Regulation of Genetically Engineered Food Products: A Market-Oriented Perspective
Badros, Mark J.
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CitationRegulation of Genetically Engineered Food Products: A Market-Oriented Perspective (1995 Third Year Paper)
AbstractOnly twenty years after the landmark Asilomar meeting where scientists discussed the opportunities and possible risks presented by the ability to transfer DNA from one organism to another,' bioengineered products have moved outside the confines of the laboratory into commercial uses in the pharmaceutical and food-processing industries. Recent advances in molecular biology and the application of new technologies to the production of food have opened the door to a new world of bioengineered food. Agricultural biotechnology has the potential to "meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and minimize the toxic influences of traditional farming practices on the environment." Furthermore, it promises to improve human nutritional intake and can even aim to satisfy our desire for novel or exotic foods with aesthetically appealing textures, appearances and tastes. At the same time, however, the public remains suspicious of the uses to which genetic engineering may be put, as well as somewhat wary of the foods derived from genetically engineered organisms. Critics of the new technology have long argued that recombinant DNA techniques and products derived from them pose significant and ill-understood risks to human health and safety) Against this backdrop, the federal Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") has sought to fulfill its statutory mission to protect the safety and wholesomeness of the food supply) Because the FDA has chosen to address the novel issues raised by the application of biotechnology to food through existing statutory authority, manufacturers and producers of bioengineered food, as well as others concerned with the availability of safe, nutritious and inexpensive food, have sought clarification from the FDA about how these decades-old standards will be applied. In the near-term future at least, the FDA'S response, published in l992, appears likely to direct commercial efforts at bioengineered foods into channels that may not realize the full benefits of biotechnology, both from consumerist and marketing perspectives, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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