another original news article from same issue

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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Thursday, August 08, 2002 at 12:18PM :

In Reply to: on transgenic crops & developing nations posted by Lilly from ? ( on Thursday, August 08, 2002 at 12:09PM :

Why voluntary? They should make reporting data mandatory!
Nature 418, 571 (8 August 2002)

US calls for early data on transgenic crop safety


[WASHINGTON] The Bush administration has released a new policy that asks companies to voluntarily report data on the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops while they are still in early-stage field trials.

The policy, released by the White House on 2 August, says that the increasing number of GM crops in field trials "could result in intermittent, low levels of biotechnology-derived genes ... occurring in commerce that have not gone through all applicable regulatory reviews".

It says that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should collect information, supplied on a voluntary basis, about the "potential toxicity and allergenicity" of proteins introduced into experimental crops. The data would be collected only if the protein had not previously been assessed in another crop.

The FDA would encourage growers "to consult with the agency about whether the presence in food/feed of such material at low and intermittent levels would raise any potential safety issues", the policy states.

Industry organizations have welcomed the voluntary requirement, saying that their members will comply, and that this will help to reassure countries that import food from the United States.

"It's good for our trading partners and for consumers who are still gaining confidence in this new technology to know it's being looked at in very early stages," says Lisa Dry, a spokeswoman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

But environmental groups have attacked the policy. Matt Rand of the National Environmental Trust says that the Bush administration has now acknowledged that experimental GM crops are likely to contaminate other crops, but is not requiring companies to prove that the crops are safe.

"The international community is going to be even more sceptical of US exports than they were before," Rand says.

Nature Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 Registered No. 785998 England.

-- Lilly
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