Lawsuit: FDA Authority to Approve GM Animals for Food Challenged

Jacob Bunge reported today at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday, challenging the agency’s authority to approve genetically modified [GM] animals used for food.

“The lawsuit is seeking to overturn the FDA’s November approval of a modified salmon that grows twice as fast as wild versions, and block its jurisdiction over a range of new biotech animals under development, such as a fast-growing trout and hornless dairy cows.

“The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses the FDA of overstepping its authority in approving the salmon, developed by AquaBounty Technologies Inc., a unit of Intrexon Corp. The fish was the first genetically modified animal cleared for human consumption.”

Mr. Bunge noted that, “The groups said the FDA’s regulation of such technology under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act—regulating genetic modification under provisions covering animal drugs—goes beyond the law’s scope.

“‘Congress never intended that law to cover these novel, man-made, genetically engineered animals,’ said George Kimbrell, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety, which filed the lawsuit along with Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, and other groups.”

The Journal article added that, “The legal challenge is the latest front in an expanding debate over the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food production.

“In the U.S., where more than 90% of corn and soybean acres are sown with biotech crops resistant to bugs and herbicides, major food companies are beginning to roll out labels denoting GMO ingredients, in response to a Vermont law set to take effect in July.”

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