As Europe looks set to tighten regulations on the labelling of GM foods there are signs to suggest that the US, despite being a severe critic of the proposed European regulations, could be moving in the same direction.
The White House recently announced a proposed policy for the early safety assessment of biotechnology-derived crops intended for food and feed. Responding to the announcement, Dr. Michael J. Phillips, Executive Director of Food and Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO), said: "BIO supports the Bush administration's decision, consistent with ongoing advancements in the technology, to further enhance the federal regulatory process that has provided oversight for biotechnology-derived products since 1986 designed to ensure food and environmental safety.
For consumers, this enhancement adds yet another layer of assurance to the existing regulatory review of agricultural crops intended for both food and feed. The Food and Drug Administration now has an additional step in the process to ensure protective and thorough review of crops enhanced through biotechnology while those crops are at the early stages of development in field trials that are already regulated by the Department of Agriculture.
"BIO members will comply with this added layer of oversight and consider it to be a mandatory requirement in the development of crops improved through the use of biotechnology."
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centres and related organisations in all 50 US states and 33 other nations.