WASHINGTON, DC—Regardless of whether genetically modified foods were created by manipulating DNA in a laboratory or by traditional breeding, safety assessments should focus on the changes in a particular crop, not on the method used to create them, according to a National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report issued yesterday (July 28).

The report suggests widespread "premarket" safety assessments of any new genetically modified food based on presence of abnormal levels of compounds. It also calls for epidemiological surveillance to track any unexplained and unexpected clusters of adverse health effects that might arise only after a large population has been exposed to a particular food. But such assessments and surveillance would occur for all kinds of foods, not just GM foods.

Industry leaders met the report with praise. "Critics of the technology always want to point to the method. Just because you use the method, you've got to go...

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