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Food Safety Review



The Center for Food Safety is a national non-profit membership organization committed to
protecting human health and the environment by promoting organic agriculture and other sus-
tainable practices. CFS engages in legal initiatives, grassroots mobilizations, and educational
programs designed to influence government and industry and to inform the public on such
issues as genetic engineering, food irradiation, and organic food standards.

The Hidden Health Hazards

of Genetically Engineered Foods

A significant percentage of processed foods

purchased today contain some genetically
engineered (GE) food products.1 As a
result, each day, tens of millions of American
infants, children and adults eat genetically engi-
ly engineered foods be certified as “organic.”5
Alarmed by the public’s overwhelming rejec-
tion of GE foods, the biotech industry has recently
hired top PR firms and lobbyists in a $50 million
effort to try to sell the public on the idea that GE
neered foods without their knowledge. foods are safe and that they are just like any other
Consumers have no way of food.6 A centerpiece of the
knowing what foods are industry PR initiative is their
genetically engineered because The FDA’s failure to require repeated claim that GE foods
the Food and Drug Adminis- are subject to rigorous gov-
tration (FDA) does not
testing or labeling of GE ernment-mandated testing
require labeling of these foods has made millions of and have been proven safe.7
products. What’s worse, the
consumers into guinea pigs, These are outright lies. In
agency also does not require 1992, the FDA, without any
any pre-market safety testing unknowingly testing the scientific basis, declared that
of GE foods. Companies do safety of dozens of gene genetically engineered foods
not even have to inform the as a class are “generally recog-
FDA that they are marketing altered food products. nized as safe” and has refused
GE foods.2 The agency’s fail- to require any safety testing of
ure to require testing or any sort for these foods.8 The
labeling of GE foods has made millions of con- FDA does not even require notification by com-
sumers into guinea pigs, unknowingly testing the panies that they are marketing a genetically engi-
safety of dozens of gene-altered food products. neered food. Nor has the FDA or anyone else
Not surprisingly, FDA’s “no-testing, no proven that GE foods are safe. The FDA, in its
labeling” policy is opposed by the vast majority response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food
of Americans. The public clearly believes it has a Safety (CFS) in May 1998, admitted in court that
right to know if food has been genetically engi- it has made “no dispositive scientific findings,”
neered. Opinion polls consistently show that whatsoever, about the safety of genetically engi-
more than 90% of Americans strongly support neered foods.9 In other words, the FDA has
the labeling of genetically engineered foods.3 A given the biotech industry carte blanche to pro-
1999 Time poll revealed that close to 60% would duce and market any number of genetically engi-
avoid such foods if they were labeled.4 And in 1998 neered foods without mandatory agency over-
more than 275,000 angry consumers protested the sight or safety testing and without a scientific
Clinton Administration’s proposal that genetical- showing that these foods are safe to consume.
continued on page 3


elcome to the inaugural issue of the Food ed testing. Recently the industry announced a mas-
Safety Review. The Review is designed to sive multi-million dollar PR campaign to assure the
provide the public with accessible, well doc- public about the safety of GE foods. This issue of
umented information on important food safety the Review cuts through the misinformation coming
questions. It is often difficult for consumers to from the industry and government and provides a
obtain dependable information about the food safe- well documented summary of the numerous poten-
ty issues that are so critical to personal and family tial health hazards presented by these unlabeled,
health, a sustainable farm economy and the envi- untested foods.
ronment. Front page controversies swirl around Finally, a note of background on the Center for
issues such as genetic engineering, irradiation, Food Safety (CFS) which publishes this Review.
sewage sludge, antibiotics, hormones, and pesti- CFS is a non-profit, national membership organiza-
cides. Yet the mainstream media and government tion. We attempt to promote awareness and under-
agencies, usually under heavy industry pressure, standing of food safety issues and provide the pub-
consistently fail to accurately inform consumers lic — through newsletters, action alerts and our
about theses issues and, more often than not, dis- Review — with scientifically sound public educa-
seminate misinformation. Consumers are often left tional materials. CFS is also the nation’s leading
to fend for themselves in a confusing sea of contra- legal action group on food safety, utilizing petitions,
dictory stories and assertions. The Review is intend- regulatory proposals and litigation to influence pol-
ed be a dependable, independent source of infor- icy makers. You can get updated on our recent legal
mation which will allow consumers to better under- actions and other initiatives by checking our web-
stand today’s cutting edge food controversies. It is site at We also have
our hope that it will allow you to make informed an interactive website,,
choices about which foods to buy, and that it will which enables you to send your comments on GE
help galvanize action on issues critical to our health, foods directly to the FDA. If you have not already
the survival of farm communities and the protection done so, we hope that after reading this Review and
of the environment. becoming more familiar with our activities, you will
The current issue deals with one of the most consider joining CFS as a member. g
important and urgent food safety issues before the
public — the human health hazards of genetically Andrew Kimbrell
engineered (GE) foods. The biotechnology industry
and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have
consistently claimed that these foods are safe and
have been subject to rigorous government-mandat-

CFS Wins First Round In EPA Lawsuit to Ban Genetically Engineered B.t. Crops

A federal court recently threatened to “hold [the studies also show that pollen from B.t. corn is toxic
EPA’s] feet to the fire” unless it answers CFS’s to monarch and other butterfly larvae. CFS was
charges that its approval of transgenic B.t. crops forced to bring suit after the EPA failed to respond
threatens the future of organic agriculture and risks to its September 1997 petition; however, the EPA
significant harm to wildlife and the environment. has promised U.S. District Court Judge Louis F.
The lawsuit filed by CFS on behalf of itself, Oberdorfer that it will answer the petition by April
Greenpeace and several organic farmers, charges 2000. For more information or to reference this
the agency with the “wanton destruction” of case, see: Greenpeace Int’l, et al. v. Browner, U.S.
Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.), the world’s most impor- District Court for the District of Columbia, Docket
tant natural pesticide, pointing to warnings by sci- No. 99-CV-389 (LFO), filed Feb. 18, 1999. Our
entists that genetically engineered B.t. crops will pleadings are posted on our website at
lead to insect resistance within 3-4 years. Recent g
HIDDEN HEALTH HAZARDS (continued from cover)

FDA’s failure to require safety testing of GE of foods to establish a “safe” place for such inser-


foods could pose a very real health threat to millions tions.14 As a result, each gene insertion into a food
of Americans. A significant body of scientific evi- amounts to playing food safety “roulette,” with the
dence, including findings of FDA’s own scientists, companies hoping that the new genetic material
shows that the genetic engineering of foods can does not destabilize a safe food and make it haz-
transform safe foods into dangerous products. ardous. Each genetic insertion creates the added
Below is a summary of the documented potential possibility that formerly nontoxic elements in the
human health threats posed by genetically engi- food could become toxic.15
neered foods. Much of the scientific support for FDA was well aware of the “genetic instability”
these health hazards has come problem prior to establishing
from the over 44,000 pages of their no-testing policy. FDA
discovery provided to CFS as FDA’s failure to require scientists warned that this
part of its ongoing lawsuit safety testing of GE foods problem could create danger-
against the FDA for its failure ous toxins in food and was a
to require testing and labeling could pose a very real significant health risk. The sci-
of GE foods. health threat. A significant entists specifically warned that
body of scientific evidence, the genetic engineering of
Six Potential Human including the findings of foods could result in “increased
levels of known naturally occur-
Health Concerns FDA’s own scientists, ring toxicants, appearance of
Genetically engineered foods new, not previously identified
are different from other foods. shows that the genetic toxicants, increased capability
Genetic engineering allows, for engineering of foods can of concentrating toxic sub-
the first time, foreign genes,
transform safe foods into stances from the environment
bacterial and viral vectors, viral (e.g., pesticides or heavy met-
promoters, and antibiotic mark- dangerous products. als).” These same FDA scien-
er systems to be engineered tists recommended that long
into food. These genetic “cas- term toxicological tests be
settes” are new to the human diet and should be required prior to the marketing of GE foods.16
subject to extensive safety testing. Instead, in 1992
FDA officials also were aware that safety testing
the FDA ruled, without any scientific basis, that on the first genetically engineered food, the Calgene
genetically engineered foods present no different Flavr Savr tomato, had shown that consumption of
risks than traditional foods.11 FDA’s own scientists this product resulted in stomach lesions in labora-
ridiculed this unscientific agency view of genetic tory rats.17 Even more significantly, FDA had
engineering. “What happened to the scientific ele- already concluded that genetic engineering was a
ments in [the] document?” one asked.12 FDA scien- possible cause for the 37 deaths and 1,500 disabling
tists consistently stated that “[t]here is a profound illnesses caused by consumption of the dietary sup-
difference between the types of unexpected effects plement L-tryptophan. Showa Denko, a Japanese
from traditional breeding and genetic engineering. company, had begun using genetic engineering to
... [T]his difference should be and is not produce the dietary supplement in the late 1980s. It
addressed.”13 What are the new “unexpected effects” is suspected that the genetic engineering of the sup-
and health risks posed by genetic engineering? plement created a toxic contaminant by-product
which in turn caused the deaths and illnesses.18

❶ Toxicity
Genetically engineered foods are inherently unsta- lem
FDA’s response to the potential toxicity prob-
with genetically engineered foods was to ignore
ble. Each insertion of a novel gene, and the accom- it. They disregarded their own scientists, the clear
panying “cassette” of promoters, antibiotic marker scientific evidence and the deaths and illnesses
systems, and vectors, is random. GE food produc- already attributed to this problem. The agency
ers simply do not know where their genetic “cas- refused to require pre-market toxicological testing
sette” is being inserted in the food, nor do they for GE foods or any toxicity monitoring. FDA
know enough about the genetic/chemical makeup made these decisions with no scientific basis and



without public notice and comment or independent

scientific review. The agency’s actions can only be Antibiotic Resistance
Another hidden risk of GE foods is that they could
seen as a shameful acquiescence to industry pres-
make disease-causing bacteria resistant to current
sure and a complete abandonment of its responsi-
antibiotics, resulting in a significant increase in the
bility to assure food safety.
spread of infections and diseases in the human pop-
ulation. Virtually all genetically engineered foods
❷ Allergic Reactions
In the United States, about a quarter of the popula-
contain “antibiotic resistance markers” which help
the producers identify whether the new genetic
tion reports some adverse reaction to food.19 At least material has actually been transferred into the host
8% of children have physically identifiable allergic food. FDA’s large-scale introduction of these antibi-
reactions to food.20 The genetic engineering of food otic marker genes into the food supply could render
creates two separate and serious health risks involv- important antibiotics useless in fighting human dis-
ing allergenicity. The first is that genetic engineering eases.25 For example, a genetically engineered maize
can transfer allergens from foods to which people plant from Novartis includes an ampicillin-resist-
know they are allergic, to foods that they think are ance gene. Ampicillin is a valuable antibiotic used
safe. This risk is not hypothetical. A recent study by to treat a variety of infections in people and animals.
the New England Journal of Medicine showed that A number of European countries, including Britain,
when a gene from a Brazil nut was engineered into have refused to permit the Novartis Bt corn to be
soybeans, people allergic to nuts had serious reac- grown, due to health concerns that the ampicillin
tions to the engineered product.21 At least one food, resistance gene could move from the corn into bac-
a Pioneer Hi-Bred International soybean, was aban- teria in the food chain, making ampicillin far less
doned because of this problem.22 Without labeling, effective in fighting a wide range of bacterial infec-
people with known food allergies have no way of tions.26
avoiding the potentially serious health conse- For the past seven years, FDA officials have
quences of eating GE foods containing hidden aller- ignored their own scientists’ concerns over the antibi-
genic material. otic resistance problem.27 During the same time,
There is another allergy risk associated with GE medical professionals around the world have
foods. These foods could be creating thousands of become increasingly alarmed at how GE foods are
different and new allergic responses. Each genetic leading to a massive infusion of antibiotic genes into
“cassette” being engineered into foods contains a the human diet. Last year, for example, the British
number of novel proteins (in the form of altered Medical Association (BMA) addressed this problem
genes, bacteria, viruses, promoters, marker systems, in its study of GE foods. The BMA’s conclusion was
and vectors) which have never been part of the unequivocal: “There should be a ban on the use of
human diet. Each of these numerous novel proteins antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM food, as
could create an allergic response in some con- the risk to human health from antibiotic resistance
sumers.23 The FDA was also well aware of this new developing in microorganisms is one of the major
and potentially massive allergenicity problem. The public health threats that will be faced in the 21st
agency’s scientists repeatedly warned that genetic century.”28
engineering could “produce a new protein aller-
gen.” Once again the agency’s own scientists urged
long-term testing.24 However, the FDA again ❹ Immuno-suppression
Recently, the well-respected British medical journal,
ignored its own scientists. Because these foods were
The Lancet, published an important study conduct-
allowed to be marketed without mandatory testing
ed by Drs. Arpad Pusztai and Stanley W.B. Ewen
for this kind of allergenicity, millions of unsuspect-
under a grant from the Scottish government.29 The
ing consumers have continuously been exposed to a
study examined the effect on rats of the consump-
potentially serious health risk. This FDA action is
tion of potatoes genetically engineered to contain
especially negligent in that the potential conse-
the biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.). The
quences of food allergies can include sudden death,
scientists found that the rats consuming genetically
and the most significantly affected population is
altered potatoes showed significant detrimental
effects on organ development, body metabolism,

and immune function.30 The biotechnology industry A Partial List of
has launched a major attack on Dr. Pusztai and his Genetically Engineered Foods
study. However, they have as of yet not produced a
single study of their own to refute his findings. This is a list of processed foods that tested positive
Moreover, twenty-two leading scientists recently for genetically engineered ingredients (September
declared that animal test results linking genetically 1999). These tests were not “safety” tests; they
engineered foods to immuno-suppression are valid.31 were only to establish the presence of unlabeled
genetically engineered ingredients.

❺ Cancer
Along with its approval of GE foods, the FDA in
• Bravos Tortilla Chips
1993 also approved the use of genetically engi- • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
neered recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone • General Mills Total Corn Flakes Cereal
(rBGH), used to induce dairy cows to produce more • Post Blueberry Morning Cereal
milk.32 At the time the FDA assured consumers that
the milk was safe.33 Recently, however, regulatory • Heinz 2 Baby Cereal
bodies in both Canada and Europe have rejected • Enfamil ProSobee Soy Formula
the drug, citing numerous animal and human health • Similac Isomil Soy Formula
concerns.34 Perhaps of most immediate concern for
consumers is that the recent research shows conclu- • Nestle Carnation Alsoy Infant Formula
sively that the levels of a hormone called insulin-like • Quaker Chewy Granola Bars
growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are increased in dairy prod- • Nabisco Snackwell’s Granola Bars
ucts produced from cows treated with rBGH.35 The
Canadians and Europeans further found that the • Ball Park Franks
FDA had completely failed to consider a study which • Duncan Hines Cake Mix
showed that the increased IGF-1 in rBGH milk • Quick Loaf Bread Mix
could survive digestion and make its way into the
• Ultra Slim Fast
intestines and blood streams of consumers.36 These
findings are significant because numerous studies • Quaker Yellow Corn Meal
now demonstrate that IGF-1 is an important factor • Light Life Gimme Lean
in the growth of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and
• Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix
colon cancer.37
• Alpo Dry Pet Food

❻ Loss of Nutrition
Genetic engineering can also alter the nutritional
• Gardenburger
• Boca Burger Chef Max’s Favorite
value of food. The genetic instability of these foods • Morning Star Farms Better’n Burgers
(described above) can be a major culprit in reduc-
• Green Giant Harvest Burgers
ing their nutrients. In 1992, the FDA’s Divisions of
Food Chemistry & Technology and Food Contami- (now called Morningstar Farms)
nants Chemistry examined the problem of nutrient • McDonald’s McVeggie Burgers
loss in GE foods. The scientists involved specifical-
• Ovaltine Malt Powdered Beverage Mix
ly warned the agency that the genetic engineering of
foods could result in “undesirable alteration in the • Betty Crocker Bac-Os Bacon Flavor Bits
level of nutrients” of such foods. They further • Old El Paso Taco Shells
noted that these nutritional changes “may escape
• Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
breeders’ attention unless genetically engineered
plants are evaluated specifically for these changes.”38 Sources: Genetic ID (an independent testing firm)
and Consumer Reports (September 1999).
Once again, the FDA ignored findings by their own
scientists and never subjected the foods to manda-
tory government testing of any sort.


Conclusion sumption. We do not label unsafe food, we take it

Much of the current controversy over genetically off supermarket shelves. Only after proper testing is
engineered food surrounds the important issue of done, and if the foods are found safe, should they
labeling. However, the labeling issue is actually a be allowed to be sold. At that time they should also
secondary one. The first call to action must be to be labeled so those who want to take a precaution-
force the FDA to remove all genetically engineered ary stance, those with allergies, and those who have
foods from the market until long-term tests have ethical or religious objections may choose to avoid
determined that such foods are safe for human con- genetically engineered foods. g

ENDNOTES 15. See, e.g., Millstone, Erik, et al., “Beyond of diets containing genetically modified potatoes
1. For example, approximately 60% of processed Substantial Equivalence.” Nature, Vol 401. expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small
foods contain soy protein, Weiss R., “Biotech October 7, 1999. intestine.” The Lancet, Vol. 354, No. 9187,
Food Raises A Crop of Questions.” Washington 16. Memo from FDA Division of Food Chemistry October 16, 1999.
Post, A1 (August 15, 1991) and, according to the & Technology and FDA Division of Food 30. Pusztai, Arpad. “Report of Project Coordinator
FDA, 57% of the U.S. soy crop is genetically Contaminants Chemistry to James Maryanski, on data produced at the Rowett Research
altered. Blakemore, Bill, “Genetically Modified Biotechnology Coordinator, “Points to Consider Institute”,,
Food: Exploring the Controversy Over Crossing for Safety Evaluation of Genetically Modified October 22, 1998.
Natural Barriers.” ABC News, December 9, 1999. Foods.” November 1, 1991. 31. Van Driessche & Bog-Hansen, 17. Memo from Dennis Ruggles, Experimental “Memorandum” on Dr. Pusztai’s report.
wnt_991209_CL_AlteredFood_feature.htm. Design and Evaluation Branch to Carl Johnson,
2. See Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from Additives Evaluation Branch, “Statistical sz.html. May 25, 1999.
New Plant Varieties, 57 Fed. Reg. 22984 (May Analyses of Three 28-Day Toxicity Studies in 32. FDA Approval of New Animal Drug
29, 1992). Charles River Crl: CD BR Rats Given a Application for Monsanto Co.’s Posilac, 58 Fed.
3. Hansen, Dr. Michael & Jean Halloran, “Why Transgenic Tomato.” June 7, 1993. Reg. 59946 (November 12, 1993).
We Need Labeling of Genetically Engineered 18. Mayeno, A.N. & Gleich, G.J., “Eosinophilia 33. Juskevich, J.C., et al., “Bovine Growth
Food.” Consumers International, Consumer myalgia syndrome and tryptophan production: a Hormone: Human Food Safety Evaluation.”
Policy Institute, April 1998. “Compilation and cautionary tale.” TIBTECH, 12:346-352 (1994). Science, 249: 875-884, 877 (Aug 24, 1990).
Analysis of Public Opinion Polls on Genetically 19. Nestle, Marion, Ph.D., M.P.H.. “Allergies to
Engineered Foods.” Center for Food Safety, 34. Chopra, S., et al., “rBST (Nutrilac) ‘Gaps
Transgenic Foods - Questions of Policy.” The Analysis’ Report.” rBST Internal Review Team,
February 11, 1999. New England Journal of Medicine; Vol. 334, No. Health Protection Branch, Health Canada, April
4. Time Magazine, January 11, 1999. 11. March 14, 1996. 21, 1998.
5. Public Docket, USDA Proposed National 20. Hansen, Dr. Michael & Jean Halloran, “Why 35. Kimura, T., et al., “Gastrointestinal Absorption
Organic Program, 62 Fed. Reg. 65850 We Need Labeling of Genetically Engineered of Recombinant Human Insulin-like Growth
(December 16, 1997). Food.” Consumers International, Consumer Factor-1 in Rats,” J. Pharm. & Exper. Therapy.,
6. Barboza, David, “Industry Moves to Defend Policy Institute, April 1998. 1997: 283: 611-618. Epstein, SS. “Unlabeled Milk
Biotechnology.” The New York Times, April 4, 21. Nordlee, Julie A., MS; et al. “Identification Of from Cows Treated with Biosynthetic Growth
2000. A Brazil-Nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans.” Hormones: A Case of Regulatory Abdication.”
7. See, e.g., Feldbaum, Carl B., “Well-Tested The New England Journal of Medicine; Vol. 334, Intl. J. Health Serv. 1996: 26(1): 173-85. Gillette,
Biotech Foods.” The Washington Post, August No. 11. March 14, 1996. Becky. “Doin’ a Body Good? Studies Link rBGH-
31, 1999 (“U.S. biotech crops and foods have 22. See supra at note 20. Produced Milk and Increased Cancer Risk.” E
been the most scrutinized agricultural products in Magazine Sept/Oct 1998, p. 42. (Reporting that
23. Hansen, Michael, Ph.D. and Jean Halloran, Monsanto even admitted to U.S. and Canadian
history. In addition to the FDA, the Department of “Jeopardizing the Future? Genetic Engineering,
Agriculture and the Environmental Protection officials that milk from rBGH treated cows is
Food and the Environment.” PAN AP Safe Food higher in IGF-1, according to Ronnie Cummins.)
Agency monitor them.”). Campaign; Ch. 1. 1998.
8. See supra at note 2. 36. Epstein, SS. “Unlabeled Milk from Cows
24. See supra at note 16. Treated with Biosynthetic Growth Hormones: A
9. Alliance, et al. v. Shalala, et al., Defendants’ 25. Ho, Dr. Mae-Wan. “Genetically Engineered Case of Regulatory Abdication.” Intl. J. Health
Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Cross Motion for Foods: The hazards are inherent in the technolo- Serv. 1996: 26(1): 173-85. See also supra at note
Summary Judgment On All Counts, Civ. Action gy.” Third World Resurgence. No. 79. Ho, Dr. 33.
No. 98-1300-CKK, filed June 25, 1999. Mae-Wan. “The Hazards of Genetically 37. Gillette, Becky. “Doin’ a Body Good? Studies
10. Memo from Linda Kahl, FDA Compliance Engineered Foods.” Ho, Mae-Wan. Genetic Link rBGH-Produced Milk and Increased Cancer
Officer, to James Maryanski, FDA Biotechnology Engineering: Dream or Nightmare. Bath: Risk.” E Magazine Sept/Oct 1998 at 42 (citing a
Coordinator, January 8, 1992. See also, Memo Gateway Books, 143 (1998). See also, supra at Lancet study of U.S. women showing a seven-
from FDA Division of Food Chemistry & note 20. fold increase in breast cancer among pre-
Technology and FDA Division of Food 26. See supra at note 20. menopausal women who had the highest levels
Contaminants Chemistry to James Maryanski, of IGF-1 in their bodies; also citing a Science
Biotechnology Coordinator, “Points to Consider 27. Memo from Murray M. Lumpkin, M.D.,
Director of FDA Division of Anti-Infective Drug study linking higher levels of IFG-1 in men with a
for Safety Evaluation of Genetically Modified four-fold increase in prostate cancer). Davis,
Foods.” November 1, 1991. Products to Bruce Burlington, M.D. December
17, 1992. (“IT WOULD BE A SERIOUS HEALTH Ben. “Think Before You Drink.” Conscious Choice.
11. See supra at note 2. HAZARD TO INTRODUCE A GENE THAT Nov/Dec 1995. See also “rBGH Produced Milk:
12. Document from Dr. Louis J. Pribyl, CODES FOR ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE INTO Cancer From Your Dairy Products?” Rachel’s
“Comments on Biotechnology Draft Document,” THE NORMAL FLORA OF THE GENERAL Environment & Health Weekly #598, 5-15-98.
dated March 6, 1992. POPULATION.”).
13. Id. 28. British Medical Association, “The Impact of
14. See supra at note 2. See also, Transcript of Genetic Modification on Agriculture, Food and
Meeting of the Food Advisory Committee, U.S. Health-Interim Statement.” May 1999.
FDA, Vol. II, April 6-8, 1994. 29. Ewen, Stanley W.B. & Pusztai, Arpad, “Effect

In the News Metcalf have also sponsored a bill (H.R. 3883) that
would require the pre-market safety testing of all
genetically engineered foods. Two pieces of companion
CFS files FDA legal petition to force testing
and labeling of GE foods legislation have been introduced in the Senate by
On March 21, 2000, an unprecedented coalition of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA); bill S.2080 calls for
more than 50 scientific, consumer, environmental and labeling of GE foods and S.2315 would require safety
farm organizations signed onto a legal petition filed with testing for GE foods.
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the Center
for Food Safety. This Petition demands that the FDA Controversial NAS report on GE foods
develop a thorough pre-market and environmental “hopelessly tainted” by corporate influence
testing regime for genetically engineered (GE) foods On April 5, 2000, the National Academy of Sciences
and subject all GE foods to mandatory labeling. This (NAS), an organization which purportedly conducts
critical action, initiated by CFS, successfully united independent scientific investigations, released a con-
nearly every group working on genetically engineered troversial study entitled Genetically Modified Pest
food issues behind a single coherent set of legal Protected Plants. One hour prior to the release of the
demands. For additional information on this petition or report CFS, in partnership with other environmental
on CFS’s ongoing legal case against the FDA on these and consumer groups, held a press conference and
matters, please visit or call rally outside the NAS to voice objections to the perva-
the Center for Food Safety. sive conflicts of interest and corporate influence which
tainted the report. Speakers called on the NAS to scrap
GE food legislation introduced in Congress the report and drew attention to the revolving door
Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), Jack that exists between the biotechnology industry and the
Metcalf (R-WA), and a bipartisan coalition of 17 other NAS. Perhaps most egregiously Michael Phillips, the
Members of Congress have introduced the Genetically original director of the study was forced to resign mid-
Engineered Food Right to Know Act (H.R. 3377), leg- way through the completion of the report after he
islation which would require that foods that contain accepted a position with the Biotechnology Industry
genetically engineered material or have been genetical- Organization. Overall, seven of the study’s twelve
ly engineered, altered or otherwise modified be labeled authors have financial ties to biotech companies,
as such. Congressman Kucinich and Congressman including Monsanto, Novartis, and Pioneer Hi-Bred. g

Take Action! other problems with the Organic Rule, visit or call the Center for Food Safety today!
Save our organic standards! Comment to the
USDA today! Pull genetically engineered foods from the
On March 13, 2000, the United States Department of market! Comment to the FDA today!
Agriculture (USDA) released a revised proposed rule The Center for Food Safety’s legal petition (see “In the
for the United States National Organic Program. News”) demands pre-market safety testing, environ-
While you may have heard that the rule made some mental review and mandatory labeling for all GE foods
concessions in response to the over 280,000 comments and food products. As they were required to do by law,
that criticized the shortfalls of the first rule, the “big three” the FDA has set up a docket for public response to the
are not dead! The use of genetic engineering, irradia- petition. IT IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that consumers
tion, and sewage sludge MAY BE ALLOWED because of from across the United States flood the FDA with hun-
loopholes in the USDA’s prohibition language. Visit dreds of thousands of comments in support of safety to demand that the USDA more testing and labeling of all GE foods. Submit your com-
clearly define genetic engineering, irradiation, and sewage ments today via our action website, www.foodsafe-
sludge and classify all three as prohibited, “synthetic” or by writing to FDA Commissioner Jane
substances, thereby banning them from use in organic Henney, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061 (HFA-305),
agriculture. For a detailed analysis of these issues and Docket No. OOP-1211/CP 1, Rockville, MD 20852. g 7
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Dr. Sheldon Krimsky John Stauber Amy Bricker

Board of Advisors Tufts University Center for Media & Democracy Project Coordinator
Dr. Melanie Adcock
Cheryl Long Dr. Richard Strohman Rebecca Spector
The Humane Society of the U.S.
Organic Gardening Magazine Univ. of California at Berkeley Project Coordinator
Roger Blobaum
Howard Lyman Martin Teitel, Council for Elizabeth Darrow
Blobaum & Associates
Voice for a Viable Future Responsible Genetics Project Manager
Michael Colby, Food & Water
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Adele Douglas, The American Union of Concerned Scientists Contact Info
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