Panel discusses GM animal regulation

By ELIZABETH SUH, United Press International  |  June 30, 2004 at 5:24 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- A panel of U.S. scientists and experts in biotechnology discussed the ethics and regulation of genetically modified animals Wednesday.

Panelists uniformly supported biotechnology and expressed hope for its potential. The biotechnology representatives expressed confidence in the efficacy of regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and self-regulation of biotechnology developers, but consumer interests and bioethicists said the regulations were not transparent enough for consumers to accept GM animals.

Carol Tucker Foreman, with the Consumer Federation of America, said there may be justification for permitting transgenic and cloned animals in the food supply, but public support of GM foods has fallen recently. She said FDA approval, which does not allow public participation, is not instilling consumer confidence and needs public review.

"The current system fails," Foreman said.

John Phillips, one of the creators of EnviroPig, which excretes 50 percent less phosphorous than normal -- and thereby eases the potential for water pollution -- said FDA standards for reviewing GM animals thoroughly considers animals' well-being, safety to humans and environmental effects.

"What we need in the regulatory system, I think by and large, already exists," he said.

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