The Wall Street Journal
By Bill Tomson

The U.S. Agriculture Department wants to keep genetically modified
animals from mixing with traditional livestock, saying the potential
risks are unclear.

The USDA said it is considering the need to regulate the movement —
including the importation, containment and field release — of
genetically engineered animals to ensure that the genetically engineered
traits don’t present a health risk to traditional cattle, pigs and other
livestock.

Biotechnology research and development have resulted in genetically
engineered animals and animal products that are ready for
commercialization, the department says. So far, no products derived from
genetically engineered animals have been approved for human use,
although the Food and Drug Administration has approved the safety of
meat from cloned cattle.

The USDA, in a posting on the U.S. General Services Administration Web
site, said that although genetic modification of livestock “may provide
significant agricultural, human [and] animal health, and societal
benefits, there are also potential risks, concerns, and environmental
impacts associated with the technology that may require Federal
oversight.”

Barbara Glenn, managing director of animal biotechnology at the
Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade group, welcomed plans for
governmental oversight.

“We need that guidance to be published so that we can move forward with
the industry [and] have investor confidence,” Ms. Glenn said.

The trade group says it expects genetic modifications will make animals
healthy and improve them as a source of food. They could also produce
vaccines to treat illnesses, the group said in a recent report.

Write to Bill Tomson at [email protected]

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