
advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.

You can join our efforts! We gladly accept donations for our work
and all contributions are tax deductible in the United States. Visit
our extensive web site at http://www.panna.org to learn more about
getting involved.

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