AAAS Meeting to Feature Session on GM Crop Regulations

Farmer Gene

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will hold its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, February 17-21, hosting nearly 8,000 attendees for symposia, lectures, seminars, workshops, and poster sessions that cover every area of science, technology, and education.

A symposium titled GM Crop Regulations: Safety Net or Insurmountable Obstacle?will be presented on Friday, February 18.

This session will address the two prime reasons why fresh market and specialty GM foodstuffs are not on grocers’ shelves:

First, the regulatory system in place is not sufficiently science-based and is too costly to be justified for small-market crops. Two speakers will discuss success in bringing safe and highly productive transgenic crops to farmers, whereas others will highlight research presently under way to provide fruits, vegetables, and other foods that benefit consumers by being more environmentally friendly, healthier, and more enjoyable to eat.

Finally, the obstacles to commercialization of such foods under the present array of complex and costly regulatory hurdles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be presented, along with suggestions for using scientific principles to streamline current regulatory systems while providing ample assurances to consumers regarding the safety of new GM foods.

Scheduled speakers include:

  • Nina Fedoroff, Pennsylvania State University
    Why We Need to Craft Science-Based Regulations for GM Crops and Animals in the United States
  • Roger Beachy, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    The Success and Safety of Transgenic Crops and Foods
  • Drew L. Kershen, University of Oklahoma
    The Present Regulatory Systems, Their Complexity, and Costs
  • Hector Quemada, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
    Challenges in the Development of Transgenic Crops by the Public Sector
  • Alan McHughen, University of California
    Whither “Orphan” GM Specialty and Small Market Crops?
  • Elizabeth A. Grabau, Virginia Tech, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science;
  • Ralph Scorza, USDA-ARS-AFRS
    A view from the trenches: Challenges in bringing GM crops to the market place
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