Is it just me, or is there something really creepy about the term "genetically engineered animals"? The FDA has released it's final "guidance," which explains it's process for regulating GE animals. Here's the wacky explanation from the FDA's website:
"The FFDCA defines a drug as 'an article (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.' Therefore, the rDNA construct is a drug because it is intended to change the structure or function of the body of the GE animal ... FDA may exercise "enforcement discretion" over some GE animals, based on their potential risk and on a case-by-case basis. This means that the agency may not require premarket approval for a low-risk animal. For example, the agency is not requiring premarket approval for GE lab animals used for research, and did not require approval of a GE aquarium fish that glows in the dark."
I'm sorry, come again?
OK, so the agency will test for safety -- that's good. Here's what all of this translates to for the consumer (you and me). The FDA is not requiring that GE-animal products be labeled as such. So there is no way to know whether the burger you're eating was made from GE beef. That leaves concerned meat eaters with one option: Eat USDA Organic or don't eat meat at all. Not to be scary here, but the Consumer's Union reported today that products under development for supermarket distribution include pork with mouse genes and salmon that grow faster thanks to the genes of other types of fish. I happen to think that there's something wrong when we start messing with things on a genetic level -- what are the repercussions of that? We may not know for another few decades, but at the very least, consumers should have the right to know what's in their food now.