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FDA Concludes Genetically Engineered Apple and Potato are Safe

Statement of CSPI Biotechnology Director Gregory Jaffe

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The Food and Drug Administration has determined that a particular genetically engineered apple and a particular genetically engineered potato are safe to eat. There's no reason why these "Arctic" apples and "Innate" potatoes would pose any food safety or environmental risk. Both products were made by manipulating DNA from within their species to have useful properties; the apple resists browning and the potato resists bruising and results in less formation of the carcinogen acrylamide when cooked at high temperature.

That said, the process for allowing such new crops is badly flawed. What has happened in the case of these two products is a voluntary consultation "encouraged" by the FDA. No regulatory process should have to rely on the voluntary acquiescence by the regulated party. Congress should pass legislation that requires new biotech crops to undergo a rigorous and mandatory approval process before foods made from those crops reach the marketplace. Such a system would give consumers much greater confidence that all genetically engineered products have been independently reviewed and found to be safe.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).