Monday, December 29, 2008

FDA Keen To Appease Food Industry Before Bush Term Expires

Next year, our food supply may include meat, fish, and dairy products from cloned and genetically engineered animals - with no label.

It will likely include irradiated lettuce and spinach (along with irradiated meat, poultry, shellfish, and spices which are already on the market).

It will likely include arguably unsafe levels of chemicals known to be harmful to humans, including melamine, bisphenol-A, and mercury.

Our food supply will have changed because the FDA has, and is, paving the way for these changes.

Here's some of what the FDA has been up to this year. Feel free to add to it. (See footnote for photo info.)

Cloned Animals Are Safe

January 2008, FDA press release:
FDA Issues Documents On The Safety Of Food From Animal Clones
"Agency concludes that meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats, and the offspring of all clones, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals."
No label required. In fact, "clone-free" labeling may become illegal:
"The agency is not requiring labeling or any other additional measures for food from cattle, swine, and goat clones, or their offspring because food derived from these sources is no different from food derived from conventionally bred animals. Should a producer express a desire for voluntary labeling (e.g., "this product is clone-free"), it will be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure compliance with statutory requirements that labeling be truthful and not misleading."

Bisphenol-A Is Safe

August 2008, FDA draft assessment:
US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) Reaffirms Safety Of Food-Contact Products Containing Bisphenol A (BPA)
"On August 15, 2008 the FDA ... reaffirmed the safety of products made from polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins [e.g. bisphenol-A], including products intended for use by infants and children."
October 28, Updated FDA press release maintains safety:
FDA Statement On Release Of Bisphenol A (BPA) Subcommittee Report
"Current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and babies."

Irradiated Produce Is Saf-er

August 2008, FDA press release:
Irradiation: A Safe Measure For Safer Iceberg Lettuce And Spinach
"On August 22, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule that allows the use of irradiation to make fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach safer and last longer without spoiling."

Genetically Engineered Animals Are Safe

September 2008, FDA press release:
FDA Issues Draft Guidance On Regulating Genetically Engineered Animals
"Our guidance provides a framework for both GE animals and products made from them to reach the market."

"FDA maintains that genetically engineered animals should not be labeled."
- Let Us Label
More FDA GE info:
Genetically Engineered Animals

Melamine Is Safe

October 2008, FDA press release:
FDA Issues Interim Safety And Risk Assessment Of Melamine And Melamine-Related Compounds In Food
"FDA concludes that levels of melamine and melamine-related compounds below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) do not raise concerns."

Genetic Engineering Accidents Pose No Threat

December 2008, FDA press release:
FDA, EPA And USDA Conclude That Accidental Release Of Genetically Engineered Cotton Poses No Safety Risk To Humans Or Animals

The cotton - which is not authorized to be consumed by livestock or humans because it is a new experimental variety that contains a gene which produces a pesticide - was harvested and mixed with 20,000 tons of approved commercial cotton and cottonseed. Similar crops have been shown to induce or exacerbate allergies, increase inflammation, reduce fertility, and shorten lifespan.

Mercury In Fish Is Safe

December 2008, FDA to lift mercury warning:
FDA In An About-Face On Fish Recommendations, Days Before Bush Leaves Office

The Environmental Working Group obtained documents which show...
"... officials of the FDA are secretly mounting an eleventh-hour drive to eliminate the 2004 warnings on mercury in fish, a move that would benefit the commercial fishing industry."
The EPA calls the document "scientifically flawed and inadequate."
Photo shows current FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach on the left, and his boss, current Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Levitt on the right, speaking. President-elect Obama has named former Senator Tom Daschle to replace Levitt as head of HHS.

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