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Genetically modified foods GM foods , also known as genetically engineered foods GE foods , or bioengineered foods are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits when compared to previous methods, such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

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Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in , when Calgene first marketed its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato. Genetically modified crops have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have been developed, although, as of November [update] , none were on the market.

There is a scientific consensus [5] [6] [7] [8] that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food, [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction. However, there are ongoing public concerns related to food safety, regulation, labelling, environmental impact, research methods, and the fact that some GM seeds, along with all new plant varieties, are subject to plant breeders' rights owned by corporations.

Genetically modified foods are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering as opposed to traditional cross breeding. The technology is often called 'modern biotechnology' or 'gene technology', sometimes also 'recombinant DNA technology' or 'genetic engineering'.

Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods. Human-directed genetic manipulation of food began with the domestication of plants and animals through artificial selection at about 10, to 10, BC. The first genetically modified plant was produced in , using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. Scientists modified bacteria to produce chymosin, which was also able to clot milk, resulting in cheese curds.

The first genetically modified food approved for release was the Flavr Savr tomato in With the creation of golden rice in , scientists had genetically modified food to increase its nutrient value for the first time. By , 29 countries had planted commercialized biotech crops and a further 31 countries had granted regulatory approval for transgenic crops to be imported. The first genetically modified animal to be approved for food use was AquAdvantage salmon in The agency considers the mushroom exempt because the editing process did not involve the introduction of foreign DNA. The most widely planted GMOs are designed to tolerate herbicides.

By some weed populations had evolved to tolerate some of the same herbicides. Palmer amaranth is a weed that competes with cotton. A native of the southwestern US, it traveled east and was first found resistant to glyphosate in , less than 10 years after GM cotton was introduced. Genetically engineered organisms are generated and tested in the laboratory for desired qualities.

The most common modification is to add one or more genes to an organism's genome.


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Less commonly, genes are removed or their expression is increased or silenced or the number of copies of a gene is increased or decreased. Once satisfactory strains are produced, the producer applies for regulatory approval to field-test them, called a "field release". Field-testing involves cultivating the plants on farm fields or growing animals in a controlled environment. If these field tests are successful, the producer applies for regulatory approval to grow and market the crop. Once approved, specimens seeds, cuttings, breeding pairs, etc.

The farmers cultivate and market the new strain. In some cases, the approval covers marketing but not cultivation. According to the USDA , the number of field releases for genetically engineered organisms has grown from four in to an average of about per year. Cumulatively, more than 17, releases had been approved through September Papaya was genetically modified to resist the ringspot virus PSRV.

Its single-handed savior was a breed engineered to be resistant to the virus. Without it, the state's papaya industry would have collapsed. The New Leaf potato, a GM food developed using naturally occurring bacteria found in the soil known as Bacillus thuringiensis Bt , was made to provide in-plant protection from the yield-robbing Colorado potato beetle.

It was withdrawn in after retailers rejected it and food processors ran into export problems. The potato was made resistant to late blight by adding resistant genes blb1 and blb2 that originate from the Mexican wild potato Solanum bulbocastanum. In , the USDA approved the import of a GM pineapple that is pink in color and that "overexpresses" a gene derived from tangerines and suppress other genes, increasing production of lycopene. The plant's flowering cycle was changed to provide for more uniform growth and quality.

According to Del Monte's submission, the pineapples are commercially grown in a "monoculture" that prevents seed production, as the plant's flowers aren't exposed to compatible pollen sources. Importation into Hawaii is banned for "plant sanitation" reasons. Simplot Company that contained ten genetic modifications that prevent bruising and produce less acrylamide when fried.

The modifications eliminate specific proteins from the potatoes, via RNA interference , rather than introducing novel proteins. Corn used for food and ethanol has been genetically modified to tolerate various herbicides and to express a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis Bt that kills certain insects. Corn-based masa flour and masa dough are used in the production of taco shells, corn chips and tortillas.

Genetically modified soybean has been modified to tolerate herbicides and produce healthier oils. As of December , genetically modified wheat has been evaluated in field trials, but has not been released commercially. Starch or amylum is a polysaccharide produced by all green plants as an energy store. Pure starch is a white, tasteless and odourless powder. It consists of two types of molecules: the linear and helical amylose and the branched amylopectin. Starch can be further modified to create modified starch for specific purposes, [77] including creation of many of the sugars in processed foods.

They include:. Lecithin is a naturally occurring lipid. It can be found in egg yolks and oil-producing plants. It is an emulsifier and thus is used in many foods. Corn, soy and safflower oil are sources of lecithin , though the majority of lecithin commercially available is derived from soy. After deregulation in , glyphosate-resistant sugar beet was extensively adopted in the United States.

Most vegetable oil used in the US is produced from GM crops canola , [89] corn , [90] [91] cotton [92] and soybeans. There is a vanishingly small amount of protein or DNA from the original crop in vegetable oil. The refining process removes all, or nearly all non-triglyceride ingredients.

The length of a fatty acid influences its fat absorption during the digestive process. Fatty acids in the middle position on the glycerol molecules appear to be absorbed more easily and influence metabolism more than fatty acids on the end positions. Unlike ordinary fats, MCTs are metabolized like carbohydrates. They have exceptional oxidative stability, and prevent foods from turning rancid readily.


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  • Livestock and poultry are raised on animal feed , much of which is composed of the leftovers from processing crops, including GM crops. What remains after oil extraction is a meal that becomes an ingredient in animal feed and contains canola protein. The high-protein defatted and toasted soy meal becomes livestock feed and dog food. It is impossible to tell if an animal was fed GM soy just by looking at the resulting meat, dairy, or egg products. The only way to verify the presence of GMOs in animal feed is to analyze the origin of the feed itself.

    A literature review of studies evaluating the effect of GM feed on the health of animals did not find evidence that animals were adversely affected, although small biological differences were occasionally found. The studies included in the review ranged from 90 days to two years, with several of the longer studies considering reproductive and intergenerational effects.

    Enzymes produced by genetically modified microorganisms are also integrated into animal feed to enhance availability of nutrients and overall digestion. These enzymes may also provide benefit to the gut microbiome of an animal, as well as hydrolyse antinutritional factors present in the feed. Rennet is a mixture of enzymes used to coagulate milk into cheese. Originally it was available only from the fourth stomach of calves, and was scarce and expensive, or was available from microbial sources, which often produced unpleasant tastes. Genetic engineering made it possible to extract rennet-producing genes from animal stomachs and insert them into bacteria , fungi or yeasts to make them produce chymosin , the key enzyme.

    Chymosin is isolated from the fermentation broth, so that the Fermentation-Produced Chymosin FPC used by cheese producers has an amino acid sequence that is identical to bovine rennet. Trace quantities of chymosin may remain in cheese. In some countries, recombinant GM bovine somatotropin also called rBST, or bovine growth hormone or BGH is approved for administration to increase milk production. Genetically modified livestock are organisms from the group of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, birds, horses and fish kept for human consumption, whose genetic material DNA has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

    In some cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the animals which does not occur naturally in the species, i. A review published on behalf of Food Standards Australia New Zealand examined transgenic experimentation on terrestrial livestock species as well as aquatic species such as fish and shellfish. The review examined the molecular techniques used for experimentation as well as techniques for tracing the transgenes in animals and products as well as issues regarding transgene stability. Some mammals typically used for food production have been modified to produce non-food products, a practice sometimes called Pharming.

    A GM salmon , awaiting regulatory approval [] [] [] since , [] was approved for human consumption by the American FDA in November , to be raised in specific land-based hatcheries in Canada and Panama. Opponents claim that long-term health risks have not been adequately assessed and propose various combinations of additional testing, labeling [] or removal from the market. The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.

    In the U. Government regulation of GMO development and release varies widely between countries. Marked differences separate GMO regulation in the U. For example, a crop not intended for food use is generally not reviewed by authorities responsible for food safety. The FDA checks the chemical composition of organisms for potential allergens. The United States Environmental Protection Agency EPA is responsible for monitoring pesticide usage, including plants modified to contain proteins toxic to insects. Like USDA, EPA also oversees field testing and the distribution of crops that have had contact with pesticides to ensure environmental safety.

    This statement is a clarification of FDA's interpretation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to foods produced from new plant varieties developed using recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid rDNA technology. The FDA says developers routinely do reach out for consultations. In FDA updated consultation procedures.

    The StarLink corn recalls occurred in the autumn of , when over food products were found to contain a genetically modified corn that had not been approved for human consumption. As of , 64 countries require labeling of GMO products in the marketplace. US and Canadian national policy is to require a label only given significant composition differences or documented health impacts, although some individual US states Vermont, Connecticut and Maine enacted laws requiring them. In some jurisdictions, the labeling requirement depends on the relative quantity of GMO in the product.

    In the European Union all food including processed food or feed that contains greater than 0. In a January paper, the extraction and detection of DNA along a complete industrial soybean oil processing chain was described to monitor the presence of Roundup Ready RR soybean: "The amplification of soybean lectin gene by end-point polymerase chain reaction PCR was successfully achieved in all the steps of extraction and refining processes, until the fully refined soybean oil. The amplification of RR soybean by PCR assays using event-specific primers was also achieved for all the extraction and refining steps, except for the intermediate steps of refining neutralisation, washing and bleaching possibly due to sample instability.

    The real-time PCR assays using specific probes confirmed all the results and proved that it is possible to detect and quantify genetically modified organisms in the fully refined soybean oil. To our knowledge, this has never been reported before and represents an important accomplishment regarding the traceability of genetically modified organisms in refined oils. Suggestions include educating farmers on the importance of coexistence, providing farmers with tools and incentives to promote coexistence, conduct research to understand and monitor gene flow, provide assurance of quality and diversity in crops, provide compensation for actual economic losses for farmers.

    The genetically modified foods controversy consists of a set of disputes over the use of food made from genetically modified crops. The disputes involve consumers, farmers, biotechnology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations, environmental and political activists and scientists.

    Genetically Modified Food Sources: Safety Assessment and Control - Google книги

    The conflicts have continued since GM foods were invented. They have occupied the media, the courts, [] local, regional, national governments, and international organizations. Such debate, even if positive and part of the natural process of review by the scientific community, has frequently been distorted by the media and often used politically and inappropriately in anti-GE crops campaigns.

    Environment International. In spite of this, the number of studies specifically focused on safety assessment of GM plants is still limited. However, it is important to remark that for the first time, a certain equilibrium in the number of research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products mainly maize and soybeans are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was observed. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that most of the studies demonstrating that GM foods are as nutritional and safe as those obtained by conventional breeding, have been performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are also responsible of commercializing these GM plants.

    Anyhow, this represents a notable advance in comparison with the lack of studies published in recent years in scientific journals by those companies. Krimsky, Sheldon I began this article with the testimonials from respected scientists that there is literally no scientific controversy over the health effects of GMOs.

    My investigation into the scientific literature tells another story. Panchin, Alexander Y. January 14, Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. Here, we show that a number of articles some of which have strongly and negatively influenced the public opinion on GM crops and even provoked political actions, such as GMO embargo, share common flaws in the statistical evaluation of the data. Having accounted for these flaws, we conclude that the data presented in these articles does not provide any substantial evidence of GMO harm. The presented articles suggesting possible harm of GMOs received high public attention.

    However, despite their claims, they actually weaken the evidence for the harm and lack of substantial equivalency of studied GMOs. We emphasize that with over published articles on GMOs over the last 10 years it is expected that some of them should have reported undesired differences between GMOs and conventional crops even if no such differences exist in reality. Yang, Y. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. It is therefore not surprising that efforts to require labeling and to ban GMOs have been a growing political issue in the USA citing Domingo and Bordonaba, Overall, a broad scientific consensus holds that currently marketed GM food poses no greater risk than conventional food Major national and international science and medical associations have stated that no adverse human health effects related to GMO food have been reported or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.

    Despite various concerns, today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and many independent international science organizations agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding techniques, genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, less likely to create an unexpected outcome. Pinholster, Ginger October 25, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved February 8, American Medical Association. Archived from the original on September 7, Retrieved March 19, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown link.

    GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous application of safety assessments based on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods.

    British Medical Association. March Retrieved March 21, In our view, the potential for GM foods to cause harmful health effects is very small and many of the concerns expressed apply with equal vigour to conventionally derived foods. However, safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.

    When seeking to optimise the balance between benefits and risks, it is prudent to err on the side of caution and, above all, learn from accumulating knowledge and experience. Any new technology such as genetic modification must be examined for possible benefits and risks to human health and the environment. As with all novel foods, safety assessments in relation to GM foods must be made on a case-by-case basis.

    Members of the GM jury project were briefed on various aspects of genetic modification by a diverse group of acknowledged experts in the relevant subjects. The GM jury reached the conclusion that the sale of GM foods currently available should be halted and the moratorium on commercial growth of GM crops should be continued.

    These conclusions were based on the precautionary principle and lack of evidence of any benefit. The Jury expressed concern over the impact of GM crops on farming, the environment, food safety and other potential health effects. The Royal Society review concluded that the risks to human health associated with the use of specific viral DNA sequences in GM plants are negligible, and while calling for caution in the introduction of potential allergens into food crops, stressed the absence of evidence that commercially available GM foods cause clinical allergic manifestations.

    Genetically modified crops safety assessments: present limits and possible improvements

    The BMA shares the view that that there is no robust evidence to prove that GM foods are unsafe but we endorse the call for further research and surveillance to provide convincing evidence of safety and benefit. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 5 October Foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA.

    Main article: History of genetic engineering. Main article: Genetic engineering. Main article: Genetically modified crops. Main article: Genetically modified livestock. See also: Regulation of genetic engineering. Main article: Detection of genetically modified organisms. Main article: Genetically modified food controversies. Retrieved 17 July Food Fray. Retrieved We have reviewed the scientific literature on GE crop safety for the last 10 years that catches the scientific consensus matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide, and we can conclude that the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops.

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    Health and environmental impacts of transgenic crops". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Currently available transgenic crops and foods derived from them have been judged safe to eat and the methods used to test their safety have been deemed appropriate.

    These foods have been assessed for increased risks to human health by several national regulatory authorities inter alia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, the United Kingdom and the United States using their national food safety procedures ICSU.

    Genetically modified crops safety assessments: present limits and possible improvements

    To date no verifiable untoward toxic or nutritionally deleterious effects resulting from the consumption of foods derived from genetically modified crops have been discovered anywhere in the world GM Science Review Panel. Many millions of people have consumed foods derived from GM plants - mainly maize, soybean and oilseed rape - without any observed adverse effects ICSU.

    There is broad scientific consensus that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat. After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, National Research Council and Division on Earth and Life Studies Both the U.

    National Research Council and the Joint Research Centre the European Union's scientific and technical research laboratory and an integral part of the European Commission have concluded that there is a comprehensive body of knowledge that adequately addresses the food safety issue of genetically engineered crops Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health and National Research Council ; European Commission Joint Research Centre These and other recent reports conclude that the processes of genetic engineering and conventional breeding are no different in terms of unintended consequences to human health and the environment European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation GM soybean varieties are major candidates for concern about human sensitivities because soy can be integrated into so many foods in the form of vegetable oil or protein meal or integrated with non-GE soy.

    Care must be taken in differentiating between health concerns about the increased use of soy due to increased phytoestrogen intake, especially with respect to infant foods, 47 and, the as yet unverified claims that GM soy may have higher levels of phytoestrogens than traditional soy. ANZFA's evaluation was that glyphosate-tolerant soybeans would be less susceptible to site related fluctuations of phytoestrogens because they are able to withstand applications of the herbicide.

    Phytoestrogens have the capacity to mimic human sex hormones. Alarm has been expressed because it appears neither US or British authorities required Monsanto to carry out tests after spraying. Biodiversity risks. An UK study has established that bees can carry pollen four kilometres from test sites, there thus being no doubt that pollen from GM crops will get out. If owners of the Terminator patent succeed in inserting Terminator genes into patented seeds, plants will only produce sterile seeds.

    In India, varieties of seeds containing the terminator gene will be refused registration. Ethical questions about food security, especially for developing countries, arise. They will be dependent on purchasing new varieties from overseas and will no longer be able to carry out the traditional practice of collecting and storing seed. It is agreed that such plants will reduce food available to beneficial insects that feed on targeted pests.

    Reports vary as to whether they are directly poisoned by GE crops. In view of the laboratory example of lacewings 55 having higher mortality after consuming a diet of Bt maize fed caterpillars, ACRE the UK Advisory Committee on Releases in the Environment could not justify a ban but advised continued vigilance. In the future this issue will control both the farmers' ability to choose which crop they wish to grow, and down the market chain, the availability of GE and non-GE foods to the consumer. It has been recognised in Australia with Bt cotton crops that buffer zones of 10 per cent conventional crops are required to prevent the acceleration of the development of pesticide resistant organisms.

    The recent identification of pesticide resistant aphids demonstrates that a 10 per cent buffer zone may not be sufficient and hence the requirement for greater regulation of what is planted and where, along with specified spraying regimes of both GE and conventional crops. Australian and New Zealand health ministers have agreed that all GM food should be labelled. Safety assessment conditions were initially required for foods deemed as 'not substantially equivalent' with respect to nutrition, composition, allergens or end use.

    After the 17 December decision of the ministers ANZFSC reached in a 6 to 4 vote, the labelling section of Standard A18 is to be revised to include the labelling of substantially equivalent foods also. The draft will specify labelling of all GM foods. Their invitation paper lists possible labelling options. It is of interest to note that the EU has settled for :'does contain' or 'does not contain', in force as of 1 September Exemptions are similar to the EU.

    Without specific safety assessment, unintended effects such as alterations in concentrations of key nutrients or increases in the level of natural toxicants cannot be readily detected. Also exempted will be highly processed foods where GE products, gene fragments or novel protein residues should not be present e. The UK supports the labelling of all foods containing genetically modified ingredients. In addition to the requirement to label GM foods in the US if there is an allergen problem, the only other circumstance requiring mandatory labelling of GE foods is if significant or composition or nutritional changes have been made.

    Of interest is the USEPA's proposal for seeds carrying foreign genes to be labelled as containing antipest substances. The United Nation's Codex Alimentarius Commission discussed its draft labelling standard for GM foods at a recent meeting fraught with controversy. The final recommendation is not expected until after June A major objection to labelling by the US government is the cost to food suppliers. A British agricultural economist who points to different varieties of wheat non GE that have been traditionally labelled separately for the consumers' benefit has queried this.

    For example, pasta connoisseurs would take a dim view if they were not able to purchase pasta made from the durum wheat grain. A number of quantitative examples were provided; Canadian farmers distinguishing GM from non GM canola did so with an additional 8 per cent cost. Monsanto claims segregation would cost up to per cent extra.

    Why are GMOs Bad?

    According to the UK experience, compliance testing could prove difficult because of a lack of appropriate testing stations. At present a test costs from to per sample and takes about ten days. Early in , ANZFA declared that two Monsanto approval applications, Roundup Ready Soybeans glyphosate-tolerant soybean line and Ingard Cottonseed derived from insect resistant cotton lines , , and , have no public health and safety concerns.

    Ingard cotton yields cottonseed oil, which may be used in cooking oil, mayonnaise and salad dressing. Data packages were submitted by Monsanto along with Quality Assurance certification that the studies were done in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice. The first two proposals are deemed to be 'substantially equivalent' to their conventional counterparts.

    Having gone through the assessment process, public comment will be sought and if approved by ANZFSC will be listed in the pertinent Standard A18 table. How Adequate is the Testing Process? Acceptance of GE foods is naturally at least partially dependent on public confidence in the assessment process, transparency and an adequate communication process being fundamental.

    The extent of scientific information drawn upon in the two released assessment reports was not revealed, making it difficult to judge the adequacy of the assessment. Feeding ten male and female rats with INGARD cotton seed, in an experiment not designed as a toxicity test and not of relevance to humans, appears to be a very weak test for the 'ability to support typical growth and well-being'. Assessment involves matching application data and public submissions and presumably overseas laboratory data and reports with local Australian requirements.

    Internationally, it is recognised that current safety assessment practices are insufficient, a whole new approach being called for at a recent OECD meeting.

    4. Are genetically modified plant foods safe to eat?

    The Authority has neither the expertise nor the mandate to assess matters relating to the environmental risks resulting from the release of food produced using gene technology into the environment. GMAC undertook an assessment of this importation AQIS controls all movement of imported soybean and trash remaining after processing There are no formal mechanisms in place for the coordination of assessments and approvals of gene technology products by the various regulatory agencies in Australia. There are some worries about the assessment process. Who should do the testing and assessing? Who should be overseeing, second guessing this process?

    US trade interests suggest that an international testing body should be created, however, would Australian interests be met? It is of interest that in the UK, scientists with current or recent links to the biotechnology industry are to be barred from a key government committee on genetically modified crops. Australian science is operating in a climate of reduced resources and staffing, thus preventing ANZFA from enriching the public submission process by obtaining a range of informed scientific responses.

    The current climate precludes many informed professionals from contributing to the public submission process in a constructive way. Industry must abide by field trial regulations, as set down by GMAC.


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    • But, it is industry that does the trials, submits the data and has it assessed as a paper exercise by a panel of experts. Compliance with GMAC guidelines 76 is voluntary. The proposed integrated biotechnology strategy will include an enforceable regulation system. Who should pay? Who should bear the cost of testing foods that consumers did not particularly yearn for? Should the consumer pay through tax funded agencies such as ANZFA or should the developer of the product be responsible for costs?

      Should the biotechnology industry contribute to the cost through a levy on GE crops or foods? Who is liable for future environmental and health damage, both compensation and rehabilitation costs? Some of ANZFA's major objectives are to promote trade and commerce in the food industry and promote consistency between domestic and international food standards where these are at variance.

      Can consumer and trade imperatives be met by the same agency? Is there a call for a public health focussed agency with research and testing capabilities to be responsible for food approvals? The biotechnology industry is ahead of the development of appropriate regulatory regimes for biotechnology products. While industry has had ample time and funds to pursue their briefs, similar or appropriate matching government resources have not appeared to provide scientific support for the development of regulatory regimes.

      Who Should Devise a Communications Strategy? Inadequate dissemination of information has been identified as a major factor in resistance and uncertainty about GM foods. Coupled with the low visibility of science generally, and an identified lack of knowledge in Australian 'civics' the workings of government , the need for better public communication is apparent. ANZFA maintains that industry should be primarily responsible for a communications strategy, but will cooperate with industry. This, and the proposal for Biotechnology Australia, the industry portfolio, to manage public awareness rather than the health portfolio, may provide further grounds for claims about a pro-industry bias.

      A number of Australian organisations with various vested interests have already set up web sites. Consumer education is one of the roles of the newly established food agency in the United Kingdom, a public health education approach that would be of value in Australia. Ideally communication strategies by a variety of sources would be the best option. Perhaps incentives or content imperatives could increase the Australian public's exposure to communications in science matters of national significance.

      The biotechnology industry has risked considerable funds. While consumer worries have been in recent headlines, the industry itself requires regulatory support. Liability for health and environmental consequences needs to be clarified for industry, government and the consumer, future damages claims could be high.

      The GM food issue demonstrates that the uptake of new technologies by industry should be anticipated and monitored by government. Seamless uniform assessment is required. Scientific underpinning of policy and regulatory decision making processes need to be supported by adequate funding for monitoring, testing and assessment processes as well as for basic research and an adequate knowledge base, ensuring timely inclusion of effective regulations covering new technologies.

      Immediate requirements, as frequently stated by stakeholders recently, appear to be:. How can regulators build in citizen and national choice in the face of international biotechnology business directions? The extent to which Australia is able to control its environment in terms of both human health and natural imperatives will strongly influence the way we participate and hopefully prosper with biotechnology in the future. For example: Genetic manipulation: the threat or the glory? Primary industries: primed for growth , Liberal Party of Australia, 22 September, , p.

      Steve Lewis and Louise Dodson, op. Bill Blair, Food a growth industry. Ann M. General surveys on foods produced through biotechnology , Consumers International, c, p. Is coverage of products or just organisms', International Environment Reporter, 20 January , p. Schubbert, U. Hohlweg, D. Renz and W. Doerfler, 'On the fate of orally ingested foreign DNA in mice: chromosomal association and placental transmission to the fetus, Mol. Medline Abstract and R. Schubbert and W. Doerfler, 'Uptake of foreign DNA from the environment: the gastrointestinal tract and the placenta as portals of entry', Weiner klinische Wochenschrift , vol.

      Medline abstract and R. Schubbert, D. Renz, B. Schmitz and W. Medline Abstract Guidance for industry: use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic plants. Draft guidance, [Draft released for comment on: September 4, Neither would therapy with antibiotics be compromised through transfer of the kan' gene from plants to microorganisms in the gut or in the environment or to the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract. There is, however, an unsubstantiated argument supported by a study on a genetically engineered form of B.

      Accordingly there has been a claim that the kan' gene should not be used for transgenic purposes. Smirnov et al. Kkimioter ' Susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs of strains of bacilli used as a basis for various probiotics', vol. Medline abstract. Julie Nordlee et al. Samuel B. Lehrer and Gerald Reese, 'Recombinant proteins in newly developed foods: identification of allergenic activity', Int Arch Allergy Immunol, vol. Samuel Lehrer et al. Implications for biotechnology', Clinical review in food science and nutrition, vol.

      Food and Drug Administration. Soy-based infant formula , New Zealand. Alan J. Gray and Alan F. Raybould, 'Reducing transgene escape routes', Nature, vol. The labelling of foods produced using gene technology. Biotechnology and food safety. FAO Food and nutrition paper Daniel Ramon, M. Calvo and J. Peris, 'New regulation for labelling genetically modified foods: A solution or a problem? EPA, critics soften stance on pesticidal plants, Science, vol. Reuters Business Briefing 10 May The labelling of foods produced using gene technology , op. Guidelines for the safety assessment of foods to be included in Standard AFood produced using gene technology.

      Debora MacKenzie, op. Cathy Bolt, 'Australia: news-alliance to push benefits of biotechnology', Australian Financial Review , 17 May , p. Regulation of Gene Technology , op. Are We Worried? Using biological systems for industrial purposes. Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics. Australian Consumers Association. Australia New Zealand Food Authority. Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.

      Biotechnology Australia Dept. Bacillus thuringiensis. Commonwealth Science Industry and Research Organisation. United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organisation. Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.