Gene-Altered Apples and Potatoes Are Safe, F.D.A. Says

 The Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that genetically engineered nonbrowning apples and bruise-resistant potatoes were as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts.

The apples and potatoes were recently approved for commercial planting by the Agriculture Department, which looks mainly at whether the crops would pose a threat to other plants. The F.D.A. review looks at food safety.
The so-called Arctic apples, developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, resist turning brown when sliced or bruised, which could cut wastage of fruit and make sliced apples more appealing.
The Innate potatoes, developed by the J. R. Simplot Company, resist bruising and also have been altered so that less of a potential cancer-causing chemical is produced when the potatoes are fried.
The F.D.A. rarely, if ever, issues news releases when it concludes a review of a genetically modified crop. It appears it did so this time because of the public attention paid to these two particular crops.
Consumer and environmental groups opposed to biotech crops have urged restaurants and food companies not to use the engineered apples and potatoes. Some apple growers, processors and exporters say they fear that the approval of the biotech apple will taint the wholesome image of the fruit.
The F.D.A.’s safety review is voluntary, though industry executives say that nearly all developers of biotech crops go through it. Consumer and environmental groups opposed to genetically engineered crops have criticized the reviews as inadequate, saying they are cursory examinations of the companies’ data.
For instance, they point to the typical language in the letters the agency sends to companies at the end of the evaluation that seems to say the conclusion on safety is that of the company, not the agency. For example, the letter to Okanagan says, “It is our understanding” that Okanagan “has concluded” that the apples are not materially different in safety and nutrition from other apples.
But the F.D.A. said on Friday that its evaluations were thorough.
So-called Arctic apples, bottom row, resist turning brown when sliced or bruised, which could cut wastage of fruit and make sliced apples more appealing. Credit Okanagan Specialty Fruits
“The consultation process includes a review of information provided by a company about the nature of the molecular changes and the nutritional composition of the food compared to traditionally bred varieties,” Dennis Keefe, director of the agency’s office of food additive safety, said in a statement. “This case-by-case safety evaluation ensures that food safety issues are resolved prior to commercial distribution.”
The F.D.A. told both Okanagan and Simplot that certain differences between the genetically engineered apples and potatoes and conventional ones might be material enough to require disclosure to consumers. It urged the companies to consult further with the agency about voluntary or required labeling.
Such labeling would refer to the traits like resistance to browning or the lower amounts of the suspected carcinogen in fried potatoes, said Theresa Eisenman, an F.D.A. spokeswoman. It normally would not refer to the fact that the crops were genetically engineered, she said. However, the agency has received petitions on this matter and is considering them.
Doug Cole, a spokesman for Simplot, said the company would sell seed to growers, so it would not be responsible for how the potatoes or products containing those potatoes would be labeled. But he said the company would urge growers and retailers to label the benefits — less bruising, for example — just as is done with seedless watermelons.
New York Times
لا يقوم العدل الا بتأمين العدالة وتوفير الاجهزة التي تقوم بتحقيق هذه العدالة      التعصب هو مصيبة الدنيا وآفة الدين ومهلكة الانسان      نحلم بسياسيين ورجال دولة همّهم الوحيد تنظيم هذه الدولة لا تفكيك عرى انتظامها وتطبيق مبادئ العدالة الاجتماعية      نحلم بالمسؤول الذي يتجرأ على توقيف كل لبناني يقوم بتحريض طائفي      رجل الدولة الحقيقي يجب ان تكون له دائماً عين على المبادئ يستلهم منها مواقفه وتصرفاته وعين اخرى على الواقع المحيط بتطبيقها      المطلوب ان تتحول المؤسسات الاقتصادية الى مؤسسات انسانية لأن "الاقتصاد" في النهاية ليس غاية بل وسيلة لتحقيق الانسان      لا حرية لمواطن فيما ينتقص من حرية الاخرين المشروعة      لا يهمني ان يقول الناس انهم تركوا كمال جنبلاط وحده، اعتزازي هو انني كنت ولا أزال دائماً وحدي، ولم ادخل يوماً في سياق آكلي الجبنة السياسية
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