Docket Management
Docket: 00D-1598 - Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Foods Have Been Developed Using Bioengineering
Comment Number: EC -29

Accepted - Volume 17

Comment Record
Commentor Mr. Joshua Forgotson Date/Time 2001-01-31 00:31:14
Organization Mr. Joshua Forgotson
Category Individual

Comments for FDA General
Questions
1. General Comments I do not believe this measure is enough to protect the public from the potential hazards of bioengineered foods. Highly suspect is the idea that companies which produce such foods would volunteer this information to the public on their product labels, considering that most of the public (I believe), is averse to the idea of consuming bioengineered foods. Voluntary labeling will, in practice, equal no labeling. And no labeling will put the public in jeopardy. A popular organic gardening magazine brings four potential risks to humans to our attention: 1.A growing body of evidence indicates that genetic engineering can cause unintended changes to our food, making it less nutritious or even harmful. For example, a study in a 1998-99 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food indicates that compared with nonmodified soy varieties, genetically altered, herbicide-tolerant varieties may contain lower levels of potentially beneficial plant estrogens. 2. Hidden Allergens: DNA, the cell formations from which genes are composed, directs the production of proteins. Proteins are also common sources of human allergies. When DNA from one organism is spliced into another, can it turn a nonallergenic food into one that will cause an allergic reaction in some people? The Iowa-based biotech seed company Pioneer Hi-Bred International tried to change the protein content of soybeans by adding a gene from the Brazil nut. When researchers tested the modified soybean on people with sensitivity to Brazil nuts (but no sensitivity to soybeans), they found it triggered an allergic reaction. (Based on those findings, the company shelved development of the soybean.) 3. Antibiotic resistance: Genetic engineers use antibiotic marker genes to help them transfer genetic coding from one life-form to another. But some scientists worry that this process could compound the increasingly serious problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The concern is that bacteria living in the gut of humans or animals could acquire antibiotic resistance from GMO foods eaten by the human or animal, possibly rendering treatments for such infections as meningitis and gonorrhea ineffective. 4. Religious and Moral Considerations: People who choose not to eat animals for religious or moral reasons face an almost impossible task with many genetically engineered foods. When genes from flounder are spliced into tomatoes or genes from chickens are added to potatoes for increased disease resistance, are those vegetables still, purely speaking, vegetables? And without mandatory labeling, how can people who object to eating any trace of meat know what they are getting?




EC -29