Tag Archives GMO

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle allegations that it misleadingly marketed its food as free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Schneider v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., No. 16-2200 (N.D. Cal., motion for preliminary approval filed September 11, 2019). Under the agreement, class members can receive 10 meals with proof of purchase, with a limit of 15 meals per household, or $2 per meal up to five meals without proof of purchase.

In testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee, Under Secretary of Agriculture Greg Ibach suggested that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could potentially be used in the production of organic foods eventually. "As the National Organic Standards Board set the rules originally, right now GMO or transgenics are not eligible to be in the Organic Program, but we've seen new technology evolve that includes gene editing that accomplishes things in shorter periods of time that can be done through a natural breeding process," Ibach stated. "I think there is the opportunity to open the discussion to consider whether it is appropriate for some of these new technologies that include gene editing to be eligible to be used to enhance organic production and to have resistant varieties—drought-resistant, disease-resistant varieties as well as higher-yielding varieties—available." Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released guidance on how human dietary exposure to newly expressed proteins in…

Bloomberg has published an article on companies looking to create dairy products from laboratory-grown whey that could compete with the livestock-derived whey that sold an estimated $10 billion in 2018. One featured start-up, Perfect Day, reportedly asserted that "its proteins require 98% less water and 65% less energy than that required to produce whey from cows" but the company must overcome "consumer squeamishness and regulatory reviews that may end up focusing more on the genetically modified organisms [GMO] used to make lab-grown whey." Perfect Day "wants to rebrand microbes used in food—yeast, fungi, bacteria—as flora, a more consumer-friendly term," Bloomberg reports, to attract vegans who may avoid something labeled "milk protein" and other consumers who may skip products described as "lab-grown" on the label. "We are trying to explore how we can get a term for this industry that's outside of plant-based," one of the founders reportedly told Bloomberg. "Something…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced proposed revisions to its regulations regarding "the movement (importation, interstate movement, and environmental release) of certain genetically modified organisms" (GMOs). The proposal, "the first comprehensive revision of the regulations since they were established in 1987," would adjust how the agency handles permits for plants created as a result of genetic engineering (GE). "While the current regulations have been effective in ensuring the safe introduction of GE organisms during the past 30 years, advances in genetic engineering have occurred since they were promulgated," the announcement states. "APHIS has now accumulated three decades of experience in evaluating GE organisms for plant pest risk. The Agency's evaluations to date have provided evidence that genetically engineering a plant with a plant pest as a vector, vector agent, or donor does not in and of itself result in a GE plant…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced an April 25, 2019, public webinar about "genome editing in animals, an innovative and rapidly evolving technology that offers significant public health benefits." The webinar will focus on "current scientific evidence, promising uses of this technology in animals, and the potential risks." FDA intends the webinar to help "those using genome editing to develop animals with genomic alterations," but registration is open to the public.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deactivated an import alert that prevented the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) salmon into interstate commerce. The agency's statement indicates that it placed the ban in 2016 with the intention of lifting it when standards for labeling GE food were finalized. With the implementation of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard in late 2018, the authority to regulate GE food shifted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to the statement, so the import ban deactivation will remove barriers for USDA regulation. "With the deactivation of the import alert, AquAdvantage Salmon eggs can now be imported to the company’s contained grow-out facility in Indiana to be raised into salmon for food. As was determined during the FDA’s 2015 review, this fish is safe to eat, the genetic construct added to the fish’s genome is safe for the animal, and the manufacturer’s…

A study in Nature Human Behavior has reportedly found that Americans who oppose the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) believe themselves to be highly informed on the subject but lack knowledge of it. Fernbach et al., "Extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least but think they know the most," Nature Human Behavior, January 14, 2019. A survey of 501 Americans asked true/false questions about GMO technology and asked participants about their willingness to eat GMO foods, likelihood of participation in protests against them and belief in the necessity of GMO regulation. The researchers reportedly found that "as extremity of opposition to and concern about genetically modified foods increases, objective knowledge about science and genetics decreases, but perceived understanding of genetically modified foods increases."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Marketing Service has released the final National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), which will require food manufacturers, importers and other entities to indicate on a product's label whether it was made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The rule applies to food products in which the predominant ingredient is subject to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; "[a] multi-ingredient food product that contains broth, stock, water, or similar solution as the first ingredient, and a meat, poultry, or egg product as the second ingredient on the food label would also not be subject to the NBFDS," according to the announcement. The rule takes effect February 19, 2019, and mandatory compliance with the rule begins on January 1, 2022.

The Associated Press has detailed the efforts of Recombinetics, a company that develops genetically engineered (GE) animals, to seek regulatory and public approval of its work. The company CEO reportedly told the news outlet that it aims to assuage fears about GE animals by focusing on how they can help ease animal pain, such as breeding cows without horns so that farmers can stop removing the horns to keep the cows from harming each other. This approach has apparently led to some support among animal-welfare groups; the Humane Society of the United States supports GE pigs bred to no longer require castration, AP reports, although the organization does not give "blanket approval" for the technology. "If you edit for your chicken to be the size of an elephant, that's not good," the organization's vice president of farm animal protection reportedly said.

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