CAST Issue Paper Examines Safety of Consuming Foods from Animals Fed Biotechnology-derived Crops

July 12, 2006

For Immediate Release                                                       
 
 
 
CAST paper Examines Safety of Consuming Foods From Animals Fed
Biotechnology-derived Crops
 
July 12, 2006…Ames, Iowa. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) is releasing a new Issue Paper, Safety of Meat, Milk, and Eggs from Animals Fed Crops Derived from Modern Biotechnology, fifth in CAST’s nine-part series “Animal Agriculture’s Future through Biotechnology.”  
 
            “The safety and availability of high-quality food and animal feedstuffs are critical to populations worldwide,” saysTask Force Chair Professor Richard H. Phipps, School of Agriculture, Development and Policy, The University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom. “During the last decade the area of biotechnology-derived crops has increased dramatically from 4 to 90 million hectares/year, and crop varieties of corn, soybean, cotton, and canola are now widely used and are an important feedstuff in livestock production systems. It is essential, therefore, to consider the safety of meat, milk, and eggs obtained from animals fed crops derived from modern biotechnology.”
 
Written and evaluated by a Task Force of international scientists—from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and Brazil—this timely CAST Issue Paper has the following objectives:
  1.  To provide an overview of regulatory assessments of biotechnology-derived crops; and          
2. To summarize the empirical data generated for assessing the safety of meat, milk, and eggs from animals fed biotechnology-derived crops that express agronomic input traits.
 
Animal products such as milk, meat, and eggs are significant sources of high-quality food for humans and represent approximately one-sixth of their food energy and one-third of their food protein on a global basis. Therefore, an important underlying tenet for the scientific assessment of the safety and nutritive value of crops derived from modern biotechnology is based on the question “Is the biotechnology-derived crop as safe as a conventional crop?” Safety of Meat, Milk, and Eggs from Animals Fed Crops Derived from Modern Biotechnology provides evidence to support a strong affirmative response.
 
Areas of study in CAST’s new Issue Paper include
 
Ø      an overview of regulatory assessments for biotechnology-derived crops
      modified for agronomic input traits,
Ø      an evaluation of the comparative safety assessment process,
Ø      results of feeding studies in farm animals,
Ø      the fate of consumed proteins and DNA, and
Ø      conclusions and recommendations.
 
“Results of the most up-to-date research compiled by this international Task Force conclude that meat, milk, and eggs produced by farm animals fed biotechnology-derived crops are as wholesome, safe, and nutritious as similar products produced by animals fed conventional crops,” says Dr. John M. Bonner, CAST Executive Vice President. “CAST is pleased to provide this important contribution to the scientific literature on feed safety.”
 
CAST’s new Issue Paper concludes with several important points­ for future research and action to ensure continued safety and nutritive value of feeds in current and future crops derived from modern biotechnology. Recommendations include
 
Ø      Continue using a case-by-case safety assessment approach
Ø      Assess risks, as opposed to hazards
Ø      Provide adequate funding to regulatory groups
Ø      Provide resources to increase public outreach and dialogue
           
The full text of the paper Safety of Meat, Milk, and Eggs from Animals Fed Crops Derived from Modern Biotechnology (Issue Paper No. 34) may be accessed on the CAST website at www.cast-science.org, along with many of CAST’s other scientific publications, and is available in hardcopy for $5.00 (includes shipping) by contacting the CAST office at 515-292-2125. CAST is an international consortium of 38 scientific and professional societies. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.