Food Biotechnology is Safe
In Brief: The FDA has determined that foods from plants
produced through biotechnology are, as a class, safe.

Contact Information

Perry Adkisson
Chair, Committee on Genetically Modified Pest-Protected Plants National Research Council Sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences Chancellor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Texas A&M University
April 5, 2000

"…the committee is not aware of any evidence suggesting that foods on the market today are unsafe to eat as a result of genetic modification.

"Furthermore, we found no strict distinction between the health and environmental risks posed by plants modified through modern genetic engineering techniques and those modified by conventional breeding practices."

James Maryanski, Ph.D.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Biotechnology Coordinato,
May 26, 1999 Worldnet interview

"We have spent a considerable amount of time and resources examining the science of gene technology and how it would impact on the food supply and have concluded that, provided that companies take the proper steps to examine the important safety issues, these foods should be as safe as other foods on the market…In addition to those steps that breeders normally take, for products of [biotechnology], companies are doing far more extensive testing than has ever been done on commercial varieties. They are doing chemical analyses for important nutrients, for toxicants. They are examining the new substances, such as proteins that have been introduced into these foods, in terms of possible toxicity and allergenicity and taking other steps under the guidance of our scientists in the government to ensure proper adequate testing before they go to consumers."

American Medical Association Policy Position H-480.985
Biotechnology and the American Agricultural Industry

"It is the policy of the AMA to (1) endorse or implement programs that will convince the public and government officials that genetic manipulation is not inherently hazardous and that the health and economic benefits of recombinant DNA technology greatly exceed any risk posed to society; (2) where necessary, urge Congress and federal regulatory agencies to develop appropriate guidelines which will not impede the progress of agricultural biotechnology, yet will ensure that adequate safety precautions are enforced; (3) encourage and assist the state medical societies to coordinate programs which will educate physicians in recombinant DNA technology as it applies to public health, such that the physician may respond to patient query and concern; (4) encourage physicians, through the state medical societies, to be public spokespersons for those agricultural biotechnologies that will benefit public health; and (5) actively participate in the development of national programs to educate the public about the benefits of agricultural biotechnology."

Dan Glickman
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
March 13, 1999

"One of the great consumer questions of our time is: Will the world accept biotechnology? From a purely scientific perspective, it's an odd question. We already have. Biotechnology's been around almost since the beginning of time. It's cavemen saving seeds of a high-yielding plant. It's Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, cross-pollinating his garden peas…Our best scientists have searched for risks. Without exception, the biotech products on our shelves have proven safe."

Isi Siddiqui
Special Assistant for Trade to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Quoted by Reuters, July 27, 1999

"We do not believe that obligatory [biotech] labeling is necessary, because it would suggest a health risk where there is none…Mandatory labelling could mislead consumers about the safety of these products and require segregation of [biotech] and [non-biotech] foods."

Henry I. Miller, M.D.
Hoover Institution Fellow;
Director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology,1989-93

"I believe I can make a good case that food labels should not have to disclose the presence of genetically altered crops.

Such labels would convey irrelevant information, imply incorrectly that the buyer needs to be warned of unspecified dangers, punish everyone in the distribution chain and actually hurt nature by forcing more pesticide use.

Except for wild berries, virtually all the fruits, vegetables and grains that we eat have been genetically improved by some technique. The Food & Drug Administration already applies extra scrutiny and requires labeling when safety-related issues are raised.

But what about the people's right to know? Some California activists now are demanding food labels to identify machine-harvested (as opposed to hand-picked) tomatoes. Where will it end?"

James Watson, Ph.D
Co-discoverer of DNA structure and Nobel Laureate
From the Daily Telegraph of U.K. February 25, 1999

"I have absolutely no anxiety…I am worried about a lot of things, but not about modified food."

Hank Greely
Co-Director of Stanford University’s
Program in Genomics, Ethics & Society, June 18, 1999

"All the food we eat, with the exception of wild game, has been genetically engineered. It’s interesting as a political issue, but I haven’t seen much that points to any safety concerns."

Brian Larkins, Ph.D.
President, American Society of Plant Physiologists
and Professor, Department of Plant Science at the University of Arizona
in a Letter to the Editor,
The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 1999

"In addition to safer foods, biotechnology also has the potential to bring about the creation of more nutritious foods…it would be a significant loss to humanity if the many benefits of biotechnology were not realized because of concerns that have little basis in scientific fact."

Report of a joint Food and Agriculture Organization
/World Health Organization Consultation
World Health Organization, 1991

"The newer biotechnology techniques open up very great possibilities of rapidly improving the quantity and quality of food available. The use of these techniques does not result in food which is inherently less safe than that produced by conventional ones."

National Research Council Report, 1989

"Crops modified by molecular and cellular methods should pose risks no different from those modified by classic genetic methods for similar traits."

Quote Sections
Food Biotechnology and The US Government
In Brief: Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and others share their views on the benefits of biotechnology.
Food Biotechnology is Safe
In Brief: The FDA has determined that foods from plants produced through biotechnology are, as a class, safe.
Food Biotechnology Benefits Consumers
In Brief: Surveys indicate that American consumers are in support of food biotechnology and recognize its benefits.
Food Biotechnology Benefits the Environment
In Brief: Agricultural biotechnology helps to make farmlands more productive and reduces the amount of land needed for agriculture.
Food Biotechnology Benefits Farmers
In Brief: Agricultural biotechnology improves methods of farming to ensure precision and efficiency.
Food Biotechnology Can Help Counter World Hunger
In Brief: Biotechnology may pose one solution to the problems of increasingly resource-poor, hungry nations and a viable alternative to subsistence farming.

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