Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues [September 10, 2010] [open pdf - 288KB]
"Animal agriculture is being transformed by rapid advances in biotechnology--a term that encompasses a variety of technologies, including genetic engineering (GE), genetic modification, transgenics, recombinant DNA techniques, and cloning, among others. Producers are interested in the application of biotechnology to improve productivity, consistency, and quality; to introduce new food, fiber, and medical products; and to protect the environment. Potential human health applications of transgenic animals include producing biopharmaceuticals and generating organs, tissues, and cells for xenotransplantation. Criticisms of such applications involve issues ranging from food safety and social resistance to potential negative impacts on animal welfare and on ecosystems. Questions also have arisen about the adequacy of the current regulatory structure to assess and manage any risks created by these technologies. On January 15, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released final guidance on how it is to regulate GE animals and products. FDA is to do so under its existing statutory authority and regulations. Generally, GE-derived foods, for example, are to be regulated like non- GE foods; if their composition does not differ from their conventional counterparts, they will not have to be labeled. Nonetheless, developers of GE animals and of GE-derived products must gain FDA pre-market approval."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33334
National Agricultural Law Center: http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/crs/