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NAS Says Genetically Engineered Foods Not Proven Safe

July 27, 2004

“The NAS report tells us that genetic engineering may cause harmful unexpected changes in our food,” said Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist with Center for Food Safety. “Specifically, the NAS says there are substantial gaps in our ability to identify unintended changes in biotech foods or to determine the human health impacts of those changes, and that we need better pre-market testing and post-market surveillance. The Academy found that some assessment methods are inadequately developed such that they can easily miss compositions that could have adverse human health impacts.

“CFS believes that the NAS recommendations lead to several unavoidable conclusions: that FDA needs a mandatory pre-market assessment and approval process for genetically engineered foods; and that mandatory labeling of GE foods is required in order to effectively track human health impacts after commercialization.

“Furthermore, FDA is not consistently following even the most basic assessment methods noted by the NAS and that have been accepted for years as standard tools. Some recommendations have been ignored by the FDA for years, such as a toxicant/allergenicity database, which the academy suggested in 2000.”

Background: In March 2000, CFS was joined by 56 groups in petitioning the FDA to institute mandatory pre-market testing and labeling regulations. To-date the agency has yet to answer this petition or change its current voluntary review system. View this petition.

View CFS briefing paper on the unintended effects of genetic engineering food crops