Genetically engineered (GE) animals could be on their way to a dinner table near you soon, following new guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has published proposed rules for how it plans to regulate producers of genetically modified foods – labeled "frankenfoods" by some critics – who are marketing their products for public consumption.
Scientists create GE animals by inserting the gene from one species into the DNA of another. In doing this, they aim to create superior breeds that are resistant to disease, can grow faster or contain more nutrients.
However, some have raised questions about the role of science to interfere with nature – and now there are concerns that the public may not even be aware of where their food comes from.
It came as a surprise to some consumer groups that the FDA is not planning to label many products to differentiate them from conventional meat.
"It is incomprehensible to us that FDA does not view these animals differently from their conventional counterparts," commented Jean Halloran of the Consumers Union.
She added that people have a "right to know" if they are eating a product derived from "pigs that have been engineered with mouse genes."