Thursday, January 05, 2006

APHIS fails to regulate GMOs, according to its own internal audit

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS, a part of the USDA) is the only government institution doing any real regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) right now. Although both EPA and FDA also have jurisdiction, they have basically announced that they are not going to exercise it unless there is evidence that something not approved for human use has entered the human food chain.

Now it turns out that APHIS isn't regulating GMOs either. This is according to a report from the USDA itself. The Times quotes Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists: "Over all, I thought the report was devastating," So basically we have a situation where genetic engineering is occurring in a regulatory vacuum, but no one really cares because it just involves altering our environment and not directly altering ourselves. This exact stupidity was the focus of my KEIJ paper.

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