Dear Mr. Endelman:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about genetically engineered food. I agree that food safety laws should be able to respond to the possible consequences of genetically engineered crops, particularly those crops that contain antibiotic-resistant genes, viral promoters and foreign proteins never before consumed by humans.
Agriculture is being transformed by rapid advances in technology, and techniques to enhance the genetic makeup of agricultural plants and animals are constantly evolving. Producers are interested in the application of new technologies to improve productivity, consistency, and quality; to introduce new food, fiber, and medical products; and to protect the environment.
The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council produced a report assessing the food safety risks of consuming genetically engineered food. The report concluded that unexpected and unintended compositional changes arise with all forms of plant and animal genetic modification, but found that, so far, no genetically engineering related adverse human health effects have been documented. However, the report's authors cited "sizeable gaps" in the ability to identify compositional changes caused by all forms of genetic modification—whether genetically engineered or conventional—and their relevance for human health, and they recommended new approaches for assessing the safety of new foods both before and after they enter the market.
The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world due to the hard work of government regulatory agencies and the precautions taken by the food industry. Our country’s track record of success does not mean, however, that now is a time to rest on our laurels. We must be vigilant in addressing food safety issues as they come, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to protect consumers from potentially harmful agricultural products.
Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can ever be of assistance to you on this or any other matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I just received an email from one of my senators, Chuck Schumer, in response to an email I sent him several months ago asking his stance on genetically engineered food. Can anyone translate?