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FDA ANNOUNCES PUBLIC MEETINGS ON BIOENGINEERED FOODS!


This is forwarded from the Community Food Security Coalition's list serve.

From: Debbie  Ortman <safefood@cp.duluth.mn.us>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 08:20:54 -0500
To: Community Food Security Coalition <comfood-l@listproc.tufts.edu>
Subject: ACTION ALERT: CHICAGO, IL/WASHINGTON,DC/OAKLAND,CA

The first public meeting will be held on November 18 in Chicago, Ill.,
followed by a second on November 30, in Washington, D.C., and a third on
December 13, in Oakland, Calif.

FDA ANNOUNCES PUBLIC MEETINGS ON BIOENGINEERED FOODS!

When we get the specifics on these meetings we will send out a follow up
alert. We need to pack these meetings!!

HHS NEWS
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

P99-24                                                  FOOD AND DRUG
ADMINISTRATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   Judith
Foulke:       202-205-4144
October 18, 1999                                        Broadcast
Media:     301-827-3434
                                                         Consumer
Inquiries:  888-SAFEFOOD
FDA ANNOUNCES PUBLIC MEETINGS ON BIOENGINEERED FOODS
The Food and Drug Administration today announced a new initiative to engage
the public about foods made using bioengineering. This initiative will
begin with a series of public meetings to be held in Chicago, Ill.,
Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif., this November and December.
At the public meetings, the public will be informed about current FDA
policy for assuring the safety of bioengineered foods. The public will be
asked whether this policy should be modified and also to comment on
appropriate means of providing information to the public about
bioengineered products in the food supply.
Under FDA policy developers of bioengineered foods are expected to consult
with the agency before marketing such foods, to ensure that all safety and
regulatory questions have been fully addressed. FDA's policy also requires
special labeling for a bioengineered food in certain circumstances. For
example, a bioengineered food would need to be called by a different or
modified name if its composition were significantly different from its
conventionally grown counterpart, or if its nutritive value has been
significantly altered. Special labeling would be required if consumers need
to be informed about a safety issue, such as the possible presence of an
allergen that would not normally be found in the conventionally-grown
product.
"FDA makes sure that our food supply is among the safest in the world,"
said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. "Although people
have enthusiastically accepted new drugs made from biotechnology, some
consumers have concerns about the use of this technology in foods, and we
need to ask why those concerns exist and how we can address them."
Modern bioengineering was first used to produce consumer products in the
early 1980's when FDA approved important new drugs to treat a range of
diseases. In the 1990's foods such as tomatoes, corn, and soybeans produced
through bioengineering began to appear. To date, biotechnology firms have
completed consultation with FDA on more than 40 food products, and a
substantial portion of American cropland is planted with seeds produced
using this technology.
"FDA's food regulatory system relies on the best science available to
protect the public," said FDA Commissioner Jane E. Henney, M.D. "Our
scientists are not aware of any reason to question the safety of currently
marketed foods produced through bioengineering. Nevertheless, as a science-
based agency, FDA will consider any valid scientific information that
suggests the agency should reevaluate its process for overseeing the safety
of these foods."
The first public meeting will be held on November 18 in Chicago, Ill.,
followed by a second on November 30, in Washington, D.C., and a third on
December 13, in Oakland, Calif.
####




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