FDA Concedes Total Neglect -- Contaminated Taco Bell Foods and All GM Foods Unregulated
FEDERAL COURT HOLDS THAT FDA CURRENTLY HAS NO REGULATIONS ON GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS
CURRENT FDA POLICY HELD TO BE "NON-BINDING" ON PRODUCERS OF BIOTECH FOODS
Political Lobbyists Win, Scientists and Your Children LoseWashington D.C.-- On Monday, October 2, 2000, a federal court held that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) current, 1992 policy on genetically engineered foods "does not have a binding effect" on GE food producers. In dismissing a May 1998 lawsuit on the FDA's 1992 policy, the court equated the current policy to agency "inaction" and therefore found it immune from challenge under a number of statutes. FDA has announced that it will publish new rules on the testing and labeling of GE foods this fall.
The Court also refused to judge the current controversy over the safety and labeling of GE foods declaring that the agency's 1992 policy can only be assessed with the information that was available at that time. While acknowledging plaintiffs have produced information "showing significant disagreement among scientific experts" concerning the safety of such food, the court stated it could not consider such information because it has been presented after 1992. The ruling leaves questions regarding the creation of actual regulations addressing the safety, environmental review and labeling of genetically foods unresolved.
Commenting on the decision, Center for Food Safety Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell stated, "This court decision means that for almost a decade these novel foods have gone virtually unregulated in the United States. American consumers have been used as unknowing guinea pigs for the safety of these foods."
As a result of the court assessing only issues concerning GE foods prior to 1992, the ruling will have no effect on the safety and environmental issues concerning GE foods that have come to light since the issuance of the policy. On May 3, 2000, the FDA announced plans to substantially modify its 1992 policy rendering the court's determination irrelevant to the agency's expected new regulations.
The Center for Food Safety and 53 environmental, farming, and consumer organizations legally petitioned the FDA earlier this year detailing the new science that supports mandatory pre-market safety testing, environmental review and labeling of all GE foods. The FDA has not formally answered the coalition's legal petition as of yesterday's court ruling.
"We can only hope that FDA's response to our petition and the new regulations scheduled to be released this fall ensure adequate pre-market testing and mandatory labeling for all GE foods," stated Joseph Mendelson, Center for Food Safety Legal Director and attorney in the case.
"Clearly another legal battle may be in the offing should the FDA's new regulations fail to protect consumers and the environment," Mendelson continued.
For more information contact Andrew Kimbrell at 202/547-9359. For The Progress Report's original editorial on this subject, click here.
So the FDA has failed to regulate GM foods and the courts say that is all right. Meanwhile, your children are subjected to those foods without any scientific testing (except a small amount of testing that shows the genetically-manipulated foods are dangerous). Who would you rather trust, lobbyists and FDA bureaucrats, or scientists and citizens? We need complete disclosure and labeling of all genetically-modified ingredients in foods. Share your actions and opinions with others at The Progress Report:
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