Statement on FDAs Announcement About Genetically Engineered Foods|
Statement of Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of CSPI, concerning the FDAs plans on genetically engineered foods.
The FDA has taken modest steps in the right direction for increasing public confidence in genetically engineered foods. A mandatory review would help ensure that such foods are safe, and voluntary labeling should help consumers who want to buy non-engineered foods. To foster greater public participation in the debate over genetic engineering, the FDA should take the additional step of announcing in the Federal Register all notifications of new products, detailed explanations of final decisions, and opportunities for public comments.
The FDA is operating under legislation that predates genetic engineering by several decades. Congress should clarify the FDAs authority by mandating a formal approval process, as Senator Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representative Kucinich (D-Ohio) have proposed. It should also consider mandatory labeling of engineered foods, provided that such labeling would not be pejorative or significantly increase costs. Finally, the National Academy of Sciences should conduct an impartial review of the FDA's regulation of engineered foods.