Government Increases Biotech Oversight

Published online: May 09, 2000
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Significant changes were announced in federal oversight of genetically engineered foods this week by the Clinton Administration and the FDA.

The initiative is intended to strengthen consumer confidence in safety of all foods and the benefits of crop biotechnology.

Under the new proposal, biotech companies will have to notify the FDA four months before they market new bio-engineered food products. Additionally FDA would require biotech companies to submit mandatory research data that was previously optional.

The proposal would allow for the creation of a label that would signify the product is free of "gene-altered ingredients".

Finally, as a way to provide further information to the consumer, the FDA proposes to make available information about biotechnology and biotech-derived foods on the FDA Web page.

In addition, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will work on a six-month interagency assessment of federal environmental regulations related to agricultural biotechnology.