BIOTECH FOODS: Government to Augment Oversight
The Clinton administration will release a proposal today calling for increased federal oversight on genetically modified foods, the Washington Post reports. The proposal would also make the details of federal oversight more open to the public to strengthen "consumer confidence" in the controversial foods. The plan would force biotech companies to notify the FDA four months before marketing new foods and place the Agriculture Department directly in charge of validating new tests designed to detect gene-altering ingredients. Also, the FDA might allow foods to be labeled "free of gene-altered ingredients" for the first time. "We believe our proposed initiatives will provide the public with greater confidence in the safety of these foods," a senior administration official said. Some critics quickly labeled the new proposals "inadequate." But representatives of the food-growing and marketing industries, while initially opposed to an "enhanced federal presence," said they generally supported the reforms (Weiss, 5/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.