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March 31, 2009


Activism in the Time of Cholera; More $$ from Bill Gates; US Response to Global Hunger; Rogue's Gallery; Freeman Dyson


Today in AgBioView from* AgBioWorld, March 26, 2009” you mistakenly excerpt from Gregg Jaffe’s cover piece from March/April 2009 issue of The Environmental Forum and attribute this to Michael Wach who wrote the second piece (see “Are Current Rules Adequate to Regulate Genetic Engineering?” and “Another View: Feeding, Fueling, Healing” below.)

Dr. Wach’s piece runs two columns on page 41, and ends with “…and our growing world”. Yet you picked up the continuation of Jaffe’s piece on page 42, pasted below, (“USDA regulates the import…”) and attributed it to Wach. These eight paragraphs do NOT reflect the position of BIO, and we ask that you publish a correction attributing these paragraphs to Jaffe.

Please contact me to confirm.

Thank you.

Karen Batra
Director, Food and Agriculture Communications
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)



Oops! In the March 26, 2009 edition of AgBioView, I made a serious error in mixing up the texts from two opposing views on regulation of agbiotech. I am deeply sorry about it (Those darned pdf files!). I mistakenly included many paragraphs from Dr. Gregory Jaffe of CSPI into the end of text by Dr. Michael Wach of BIO (Are Current Rules Adequate to Regulate Genetic Engineering? The Next Generation from the magazine The Environmental Forum). Please refer to the actual comments at Full paper at http://www.cspinet.org/biotech/articles.html

I reproduce the verbatim comments by Dr. Wach again below.



Another View:

Feeding, Fueling, Healing

- Michael Wach (Managing Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs for Food and Agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington, D.C. )

Since biotech products were first commercializedin 1996, the world has embraced this science because of the proven benefits it delivers to growers and consumers. More than 12 million farmers in 23 countries are using agricultural biotechnology today. In other words, ag biotech is agriculture.

Biotech crops help farmers grow heartier and healthier food. A genetically enhanced virus-resistant papaya literally saved the Hawaiian industry for farmers who suffered devastating losses from a pest. Biotechnology also benefits the environment. Because biotech crops require less cultivation and fewer pesticide applications, farmers save fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

As we look to the future, we see the promise of crops that are more tolerant of drought and flooding and crops that use soil nutrients more efficiently. Foods can also be fortified with more nutrients.

Although animal biotechnology is a much younger segment of this dynamic industry, its promises are equally compelling, and society is just beginning to learn of its benefits. Research with genetically engineered animals has yielded a variety of breakthroughs that can help advance human health, enhance food production, mitigate environmental impact, and optimize animal welfare. In January, the Food and Drug Administration issued the first regulatory guidance governing GE animals. This system ensures the products made available through this science will go through a rigorous and transparent review process before being approved for the marketplace.

All of these societal benefits can be realized with next-generation biotechnologies. But they must first work their way through a complex, rigorous regulatory system. Rules must keep pace with the technology they regulate. But years of experience with the successful and safe deployment of biotechnology indicate that the amount of regulatory oversight in the United States is adequate. U.S.-developed biotech products are so well adopted precisely because our regulatory system results in safe, high-quality products.

The fact is, products derived from biotechnology have been consumed by billions of people for more than 15 years without a single documented health problem. This is a remarkable safety record, but not surprising, given the pre-market examination and testing of biotech products. In spite of the years of costly research needed to bring these products to market, developers want the regulatory scrutiny that provides safety for humans and the environment.

The reality of modern agriculture dictates that this scrutiny makes not for just good science, but also good business. Thoughtful commercial development, with appropriate regulatory oversight, is the best way to continue to bring these valuable products to market, well into the future. Now more than ever, we should embrace the technologies that help us be better stewards of the land, while feeding, fueling, and healing our growing world.