Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA Press Release, 4 February 2002

GM FOODS - Agency welcomes GM report

The Food Standards Agency today welcomed the latest report from the Royal Society on GM food issues as a constructive contribution to the on-going debate. The Agency will be considering the report and its recommendations carefully.

The Agency is satisfied that the current safety assessment procedures (which also address allergies through inhalation) are sufficiently robust and rigorous to ensure that approved GM foods are as safe as their non-GM counterparts.

The Agency has a 6 million three-year research programme to look at the application of new and emerging safety assessment techniques to ensure that the assessment process keeps abreast of the development of new GM foods. It's important that new scientific techniques are brought to bear, as they become available, on the regulatory process.

The Society has asked the Agency to look at work on post-market surveillance: assessing whether there are any health effects of approved GM foods on sale, to see if they could be linked to the GM or other component of the food. The Agency is already looking at this issue and has commissioned a feasibility study to look at how this may be taken forward.

No GM foods have yet been developed specifically for infant formulae, and any such products would require a full safety and nutritional assessment before they could be approved for use. All GM foods that have been approved to date were fully assessed by scientific experts for both safety and nutritional acceptability for all age groups, including infants. However, the Agency does share the Society's view that GM and infant formulae regulations should be complementary. The Agency is pursuing this issue in Europe, as these are EU regulations.

For the report on the Royal Society's web pages, go to:

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