FDA says genetically modified crops safe
MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday assured the public that all food derived from genetically modified (GM) crops in the market are safe and as nutritious as those from conventional crops.
The advisory signed by FDA director general Dr. Kenneth Go also stated that all GM food products found in the market have passed international safety standards and can safely be used as food, feeds and for processing.
It said these products derived from modern biotechnology have passed the food safety assessment based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius Risk Analysis of Food Derived from Modern Biotechnology.
They have also passed safety analysis based on the Guidelines for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants, added the FDA.
The agency released the advisory a month after the Court of Appeals ordered to permanently stop the nationwide field trials of genetically modified eggplants in the country, citing the absence of full scientific certainty on their effects of the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplants to the environment and health.
But the FDA further stated that various GM crops undergoing limited or multi-location field trial possess certain traits like “herbicide resistance, pest resistance, improved disease resistance, drought resistance or bio-fortified with Pro-Vitamin A,” and may have certain genes integrated in the genome.
“This means that 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 stated.
FDA records showed that 17.3 million farmers in 28 countries planted 170.3 million hectares of farm lands to GM crops in 2012-a figure that is six percent or 10.3 million hectares more than in the previous year.
Statistics also showed that last year, 82 percent of the 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, also in 2012.
The FDA acknowledged that it was 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,” it said.
It also noted that as for processed food, the main focus of food safety review should be 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 added.
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