As I think about the ”food safety” bills HR 875, HR 814, and HR 759, I take a stroll through the web to see what I can find. Lo and behold, I find some very interesting information.
I have been thinking about the connection between the genetic modification of animals and these bills. I wondered just how the agribusiness giants would keep track of their GM animals once they enter the mainstream food supply market. It’s one thing to go to a farmer’s canola field and take samples back to the lab for testing to see if they contain the patented GM gene, but a whole cow? Not likely.
The following was published on January 15, 2009 at CNN:
The Food and Drug Administration announced formal guidelines Thursday that will regulate the production of genetically engineered (GE) animals.
“Genetic engineering is a cutting edge technology that holds substantial promise for improving the health and well being of people as well as animals,” Randall Lutter, deputy commissioner for policy at the FDA, said in a statement.
“In this document, the agency has articulated a scientifically robust interpretation of statutory requirements. This guidance will help the FDA efficiently review applications for products from GE animals to ensure their safety and efficacy.”
The FDA emphasized GE animals are not cloned, but instead have new characteristics or traits introduced into the organism through their DNA.
The new guidelines would require all GE animals to go through rigorous scientific testing before being sold on the market, according to Dr. Bernadette Dunham, director for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
“We want the public to understand that food from GE animals will not enter the food supply unless FDA has determined that it is safe,” she said.
The FDA approves GM animals for the food supply, and just like the canola, the products from them such as meat, milk, etc., do not have to be labeled.
Consumers will more than likely not see any changes in labeling of these animal products. Unless the physical makeup of the animal is altered, companies and producers will not be required to let consumers know their meat products come from a genetically engineered animal. (CNN)
Okay, but what do the tracking bills have to do with it?
The breeding industry is mostly concerned with tracking animals descended from clones,” [Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety] says. Clones are genetic copies of other animals, but don’t necessarily have foreign DNA inserted. But most GM mammals, Hanson points out, are clones. “Once you get it right,” he says, “you clone it.” (AlterNet)
Genetically modified meat is on its way, and the FDA has already approved clones, but there is a moratorium on them due to “marketing reasons.”
The following information was obtained from World Science in an article dated January 16, 2008:
Meat and milk from cloned animals are as safe as that from their counterparts bred the old-fashioned way, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday - but sales still won’t begin right away.