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Checkbiotech: Benefits the path to GM ingredient acceptance?
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: November 13, 2004 10:21AM ;

Food formlators working in Europe will steer away from using GM ingredients
in their recipes as long as consumer sceptism towards biotech foodstuffs
continues but at a meeting herded by Europe?s food agency this week
attendees hear that finding the balance between risk and benefits could be
the path to acceptance, November 2004 .

Over 350 participants gathered in Berlin on Monday under the aegis of the
European Food Safety Authority take part in a dialogue, the first public
event on the subject, relating to future perspectives in European risk
assessment regarding food and feed safety.

One speaker, Professor Maxime Schwartz from the French food agency, Agence
franšaise de sÚcuritÚ sanitaire des aliments, underlined that the consumer
does not see genetically modified organisms in terms of a benefit/risk ratio
but only in terms of risks.

?Technological advancement involves risks, irrespective of whether these
risks are low or high. They are only acceptable to the population if the
technological advance brings benefits,? Professor Schwartz told attendees.

But she cautions that in the case of transgenic plants, the most widely
known examples of GMOs ?only the risks are highlighted, without enough
questions being asked about the benefits?.

In order to tackle the imbalance, Professor Schwartz proposes that an
assessment of the health benefits of GMOs could be conducted at the same
time as a risk assessment.

?We would thus tend, for these new foods, towards an analysis of the
benefit/risk ratio, comparable to that prevailing prior to marketing of a
drug,? said the professor.

GM ingredients are regarded with some suspicion by consumers in Europe and
as such are used infrequently in food formulations by food manufacturers
anxious for buoyant, not falling, sales. But Brussels recently pushed
through tough new rules on the labelling of GM ingredients ? that flag up
such an ingredient on the food label - in a bid to make such foodstuffs more
accessible to the market.


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