GM Crop Regulations: Safety Net or Insurmountable Obstacle?”

Friday, February 18, 2011: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
147A (Washington Convention Center )
Genetic modification (GM) of fruits, vegetables and other small-market crops offers opportunities for many significant improvements, including enhanced nutrition, safety (e.g., elimination of toxins and allergens), taste, and shelf life and the ability to be grown with less pesticides -- yet none of these are available to consumers. Why? It is not because there are reasonable doubts about the safety of transgenic crop plants. After 15 years of widespread use around the world, there are no credible reports of injury to health or to the environment from genetically engineered crops or foods. This symposium will address the two prime reasons why fresh market and specialty GM foodstuffs are not on grocers’ shelves. First, the regulatory system in place is not sufficiently science-based and is too costly to be justified for small-market crops. Two speakers will discuss success in bringing safe and highly productive transgenic crops to farmers, whereas others will highlight research presently under way to provide fruits, vegetables, and other foods that benefit consumers by being more environmentally friendly, healthier, and more enjoyable to eat. Finally, the obstacles to commercialization of such foods under the present array of complex and costly regulatory hurdles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be presented, along with suggestions for using scientific principles to streamline current regulatory systems while providing ample assurances to consumers regarding the safety of new GM foods.
Donald P. Weeks, University of Nebraska
Wayne Parrott, University of Georgia
and Alan McHughen, University of California
Roger Beachy, U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Success and Safety of Transgenic Crops and Foods
Drew L. Kershen, University of Oklahoma
The Present Regulatory Systems, Their Complexity, and Costs
Hector Quemada, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Challenges in the Development of Transgenic Crops by the Public Sector
Alan McHughen, University of California
Whither "Orphan" GM Specialty and Small Market Crops?
Elizabeth A. Grabau, Virginia Tech, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science; Ralph Scorza, USDA-ARS-AFRS
A view from the trenches: Challenges in bringing GM crops to the market place
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