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FDA assures safety of GM food products in market

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assured today that the genetically modified (GM) food products derived from modern biotechnology that are currently on the market are safe.

FDA Director General Kenneth Hartigan Go said those GM foods have passed food safety assessment based on the UN FAO/WHO CODEX Alimentarius Risk Analysis of Food Derived from Modern Biotechnology and Guidelines for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants.

"All food derived from GM crops in the market have met international food safety standards and are as safe as and as nutritious as the food derived from conventional crops for direct use as food, feeds and for processing," he said.

Go issued the statement after the Philippine Court of Appeals recently ruled against the GM Bt eggplants and the call of organic farming advocates to ban the GM breed of rice known as Golden Rice and testing of other GM crops such as corn, abaca, cassava and papaya.

The FDA official explained that different GM crops that are propagated or are undergoing limited or multi-location field trial possess certain traits, like herbicide resistance, pest resistance, improved disease resistance, drought resistance, or biofortified with Pro-vitamin A, and have certain genes integrated in the genome.

This means that the safety of these specific GM crops should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, following the CODEX Alimentarius guidelines for determining their safety, including toxicity, allergenicity and nutritional quality, or assessment of any nutritional claim, he said.

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"It is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods," he stressed.

As the National Competent Authority, Go said the FDA supports the robust science-based evaluation system of CODEX Alimentarius Commission using data and information from field trials as well as laboratory tests.

"For processed food, the main focus of food safety review is on the objective characteristics of the product and on any health or nutritional claims. The focus of evaluation is on the food product and not on the technology used to produce the product," he said.  


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