US Department of Agriculture worried about GM food imports

Having exported largely untested GM crops around the world for decades, the US is suddenly starting to worry about what genetically modified organisms other countries might send their way.

The Office of the Inspector General, an internal auditor for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), warns in a report that ‘while the consequences of unapproved transgenic plants or animals entering the US food supply are difficult to foresee, such an event could provoke health and environmental concerns and interfere with commerce.’

The authors of the report worry that ‘the USDA has no controls in place that would identify… undeclared transgenic plants unknown to the US regulatory system’.

Recommendations include working closely with countries developing GM crops to ensure that they are known to US regulators before they leave the laboratory, and developing a policy for dealing with unknown GM imports.

The US has previously lodged objections with the World Trade Organisation over the length of time the EU’s regulators have spent assessing GM crops for health and environmental impacts.