There is a large effort going on over the next several months, a call to action, to urge the Obama administration to regulate GMO’s.
The haphazard and negligent agency regulation of agricultural biotechnology has been nothing short of a disaster for the public and the environment. Unsuspecting consumers by the tens of millions are purchasing and consuming unlabeled GE foods, despite a finding by U.S. Food & Drug Administration scientists that these foods could pose serious risks. – Center for Food and Safety
The Center for Food and Safety has created a landing page and an easy way to submit support titled, “Tell Obama Not to Double Down on the Current Failed System of Regulating Crops and Animals.”
A complicated subject, we realize but we believe everyone should have access to information and the ability to join the coordinated efforts that can affect the policies that affect us all.
Here is the information released by The Center For Food and Safety
Tell Obama Not to Double Down on the Current Failed System of Regulating GE Crops and Animals
Right now, we have the opportunity to overhaul the way genetically engineered (GE) crops and animals are regulated in the U.S. Currently, federal agencies are charged with ensuring the safety of GE organisms and foods sold in the United States based on the so-called “coordinated framework” of 1986. Mostly, these agencies are the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Unfortunately, the last twenty years has proved this system to be a total failure: USDA and EPA regulations are contradictory and uncoordinated. The agencies continue to turn a blind eye to the novel risks and properties of GMOs and instead try to regulate them using 20th century regulatory standards. As a result, GE crops’ significant harms to farmers and the environment continue, unabated. And incredibly, FDA “regulation” is only voluntary – leaving genetically engineered foods on the U.S. market without independent testing for risks to human health. Nor is labeling required, leaving consumers in the dark about whether their food is genetically engineered.
Now is our chance to fix this broken system. Over the next several months the Administration is accepting public comments on how GMOs should be regulated.
The haphazard and negligent agency regulation of agricultural biotechnology has been nothing short of a disaster for the public and the environment. Unsuspecting consumers by the tens of millions are purchasing and consuming unlabeled GE foods, despite a finding by U.S. Food & Drug Administration scientists that these foods could pose serious risks.
The root of the problem is the 1986 coordinated framework was intended to explain how USDA, FDA and EPA would work together to “regulate” GE crops. But it was merely a guidance document, meaning it was a voluntary—not mandatory—standard. It had no requirement for rigorous and adequate regulation, resulting in decades of failure to protect the public or the environment from GE crops. And it has resulted in decades of failure to protect the public or the environment from GE crops.
How bad is the coordinated framework? Currently, FDA “regulates” genetically engineered foods under a voluntary system in which the types and methods of safety testing are the responsibility of only Monsanto and the other biotech companies – the agency itself never approves or tests the safety of the foods. Even any meetings between the GE developer and FDA is confidential, and only voluntary!
USDA’s oversight is just as bad. USDA has the authority to protect farmers and the environment, but has intentionally turned a blind eye to the harms that GE crops cause, like transgenic contamination, the creation of resistant weeds, and massive increases in pesticides. Before CFS legal actions over the past decade-plus, USDA entirely failed to account for the novel risks and significant impacts to farmers and the environment that GE crops cause.
And though herbicide-resistant GE crops make up the vast majority of all commercialized GE crops in the United States, the EPA still does not evaluate the environmental risks of these varieties and their accompanying pesticides.
The government must fix these failings, not double down on them. To do this, three basic protections must be included in the new framework:
- Safety Testing: All agencies must have mandatory regulation for any organisms developed using genetic engineering processes that independently fully tests and regulates engineered foods and organisms for all types of risks, including long-term food safety risks and direct and indirect environmental harm. Safety, not rapid commercialization, must be priority #1. Until proven safe, GE crops and animals should not be commercialized.
- Manufacturer Liability: Biotech companies that make and sell GE crops must be held liable for the significant costs their products cause for organic and non-GE farmers. Traditional farmers’ rights and seed choice must be protected; therefore contamination of non-GE crops must be prevented. The burden for contamination prevention should be shouldered by those companies profiting from the sales of GE seeds, not by those harmed by contamination.
- Guarantee the public’s right to know: Mandatory labeling should be required for all genetically engineered foods.
To make the coordinated framework into a workable regulatory scheme that protects the public, farmers and the environment, mandatory testing, liability, and labeling are absolutely necessary. Until these principles are implemented, the Obama Administration should halt the approval, commercialization, and release of any new genetically engineered crops or animals.