A study group appointed by the 5,200-member Society of Toxicology, based in Reston, Va., recently issued a draft position paper affirming the safety of foods made from genetically modified (GM) crops. If approved by the society's full membership and council, the report should make biotech enthusiasts happy: It supports key principles governing federal regulatory policy and nixes pet arguments made by the technology's critics.

The draft report was posted on a 'members only' page of the society's Web site (www.toxicology.org). Not surprisingly, it circulated more generally by E-mail and made its way onto the Internet.

According to society secretary Kendall Wallace of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, "any member can suggest to the council a topic to consider" for study. Once the council, composed of the society's elected officials, approves the suggestion, it asks appropriate sections to nominate experts to serve on a working group. In this case,...

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