Premarket review for biotech foods

FDA proposes that bioengineered foods and animal feeds marketers notify the agency four months before going to market.

In an effort to boost consumer confidence in biotech foods, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to require developers of bioengineered foods and animal feeds to notify the agency four months before going to market and to provide specific information that demonstrates the safety of the product. FDA will notify the company of its conclusion, and both the company's information and FDA's conclusion will be made public.

FDA also will draft labeling guidance for voluntary labeling of both bioengineered foods and those made without bioengineered ingredients. Claims must be truthful and not misleading.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) applauded FDA's actions, saying that such an open, transparent regulatory process would help ensure consumer confidence in science-based regulation. FDA has consistently maintained the safety of biotech foods.

Critics of biotech foods said the initiative fell short. A bipartisan group of about 50 legislators are pushing for a bill introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, to require labeling of all products containing genetically altered ingredients.

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