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WASHINGTON -- The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) yesterday expressed support for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new guidance for the early food safety evaluation of biotech foods. However, the trade group urged FDA to consider how the guidance might apply to plant-made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) and plant-made industrial products (PMIPs) in particular.
GMA v.p. of scientific and regulatory affairs Mark Nelson issued a statement noting: "GMA has long supported the use of biotechnology as a safe and effective means to improve crops and foods. The FDA's new guidance document for the early food safety evaluation of certain types of biotech crops is a step toward improving public confidence in the safety of biotechnology. Moreover, by articulating what is involved in completing this voluntary process, the FDA has given biotechnology companies a clear sign of what is expected of them to help ensure the safety of the food supply."
Nelson said that the guidance is somewhat limited, however, in that it applies "only to new biotech crops that may contain novel proteins that may present an allergic or toxic risk to humans and animals.
"Going forward, we urge the FDA to consider how this early food safety evaluation guidance might apply to plant-made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) and plant-made industrial products (PMIPs) more specifically. Additionally, we continue to support efforts to establish a mandatory early food safety evaluation process as well as a mandatory FDA approval process for all biotech crops," Nelson noted.