Special Report: Are regulators dropping the ball on biocrops?

When we sit down to eat, how do we ensure that the food on our plates is safe to consume? A recent Washington Post special report by Carey Gillam does an excellent job of summarizing the current state of GMO regulation. Although both sides of the biotechnology debate have offered strong arguments about the safety of genetically modified foods – proponents hold that the technology is perfectly harmless, while critics remain leery of its potential impacts on human health – this article highlights the concerns of food producers, scientists, and consumers who worry that we don’t have an adequate understanding of how GM crops will affect our food supply or our bodies, especially over the long term. A closely related concern is the ability of the government to provide strong oversight of the biotech industry. The present regulatory framework, based on laws written before the advent of genetically modified crops, divides responsibility between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet Gillam notes that these three agencies have been criticized by the Government Accountability Office for their ineffective handling of the GMO issue. For anyone interested in the intersection of GMO foods and public policy, this piece provides a thorough, well-researched overview of recent developments, including new research on glyphosate (an ingredient in pesticides) and an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case concerning GM alfalfa.

Read the full article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041301509.html