GM foods on the market illegally
According to Steven M. Druker, an attorney and executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, “Numerous agency experts protested that drafts of the statement of policy were ignoring the recognized potential for bioengineering to produce unexpected toxins and allergens.”
Druker coordinated the lawsuit against the FDA’s GM food policy in 1998, which aimed to force the agency to establish mandatory labeling and safety testing of GM foods.
The plaintiffs argued that FDA violated the US Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which mandates that new food additives be established safe through testing prior to marketing. The FDA claims that GM foods are exempt from testing because they are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS in FDA shorthand). According to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, foods can only be recognized as safe on the basis of tests that establish their harmlessness. Druker claims no such tests exist for GM foods.
Several FDA scientists emphasized the lack of scientific data to recognize the safety of GM foods. In her response to the draft of the policy statement, Kahl wrote, “Are we asking the scientific experts to generate the basis for this policy statement in the absence of any data?” She continued, “There is no data that could quantify risk.”
According to Druker, “The FDA is using the GRAS exemption to circumvent testing and to approve substances based largely on conjecture that is dubious in the eyes of its own and many experts. Consequently, every genetically engineered food in the US is on the market illegally and should be recalled for vigorous safety testing.”
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by cdinesh