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Better safety checks needed on GM foods

A Royal Society report calls for more consistent safety checks on GM foods but some think it doesn't go far enough.

Susan Mayor(Susan@Mayor.dircon.co.uk)

LONDON — Regulatory processes controlling the development and use of genetically modified (GM) plants need to be improved in order to reduce the risk of any adverse effects on human health, a report from the Royal Society has warned.

The report, Genetically modified plants for food use and human health — an update, considered that there was no evidence casting doubt on the safety of the few foods made from GM ingredients currently available, nor to indicate that genetic modification made foods inherently less safe than non-GM counterparts. It called, however, for the tightening of regulations for all novel foods, particularly with respect to allergy testing and the nutritional content of infant formula.

The recommendations were drawn up by a panel of leading UK scientists with expertise in GM foods, with funding from the Royal Society (an independent body that promotes the natural and applied sciences). Their work...

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