Genetic Modification News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Genetic Modification News Articles in Media
The reputation of Roundup, whose active ingredient is the world’s most widely used weed killer, took a hit on Tuesday when a federal court unsealed documents raising questions about its safety and the research practices of its manufacturer, the chemical giant Monsanto. Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators ... suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The files were unsealed by Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over litigation brought by people who claim to have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate. The litigation was touched off by a determination made nearly two years ago by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. Court records show that Monsanto was tipped off to the determination by a deputy division director at the E.P.A., Jess Rowland, months beforehand. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication. Last year, a review by The New York Times showed how the [chemical] industry can manipulate academic research or misstate findings.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of glyphosate. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Testing for residues of an herbicide developed by Monsanto Co. that has been linked to cancer has turned up high levels in honey from the key farm state of Iowa, adding to concerns about contamination. The Food and Drug Administration began glyphosate residue testing in a small number of foods earlier this year after the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Research by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem and John Vargo, a chemist at the University of Iowa, shows that residues of glyphosate - the chief ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide - have been detected [in honey] at ... more than 10 times the limit of 50 ppb allowed in the European Union. “According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of these herbicides, which are of risk to both human health and the environment,” Chamkasem and Vargo stated in their laboratory bulletin. Because there is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States, any amount could technically be considered a violation, according to statements made in FDA internal emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Environmental Protection Agency may soon move to set a tolerance, however. The agency has set tolerance levels for glyphosate residues in many foods the EPA expects might contain residues of the weed killer.
A whistle-blower who once worked for Monsanto walked away with a handsome payout for alerting regulators to accounting improprieties within the company, according to Reuters. Regulators will reportedly award the former executive with $22 million in connection with the $80 million settlement agreement Monsanto made with the S.E.C. over an incentive program the company ran to promote its trademark weed killer, Roundup. The $22 million payout is the second-highest sum the S.E.C. has given so far to a whistle-blower, behind a $30 million award paid in September 2014. The regulatory agency enacted a program to sweeten the idea of reporting impropriety in 2011, as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. With between 10 and 30 percent of penalties or settlement agreements made with the government on the line, Wall Streeters and company insiders have all but lined up to tip off the S.E.C. Between September 2014 and September 2015 alone, the agency says 4,000 people forked over information, and more than 30 of them have pocketed a collective $85 million over the last five years.
Note: Monsanto lied to regulators and investors about RoundUp's profitability for three years. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies on the dangers of Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
A former Monsanto executive who tipped the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to accounting improprieties involving the company's top-selling Roundup product has been awarded more than $22 million from the agency's whistleblower program. The award of $22,437,800 was tied to an $80 million settlement between the SEC and Monsanto in February, according to the [executive's] lawyer, Stuart Meissner in New York. It is the agency's second largest under the program. The Dodd Frank financial reform law empowered the SEC to award money to whistleblowers who give information to the agency which leads to a fine. Awards to 33 whistleblowers by the SEC's program have now surpassed a total of $107 million since the agency launched the program in 2011, the agency said. Monsanto's $80 million SEC settlement followed allegations that the company misstated its earnings in connection with Roundup, a popular weed killer. The SEC's case against Monsanto revolved around a corporate rebate program designed to boost Roundup sales. The SEC had said that Monsanto lacked sufficient internal controls to account for millions of dollars in rebates that it offered to retailers and distributors. It ultimately booked a sizeable amount of revenue, but then failed to recognize the costs of the rebate programs on its books. That led the St. Louis-based agriculture company to "materially" misstate its consolidated earnings for a three-year period. The award represents more than 28 percent of the total penalty and nearly the 30 percent maximum allowed under the SEC's bounty program.
Note: The above shows that Monsanto has been lying to their investors about how profitable Roundup is while major lawsuits build over the connection between Roundup and cancer. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Environmentalists have taken to streets around the world to protest against seed giant Monsanto at the same time as the company is facing a $62 billion takeover by Bayer, the German drugs giant. More than 400 simultaneous demonstrations against genetically modified crops and pesticides were organised around the world this weekend. The protests took place in over 40 countries. They come come as Monsanto faces an unsolicited takeover offer by Bayer, the chemical giant that invented aspirin. The deal could create the world’s biggest supplier of farm chemical and genetically modified seeds. Up to 3,000 protesters, rallied by environmental organisations including Greenpeace and Stop TAFTA, an anti-capitalist group, gathered in Paris, according to Agence France Presse. Protesters voiced their anger against Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup which is classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organisation. In the US, where 90 per cent of corn, soybean and cotton is genetically modified, campaigners promoted the march with a billboard in Times Square, showing a topless model and the slogan: “Keep GMOs out of your genes.” On Monday Bayer made an unsolicited $62 billion all-cash offer to acquire Monsanto. A concentration of corporate power in the agriculture and chemical sector would be bad news for both farmers and consumers. It would accelerate the decrease in crop diversity while limiting consumer choice. Farmers would ... find it harder to choose what they grow and how they grow it.
Note: Bayer's pesticides have been implicated in the collapse of bee populations. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's "RoundUp" pesticide, is now the most heavily-used agricultural chemical ever and probably causes cancer. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
In approving genetically engineered salmon as safe to eat and safe for the environment, the Food and Drug Administration rejected petitions from environmental and food safety groups asking that companies selling this salmon be required to label it as genetically engineered. Congress should overturn that decision. The salmon, made by AquaBounty Technologies of Maynard, Mass., has genes inserted that allow it to grow to market size twice as fast as wild salmon. At least one consumer group has announced plans to sue the F.D.A. to overturn its approval of the engineered salmon. Some leading grocery chains, responding to consumer concerns, have said they won’t sell the genetically engineered salmon. The F.D.A. said there is no reason to mandate labeling because there is no material difference between engineered and natural fish. But the value of that information should be left to consumers to decide. Vermont enacted a law last year that will require labeling of genetically engineered foods starting next July unless a suit filed in June 2014 by four industry trade groups derails it. Other states with strong consumer movements may try to follow. The House passed a bill on July 23, 2015, that would pre-empt states from requiring such labeling, and industry groups are pressing the Senate to attach similar language as a rider to an omnibus spending bill. The Senate should rebuff that tactic and allow states to adopt mandatory labeling laws if they wish.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
More than 90 percent of the soybeans churned out on US farms each year are genetically engineered to withstand herbicides, nearly all of them involving one called Roundup. Organic production, by contrast, is marginal—it accounts for less than 1 percent of total American acreage devoted to soy. After harvest, the great bulk of soybeans are crushed and divided into two parts: meal, which mainly goes into feed for animals that become our meat, and fat, most of which ends up being used as cooking oil or in food products. According to the US Soy Board, soy accounts for 61 percent of American's vegetable oil consumption. Given soy's centrality to our food and agriculture systems, the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry are worth pondering. The authors found that Monsanto's ubiquitous Roundup Ready soybeans, engineered to withstand its own blockbuster herbicide, contain more herbicide residues than their non-GMO counterparts. The team also found that the GM beans are nutritionally inferior. They found residues of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) and aminomethylphosphonic acid, or AMPA, the compound glyphosate breaks down into as it decays, on all 10 of the GM samples—and in none of the non-GM and organic ones. The researchers found residue levels hovering above a level Monsanto itself has characterized as "extreme." Independent research ... found that Roundup in water at 3 ppm induced morphological changes in frogs.
Note: For more on the risks to health from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
Consumers around the world are becoming aware of the dangers of industrial, chemical-based agriculture. The most legitimate science and research bodies recommend turning toward organic and sustainable agriculture, shunning genetically engineered (GE or GMO) products and the chemicals they are designed to promote. With the growth and power of the food movement, corporate giants are beginning to take action. After decades of employing a "block-us-and-we'll-sue-you" approach, Monsanto recently began an intense makeover PR campaign: popularity by association. Monsanto is cozying up to the reputation, authenticity and wholesomeness of family farmers -- and hoping the all-American nostalgia many associate with the small scale farmer rubs off on them. During the Super Bowl, key media markets saw Monsanto's "It Begins with a Farmer" commercials, which were intended to demonstrate that the company shares the same values as family farmers and the consumers they feed and clothe. In reality, Monsanto is no friend to the family farmer or the communities they live in and support. In fact, Monsanto (and other chemical companies like Dow Chemical, Syngenta, BASF, Pioneer/Dupont, and Bayer) have forced small farmers into a dying breed. The cost of industrial agriculture forces farmers to get big or get out. This is particularly true of GE herbicide-resistant seeds, which USDA economists tell us have contributed to increased consolidation of farmland in fewer hands. In the end, family farmers get squeezed out by the mammoth farms enabled by biotechnology.
Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A proposal to require labeling of genetically engineered foods and seeds in Washington state enjoyed broad public support in polls this summer. That was before some of the largest food companies swooped in to spend more so consumers would know less about what they are eating. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington-based trade group that represents companies such as ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods, was responsible for $11 million of the $22 million campaign against the initiative, compared with about $9 million by pro-labeling advocates. The GMA's campaign made the difference. The initiative, which had 66 percent support in a September survey, was defeated by 51 percent to 49 percent. The grocers, who opposed the proposal as arbitrary and costly for businesses, raised more than $2.3 million from PepsiCo Inc. and about $1.5 million each from Coca-Cola Co., [and] Nestle USA. Those groups also were part of a $45 million campaign that defeated a labeling initiative in California last year. "Spending is not a problem" for organizations opposed to labeling requirements, said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, which backed the Washington state initiative. "These companies will spend whatever it takes to defeat labeling at the state level." If that's the case, the trade associations and their members will be issuing a lot more checks as fights over labeling food are breaking out in other states and advocates are pressing the matter in Congress with proposed legislation from both sides awaiting action.
Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Much attention has been turned in recent months to the fact that the agro-chemical/GMO industry -- corporate giants Dow, Pioneer DuPont, Syngenta, Monsanto, BASF -- have been using Hawaii since the 1990s as one of their main testing grounds for experiments engineering new pesticide-crop combos. On the "Garden Island" of Kauai, the industry controls over 15,000 acres of prime agricultural land, which they drench with over 17 tons of restricted-use pesticides each year, and likely at least five times that amount in non-restricted pesticides that may be equally as harmful (such as glyphosate). Pioneer DuPont alone has used 90 pesticide formulations with 63 active ingredients in the past 6 years. They apply these pesticides around 250 days each year, with 10-16 applications per day on average. Pesticides are sprayed next to schools, hospitals, neighborhoods and major waterways, with zero buffer zone and zero public knowledge of what is being sprayed. Preliminary evidence suggests that living in the shadow of these companies may be causing alarming rates of rare birth defects and cancers. Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) these same chemical corporations are seeking to lock us in to arrangements that guarantee their profit interests will not be impeded by pesky democratic governments protecting people's health or other common interests. If passed, it will amount to perhaps the biggest corporate power-grab in history, putting the rights of corporations above those of elected governments and sovereign nations.
Note: The TPP is a highly secretive international agreement being negotiated under the pretext of "trade" between twelve Asian and Pacific Rim countries, including the United States. Why is the media keeping this huge agreement largely secret? For more on the environmental and health impacts of GMO crops, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
What happens to the seed affects the web of life. When seed is living, regenerative and diverse, it feeds pollinators, soil organisms and animals - including humans. When seed is non-renewable, bred for chemicals, or genetically engineered with toxic Bt or Roundup Ready genes, diversity disappears. In recent years, beekeepers have been losing 25% of their hives each winter. According to a scientific study in 2008, bees and pollinators contribute more than €153bn annually to agriculture. Chemically-farmed soils, sprayed with herbicides and pesticides kill the beneficial organisms that create soil fertility and protect plants. Organic seeds and organic farming do not just protect human health; they protect the health and wellbeing of all. With industrial seeds and industrial agriculture, the diversity of plants and crops disappears. India had 200,000 rice varieties before the "green revolution" in the 1970s, which relied on pesticides and fertilisers to avert famine in India. This diversity was replaced by monocultures. Today the fastest expanse in acreage is of genetically engineered corn and soya, because they are patented and corporations can collect royalties from farmers. When seed freedom disappears and farmers become dependent on GMO seeds, they in effect become seed slaves. According to the National Bureau of Crime Records, more than 284,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since seed monopolies were established in India. Gandhi spun cotton for our freedom. Today GMO Bt cotton has enslaved [these] farmers in debt, and pushed them to suicide. And 95% cotton seed is controlled by one company: Monsanto.
Note: Author Vandana Shiva is a biodiversity campaigner and founder of Navdanya, which campaigns for biodiversity and against corporate control of food and seeds. For more on the environmental and health impacts of GMO crops, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Unapproved genetically modified wheat found growing in the United States is threatening the outlook for U.S. exports of the world's biggest traded food commodity, with importers keenly aware of consumer sensitivity to gene-altered food. Major importer Japan has canceled a tender offer to buy U.S. western white wheat, while other top Asian wheat importers South Korea, China and the Philippines said they were closely monitoring the situation. The European Union is preparing to test incoming shipments, and will block any containing GM wheat. GM wheat was discovered this spring on a farm [in] Oregon, in a field that grew winter wheat in 2012. Scientists found the wheat was a strain field-tested from 1998 to 2005 and deemed safe before St. Louis-based biotech giant Monsanto withdrew it from the regulatory approval process on worldwide opposition to genetically engineered wheat. No GM wheat varieties are approved for general planting in the U.S. or elsewhere, the USDA said. The EU has asked Monsanto for a detection method to allow its controls to be carried out. With high consumer wariness to genetically-modified food, few countries allow imports of such cereals for direct human consumption. However, the bulk of U.S. corn and soybean crops are genetically modified.
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers to health and the environment from genetically modified foods, click here. For major media news articles revealing the risks and dangers of GMOs, click here.
Rejecting entreaties from consumers and activists, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it has no objection to selling a new crop of genetically modified sweet corn created by biotech giant Monsanto. Environmental and health activists expressed surprise and disappointment at Wal-Mart’s decision. Earlier this year, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills said they would not carry or use the genetically modified sweet corn. “A lot of people who were their customers explicitly said we don’t want you to carry this product, and I think it’s unfortunate that they chose not listen to that feedback,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director of the consumer group Food and Water Watch. In March, the group presented Wal-Mart with a petition signed by 463,000 people asking it to boycott the product, she said. Monsanto’s genetically modified sweet corn is resistant to a common herbicide, which allows farmers to kill weeds without killing the corn. It also contains a toxin that fends off certain pests. Critics say they would like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require some pre-market safety testing and labeling of genetically modified foods, saying the lack of study makes it impossible to know whether they pose health risks. “There has been a doubling of food allergies in this country since 1996,” said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports. “Is it connected to genetically engineered foods? Who knows when you have no labeling? That is the problem.”
Note: Strangely, this article was taken down from the Tribune website shortly after its original posting. To read the complete article, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Forbes made Monsanto the company of the year last year in "The Planet Versus Monsanto." I know because I wrote the article. Since then everything that could have gone wrong for the genetically engineered seed company has gone wrong. Super-weeds that are resistant to its RoundUp weed killer are emerging, even as weed killer sales are being hit by cheap Chinese generics. An expensive new bioengineered corn seed with eight new genes does not look impressive in its first harvest. And the Justice Department is invesigating over antitrust issues. All this has led to massive share declines. Other publications are making fun of our cover story. Monsanto is destined to remain the dominant bioengineered seed company for some time to come. But unless it comes up with a hot new product, its growth years could all be behind it.
Note: WantToKnow.info's Fred Burks was blacklisted by Monsanto, likely for reporting stories like that above. For more on this, click here.
Genetically engineered versions of the canola plant are flourishing in the form of roadside weeds in North Dakota, scientists say, in one of the first instances of a genetically modified crop establishing itself in the wild. Critics of biotech crops have long warned that it is hard to keep genes — in this case, genes conferring resistance to common herbicides — from spreading with unwanted consequences. The roadside plants apparently start growing when seeds blow from fields or fall out of trucks carrying the crops to market. In the plains of Canada, where canola is widely grown, roadside biotech plants resistant to the herbicide Roundup have become a problem, said Alexis Knispel, who has just completed a doctoral dissertation on the subject at the University of Manitoba. Some farmers, she said, have had to return to plowing their fields to control weeds — a practice that contributes to soil erosion — because they can no longer use Roundup to control the stray canola plants. She also said the proliferation of roadside canola would make it difficult to keep organic canola free of genetically engineered material. The biotech canola has also been found growing in Japan, which does not even grow the crop, only imports it. Scientists have also reported that genetically engineered grass established itself in the wild in Oregon.
Note: For a highly-informative survey of the dangers of genetically-modified foods, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate. The salmon’s approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals. The salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies and would be raised in fish farms. It is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon as well as a genetic on-switch from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon. Under a policy announced in 2008, the F.D.A. is regulating genetically engineered animals as if they were veterinary drugs and using the rules for those drugs. And applications for approval of new drugs must be kept confidential by the agency. Critics say the drug evaluation process does not allow full assessment of the possible environmental impacts of genetically altered animals and also blocks public input. “There is no opportunity for anyone from the outside to see the data or criticize it,” said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and [agriculture] program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. When consumer groups were invited to discuss biotechnology policy with top F.D.A. officials last month, Ms. Mellon said she warned the officials that approval of the salmon would generate “a firestorm of negative response.”
Note: For a valuable summary of the dangers of genetically engineered foods, click here.
Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds. To fight them [farmers] are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing. “We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said [farmer Eddie] Anderson. Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water. The first resistant species [was found] in 2000. Since then, the problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions of acres. The superweeds could temper American agriculture’s enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States. However, if Roundup doesn’t kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds. “The biotech industry is taking us into a more pesticide-dependent agriculture when ... we need to be going in the opposite direction,” said Bill Freese, a science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety in Washington. Roundup-resistant pigweed ... could pose as big a threat to cotton farming in the South as the beetle that devastated the industry in the early 20th century.
Note: Few Americans are aware that almost all of the soybeans and corn they eat was genetically modified. And thanks to a controlled media, even fewer know that these GM crops have repeatedly been shown in scientific studies to cause cancer and even death in lab animals. For lots more on this, click here and here.
A federal judge has ruled that the government failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of genetically engineered sugar beets before approving the crop for cultivation in the United States. The decision could lead to a ban on the planting of the beets, which have been widely adopted by farmers. Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco said that the Agriculture Department should have done an environmental impact statement. He said it should have assessed the consequences from the likely spread of the genetically engineered trait to other sugar beets. The decision echoes another ruling two years ago by a different judge in the same court involving genetically engineered alfalfa. In that case, the judge later ruled that farmers could no longer plant the genetically modified alfalfa until the Agriculture Department wrote the environmental impact statement. Two years later, there is still no such assessment. “We expect the same result here as we got in alfalfa,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group that was also involved in the alfalfa lawsuit. “It will halt almost any further planting and sale because it’s no longer an approved crop.” The Center for Food Safety was joined in the suit by the Sierra Club, the Organic Seed Alliance and High Mowing Organic Seeds, a small seed company. The beets contain a bacterial gene licensed by Monsanto that renders them impervious to glyphosate, an herbicide that Monsanto sells as Roundup. Judge White said that the pollen from the genetically engineered crops might spread to non-engineered beets.
Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” – the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA. Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells – even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns. One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself –- a finding the researchers call “astonishing.” “This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen. “Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.
Note: Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, is the same company that has been using a corrupt judicial system to bankrupt farmers who won't use their seeds. For more on this important topic, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday opened the way for a bevy of genetically engineered salmon, cows and other animals to leap from the laboratory to the marketplace, unveiling an approval process that would treat the modified creatures like drugs. The guidelines for the first time make explicit the regulatory hoops companies would have to jump through to sell engineered salmon that grow twice as fast as wild fish; pigs with high levels of ... omega-3 fatty acids in their meat; or goats that produce ... proteins, such as insulin, in their milk. Many experts ... say the proposed regulations may not go far enough to protect the public. In particular, they argue that the approval process would be highly secretive to guard the commercial interests of the companies involved, and that the new rules do not place sufficient weight on the potential environmental effect of what many consider to be Frankenstein animals. Animals can't be treated exactly like drugs, said Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety in Washington. "Drugs don't go out and breed with each other. When a drug gets loose, you figure you can control it. When a bull gets loose, it would be harder to corral." The first product likely to be sold under the new rules is a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon produced by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass. Inserted genes from two other fish allow it to reach full size in 18 months rather than the normal 30. Aqua Bounty, along with other biotechnology companies, has been pushing the FDA to establish guidelines and hopes to win approval next year.
Note: For a superb survey of the risks to health from genetically modified food organisms, click here.
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