FDA: Quality is job number 2

Quality Meats

Bush’s servants in the FDA gave the public one last jab in the eye: ignoring the wishes of the citizens in regards to labeling food.

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, today said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blatantly ignored consumers’ right to choose what they eat after the FDA announced that it will not require labeling on meat or fish from genetically engineered animals.

The Bush administration, which is in charge of the FDA for just two more working days, today announced Final Guidance on Regulation of Genetically Engineered Animals. The FDA Guidance states that FDA will require such animals to go through a mandatory safety approval process, a decision Consumers Union supports. However FDA will not require any labeling.

A recent Consumers Union poll found that 95 percent of consumers favor labeling of meat and milk from genetically engineered animals.

Genetically engineered animals may contain genetic material from entirely different species, even humans. For example, last week an FDA advisory committee reviewed the safety of a goat engineered with human genes so that it would produce a human blood thinner in the goat’s milk. “This animal is intended for use in drug production, but what if FDA found that it is also safe for use as food? Without labeling, consumers would have no way to know this meat was in their butcher shop,” said Michael Hansen, PhD, a senior scientist at Consumers Union. Products under development for supermarket distribution include pork where mouse genes have been put into pigs to help them metabolize phosphorous more efficiently, and salmon that has been engineered with genes from other fish to make them grow twice as fast as normal.

Halloran said, “This one-minute-to-midnight regulation is a final favor to industry delivered as the current FDA Administrator goes out the door.” FDA Commissioner Von Eschenbach’s resignation is effective January 20. “We hope the new Obama administration will reverse this ill-considered guidance and require labeling of genetically engineered meat and milk products as soon as possible after it takes office next week.”

[From FDA: No labeling of genetically engineered food]

If genetic modification is so great, why not label the items proudly? Why hide the facts? The obvious reason is that forcing truth-in-packaging would be the death sentence to frankenfoods.

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