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Genetically-modified foods produced through modern biotechnology are safe – FDA








By: Jet Villa,
June 25, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – A week after the Court of Appeals stopped the genetic engineering of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplants nationwide, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday said genetically-modified (GM) foods produced through modern biotechnology are safe.

In FDA Advisory No. 2013-014, the FDA said that all food derived from GM crops in the market have met international food standards and are as safe as and as nutritious as the food derived from conventional crops for direct use as food, feeds, and for processing.

“The FDA hereby reiterates that all GM food products derived from modern biotechnology that are currently on the market have passed food safety assessment based on the UN FAO/WHO CODEX Alimentarius Risk Analysis of Food Derived from Modern Biotechnology and Guidelines for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants,” FDA Advisory No. 2013-014 said.

The FDA said the safety of these specific GM crops should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, following the CODEX Alimentarius guidelines for determining their safety, including toxicity, allergenicity, and nutritional quality, or assessment of any nutritional claim.

“It is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods. As the national competent authority, the FDA supports the robust science-based evaluation system of CODEX Alimentarius Commission using data and information from field trials as well as laboratory tests,” the FDA said.

“For processed food, the main focus of food safety review is on the objective characteristics of the product and on any health or nutritional claims. The focus of evaluation is on the food product and not on the technology used to produce the product,” it said.

GM penetration rate

FDA statistics indicate that in 2012, some 17.3 million farmers in 28 countries planted 170.3 million hectares of farmlands to GM crops — which is six percent or 10.3 million hectares more than in 2011.

The data also showed that in 2012, 82 percent of total land area planted with cotton was planted to GM cotton. The global adoption rate for GM soya, GM corn, and GM canola was 75 percent, 32 percent, and 26 percent, respectively, in 2012.

“Different GM crops that are propagated or undergoing limited or multi-location field trial possess certain traits like herbicide resistance, pest resistance, improved disease resistance, drought resistance or biofortified with pro-Vitamin A, and have certain genes integrated in the genome,” the advisory said, explaining the advantages of GM food.


Photo courtesy: IPB-UPLB

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