Eat at Your Own Risk: Flawed FDA Risk Assessments Strengthen Arguments for Labeling GMOs

For the past two decades, developers of genetically engineered (GE) crops and theircorporate allies have maintained that because their products are so obviously safe, there is no need to label them. Thanks to marketing campaigns, squelched state initiatives and a flood of GE products on the market, the public has largely adopted this belief as well.

Would it shock the public to know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never formally approved any GE crop as safe for human consumption? Instead, these companies have been trusted to self-regulate with little scientific oversight and even less transparency in their methods.

This was quietly mentioned in December 2014, during a testimony given by Michael Landa, former director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition with the FDA, before the House Subcommittee on Health.

His testimony drew attention to a fact often overlooked in the ongoing debate around GE food safety: The FDA has exempted developers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from premarket reviews of their products, which would normally result in a formal assessment and either a rejection or approval of their safety for human consumption. Landa’s testimony described the risk assessment process for GE crops, which continues to use a policy crafted in 1992, establishing that the FDA sees no essential difference between GE crops and their conventionally grown counterparts.

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