IFT Comments to APHIS on Nonregulated Status for Genetically Engineered High-oleic Soybeans

November 17, 2009

APHIS Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD
Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

Re: Docket No. APHIS-2007-0156 (Determination of Nonregulated Status for Genetically Engineered High-oleic Soybeans)

Dear Sir or Madam:

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) appreciates USDA APHIS’ notice of the availability for comments on the petition from Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. seeking determination of nonregulated status for soybean designated as transformation event 305423, which was genetically engineered for higher levels of oleic acid and lower levels of linoleic and linolenic acids. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our longrange vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. Founded in 1939, IFT is a nonprofit scientific society with 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT champions the use of sound science across the food value chain through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy, encouraging the exchange of information, providing both formal and informal educational opportunities, and furthering the advancement of the profession.

IFT’s comment seeks to specifically acknowledge that recombinant DNA techniques applied to foods hold potential for benefits that are advantageous for consumers, food manufacturers, and the environment. The safety, labeling, and benefits and concerns surrounding biotechnology and foods were comprehensively addressed in an IFT Expert Report—Biotechnology and Foods (http://members.ift.org/IFT/Research/IFTExpertReports/biotechfoods_report.htm). Key conclusions pertinent to petitions for rDNA biotechnology derived products such as the subject of this petition were:

  • Foods derived from biotechnology should not require a different or higher standard of safety from conventional foods, but should be examined on a case-by-case basis for safety before commercialization.

  • The use of rDNA biotechnology and molecular techniques of genetic manipulation significantly broadens the scope of the genetic changes that can be made in food organisms and broadens the scope of possible sources of foods, but this does not inherently lead to foods that are less safe than those developed by conventional techniques. By virtue of their greater precision, such products can be expected to be better characterized, leading to more predictability and a more reliable safety assessment process.

    IFT shares the USDA’s goal of protecting agriculture and public health, and we applaud the Agency as it continues to seek ways to work together with the industry, public, and scientific organizations such as IFT. Should you wish to talk with us about IFT’s views on biotechnology or if you would like copies of IFT’s Expert Report on Biotechnology and Foods, please contact William Fisher, IFT Vice President of Science and Policy Initiatives at 202-330-5977 or wfisher@ift.org.

    Sincerely,

    Marianne Gillette IFT President

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