Thursday, February 06, 2003

Earning our Trust [NYT]
The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that it was investigating the possibility that genetically engineered pigs might have been illegally sold for use as food....

The pigs were created at the University of Illinois as part of an experiment to see if they could be made to grow faster without injections of antibiotics, a common practice that has raised safety concerns.

Some pigs were given a cow lactation gene to promote increased milk production for their young, university officials said. Others were given a synthesized gene for insulin-like growth factor 1, which was designed to improve their digestion. Some pigs contained both genes, they said.

The F.D.A. said that from April 2001 until last month, 386 of the offspring of the genetically engineered pigs were sold to a livestock dealer who might have sold them for use as food. While the university insisted that the offspring had not inherited the foreign genes and were thus not genetically engineered, the drug agency said it could not verify that. In any case, the offspring were not supposed to have been sold for food without permission, the agency said.

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