Comments needed on genetic guidelines

Governments and food industry international organisations have been asked to comment on draft guidelines covering the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic meat production.

Governments and food industry international organisations have been asked to comment on draft guidelines covering the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic meat production, drafted by global food standards body Codex Alimentarius.

This additional consultation follows pressure from the European Commission for more studies into these genes' safety.

Codex's ad hoc intergovernmental task force, on foods derived from biotechnology, has released a discussion paper questioning whether including such marker-genes in food might "compromise the therapeutic efficacy of orally administered antibiotics", and other concerns.

If data suggests these genes "present risks to human health, the marker gene should not be used", it said. Comments are expected by June 30.

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