| Comment Record|
Ms. Marilyn Kahn ||
2001-03-13 16:44:27 |
Ms. Marilyn Kahn |
| Comments for FDA General |
1. General Comments
Re: Biotech food rules. Docket #00N1396
It was announced in the newspaper recently that the FDA toughened its rules on biotech-derived foods to boost consumer safety. The changes called for voluntary product labeling guidelines, rather than the mandatory ones consumer groups have advocated.
Requiring that food companies inform the agency of any new biotech foods and provide health safety data that can be published on the Internet is a step in the right direction. However, allowing food companies to use terms on their packaging such as, derived through biotechnology and bio-engineered, but not allowing companies to use such terms as biotech-free when they indeed are, will certainly lead to more not less confusion in the food markets.
The food industry says that it wants to educate the consumer that biotech foods are safe. But, my experience tells me they are willing to mislead consumers (much as Michelen-Firestone did on their tires and cigarette companies swore that cigarettes were safe).
Let me give you another example: I called Bestfoods in November 2000, about whether they use biotech corn in Mazola
Corn Oil. The answer on the telephone was that they did not use it. They were willing and did send me a letter on the subject. The letter I received stated a different story:
“Bestfoods uses only approved ingredients conforming to health, safety and quality assurance standards set by the U.S. governmental agencies. These ingredients include some that may have been derived from biotech corn and canola. FDA, USDA, and EPA have determined that the food-approved biotech crops now being grown and sold in the US do not differ significantly from non-biotech crops with respect to composition, nutritional values or safety. Thus, there are no requirements for special labeling for biotech crops
I do not believe the FDA, USDA and EPA have tested these products for composition, nutritional value or safety. These agencies take the word of the companies research. These companies have much to gain in touting the products as safe, and the research may be biased. We should not wait until some people are harmed due to allergies or other health problems. The testing should be done by non-biased research labs.
Until the food products are tested by laboratories that have no economic stake in the food’s approval, there should be mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. That way the consumer can decide if they wish to eat biotech foods, and become guinea pigs for the testing the products for safety.
Yours very truly, Marilyn Z. Kahn