DC, February 18, 2004 (ENS): Fifteen genetically
engineered tomatoes have been evaluated for food, feed
and planting by U.S. regulatory agencies. A new government
website gives the scientific and corporate details for
each transgenic tomato - and similar information for
engineered beet, canola, canteloupe, corn, cotton, papaya,
potato, rice, soy and other crops.
Five federal agencies have launched the website, which
for the first time offers to the public information
on how the U.S. government regulates and supervises
agricultural products derived from biotechnology.
The site, at: http://usbiotechreg.nbii.gov,
was developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), State Department and U.S. Geological
USDA, FDA and EPA share regulatory responsibility regulating
agricultural biotechnology. Depending on its characteristics,
a genetically engineered product may be subject to review
by one or more of these agencies.
The centerpiece of the site is a searchable database
of genetically engineered crop plants intended for food
or feed that have completed all recommended or required
reviews for food, feed or planting use in the United
The database lists products that have completed evaluations
at all relevant federal agencies for a particular use.
It does not provide information on whether or not a
product actually is being used commercially in the United
States. A company may choose not to sell or distribute
a product that is listed on the database.
Links on the website give access to information about
the U.S. oversight system for products of biotechnology,
including the roles of the U.S. regulatory agencies;
the laws, regulations, and procedures applicable to
these products; and information the regulatory agencies
have produced in reviewing each product.
The agencies say the new website is part of the U.S.
government effort to share information with the public
about products of agricultural biotechnology and to
promote transparency in the review process that genetically
engineered crop plants undergo before they are sold
or used in the United States.