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FDA Holds First Hearing On Biotechnology in Chicago

November 19, 1999

Yesterday in Chicago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held the first of three public hearings around the country on genetically engineered products, an event prompted by public pressure for more government openness on the issue. As about 180 attendants heard from a panel mostly composed of pro-biotech experts, hundreds of people who had not been allowed inside the building protested outside.

The hearings take place as pressure increases for the FDA to require stricter labeling practices by food companies that market biotech products, and for the U.S. to adopt tougher guidelines for the approval of bio-engineered crops. Many are calling for a moratorium on the use of all bio-engineered products until more studies are conducted on their health and environmental safety.


  • Charles Margules, Greenpeace expert on biotechnology who attended the FDA hearings. Speaking from Chicago.
  • Sonya Kugler, General Manager of "Natural Nedes, Inc.," a marketing group for organic products that conducts public information on organic food. She was at the hearings yesterday, and also participated in the hearings. Speaking from Highland Park, Illinois.