Friday, June 09, 2006

Consumer Action Against Biotech Foods

The US non-profit and public interest environmental advocacy organisation, the Center for Food Safety (CFS), filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia this week to compel the US government to impose mandatory labelling and safety reviews of GM foods.

The CFS has been campaigning for testing and labelling requirements for some time. This action follows a history of campaigning on GM foods, including the filing of a legal petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with more than 50 consumer and environmental groups, back in 2000. However, the CFS reported that this petition was ignored, as it stepped up its campaign this week. Maintaining that the government should take responsibility for safety tests on GM food, the CFS argues that the FDA should not rely "the very companies that have a financial interest in bringing these biotech crops to market" for an objective and reliable report on the safety of those crops. At present the US does not require independent testing or labelling of GM crops. However, CFS Legal Director, Joseph Mendelson, stated in a Reuters report that this much change: "We think the FDA should be the gatekeeper." He continued that what should be required is "a mandatory process that has rigorous science behind it and public involvement and an actual approval process."

With offices in Washington DC and San Francisco, California, the CFS was established in 1997 by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA), to concentrate on campaigns in food production technologies and sustainable alternatives.

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