New regulation proposed yesterday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving companies who want to sell GM food, a four month period in which to notify the government agency, or their products will not get to market.
The Wall Street Journal revealed that previously, consultation with the FDA was only on a voluntary basis, but the firms will now have to prove their GM products are as safe as the non-biotech equivalents.
Representatives from the GM foods industry have welcomed the move, which they see as an alternative to the mandatory product labelling suggested by some consumer groups. This, they argue, means that consumers are unlikely to panic in light of the unknown, and the unregulated, and not pounce on “GM-free” goods.
The FDA has also issued new guidelines (pending approval) for firms that want to label their products, giving details of their (usually lack of) GM contents.
Criticism has been voiced amongst environmental groups, however. Executive director of Friends of the Earth, Larry Bohlen, commented: “The FDA is denying people the choice of whether to eat genetically engineered food.”