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July 28, 2004

Running Time: 1:01:31
Format: QuickTime (Requires free RealPlayer)

Description: Federal agencies should assess the safety of genetically altered foods -- whether produced by genetic engineering or by other techniques, such as conventional breeding for desirable traits -- on a case-by-case basis to determine whether unintended changes in their composition could adversely affect human health, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. The scope of each safety evaluation should not be based solely on the technique used to alter the food, said the committee that wrote the report, because even traditional methods such as cross-breeding can cause unexpected changes. Instead, greater scrutiny should be given to foods containing new compounds or unusual amounts of naturally occurring substances, regardless of the method used to create them.

Bettie Sue Masters, Robert A. Welch Foundation Distinguished Professor in Chemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and Chair, Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health.