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Gene-edited food not an issue to be rushed; public needs more info

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A health ministry expert subcommittee on genetically altered foods has drafted a report on its discussions over regulatory responses to food products derived from genome editing technology.

It has also opened a public comment period for the panel’s proposals concerning regulatory policy for the handling of gene-edited foods. But the way the government has been trying to cram the debate on the issue into a fixed time frame raises concerns and questions.

Genome editing involves snipping and tweaking DNA at precise locations. The draft report says the alterations of one to several DNA sequences through cuts in DNA strands are not unique to genome editing, but can also occur naturally. Such procedures, therefore, do not amount to genetic modification, the panel argues.

As a result, there is no need to subject gene-edited foods to legally required safety reviews, according to the draft report. The health ministry plans to require the suppliers of gene-edited foods to........

© The Asahi Shimbun