BIO Applauds Court Ruling On FDA Biotech Policy

WASHINGTON (October 4, 2000) The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today applauded the summary dismissal in federal court of a lawsuit challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory policies governing foods and crops derived through biotechnology.

Dismissal of the case against the Food and Drug Administration is a huge victory for FDA and consumers. The summary dismissal of this case upholds existing FDA policies based on a science-based regulatory system for reviewing and labeling foods improved through biotechnology, said Michael J. Phillips, BIO’s executive director for food and agriculture.

This action is particularly timely when the safety and acceptance of foods and crops improved through biotechnology continues to be challenged on the grounds of scare tactics rather than science, risk assessment, or consumer benefits, Phillips added.

Filed in 1998 by the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, et. al, the suit challenged existing FDA policy in several areas, including FDA's 1992 Statement of Policy: Foods Derived From New Plant Varieties, which is the basis of FDA’s review process and labeling policy.

The suit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, civil action no. 98-1300; Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rendered the opinion.

In July a federal court dismissed a Greenpeace suit filed in 1997 against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which challenged crops that protect themselves against pests through the use of a naturally occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). EPA concluded that scientific evidence indicates that Bt crops have a positive ecological effect when compared to likely alternatives, including crops produced through conventional means. BT crops also allow farmers to use less chemical pesticides

BIO represents more than 900 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and more than 27 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural industrial and environmental biotechnology products.