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New Biotech Papers Deal with Important Issues.

International Consumers for Civil Society (ICCS) and Consumer Alert have published four papers dealing with some of the important issues relating to modern agricultural biotechnology. The papers provide factual information and analysis covering the U.S. regulatory system, food security, ecology, and consumer benefits.

The first paper on the regulatory system in the U.S. provides background on the current testing and other regulatory requirements for foods produced with modern biotechnology, and roles of the three U.S. government agencies involved in its oversight. The paper also provides readers from other countries, who might be less familiar with the U.S. system, an overview of how food is regulated in the U.S.

"Agricultural biotechnology and food security" is an essential topic in the debate. The question of whether genetically modified crops can help to improve food security, in particular in developing countries, is critical. While not a "magic bullet" to solve all food problems, the paper suggests that improving crop yields and enhancing nutrition of crops could become a valuable tool in the effort to increase living standards around the globe.

While the public debate focuses on the potential negative effects from the introduction of biotechnology crops, the paper "Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment" sheds some light on the potential benefits for the environment that could result from the use of modern biotechnology. Examples include a reduction of toxic pesticides and protection of natural habitat through increasing yields of existing cultivated land.

The latest of the four papers looks at the consumer benefits of modern biotechnology. Rice enhanced with beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, is one example. Research for future crops is underway that could include less allergens and might even one day deliver vaccines. Providing stable and less expensive fresh produce -- an important part of a healthy diet -- could be an important contribution to improve public health.
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Title Annotation:reports by International Consumers for Civil Society (ICCS) and Consumer Alert
Publication:Consumer Comments
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2000
Next Article:"Multifunctionality - An Obstacle for Trade Negotiations.

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