Genetically-Engineered Meat Isn’t Tested for Human Safety
Because It’s Treated as an “Animal Drug”
USA Today reported last October that the FDA doesn’t even test the safety of genetically engineered food:
Q: Does the FDA test these foods before they’re allowed on the market?
A: No. Instead there is a voluntary consultation process. Genetically engineered foods are overseen by the FDA, but there is no approval process. Foods are presumed to be safe unless the FDA has evidence to the contrary, Jaffe says. The FDA “has to show that there may be a problem with the food, as opposed to the company needing to prove it’s safe to FDA’s satisfaction before it can get on the market,” he says.
Now we know why.
Bruce Friedrich reports:
The problems begin with FDA’s bizarre decision to consider GE meat using its “New Animal Drug Approval” (NADA) process, a process designed for evaluation of new animal drugs (hence the name), not genetically engineered animals. The GE salmon themselves [which increase allergies in people eating them ... but are still being approved for human consumption] are, according to this analysis, the animal drug. As food blogger Ari LeVaux explains on Civil Eats, “the drug per se is AquaBounty’s patented genetic construct… Inserted at the animal’s one-cell stage, the gene sequence exists in every cell of the adult fish’s body.”
Of course, NADA was not designed to analyze the human health or environmental consequences of new animal drugs, and because the animals are the drugs in this process, their welfare is also ignored. In all three areas, there is ample reason for concern.
Since they aren’t consumed by humans, new animal drugs are not evaluated for their human health impact, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that FDA’s analysis in this area has been almost nonexistent. Health and consumer rights advocates have raised alarms, noting among other concerns, that: 1) these animals will require massive doses of antibiotics to keep them alive in dirty, crowded aquaculture conditions, and we don’t know these antibiotics’ effect on human health; 2) the limited testing that has been conducted was carried out by or for AquaBounty and included shockingly small sample sizes; and 3) what studies have been done indicated increased allergic potential and increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, which is linked to various cancers — an outcome ignored in FDA’s approval according to the Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, and the Center for Food Safety.
It is the same type of collusion between government and big business which has caused the financial crisis, the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the Gulf oil spill and other major disasters (and see this; and number 9).
As we noted last year:
Given that genetically engineered foods have been linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure, infertility and all sorts of other diseases (brief videos here and here), the burden should be on the … gmo producers to prove it’s safe.
But – if the FDA is treating genetically modified fish and meat as an “animal drug” – no one will test it for human safety.