ALTHOUGH most of the genetically altered "foods of the future" are similar to the foods we are familiar with, the techniques of the new biotechnology are subtly changing and improving the foods we eat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has paved the way for the arrival of the new food products and processes by announcing on May 29, 1992, its policy on the oversight of new varieties of food plants.1 But because of the scientific issues involved (eg, allergenicity) as well as consumers' reservations about such products and their general lack of understanding of the FDA's policy, it is important that physicians—a trusted source of health-related advice—be informed on the nuances of the subject. This article attempts to place in a scientific perspective new crop varieties obtained by conventional and new techniques and describes the FDA's approach to their oversight.
The History of Genetic Engineering Applied to
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