WASHINGTON (April 5, 2000) Recommendations put forth today in a National Research Council report entitled Genetically Modified Pest Protected Plants: Science and Regulation are well-founded in fact and science. All are either already in place or being addressed by industry, said Dr. Val Giddings, vice president for food and agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
It is also noteworthy that the Council’s scientific committee reached consensus that there is no evidence that foods improved through biotechnology are unsafe to eat as a result of genetic modification, said Dr. Giddings, a geneticist. Moreover, the report recommends the use of insect-protected crops (such as cotton, corn and soybeans) to promote biodiversity, an issue that has been a subject of concern to biotech opponents, noted Dr. Giddings.
According to their report, the committee found that advances in conventional plant breeding, have often lessened the need for chemicals and that techniques such as those employed to modify crops through biotechnology have the potential to make similar contributions, as has already been documented with transgenic pest-protected cotton.
The committee also recommended additional research in a number of areas for two reasonsfirst to form more solid databases for traditionally grown crops; and second to generate comparison data on plants derived through biotechnology to continue to enhance scientific risk assessment and support the public’s confidence in the safety and benefits of these crops.
The current regulatory framework has served the U.S. extremely well for the past 14 years, Dr. Giddings said. Nevertheless, we support the continued development of information to confirm and enhance the safety assessment of plant biotechnology products and to make this information more publicly available.
We welcome this timely report which will reassure consumers on the thoroughness of the scientific scrutiny in place by U.S. regulatory agencies. Our experience gained through research and testing has shown us that biotechnology brings enormous existing and potential benefits from improving the stewardship of agricultural lands to helping developing countries feed growing populations and improving the nutritional content of food, said Dr. Giddings.
It is critical that we all understand the importance of biotechnology in our lives and that foods derived thorough biotechnology continue to be more thoroughly tested than any other in human history.
BIO represents more than 900 companies, academic institutions and biotech centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental products.
For more information:
Additional information about agricultural biotechnology can be found at www.bio.org, www.whybiotech.com or by calling 1-800-980-8660. The NAS report can be viewed in its entirety at www.nas.edu.