Issue Date: December 15, 2008
GAO Calls For Oversight Of GE Crops
Government agencies should work together in a more coordinated fashion to ensure that unauthorized genetically engineered (GE) crops aren’t released into the environment or the food supply, concludes a report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The report was prompted by two releases of unauthorized GE rice in 2006 and comes just days after Monsanto announced that a small amount of unauthorized GE cotton was harvested and possibly used to make animal feed. Altogether, there have been six known releases of unauthorized GE crops, according to the GAO report. Although there is no evidence that those releases caused any harm to humans or animals, some of them led to lost trade opportunities, the report states. GAO recommends that USDA and FDA share information about GE crops that contain traits that could cause health concerns and that USDA, FDA, and EPA develop a risk-based strategy for monitoring GE crops to determine whether their widespread use is causing undesirable effects. In addition, GAO recommends that FDA boost its oversight by making public the results of its food safety assessments of GE crops.
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