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GM Crop Regulations: Safety Net or Insurmountable Obstacle?

GM Crop Regulations: Safety Net or Insurmountable Obstacle?

GM Crop Regulations: Safety Net or Insurmountable Obstacle?

GM Crop Regulations: Safety Net or Insurmountable Obstacle?

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AAAS Symposium, February 18, 2011: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM; 147A (Washington Convention Center )

Genetic modification (GM) of fruits, vegetables and other small-market crops offers opportunities for many significant improvements, including enhanced nutrition, safety (e.g., elimination of toxins and allergens), taste, and shelf life and the ability to be grown with less pesticides -- yet none of these are available to consumers. Why? It is not because there are reasonable doubts about the safety of transgenic crop plants. After 15 years of widespread use around the world, there are no credible reports of injury to health or to the environment from genetically engineered crops or foods. 

This symposium will address the two prime reasons why fresh market and specialty GM foodstuffs are not on grocers’ shelves. First, the regulatory system in place is not sufficiently science-based and is too costly to be justified for small-market crops. Two speakers will discuss success in bringing safe and highly productive transgenic crops to farmers, whereas others will highlight research presently under way to provide fruits, vegetables, and other foods that benefit consumers by being more environmentally friendly, healthier, and more enjoyable to eat. 

Finally, the obstacles to commercialization of such foods under the present array of complex and costly regulatory hurdles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be presented, along with suggestions for using scientific principles to streamline current regulatory systems while providing ample assurances to consumers regarding the safety of new GM foods.

Organizer: Donald P. Weeks, University of Nebraska; Co-organizers: Wayne Parrott, University of Georgia  and Alan McHughen, University of California 


Nina Fedoroff, Pennsylvania State University  - Why We Need to Craft Science-Based Regulations for GM Crops and Animals in the United States

Roger Beachy, U.S. Department of Agriculture  - The Success and Safety of Transgenic Crops and Foods

Drew L. Kershen, University of Oklahoma  - The Present Regulatory Systems, Their Complexity, and Costs

Hector Quemada, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center  - Challenges in the Development of Transgenic Crops by the Public Sector

Alan McHughen, University of California  - Whither "Orphan" GM Specialty and Small Market Crops?