Read the main article. 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.
[Sidebar: Biotech Food Safety Research]
By Robert Mullins, Newsdesk.org
Stymied by legal setbacks and a lack of public interest, critics of genetically engineered foods expressed impatience with the federal Food and Drug Administration for putting its regulatory foot down on pharmaceuticals such as Vioxx and Bextra, but keeping its hands off biotechnology. While the FDA must approve pharmaceuticals before they are sold, and regulates them once they hit the market, it requires only voluntary consultations with food and biotech corporations about the safety of any genetically engineered foods they want to sell. James Maryanski, biotechnology coordinator for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, said that this is consistent with the agency’s mandate. Medicines are newly created products combining different chemicals and other ingredients to treat diseases, and so must be pre-tested for possible side effects, he said, while genetically engineered food crops are still just plants, and therefore “generally recognized as safe.” “[T]he foods we eat today are all derived from crops we’ve had for centuries,” Mr. Maryanski said.