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« Guest Post: Patent Reform -- Lessons from Capitalism's Founding Father | Main | In re Roslin Institute (Fed. Cir. 2014) »

May 08, 2014


Aside from other serious problems in that attempted definition, looks like the Dairy lobby had undue influence. What is the "public interest" or scientific basis for restricting the labeling requirements to plants? Is it because nearly every shred of cheese on the American plate contains genetically engineered microbes used to produce FPC (fermentation-produced chymosin), in place of naturally-derived chymosin, an ingredient from the lining of a calf stomach that is essential to the milk curdling process? The development of this technology was itself was motivated by the labeling demands of the vegetarian movement of the 70's. At least the aspect relating to pre-emption of state-attempted labeling requirements is a positive.

This is very misleading reporting. Pompeo's bill is a "voluntary" GMO labeling bill that expands on the FDA's voluntary labeling option that's been available since 1991. No company has ever used this voluntary label and Pompeo's bill would have the same completely ineffective result. The real purposes of Pompeo's bill are to pre-empt the ability of state and the federal governments to require mandatory GMO labeling and to allow food products with GMO ingredients to be labeled as "natural." Senator Boxer's bill S. 809 is a mandatory GMO labeling bill that was also introduced in the House by U.S. Representative Fazio as H.R. 1699. These bills would actually result in labeling food products with GMO ingredients. Pompeo's bill would not.

A couple of immediate thoughts:

"and to have the food containing the bioengineered organism evaluated under the FDA's voluntary consultation process."

If the law requires this, can it still be called "voluntary?"

The dance around material difference would seem to implicate the Myriad decision. If there is a patent (a material difference), then the item is covered under this law. The extent of bio-engineering allowed is only that extent that would fail to earn a patent under the Myriad ruling.

I am not sure what the implications are for those who inadvertently deal with material that would fall under patent coverage - even in trace amounts. Is there a 'trace amounts'-non-intentional clause in the bill?

Approximately 3% of the bovine genome is endogenous retrovirus. To my mind, this constitutes "genetic material that has been modified through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques,... [wherein] the modification could not otherwise be obtained using conventional breeding techniques" Does all beef now need GMO labels?

Incidentally, when Monsanto introduces transgenes into crop plants, they typically use Agrobacter to transform in the new trait. Agrobacter is constantly delivering DNA to plants in the wild, such that even "heirloom" strains of crop plants contain "recombinant" DNA. Does all food sold need the GMO label?


Thank you for the comment. Upon further review, the legislation would require that developers either submit a premarket biotechnology notification or participate in the FDA's voluntary consultation process.

In addition, the bill has some provisions regarding food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism that may be inadvertently present in the food.


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