April 15, 2005

Genetically Engineered Food: Safety Research

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Although the FDA does not conduct safety testing on genetically engineered foods, research is ongoing throughout the world, and not always free of controversy. The following is a brief overview:

Food-safety researcher Dr. Arpad Pusztai reported in 1998 that rats fed genetically engineered potatoes at a British lab developed immune system deficiencies and stunted growth. After announcing his findings, Pusztai was suspended by the lab at which he worked. Other independent researchers supported his conclusions.

Reports of soy allergies in the United Kingdom rose by 50 percent in 1998 after soy milk from genetically engineered, pesticide-resistant crops was introduced there.

StarLink corn, a genetically engineered ingredient that accidentally made it into the food supply was suspected as the cause of several severe allergic reaction cases in the U.S. in 2000, but a U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was inconclusive.

Experimental studies have shown that genetically modified, antibiotic-resistant plant genes have been found in the intestines of human volunteers, according to a 2003 report from a global independent science panel.

R.M.

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