BIO Statement Regarding National Research Council Press Release on Genetically Modified Plants

(Dr. Val Giddings, vice president for food and agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today made the following comments in response to the National Research Council (NRC) press release about their paper: Genetically Modified Pest-Protected Plants: Science and Regulation.)

WASHINGTON (APRIL 5, 2000) --We’re pleased this timely report reassures consumers that foods derived from plant biotechnology are thoroughly tested and safe. And we’re equally pleased the report points out that biotech crops offer significant improvement over traditional agricultural practices and could promote biodiversity in the environment.

The biotechnology industry, under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture, conducts detailed safety assessments for all biotech crops before they are approved, and continues research to support the safety and performance of these products after they are approved and in the marketplace.

The current regulatory framework has served the U.S. extremely well for the past 14 years. 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.

The biotechnology industry is already engaged in the safety research recommended in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report. Crops improved through biotechnology are the most thoroughly tested food products in human history.

We commend the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council for conducting and generating a detailed review of the current regulatory framework and safety assessment for plant biotechnology derived pest-protected plants.

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.

NOTE: BIO will issue a news release later today after having reviewed the report; please check the BIO web site, late morning.

Additional information about agricultural biotechnology can be found at, or by calling 1-800-980-8660.

Genetically Modified Pest Protected (GMPP) plants are those plants bred to produce their own protection against specifically targeted pests.