GMO Approval Process FINALLY Being Scrutinized

Genetically modified organismIt had to happen. Finally, a request has been made by Congress that the FDA’s and USDA’s review process for genetically engineered products finally come under scrutiny by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In 2013, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) wrote to the GAO asking them to look into the review system being used to regulate genetically modified crops—specifically, “to ensure that [it] fully reflects current science.” This week, the GAO agreed to begin a review of how the USDA and FDA look at the long-term safety of genetically engineered crops both in the environment and in the food supply.

The current scientific approval process for GMO crops is inadequate. First, there is no legislation that is specific to GMOs. The Plant Pest Act gives USDA the power to restrict the introduction of organisms that might harm plants. The USDA reasons that GMO crops qualify as “plant pests” because historically, the DNA from natural plant pathogens and/or microbial material were used in the genetic engineering of various plants. The Plant Pest Act also gives USDA the authority to regulate noxious weeds, and therefore any engineered crop that can become a noxious, hard-to-control weed can be regulated.

GMO (no)The FDA also lacks authority over GMOs. It regulates GM crops via a voluntary consultation process with the biotech industry,and GM animals under the New Animal Drug provisions. GM salmon (known popularly as “Frankenfish”) is undergoing this process now, and if the FDA approves it, it could open the floodgates to a whole bunch of other GM animals that have already been developed but are waiting in the wings for approval.

Also current regulations don’t account for the pesticides used in conjunction with GM crops that may have wider environmental impacts.All in all, the system is not only flawed, it’s seriously broken and in need of a serious and forward-thinking “fix{.

To read more details on this issue click here.

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