Friday, February 15, 2013

Michael Hansen, Ph.D. Testimony At Feb. Senate Hearing (PDF)


Testimony on I-522, the legislative initiative to label genetically engineered seeds and food, before the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee,
Olympia, WA

Michael Hansen, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Consumers Union
February 14, 2013

Dear Senators,
Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony in support of I-522, the legislative initiative to label genetically engineered seeds and food. My name is Michael Hansen and I am a senior scientist at Consumers Union1 (CU), the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. I have worked on the issue of genetically engineered (GE) foods for more than 20 years and have been involved in the decisions/debate about these foods.

There is global agreement that genetic engineering is different than conventional breeding and that safety assessments should be completed for all GE foods, including crops and animals, prior to marketing. The human safety problems that may arise include introduction of new allergens or increased levels of naturally occurring allergens, of plant toxins, and changes in nutrition. There may also be unintended effects. Codex Alimentarius, the food safety standards organization of the United Nations, developed a number of documents, including a Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants (CAC/GL 45, 2003); there are separate Guidelines for GE animals (CAC/GL 68, 2008) and GE microorganisms (CAC/GL 46, 2003), as well.2

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