FDA SET TO APPROVE HEART-HEALTHY LABELS FOR [GE] SOYA
While world-wide concern is being voiced not only that
genetically-modified crops need to be properly labeled as such, but
questioning the health risks human take in consuming such GM food, U.S.
"life sciences" corporations and its corporate agribusiness hirelings
are actively seeking the government's approval to advertise such
products as health aids.
The Farm Journal's Barbara Fairchild reports that a "cumbersome" Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) process that grants manufacturers the
right to proclaim health benefits on food labels is winding down which
would allow such health claims for products containing soy protein.
In 1997, 15% of the U.S. soybean crop was grown from genetically
engineered seed. By next year, if Monsanto Corporation's timetable
unfolds on schedule, 100% of the U.S. soybean crop (60 million acres)
will be genetically engineered. Eighty percent of all the vegetable oils
in American foods are derived from soy beans, so most foods that contain
vegetable oils will contain genetically engineered components by next
year or the year after.
Yet, Fairchild reports, after 36 months of research and petitioning,
foods containing soy protein will be sporting heart-healthy labels by
The new labels can assert that using soy protein in your diet can reduce
the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering serum cholesterolóa major
cause of high blood pressure and heart disease. To lower cholesterol, 25
g of soy protein must be consumed each day. Soy foods must contain at
least 6.25 g of soybean protein per serving, based on four servings a
day, to qualify for heart-healthy labeling.
The United Soybean Board (USB), the American Soybean Association (ASA)
and some state soybean checkoff boards, she notes, played key roles in
research and the proposal leading to revised labeling. Research money
came from soybean checkoff dollars. Also joining with USB and ASA in the
project were ADM, Central Soya Company Inc. (the U.S. subsidiary of the
giant multinational Ferruzzi Finanziaria, S.p.A) and Protein
Technologies International (PTI).
This consortium reportedly conducted clinical studies on the effect of
soy products in the human diet. It is unreported whether GM soybeans
were tested or not. Once evidence was compiled, PTI and ASA filed
requests for a proposed ruling on the validity of the findings with FDA.
The agency had 190 days to review a petition and once the research
findings were found adequate, the FDA put together a proposed rule.
After the rule was issued, a 90-day comment period followed. After
consideration of the comments came a final rulingóin this case the final
ruling is expected by April.
Critics of the petition correctly point out that if the approval of such
labeling (which was formally applied for by a subsidiary of the "life
sciences" giant Du Pont) is confirmed, it may mean that GM soya in the
U.S., far from being labeled as GM (which is not provided for by U.S.
food regulations), would actually end up having a label specifically
telling consumers how beneficial it would be for their health.
What that would mean in essence is that a genetically engineered food
product which includes genetic material from a virus and a bacteria
which has not previously been
an integral component of the human diet (and whose long term health
effects have been questioned within the scientific community) would get
special market promotion on health grounds.
Yet, David Durham, USB domestic marketing chairman, and Hardin,
Missouri, soybean grower makes the dubious assertion that "this health
claim will help us spread the word about the healthful benefits of
soybeans. As people adjust their diets to include soy protein, our
soybean market will expand, putting more dollars in the farmers'
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